Then the king in his great-heartedness unclasped

the collar of gold from his neck and gave it

to the young thane, telling him to use

it and the war shirt and the gilded helmet well.

“You are the last of us, the only one left

of the Waegmundings. Fate swept us away,

sent my whole brave high-born clan

to their final doom. Now I must follow them.”

That was the warrior’s last word.

He had no more to confide. The furious heat

of the pyre would assail him. His soul fled from his breast

to its destined place among the steadfast ones.

Beowulf, tr. Seamus Heaney, for Good Friday.


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