|John Blanche, from Slaves to Darkness|
"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 repellant age. Your piercing eye
will dim and darken; and death will arrive,
dear warrior, to sweep you away.
Just so I ruled the Ring-Danes country
for fifty years, defended them in wartime...
Still, what happened was a hard reversal
from bliss to grief. Grendel struck
from lying in wait. He laid waste to the land
and from that moment my mind was in dread
of his depredations. So I praise God
in His heavenly glory that I lived to behold
this head dripping blood and that after such harrowing
I can look upon it in triumph at last.
Take your place, then, with pride and pleasure
and move to the feast. To-morrow morning
our treasure will be shared and showered upon you."
A bit of the Beowulf, trans. by Seamus Heaney, who died today.