25 January 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing

As I've mentioned before, it's my hope to be selling a book with this translation sooner or later. It's useful to look ahead to that goal. With that in mind, this chapter from a series called "Adventures in Self-Publishing" seems helpful.

"We Were Talking of Dragons" by C.S. Lewis

A nice bit of Alliterative Verse, suitable to introduce the form to people who do not know it. (from the essay "The Alliterative Metre" in Selected Literary Essays by Clive Staples Lewis).

We were talking of dragons, Tolkien and I
In a Berkshire bar. The big workman
Who had sat silent and sucked his pipe
All the evening, from his empty mug
With gleaming eye glanced towards us:
"I seen 'em myself!" he said fiercely.

 I've removed the capitalizations that are meant to show the lifts in the line and the indications of the caesuras.

24 January 2012

Eowyn's Lament (Funeral of Theodred)

In the film The Two Towers (that is, in the extended DVD edition of that film), the Lady Eowyn sings a dirge at a funeral that made my hairs stand on end. You can listen to it here.

Since the song is in Old English, I have an excuse to include it here.  Here's what I found on the 'net on this useful page: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Title: "Funeral of Theodred," also called "Lament for Theodred"
Music by Plan 9
Words by Philippa Boyens
Translated into Old English by David Salo
Sung by choir and Miranda Otto.  

The Lyrics are found in The Annotated Score of the Two Towers.

Old English (Rohirric)
Nú on théostrum licgeth Théodred se léofa 
hæ´letha holdost.
ne sceal hearpan sweg wigend weccean;
ne winfæ´t gylden guma sceal healdan,
ne god hafoc geond sæ´l swingan,
ne se swifta mearh burhstede beatan.
Bealocwealm hafað fréone frecan forth onsended
giedd sculon singan gléomenn sorgiende
on Meduselde thæt he ma no wære
his dryhtne dyrest and maga deorost.   
The text in green indicates the portion of the lyrics used in the film. She concludes the singing with an extra "bealo" (evil death).

In modern English.
Now dear Théodred lies in darkness,
most loyal of fighters.
The sound of the harp shall not wake the warrior;
nor shall the man hold a golden wine-cup,
nor good hawk swing through the hall,
nor the swift horse stamp in the courtyard.
An evil death has set forth the noble warrior 
A song shall sing sorrowing minstrels 
in Meduseld that he is no more,
to his lord dearest and kinsmen most beloved.
The inspiration is said to be line 2265 of Beowulf:

    Bealocwelm hafað fela feorhcynna forð onsended...
    'Baleful death has many of my living kin sent forth...'

However, the "good hawk" and "swift horse" lines are also in the same section of Beowulf, "The Lay of the Last Survivor." Here are lines 2262 ff.

                                    No harp delights
    with glad music, no good hawk now
    soars through the hall, nor swift horses
    clatter in courtyards. Cruel destruction
    has killed what little was left of my kin. 

Beowulf's Attitude to Crises, in Youth and Age

I've been thinking about whether Beowulf's attitude to danger has changed between his earlier victories over Grendel and his mother and his struggle with the dragon more than fifty years later.

In the earlier contests, he was not completely inexperienced, as he tells Hrothgar. He had bound up five giants, killed sea monsters, and "Unnumbered times/I avenged the woes that Weders suffered,/struck down the aggressors" (lines 420-425). However, as with any job interview, the applicant (Beowulf) puts the best face on his experience and skills. He tells Hrothgar that "the wisest carls" all "understand the strength I possess./They saw it themselves...." (lines 418-419). He does not mention that Hygelac's officers had little respect for him. In fact,
                                  He had borne distain;
the sons of Geats regarded him poorly.
Not much of honour on mead-benches
was allowed him by warriors' lords.
They called him lazy and lax in his ways,
no bold noble.
(lines 2183-2188). Here is the reason why Beowulf chooses "war without weapons" against Grendel. He needed to prove himself to a doubtful court. In fact, he almost admits just that to Hrothgar, saying
I have also heard the horrid being
in reckless fury fears no weapons.
I too forswear them, so Hygelac,
my high-born prince, will be proud at heart
that I bring no sword nor a broad shield
trimmed with yellow, but will try my grip
when I face this fiend, fighting for life,
foe against foe."
(lines 433-440). Fortunately, this worked, and Beowulf became celebrated at home. "Now all that changed," we are told, "for the man among men, each misery cancelled" (lines 2188-2189).

Beowulf, in the first contests, attributes victory to fate (which is personified as Wyrd) and to God, who can override fate, as much as to his strength. He admits God's role to Hrothgar: "Faith will be needed/for God’s will guides who goes with death" (lines 440-441). Also, Wyrd's: "Wyrd does as she must” (line 455). He also offers this observation: "Wyrd often saves him/whose doom has not come, if his courage lasts" (lines 572-3). The difficulty with this, of course, is that one does not know when one's doom has come. In one's last moments, it is near, but invisible. As a result, Beowulf automatically couples every statement of his intention to kill Grendel or his mother with a statement of what should be done if he dies. Before the fight with Grendel, he tells Hrothgar to "So make no provisions/for funeral offerings...But if I sink in death, send Hygelac/the wonderful armour worn over my breast..." (lines 450-454). Similarly, before he enters the water to fight Grendel's mother, he makes out an oral will: If I die, he says, look after my men, send the gifts I have won to Hygelac, and let Unferth keep my sword (lines 1479-1490).

So, how have decades of fame, rule, and aging altered Beowulf? His first thought, after the news of the dragon's depradations reaches him, is that he is to blame. He must have angered God by breaking some "ancient law." Later, he discovers the link between the dragon's anger and the theft of its cup, so his thought is focussed on revenge for the dragon's attack rather than atonement for his own sins, whatever they might be. This time, the habit of victory has made him confident that he will not disgrace himself in the fight.
                          He felt no concern,   
nor did he dread the dragon's fire,   
its power and courage because often,   
in desperate straits, he still survived
clashes of arms that came after he   
had cleansed Heorot for Hrothgar's sake   
with a killing grip for Grendel's clan,   
the loathed family line. 
(lines 2347-54)

That passage seems to state that Beowulf is confident that he will win his fight. However, it is more likely that his history of facing danger has made him confident that he will not disgrace himself with fear when he faces the dragon. If he were confident of victory, then certainly the confidence had eroded before he faces the beast. He senses his death.
The king sat on the cliffs, accustomed to war.
and welcomed his hearthmates with wishes for health,
the Geats' gold-friend, now given to sadness,
fretting and fierce, his fate beside him,
ready to greet the grey-haired man
to seize his soul's wealth, sever the link
of life and limb. No long time would
the noble's breath be bound in his flesh.
Unlike before, however, he does not directly speak of the possibility of his death. Instead, he reflects on his life and the death of lords before him: how Hrethel (now departed) had taken him in at the age of seven and treated him like one of his own sons. How one of those sons, Haethcyn, accidentally killed another, Herebeald. He then speaks an epic simile often called "The Father's Lament" (lines 2444-2462), which tells how the pain of a loved one's death is intensified if no justice can be found. He has clearly not recovered from the uncharacteristic gloomy thoughts that filled his mind when he heard of the dragon burning his home (lines 2331-2332).

Then Beowulf tells his men that they should not interfere in the fight and that it is in God's hands. In Benjamin Slade's translation of lines 2556-2557, Beowulf says it will "happen at the wall as Fate allots us,/the Creator of all men." He helps himself to his feet with the aid of his shield and calls out the dragon to fight.

Some facts indicate that Beowulf may have considered his own death was the most likely outcome in his fight against the dragon.
  1. Unlike before, he does not make a formal boast that he will win.
  2. Unlike before, he does not directly mention his possible death.
  3. Unlike before, he speaks at length about others' deaths.
  4. Unlike before, he speaks about the pain of not being able to have one's revenge.
  5. Like before, he indicates that God will determine who wins.
Against this is the fact that he makes no "will" to say what should happen if he dies. Nevertheless, I believe that his main concern was not achieving victory, but maintaining his custom of personal courage, so that he will not tarnish his reputation in this, most likely his last fight.

23 January 2012

Interpretations of Beowulf, and My Stuff on Scribd

A web page with many interpretations of Beowulf (the person) and Beowulf (the book): http://www.public.asu.edu/~atrja/beowulf.html

It's short, but full of material to think about.

While doing a little more web surfing, I found the content of this blog had been uploaded on a web site called Scribd. It's a compliment that someone wanted to put up a mirror, but annoying that he or she didn't ask me, or even leave me a comment. I've requested Scribd to take down my work.

22 January 2012

XXXIV. Beowulf's Revenge for Heardred. The Father's Lament.

I am posting this at once, but am sure I will alter it later.

In this fitt, Beowulf takes his revenge on King Onela of the Swedes for killing Heardred.

Coming back to the present, we are told that twelve men, including Beowulf, are in the dragon-hunting party, not including the person who had stolen the dragon's cup. He, the thirteenth man, goes to guide them.

 I assume this passage is the origin of Michael Crichton's concept of "the thirteenth warrior" in the book Eaters of the Dead  (later a movie called The Thirteenth Warrior). The narrator of the book explains:
I learned that these Northmen have some notion that the year does not fit with exactitude into thirteen passages of the moon, and thus the number thirteen is not stable and fixed in their minds. The thirteenth passage is called magical and foreign, and Herger says, "Thus for the thirteenth man you were chosen as foreign."
I should mention that Eaters of the Dead is, in part, a retelling of Beowulf.

Beowulf sits on a sea cliff and feels that his death is close. He tells his companions how Hrethel had taken him in at the age of seven and treated him as a son. He also says that one of Hrethel's three natural sons, Herebeald, had accidentally killed another Haethcyn. Worse than the death, he says, is the fact that the king cannot, in these circumstances, receive proper repayment for the loss.

That situation is like, we are told, that of a man who sees his son sentenced to hang. His life feels empty, over. Nothing can be done. This famous passage is called "The Father's Lament."


He remembered the price of a prince's death.
In days to come, he became Eagdil's
friend in misfortune. His forces went
over the ocean to Ohtere's son,
warriors and weapons. He was avenged.
He killed the old king in cold onslaughts.
So he came safely through such encounters
in every case, Ecgtheow's son
with daring deeds, till the day had come
that drove Beowulf to battle the dragon.
The Geat lord went, one out of twelve,
swollen with rage, to see the dragon.
He had then heard how the feud started,
the cursed conflict. He clutched to his breast
the costly cup come from the informant.
They took the thrall as the thirteenth man,
the one who started the strife and pain.
The miserable captive was made to come
as guide to the grave, against his will,
the hall in the earth that he alone knew
the buried barrow with billows near,
the struggling sea. Inside was filled
with worked gold and wires, watched by a beast
an aggressive guard grasping the treasures
old under earth. No easy bargain
for any man entering there.

The king sat on the cliffs, accustomed to war.
and welcomed his hearthmates with wishes for health,
the Geats' gold-friend, now given to sadness,
fretting and fierce, his fate beside him,
ready to greet the grey-haired man
to seize his soul's wealth, sever the link
of life and limb. No long time would
the noble's breath be bound in his flesh.

Beowulf said, the son of Ecgtheow,
"I often, when young, weathered blows,
in times of war. I remember them all.
I was seven winters when the wealthy lord,
the folk's lord and friend, from my father took me
to have and to hold. Hrethel, the king
gave feasts and gifts, regardful of kinship.
Throughout my life there, he thought me no less,
a man of his fortress, than his flesh and blood,
Herebald and Haethcyn and my Hygelac.

Without warning, the eldest of these
was borne to his death-bed by a brother's act,
when Haethcyn killed him with a horn-bow,
his lord and friend felled by an arrow
that missed its mark, and murdered his kinsman,
one brother the other, with a bloody shaft.
No fee made it good, a grievous wrong,
exhausting the heart, but, hard as it is,
the earl must die without requital.

It is tragic for an aged man
to suffer the sight of his son riding,
a youth on the gallows. He gives a lament
a sorrowful song that his son hangs there
to comfort a raven. He cannot give
from age or wisdom, any assistance
He still remembers, every morning
who had departed. He hopes for no other
and will not wait walled up for a child
to inherit his wealth, when the one he had
by Death's decree was cruelly treated.
He sees, in sadness, his son's dwelling,
the wine-hall wasted, a wind-swept shelter,
robbed of pleasure. The riders sleep,
heroes hidden. No harp resounds
in happy halls, as had once been.

17 January 2012

XXXIII. The Dragon Attacks. Beowulf Prepares.

We begin the fitt with the destruction the dragon brings to the country on the night after its cup was stolen. Beowulf's own hall was burned to the ground. He makes plans to end the threat. First, he ordered a fireproof shield be made of iron. Second, he decided that he could kill the dragon himself, without involving a war party in the attack.
A short discussion follows on Beowulf's situation and state of mind. After that, we have a reprisal of the events that were sketched out before. We learn that Beowulf had refused the crown when he was offered it by the queen, Hygd, after Hygelac died. Instead, he supported Heardred, the legitimate heir. Once Heardred was grown, he gave sanctuary to some men who had rebelled against the Swedish king. Consequently, the Swedes attacked the Geats and killed Heardred. Beowulf was allowed by the Swedes to become Heardred's successor.

People have different opinions about Beowulf's decision to face the dragon alone. To some, it seems irresponsible. His people need him, so he should not risk his death, but kill the beast with overwhelming strength. We would certainly do that now: use bombs and Predator drones rather than have national leaders engage in single combat. On the other hand, Beowulf felt that the dragon's attack was God's punishment for some sin that he, personally, had committed.
The wise man thought it was from his breach   
of ancient law and the Lord above
was bitterly angered.
(lines 2329-31).

In addition, depending on how you read them, these lines indicate that Beowulf, again, was quite willing to live or die.
                                        His time at sea   
and life on land, along with the worm,   
would come to a close he could accept,   
though he had held hoard-treasure long.
(lines 2341-44)

Finally, he felt that his death was by no means certain. He had a history of getting into dangerous situations and getting out again that had continued well after he had defeated Grendel and his mother. The example of this given in the fitt is the battle in which Heardred died. Beowulf not only survived, he had killed many enemies and, when he had to make his escape, he swam away carrying thirty sets of armour and weapons. Such a history gives one confidence:
                            He felt no concern,   
nor did he dread the dragon's fire,   
its power and courage because often,   
in desperate straits, he still survived
clashes of arms that came after he   
had cleansed Heorot for Hrothgar's sake   
with a killing grip for Grendel's clan,   
the loathed family line.
(lines 2347-54)

Possibly he would take on the dragon alone because he was responsible for its attack, possibly because others would get in his way and die unnecessarily. Either way, he would also be considering his reputation. This would substantially refresh the glory he had won in his youth.

The last line of this fitt brings us to a full 75% of the length of the poem. It's taken one year and four months to do it, so I anticipate two or three months more of translation.

Then the vile creature vomited flame.   
Bright houses burned. The blaze lifted   
and filled men with horror. The hateful flier   
wanted to leave no living thing.
The worm's power was apparent,   
its cunning malice, from miles away,   
how the destroyer hated and shamed   
the Geat people. He plunged back to his hoard,   
his hidden hall ahead of the day.            2320
The land's people were locked in the grip   
of twisting flame. He trusted his barrow,   
his war-skill and walls. They would betray him.

Then Beowulf was brought the bad tidings   
that waves of flame had washed over his home,
the most beautiful of buildings melted,   
the gift-throne of Geats. To the good man, this was   
the greatest regret, a grief in the heart.   
The wise man thought it was from his breach   
of ancient law and the Lord above            2330
was bitterly angered. His breast flooded   
with distressing thoughts strange to his nature.
The fire dragon reduced a fortress   
close to the coastline and cast it to earth,    
fractured by flame. The fighting king,   
the Weders' prince, planned his revenge,   
then ordered made a mighty shield   
all of iron, the earls' leader,   
a wonderful war-board. He was certain   
that wood from a tree would not help him,        2340
fire against timber.
                                         His time at sea   
and life on land, along with the worm,   
would come to a close he could accept,   
though he had held hoard-treasure long.   
He felt it below him, the lord of rings,   
to take along troops to track the wide flier,   
a fighting force. He felt no concern,   
nor did he dread the dragon's fire,   
its power and courage because often,   
in desperate straits, he still survived            2350
clashes of arms that came after he   
had cleansed Heorot for Hrothgar's sake   
with a killing grip for Grendel's clan,   
the loathed family line.
                                                 Not least of these struggles   
was the hand-to-hand fight when Hygelac was killed,   
since the Geats' king, in a quick attack,   
the folks' lord and friend, in Frisian country,   
king after Hrethel, quenched a sword's thirst,   
was beaten with blades. Then Beowulf came,   
too strong to be stopped. He started for water,        2360
and thirty sets of soldiers' gear   
were in his arms. When he surfaced   
the Hetwares hardly had any pleasure   
in fighting on foot. Most faring to battle    
covered with shields could not return   
from facing that soldier to see home again.
Then Ecgtheow's son swam through the currents   
abased and alone, back to the people.   
Hygd offered him hoard and nation,   
treasure and gift-throne, not trusting her son        2370
to defend the throne from foreign peoples   
and hold it as his, with Hygelac gone.   
The afflicted people found out at once   
that the noble would not at all   
have himself hailed as Heardred's lord   
nor wished to take control of the kingdom,   
but favoured the folk with friendly council,   
a gracious hand till Heardred grew   
to rule the Weders.
                                         Refugees sought him,   
Othere's sons, from over the seas.            2380
They had defied the helm of Scyfings,   
the finest king who fared to sea   
and gave in Sweden golden treasure,   
the famous lord. A fatal decision.   
A death-wound for Heardred, Hygelac's son,   
from a swinging sword for accepting guests.   
And Ongentheow's son stood off and left   
for harbour and home, once Heardred lay dead.   
He placed no bar to Beowulf's rule   
to govern the Geats. A good king indeed!        2390

10 January 2012

Longfellow's Beowulf

Can you believe it? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had a crack at translating Beowulf, taught himself Old English to prepare, and translated the lines quite literally, though not alliteratively. I found this odd fact in the article "Beowulf in the Yard," by Daniel G. Donoghue. It was a more a curiosity at the time than part of the literary canon, so the translation comes across as pretty literal and crude. Longfellow did much better translating the Inferno.

Here are some lines (210-223) from Longfellow's translation:


…And first went forth.
The ship was on the waves,
boat under the cliffs.
The barons ready
To the prow mounted
The streams they whirled
The sea against the sands
The chieftans bore
On the naked breast
Bright ornaments,
War-gear, Goth-like
The men shoved off,
Men on their willing way,
The bounden wood.
Then went over the sea-waves,
Hurried by the wind,
The ship with a foamy neck,
Most like a sea-fowl,
Till about one hour
Of the second day
The curved prow
Had passed onward
So that the sailors
The land saw,
The shore-cliffs shining,
Mountains steep,
And broad sea-noses.

Beowulf Translation Project (Lesson Plan)

Some teachers are bolder than others! Despite my interest in translating Beowulf, I wouldn't have dared try a Beowulf Translation Project, for high school students, at least. I found the lesson plan in Microsoft Word (doc) format here: http://users.bergen.org/rautor/Translation%20Project.doc. However, internet resources being as transitory as they are, I hope that no-one minds me putting the lesson plan here, too. No author is attributed.

In this project you will work with a group of 3-4 peers to “translate” and edit a short excerpt of Beowulf. You are to consider the excerpts provided to your group and assess them for their accuracy, poetic beauty, and literary merit.


Compare & Contrast of two passages

In a 2 page response compare and contrast two of the passages provided and give an account of their major differences and similarities. You should focus on a critical read of the text.

Avoid simplistic comparisons like “good” and “bad” and make more specific judgments about the translations. Focus on particular words or phrases and consider their implications in the text.

Create a third “original” Hypertext Edition & 2 page “Introduction”

Create an original translated edition of your assigned lines. You may use the other translations as references. Your original translation should demonstrate reflection on the text and some consideration of your audience. Essentially, you will be creating a Beowulf  ”book”. Your edition should include a one page introduction to your edition explaining your choices and giving appropriate background on the passage of the selected text.

Your translated edition is to be posted online as a web page.

Consider the following questions to guide your work:
Who is your audience? Are you aiming your text at the casual reader? Are you aiming your text at the hardcore enthusiast or scholars?

How much of the original format and traits of Anglo-Saxon poetry do you keep?
Do you have extensive editorial and scholarly notes to aid the novice reader? Or do you let the text speak for itself?

Do you include supplemental information on history, armor, and the Anglo-Saxon period?

Do you include artwork? What would the cover look like?

08 January 2012

XXXII: The Theft and the Last Survivor

In this fitt, we find out about the man who robbed a cup from the dragon's hoard. He had run away from an abusive master and needed something to appease him, which the cup, he hoped, would do. The fact that he had to walk close to the head of a sleeping dragon to get the cup testifies to his terror of his master.

The hoard itself has a history. It is the remains of the wealth of an extinct nation, placed in the tomb by its last surviving member. The emotions of that last survivor are given in a section often called "The Lay of the Last Survivor." The dragon moves in after the last survivor dies.

The "Lay of the Last Survivor" (lines 2247-2256) restates of one of Beowulf's major themes: sic transit gloria mundi. All power and all wealth passes. We were often told of the civil war, assassination, and invasion that would afflict Hrothgar's kingdom, even though it had a wise king, a strong army, and a new ally, the Geats. We will find later that the same is true of Geatland. The melancholy of the last survivor is the fate of both Hrothgar's and Beowulf's kingdoms. No human can avoid it.

This section could also be one of the funerals that structure to the poem. The first, of course, is Scyld's funeral at the beginning (lines 1 to 52). Another is the funeral in the Finn and Hengest song that is sung in Heorot (lines 1107 to 1124). The one at the end is Beowulf's own (lines 3137 to 3182). Seeing it that way disrupts the neat three-monster, three-funeral structure, so not everyone agrees.

The dragon wakes to find his cup missing and sets out to get revenge. This scene is familiar to anyone who has read J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit
 (which, by the way, is being turned into a two-part film by Peter Jackson, who also directed the Lord of the Ring movies).

The ellipses (...) show where lines or parts of lines cannot be read.

XXXII. The Theft and the Last Survivor

It was not at all out of desire
he went in the wormhoard, the one who did harm,
but bitter distress. The stealer's kin
I have never heard of. He hurried from danger,
needing shelter, knowing anger,
a guilty man. He gazed inside,
and stark terror took hold of the stranger.
The criminal was not deterred
… (2229)
(…) he brought down fear  2230
but had looked for wealth, which was abundant,
ancient heirlooms in an earthen vault,
as a man had left them, many years past,
relics to tell of a titled race.
Thinking deeply, he thrust into hiding
the dear treasures. Death had taken
each man away, with one exception,
the last alive of the land's defenders.
The grieving warden wished to survive
so, for a little, the long-kept treasure     2240
would furnish pleasure. The finished grave
was on a heath, hard by the water,
new on the clifftops, carefully sealed.
He carried off from the earls' treasure
a hoard of rings, a hand-worked portion
of plated gold.
                                He gave these few words:
“Now Earth, you must hold what heroes cannot,
“what earls had owned. It was out of you, listen!
“that good men got it, gone now in battle,
awful killings of all of my kinsmen,   2250
“those I had loved. They left me this:
“The hall, once happy, has none to defend it
“nor give beauty to the golden cup,
“the drinking treasure. The troop dwindled
“and the hard helmet, enhanced with gold,
“its fittings fall. Furbishers sleep
“who could brighten the battle masks.
“Also the links that lasted through battle,
“the breaking of boards and bite of iron,
“rot with the men. The mail cannot   2260
“fare abroad far with fighting men, 
“at hand for heroes. No harp delights
“with glad music, no good hawk now
“soars through the hall, nor swift horses
“clatter in courtyards. Cruel destruction
“has killed what little was left of my kin.”

Grieving greatly, he groaned aloud.
The last of his kind lived in despair
by day and night, till Death covered him.

The wealth was then found and warmed the heart  2270
of an old destroyer. It stood open
to the fiery one, who finds barrows,
the naked black-heart, night-flying dragon,
fulgent with fire. The folk of the earth
(…) He has to seek
harm under ground, where heathen gold
he watches, worse, though wiser with years.
So this threat to the people for three hundred winters
controlled a treasure trapped underground
in towering strength until affronted.  2280

A man proudly proffered his master
the gold-adorned beaker and begged forgiveness
from his master's hand. So the hoard was robbed
the ring-hoard plundered. His plea was granted
that wretched man. His ruler examined
that ancient form for the first time.

Then the worm awoke, and war returned.
He snuffed at the stone. The stern creature found
his foe's footprint, which fell too near,
in silent skill, the serpent's head.    2290
So undoomed men may then survive
grief and hardship, if granted the help
of God's protection. The treasure keeper
searched the grounds,  greedy to find
the one who had robbed him while he rested.
Searing and savage, he circled the cairns,
beating the bounds. It was bare of life,
that wild country, but war called him.
From time to time he returned to the barrow
to search for the cup. He quickly found   2300
that some human handled his gold
worthy of kings. The keeper waited,
restraining himself till sunset came,
then fury took the tomb's keeper
he wished to repay his pain with fire
for the drinking treasure.  Now day had gone
as the worm wanted. His wall he left,
unwilling to wait, but went in flames,
enfolded in fire: a fearful beginning
for the country's people because it soon   2310
ended in grief for their gold-sharer.