Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 112 pages of information about Beowulf.
       60 The birth of an heir in his borough-enclosures,
          Since that one through death-pain the deeds hath experienced. 
          He heart-grieved beholds in the house of his son the
          Wine-building wasted, the wind-lodging places
          Reaved of their roaring; the riders are sleeping,
       65 The knights in the grave; there’s no sound of the harp-wood,
          Joy in the yards, as of yore were familiar.

[1] ‘Gomelum ceorle’ (2445).—­H. takes these words as referring to Hrethel; but the translator here departs from his editor by understanding the poet to refer to a hypothetical old man, introduced as an illustration of a father’s sorrow.

    Hrethrel had certainly never seen a son of his ride on the gallows to
    feed the crows.

The passage beginning ‘swa bieth geomorlic’ seems to be an effort to reach a full simile, ‘as ... so.’  ’As it is mournful for an old man, etc. ... so the defence of the Weders (2463) bore heart-sorrow, etc.’  The verses 2451 to 2463-1/2 would be parenthetical, the poet’s feelings being so strong as to interrupt the simile.  The punctuation of the fourth edition would be better—­a comma after ‘galgan’ (2447).  The translation may be indicated as follows:  (Just) as it is sad for an old man to see his son ride young on the gallows when he himself is uttering mournful measures, a sorrowful song, while his son hangs for a comfort to the raven, and he, old and infirm, cannot render him any kelp—­(he is constantly reminded, etc., 2451-2463)—­so the defence of the Weders, etc.

XXXV.

REMINISCENCES (continued).—­BEOWULF’S LAST BATTLE.

          “He seeks then his chamber, singeth a woe-song
          One for the other; all too extensive
          Seemed homesteads and plains.  So the helm of the Weders

{Hrethel grieves for Herebald.}

          Mindful of Herebald heart-sorrow carried,
        5 Stirred with emotion, nowise was able
          To wreak his ruin on the ruthless destroyer: 
          He was unable to follow the warrior with hatred,
          With deeds that were direful, though dear he not held him.
[84] Then pressed by the pang this pain occasioned him,
       10 He gave up glee, God-light elected;
          He left to his sons, as the man that is rich does,
          His land and fortress, when from life he departed.

{Strife between Swedes and Geats.}

          Then was crime and hostility ’twixt Swedes and Geatmen,
          O’er wide-stretching water warring was mutual,
       15 Burdensome hatred, when Hrethel had perished,
          And Ongentheow’s offspring were active and valiant,
          Wished not to hold to peace oversea, but
          Round Hreosna-beorh often accomplished
          Cruelest massacre.  This my kinsman avenged,
       20 The feud and fury, as ’tis found on inquiry,
          Though one of them paid it with forfeit of life-joys,

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Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.