Beowulf: Hall Chapter 43


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{Beowulf’s pyre.}

The folk of the Geatmen,       got him then ready,
A pile on the earth,       strong for the burning,
Behung with helmets,       hero-knights’ targets,
And bright-shining burnies,       as he begged they should have them;
Then wailing war-heroes,       their world-famous chieftain, — 5.
Their liegelord beloved,       laid in the middle.

{The funeral-flame.}

Soldiers began then,       to make on the barrow,
The largest of dead-fires:       dark o’er the vapor,
The smoke-cloud ascended,       the sad-roaring fire, — 3130.
Mingled with weeping,       (the wind-roar subsided), — 10.
Till the building of bone,       it had broken to pieces,
Hot in the heart.       Heavy in spirit,
They mood-sad lamented,       the men-leader’s ruin;
And mournful measures,       the much-grieving widow,
*       *       *       *       *       *       * — 15.
*       *       *       *       *       *       *
*       *       *       *       *       *       *
*       *       *       *       *       *       *
*       *       *       *       *       *       * — 3140.
*       *       *       *       *       *       * — 20.

{The Weders carry out their lord’s last request.}

The men of the Weders,       made accordingly,
A hill on the height,       high and extensive,
Of sea-going sailors,       to be seen from a distance,
And the brave one’s beacon,       built where the fire was,
In ten-days’ space,       with a wall surrounded it, — 25.
As wisest of world-folk,       could most worthily plan it.
They placed in the barrow,       rings and jewels,

{Rings and gems are laid in the barrow.}

All such ornaments,       as erst in the treasure,
War-mooded men,       had won in possession: — 3150.
The earnings of earlmen,       to earth they entrusted, — 30.
The gold to the dust,       where yet it remaineth,
As useless to mortals,       as in foregoing eras.
‘Round the dead-mound rode,       then the doughty-in-battle,
Bairns of all twelve,       of the chiefs of the people,

{They mourn for their lord, and sing his praises.}

More would they mourn,       lament for their ruler, — 35.
Speak in measure,       mention him with pleasure,
Weighed his worth,       and his warlike achievements,
Mightily commended,       as ’tis meet one praise his,
Liegelord in words,       and love him in spirit, — 3160.
When forth from his body,       he fares to destruction. — 40.
So lamented mourning,       the men of the Geats,
Fond-loving vassals,       the fall of their lord,

{An ideal king.}

Said he was kindest,       of kings under heaven,
Gentlest of men,       most winning of manner,
Friendliest to folk-troops,       and fondest of honor. — 45. — 3170.