Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Necklace of the Brosings - Beowulf lines 1192-1214

The following is a translation of the “Necklace of the Brosings” digression in lines 1192-1214 of the Beowulf poem. This translation was made using the critical text in Klaeber 2008, and aims to preserve the word-order of the Anglo-Saxon text as much as possible in Modern English.

To him was the cup born and friendly invitation
With words offered, and twisted gold
With good will presented, arm-ornaments twain,
Garment and rings, of neck rings greatest
Of those that I in earth have heard.
I under heaven heard of no better
Treasure of heroes, since Hama carried away
To that fair stronghold the necklace of the Brosings,
Jewel and fine setting – fleeing the treacherous hate
Of Eormenric, chose lasting reward.
This collar had Hygelac of the Geats
Grandson of Swerting, at [his] last expedition,
When he under the standard defended treasure,
Guarding the spoil of the slain; fate bore him off,
When he for pride looked for woe,
Assault on Frisia. He those adornments wore,
Precious stones over the cup of waves,
Powerful prince; he under shield fell.
Passed then the life of the king into the Franks’ embrace,
Breast-garment and collar together.
A worse warrior stripped the slain
After war-slaughter; the Geatish people
The place of corpses guarded. The hall received [the gift] with applause.
(Beowulf 1192-1214)

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting a close reading of this passage, arguing for its placement within the Beowulf poem and specifically its relevance to Hygelac's (and Beowulf's) eventual demise.

Currently reading: A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture, edited by Rory McTurk
Current audio book: The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Currently translating: Aiwaggeljo Þairh Maþþaiu, Chapter VI, from Wright's Gothic Grammar.

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