VERSES FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
From THE BOOK OF PREFACES 2000
Poem: Alasdair Gray © 2005
15 – Beowulf, by Anon, translation of the start
a kingly people well skilled in glory
had strong men who framed them bravely.
Oft Scyld Scefing mid threatening foes
from many men’s households took mead benches
most from the nobles. He who was found
an outcast orphan (that woe was made good)
waxed under heaven growing in worth
until the peoples who dwelt about him
over the whale-roads had to obey him
giving him gold: that was good kinging!
Then his bairn was afterward born
a lad in the king’s house sent by God
to defend the folk. God knew they suffered
cruel pains when lacking a leader
a long while. So the Life-Ruler
and world’s Well-Doer forgave worldy fame.
Beowulf was brilliant – his glory wide sprang
Scyld’s son in all of the Scandian lands.
So should a young lad do good work,
give rich gifts when his father’s bairn,
then as he ages all his comrades
willingly at his side when war come,
fight for his folk. By generous deeds
through every homeland a man shall thrive.