Beowulf eBook

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

{He desires to be held in memory by his people.}

          The wants of the war-thanes; I can wait here no longer. 
          The battle-famed bid ye to build them a grave-hill,
       50 Bright when I’m burned, at the brim-current’s limit;
          As a memory-mark to the men I have governed,
[95] Aloft it shall tower on Whale’s-Ness uprising,
          That earls of the ocean hereafter may call it
          Beowulf’s barrow, those who barks ever-dashing
       55 From a distance shall drive o’er the darkness of waters.”

{The hero’s last gift}

          The bold-mooded troop-lord took from his neck then
          The ring that was golden, gave to his liegeman,
          The youthful war-hero, his gold-flashing helmet,
          His collar and war-mail, bade him well to enjoy them: 

{and last words.}

       60 “Thou art latest left of the line of our kindred,
          Of Waegmunding people:  Weird hath offcarried
          All of my kinsmen to the Creator’s glory,
          Earls in their vigor:  I shall after them fare.” 
          ’Twas the aged liegelord’s last-spoken word in
       65 His musings of spirit, ere he mounted the fire,
          The battle-waves burning:  from his bosom departed
          His soul to seek the sainted ones’ glory.

[1] The word ‘oferhigian’ (2767) being vague and little understood, two quite distinct translations of this passage have arisen.  One takes ‘oferhigian’ as meaning ‘to exceed,’ and, inserting ‘hord’ after ‘gehwone,’ renders:  The treasure may easily, the gold in the ground, exceed in value every hoard of man, hide it who will. The other takes ‘oferhigian’ as meaning ‘to render arrogant,’ and, giving the sentence a moralizing tone, renders substantially as in the body of this work.  (Cf. 28_13 et seq.)
[2] The passage beginning here is very much disputed.  ’The bill of the old lord’ is by some regarded as Beowulf’s sword; by others, as that of the ancient possessor of the hoard.  ‘AEr gescod’ (2778), translated in this work as verb and adverb, is by some regarded as a compound participial adj. = sheathed in brass.

XXXIX.

THE DEAD FOES.—­WIGLAF’S BITTER TAUNTS.

{Wiglaf is sorely grieved to see his lord look so un-warlike.}

          It had wofully chanced then the youthful retainer
          To behold on earth the most ardent-beloved
          At his life-days’ limit, lying there helpless. 
          The slayer too lay there, of life all bereaved,
        5 Horrible earth-drake, harassed with sorrow: 

{The dragon has plundered his last hoard.}

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Project Gutenberg
Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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