16 May 2012

Fitt XXXVII, Part II. Beowulf asks to see the Dragon's treasure

Beowulf regrets that he has no son to succeed him. He asks Wiglaf to bring the dragon's gold outside, where he can see it. He knows this is his last request. He says that he is dying with a clear conscience, having ruled for a long time, protected his people, told the truth, and never having killed a member of his own family.

“This is when I would have wished on my son
“body armour, had I been given                             2730
“one who would watch the wealth I leave
“when I am gone. I governed the people
“fifty winters. Not one of the folk-kings
“in neighbouring lands, no living soul,
“wished to meet me with weapons bared,
“bringing terror. I abided my fate
“here on the earth, helped my people,
“sought no deceit and seldom made
“an oath without right. In all these things
“though fatally wounded, I find some comfort       2740
“that man’s Maker may not condemn me
“for kinslaughter when I cannot hold
“life in my body. Now, be away!
“Take stock of the gold under grey pale stone
“my dear Wiglaf, now the worm lies dead,
“sore-wounded, asleep, and stripped of treasure,
“and waste no time. I want to see
“the wealth I have won, old wonders of gold,
“facetted gems, and find my rest
“with an easier heart, the hoard in sight,            2750
“and leave my life and long dominion.”

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