Beowulf by Heather O'Donoghue, Kevin Crossley-Holland

By Heather O'Donoghue, Kevin Crossley-Holland

The best literary paintings handed all the way down to us from Anglo-Saxon occasions, Beowulf celebrates the life of heroism in a gloomy international of feuds, violence, and uncertainty. Set within the mythical Scandinavian earlier, Beowulf involves the help of the Danish king Hrothgar by means of killing the terrifying monster Grendel and its vengeful mom. a life-time later, Beowulf courageously prepares for an additional nice conflict while a fiery dragon threatens his personal state. This acclaimed translation features a serious advent, a whole index of names, and wide notes.

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Example text

Hrothgar, protector of the Scyldings, replied: 'Beowulf, my friend! So you have come here, because of past favours, to fight on our behalf! Your father Ecgtheow, by striking a blow, began the greatest of feuds. He slew Heatholaf of the Wylfings* with his own hand; after that, the Geats dared not harbour him for fear of war.

Thus, in the first full line, 'Gar-Dena' alliterates with 'geardagum', and in the second, 'prym*' with 'peodcyninga*', while in lines 48, each first half-line has two alliterating syllables'Scyld Scefing' or 'feasceaft funden'. The metrical unit in Old English verse is the half-line; each half-line has two stressed syllables, with a varying, but limited, number of unstressed syllables. The alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables gives each half-line its distinctive rhythmsometimes stately and ponderous, sometimes urgent and syncopatedand the vast majority of half-lines fall into one of five or six characteristic metrical patterns.

Cain had no satisfaction from that feud, but the Creator sent him into exile, far from mankind, because of his crime. html2010-9-9 20:31:04 next page > page_6 < previous page page_6 next page > Page 6 [116146] to Hrothgar's lofty hall to see how the Ring-Danes were disposed after drinking ale all evening; and he found there a band of brave warriors, well-feasted, fast asleep, dead to worldly sorrow, man's sad destiny. At once that hellish monster, grim and greedy, brutally cruel, started forward and seized thirty thanes even as they slept; and then, gloating over his plunder, he hurried from the hall, made for his lair with all those slain warriors.

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