Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 112 pages of information about Beowulf.

BANQUET (continued).—­THE SCOP’S SONG OF FINN AND HNAEF.

{Each of Beowulf’s companions receives a costly gift.}

          And the atheling of earlmen to each of the heroes
          Who the ways of the waters went with Beowulf,
          A costly gift-token gave on the mead-bench,
          Offered an heirloom, and ordered that that man

{The warrior killed by Grendel is to be paid for in gold.}

        5 With gold should be paid for, whom Grendel had erstwhile
          Wickedly slaughtered, as he more of them had done
          Had far-seeing God and the mood of the hero
          The fate not averted:  the Father then governed
          All of the earth-dwellers, as He ever is doing;
       10 Hence insight for all men is everywhere fittest,
          Forethought of spirit! much he shall suffer
          Of lief and of loathsome who long in this present
          Useth the world in this woful existence. 
          There was music and merriment mingling together

{Hrothgar’s scop recalls events in the reign of his lord’s father.}

       15 Touching Healfdene’s leader; the joy-wood was fingered,
          Measures recited, when the singer of Hrothgar
          On mead-bench should mention the merry hall-joyance
          Of the kinsmen of Finn, when onset surprised them: 

{Hnaef, the Danish general, is treacherously attacked while staying at Finn’s castle.}

          “The Half-Danish hero, Hnaef of the Scyldings,
       20 On the field of the Frisians was fated to perish. 
          Sure Hildeburg needed not mention approving
          The faith of the Jutemen:  though blameless entirely,

{Queen Hildeburg is not only wife of Finn, but a kinswoman of the murdered Hnaef.}

          When shields were shivered she was shorn of her darlings,
          Of bairns and brothers:  they bent to their fate
       25 With war-spear wounded; woe was that woman. 
          Not causeless lamented the daughter of Hoce
          The decree of the Wielder when morning-light came and
          She was able ’neath heaven to behold the destruction
[38] Of brothers and bairns, where the brightest of earth-joys

{Finn’s force is almost exterminated.}

       30 She had hitherto had:  all the henchmen of Finn
          War had offtaken, save a handful remaining,
          That he nowise was able to offer resistance[1]

{Hengest succeeds Hnaef as Danish general.}

          To the onset of Hengest in the parley of battle,
          Nor the wretched remnant to rescue in war from
       35 The earl of the atheling; but they offered conditions,

{Compact between the Frisians and the Danes.}

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Project Gutenberg
Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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