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Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 112 pages of information about Beowulf.
[1] The passage ‘Brand ... burnie,’ is much disputed.  In the first place, some eminent critics assume a gap of at least two half-verses.—­’Urum’ (2660), being a peculiar form, has been much discussed.  ‘Byrdu-scrud’ is also a crux.  B. suggests ‘bywdu-scrud’ = splendid vestments.  Nor is ‘bam’ accepted by all, ‘beon’ being suggested.  Whatever the individual words, the passage must mean, “I intend to share with him my equipments of defence.”

    [2] B. would render:  Which, as I heard, excelled in stroke every
    sword that he carried to the strife, even the strongest (sword).
For
    ‘Þonne’ he reads ‘Þone,’ rel. pr.

[91]

XXXVII.

THE FATAL STRUGGLE.—­BEOWULF’S LAST MOMENTS.

{Wiglaf defends Beowulf.}

          Then I heard that at need of the king of the people
          The upstanding earlman exhibited prowess,
          Vigor and courage, as suited his nature;
          [1]He his head did not guard, but the high-minded liegeman’s
        5 Hand was consumed, when he succored his kinsman,
          So he struck the strife-bringing strange-comer lower,
          Earl-thane in armor, that in went the weapon
          Gleaming and plated, that ’gan then the fire[2]

{Beowulf draws his knife,}

          Later to lessen.  The liegelord himself then
       10 Retained his consciousness, brandished his war-knife,
          Battle-sharp, bitter, that he bare on his armor: 

{and cuts the dragon.}

          The Weder-lord cut the worm in the middle. 
          They had felled the enemy (life drove out then[3]
          Puissant prowess), the pair had destroyed him,
       15 Land-chiefs related:  so a liegeman should prove him,
          A thaneman when needed.  To the prince ’twas the last of
          His era of conquest by his own great achievements,

[92]

{Beowulf’s wound swells and burns.}

          The latest of world-deeds.  The wound then began
          Which the earth-dwelling dragon erstwhile had wrought him
       20 To burn and to swell.  He soon then discovered
          That bitterest bale-woe in his bosom was raging,
          Poison within.  The atheling advanced then,

{He sits down exhausted.}

          That along by the wall, he prudent of spirit
          Might sit on a settle; he saw the giant-work,
       25 How arches of stone strengthened with pillars
          The earth-hall eternal inward supported. 
          Then the long-worthy liegeman laved with his hand the

{Wiglaf bathes his lord’s head.}

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