Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about Beowulf.

{The gleeman sings the deeds of heroes.}

          [3]A man of celebrity, mindful of rhythms,
          Who ancient traditions treasured in memory,
          New word-groups found properly bound: 
       35 The bard after ’gan then Beowulf’s venture

{He sings in alliterative measures of Beowulf’s prowess.}

          Wisely to tell of, and words that were clever
          To utter skilfully, earnestly speaking,
          Everything told he that he heard as to Sigmund’s

{Also of Sigemund, who has slain a great fire-dragon.}

          Mighty achievements, many things hidden,
       40 The strife of the Waelsing, the wide-going ventures
          The children of men knew of but little,
          The feud and the fury, but Fitela with him,
          When suchlike matters he minded to speak of,
          Uncle to nephew, as in every contention
       45 Each to other was ever devoted: 
          A numerous host of the race of the scathers
          They had slain with the sword-edge.  To Sigmund accrued then
          No little of glory, when his life-days were over,
          Since he sturdy in struggle had destroyed the great dragon,
       50 The hoard-treasure’s keeper; ’neath the hoar-grayish stone he,
          The son of the atheling, unaided adventured
          The perilous project; not present was Fitela,
          Yet the fortune befell him of forcing his weapon
          Through the marvellous dragon, that it stood in the wall,
       55 Well-honored weapon; the worm was slaughtered. 
          The great one had gained then by his glorious achievement
          To reap from the ring-hoard richest enjoyment,
[32] As best it did please him:  his vessel he loaded,
          Shining ornaments on the ship’s bosom carried,
       60 Kinsman of Waels:  the drake in heat melted.

{Sigemund was widely famed.}

          He was farthest famed of fugitive pilgrims,
          Mid wide-scattered world-folk, for works of great prowess,
          War-troopers’ shelter:  hence waxed he in honor.[4]

{Heremod, an unfortunate Danish king, is introduced by way of contrast.}

          Afterward Heremod’s hero-strength failed him,
       65 His vigor and valor.  ’Mid venomous haters
          To the hands of foemen he was foully delivered,
          Offdriven early.  Agony-billows

{Unlike Sigemund and Beowulf, Heremod was a burden to his people.}

          Oppressed him too long, to his people he became then,
          To all the athelings, an ever-great burden;
       70 And the daring one’s journey in days of yore
          Many wise men were wont to deplore,
          Such as hoped he would bring them help in their sorrow,
          That the son of their ruler should rise into power,
          Holding the headship held by his fathers,
       75 Should govern the people, the gold-hoard and borough,
          The kingdom of heroes, the realm of the Scyldings.

Project Gutenberg
Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook