Hrothgar starts to step out of the story (ll.1769-1784)

The Original Old English
My Translation
A Quick Question

A scop sings his boasts, just like Beowulf does before Hrothgar.

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It’s been a busy week, so here’s a short translation post.

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Hrothgar sums up his rule, and promises Beowulf great gifts.

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The Original Old English

“‘Swa ic Hringdena hund missera
weold under wolcnum ond hig wigge beleac
manigum mægþa geond þysne middangeard,
æscum ond ecgum, þæt ic me ænigne
under swegles begong gesacan ne tealde.
Hwæt, me þæs on eþle edwenden cwom,
gyrn æfter gomene, seoþðan Grendel wearð,
ealdgewinna, ingenga min;
ic þære socne singales wæg
modceare micle. þæs sig metode þanc,
ecean dryhtne, þæs ðe ic on aldre gebad
þæt ic on þone hafelan heorodreorigne
ofer ealdgewin eagum starige!
Ga nu to setle, symbelwynne dreoh
wigge weorþad; unc sceal worn fela
maþma gemænra, siþðan morgen bið.'”
(Beowulf ll.1769-1784)

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My Translation

‘”Just so I have ruled the Ring-Danes under the sky
for one hundred half-years, and have protected
them against war with many nations from across this world,
from both spears and swords, such that I have not considered any other beneath the sky’s expanse as an adversary.
But lo! A hard reversal came to my native land,
grief following joy, once Grendel appeared,
that ancient adversary, that invader of my peace;
at that arrival I continually bore persecution
and great sorrow of mind. Thus I now thank God,
the eternal Lord, that I might experience in my life,
after the struggle, the chance to gaze upon with my eyes
the beast’s head blood-stained from battle.
Go now to the bench, joyously join the
mirth of feasting; we two shall share
a great many treasures when the morning comes.'”
(Beowulf ll.1769-1784)

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A Quick Question

Hrothgar’s quick summary of the poem leads into a section where Beowulf’s adventures in Daneland come to an end. And there’s a lot of talk of celebration, but it seems very under-hyped to me. Hrothgar mentions that Beowulf will get “a great many treasures” (“maþma gemænra” (l.1784)) for all of his work here, but that’s about it.

Instead, most of the end of Hrothgar’s speech is about his rule. I guess the implication here is that happiness has returned to Heorot, and Hrothgar’s rule will continue as it did before. There’s definitely a strong sense that not only are things returning to normal in Daneland, but all of the characters living there are stepping out of the mythic realm that Beowulf brings with him and returning to history.

What do you get out of Hrothgar’s talking about his rule in Daneland? Let me know in the comments!

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Next week, Beowulf and Hrothgar party on.

You can find the next part of Beowulf here.

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1 thought on “Hrothgar starts to step out of the story (ll.1769-1784)

  1. Pingback: Is Hrothgar motivating Beowulf with death? | A Blogger's Beowulf

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