Beowulf Stanzas 1-6

 

We are now back to the wonderful world… No… Scratch That

We are now back to the mildly-annoying world of trying to decipher Older Forms of English (If that’s not Hard Enough, Someone , and I won’t mention names, had technical difficulties with our wonderful new photocopier, that ended up stapling every page upside down, reversed on the back side, and stapled in the bottom left corner.  Fun Right?).  So, lets get started!

(Please Keep in mind I am not using Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, but an older one… Oh the Joy!)

Hear me!  We’ve heard of Danish heroes, Ancient Kings and the glory they cut For themselves, swinging mighty swords!

Talk about a good start.  This is a dramatic, and rather interesting way, to start our story.  But the original word used in the beginning  may be a little more familiar.

Hwæt!

Yes.  I understand that most of you have no idea what that means.  But, while doing prior research on Beowulf, I came across this word a lot.  In the Translation I am using, it becomes “Hear Me!”  The author is trying to get our attention…  And he doesn’t use a comma, but an explanation point.

A brood forever opposing the Lord’s will, and again and again defeated.

By this point it’s kinda obvious that the author was a christian, and had an obvious education on the matter, or had at least read over the Bible a good number of times.

And sometimes they sacrificed to the old stone gods, Made heathen vows, hoping for hell’s support, the devil’s guidance in driving their affliction off.  That was their way, and the heathen’s only hope, hell always in their hearts, knowing neither God, nor his passing as He walks through our world, the Lord of Heaven and earth; their ears could not hear His praise nor know His glory.  Let them beware, those who are thrust into danger, Clutched at by trouble, yet can carry no solace in their hearts, cannot hope for better!  Hail to those who will rise to God, drop off Their dead bodies and seek our Father’s peace!

Now, this part really is striking.  It says here that some of the population, started reverting to the pagan religion to try to ward Grendel off.  It says that they knew that they were sacrificing to the evil one, and tried to get “hell’s support.”  What does that mean?  If you live in a kingdom ruled by a holy and righteous king, and an evil king starts attacking your kingdom, what do you do?  You go to your king and defend yourself!  You don’t go to the opposite side and start trying to bargain with the evil king!!!  If the evil king killed many in his attacks, then why wouldn’t he kill you too?  It then says that they completely shut out God from their lives, “knowing neither God, nor his passing as he walks through our world.”  And then the story goes on to give a warning, “Beware” it says, and it says that those in similar positions, instead of forsaking God, should run to him!  “Hail those who will rise to God” it says, “drop off their dead bodies and seek our Father’s peace.”

~Paulie 😊

Feel free to comment, I do read those!

 

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