Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pick a passage

The meter and imagery in Beowulf is very different from modern English poetics (and remember to include Shakespeare in that modern category). What are your favorite lines? Why? Could be a cool image, description, etc. or maybe they're just fun to say (like HROTH-gar!)

8 comments:

Me, Myself, and I said...

"From where he crouched at the king's feet,
Unferth, a song of Ecglaf's spoke
contrary words. Beowulf's coming,
his sea-braving, made him sick with envy:
he could not brooke or abide the fact
that anyone else alive under heaven
might enjoy greater regard than he did:"

I just really like that line. In our fancy books it's page 35. I think it's something like
"Unferth mapelode, Ecglafes bearn,
pe aet fotum saet frean Scyldinga
onband beadu-rune: waes him Beowulfes sith
modges mere-faran, micel aefpunca,
forpon pe he ne upe, paet aenig other man
aefre maertha pon ma middan-geardes
gehedde under heofenum ponne he sylfa:"

...I just wanted to feel mad cool with Old English. Typing it out I could kind of guess which words are which.
But anyway. The imagery reminds me of LotR with Wormtongue whispering evils to the King. He's a jealous little bugger, just like Unferth.
And Unferth is an evil name, so it suits him.

eqprincess91 said...

Line 601:

"But [Grendel] will find me different. I will show him how Geats shape to kill in the heat of battle. Then whoever wants to may go bravely to mead, when morning light scarfed in sun-dazzle, shines forth from the south and brings another daybreak to the world."

Beowulf seems to fill his listeners with hope, and the imagry is nice. One can tell by the way he talks that he is an effective leader and that people would trust him to save them.

Esbee D.B. said...

Lines 287 - 289:

"Anyone with gumption and a sharp mind will take the measure of two things: what's said and what's done."

Just seems like a very wise statement, similar vaguely to the Thatcher quote about men and women. Saying is one thing, and important in its own way. Doing is even more so.

martitr said...

Wait till you meet Unferth in Grendel! Very, very black humor!

martitr said...

I marked the "gumption" passage too. Because I like the word "gumption" and yes, he just seems like a guy doing his job without getting all self-important or obsessive about it -- just using his common sense.

A Songbird Who Sings said...

From line 450:
"...No need then
to lament for long or lay out my body:
if the battle takes me, send back
this breast-webbing that Weland fashioned
and Hrethel gave me, to Lord Hygelac.
Fate does as fate must."

Beowulf says this right after he pledges to give up his weapons to fight Grendel. I think it says a lot about how much he believes he will win, and a lot about the prevailing belief in God's ultimate plan that comes a lot throughout the poem.

Plato said...

esbee d.b., I also liked the quote that you selected. Very wise and a good reminder for all.

Me, Myself, and I said...

Gumption is such a good word.