St. John

by Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim

I.
The virgin John saw the heavens open
And beheld the Father of all on His resplendent throne,
Surrounded by a row of twice twelve elders
Who glittered with gleaming crowns,
All dressed in robes of gleaming white;
He also saw at the enthroned King's right hand
A book, whose secret no man can learn.

II.
This angel here, seeking a worthy man, finds none
Who could solve the seal of the secret book.

III.
He consoles John, who is weeping
As he explains that the Lamb can solve the seals.

IV.
Behold, the secrets of the book lay open for the slain Lamb
Whose praise Heavens' citizens soon sing;
Behold Faith's martyrs, bearing witness near the altar with clear voices.
They recieve robes glittering with gleaming whiteness.
The angel, arriving from the direction of the rosy sunrise,
Marks the Eternal King's servants on their foreheads.
Afterwardsd John beheld many standing there in white,
Praising the Lamb, and carrying palm leaves in hand.
Behold, Heaven's citizens are silent for half an hour.
He stood at the sacred altar with a censer
And carried incense, symbolizing the faithfuls' holy prayers.

V.
Behold, a woman glitters, surrounded by the splendid sun.
Adorned with a gleaming crown of twice twelve stars
A snake wants to devour her tender young son,
But the dragon has fallen from Heaven and is cast to earth.
Behold the Lamb standing here on the Mount of Zion,
And the company of virgins singing new songs.
The beast attacks the saints with all the dragon's might;
But truth has laid him low; arriving on a white steed,
He whips the ancient snake back to Tartarus.
Behold the books of life are held open to the dead
And, alive, they rise, freed from the chains of death.
Soon all receive their due according to their merits.


Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim