Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about Beowulf.

          Far-famous chieftain, gory from sword-edge,
          Refreshing the face of his friend-lord and ruler,
       30 Sated with battle, unbinding his helmet. 
          Beowulf answered, of his injury spake he,
          His wound that was fatal (he was fully aware
          He had lived his allotted life-days enjoying
          The pleasures of earth; then past was entirely
       35 His measure of days, death very near): 

{Beowulf regrets that he has no son.}

          “My son I would give now my battle-equipments,
          Had any of heirs been after me granted,
          Along of my body.  This people I governed
          Fifty of winters:  no king ’mong my neighbors
       40 Dared to encounter me with comrades-in-battle,
          Try me with terror.  The time to me ordered
          I bided at home, mine own kept fitly,
          Sought me no snares, swore me not many

{I can rejoice in a well-spent life.}

          Oaths in injustice.  Joy over all this
       45 I’m able to have, though ill with my death-wounds;
          Hence the Ruler of Earthmen need not charge me
          With the killing of kinsmen, when cometh my life out
          Forth from my body.  Fare thou with haste now

{Bring me the hoard, Wiglaf, that my dying eyes may be refreshed by a sight of it.}

          To behold the hoard ’neath the hoar-grayish stone,
       50 Well-loved Wiglaf, now the worm is a-lying,
          Sore-wounded sleepeth, disseized of his treasure. 
          Go thou in haste that treasures of old I,
          Gold-wealth may gaze on, together see lying
[93] The ether-bright jewels, be easier able,
       55 Having the heap of hoard-gems, to yield my
          Life and the land-folk whom long I have governed.”

[1] B. renders:  He (W.) did not regard his (the dragon’s) head (since Beowulf had struck it without effect), but struck the dragon a little lower down.—­One crux is to find out whose head is meant; another is to bring out the antithesis between ‘head’ and ‘hand.’

    [2] ‘Þaet þaet fyr’ (2702), S. emends to ‘þa þaet fyr’ = when the fire
    began to grow less intense afterward
.  This emendation relieves the
    passage of a plethora of conjunctive þaet’s.

[3] For ‘gefyldan’ (2707), S. proposes ‘gefylde.’  The passage would read:  He felled the foe (life drove out strength), and they then both had destroyed him, chieftains related.  This gives Beowulf the credit of having felled the dragon; then they combine to annihilate him.—­For ‘ellen’ (2707), Kl. suggests ’e(a)llne.’—­The reading ’life drove out strength’ is very unsatisfactory and very peculiar.  I would suggest as follows:  Adopt S.’s emendation, remove H.’s parenthesis, read ‘ferh-ellen wraec,’ and translate:  He felled the foe, drove out his life-strength (that is, made him hors de combat), and then they both, etc.


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Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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