Beowulf Quotes

Beowulf Quotes

“It is always better
to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.
For every one of us, living in this world
means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
that will be his best and only bulwark.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Behaviour that’s admired
is the path to power among people everywhere.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Anyone with gumption and a sharp mind will take the measure of two things: what’s said and what’s done.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“I shall gain glory or die.”
 Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

Beowulf Quotes

Beowulf Quotes

“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.”
 Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“That was their way, their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts they remembered hell.”
 Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“In off the moors, down through the mist beams, god-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.”
 Seamus Heaney (Beowulf)

Beowulf Quotes

Beowulf Quotes

“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.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Meanwhile, the sword
began to wilt into gory icicles,
to slather and thaw. It was a wonderful thing,
the way it all melted as ice melts
when the Father eases the fetters off the frost
and unravels the water-ropes. He who wields power
over time and tide: He is the true Lord.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed
offerings to idols, swore oaths that the killer of souls might come to their aid and save the people. That was their way, their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts they remembered hell.”
 Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms on this earth than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, he is truly noble. This is no mere hanger-on in a hero’s armour.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Let whoever can win glory before death.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Fate goes ever as fate must.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Where do you come from, carrying these
decorated shields and shirts of mail,
these cheek-hinged helmets and
javelins?”
 Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“For every one of us, living in this world
means waiting for our end.”
— Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“These were hard times, heart-breaking…Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed offering to idols, swore oaths that the killer of souls might come to their aid and save the people. That was their way, their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts they remembered hell. The Almighty Judge of good deeds and bad, the Lord God, Head of the Heavens and High King of the World, was unknown to them. Oh, cursed is he who in time of trouble has to thrust his soul in the fire’s embrace, forfeiting help; he has nowhere to turn. But blessed is he who after death can approach the Lord and find friendship in the Father’s embrace.”
 Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“Quickly, the dragon came at him, encouraged
As Beowulf fell back; its breath flared,
And he suffered, wrapped around in swirling
Flames — a king, before, but now
A beaten warrior. None of his comrades
Came to him, helped him, his brave and noble
Followers; they ran for their lives, fled
Deep in a wood. And only one of them
Remained, stood there, miserable, remembering,
As a good man must, what kinship should mean.”
— Burton Raffel, Beowulf

“Beloved Beowulf, remember how you boasted,
Once, that nothing in the world would ever
Destroy your fame; fight to keep it,
Now, be strong and brave, my noble
King, protecting life and fame
Together. My sword will fight at your side!”
— Burton Raffel, Beowulf

“I’ve never known fear; as a youth I fought/ In endless battles. I am old, now,/ But I will fight again, seek fame still,/ If the dragon hiding in his tower dares/ To face me”
 Burton Raffel, Beowulf

“Death is not easily escaped, try it who will; but every living soul among the children of men dwelling upon the earth goeth of necessity unto his destined place, where the body, fast in its narrow bed, sleepeth after feast.”
— Unknown Christian, Beowulf

“That struggle was too strong,
hateful and long-lasting, which had come on the people,
dire wrack and ruin – the greatest of night-evils.”
— Burton Raffel, Beowulf

“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.
— Anonymous, Beowulf

“Urdr, Verdandi, Skuld; these maids determine the period of men’s lives: we call them Norns; but there are many norns:”
— Anonymous, Beowulf

“The Ash is greatest of all trees and best: its limbs spread out over all the world and stand above heaven. Three roots of the tree uphold it and stand exceeding broad: one is among the Aesir; another among the Rime-Giants, in that place where aforetime was the Yawning Void; the third stands over Niflheim, and under that root is Hvergelmir, and Nídhöggr gnaws the root from below. But under that root which turns toward the Rime-Giants is Mímir’s Well, wherein wisdom and understanding are stored; and he is called Mímir, who keeps the well.”
— Anonymous (Saga Six Pack – Beowulf, The Prose Edda, Gunnlaug The Worm-Tongue, Eric The Red, The Sea Fight and Sigurd The Volsung (Illustrated))

“Vídarr is the name of one, the silent god. He has a thick shoe. He is nearly as strong as Thor; in him the gods have great trust in all struggles.”
— Anonymous, Beowulf

“That the gods made a bridge from earth, to heaven, called Bifröst?”
— Anonymous, Beowulf

“Where is the chief abode or holy place of the gods?” Hárr answered: ‘That is at the Ash of Yggdrasill; there the gods must give judgment everyday.”
— Anonymous, Beowulf

“Beowulf spake then, Boast-words uttered—the latest occasion: He boasts of his youthful prowess, and declares himself still fearless. “I braved in my youth-days battles unnumbered; Still am I willing the struggle to look for, Fame-deeds perform, folk-warden prudent, If the hateful despoiler forth from his cavern Seeketh me out!”
 Anonymous, Beowulf

“Beowulf is an honor to his race.”
— Anonymous, Beowulf

“The male was called Askr, and the female Embla, and of them was mankind begotten, which received a dwelling-place under Midgard.”
— Anonymous, Beowulf

“Geri and Freki the war-mighty glutteth, The glorious God of Hosts; But on wine alone the weapon-glorious Odin aye liveth.”
 Anonymous, Beowulf

“Cwædon þæt he wære wyruld-cyninga,
manna mildust ond mon-ðwærust,
leodum liðost ond lof-geornost.”
 Anonymous, Beowulf