Scavenging Field and Page Alike (ll.3021b-3032) [Old English]

Abstract
Translation
Recordings
A Beastly Finish
A Curious Death March
Closing

Back To Top
Abstract

The messenger’s premonition ends with the beasts of battle, and the troop of Geats heads to where Beowulf and the dragon lay.

Back To Top
Translation

“‘The future will see hands habituated to hoisting
morning-cold spears,heaved by hand, not at all shall
the harp’s sweep stir warriors, but wan on the wing
the raven flying over the doomed will speak,
tell the eagle how he vomited and ate,
when he and the wolf reaved the dead.’
Such was the sentence of that speaker’s
dire speech; he did not deceive in
what he told and read of fate. The troop all arose,
went without joy beneath Eagle Cliff,
faces tear-torn, the terrible scene to see.”
(Beowulf ll.3021b-3032)

Back To Top
Recordings

Old English:

{Forthcoming}

Modern English:

{Forthcoming}

Back To Top
A Beastly Finish

The messenger at last finishes his speech to those Geats gathered to hear word of their dear leader. And, as if he hadn’t been clear enough, he closes with mention of the emblematic beasts of battle.

These animals were closely associated with war in Anglo-Saxon culture because of their established presence on the battlefield. These are, after all, the animals that would swoop or scrounge in and savour the leavings of a battle. Except, perhaps, for the eagle. I mean, it seems more likely that the eagle would fly over a battle field in the hopes of finding a small rodent that’s a bit too curious.

Closing with these animals, which were neutral in and of themselves (they merely represented the destruction of war and nature’s way of restoring things to their former states), makes clear the slaughter that the Geats are in for. They can march away, forever in exile, but even then their lives will be ones of constant vigilance. For human armies can tire of such a chase, whereas nature never can, and the beasts are a symbol of that relentless power.

Back To Top
A Curious Death March

Up until this point, those to whom the messenger is speaking were some small distance from the cliffs where the battle took pace, and their march towards the awful spectacle can be nothing more than a heavy-footed trek. They already know what they will see, and it will not prove to be overwhelmingly positive.

Yet, this points towards something interesting. The Geats already know what happened, and still a troop of them go to see what are the ruins of their leader and their foe.

Perhaps the Anglo-Saxons had some belief around funerals that friends and family needed to see the corpse before it was buried or burned. Why would such a belief exist?

To allow people to confirm things, maybe. Or perhaps to offer people one final chance to see the deceased’s face. Or, still possible, the Geats go to see Beowulf because they believe a part of their soul is bestowed upon him, maybe making the afterlife an easier place for him to navigate.

Whatever the reason, next week they find Beowulf and the dragon. One is regarded with sorrow and the other with wonder – check out the next entry to find out which is which!

Back To Top
Closing

This coming week, watch for the next entry on Thursday. I’ll be done with the big draw on my freetime – editing an episode of the Doctor Who podcast TelosAM – by then. As a result, getting back to this blog’s regular schedule will not be an issue.

Back To Top

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s