Shelfari edited the memorable quotes of Beowulf Monday, October 25, 2010.
- Edited a quotation: “And a young prince must be prudent like
that,givingfreely while his father livessothat afterwards in age when fighting startssteadfastcompanions will stand by himandhold the line. Behaviour that’s admiredisthe path to power among people everywhere. (20–25)”This excerpt, which expounds the virtues of the early Danish king Beow, illustrates the kind of political prudence that characterizes Hrothgar, who is a descendant of Beow.
- Edited a quotation: “Wise sir, do not grieve. It is always
bettertoavenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.Forevery one of us, living in this worldmeanswaiting for our end. Let whoever canwinglory before death. When a warrior is gone,thatwill be his best and only bulwark. (1384–1389)”Beowulf utters this compressed statement of the heroic code after Grendel’s mother kills Aeschere, Hrothgar’s trusted advisor. Although Hrothgar’s grief seems understandable in light of the principle of loyalty that operates in this culture, Beowulf speaks of it as an “indulgence”—an inappropriate and ineffective way of responding to the death of a comrade.
- Edited a quotation: “O flower of warriors, beware of that
trap.Choose,dear Beowulf, the better part,eternalrewards. Do not give way to pride.Fora brief while your strength is in bloombutit fades quickly; and soon there will followillnessor the sword to lay you low,ora sudden fire or surge of waterorjabbing blade or javelin from the airorrepellent age. Your piercing eyewilldim and darken; and death will arrive,dearwarrior, to sweep you away.(1758–1768)”This passage is the culmination of a long speech, often referred to as “Hrothgar’s sermon,” in which Hrothgar warns Beowulf of the seductive dangers of success after Beowulf defeats Grendel’s mother.
- Edited a quotation: “Beowulf got
ready,donnedhis war-gear, indifferent to death;hismighty, hand-forged, fine-webbed mailwouldsoon meet with the menace underwater.Itwould keep the bone-cage of his body safe:.. .<Hishelmet> was of beaten gold,princelyheadgear hooped and haspedbya weapon-smith who had worked wonders. . . . (1442–1452)”These lines describe Beowulf’s preparation for his battle with Grendel’s mother.
- Edited a quotation: “So. The Spear-Danes in days gone
byandthe kings who ruled them had courage and greatness... .Therewas Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,awrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes... .Afoundling to start with, he would flourish later on.. .Inthe end each clan on the outlying coastsbeyondthe whale-road had to yield to himandbegin to pay tribute. That was one good king. (1–11)”These lines, which open the poem, establish the highly stylized nature of Seamus Heaney’s translation and set forth some of the poem’s central ideas.