Beowulf eBook

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

          That in it did perish.  He early swam off then
       60 Who had bided in combat the carnage of haters,
          Went up through the ocean; the eddies were cleansed,
          The spacious expanses, when the spirit from farland
          His life put aside and this short-lived existence. 
          The seamen’s defender came swimming to land then
       65 Doughty of spirit, rejoiced in his sea-gift,
          The bulky burden which he bore in his keeping. 
          The excellent vassals advanced then to meet him,
          To God they were grateful, were glad in their chieftain,
          That to see him safe and sound was granted them.
       70 From the high-minded hero, then, helmet and burnie
          Were speedily loosened:  the ocean was putrid,
          The water ’neath welkin weltered with gore. 
          Forth did they fare, then, their footsteps retracing,
          Merry and mirthful, measured the earth-way,
       75 The highway familiar:  men very daring[3]
          Bare then the head from the sea-cliff, burdening
          Each of the earlmen, excellent-valiant.

{It takes four men to carry Grendel’s head on a spear.}

          Four of them had to carry with labor
          The head of Grendel to the high towering gold-hall
       80 Upstuck on the spear, till fourteen most-valiant
          And battle-brave Geatmen came there going
          Straight to the palace:  the prince of the people
          Measured the mead-ways, their mood-brave companion. 
          The atheling of earlmen entered the building,
       85 Deed-valiant man, adorned with distinction,
          Doughty shield-warrior, to address King Hrothgar: 
[57] Then hung by the hair, the head of Grendel
          Was borne to the building, where beer-thanes were drinking,
          Loth before earlmen and eke ’fore the lady: 
       90 The warriors beheld then a wonderful sight.

[1] ‘Þaes monige geweareth’ (1599) and ‘hafaeth þaes geworden’ (2027).—­In a paper published some years ago in one of the Johns Hopkins University circulars, I tried to throw upon these two long-doubtful passages some light derived from a study of like passages in Alfred’s prose.—­The impersonal verb ‘geweorethan,’ with an accus. of the person, and a þaet-clause is used several times with the meaning ‘agree.’  See Orosius (Sweet’s ed.) 178_7; 204_34; 208_28; 210_15; 280_20.  In the two Beowulf passages, the þaet-clause is anticipated by ‘þaes,’ which is clearly a gen. of the thing agreed on.

    The first passage (v. 1599 (b)-1600) I translate literally:  Then many
    agreed upon this (namely), that the sea-wolf had killed him
.

    The second passage (v. 2025 (b)-2027):  She is promised ...; to this
    the friend of the Scyldings has agreed, etc
.  By emending ‘is’ instead
    of ‘waes’ (2025), the tenses will be brought into perfect harmony.

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Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.