Beowulf Quotes

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Beowulf Beowulf by Unknown
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Beowulf Quotes (showing 1-26 of 26)
“It is always better
to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.
For every one of us, living in this world
means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
that will be his best and only bulwark.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“Behaviour that's admired
is the path to power among people everywhere.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“Anyone with gumption and a sharp mind will take the measure of two things: what's said and what's done.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“Quickly, the dragon came at him, encouraged
As Beowulf fell back; its breath flared,
And he suffered, wrapped around in swirling
Flames -- a king, before, but now
A beaten warrior. None of his comrades
Came to him, helped him, his brave and noble
Followers; they ran for their lives, fled
Deep in a wood. And only one of them
Remained, stood there, miserable, remembering,
As a good man must, what kinship should mean.”
Burton Raffel, Beowulf
“Fate will unwind as it must!”
Burton Raffel, Beowulf
tags: fate
“I shall gain glory or die.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“That was their way, their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts they remembered hell.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“A ring-whorled prow rode in the harbour,
ice-clad, outbound, a craft for a prince.
They stretched their beloved lord in his boat,
laid out by the mast, amidships,
the great ring-giver. Far fetched treasures
were piled upon him, and precious gear.
I have never heard before of a ship so well furbished
with battle tackle, bladed weapons
and coats of mail. The massed treasure
was loaded on top of him: it would travel far
on out into the ocean's sway.
They decked his body no less bountifully
with offerings than those first ones did
who cast him away when he was a child
and launched him alone over the waves.
And they set a gold standard up
high above his head and let him drift
to wind and tide, bewailing him
and mourning their loss. No man can tell,
no wise man in hall or weathered veteran
knows for certain who salvaged that load.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“Hwæt! Wē Gār-Dena in geār-dagum
þēod-cyninga þrym gefrūnon,
hū þā æðelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scēfing sceaðena þrēatum,
monegum mǣgðum meodo-setla oftēah.
Egsode eorlas, syððan ǣrest wearð
fēasceaft funden: hē þæs frōfre gebād,
wēox under wolcnum, weorð-myndum ðāh,
oð þæt him ǣghwylc þāra ymb-sittendra
ofer hron-rāde hȳran scolde,
gomban gyldan. Þæt wæs gōd cyning!”
Anonymous, Beowulf
“In off the moors, down through the mist beams, god-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“I’ve never known fear; as a youth I fought/ In endless battles. I am old, now,/ But I will fight again, seek fame still,/ If the dragon hiding in his tower dares/ To face me”
Burton Raffel, Beowulf
“Beloved Beowulf, remember how you boasted,
Once, that nothing in the world would ever
Destroy your fame; fight to keep it,
Now, be strong and brave, my noble
King, protecting life and fame
Together. My sword will fight at your side!”
Burton Raffel, Beowulf
“And a young prince must be prudent like that,
giving freely while his father lives
so that afterwards, in age when fighting starts
steadfast companions will stand by him
and hold the line.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“Death is not easily escaped, try it who will; but every living soul among the children of men dwelling upon the earth goeth of necessity unto his destined place, where the body, fast in its narrow bed, sleepeth after feast.”
Unknown Christian, Beowulf
“Bebeorh þé ðone bealo-níð, Béowulf léofa,
secg betsta, ond þé þæt sélre gecéos,
éce rǽdas; ofer-hýda ne gým,
mǽre cempa! Nú is þines mægnes blǽd
áne hwíle; eft sóna bið
þæt þec ádl oððe ecg eafoþes getwǽfeð,
oððe fýres feng oððe flódes wylm
oððe gripe méces oððe gáres fliht
oððe atol yldo, oððe éagena bearhtm
forsiteð ond forsworceð; semninga bið,
þæt ðec, dryht-guma, déað oferswýðeð.

O flower of warriors, beware of that trap.
Choose, dear Béowulf, the better part,
eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride.
For a brief while your strength is in bloom
but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow
illness or the sword to lay you low,
or a sudden fire or a surge of water
or jabbing blade or javelin from the air
or repellent age. Your piercing eye
will dim and darken; and death will arrive,
dear warrior, to sweep you away.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“Meanwhile, the sword
began to wilt into gory icicles,
to slather and thaw. It was a wonderful thing,
the way it all melted as ice melts
when the Father eases the fetters off the frost
and unravels the water-ropes. He who wields power
over time and tide: He is the true Lord.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
tags: sword
“Many a man has a treasure in his hoard that he knows not the worth of. (Sellic Spell)”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf
“That struggle was too strong,
hateful and long-lasting, which had come on the people,
dire wrack and ruin - the greatest of night-evils.”
Burton Raffel, Beowulf
“His poem is like a play in a room through the windows of which a distant view can be seen over a large part of the English traditions about the world of their original home. (Tolkien on the author of Beowulf)”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf
“Beowulf survives: for a time, for as long as learning keeps any honor in its land. And how long will that be? God ána wát. (Tolkien on the life and relevance of the Beowulf poem)”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf
“Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed
offerings to idols, swore oaths that the killer of souls might come to their aid and save the people. That was their way, their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts they remembered hell.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“But to elude death
is not easy: attempt it who will,
he shall go to the place prepared for each
of the sons of men, the soul-bearers
dwelling on earth, ordained them by fate:
laid fast in that bed, the body shall sleep
when the feast is done.”
Michael Alexander, Beowulf
“Let whoever can win glory before death.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
Anonymous, Beowulf
“Over the waves, with the wind behind her and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird until her curved prow had covered the distance...”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
“Fate goes ever as fate must.”
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf
tags: fate