Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 43

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XLIII. OF THE BURIAL OF BEOWULF.

For him then they geared,     the folk of the Geats,

A pile on the earth,     all unweaklike that was,

With war-helms behung,     and with boards of the battle,

And bright byrnies,e’en after,     the boon that he bade.

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Laid down then amidmost,     their king mighty-famous,

The warriors lamenting,     the lief lord of them.

Began on the burg,     of bale-fires the biggest,

The warriors to waken:     the wood-reek went up,

Swart over the smoky glow,     sound of the flame,

Bewound with the weeping,     (the wind-blending stilled),

Until it at last,     the bone-house had broken,

Hot at the heart.     All unglad of mind,

With mood-care they mourned,     their own liege lord’s quelling.

Likewise a sad lay,     the wife of aforetime,

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For Beowulf the king,     with her hair all upbounden,

Sang sorrow-careful;     said oft and over,

That harm-days for herself,     in hard wise she dreaded,

The slaughter-falls many,     much fear of the warrior,

The shaming and bondage.     Heaven swallow’d the reek.

Wrought there and fashion’d,     the folk of the Weders,

A howe on the lithe,     that high was and broad.

Unto the wave-farers,     wide to be seen:

Then it they betimber’d,     in time of ten days,

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The battle-strong’s beacon;     the brands’ very-leavings,

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They bewrought with a wall,     in the worthiest of ways,

That men of all wisdom,     might find how to work.

Into burg then they did,     the rings and bright sun-gems,

And all such adornments,     as in the hoard there,

The war-minded men,     had taken e’en now;

The earls’ treasures let they,     the earth to be holding,

Gold in the grit,     wherein yet it liveth,

As useless to men-folk,     as ever it erst was.

Then round the howe rode,     the deer of the battle,

The bairns of the athelings,     twelve were they in all.

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Their care would they mourn,     and bemoan them their king,

The word-lay would they utter,     and over the man speak:

They accounted his earlship,     and mighty deeds done,

And doughtily deem’d them;     as due as it is,

That each one his friend-lord,     with words should belaud,

And love in his heart,     whenas forth shall he,

Away from the body,     be fleeting at last.

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In such wise they grieved,     the folk of the Geats,

For the fall of their lord,     e’en they his hearth-fellows;

Quoth they that he was,     a world-king forsooth,

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The mildest of all men,     unto men kindest,

To his folk the most gentlest,     most yearning of fame.

[END]

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