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Anglo-Saxon Britain (410-1066)
The Last Commandment : Northumbrian poet Cynewulf imagines the farewell between Jesus and his Apostles, forty days after his resurrection.
The Last Commandment

Freely translated from the Old English of ‘Christ’, by Cynewulf. For a literal translation, see Anglo-Saxon Poetry.

Cynewulf (possibly the 8th century bishop Cynewulf of Lindisfarne) imagines Christ’s last words to his Apostles, before a cloud came and took him from their sight, never to be seen again – and yet, somehow, never to leave them.

And when he had spoken these things,
while they beheld, he was taken up;
and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Acts 1:9

“BE glad of heart! Never shall I wander; my love shall follow you unceasingly.* My might I give you, and I am with you always, even unto the end,* that through my gift none shall ever lack God.

“Go now through all this wide earth, to its uttermost bounds,* and tell its multitude; preach and proclaim the bright faith, and baptise the peoples beneath the firmament.*

“Turn unto the heathen.* Break their idols – fell them, abhor them;* abolish enmity,* sow peace in the hearts of men, prospered by my might. I will dwell among you henceforth for your comfort, and in my hand is peace, strength as fast as a pillar,* wherever you may go.”

* Psalm 23:6.

* Matthew 28:20.

* Acts 13:47.

* Matthew 28:19.

* Acts 13:46.

* 1 John 5:21.

* Ephesians 2:15.

* 2 Esdras 2:15

Freely translated from the Old English of ‘Christ’, by Cynewulf. For a literal translation, see Anglo-Saxon Poetry.

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Picture: © Trevor Littlewood, Geograph. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. View original
‘And a cloud received him out of their sight.’ A sudden cloud moves in on a bright sunny day below Torr na h-Uamha on the Isle of Mull in western Scotland.
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By Cynewulf
(8th century)

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