Best 28 of Beowulf quotes - MyQuotes
Stars, spattered out through lifeless night from end to end, like jewels scattered in a dead king's grave, tease, torment my wits toward meaningful patterns that do not exist.
I am mad with joy.--At least I think it's joy. Strangers have come, and it's a whole new game. I kiss the ice on the frozen creeks, I press my ear to it, honoring the water that rattles below, for by water they came: the icebergs parted as if gently pushed back by enormous hands, and the ship sailed through, sea-eager, foamy-necked, white sails, riding the swan-road, flying like a bird! O happy Grendel! Fifteen glorious heroes, proud in their battle dress, fat as cows!
And a young prince must be prudent like that, giving freely while his father lives so that afterwards, in age when fighting starts steadfast companions will stand by him and hold the line.
Cwædon þæt he wære wyruld-cyninga, manna mildust ond mon-ðwærust, leodum liðost ond lof-geornost.
It is a great wonder How Almighty God in his magnificence Favors our race with rank and scope And the gift of wisdom; His sway is wide. Sometimes He allows the mind of a man Of distinguished birth to follow its bent, Grants him fulfillment and felicity on earth And forts to command in his own country. He permits him to lord it in many lands Until the man in his unthinkingness Forgets that it will ever end for him. He indulges his desires; illness and old age Mean nothing to him; his mind is untroubled By envy or malice or thought of enemies With their hate-honed swords. The whole world Conforms to his will, he is kept from the worst Until an element of overweening Enters him and takes hold While the soul’s guard, its sentry, drowses, Grown too distracted. A killer stalks him, An archer who draws a deadly bow. And then the man is hit in the heart, The arrow flies beneath his defenses, The devious promptings of the demon start. His old possessions seem paltry to him now. He covets and resents; dishonors custom And bestows no gold; and because of good things That the Heavenly powers gave him in the past He ignores the shape of things to come. Then finally the end arrives When the body he was lent collapses and falls Prey to its death; ancestral possessions And the goods he hoarded and inherited by another Who lets them go with a liberal hand. “O flower of warriors, beware of that trap. Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, Eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom But it fades quickly; and soon there will follow Illness or the sword to lay you low, Or a sudden fire or surge of water Or jabbing blade or javelin from the air Or repellent age. Your piercing eye Will dim and darken; and death will arrive, Dear warrior, to sweep you away.
A ring-whorled prow rode in the harbour, ice-clad, outbound, a craft for a prince. They stretched their beloved lord in his boat, laid out by the mast, amidships, the great ring-giver. Far fetched treasures were piled upon him, and precious gear. I have never heard before of a ship so well furbished with battle tackle, bladed weapons and coats of mail. The massed treasure was loaded on top of him: it would travel far on out into the ocean's sway. They decked his body no less bountifully with offerings than those first ones did who cast him away when he was a child and launched him alone over the waves. And they set a gold standard up high above his head and let him drift to wind and tide, bewailing him and mourning their loss. No man can tell, no wise man in hall or weathered veteran knows for certain who salvaged that load.
Today and tomorrow you will be in your prime; but soon you will die, in battle or in bed; either fire or water, the fearsome elements, will embrace you, or you will succumb to the sword's flashing edge, or the arrow's flight, or terrible old age; then your eyes, once bright, will be clouded over; all too soon, O warrior, death will destroy you. Hrothgar to Beowulf
So it goes with me day by day and age by age, I tell myself. Locked in the deadly progression of moon and stars. I shake my head, muttering darkly on shaded paths, holding conversation with the only friend and comfort this world allows, my shadow.