Codex Junius 11 HTML version

Liber I.10
(ll. 442-460) Then God's enemy began to make him ready, equipped in war-gear,
with a wily heart. He set his helm of darkness on his head, bound it full hard, and
fastened it with clasps. Many a crafty speech he knew, many a crooked word.
Upward he beat his way and darted through the doors of hell. He had a ruthless
heart. Evil of purpose he circled in the air, cleaving the flame with fiendish craft.
He would fain ensnare God's servants unto sin, seduce them and deceive them
that they might be displeasing to the Lord. With fiendish craft he took his way
until he came on Adam upon earth, the finished handiwork of God, full wisely
wrought, and his wife beside him, loveliest of women, performing many a goodly
service since the Lord of men appointed them His ministers.
(ll. 460-477) And by them stood two trees laden with fruit and clothed with
increase. Almighty God, High King of heaven, had set them there that the mortal
sons of men might choose of good and evil, weal and woe. Unlike was their fruit!
Of the one tree the fruit was pleasant, fair and winsome, excellent and sweet.
That was the tree of life. He might live for ever in the world who ate of that fruit,
so that old age pressed not heavily upon him, nor grievous sickness, but he
might live his life in happiness for ever, and have the favour of the King of
heaven here on earth. And glory was ordained for him in heaven, when he went
(ll. 478-495) The other tree was dark, sunless, and full of shadows: that was the
tree of death. Bitter the fruit it bore! And every man must know both good and
evil; in this world abased he needs must suffer, in sweat and sorrow, who tasted
of the fruit that grew upon that tree. Old age would rob him of his strength and joy
and honour, and death take hold upon him. A little time might he enjoy this life,
and then seek out the murky realm of flame, and be subject unto fiends. There of
all perils are the worst for men for ever. And that the evil one knew well, the wily
herald of the fiend who fought with God. He took the form of a serpent, coiled
round the tree of death by devil's craft, and plucked the fruit, and turned aside
again where he beheld the handiwork of the King of heaven. And the evil one in
lying words began to question him: