Beowulf on Everything
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his heart then is hit indeed
by sharpest shafts
; and no shelter avails
from foul behest of the hellish fiend. (1)
Him seems too little what long he possessed.
Greedy and grim, no golden rings
he gives for his pride; the promised future
forgets he and spurns, with all God has sent him,
Wonder-Wielder, of wealth and fame.
Yet in the end it ever comes
that the frame of the body fragile yields
fated falls; and there follows another
who joyously the jewels divides,
the royal riches, nor recks of his forebear.
, then, such baleful
best of men, and the better part choose,
profit eternal; and temper
warrior famous! The flower of thy might
lasts now a while: but erelong it shall be
or sword thy strength shall minish,
or fang of fire, or flooding billow,
or bite of blade, or brandished spear,
or odious age; or the eyes' clear beam
wax dull and darken: Death
in haste shall o'erwhelm, thou hero of war!
So the Ring
these half-years a hundred I ruled,
wielded 'neath welkin, and warded them bravely
from mighty-ones many o'er middle-earth,
from spear and sword, till it seemed for me
no foe could be found under fold of the sky.
Lo, sudden the shift! To me seated
came grief for joy when Grendel
to harry my home, the hellish foe;
for those ruthless raids, unresting I suffered
heart-sorrow heavy. Heaven be thanked,
, for life extended
that I on this head all hewn and blood
after long evil, with eyes may gaze!
-- Go to the bench
now! Be glad at banquet
warrior worthy! A wealth
at dawn of day, be dealt between us!"
was the Geats
' lord, going betimes
to seek his seat, as the Sage
Afresh, as before, for the famed-in-battle,
for the band of the hall, was a banquet dight
nobly anew. The Night
dusk o'er the drinkers.
The doughty ones rose:
for the hoary-headed would hasten to rest,
; and eager the Geat
shield-fighter sturdy, for sleeping yearned.
Him wander-weary, warrior-guest
from far, a hall-thane heralded forth,
who by custom courtly cared for all
needs of a thane as in those old days
warrior-wanderers wont to have.
. Stately the hall
rose gabled and gilt where the guest slept on
till a raven black the rapture
. Bright came flying
shine after shadow. The swordsmen
athelings all were eager homeward
forth to fare; and far from thence
the great-hearted guest would guide his keel.
then the hardy-one Hrunting be brought
to the son of Ecglaf
, the sword bade
excellent iron, and uttered his thanks for it,
quoth that he counted it keen in battle,
"war-friend" winsome: with words he slandered not
edge of the blade: 'twas a big
Now eager for parting and armed at point
warriors waited, while went to his host
of Danes. The doughty
to high-seat hastened and Hrothgar greeted.
(1) That is, he is now undefended by conscience from the temptations
(shafts) of the devil
(2) Kenning for the sun
. -- This is a strange role for the raven
. He is the warrior's bird of battle, exults
; his joy here is a compliment
to the sunrise.