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Beowulf eBook

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

       70 To the Danes after custom; endured he unjoyful
          Standing the straits from strife that was raging,
          Longsome folk-sorrow.  Learn then from this,
          Lay hold of virtue!  Though laden with winters,
          I have sung thee these measures.  ’Tis a marvel to tell it,

{Hrothgar moralizes.}

       75 How all-ruling God from greatness of spirit
          Giveth wisdom to children of men,
          Manor and earlship:  all things He ruleth. 
          He often permitteth the mood-thought of man of
          The illustrious lineage to lean to possessions,
       80 Allows him earthly delights at his manor,
          A high-burg of heroes to hold in his keeping,
          Maketh portions of earth-folk hear him,
          And a wide-reaching kingdom so that, wisdom failing him,
          He himself is unable to reckon its boundaries;
       85 He liveth in luxury, little debars him,
          Nor sickness nor age, no treachery-sorrow
          Becloudeth his spirit, conflict nowhere,
          No sword-hate, appeareth, but all of the world doth
          Wend as he wisheth; the worse he knoweth not,
       90 Till arrant arrogance inward pervading,
          Waxeth and springeth, when the warder is sleeping,
          The guard of the soul:  with sorrows encompassed,
          Too sound is his slumber, the slayer is near him,
          Who with bow and arrow aimeth in malice.

[60]

    [1] Or rather, perhaps, ‘the inlaid, or damaskeened weapon.’  Cf.
    24_57 and note.

XXVI.

HROTHGAR MORALIZES.—­REST AFTER LABOR.

{A wounded spirit.}

          “Then bruised in his bosom he with bitter-toothed missile
          Is hurt ’neath his helmet:  from harmful pollution
          He is powerless to shield him by the wonderful mandates
          Of the loath-cursed spirit; what too long he hath holden
        5 Him seemeth too small, savage he hoardeth,
          Nor boastfully giveth gold-plated rings,[1]
          The fate of the future flouts and forgetteth
          Since God had erst given him greatness no little,
          Wielder of Glory.  His end-day anear,
       10 It afterward happens that the bodily-dwelling
          Fleetingly fadeth, falls into ruins;
          Another lays hold who doleth the ornaments,
          The nobleman’s jewels, nothing lamenting,
          Heedeth no terror.  Oh, Beowulf dear,
       15 Best of the heroes, from bale-strife defend thee,
          And choose thee the better, counsels eternal;

{Be not over proud:  life is fleeting, and its strength soon wasteth away.}

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