By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Beowulf: An Introduction to the Study of the Poem with a Discussion of the Stories of Offa and Finn
Author: Chambers, R. W. (Raymond Wilson), 1874-1942
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Beowulf: An Introduction to the Study of the Poem with a Discussion of the Stories of Offa and Finn" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's note: In Germanic languages [=a] signifies "a macron"; [o,]
"o with Ogonek"; and so forth. [gh] represents yogh.

[Illustration: Drida (Thryth) reproached for her Evil Deeds

_From MS Cotton Nero D. I, fol. 11 b_

"That is no way for a lady to behave." (Ne bið swylc cw[=e]nl[=i]c þ[=e]aw
| idese t[=o] efnanne:

_Beowulf_, ll 1940-1.) ]





Dey mout er bin two deloojes: en den agin dey moutent.
UNCLE REMUS, _The Story of the Deluge_.


       *       *       *       *       *




When, more than four years ago, I asked you to allow me to dedicate this
volume to you, it was as a purely personal token of gratitude for the help
I had received from what you have printed, and from what you have written
to me privately.

Since then much has happened: the debt is greater, and no longer purely
personal. We in this country can never forget what we owe to your people.
And the self-denial which led them voluntarily to stint themselves of food,
that we in Europe might be fed, is one of many things about which it is not
easy to speak. Our heart must indeed have been hardened if we had not
considered the miracle of those loaves. But I fear that to refer to that
great debt in the dedication to this little book may draw on me the
ridicule incurred by the poor man who dedicated his book to the Universe.

Nevertheless, as a fellow of that College which has just received from an
American donor the greatest benefaction for medical research which has ever
been made in this country of ours, I may rejoice that the co-operation
between our nations is being continued in that warfare against ignorance
and disease which some day will become the only warfare waged among men.

  Sceal hring-naca     ofer heafu bringan
  l[=a]c ond luf-t[=a]cen.     Ic þ[=a] l[=e]ode w[=a]t
  ge wið f[=e]ond ge wið fr[=e]ond     fæste geworhte,
  [=æ]ghwæs unt[=æ]le     ealde w[=i]san.
                                R. W. C.

       *       *       *       *       *



I have to thank various colleagues who have read proofs of this book, in
whole or in part: first and foremost my old teacher, W. P. Ker; also Robert
Priebsch, J. H. G. Grattan, Ernest Classen and two old students, Miss E. V.
Hitchcock and Mrs Blackman. I have also to thank Prof. W. W. Lawrence of
Columbia; and though there are details where we do not agree, I think there
is no difference upon any important issues. If in these details I am in the
right, this is largely due to the helpful criticism of Prof. Lawrence,
which has often led me to reconsider my conclusions, and to re-state them
more cautiously, and, I hope, more correctly. If, on the other hand, I am
in the wrong, then it is thanks to Prof. Lawrence that I am not still more
in the wrong.

From Axel Olrik, though my debt to him is heavy, I find myself differing on
several questions. I had hoped that what I had to urge on some of these
might have convinced him, or, better still, might have drawn from him a
reply which would have convinced me. But the death of that great scholar
has put an end to many hopes, and deprived many of us of a warm personal
friend. It would be impossible to modify now these passages expressing
dissent, for the early pages of this book were printed off some years ago.
I can only repeat that it is just because of my intense respect for the
work of Dr Olrik that, where I cannot agree with his conclusions, I feel
bound to go into the matter at length. Names like those of Olrik, Bradley,
Chadwick and Sievers carry rightly such authority as to make it the duty of
those who differ, if only on minor details, to justify that difference if
they can.

From Dr Bradley especially I have had help in discussing various of these
problems: also from Mr Wharton of the British Museum, Prof. Collin of
Christiania, Mr Ritchie Girvan of Glasgow, and Mr Teddy. To Prof. Brøgger,
the Norwegian state-antiquary, I am indebted for permission to reproduce
photographs of the {viii} Viking ships: to Prof. Finnur Jónsson for
permission to quote from his most useful edition of the _Hrólfs Saga_ and
the _Bjarka Rímur_, and, above all, to Mr Sigfús Blöndal, of the Royal
Library of Copenhagen, for his labour in collating with the manuscript the
passages quoted from the _Grettis Saga_.

Finally, I have to thank the Syndics of the University Press for
undertaking the publication of the book, and the staff for the efficient
way in which they have carried out the work, in spite of the long
interruption caused by the war.

  R. W. C.
  _April 6, 1921._

       *       *       *       *       *



  GENEALOGICAL TABLES                                                   xii



  SECTION   I. The Problem                                                1
  SECTION  II. The Geatas--their Kings and their Wars                     2
  SECTION III. Heorot and the Danish Kings                               13
  SECTION  IV. Leire and Heorot                                          16
  SECTION   V. The Heathobeardan                                         20
  SECTION  VI. Hrothulf                                                  25
  SECTION VII. King Offa                                                 31


  SECTION   I. The Grendel Fight                                         41
  SECTION  II. The Scandinavian Parallels--Grettir and Orm               48
  SECTION III. Bothvar Bjarki                                            54
  SECTION  IV. Parallels from Folklore                                   62
  SECTION   V. Scef and Scyld                                            68
  SECTION  VI. Beow                                                      87
  SECTION VII. The house of Scyld and Danish parallels--Heremod-Lotherus
               and Beowulf-Frotho                                        89


  SECTION   I. Is _Beowulf_ translated from a Scandinavian
               original?                                                 98
  SECTION  II. The dialect, syntax and metre of _Beowulf_ as
               evidence of its literary history                         104
  SECTION III. Theories as to the structure of _Beowulf_                112
  SECTION  IV. Are the Christian elements incompatible with the rest
               of the poem?                                             121



  A. The early Kings of the Danes, according to Saxo Grammaticus:
     Dan, Humblus, Lotherus and Scioldus; Frotho's dragon fight;
     Haldanus, Roe and Helgo; Roluo (Rolf Kraki) and Biarco
     (Bjarki); the death of Rolf                                        129

  B. Extract from _Hrólfs Saga Kraka_, with translation
     (cap. 23)                                                          138

  C. Extracts from _Grettis Saga_, with translation: (_a_) Glam episode
     (caps. 32-35); (_b_) Sandhaugar episode (caps. 64-66)              146

  D. Extracts from _Bjarka Rímur_, with translation                     182

  E. Extract from _Þáttr Orms Stórólfssonar_, with
     translation                                                        186

  F. A Danish Dragon-slaying of the Beowulf-type, with translation      192

  G. The Old English Genealogies. I. The Mercian Genealogy. II. The
     stages above Woden: Woden to Geat and Woden to Sceaf               195

  H. Extract from the Chronicle Roll                                    201

  I. Extract from the Little Chronicle of the Kings of Leire            204

  K. The Story of Offa in Saxo Grammaticus                              206

  L. From Skiold to Offa in Sweyn Aageson                               211

  M. Note on the Danish Chronicles                                      215

  N. The _Life of Offa I_, with extracts from the _Life of Offa II_. Edited
     from two MSS in the Cottonian Collection                           217

  O. Extract from _Widsith_, II. 18, 24-49                              243



  SECTION    I. The _Finnsburg Fragment_                                245

  SECTION   II. The Episode in _Beowulf_                                248

  SECTION  III. Möller's Theory                                         254

  SECTION   IV. Bugge's Theory                                          257

  SECTION    V. Some Difficulties in Bugge's Theory                     260

  SECTION   VI. Recent Elucidations. Prof. Ayres' Comments              266

  SECTION  VII. Problems still outstanding                              268

  SECTION VIII. The Weight of Proof: the Eotens                         272

  SECTION   IX. Ethics of the Blood Feud                                276

  SECTION    X. An Attempt at Reconstruction                            283

  SECTION   XI. Gefwulf, Prince of the Jutes                            286

  SECTION  XII. Conclusion                                              287
                     _Note_. Frisia in the heroic age                   288



  A. A Postscript on Mythology in _Beowulf_. (1) Beowulf the Scylding
     and Beowulf son of Ecgtheow. (2) Beow                              291
  B. Grendel                                                            304
  C. The Stages above Woden in the West-Saxon Genealogy                 311
  D. Grammatical and literary evidence for the date of _Beowulf_. The
     relation of _Beowulf_ to the Classical Epic                        322
  E. The "Jute-question" reopened                                       333
  F. _Beowulf_ and the Archaeologists                                   345
  G. Leire before Rolf Kraki                                            365
  H. Bee-wolf and Bear's son                                            365
  I. The date of the death of Hygelac                                   381

  BIBLIOGRAPHY OF _BEOWULF_ AND _FINNSBURG_                             383

  INDEX                                                                 414



    I. Drida (Thryth) reproached for her Evil Deeds            FRONTISPIECE

    II. Leire in the Seventeenth Century                       TO FACE   16

  III. Offa, miraculously restored, vindicates his Right.
       At the side, Offa is represented in Prayer               " "      34

   IV. Drida (Thryth) arrives in the land of King Offa,
       "in nauicula armamentis carente"                         " "      36

    V. Riganus (or Aliel) comes before King Warmundus
       to claim that he should be made King in place of
       the incompetent Offa                                     " "     218

   VI. Drida (Thryth) entraps Albertus (Æthelberht) of
       East Anglia, and causes him to be slain                  " "     242

  VII. The Gokstad Ship. The Oseberg Ship                       " "     362

  VIII. Southern Scandinavia in the Sixth Century.
        English Boar-Helmet and Ring-Swords                        _At end_

       *       *       *       *       *



The names of the corresponding characters in Scandinavian legend are added
in italics; first the Icelandic forms, then the Latinized names as recorded
by Saxo Grammaticus.


                      Scyld Sc[=e]fing [_Skj[o,]ldr_, _Skyoldus_]
                      B[=e]owulf [not the hero of the poem]
                      Healfdene [_Halfdan_, _Haldanus_]
        |                    |                           |          |
  Heorog[=a]r     Hr[=o]ðg[=a]r [_Hróarr_[1],         H[=a]lga  a daughter
  [_no           _Roe_],  _mar._ Wealhþ[=e]ow       [_Helgi_,  [_Signy_]
  Scandinavian_                  |                   _Helgo_]
  _parallel_]          .----------------------.           |
        |              |            |         |           |
        |              |        Hr[=o]ðmund   |           |
  Heoroweard        Hr[=e]ðr[=i]c         Hr[=o]ðulf      |
  [_Hj[o,]rvarðr,_    [_Hrærekr,_         _mar._       [_Hrólfr_
   _Hiarwarus:_        _Røricus:_         Ingeld        _Kraki,_
   _but not_           _not_                            _Roluo_]
   _recognized as_     _recognized_
   _belonging_         _as a son of_
   _to this family_]   _Hroarr_]


                  Hr[=e]ðel                              W[=æ]gmund
                     |                                       |
      .----------------------------.                 .-------------.
      |        |     |             |                 |             |
  Herebeald  Hæðcyn  |       a daughter, _mar._ Ecgþ[=e]ow   W[=e]ohst[=a]n
                     |                      |                       |
                 Hygel[=a]c, _mar._ Hygd    |                       |
                     |                      |                       |
            .-----------------.         B[=e]owulf            W[=i]gl[=a]f
            |                 |
        a daughter,      Heardr[=e]d
       _mar._ Eofor


             |                                     |
           Onela                               [=O]hthere [_Óttarr_]
  [_Áli, not recognized_                           |
   _as belonging to this_                   .---------------.
   _family_]                                |               |
                                       Eanmund        [=E]adgils

       *       *       *       *       *






The unique MS of _Beowulf_ may be, and if possible should be, seen by the
student in the British Museum. It is a good specimen of the elegant script
of Anglo-Saxon times: "a book got up with some care," as if intended for
the library of a nobleman or of a monastery. Yet this MS is removed from
the date when the poem was composed and from the events which it narrates
(so far as these events are historic at all) by periods of time
approximately equal to those which separate us from the time when
Shakespeare's _Henry V_ was written, and when the battle of Agincourt was

To try to penetrate the darkness of the five centuries which lie behind the
extant MS by fitting together such fragments of illustrative information as
can be obtained, and by using the imagination to bridge the gaps, has been
the business of three generations of scholars distributed among the ten
nations of Germanic speech. A whole library has been written around our
poem, and the result is that this book cannot be as simple as either writer
or reader might have wished.

The story which the MS tells us may be summarized thus: Beowulf, a prince
of the Geatas, voyages to Heorot, the hall of Hrothgar, king of the Danes;
there he destroys a monster Grendel, who for twelve years has haunted the
hall by night and slain all he found therein. When Grendel's mother in
revenge makes an attack on the hall, Beowulf seeks her out and kills her
also in her home beneath the waters. He then {2} returns to his land with
honour and is rewarded by his king Hygelac. Ultimately he himself becomes
king of the Geatas, and fifty years later slays a dragon and is slain by
it. The poem closes with an account of the funeral rites.

Fantastic as these stories are, they are depicted against a background of
what appears to be fact. Incidentally, and in a number of digressions, we
receive much information about the Geatas, Swedes and Danes: all which
information has an appearance of historic accuracy, and in some cases can
be proved, from external evidence, to be historically accurate.

       *       *       *       *       *


Beowulf's people have been identified with many tribes: but there is strong
evidence that the Geatas are the Götar (O.N. _Gautar_), the inhabitants of
what is now a portion of Southern Sweden, immediately to the south of the
great lakes Wener and Wetter. The names _Geatas_ and _Gautar_ correspond
exactly[3], according to the rules of O.E. and O.N. phonetic development,
and all we can ascertain of the Geatas and of the Gautar harmonizes well
with the identification[4].

We know of one occasion only when the Geatas came into violent contact with
the world outside Scandinavia. Putting together the accounts which we
receive from Gregory of Tours and from two other (anonymous) writers, we
learn that a piratical raid was made upon the country of the Atuarii (the
O.E. _Hetware_) who dwelt between the lower Rhine and what is now the
Zuyder Zee, by a king whose name is spelt in a variety of ways, all of
which readily admit of identification with that of the Hygelac of our
poem[5]. From the land of the Atuarii this king carried much spoil to his
ships; but, remaining on shore, he was overwhelmed and slain by the army
which the {3} Frankish king Theodoric had sent under his son to the rescue
of these outlying provinces; the plunderers' fleet was routed and the booty
restored to the country. The bones of this gigantic king of the "Getae"
[presumably = Geatas] were long preserved, it was said, on an island near
the mouth of the Rhine.

Such is the story of the raid, so far as we can reconstruct it from monkish
Latin sources. The precise date is not given, but it must have been between
A.D. 512 and 520.

Now this disastrous raid of Hygelac is referred to constantly in _Beowulf_:
and the mention there of Hetware, Franks and the Merovingian king as the
foes confirms an identification which would be satisfactory even without
these additional data[6].

    Our authorities are:

    (1) Gregory of Tours (d. 594):

    _His ita gestis, Dani cum rege suo nomine Chlochilaico evectu navale
    per mare Gallias appetunt. Egressique ad terras, pagum unum de regno
    Theudorici devastant atque captivant, oneratisque navibus tam de
    captivis quam de reliquis spoliis, reverti ad patriam cupiunt; sed rex
    eorum in litus resedebat donec naves alto mare conpraehenderent, ipse
    deinceps secuturus. Quod cum Theudorico nuntiatum fuisset, quod
    scilicet regio ejus fuerit ab extraneis devastata, Theudobertum, filium
    suum, in illis partibus cum valido exercitu et magno armorum apparatu
    direxit. Qui, interfecto rege, hostibus navali proelio superatis
    opprimit, omnemque rapinam terrae restituit._

    The name of the vanquished king is spelt in a variety of ways:
    _Chlochilaichum_, _Chrochilaicho_, _Chlodilaichum_, _Hrodolaicum_.

    See _Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Historia Francorum_, p. 110, in
    _Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Scriptores rerum merovingicarum, I)_.

    (2) The _Liber Historiae Francorum_ (commonly called the _Gesta

    _In illo tempore Dani cum rege suo nomine Chochilaico cum navale hoste
    per alto mare Gallias appetent, Theuderico paygo [i.e. pagum] Attoarios
    vel alios devastantes atque captivantes plenas naves de captivis alto
    mare intrantes rex eorum ad litus maris resedens. Quod cum Theuderico
    nuntiatum fuisset, Theudobertum filium suum cum magno exercitu in illis
    partibus dirigens. Qui consequens eos, pugnavit cum eis caede magna
    atque prostravit, regem eorum interficit, preda tullit, et in terra sua

    The _Liber Historiae Francorum_ was written in 727, but although so
    much later than Gregory, it preserves features which are wanting in the
    earlier historian, such as the mention of the Hetware (_Attoarii_).
    Note too that the name of the invading king is given in a form which
    {4} approximates more closely to _Hygelac_ than that of any of the MSS
    of Gregory: variants are _Chrochilaico_, _Chohilaico_, _Chochilago_,

    See _Monumenta Germaniae Historica_ (_Scriptores rerum merovingicarum,
    II_, 274).

    (3) An anonymous work _On monsters and strange beasts_, appended to two
    MSS of Phaedrus.

    _Et sunt [monstra] mirae magnitudinis: ut rex Huiglaucus qui imperavit
    Getis et a Francis occisus est. Quem equus a duodecimo anno portare non
    potuit. Cujus ossa in Reni fluminis insula, ubi in Oceanum prorumpit,
    reservata sunt et de longinquo venientibus pro miraculo ostenduntur._

    This treatise was first printed (from a MS of the tenth century, in
    private possession) by J. Berger de Xivrey (_Traditions
    tératologiques_, Paris, 1836, p. 12). It was again published from a
    second MS at Wolfenbüttel by Haupt (see his _Opuscula_ II, 223, 1876).
    This MS is in some respects less accurate, reading _Huncglacus_ for
    _Huiglaucus_, and _gentes_ for _Getis_. The treatise is assigned by
    Berger de Xivrey to the sixth century, on grounds which are hardly
    conclusive (p. xxxiv). Haupt would date it not later than the eighth
    century (II, 220).

    The importance of this reference lies in its describing Hygelac as king
    of the Getae, and in its fixing the spot where his bones were preserved
    as near the mouth of the Rhine[7].

But if _Beowulf_ is supported in this matter by what is almost contemporary
evidence (for Gregory of Tours was born only some twenty years after the
raid he narrates) we shall probably be right in arguing that the other
stories from the history of the Geatas, their Danish friends, and their
Swedish foes, told with what seems to be such historic sincerity in the
different digressions of our poem, are equally based on fact. True, we have
no evidence outside _Beowulf_ for Hygelac's father, king Hrethel, nor for
Hygelac's elder brothers, Herebeald and Hæthcyn; and very little for
Hæthcyn's deadly foe, the Swedish king Ongentheow[8].

And in the last case, at any rate, such evidence might {5} fairly have been
expected. For there are extant a very early Norse poem, the _Ynglinga tal_,
and a much later prose account, the _Ynglinga saga_, enumerating the kings
of Sweden. The _Ynglinga tal_ traces back these kings of Sweden for some
thirty reigns. Therefore, though it was not composed till some four
centuries after the date to which we must assign Ongentheow, it should deal
with events even earlier than the reign of that king: for, unless the rate
of mortality among early Swedish kings was abnormally high, thirty reigns
should occupy a period of more than 400 years. Nothing is, however, told us
in the _Ynglinga tal_ concerning the deeds of any king Angantyr--which is
the name we might expect to correspond to Ongentheow[9].

But on the other hand, the son and grandson of Ongentheow, as recorded in
_Beowulf_, _do_ meet us both in the _Ynglinga tal_ and in the _Ynglinga

According to _Beowulf_, Ongentheow had two sons, Onela and Ohthere: Onela
became king of Sweden and is spoken of in terms of highest praise[10]. Yet
to judge from the account given in _Beowulf_, the Geatas had little reason
to love him. He had followed up the defeat of Hygelac by dealing their
nation a second deadly blow. For Onela's nephews, Eadgils and Eanmund (the
sons of Ohthere), had rebelled against him, and had taken refuge at the
court of the Geatas, where Heardred, son of Hygelac, was now reigning,
supported by Beowulf. Thither Onela pursued them, and slew the young king
Heardred. Eanmund also was slain[11], then or later, but Eadgils escaped.

It is not clear from the poem what part Beowulf is supposed to have taken
in this struggle, or why he failed to ward off disaster from his lord and
his country. It is not even made clear whether or no he had to make formal
submission to the hated Swede: but we are told that when Onela withdrew he
succeeded to the vacant throne. In later days he took his revenge upon
Onela. "He became a friend to Eadgils in his distress; he supported the son
of Ohthere across the broad water with men, with warriors and arms: he
wreaked his {6} vengeance in a chill journey fraught with woe: he deprived
the king [Onela] of his life."

This story bears in its general outline every impression of true history:
the struggle for the throne between the nephew and the uncle, the support
given to the unsuccessful candidate by a rival state, these are events
which recur frequently in the wild history of the Germanic tribes during
the dark ages, following inevitably from the looseness of the law of
succession to the throne.

Now the _Ynglinga tal_ contains allusions to these events, and the
_Ynglinga saga_ a brief account of them, though dim and distorted[12]. We
are told how Athils (=Eadgils) king of Sweden, son of Ottar (=Ohthere),
made war upon Ali (=Onela). By the time the _Ynglinga tal_ was written it
had been forgotten that Ali was Athils' uncle, and that the war was a civil
war. But the issue, as reported in the _Ynglinga tal_ and _Ynglinga saga_,
is the same as in _Beowulf_:

    "King Athils had great quarrels with the king called Ali of Uppland; he
    was from Norway. They had a battle on the ice of Lake Wener; there King
    Ali fell, and Athils had the victory. Concerning this battle there is
    much said in the _Skjoldunga saga_."

From the _Ynglinga saga_ we learn more concerning King Athils: not always
to his credit. He was, as the Swedes had been from of old, a great
horse-breeder. Authorities differed as to whether horses or drink were the
death of him[13]. According to one account he brought on his end by
celebrating, with immoderate drinking, the death of his enemy Rolf (the
_Hrothulf_ of _Beowulf_). According to another:

    "King Athils was at a sacrifice of the goddesses, and rode his horse
    through the hall of the goddesses: the horse tripped under him and fell
    and threw the king; and his head smote a stone so that the skull broke
    and the brains lay on the stones, and that was his death. He died at
    Uppsala, and there was laid in mound, and the Swedes called him a
    mighty king."


There can, then, hardly be a doubt that there actually was such a king as
Eadgils: and some of the charred bones which still lie within the gigantic
"King's mounds" at Old Uppsala may well be his[14]. And, though they are
not quite so well authenticated, there can also be little doubt as to the
historic existence of Onela, Ohthere, and even of Ongentheow.

    _The Swedish Kings._

    The account in the _Ynglinga saga_ of the fight between Onela and
    Eadgils is as follows:

    _Aðils konungr átti deilur miklar við konung þann, er Áli hét inn
    upplenzki: hann var ór Nóregi. Þeir áttu orrostu á Vænis ísi; þar fell
    Áli konungr en Aðils hafði sigr; frá þessarri orrostu er langt sagt í
    Skj[o,]ldunga s[o,]gu._ (_Ynglinga saga_ in _Heimskringla_, ed.
    Jónsson, Kjøbenhavn, 1893, I, 56.)

    The _Skjoldunga saga_ here mentioned is an account of the kings of
    Denmark. It is preserved only in a Latin abstract.

    _Post haec ortis inter Adilsum illum Sveciae regem et Alonem
    Opplandorum regem in Norvegia, inimicitiis, praelium utrinque
    indicitur: loco pugnae statuto in stagno Waener, glacie jam obducto. Ad
    illud igitur se viribus inferiorem agnoscens Rolphonis privigni sui
    opem implorat, hoc proposito praemio, ut ipse Rolpho tres
    praeciosissimas res quascunque optaret ex universo regno Sveciae
    praemii loco auferret: duodecim autem pugilum ipsius quilibet 3 libras
    auri puri, quilibet reliquorum bellatorum tres marcas argenti defecati.
    Rolpho domi ipse reses pugilos suos duodecim Adilso in subsidium
    mittit, quorum etiam opera is alioqui vincendus, victoriam obtinuit.
    Illi sibi et regi propositum praemium exposcunt, negat Adilsus,
    Rolphoni absenti ullum deberi praemium, quare et Dani pugiles sibi
    oblatum respuebant, cum regem suum eo frustrari intelligerent,
    reversique rem, ut gesta est, exponunt._ (See _Skjoldungasaga i Arngrim
    Jonssons Udtog, udgiven af Axel Olrik_, Kjøbenhavn, 1894, p. 34

    There is also a reference to this battle on the ice in the _Kálfsvísa_,
    a mnemonic list of famous heroes and their horses. It is noteworthy
    that in this list mention is made of Vestein, who is perhaps the
    Wihstan of our poem, and of Biar, who has been thought (very
    doubtfully) to correspond to the O.E. Beaw.

      _Dagr reiþ Dr[o,]sle     en Dvalenn Móþne..._
      _Ále Hrafne     es til íss riþo,_
      _enn annarr austr     und Aþilse_
      _grár hvarfaþe     geire undaþr._
      _Bj[o,]rn reiþ Blakke     en Biarr Kerte,_
      _Atle Glaume     en Aþils Slungne..._
        _Lieder der Edda_, ed. Symons and Gering, I, 221-2.

    "Ale was on Hrafn when they rode to the ice: but another horse, a grey
    one, with Athils on his back, fell eastward, wounded by the spear."
    This, as Olrik points out, appears to refer to a version of the story
    in which Athils had his fall from his horse, not at a ceremony at
    Uppsala, but after the battle with Ali. (_Heltedigtning_, I, 203-4.)


    For various theories as to the early history of the Swedish royal
    house, as recorded in _Beowulf_, see Weyhe, _König Ongentheows Fall_,
    in _Engl. Stud._, XXXIX, 14-39; Schück, _Studier i Ynglingatal_
    (1905-7); Stjerna, _Vendel och Vendelkråka_, in _A.f.n.F._ XXI, 71,

    _The Geatas._

    The identification of Geatas and Götar has been accepted by the great
    majority of scholars, although Kemble wished to locate the Geatas in
    Schleswig, Grundtvig in Gotland, and Haigh in England. Leo was the
    first to suggest the Jutes: but the "Jute-hypothesis" owes its currency
    to the arguments of Fahlbeck (_Beovulfsqvädet såsom källa för nordisk
    fornhistoria_ in the _Antiqvarisk Tidskrift för Sverige_, VIII, 2, 1).
    Fahlbeck's very inconclusive reasons were contested at the time by
    Sarrazin (23 _etc._) and ten Brink (194 _etc._) and the arguments
    against them have lately been marshalled by H. Schück (_Folknamnet
    Geatas i den fornengelska dikten Beowulf_, Upsala, 1907). It is indeed
    difficult to understand how Fahlbeck's theory came to receive the
    support it has had from several scholars (e.g. Bugge, _P.B.B._ XII, 1
    _etc._; Weyhe, _Engl. Stud._, XXXIX, 38 _etc._; Gering). For his
    conclusions do not arise naturally from the O.E. data: his whole
    argument is a piece of learned pleading, undertaken to support his
    rather revolutionary speculations as to early Swedish history. These
    speculations would have been rendered less probable had the natural
    interpretation of Geatas as Götar been accepted. The Jute-hypothesis
    has recently been revived, with the greatest skill and learning, by
    Gudmund Schütte (_Journal of English and Germanic Philology_, XI, 574
    _etc._). But here again I cannot help suspecting that the wish is
    father to the thought, and that the fact that that eminent scholar is a
    Dane living in Jutland, has something to do with his attempt to locate
    the Geatas there. No amount of learning will eradicate patriotism.

    The following considerations need to be weighed:

    (1) _Geatas_ etymologically corresponds exactly with O.N. _Gautar_, the
    modern Götar. The O.E. word corresponding to Jutes (the Iutae of Bede)
    should be, not _Geatas_, but in the Anglian dialect _Eote_, _Iote_, in
    the West Saxon _Iete_, _Yte_.

    Now it is true that in one passage in the O.E. translation of Bede (I,
    15) the word "Iutarum" _is_ rendered _Geata_: but in the other (IV, 16)
    "Iutorum" is rendered _Eota_, _Ytena_. And this latter rendering is
    supported (_a_) by the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ (_Iotum_, _Iutna_) and
    (_b_) by the fact that the current O.E. word for Jutes was _Yte_,
    _Ytan_, which survived till after the Norman conquest. For the name
    _Ytena land_ was used for that portion of Hampshire which had been
    settled by the Jutes: William Rufus was slain, according to Florence of
    Worcester, in _Ytene_ (which Florence explains as _prouincia Jutarum_).

    From the purely etymological point of view the Götar-hypothesis, then,
    is unimpeachable: but the Jute-hypothesis is unsatisfactory, since it
    is based upon one passage in the O.E. Bede, where _Jutarum_ is
    incorrectly rendered _Geata_, whilst it is invalidated by the other
    passage in the O.E. Bede, by the _Chronicle_ and by Florence of
    Worcester, where _Jutorum_ is correctly translated by _Ytena_, or its
    Anglian or Kentish equivalent _Eota_, _Iotna_.

    (2) It is obvious that the Geatas of _Beowulf_ were a strong and
    independent power--a match for the Swedes. Now we learn from Procopius
    that in the sixth century the Götar were an independent {9} and
    numerous nation. But we have no equal evidence for any similar
    preponderant Jutish power in the sixth century. The _Iutae_ are indeed
    a rather puzzling tribe, and scholars have not even been able to agree
    where they dwelt.

    The Götar on the other hand are located among the great nations of
    Scandinavia both by Ptolemy (_Geog._ II, 11, 16) in the second century
    and by Procopius (_Bell. Gott._ II, 15) in the sixth. When we next get
    clear information (through the Christian missionaries) both Götar and
    Swedes have been united under one king. But the Götar retained their
    separate laws, traditions, and voice in the selection of the king, and
    they were constantly asserting themselves during the Middle Ages. The
    title of the king of Sweden, _rex Sveorum Gothorumque_, commemorates
    the old distinction.

    From the historical point of view, then, the Götar comply with what we
    are told in _Beowulf_ of the power of the Geatas much better than do
    the Jutes.

    (3) Advocates of the Jute-hypothesis have claimed much support from the
    geographical argument that the Swedes and Geatas fight _ofer s[=æ]_
    (e.g. when Beowulf and Eadgils attack Onela, 2394). But the term
    _s[=æ]_ is just as appropriate to the great lakes Wener and Wetter,
    which separated the Swedes from the Götar, as it is to the Cattegatt.
    And we have the evidence of Scandinavian sources that the battle
    between Eadgils and Onela actually _did_ take place on the ice of lake
    Wener (see above, p. 6). Moreover the absence of any mention of ships
    in the fighting narrated in ll. 2922-2945 would be remarkable if the
    contending nations were Jutes and Swedes, but suits Götar and Swedes
    admirably: since they could attack each other by land as well as by

    (4) There is reason to think that the old land of the Götar included a
    great deal of what is now the south-west coast of Sweden[15]. Hygelac's
    capital was probably not far from the modern Göteborg. The descriptions
    in _Beowulf_ would suit the cliffs of southern Sweden well, but they
    are quite inapplicable to the sandy dunes of Jutland.

    Little weight can, however, be attached to this last argument, as the
    cliffs of the land of the Geatas are in any case probably drawn from
    the poet's imagination.

    (5) If we accept the identification Beowulf = Bjarki (see below, pp.
    60-1) a further argument for the equation of Geatas and Götar will be
    found in the fact that Bjarki travels to Denmark from Gautland just as
    Beowulf from the land of the Geatas; Bjarki is the brother of the king
    of the Gautar, Beowulf the nephew of the king of the Geatas.

    (6) No argument as to the meaning of _Geatas_ can be drawn from the
    fact that Gregory calls Chlochilaicus (Hygelac) a Dane. For it is clear
    from _Beowulf_ that, whatever else they may have been, the Geatas were
    not Danes. Either, then, Gregory must be misinformed, or he must be
    using the word _Dane_ vaguely, to cover any kind of Scandinavian

    (7) Probably what has weighed most heavily (often perhaps not
    consciously) in gaining converts to the "Jute-hypothesis" has been the
    conviction that "in ancient times each nation celebrated in song its
    own heroes alone." Hence one set of scholars, accepting the
    identification of the Geatas with the Scandinavian Götar, have argued
    that _Beowulf_ is therefore simply a translation from a Scandinavian
    Götish original. Others, accepting _Beowulf_ as an English poem, have
    {10} argued that the Geatas who are celebrated in it must therefore be
    one of the tribes that settled in England, and have therefore favoured
    the "Jute theory." But the _a priori_ assumption that each Germanic
    tribe celebrated in song its own national heroes only is demonstrably

But in none of the accounts of the warfare of these Scandinavian kings,
whether written in Norse or monkish Latin, is there mention of any name
corresponding to that of Beowulf, as king of the Geatas. Whether he is as
historic as the other kings with whom in our poem he is brought into
contact, we cannot say.

It has been generally held that the Beowulf of our poem is compounded out
of two elements: that an historic Beowulf, king of the Geatas, has been
combined with a mythological figure Beowa[17], a god of the ancient Angles:
that the historical achievements against Frisians and Swedes belong to the
king, the mythological adventures with giants and dragons to the god. But
there is no conclusive evidence for either of these presumed component
parts of our hero. To the god Beowa we shall have to return later: here it
is enough to note that the current assumption that there _was_ a king
Beowulf of the Geatas lacks confirmation from Scandinavian sources.

And one piece of evidence there is, which tends to show that Beowulf is not
an historic king at all, but that his adventures have been violently
inserted amid the historic names of the kings of the Geatas. Members of the
families in _Beowulf_ which we have reason to think historic bear names
which alliterate the one with the other. The inference seems to be that it
was customary, when a Scandinavian prince was named in the Sixth Century,
to give him a name which had an initial letter similar to that of his
father: care was thus taken that metrical difficulties should not prevent
the names of father and son being linked together in song[18]. In the case
of Beowulf himself, however, this rule breaks down. Beowulf seems an
intruder {11} into the house of Hrethel. It may be answered that since he
was only the offspring of a daughter of that house, and since that daughter
had three brothers, there would have been no prospect of his becoming king,
when he was named. But neither does his name fit in with that of the other
great house with which he is supposed to be connected. Wiglaf, son of
Wihstan of the Wægmundingas, was named according to the familiar rules: but
Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, seems an intruder in that family as well.

This failure to fall in with the alliterative scheme, and the absence of
confirmation from external evidence, are, of course, not in themselves
enough to prove that the reign of Beowulf over the Geatas is a poetic
figment. And indeed our poem _may_ quite possibly be true to historic fact
in representing him as the last of the great kings of the Geatas; after
whose death his people have nothing but national disaster to expect[19]. It
would be strange that this last and most mighty and magnanimous of the
kings of the Geatas should have been forgotten in Scandinavian lands: that
outside _Beowulf_ nothing should be known of his reign. But when we
consider how little, outside _Beowulf_, we know of the Geatic kingdom at
all, we cannot pronounce such oblivion impossible.

What tells much more against Beowulf as a historic Geatic king is that
there is always apt to be something extravagant and unreal about what the
poem tells us of his deeds, contrasting with the sober and historic way in
which other kings, like Hrothgar or Hygelac or Eadgils, are referred to.
True, we must not disqualify Beowulf forthwith because he slew a
dragon[20]. Several unimpeachably historical persons have done this: so
sober an authority as the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ assures us that fiery
dragons were flying in Northumbria as late as A.D. 793[21].


But (and this is the serious difficulty) even when Beowulf is depicted in
quite historic circumstances, there is still something unsubstantial about
his actions. When, in the midst of the strictly historical account of
Hygelac's overthrow, we are told that Beowulf swam home bearing thirty
suits of armour, this is as fantastic as the account of his swimming home
from Grendel's lair with Grendel's head and the magic swordhilt. We may
well doubt whether there is any more kernel of historic fact in the one
feat than in the other[22]. Again, we are told how Beowulf defended the
young prince Heardred, Hygelac's son. Where was he, then, when Heardred was
defeated and slain? To protect and if necessary avenge his lord upon the
battlefield was the essential duty of the Germanic retainer. Yet Beowulf
has no part to play in the episode of the death of Heardred. He is simply
ignored till it is over. True, we are told that in later days he _did_ take
vengeance, by supporting the claims of Eadgils, the pretender, against
Onela, the slayer of Heardred. But here again difficulties meet us: for the
Scandinavian authorities, whilst they agree that Eadgils overthrew Onela by
the use of foreign auxiliaries, represent these auxiliaries as Danish
retainers, dispatched by the Danish king Hrothulf. The chief of these
Danish retainers is Bothvar Bjarki, who, as we shall see later, has been
thought to stand in some relation to Beowulf. But Bothvar is never regarded
as king of the Geatas: and the fact remains that _Beowulf_ is at variance
with our other authorities in representing Eadgils as having been placed on
the throne by a Geatic rather than by a Danish force. Yet this Geatic
expedition against Onela is, with the exception of the dragon episode, the
only event which our poem has to narrate concerning Beowulf's long reign of
fifty years. And in other respects the reign is shadowy. Beowulf, we are
told, came to the throne at a time of utter national distress; he had a
long and prosperous reign, and became so powerful that he was able to
dethrone the mighty[23] Swedish king Onela, and place in his stead the
miserable fugitive[24] Eadgils. Yet, after this half century of success,
the {13} kingdom is depicted upon Beowulf's death as being in the same
tottering condition in which it stood at the time when he is represented as
having come to the throne, after the fall of Heardred.

The destruction one after the other of the descendants of Hrethel sounds
historic: at any rate it possesses verisimilitude. But the picture of the
childless Beowulf, dying, after a glorious reign, in extreme old age,
having apparently made no previous arrangements for the succession, so that
Wiglaf, a youth hitherto quite untried in war, steps at once into the place
of command on account of his valour in slaying the dragon--this is a
picture which lacks all historic probability.

I cannot avoid a suspicion that the fifty years' reign of Beowulf over the
Geatas may quite conceivably be a poetic fiction[25]; that the downfall of
the Geatic kingdom and its absorption in Sweden were very possibly brought
about by the destruction of Hygelac and all his warriors at the mouth of
the Rhine.

Such an event would have given the Swedes their opportunity for vengeance:
they may have swooped down, destroyed Heardred, and utterly crushed the
independent kingdom of the Geatas before the younger generation had time to
grow up into fighting men.

To the fabulous achievements of Beowulf, his fight with Grendel, Grendel's
dam, and the dragon, it will be necessary to return later. As to his other
feats, all we can say is that the common assumption that they rest upon an
historic foundation does not seem to be capable of proof. But that they
have an historic background is indisputable.

       *       *       *       *       *


Of the Danish kings mentioned in _Beowulf_, we have first Scyld Scefing,
the foundling, an ancient and probably a mythical figure, then Beowulf, son
of Scyld, who seems an intruder among the Danish kings, since the Danish
records know nothing {14} of him, and since his name does not alliterate
with those of either his reputed father or his reputed son. Then comes the
"high" Healfdene, to whom four children were born: Heorogar, Hrothgar,
Halga "the good," and a daughter who was wedded to the Swedish king. Since
Hrothgar is represented as an elder contemporary of Hygelac, we must
date[26] Healfdene and his sons, should they be historic characters,
between A.D. 430 and 520.

Now it is noteworthy that just after A.D. 500 the Danes first become widely
known, and the name "Danes" first meets us in Latin and Greek authors. And
this cannot be explained on the ground that the North has become more
familiar to dwellers in the classical lands: on the contrary far less is
known concerning the geography of the North Sea and the Baltic than had
been the case four or five centuries before. Tacitus and Ptolemy knew of
many tribes inhabiting what is now Denmark, but not of the Danes: the
writers in Ravenna and Constantinople in the sixth century, though much
less well informed on the geography of the North, know of the Danes as
amongst the most powerful nations there. _Beowulf_ is, then, supported by
the Latin and Greek records when it depicts these rulers of Denmark as a
house of mighty kings, the fame of whose realm spread far and wide. We
cannot tell to what extent this realm was made by the driving forth of
alien nations from Denmark, to what extent by the coming together (under
the common name of Danes) of many tribes which had hitherto been known by
other distinct names.

The pedigree of the house of Healfdene can be constructed from the
references in _Beowulf_. Healfdene's three sons, Heorogar, Hrothgar, Halga,
are presumably enumerated in order of age, since Hrothgar mentions
Heorogar, but not Halga, as his senior[27]. Heorogar left a son
Heoroweard[28], but it is in accordance with Teutonic custom that Hrothgar
should have succeeded to the throne if, as we may well suppose, Heoroweard
was too young to be trusted with the kingship.


The younger brother Halga is never mentioned during Beowulf's visit to
Heorot, and the presumption is that he is already dead.

The Hrothulf who, both in _Beowulf_ and _Widsith_, is linked with King
Hrothgar, almost as his equal, is clearly the son of Halga: for he is
Hrothgar's nephew[29], and yet he is not the son of Heorogar[30]. The
mention of how Hrothgar shielded this Hrothulf when he was a child confirms
us in the belief that his father Halga had died early. Yet, though he thus
belongs to the youngest branch of the family, Hrothulf is clearly older
than Hrethric and Hrothmund, the two sons of Hrothgar, whose youth, in
spite of the age of their father, is striking. The seat of honour occupied
by Hrothulf[31] is contrasted with the undistinguished place of his two
young cousins, sitting among the _giogoth_[32]. Nevertheless Hrothgar and
his wife expect their son, not their nephew, to succeed to the throne[33].
Very small acquaintance with the history of royal houses in these lawless
Teutonic times is enough to show us that trouble is likely to be in store.

So much can be made out from the English sources, _Beowulf_ and _Widsith_.
Turning now to the Scandinavian records, we find much confusion as to
details, and as to the characters of the heroes: but the relationships are
the same as in the Old English poem.

Heorogar is, it is true, forgotten; and though a name Hiarwarus is found in
Saxo corresponding to that of Heoroweard, the son of Heorogar, in
_Beowulf_, this Hiarwarus is cut off from the family, now that his father
is no longer remembered. Accordingly the Halfdan of Danish tradition
(Haldanus in Saxo's Latin: = O.E. Healfdene) has only two sons, Hroar {16}
(Saxo's Roe, corresponding to O.E. Hrothgar) and Helgi (Saxo's Helgo: =
O.E. Halga). Helgi is the father of Rolf Kraki (Saxo's Roluo: = O.E.
Hrothulf), the type of the noble king, the Arthur of Denmark.

And, just as Arthur holds court at Camelot, or Charlemagne is at home _ad
Ais, à sa capele_, so the Scandinavian traditions represent Rolf Kraki as
keeping house at Leire (_Lethra_, _Hleiðar garðr_).

    Accounts of all these kings, and above all of Rolf Kraki, meet us in a
    number of Scandinavian documents, of which three are particularly

    (1) Saxo Grammaticus (the lettered), the earlier books of whose
    _Historia Danica_ are a storehouse of Scandinavian tradition and
    poetry, clothed in a difficult and bombastic, but always amusing,
    Latin. How much later than the English these Scandinavian sources are,
    we can realize by remembering that when Saxo was putting the finishing
    touches to his history, King John was ruling in England.

    There are also a number of other Danish-Latin histories and

    (2) The Icelandic _Saga of Rolf Kraki_, a late document belonging to
    the end of the middle ages, but nevertheless containing valuable

    (3) The Icelandic _Skjoldunga saga_, extant only in a Latin summary of
    the end of the sixteenth century.

       *       *       *       *       *


The village of Leire remains to the present day. It stands near the north
coast of the island of Seeland, some five miles from Roskilde and three
miles from the sea, in a gentle valley, through the midst of which flows a
small stream. The village itself consists of a tiny cluster of cottages:
the outstanding feature of the place is formed by the huge grave mounds
scattered around in all directions.

The tourist, walking amid these cottages and mounds, may feel fairly
confident that he is standing on the site of Heorot.

There are two distinct stages in this identification: it must be proved
(_a_) that the modern Leire occupies the site of the Leire (_Lethra_) where
Rolf Kraki ruled, and (_b_) that the Leire of Rolf Kraki was built on the
site of Heorot.

[Illustration: Leire in the Seventeenth Century

From Saxo Grammaticus, ed. Stephanius, 1644.]

{17} (_a_) That the modern Leire occupies the site of the ancient Leire has
indeed been disputed[34], but seems hardly open to doubt, in view of the
express words of the Danish chroniclers[35]. It is true that the mounds,
which these early chroniclers probably imagined as covering the ashes of
'Haldanus' or 'Roe,' and which later antiquaries dubbed with the names of
other kings, are now thought to belong, not to the time of Hrothgar, but to
the Stone or Bronze Ages. But this evidence that Leire was a place of
importance thousands of years before Hrothgar or Hrothulf were born, in no
wise invalidates the overwhelming evidence that it was their residence

The equation of the modern Leire with the Leire of Rolf Kraki we may then
accept. We cannot be quite so sure of our thesis (_b_): that the ancient
Leire was identical with the site where Hrothgar built Heorot. But it is
highly probable: for although Leire is more particularly connected with the
memory of Rolf Kraki himself, we are assured, in one of the mediæval Danish
chronicles, that Leire was the royal seat of Rolf's predecessors as well:
of Ro (Hrothgar) and of Ro's father: and that Ro "enriched it with great
magnificence[36]." Ro also, according to this chronicler, heaped a mound at
Leire over the grave of his father, and was himself buried at Leire under
another mound.

Now since the Danish tradition represents Hrothgar as enriching his royal
town of Leire, whilst English tradition commemorates him as a builder king,
constructing a royal hall "greater than the sons of men had ever heard
speak of"--it becomes very probable that the two traditions are reflections
of the same fact, and that the site of that hall was Leire. That Heorot,
the picturesque name of the hall itself, should, in English tradition, have
been remembered, whilst that of the town where it was built had been
forgotten, is natural[37]. For {18} though the names of heroes survived in
such numbers, after the settlement of the Angles in England, it was very
rarely indeed, so far as we can judge, that the Angles and Saxons continued
to have any clear idea concerning the _places_ which had been familiar to
their forefathers, but which they themselves had never seen.

Further, the names of both Hrothgar and Hrothulf are linked with Heorot in
English tradition in the same way as those of Roe and Rolf are with Leire
in Danish chronicles.

Yet there is some little doubt, though not such as need seriously trouble
us, as to this identification of the site of Heorot with Leire. Two causes
especially have led students to doubt the connection of Roe (Hrothgar) with
Leire, and to place elsewhere the great hall Heorot which he built.

In the first place, Rolf Kraki came to be so intimately associated with
Leire that his connection overshadowed that of Roe, and Saxo even goes so
far in one place as to represent Leire as having been _founded_ by
Rolf[38]. In that case Leire clearly could not be the place where Rolf's
predecessor built his royal hall. But that Saxo is in error here seems
clear, for elsewhere he himself speaks of Leire as being a Danish
stronghold when Rolf was a child[39].

In the second place, Roe is credited with having founded the neighbouring
town of Roskilde (Roe's spring)[40] so that some have wished to locate
Heorot there, rather than at Leire, five miles to the west. But against
this identification of Heorot with Roskilde it must be noted that Roe is
said to have built Roskilde, not as a capital for himself, but as a
market-place for the merchants: there is no suggestion that it was his
royal town, though in time it became the capital, and its cathedral is
still the Westminster Abbey of Denmark.

What at first sight looks so much in favour of our equating {19} Roskilde
with Heorot--the presence in its name of the element _Ro_ (Hrothgar)--is in
reality the most suspicious thing about the identification. There are other
names in Denmark with the element _Ro_, in places where it is quite
impossible to suppose that the king's name is commemorated. Some other
explanation of the name has therefore to be sought, and it is very probable
that Roskilde meant originally not "Hrothgar's spring," but "the horses'
spring," and that the connection with King Ro is simply one of those
inevitable pieces of popular etymology which take place so soon as the true
origin of a name is forgotten[41].

Leire has, then, a much better claim than Roskilde to being the site of
Heorot: and geographical considerations confirm this. For Heorot is clearly
imagined by the poet of _Beowulf_ as being some distance inland; and this,
whilst it suits admirably the position of Leire, is quite inapplicable to
Roskilde, which is situated on the sea at the head of the Roskilde
fjord[42]. Of course we must not expect to find the poet of _Beowulf_, or
indeed any epic poet, minutely exact in his geography. At the same time it
is clear that at the time _Beowulf_ was written there were traditions
extant, dealing with the attack made upon Heorot by the ancestral foes of
the Danes, a tribe called the Heathobeardan. These accounts of the fighting
around Heorot must have preserved the general impression of its situation,
precisely as from the _Iliad_ we know that Troy is neither on the sea nor
yet very remote from it. A poet would draw on his imagination for details,
but would hardly alter a feature like this.

In these matters absolute certainty cannot be reached: but we may be fairly
sure that the spot where Hrothgar built his "Hart-Hall" and where Hrothulf
held that court to which the North ever after looked for its pattern of
chivalry was {20} Leire, where the grave mounds rise out of the waving

       *       *       *       *       *


Now, as _Beowulf_ is the one long Old English poem which happens to have
been preserved, we, drawing our ideas of Old English story almost
exclusively from it, naturally think of Heorot as the scene of the fight
with Grendel.

But in the short poem of _Widsith_, almost certainly older than _Beowulf_,
we have a catalogue of the characters of the Old English heroic poetry.
This catalogue is dry in itself, but is of the greatest interest for the
light it throws upon Old Germanic heroic legends and the history behind
them. And from _Widsith_ it is clear that the rule of Hrothgar and Hrothulf
at Heorot and the attack of the Heathobeardan upon them, rather than any
story of monster-quelling, was what the old poets more particularly
associated with the name of Heorot. The passage in _Widsith_ runs:

    "For a very long time did Hrothgar and Hrothwulf, uncle and nephew,
    hold the peace together, after they had driven away the race of the
    Vikings and humbled the array of Ingeld, had hewed down at Heorot the
    host of the Heathobeardan."

The details of this war can be reconstructed, partly from the allusions in
_Beowulf_, partly from the Scandinavian accounts. The Scandinavian versions
are less primitive and historic. They have forgotten all about the
Heathobeardan as an independent tribe, and, whilst remembering the names of
the leading chieftains on both sides, they see in them members of two rival
branches of the Danish royal house.

We gather from _Beowulf_ that for generations a blood feud has raged
between the Danes and the Heathobeardan. Nothing is told us in _Beowulf_
about the king Healfdene, except that he {21} was fierce in war and that he
lived to be old. From the Scandinavian stories it seems clear that he was
concerned in the Heathobard feud. According to some later Scandinavian
accounts he was slain by Frothi (=Froda, whom we know from _Beowulf_ to
have been king of the Heathobeardan) and this may well have been the
historic fact[44]. How Hroar and Helgi (Hrothgar and Halga), the sons of
Halfdan (Healfdene), evaded the pursuit of Frothi, we learn from the
Scandinavian tales; whether the Old English story knew anything of their
hair-breadth escapes we cannot tell. Ultimately, the saga tells us, Hroar
and Helgi, in revenge for their father's death, burnt the hall over the
head of his slayer, Frothi[45]. To judge from the hints in _Beowulf_, it
would rather seem that the Old English tradition represented this vengeance
upon Froda as having been inflicted in a pitched battle. The eldest brother
Heorogar--known only to the English story--perhaps took his share in this
feat. But, after his brothers Heorogar and Halga were dead, Hrothgar, left
alone, and fearing vengeance in his turn, strove to compose the feud by
wedding his daughter Freawaru to Ingeld, the son of Froda. So much we learn
from the report which Beowulf gives, on his return home, to Hygelac, as to
the state of things at the Danish court.

Beowulf is depicted as carrying a very sage head upon his young shoulders,
and he gives evidence of his astuteness by predicting[46] that the peace
which Hrothgar has purchased will not be lasting. Some Heathobard survivor
of the fight in which Froda fell, will, he thinks, see a young Dane in the
retinue of Freawaru proudly pacing the hall, wearing the treasures which
his father had won from the Heathobeardan. Then the old warrior will urge
on his younger comrade "Canst thou, my lord, tell the sword, the dear iron,
which thy father carried to the fight when he bore helm for the last time,
when the Danes slew him and had the victory? And now the son {22} of one of
these slayers paces the hall, proud of his arms, boasts of the slaughter
and wears the precious sword which thou by right shouldst wield[47]."

Such a reminder as this no Germanic warrior could long resist. So, Beowulf
thinks, the young Dane will be slain; Ingeld will cease to take joy in his
bride; and the old feud will break out afresh.

That it did so we know from _Widsith_, and from the same source we know
that this Heathobard attack was repulsed by the combined strength of
Hrothgar and his nephew Hrothulf.

But the tragic figure of Ingeld, hesitating between love for his father and
love for his wife, between the duty of vengeance and his plighted word, was
one which was sure to attract the interest of the old heroic poets more
even than those of the victorious uncle and nephew. In the eighth century
Alcuin, the Northumbrian, quotes Ingeld as the typical hero of song.
Writing to a bishop of Lindisfarne, he reproves the monks for their
fondness for the old stories about heathen kings, who are now lamenting
their sins in Hell: "in the Refectory," he says, "the Bible should be read:
the lector heard, not the harper: patristic sermons rather than pagan
songs. For what has Ingeld to do with Christ[48]?" This protest testifies
eloquently to the popularity of the Ingeld story, and further evidence is
possibly afforded by the fact that few heroes of story seem to have had so
many namesakes in Eighth Century England.

What is emphasized in _Beowulf_ is not so much the struggle in the mind of
Ingeld as the stern, unforgiving temper of the grim old warrior who will
not let the feud die down; and this is the case also with the Danish
versions, preserved to us in the Latin of Saxo Grammaticus. In two songs
(translated by Saxo into "delightful sapphics") the old warrior
Starcatherus stirs up Ingellus to his revenge:

    "Why, Ingeld, buried in vice, dost thou delay to avenge thy father?
    Wilt thou endure patiently the slaughter of thy righteous sire?...


    Whilst thou takest pleasure in honouring thy bride, laden with gems,
    and bright with golden vestments, grief torments us, coupled with
    shame, as we bewail thine infamies.

    Whilst headlong lust urges thee, our troubled mind recalls the fashion
    of an earlier day, and admonishes us to grieve over many things.

    For we reckon otherwise than thou the crime of the foes, whom now thou
    holdest in honour; wherefore the face of this age is a burden to me,
    who have known the old ways.

    By nought more would I desire to be blessed, if, Froda, I might see
    those guilty of thy murder paying the due penalty of such a crime[49]."

Starkath came to be one of the best-known figures in Scandinavian legend,
the type of the fierce, unrelenting warrior. Even in death his severed head
bit the earth: or according to another version "the trunk fought on when
the head was gone[50]." Nor did the Northern imagination leave him there.
It loved to follow him below, and to indulge in conjectures as to his
bearing in the pit of Hell[51].

    Who the Heathobeardan were is uncertain. It is frequently argued that
    they are identical with the Longobardi; that the words _Heatho-Bard_
    and _Long-Bard_ correspond, just as we get sometimes _Gar-Dene_,
    sometimes _Hring-Dene_. (So Heyne; Bremer in _Pauls Grdr._ (2) III, 949
    _etc._) The evidence for this is however unsatisfactory (see Chambers,
    _Widsith_, 205). Since the year 186 A.D. onwards the Longobardi were
    dwelling far inland, and were certainly never in a position from which
    an attack upon the Danes would have been practicable. If, therefore, we
    accept the identification of Heatho-Bard and Long-Bard, we must suppose
    the Heathobeardan of _Beowulf_ to have been not the Longobardi of
    history, but a separate portion of the people, which had been left
    behind on the shores of the Baltic, when the main body went south. But
    as we have no evidence for any such offshoot from the main tribe, it is
    misleading to speak of the Heathobeardan as identical with the
    Longobardi: and although the similarity of one element in the name
    suggests some primitive relationship, that relationship may well have
    been exceedingly remote[52].


    It has further been proposed to identify the Heathobeardan with the
    Heruli[53]. The Heruli came from the Scandinavian district, overran
    Europe, and became famous for their valour, savagery, and value as
    light-armed troops. If the Heathobeardan are identical with the Heruli,
    and if what we are told of the customs of the Heruli is true, Freawaru
    was certainly to be pitied. The Heruli were accustomed to put to death
    their sick and aged: and to compel widows to commit suicide.

    The supposed identity of the Heruli with the Heathobeardan is however
    very doubtful. It rests solely upon the statement of Jordanes that they
    had been driven from their homes by the Danes (_Dani ... Herulos
    propriis sedibus expulerunt_). This is inconclusive, since the growth
    of the Danish power is likely enough to have led to collisions with
    more than one tribe. In fact _Beowulf_ tells us that Scyld "tore away
    the mead benches from _many_ a people." On the other hand the
    dissimilarity of names is not conclusive evidence against the
    identification, for the word _Heruli_ is pretty certainly the same as
    the Old English _Eorlas_, and is a complimentary nick-name applied by
    the tribe to themselves, rather than their original racial designation.

    Nothing, then, is really known of the Heathobeardan, except that
    evidence points to their having dwelt somewhere on the Baltic[54].

    The Scandinavian sources which have preserved the memory of this feud
    have transformed it in an extraordinary way. The Heathobeardan came to
    be quite forgotten, although maybe some trace of their name remains in
    _Hothbrodd_, who is represented as the foe of Roe (Hrothgar) and Rolf
    (Hrothulf). When the Heathobeardan were forgotten, Froda and Ingeld
    were left without any subjects, and naturally came to be regarded, like
    Healfdene and the other kings with whom they were associated in story,
    as Danish kings. Accordingly the tale developed in Scandinavian lands
    in two ways. Some documents, and especially the Icelandic ones[55],
    represent the struggle as a feud between two branches of the Danish
    royal house. Even here there is no agreement who is the usurper and who
    the victim, so that sometimes it is Froda and sometimes Healfdene who
    is represented as the traitor and murderer.

    But another version[56]--the Danish--whilst making Froda and Ingeld
    into Danish kings, separates their story altogether from that of
    Healfdene and his house: in this version the quarrel is still thought
    of as being between two nations, not as between the rightful heir to
    the throne and a treacherous and relentless usurper. Accordingly the
    feud is such as may be, at any rate temporarily, laid aside: peace
    between the contending parties is not out of the question. This version
    therefore preserves much more of the original character of the story,
    for it remains the tale of a young prince who, willing to marry into
    the house of his ancestral foes and to forgive and forget the old feud,
    is stirred by his more unrelenting henchman into taking vengeance for
    his father. But, owing to the prince having come to be represented as a
    Dane, patriotic reasons have suggested to the {25} Danish poets and
    historians a quite different conclusion to the story. Instead of being
    routed, Ingeld, in Saxo, is successful in his revenge.

    See Neckel, _Studien über Froði_ in _Z.f.d.A._ XLVIII, 182: Heusler,
    _Zur Skiöldungendichtung_ in _Z.f.d.A._ XLVIII, 57: Olrik,
    _Skjoldungasaga_, 1894, 112 [30]; Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, II, 11
    _etc._: Olrik, _Sakses Oldhistorie_, 222-6: Chambers, _Widsith_, pp.

       *       *       *       *       *


Yet, although the Icelandic sources are wrong in representing Froda and
Ingeld as Danes, they are not altogether wrong in representing the Danish
royal house as divided against itself. Only they fail to place the blame
where it really lay. For none of the Scandinavian sources attribute any act
of injustice or usurpation to Rolf Kraki. He is the ideal king, and his
title to the throne is not supposed to be doubtful.

Yet we saw that, in _Beowulf_, the position of Hrothulf is represented as
an ambiguous one[57], he is the king's too powerful nephew, whose claims
may prejudice those of his less distinguished young cousins, the king's
sons, and the speech of queen Wealhtheow is heavy with foreboding. "I
know," she says, "that my gracious Hrothulf will support the young princes
in honour, if thou, King of the Scyldings, shouldst leave the world sooner
than he. I ween that he will requite our children, if he remembers all
which we two have done for his pleasure and honour, being yet a child[58]."
Whilst Hrethric and Hrothmund, the sons of King Hrothgar, have to sit with
the juniors, the _giogoth_[59], Hrothulf is a man of tried valour, who sits
side by side with the king: "where the two good ones sat, uncle and nephew:
_as yet_ was there peace between them, and each was true to the other[60]."

Again we have mention of "Hrothgar and Hrothulf. Heorot was filled full of
friends: _at that time_ the mighty Scylding folk in no wise worked
treachery[61]." Similarly in _Widsith_ the mention of Hrothgar and Hrothulf
together seems to stir the poet to dark sayings. "_For a very long time_
did Hrothgar and Hrothulf, uncle and nephew, hold the peace together[62]."


The statement that "as yet" or "for a very long time" or "at that time"
there was peace within the family, necessarily implies that, at last, the
peace _was_ broken, that Hrothulf quarrelled with Hrothgar, or strove to
set aside his sons[63].

Further evidence is hardly needed; yet further evidence we have: by rather
complicated, but quite unforced, fitting together of various Scandinavian
authorities, we find that Hrothulf deposed and slew his cousin Hrethric.

Saxo Grammaticus tells us how Roluo (Rolf = O.N. Hrolfr, O.E. Hrothulf)
slew a certain Røricus (or Hrærek = O.E. Hrethric) and gave to his own
followers all the plunder which he found in the city of Røricus. Saxo is
here translating an older authority, the _Bjarkamál_ (now lost), and he did
not know who Røricus was: he certainly did not regard him as a son or
successor of Roe (Hrothgar) or as a cousin of Roluo (Hrothulf). "Roluo, who
laid low Røricus _the son of the covetous Bøkus_" is Saxo's phrase (_qui
natum Bøki Røricum stravit avari_). This would be a translation of some
such phrase in the _Bjarkamál_ as _Hræreks bani hnøggvanbauga_, "the slayer
of Hrærek Hnoggvanbaugi[64]."

But, when we turn to the genealogy of the Danish kings[65], we actually
find a _Hrærekr Hnauggvanbaugi_ given as a king of Denmark about the time
of Roluo. This _Røricus_ or _Hrærekr_ who was slain by Roluo was then,
himself, a king of the Danes, and must, therefore, have preceded Roluo on
the throne. But in that case Røricus _must_ be son of Roe, and identical
with his namesake Hrethric, the son of Hrothgar, in _Beowulf_. For no one
but a son of King Roe could have had such a claim to the throne as to rule
between that king and his all powerful nephew Roluo[65].

It is difficult, perhaps, to state this argument in a way which will be
convincing to those who are not acquainted with Saxo's method of working.
To those who realize how he treats {27} his sources, it will be clear that
Røricus is the son of Roe, and is slain by Roluo. Translating the words
into their Old English equivalents, Hrethric, son of Hrothgar, is slain by

The forebodings of Wealhtheow were justified.

Hrethric is then almost certainly an actual historic prince who was thrust
from the throne by Hrothulf. Of Hrothmund[66], his brother, Scandinavian
authorities seem to know nothing. He is very likely a poetical fiction, a
duplicate of Hrethric. For it is very natural that in story the princes
whose lives are threatened by powerful usurpers should go in pairs.
Hrethric and Hrothmund go together like Malcolm and Donalbain. Their
helplessness is thus emphasized over against the one mighty figure, Rolf or
Macbeth, threatening them[67].

Yet this does not prove Hrothmund unhistoric. On the contrary it may well
happen that the facts of history will coincide with the demands of
well-ordered narrative, as was the case when Richard of Gloucester murdered
_two_ young princes in the Tower.

Two other characters, who meet us in _Beowulf_, seem to have some part to
play in this tragedy.

It was a maxim of the old Teutonic poetry, as it is of the British
Constitution, that the king could do no wrong: the real fault lay with the
adviser. If Ermanaric the Goth slew his wife and his son, or if Irminfrid
the Thuringian unwisely challenged Theodoric the Frank to battle, this was
never supposed to be due solely to the recklessness of the monarch
himself--it was the work of an evil counsellor--a Bikki or an Iring. Now we
have seen that there is mischief brewing in Heorot--and we are introduced
to a counsellor Unferth, the _thyle_ or official spokesman and adviser of
King Hrothgar. And Unferth is evil. His jealous temper is shown by the
hostile and inhospitable reception which he gives to Beowulf. And Beowulf's
reply gives us a hint of some darker stain: "though {28} thou hast been the
slayer of thine own brethren--thy flesh and blood: for that thou shalt
suffer damnation in hell, good though thy wit may be[68]." One might
perhaps think that Beowulf in these words was only giving the "countercheck
quarrelsome," and indulging in mere reckless abuse, just as Sinfjotli (the
Fitela of _Beowulf_) in the _First Helgi Lay_ hurls at his foes all kinds
of outrageous charges assuredly not meant to be taken literally. But, as we
learn from the _Helgi Lay_ itself, the uttering of such unfounded taunts
was not considered good form; whilst it seems pretty clear that the speech
of Beowulf to Unferth is intended as an example of justifiable and spirited
self-defence, not, like the speech of Sinfjotli, as a storehouse of things
which a well-mannered warrior should _not_ say.

Besides, the taunt of Beowulf is confirmed, although but darkly, by the
poet himself, in the same passage in which he has recorded the fears of
Wealhtheow lest perhaps Hrothulf should not be loyal to Hrothgar and his
issue: "Likewise there Unferth the counsellor sat at the foot of the lord
of the Scyldingas: each of them [i.e. both Hrothgar and Hrothulf] trusted
to his spirit: that his courage was great, _though he had not done his duty
by his kinsmen at the sword-play_[69]."

But, granting that Unferth has really been the cause of the death of his
kinsmen, some scholars have doubted whether we are to suppose that he
literally slew them himself. For, had that been the case, they urge, he
could not be occupying a place of trust with the almost ideal king
Hrothgar. But the record of the historians makes it quite clear that murder
of kin did happen, and that constantly[70]. Amid the tragic complexities of
heroic life it often could not be avoided. The _comitatus_-system, by which
a man was expected to give unflinching support to any chief whose service
he had entered, must often have resulted in slaughter between men united by
very close bonds of kin or friendship. Turning from history to saga, we
find some of the greatest heroes not free from the stain. Sigmund, {29}
Gunnar, Hogni, Atli, Hrothulf, Heoroweard, Hnæf, Eadgils, Hæthcyn,
Ermanaric and Hildebrand were all marred with this taint, and indeed were,
in many cases, rather to be pitied than blamed. I doubt, therefore, whether
we need try and save Unferth's character by suggesting that the stern words
of the poet mean only that he had indirectly caused the death of his
brethren by failing them, in battle, at some critical moment[71]. I suspect
that this, involving cowardice or incompetence, would have been held the
more unpardonable offence, and _would_ have resulted in Unferth's disgrace.
But a man might well have slain his kin under circumstances which, while
leaving a blot on his record, did not necessitate his banishment from good
society. All the same, the poet evidently thinks it a weakness on the part
of Hrothgar and Hrothulf that, after what has happened, they still put
their trust in Unferth.

Here then is the situation. The king has a counsellor: that counsellor is
evil. Both the king and his nephew trust the evil counsellor. A bitter feud
springs up between the king and his nephew. That the feud was due to the
machinations of the evil adviser can hardly be doubted by those who have
studied the ways of the old Germanic heroic story. But it is only an
inference: positive proof we have none.

Lastly, there is Heoroweard. Of him we are told in _Beowulf_ very little.
He is son of Heorogar (or Heregar), Hrothgar's elder brother, who was
apparently king before him, but died young[72]. It is quite natural, as we
have seen, that, if Heoroweard was too young for the responsibility when
his father died, he should not have succeeded to the throne. What is not so
natural is that he does not inherit his father's arms, which one might
reasonably have supposed Hrothgar would have preserved, to give to him when
he came of age. Instead, Hrothgar gives them to Beowulf[73]. Does Hrothgar
deliberately avoid doing honour to Heoroweard, because he fears that any
distinction conferred upon him would strengthen a rival {30} whose claims
to the throne might endanger those of his own sons? However this may be, in
any future struggle for the throne Heoroweard may reasonably be expected to
play some part.

Turning now to Saxo, and to the _Saga of Rolf Kraki_, we find that Rolf
owed his death to the treachery of one whose name corresponds exactly to
that of Heoroweard--Hiarwarus (Saxo), Hj[o,]rvarthr (_Saga_). Neither Saxo
nor the _Saga_ thinks of Hiarwarus as the cousin of Rolf Kraki: they do not
make it really clear _what_ the cause of his enmity was. But they tell us
that, after a banquet, he and his men treacherously rose upon Rolf and his
warriors. The defence which Rolf and his men put up in their burning hall:
the loyalty and defiance of Rolf's champions, invincible in death--these
were amongst the most famous things of the North; they were told in the
_Bjarkamál_, now unfortunately extant in Saxo's paraphrase only.

But the triumph of Hiarwarus was brief. Rolf's men all fell around him,
save the young Wiggo, who had previously, in the confidence of youth,
boasted that, should Rolf fall, he would avenge him. Astonished at the
loyalty of Rolf's champions, Hiarwarus expressed regret that none had taken
quarter, declaring that he would gladly accept the service of such men.
Whereupon Wiggo came from the hiding-place where he had taken refuge, and
offered to do homage to Hiarwarus, by placing his hand on the hilt of his
new lord's sword: but in doing so he drove the point through Hiarwarus, and
rejoiced as he received his death from the attendants of the foe he had
slain. It shows how entirely the duty of vengeance was felt to outweigh all
other considerations, that this treacherous act of Wiggo is always spoken
of with the highest praise.

    For the story of the fall of Rolf and his men see Saxo, Book II (ed.
    Holder, pp. 55-68): _Saga of Rolf Kraki_, caps. 32-34: _Skjoldunga
    Saga_ (ed. Olrik, 1894, 36-7 [118-9]).

    How the feud between the different members of the Danish family forms
    the background to _Beowulf_ was first explained in full detail by
    Ludvig Schrøder (_Om Bjovulfs-drapen. Efter en række foredrag på
    folke-höjskolen i Askov_, Kjøbenhavn, 1875). Schrøder showed how the
    bad character of Unferth has its part to play: "It is a _weakness_ in
    Hrothgar that he entrusts important office to such a man--a {31}
    weakness which will carry its punishment." Independently the domestic
    feud was demonstrated again by Sarrazin (_Rolf Krake und sein vetter im
    Beowulfliede_: _Engl. Stud._ XXIV, 144-5). The story has been fully
    worked out by Olrik (_Heltedigtning_, 1903, I, 11-18 _etc._).

    These views have been disputed by Miss Clarke (_Sidelights_, 102), who
    seems to regard as "hypotheses" of Olrik data which have been
    ascertained facts for more than a generation. Miss Clarke's
    contentions, however, appear to me to be based upon a misunderstanding
    of Olrik.

       *       *       *       *       *


The poem, then, is mainly concerned with the deeds of Geatic and Danish
kings: only once is reference made to a king of Anglian stock--Offa.

The _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ tells us of several kings named Offa, but two
only concern us here. Still remembered is the historic tyrant-king who
reigned over Mercia during the latter half of the eighth century, and who
was celebrated through the Middle Ages chiefly as the founder of the great
abbey of St Albans. This Offa is sometimes referred to as Offa _the
Second_, because he had a remote ancestor, Offa I, who, if the Mercian
pedigree can be trusted, lived twelve generations earlier, and therefore
presumably in the latter half of the fourth century. Offa I, then, must
have ruled over the Angles whilst they were still dwelling in Angel, their
continental home, in or near the modern Schleswig.

Now the Offa mentioned in _Beowulf_ is spoken of as related to Garmund and
Eomer (MS _geomor_). This, apart from the abundant further evidence, is
sufficient to identify him with Offa I, who was, according to the pedigree,
the son of Wærmund and the grandfather of Eomer.

This Offa I, king of Angel, is referred to in _Widsith_. _Widsith_ is a
composite poem: the passage concerning Offa, though not the most obviously
primitive portion of it, is, nevertheless, early: it may well be earlier
than _Beowulf_. After a list of famous chieftains we are told:

    Offa ruled Angel, Alewih the Danes; he was the boldest of all these
    men, yet did he not in his deeds of valour surpass Offa. But Offa
    gained, first of men, by arms the greatest of kingdoms whilst yet a
    boy; no one of equal age ever did greater deeds of valour in battle
    with his single sword: he drew the boundary against the Myrgingas at
    Fifeldor. The boundaries were held afterwards by the Angles and the
    Swæfe as Offa struck it out.


Much is obscure here: more particularly our ignorance as to the Myrgingas
is to be regretted: but there is reason for thinking that they were a
people dwelling to the south of the old continental home of the Angles.

After the lapse of some five centuries, we get abundant further information
concerning Offa. The legends about him, though carried to England by the
Anglian conquerors, must also have survived in the neighbourhood of his old
kingdom of Angel: for as Angel was incorporated into the Danish kingdom, so
these stories became part of the stock of Danish national legend. Offa came
to be regarded as a Danish king, and his story is told at length by the two
earliest historians of Denmark, Sweyn Aageson and Saxo Grammaticus. In Saxo
the story runs thus:

Wermund, king of Denmark, had a son Uffo [Offa], tall beyond the measure of
his age, but dull and speechless. When Wermund grew blind, his southern
neighbour, the king of Saxony, laid claim to Denmark on the ground that he
was no longer fit to rule, and, relying upon Uffo's incapacity, suggested
that the quarrel should be decided by their two sons in single combat.
Wermund, in despair, offered himself to fight, in spite of his blindness:
this offer the envoys of the Saxon king refused with insult, and the Danes
knew not what to say. Thereupon Uffo, who happened to be present, suddenly
asked leave to speak. Wermund could not believe that it was really his son
who had spoken, but when they all assured him that it _was_, he gave the
permission. "In vain," then said Uffo, "does the king of Saxony covet the
land of Denmark, which trusts to its true king and its brave nobles:
neither is a son wanting to the king nor a successor to the kingdom." And
he offered to fight not only the Saxon prince, but any chosen champion the
prince might bring with him.

The Saxon envoys accepted the offer and departed. The blind king was at
last convinced, by passing his hands over him, that the speaker had been in
truth his son. But it was found difficult to arm him; for his broad chest
split the rings of every coat of mail: the largest, his father's, had to be
cleft down the side and fastened with a clasp. Likewise no sword {33} was
so well tempered that he did not shatter it by merely brandishing it, till
the old king directed his men how they might find his ancient sword,
_Skrep_ (= ? stedfast) which he had buried, in despair, thinking his son
unworthy of it. The sword, when found, was so frail from age that Uffo did
not test it: for Wermund told him that, if he broke it, there was no other
left strong enough for him.

So Uffo and his two antagonists were taken to the place of combat, an
island in the river Eider. Crowds lined either bank, and Wermund stood
prepared to throw himself into the river should his son be slain. Uffo held
back at first, till he had discovered which of his antagonists was the more
dangerous, since he feared the sword would only be good for one blow. Then,
having by his taunts induced the champion to come to close quarters, he
clove him asunder with one stroke. Wermund cried out that he had heard the
sound of his son's sword, and asked where the blow had fallen: his
attendants assured him that it had pierced, not any particular part, but
the man's whole structure.

So Wermund drew back from the edge, desiring life now as keenly as before
he had longed for death. Finally Uffo smote his second antagonist through,
thus opening a career which after such a beginning we may well believe to
have been glorious.

The story is told again by Sweyn Aageson in a slightly varying form.
Sweyn's story has some good traits of its own--as when it makes Uffo enter
the lists girt with _two_ swords, intending to use his father's only in an
emergency. The worthless sword breaks, and all the Danes quake for fear:
whereupon Uffo draws the old sword and achieves the victory. But above all
Sweyn Aageson tells us the _reason_ of Uffo's dumbness and incapacity,
which Saxo leaves obscure: it was the result of shame over the deeds of two
Danes who had combined to avenge their father upon a single foe. What is
the incident referred to we can gather from Saxo. Two Danes, Keto and Wigo,
whose father Frowinus had been slain by a hostile king Athislus, attacked
Athislus together, two to one, thus breaking the laws of the duel. Uffo had
wedded the sister of {34} Keto and Wigo, and it was in order to wipe out
the stain left upon his family and his nation by their breach of duelling
etiquette that he insisted upon fighting single-handed against two

That this incident was also known in England is rendered probable by the
fact that Freawine and Wig, who correspond to Saxo's Frowinus and Wiggo,
are found in the genealogy of English kings, and that an Eadgils, king of
the Myrgingas, who is almost certainly the Athislus of Saxo[74], also
appears in Old English heroic poetry. It is probable then that the two
tales were connected in Old English story: the two brethren shamefully
combine to avenge their father: in due time the family of the slain foe
take up the feud: Offa saves his country and his country's honour by
voluntarily undertaking to fight one against two.

About the same time that the Danish ecclesiastics were at work, a monk of
St Albans was committing to Latin the English stories which were still
current concerning Offa. The object of the English writer was, however,
local rather than national. He wrote the _Vitae duorum Offarum_ to
celebrate the historic Offa, king of Mercia, the founder of his abbey, and
that founder's ancestor, Offa I: popular tradition had confused the two,
and much is told concerning the Mercian Offa that seems to belong more
rightly to his forefather. The St Albans writer drew upon contemporary
tradition, and it is evident that in certain cases, as when he gives two
sets of names to some of the chief actors in the story, he is trying to
harmonize two distinct versions: he makes at least one error which seems to
point to a written source[75]. In one of the MSS the story is illustrated
by a series of very artistic drawings, which might possibly be from the pen
of Matthew Paris himself[76]. These drawings depict a version of the story
which in some respects differs from the Latin text which they accompany.

[Illustration: Offa, miraculously restored, vindicates his Right. At the
side, Offa is represented in Prayer

_From MS Cotton Nero D. I, fol. 2 b._ ]

{35} The story is located in England. Warmundus is represented as a king of
the Western Angles, ruling at Warwick. Offa, his only son, was blind till
his seventh, dumb till his thirtieth year. Accordingly an ambitious noble,
Riganus, otherwise called Aliel, claims to be recognized heir, in hope of
gaining the throne for his son, Hildebrand (Brutus). Offa gains the gift of
speech in answer to prayer; to the joy of his father and the councillors he
vindicates his right, much as in the Danish story. He is knighted with a
chosen body of companions, armed, and leads the host to meet the foe. He
dashes across the river which separates the two armies, although his
followers hang back. This act of cowardice on their part is not explained:
it is apparently a reminiscence of an older version in which Offa fights
his duel single handed by the river, and his host look on. The armies join
battle, but after a long struggle draw away from each other with the
victory undecided. Offa remaining in front of his men is attacked by Brutus
(or Hildebrand) and Sueno, the sons of the usurper, and slays them both (a
second reminiscence of the duel-scene). He then hurls himself again upon
the foe, and wins the victory.

_Widsith_ shows us that the Danish account has kept closer to the primitive
story than has later English tradition. _Widsith_ confirms the Danish view
that the quarrel was with a foreign, not with a domestic foe, and the
combat a duel, not a pitched battle: above all, _Widsith_ confirms Saxo in
representing the fight as taking place on the Eider--_b[=i]
F[=i]feldore_[77], whilst the account recorded by the monk of St Albans had
localised the story in England.


In _Beowulf_ too we hear of Offa as a mighty king, "the best of all mankind
betwixt the seas." But, although his wars are referred to, we are given no
details of them. The episode in _Beowulf_ relates rather to his wife
Thryth, and his dealings with her. The passage is the most obscure in the
whole poem, but this at least is clear: Thryth had an evil reputation for
cruelty and murder: she wedded Offa, and he put a stop to her evil deeds:
she became to him a good and loyal wife.

Now in the _Lives of the two Offas_ quite a long space is devoted to the
matrimonial entanglements of both kings. Concerning Offa I, a tale is told
of how he succoured a daughter of the king of York, who had been turned
adrift by her father; how when his years were advancing his subjects
pressed him to marry: and how his mind went back to the damsel whom he had
saved, and he chose her for his wife. Whilst the king was absent on his
wars, a messenger whom he had sent with a letter to report his victories
passed through York, where the wicked father of Offa's queen lived. A false
letter was substituted, commanding that the queen and her children should
be mutilated and left to die in the woods, because she was a witch and had
brought defeat upon the king's arms. The order was carried out, but a
hermit rescued and healed the queen and her children, and ultimately united
them to the king.

This is a popular folk-tale which is scattered all over Europe, and which
has many times been clothed in literary form: in France in the romance of
the _Manekine_, in English in the metrical romance of _Emaré_, and in
Chaucer's _Man of Lawes Tale_. From the name of the heroine in the last of
these versions, the tale is often known as the _Constance_-story. But it is
clear that this tale is not identical with the obscure story of the wife of
Offa, which is indicated in _Beowulf_.

When, however, we turn to the _Life of Offa II_, we do find a very close
parallel to the Thryth story.

[Illustration: Drida (Thryth) arrives in the land of King Offa, "in
nauicula armamentis carente"

_From MS Cotton Nero D. I, fol. 11a_ ]

{37} This tells how in the days of Charles the Great a certain beautiful
but wicked girl, related to that king, was condemned to death on account of
her crimes, but, from respect for her birth, was exposed instead in a boat
without sails or tackle, and driven ashore on the coast of King Offa's
land. Drida, as she said her name was, deceived the king by a tale of
injured innocence, and he committed her to the safe keeping of his mother,
the Countess Marcellina. Later, Offa fell in love with Drida, and married
her, after which she became known as _Quendrida_. But Drida continued her
evil courses and compassed the death of St Æthelbert, the vassal king of
East Anglia. In the end she was murdered by robbers--a just punishment for
her crimes--and her widowed husband built the Abbey of St Albans as a
thank-offering for her death.

The parallel here is too striking to be denied: for Drida is but another
way of spelling Thryth, and the character of the murderous queen is the
same in both stories. There are, however, striking differences: for whereas
Thryth ceases from her evil deeds and becomes a model wife to Offa, Drida
continues on her course of crime, and is cut off by violence in the midst
of her evil career. How are we to account for the parallels and for the

As a matter of historical fact, the wife of Offa, king of Mercia, _was_
named (not indeed Cwoenthryth, which is the form which should correspond to
Quendrida, but) Cynethryth. The most obvious and facile way of accounting
for the likeness between what we are told in _Beowulf_ of the queen of Offa
I, and what we are elsewhere told of the queen of Offa II, is to suppose
that Thryth in _Beowulf_ is a mere fiction evolved from the historic
Cynethryth, wife of Offa II, and by poetic licence represented as the wife
of his ancestor, Offa I. It was in this way she was explained by Professor

    The name [Thrytho] was suggested by that of Cynethryth, Offa's
    queen.... The vindictive character here given to Thrytho is a poetic
    and veiled admonition addressed to Cynethryth[78].

Unfortunately this, like many another facile theory, is open to fatal
objections. In the first place the poem of _Beowulf_ can, with fair
certainty, be attributed to a date _earlier_ than that at which the
historic Offa and his spouse lived. Of course, it may be said that the Offa
episode in _Beowulf_ is an interpolation of a later date. But this needs

There are metrical and above all syntactical grounds {38} which have led
most scholars to place _Beowulf_ very early[79]. If we wish to regard the
_Offa-Thryth_-episode as a later interpolation, we ought first to prove
that it is later in its syntax and metre. We have no right to assume that
the episode is an interpolation merely because such an assumption may suit
our theory of the development of _Beowulf_. So until reasons are
forthcoming for supposing the episode of Thryth to be later than the rest
of the poem, we can but note that what we know of the date of _Beowulf_
forbids us to accept Earle's theory that Thryth is a reflection of, or
upon, the historic Cynethryth.

But there are difficulties in the way of Earle's theory even more serious
than the chronological one. We know nothing very definitely about the wife
of Offa II, except her name, but from a reference in a letter of Alcuin it
seems clear that she was a woman of marked piety: it is not likely that she
could have been guilty of deliberate murder of the kind represented in the
_Life of Offa II_. The St Albans _Life_ depends, so far as we know, upon
the traditions which were current four centuries after her death. There may
be, there doubtless are, some historic facts concerning Offa preserved in
it: but we have no reason to think that the bad character of Offa's queen
is one of them. Indeed, on purely intrinsic grounds we might well suppose
the reverse. As a matter of history we know that Offa _did_ put to death
Æthelberht, the vassal king of East Anglia. When in the _Life_ we find Offa
completely exonerated, and the deed represented as an assassination brought
about by the malice and cruelty of his queen, it seems intrinsically likely
that we are dealing with an attempt of the monks to clear their founder by
transferring his cruel deeds to the account of his wife.

So far, then, from Thryth being a reflection of an historic cruel queen
Cynethryth, it is more probable that the influence has been in the reverse
direction; that the pious Cynethryth has been represented as a monster of
cruelty because she has not unnaturally been confused with a mythical
Thryth, the wife of Offa I.

To this it may be objected that we have no right to assume remarkable
coincidences, and that such a coincidence is {39} involved by the
assumption that there was a story of a mythical Thryth, the wife of Offa I,
and that this existed prior to, and independently of, the actual wedding of
Offa II to a Cynethryth. But the exceeding frequency of the element
_thryth_ in the names of women robs this objection of all its point. Such a
coincidence, far from being remarkable, would be the most natural in the
world. If we look at the Mercian pedigree we find that almost half the
ladies connected with it have that element _thryth_ in their names. The
founder of the house, Wihtlæg, according to Saxo Grammaticus[80], wedded
Hermuthruda, the old English form of which would be Eormenthryth.

It is to this lady Hermuthruda that we must now devote our attention. She
belongs to a type which is common in folk-tale down to the time of Hans
Andersen--the cruel princess who puts her lovers to death unless they can
vanquish her in some way, worsting her in a contest of wits, such as the
guessing of riddles, or a contest of strength, such as running, jumping, or
wrestling. The stock example of this perilous maiden is, of course, for
classical story Atalanta, for Germanic tradition the Brunhilt of the
_Nibelungen Lied_, who demands from her wooer that he shall surpass her in
all three feats; if he fails in one, his head is forfeit[81].

Of this type was Hermuthruda: "in the cruelty of her arrogance she had
always loathed her wooers, and inflicted upon them the supreme punishment,
so that out of many there was not one but paid for his boldness with his
head[82]," words which remind us strongly of what our poet says of Thryth.

Hamlet (Amlethus) is sent by the king of Britain to woo this maiden for
him: but she causes Hamlet's shield and the commission to be stolen while
he sleeps: she learns from the shield that the messenger is the famous and
valiant Hamlet, and alters the commission so that her hand is requested,
not for the king of Britain, but for Hamlet himself. With this request she
complies, and the wedding is celebrated. But when Wihtlæg (Vigletus)
conquers and slays Hamlet, she weds the conqueror, thus becoming ancestress
of Offa.


It may well be that there is some connection between the Thryth of
_Beowulf_ and the Hermuthruda who in Saxo weds Offa's ancestor--that they
are both types of the wild maiden who becomes a submissive though not
always happy wife. If so, the continued wickedness of Drida in the _Life of
Offa II_ would be an alteration of the original story, made in order to
exonerate Offa II from the deeds of murder which, as a matter of history,
did characterize his reign.

       *       *       *       *       *





When we come to the story of Beowulf's struggle with Grendel, with
Grendel's mother, and with the dragon, we are faced by difficulties much
greater than those which meet us when considering that background of Danish
or Geatic history in which these stories are framed.

In the first place, it is both surprising and confusing that, in the
prologue, before the main story begins, _another_ Beowulf is introduced,
the son of Scyld Scefing. Much emphasis is laid upon the upbringing and
youthful fame of this prince, and the glory of his father. Any reader would
suppose that the poet is going on to tell of _his_ adventures, when
suddenly the story is switched off, and, after brief mention of this
Beowulf's son, Healfdene, we come to Hrothgar, the building of Heorot,
Grendel's attack, and the voyage of Beowulf the Geat to the rescue.

Now "Beowulf" is an exceedingly rare name. The presence of the earlier
Beowulf, Scyld's son, seems then to demand explanation, and many critics,
working on quite different lines, have arrived independently at the
conclusion that either the story of Grendel and his mother, or the story of
the dragon, or both stories, were originally told of the son of Scyld, and
only afterwards transferred to the Geatic hero. This has indeed been
generally accepted, almost from the beginning of {42} Beowulf
criticism[83]. Yet, though possible enough, it does not admit of any

Now Beowulf, son of Scyld, clearly corresponds to a Beow or Beaw in the
West Saxon genealogy. In this genealogy Beow is always connected with Scyld
and Scef, and in some versions the relations are identical with those given
in _Beowulf_: Beow, son of Scyld, son of Scef, in the genealogies[84],
corresponding to Beowulf, son of Scyld Scefing, in our poem. Hence arose
the further speculation of many scholars that the hero who slays the
monsters was originally called, not Beowulf, but Beow, and that he was
identical with the hero in the West Saxon pedigree; in other words, that
the original story was of a hero Beow (son of Scyld) who slew a monster and
a dragon: and that this adventure was only subsequently transferred to
Beowulf, prince of the Geatas.

This is a theory based upon a theory, and some confirmation may reasonably
be asked, before it is entertained. As to the dragon-slaying, the
confirmatory evidence is open to extreme doubt. It is dealt with in Section
VII (Beowulf-Frotho), below. As to Grendel, one such piece of confirmation
there is. The conquering Angles and Saxons seem to have given the names of
their heroes to the lands they won in England: some such names--'Wade's
causeway,' 'Weyland's smithy'--have survived to modern times. The evidence
of the Anglo-Saxon charters shows that very many which have now been lost
existed in England prior to the Conquest. Now in a Wiltshire charter of the
year 931, we have _B[=e]owan hammes hecgan_ mentioned not far from a
_Grendles mere_. This has been claimed as evidence that the story of
Grendel, with Beow as his adversary, was localized in Wiltshire in the
reign of Athelstan, and perhaps had been localized there since the
settlement four centuries previously. Until recently this was accepted as
definitely {43} proving that the Beowulf-Grendel story was derived from an
ancient Beow-myth. Yet one such instance of name-association is not
conclusive. We cannot leave out of consideration the possibility of its
being a mere chance coincidence, especially considering how large is the
number of place names recorded in Old English charters. Of late, people
have become more sceptical in drawing inferences from proper names, and
quite recently there has been a tendency entirely to overlook the evidence
of the charter, by way of making compensation for having hitherto overrated

All that can be said with certainty is that it _is_ remarkable that a place
named after Beowa should be found in the immediate proximity of a
"Grendel's lake," and that this fact supports the possibility, though it
assuredly does not prove, that in the oldest versions of the tale the
monster queller was named Beow, not Beowulf. But it is only a possibility:
it is not grounded upon any real evidence.

    These crucial references occur in a charter given by Athelstan at
    Luton, concerning a grant of land at Ham in Wiltshire to his thane
    Wulfgar. [See Birch, _Cartularium Saxonicum_, 1887, vol. II, p. 363.]

    ... Ego Æðelstanus, rex Anglorum ... quandam telluris particulam meo
    fideli ministro Wulfgaro ... in loco quem solicolae _oet Hamme_
    vocitant tribuo ... Praedicta siquidem tellus his terminis circumcincta

    ðonne norð ofer d[=u]ne on m[=e]os-hlinc westeweardne; ðonne ad[=u]ne
    on ð[=a] yfre on b[=e]owan hammes hecgan, on br[=e]meles sceagan
    [=e]asteweardne; ðonne on ð[=a] bl[=a]can gr[=æ]fan; ðonne norð be
    ð[=e]m ondh[=e]afdan t[=o] ð[=æ]re scortan d[=i]c b[=u]tan [=a]nan
    æcre; ðonne t[=o] fugelmere t[=o] ð[=a]n wege; ondlong weges t[=o]
    ottes forda; ðonon t[=o] wudumere; ðonne t[=o] ð[=æ]re r[=u]wan hecgan;
    ðæt on langan hangran; ðonne on grendles mere; ðonon on dyrnan geat....

    Ambiguous as this evidence is, I do not think it can be dismissed as it
    is by Lawrence (_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXIV, 252) and Panzer
    (_Beowulf_, 397), who both say "How do we know that it is not the
    merest chance?" It _may_ of course be chance: but this does not justify
    us in basing an argument upon the assumption that it _is_ the merest
    chance. Lawrence continues: "Suppose one were to set up a theory that
    there was a saga-relation between Scyld and Bikki, and offered as proof
    the passage in the charter for the year 917 in which there are
    mentioned, as in the same district, _scyldes treow_ and _bican
    sell_.... How much weight would this carry?"

    The answer surely is that the occurrence of the two names together in
    the charter would, by itself, give no basis whatever for starting such
    a theory: but if, on other grounds, the theory were likely, then the
    occurrence of the two names together would certainly have some
    corroborative value. Exactly how much, it is impossible to say, because
    we cannot estimate the element of chance, and we cannot {44} be certain
    that the _grendel_ and the _beowa_ mentioned are identical with our
    Grendel and our Beowulf.

    Miller has argued [_Academy_, May 1894, p. 396] that _grendles_ is not
    a proper name here, but a common noun signifying "drain," and that
    _grendles mere_ therefore means "cesspool."

    Now "grindle" is found in modern dialect and even in Middle English[85]
    in the sense of "a narrow ditch" or "gutter," but I doubt if it can be
    proved to be an Old English word. Evidence would rather point to its
    being an East Anglian corruption of the much more widely spread
    _drindle_, or _dringle_, used both as a verb "to go slowly, to
    trickle," and as "a small trickling stream." And even if an O.E.
    _grendel_ as a common noun meaning "gutter" were authenticated, it
    seems unlikely to me that places were named "the fen," "the mere," "the
    pit," "the brook"--"of the gutter." There is no ground whatever for
    supposing the existence of an O.E. _grendel_ = "sewer," or anything
    which would lead us to suppose _grendles mere_ or _gryndeles sylle_ to
    mean "cesspool[86]." Surely it is probable, knowing what we do of the
    way in which the English settlers gave epic names to the localities
    around their settlements, that these places were named after Grendel
    because they seemed the sort of place where his story might be
    localized--like "Weyland's smithy" or "Wade's causeway": and that the
    meaning is "Grendel's fen," "mere," "pit" or "brook."

    Again, both Panzer and Lawrence suggest that the Beowa who gave his
    name to the _ham_ may have been, not the hero, but "an ordinary mortal
    called after him" ... "some individual who lived in this locality."
    But, among the numerous English proper names recorded, can any instance
    be found of any individual named Beowa? {45} And was it in accordance
    with the rules of Old English nomenclature to give to mortals the names
    of these heroes of the genealogies[87]?

Recent scepticism as to the "Beow-myth" has been largely due to the fact
that speculation as to Beow had been carried too far. For example, because
Beow appeared in the West Saxon genealogy, it had been assumed that the
Beow-myth belonged essentially to the Angles and Saxons. Yet Beow would
seem to have been also known among Scandinavians. For in somewhat later
days Scandinavian genealogists, when they had made the acquaintance of the
Anglo-Saxon pedigrees, noted that Beow had a Scandinavian counterpart in a
hero whom they called Bjar[88]. That something was known in the north of
this Bjar is proved by the _Kálfsvísa_, that same catalogue of famous
heroes and their horses which we have already found giving us the
counterparts of Onela and Eadgils. Yet this dry reference serves to show
that Bjar must once have been sufficiently famous to have a horse specially
his own[89]. Whether the fourteenth century Scandinavian who made Bjar the
Northern equivalent of Beow was merely guessing, we unfortunately cannot
tell. Most probably he was, for there is reason to think that the hero
corresponding to Beow was named, not _Bjár_, but _Byggvir_[90]: a
correspondence intelligible to modern philologists as in agreement with
phonetic law, but naturally not obvious to an Icelandic genealogist. But
however this may be, the assumption that Beow was peculiarly the hero of
Angles and Saxons seems hardly justified.


Again, since Beow is an ancestor of Woden, it was further assumed that he
was an ancient god, and that in the story of his adventures we had to deal
with a nature-myth of a divine deliverer who saved the people from Grendel
and his mother, the personified powers of the stormy sea. It is with the
name of Müllenhoff, its most enthusiastic and ablest advocate, that this
"mythological theory" is particularly associated. That Grendel is
fictitious no one, of course, would deny. But Müllenhoff and his school, in
applying the term "mythical" to those portions of the _Beowulf_ story for
which no historical explanation could be found, meant that they enshrined
_nature-myths_. They thought that those elements in heroic poetry which
could not be referred back to actual fact must be traced to ancient stories
in which were recorded the nation's belief about the sun and the gods:
about storms and seasons.

The different mythological explanations of Beowulf-Beowa and Grendel have
depended mainly upon hazardous etymological explanations of the hero's
name. The most popular is Müllenhoff's interpretation. Beaw is the divine
helper of man in his struggle with the elements. Grendel represents the
stormy North Sea of early spring, flooding and destroying the habitations
of men, till the god rescues them: Grendel's mother represents the depths
of the ocean. But in the autumn the power of the god wanes: the dragon
personifies the coming of the wild weather: the god sinks in his final
struggle to safeguard the treasures of the earth for his people[91].
Others, remembering that Grendel dwells in the fen, see in him rather a
demon of the sea-marsh than of the sea itself: he is the pestilential
swamp[92], and the hero a wind which drives him away[93]. Or, whilst
Grendel still represents the storms, his antagonist is a "Blitzheros[94]."
Others, whilst hardly ranking Beowulf as {47} a god, still see an allegory
in his adventures, and Grendel must be a personification either of an
inundation[95], or of the terror of the long winter nights[96], or possibly
of grinding at the mill, the work of the enslaved foe[97].

Such explanations were till recently universally current: the instances
given above might be increased considerably.

Sufficient allowance was not made for the influence upon heroic poetry of
the simple popular folk-tale, a tale of wonder with no mythological or
allegorical meaning. Now, of late years, there has been a tendency not only
to recognize but even to exaggerate this influence: to regard the hero of
the folk-tale as the original and essential element in heroic poetry[98].
Though this is assuredly to go too far, it is but reasonable to recognize
the fairy tale element in the O.E. epic.

We have in _Beowulf_ a story of giant-killing and dragon-slaying. Why
should we construct a legend of the gods or a nature-myth to account for
these tales? Why must Grendel or his mother represent the tempest, or the
malaria, or the drear long winter nights? We know that tales of
giant-killers and dragon-slayers have been current among the people of
Europe for thousands of years. Is it not far more easy to regard the story
of the fight between Beowulf and Grendel merely as a fairy tale, glorified
into an epic[99]?

Those students who of late years have tried thus to elucidate the story of
Beowulf and Grendel, by comparison with folk-tales, have one great
advantage over Müllenhoff and the "mythological" school. The weak point of
Müllenhoff's view was that the nature-myth of Beow, which was called in to
explain the origin of the Beowulf story as we have it, was itself only an
assumption, a conjectural reconstruction. But the various popular tales in
which scholars have more recently tried to find parallels to _Beowulf_ have
this great merit, that {48} they do indubitably exist. And as to the first
step--the parallel between _Beowulf_ and the _Grettis saga_--there can,
fortunately, be but little hesitation.

       *       *       *       *       *


The _Grettis saga_ tells the adventures of the most famous of all Icelandic
outlaws, Grettir the strong. As to the historic existence of Grettir there
is no doubt: we can even date the main events of his life, in spite of
chronological inconsistencies, with some precision. But between the year
1031, when he was killed, and the latter half of the thirteenth century,
when his saga took form, many fictitious episodes, derived from folk-lore,
had woven themselves around his name. Of these, one bears a great, if
possibly accidental, likeness to the Grendel story: the second is
emphatically and unmistakably the same story as that of Grendel and his
mother. In the first, Grettir stops at a farm house which is haunted by
Glam, a ghost of monstrous stature. Grettir awaits his attack alone, but,
like Beowulf, lying down. Glam's entry and onset resemble those of Grendel:
when Grettir closes with him he tries to get out. They wrestle the length
of the hall, and break all before them. Grettir supports himself against
anything that will give him foothold, but for all his efforts he is dragged
as far as the door. There he suddenly changes his tactics, and throws his
whole weight upon his adversary. The monster falls, undermost, so that
Grettir is able to draw, and strike off his head; though not till Glam has
laid upon Grettir a curse which drags him to his doom.

The second story--the adventure of Grettir at Sandhaugar
(Sandheaps)--begins in much the same way as that of Grettir and Glam.
Grettir is staying in a haunted farm, from which first the farmer himself
and then a house-carl have, on two successive Yuletides, been spirited
away. As before, a light burns in the room all night, and Grettir awaits
the attack alone, lying down, without having put off his clothes. As
before, Grettir and his assailant wrestle down the room, breaking all {49}
in their way. But this time Grettir is pulled put of the hall, and dragged
to the brink of the neighbouring gorge. Here, by a final effort, he
wrenches a hand free, draws, and hews off the arm of the ogress, who falls
into the torrent below.

Grettir conjectures that the two missing men must have been pulled by the
ogress into the gulf. This, after his experience, is surely a reasonable
inference: but Stein, the priest, is unconvinced. So they go together to
the river, and find the side of the ravine a sheer precipice: it is ten
fathom down to the water below the fall. Grettir lets down a rope: the
priest is to watch it. Then Grettir dives in: "the priest saw the soles of
his feet, and then knew no more what had become of him." Grettir swims
under the fall and gets into the cave, where he sees a giant sitting by a
fire: the giant aims a blow at him with a weapon with a wooden handle
("such a weapon men then called a _hefti-sax_"). Grettir hews it asunder.
The giant then grasps at another sword hanging on the wall of the cave, but
before he can use it Grettir wounds him. Stein, the priest, seeing the
water stained with blood from this wound, concludes that Grettir is dead,
and departs home, lamenting the loss of such a man. "But Grettir let little
space come between his blows till the giant lay dead." Grettir finds the
bones of the two dead men in the cave, and bears them away with him to
convince the priest: but when he reaches the rope and shakes it, there is
no reply, and he has to climb up, unaided. He leaves the bones in the
church porch, for the confusion of the priest, who has to admit that he has
failed to do his part faithfully.

Now if we compare this with _Beowulf_, we see that in the Icelandic story
much is different: for example, in the _Grettis saga_ it is the female
monster who raids the habitation of men, the male who stays at home in his
den. In this the _Grettis saga_ probably represents a corrupt tradition:
for, that the female should remain at home whilst the male searches for his
prey, is a rule which holds good for devils as well as for men[100]. {50}
The change was presumably made in order to avoid the difficulty--which the
_Beowulf_ poet seems also to have realized--that after the male has been
slain, the rout of the female is felt to be a deed of less note--something
of an anti-climax[101].

The sword on the wall, also, which in the _Beowulf_-story is used by the
hero, is, in the _Grettir_-story, used by the giant in his attack on the

But that the two stories are somehow connected cannot be disputed. Apart
from the general likeness, we have details such as the escape of the
monster after the loss of an arm, the fire burning in the cave, the
_hefti-sax_, a word which, like its old English equivalent (_hæft-m[=e]ce_,
_Beowulf_, 1457), is found in this story only, and the strange reasoning of
the watchers that the blood-stained water must necessarily be due to the
hero's death[102].

Now obviously such a series of resemblances cannot be the result of an
accident. Either the _Grettir_-story is derived directly or indirectly from
the _Beowulf_ epic, more or less as we have it, or both stories are derived
from one common earlier source. The scholars who first discovered the
resemblance believed that both stories were independently derived from one
original[103]. This view has generally been endorsed by later
investigators, but not universally[104]. And this is one of the questions
which the student cannot leave open, because our view of the origin of the
_Grendel_-story will have to depend largely upon the view we take as to its
connection with the episode in the _Grettis saga_.

If this episode be derived from _Beowulf_, then we have an interesting
literary curiosity, but nothing further. But if it is {51} independently
derived from a common source, then the episode in the _saga_, although so
much later, may nevertheless contain features which have been obliterated
or confused or forgotten in the _Beowulf_ version. In that case the story,
as given in the _Grettis saga_, would be of great weight in any attempt to
reconstruct the presumed original form of the _Grendel_-story.

The evidence seems to me to support strongly the view of the majority of
scholars--that the _Grettir_-episode is not derived from _Beowulf_ in the
form in which that poem has come down to us, but that both come from one
common source.

It is certain that the story of the monster invading a dwelling of men and
rendering it uninhabitable, till the adventurous deliverer arrives, did not
originate with Hrothgar and Heorot. It is an ancient and widespread type of
story, of which one version is localized at the Danish court. When
therefore we find it existing, independently of its Danish setting, the
presumption is in favour of this being a survival of the old independent
story. Of course it is _conceivable_ that the Hrothgar-Heorot setting might
have been first added, and subsequently stripped off again so clean that no
trace of it remains. But it seems going out of our way to assume this,
unless we are forced to do so[105].

Again, it is certain that these stories--like all the subject matter of the
Old English epic--did not originate in England, but were brought across the
North Sea from the old home. And that old home was in the closest
connection, so far as the passage to and fro of story went, with
Scandinavian lands. Nothing could be intrinsically more probable than that
a story, current in ancient Angel and carried thence to England, should
also have been current in Scandinavia, and thence have been carried to

Other stories which were current in England in the eighth century were also
current in Scandinavia in the thirteenth. Yet this does not mean that the
tales of Hroar and Rolf, or of Athils and Ali, were borrowed from English
epic accounts of Hrothgar and Hrothulf, or Eadgils and Onela. They were
part of the common inheritance--as much so as the strong verbs {52} or the
alliterative line. Why then, contrary to all analogy, should we assume a
literary borrowing in the case of the _Beowulf-Grettir_-story? The compiler
of the _Grettis saga_ could not possibly have drawn his material from a MS
of _Beowulf_[106]: he could not have made sense of a single passage. He
conceivably _might_ have drawn from traditions _derived_ from the Old
English epic. But it is difficult to see how. Long before his time these
traditions had for the most part been forgotten in England itself. One of
the longest lived of all, that of Offa, is heard of for the last time in
England at the beginning of the thirteenth century. That a Scandinavian
sagaman at the end of the century could have been in touch, in any way,
with Anglo-Saxon epic tradition seems on the whole unlikely. The
Scandinavian tradition of Offa, scholars are now agreed[107], was not
borrowed from England, and there is no reason why we should assume such
borrowing in the case of Grettir.

The probability is, then, considerable, that the _Beowulf_-story and the
_Grettir_-story are independently derived from one common original.

And this probability would be confirmed to a certainty if we should find
that features which have been confused and half obliterated in the O.E.
story become clear when we turn to the Icelandic. This argument has lately
been brought forward by Dr Lawrence in his essay on "The Haunted Mere in
_Beowulf_[108]." Impressive as the account of this mere is, it does not
convey any very clear picture. Grendel's home seems sometimes to be in the
sea: and again it seems to be amid marshes, moors and fens, and again it is
"where the mountain torrent goes down under the darkness of the cliffs--the
water below the ground (i.e. beneath overhanging rocks)."

This last account agrees admirably with the landscape depicted in the
_Grettis saga_, and the gorge many fathoms deep through which the stream
rushes, after it has fallen over the precipice; not so the other accounts.
These descriptions are {53} best harmonized if we imagine an original
version in which the monsters live, as in the _Grettis saga_, in a hole
under the waterfall. This story, natural enough in a Scandinavian country,
would be less intelligible as it travelled South. The Angles and Saxons,
both in their old home on the Continent and their new one in England, were
accustomed to a somewhat flat country, and would be more inclined to place
the dwelling of outcast spirits in moor and fen than under waterfalls, of
which they probably had only an elementary conception. "The giant must
dwell in the fen, alone in the land[109]."

Now it is in the highest degree improbable that, after the landscape had
been blurred as it is in _Beowulf_, it could have been brought out again
with the distinctness it has in the _Grettis saga_. To preserve the
features so clearly the _Grettir_-story can hardly be derived from
_Beowulf_: it must have come down independently.

But if so, it becomes at once of prime importance. For by a comparison of
_Beowulf_ and _Grettir_ we must form an idea of what the original story
was, from which both were derived.

Another parallel, though a less striking one, has been found in the story
of Orm Storolfsson, which is extant in a short saga about contemporary with
that of Grettir, _Ormsþáttr Stórólfssonar_[110], in two ballads from the
Faroe Islands[111] and two from Sweden[112].

It is generally asserted that the _Orm_-story affords a close parallel to
the episodes of Grendel and his mother. I cannot find close resemblance,
and I strongly suspect that the repetition of the assertion is due to the
fact that the _Orm_-story has not been very easily accessible, and has
often been taken as read by the critics.

But, in any case, it has been proved that the _Orm_-tale borrows largely
from other sagas, and notably from the _Grettis saga_ itself[113]. Before
arguing, therefore, from any parallel, it must first be shown that the
feature in which Orm resembles {54} Beowulf is not derived at second hand
from the _Grettis saga_. One such feature there is, namely Orm's piety,
which he certainly does not derive from Grettir. In this he with equal
certainty resembles Beowulf. According to modern ideas, indeed, there is
more of the Christian hero in Beowulf than in Orm.

Now Orm owes his victory to the fact, among other things, that, at the
critical moment, he vows to God and the holy apostle St Peter to make a
pilgrimage to Rome should he be successful. In this a parallel is seen to
the fact that Beowulf is saved, not only by his coat of mail, but also by
the divine interposition[114]. But is this really a parallel? Beowulf is
too much of a sportsman to buy victory by making a vow when in a tight
place. _G[=æ]ð [=a] wyrd sw[=a] h[=i]o scel_[115] is the exact antithesis
of Orm's pledge.

However, I have given in the Second Part the text of the _Orm_-episode, so
that readers may judge for themselves the closeness or remoteness of the

    The parallel between Grettir and Beowulf was noted by the Icelander
    Gudbrand Vigfússon upon his first reading _Beowulf_ (see _Prolegomena
    to Sturlunga saga_, 1878, p. xlix: _Corpus Poeticum Boreale_, II, 501:
    _Icelandic Reader_, 1879, 404). It was elaborately worked out by Gering
    in _Anglia_, III, 74-87, and it is of course noticed in almost every
    discussion of _Beowulf_. The parallel with Orm was first noted by
    Schück (_Svensk Literaturhistoria_, Stockholm, 1886, _etc._, I, 62) and
    independently by Bugge (_P.B.B._ XII, 58-68).

    The best edition of the _Grettis saga_ is the excellent one of Boer
    (Halle, 1900), but the opinions there expressed as to the relationship
    of the episodes to each other and to the Grendel story have not
    received the general support of scholars.

       *       *       *       *       *


We have seen that there are in _Beowulf_ two distinct elements, which never
seem quite harmonized: firstly the historic background of the Danish and
Geatic courts, with their chieftains, Hrothgar and Hrothulf, or Hrethel and
Hygelac: and secondly the old wives' fables of struggles with ogres and
dragons. In the story of Grettir, the ogre fable appears--unmistakably
connected with the similar story as given in _Beowulf_, but with {55} no
faintest trace of having ever possessed any Danish heroic setting.

Turning back to the _Saga of Rolf Kraki_, we _do_ find against that Danish
setting a figure, that of the hero Bothvar Bjarki, bearing a very
remarkable resemblance to Beowulf.

Bjarki, bent on adventure, leaves the land of the Gautar (Götar), where his
brother is king, and reaches Leire, where Rolf, the king of the Danes,
holds his court; [just as Beowulf, bent on adventure, leaves the land of
the Geatas (Götar) where his uncle is king, and reaches Heorot, where
Hrothgar and Hrothulf (Rolf) hold court].

Arrived at Leire, Bjarki takes under his protection the despised coward
Hott, whom Rolf's retainers have been wont to bully. The champions at the
Danish court [in _Beowulf_ one of them only--Unferth] prove quarrelsome,
and they assail the hero during the feast, in the _Saga_ by throwing bones
at him, in _Beowulf_ only by bitter words. The hero in each case replies,
in kind, with such effect that the enemy is silenced.

But despite the fame and splendour of the Danish court, it has long been
subject to the attacks of a strange monster[116]--a winged beast whom no
iron will bite [just as Grendel is immune from swords[117]]. Bjarki [like
Beowulf[118]] is scornful at the inability of the Danes to defend their own
home: "if one beast can lay waste the kingdom and the cattle of the king."
He goes out to fight with the monster _by night_, accompanied only by Hott.
He tries to draw his sword, but the sword is fast in its sheath: he tugs,
the sword comes out, and he slays the beast with it. This seems a most
pointless incident: taken in connection with the supposed invulnerability
of the foe, it looks like the survival of some episode in which the hero
was unwilling [as in Beowulf's fight with Grendel[119]] or unable [as in
Beowulf's fight with Grendel's mother[120]] to slay the foe {56} with his
sword. Bjarki then compels the terrified coward Hott to drink the monster's
blood. Hott forthwith becomes a valiant champion, second only to Bjarki
himself. The beast is then propped up as if still alive: when it is seen
next morning the king calls upon his retainers to play the man, and Bjarki
tells Hott that now is the time to clear his reputation. Hott demands first
the sword, Gullinhjalti, from Rolf, and with this he slays the dead beast a
second time. King Rolf is not deceived by this trick; yet he rejoices that
Bjarki has not only himself slain the monster, but changed the cowardly
Hott into a champion; he commands that Hott shall be called Hjalti, after
the sword which has been given him. We are hardly justified in demanding
logic in a wild tale like this, or one might ask how Rolf was convinced of
Hott's valour by what he knew to be a piece of stage management on the part
of Bjarki. But, however that may be, it is remarkable that in _Beowulf_
also the monster Grendel, though proof against all ordinary weapons, is
smitten _when dead_ by a magic sword of which the _golden hilt_[121] is
specially mentioned.

In addition to the undeniable similarity of the stories of these heroes, a
certain similarity of name has been claimed. That _Bjarki_ is not
etymologically connected with _B[=e]owulf_ or _B[=e]ow_ is clear: but if we
are to accept the identification of Beowulf and Beow, remembering that the
Scandinavian equivalent of the latter is said to be _Bjár_, the resemblance
to _Bjarki_ is obvious. Similarity of sound might have caused one name to
be substituted for another[122]. This argument obviously depends upon the
identification _B[=e]ow_ = _Bjár_, which is extremely doubtful: it will be
argued below that it is more likely that _B[=e]ow_ = _Byggvir_[123].

But force remains in the argument that the name Bjarki (little bear) is
very appropriate to a hero like the Beowulf of {57} our epic, who crushes
or hugs his foe to death instead of using his sword; even if we do not
accept explanations which would interpret the name "Beowulf" itself as a
synonym for "Bear."

It is scarcely to be wondered at, then, that most critics have seen in
Bjarki a Scandinavian parallel to Beowulf. But serious difficulties remain.
There is in the Scandinavian story a mass of detail quite unparallelled in
_Beowulf_, which overshadows the resemblances. Bjarki's friendship, for
example, with the coward Hott or Hjalti has no counterpart in _Beowulf_.
And Bjarki becomes a retainer of King Rolf and dies in his service, whilst
Beowulf never comes into direct contact with Hrothulf at all; the poet
seems to avoid naming them together. Still, it is quite intelligible that
the story should have developed on different lines in Scandinavia from
those which it followed in England, till the new growths overshadowed the
original resemblance, without obliterating it. After nearly a thousand
years of independent development discrepancies must be expected. It would
not be a reasonable objection to the identity of _Gullinhjalti_ with
_Gyldenhilt_, that the word _hilt_ had grown to have a rather different
meaning in Norse and in English; subsequent developments do not invalidate
an original resemblance if the points of contact are really there.

But, allowing for this independent growth in Scandinavia, we should
naturally expect that the further back we traced the story the greater the
resemblance would become.

This brings us to the second, serious difficulty: that, when we turn from
the _Saga of Rolf Kraki_--belonging in its present form perhaps to the
early fifteenth century--to the pages of Saxo Grammaticus, who tells the
same tale more than two centuries earlier, the resemblance, instead of
becoming stronger, almost vanishes. Nothing is said of Bjarki coming from
Gautland, or indeed of his being a stranger at the Danish court: nothing is
said of the monster having paid previous visits, visits repeated till king
Rolf, like Hrothgar, has to give up all attempt at resistance, and submit
to its depredations. The monster, instead of being a troll, like Grendel,
becomes a commonplace bear. All Saxo tells us is that "He [Biarco, i.e.
Bjarki] met a great bear in a thicket and slew it with a spear, and bade
his {58} comrade Ialto [i.e. Hjalti] place his lips to the beast and drink
its blood as it flowed, that he might become stronger."

Hence the Danish scholar, Axel Olrik, in the best and most elaborate
discussion of Bjarki and all about him, has roundly denied any connection
between his hero and Beowulf. He is astonished at the slenderness of the
evidence upon which previous students have argued for relationship.
"Neither Beowulf's wrestling match in the hall, nor in the fen, nor his
struggle with the firedrake has any real identity, but when we take a
little of them all we can get a kind of similarity with the latest and
worst form of the Bjarki saga[124]." The development of Saxo's bear into a
winged monster, "the worst of trolls," Olrik regards as simply in
accordance with the usual heightening, in later Icelandic, of these early
stories of struggles with beasts, and of this he gives a parallel instance.

Some Icelandic ballads on Bjarki (the _Bjarka rímur_), which were first
printed in 1904, were claimed by Olrik as supporting his contention. These
ballads belong to about the year 1400. Yet, though they are thus in date
and dialect closely allied to the _Saga of Rolf Kraki_ and remote from Saxo
Grammaticus, they are so far from supporting the tradition of the _Saga_
with regard to the monster slain, that they represent the foe first as a
man-eating she-wolf, which is slain by Bjarki, then as a grey bear [as in
Saxo], which is slain by Hjalti after he has been compelled to drink the
blood of the she-wolf. We must therefore give up the winged beast as mere
later elaboration; for if the Bjarki ballads in a point like this support
Saxo, as against the _Saga_ which is so closely connected with them by its
date and Icelandic tongue, we must admit Saxo's version here to represent,
beyond dispute, the genuine tradition.

Accordingly the attempt which has been made to connect Bjarki's winged
monster with Beowulf's winged dragon goes overboard at once. But such an
attempt ought never to have been made at all. The parallel is between
Bjarki and the Beowulf-Grendel episode, not between Bjarki and the
Beowulf-dragon episode, which ought to be left out of consideration. And
the monstrous bear and the wolf of the _Rímur_ are not so {59} dissimilar
from Grendel, with his bear-like hug, and Grendel's mother, the

The likeness between Beowulf and Bjarki lies, not in the wingedness or
otherwise of the monsters they overthrow, but in the similarity of the
position--in the situation which places the most famous court of the North,
and its illustrious king, at the mercy of a ravaging foe, till a chance
stranger from Gautland brings deliverance. And here the _Rímur_ support,
not Saxo, but the _Saga_, though in an outworn and faded way. In the
_Rímur_ Bjarki is a stranger come from abroad: the bear has made previous
attacks upon the king's folds.

Thus, whilst we grant the wings of the beast to be a later elaboration, it
does not in the least follow that other features in which the _Saga_
differs from Saxo--the advent of Bjarki from Gautland, for instance--are
also later elaboration.

And we must be careful not to attach too much weight to the account of Saxo
merely because it is earlier in date than that of the _Saga_. The
presumption is, of course, that the earlier form will be the more original:
but just as a late manuscript will often preserve, amidst its corruptions,
features which are lost in much earlier manuscripts, so will a tradition.
Saxo's accounts are often imperfect[126]. And in this particular instance,
there is a want of coherency and intelligibility in Saxo's account, which
in itself affords a strong presumption that it _is_ imperfect.

What Saxo tells us is this:

    At which banquet, when the champions were rioting with every kind of
    wantonness, and flinging knuckle-bones at a certain Ialto [Hjalti] from
    all sides, it happened that his messmate Biarco [Bjarki] through the
    bad aim of the thrower received a severe blow on the head. But Biarco,
    equally annoyed by the injury and the insult, sent the bone back to the
    thrower, so that he twisted the front of his head to the back and the
    back to the front, punishing the cross-grain of the man's temper by
    turning his face round about.

But who were this "certain Hjalti" and Bjarki? There seems to be something
missing in the story. The explanation [which Saxo does not give us, but the
_Saga_ does] that Bjarki has come from afar and taken the despised
Hott-Hjalti under his {60} protection, seems to be necessary. Why was
Hjalti chosen as the victim, at whom missiles were to be discharged?
Obviously [though Saxo does not tell us so], because he was the butt of the
mess. And if Bjarki had been one of the mess for many hours, his messmates
would have known him too well to throw knuckle-bones either at him or his
friend. This is largely a matter of personal feeling, but Saxo's account
seems to me pointless, till it is supplemented from the _Saga_[127].

And there is one further piece of evidence which seems to clinch the whole
matter finally, though its importance has been curiously overlooked, by
Panzer and Lawrence in their arguments for the identification, and by Olrik
in his arguments to the contrary.

We have seen above how Beowulf "became a friend" to Eadgils, helping him in
his expedition against King Onela of Sweden, and avenging, in "chill raids
fraught with woe," _cealdum cears[=i]ðum_, the wrongs which Onela had
inflicted upon the Geatas. We saw, too, that this expedition was remembered
in Scandinavian tradition. "They had a battle on the ice of Lake Wener;
there King Ali fell, and Athils had the victory. Concerning this battle
there is much said in the _Skjoldunga saga_." The _Skjoldunga saga_ is
lost, but the Latin extracts from it give some information about this
battle[128]. Further, an account of it _is_ preserved in the _Bjarka
rímur_, probably derived from the lost _Skjoldunga saga_. And the _Bjarka
rímur_ expressly mention Bjarki as helping Athils in this battle against
Ali on the ice of Lake Wener[129].

Olrik does not seem to allow for this at all, though of course aware of it.
The other parallels between Bjarki and Beowulf he believes to be mere
coincidence. But is this likely?

To recapitulate: In old English tradition a hero comes from the land of the
Geatas to the royal court of Denmark, where Hrothgar and Hrothulf hold
sway. This hero is received in none too friendly wise by one of the
retainers, but {61} puts his foe to shame, is warmly welcomed by the king,
and slays by night a monster which has been attacking the Danish capital
and against which the warriors of that court have been helpless. The
monster is proof against all swords, yet its dead body is mutilated by a
sword with a golden hilt. Subsequently this same hero helps King Eadgils of
Sweden to overthrow Onela.

We find precisely the same situation in Icelandic tradition some seven
centuries later, except that not Hrothgar and Hrothulf, but Hrothulf (Rolf)
alone is represented as ruling the Danes, and the sword with the golden
hilt has become a sword named "Golden-hilt." It is _conceivable_ for a
situation to have been reconstructed in this way by mere accident, just as
it is conceivable that one player may have the eight or nine best trumps
dealt him. But it does not seem advisable to base one's calculations, as
Olrik does, upon such an accident happening.

    The parallel of Bjarki and Beowulf seems to have been first noted by
    Gisli Brynjulfsson (_Antiquarisk Tidsskrift_, 1852-3, p. 130). It has
    been often discussed by Sarrazin (_Beowulf Studien_, 13 _etc._, 47:
    _Anglia_, IX, 195 _etc._: _Engl. Stud._ XVI, 79 _etc._, XXIII, 242
    _etc._, XXXV, 19 _etc._). Sarrazin's over-elaborated parallels form a
    broad target for doubters: it must be remembered that a case, though it
    may be discredited, is not invalidated by exaggeration. The problem is
    of course noted in the Beowulf studies of Müllenhoff (55), Bugge
    (_P.B.B._ XII, 55) and Boer (_Die Beowulfsage_, II, in _Arkiv f. nord.
    filol._ XIX, 44 _etc._) and discussed at length and convincingly by
    Panzer (364-386) and Lawrence (_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXIV,
    1909, 222 _etc._). The usual view which accepts some relationship is
    endorsed by all these scholars, as it is by Finnur Jónsson in his
    edition of the _Hrólfs Saga Kraka og Bjarkarímur_ (København, 1904, p.

    Ten Brink (185 _etc._) denied any original connection, on the ground of
    the dissimilarity between _Beowulf_ and the story given by Saxo. Any
    resemblances between _Beowulf_ and the _Hrólfs Saga_ he attributed to
    the influence of the English _Beowulf_-story upon the _Saga_.

    For Olrik's emphatic denial of any connection at all, see _Danmarks
    Heltedigtning_, I, 134 _etc._ (This seems to have influenced Brandl,
    who expresses some doubt in _Pauls Grdr._ (2) II. 1. 993.) For
    arguments to the contrary, see Heusler in _A.f.d.A._ XXX, 32, and
    especially Panzer and Lawrence as above.

    The parallel of _Gullinhjalti_ and _gyldenhilt_ was first noted
    tentatively by Kluge (_Engl. Stud._ XXII, 145).

       *       *       *       *       *



Hitherto we have been dealing with parallels to the Grendel story in
written literature: but a further series of parallels, although much more
remote, is to be found in that vast store of old wives' tales which no one
till the nineteenth century took the trouble to write down systematically,
but which certainly go back to a very ancient period. One particular tale,
that of the Bear's Son[130] (extant in many forms), has been instanced as
showing a resemblance to the _Beowulf_-story. In this tale the hero, a
young man of extraordinary strength, (1) sets out on his adventures,
associating with himself various companions; (2) makes resistance in a
house against a supernatural being, which his fellows have in vain striven
to withstand, and succeeds in mishandling or mutilating him. (3) By the
blood-stained track of this creature, or guided by him in some other
manner, the hero finds his way to a spring, or hole in the earth, (4) is
lowered down by a cord and (5) overcomes in the underworld different
supernatural foes, amongst whom is often included his former foe, or very
rarely the mother of that foe: victory can often only be gained by the use
of a magic sword which the hero finds below. (6) The hero is left
treacherously in the lurch by his companions, whose duty it was to have
drawn him up...

Now it may be objected, with truth, that this is not like the
_Beowulf_-story, or even particularly like the _Grettir_-story. But the
question is not merely whether it resembles these stories as we possess
them, but whether it resembles the story which must have been the common
origin of both. And we have only to try to reconstruct from _Beowulf_ and
from the _Grettis saga_ a tale which can have been the common original of
both, to see that it must be something extraordinarily like the folk-tale
outlined above.


For example, it is true that the departure of the Danes homeward because
they believe that Beowulf has met his death in the water below, bears only
the remotest resemblance to the deliberate treachery which the companions
in the folk-tale mete out to the hero. But when we compare the
_Grettir_-story, we see there that a real breach of trust is involved, for
there the priest Stein leaves the hero in the lurch, and abandons the rope
by which he should have drawn Grettir up. This can hardly be an innovation
on the part of the composer of the _Grettis saga_, for he is quite well
disposed towards Stein, and has no motive for wantonly attributing
treachery to him. The innovation presumably lies in the _Beowulf_-story,
where Hrothgar and his court are depicted in such a friendly spirit that no
disreputable act can be attributed to them, and consequently Hrothgar's
departure home must not be allowed in any way to imperil or inconvenience
the hero. A comparison of the _Beowulf_-story with the _Grettir_-story
leads then to the conclusion that in the oldest version those who remained
above when the hero plunged below _were_ guilty of some measure of
disloyalty in ceasing to watch for him. In other words we see that the
further we track the _Beowulf_-story back, the more it comes to resemble
the folk-tale.

And our belief that there is some connection between the folk-tale and the
original of _Beowulf_ must be strengthened when we find that, by a
comparison of the folk-tale, we are able to explain features in _Beowulf_
which strike us as difficult and even absurd: precisely as when we turn to
a study of Shakespeare's sources we often find the explanation of things
that puzzle us: we see that the poet is dealing with an unmanageable
source, which he cannot make quite plausible. For instance: when Grendel
enters Heorot he kills and eats the first of Beowulf's retinue whom he
finds: no one tries to prevent him. The only explanation which the poet has
to offer is that the retinue are all asleep[131]--strange somnolence on the
part of men who are awaiting a hostile attack, which they expect will be
fatal to them all[132]. And Beowulf at any rate is not asleep. Yet he
calmly watches whilst his henchman is {64} both killed and eaten: and
apparently, but for the accident that the monster next tackles Beowulf
himself, he would have allowed his whole bodyguard to be devoured one after

But if we suppose the story to be derived from the folk-tale, we have an
explanation. For in the folk-tale, the companions and the hero await the
foe singly, in succession: the turn of the hero comes last, after all his
companions have been put to shame. But Beowulf, who is represented as
having specially voyaged to Heorot in order to purge it, cannot leave the
defence of the hall for the first night to one of his comrades. Hence the
discomfiture of the comrade and the single-handed success of the hero have
to be represented as simultaneous. The result is incongruous: Beowulf _has_
to look on whilst his comrade is killed.

Again, both Beowulf and Grettir plunge in the water with a sword, and with
the deliberate object of shedding the monster's blood. Why then should the
watchers on the cliff above assume that the blood-stained water must
necessarily signify the _hero's_ death, and depart home? Why did it never
occur to them that this deluge of blood might much more suitably proceed
from the monster?

But we can understand this unreason if we suppose that the story-teller had
to start from the deliberate and treacherous departure of the companions,
whilst at the same time it was not to his purpose to represent the
companions as treacherous. In that case some excuse _must_ be found for
them: and the blood-stained water was the nearest at hand[133].

Again, quite independently of the folk-tale, many _Beowulf_ scholars have
come to the conclusion that in the original version of the story the hero
did not wait for a second attack from the mother of the monster he had
slain, but rather, from a natural and laudable desire to complete his task,
followed the monster's tracks to the mere, and finished him and his mother
below. Many traits have survived which may conceivably point to an original
version of the story in which Beowulf (or the figure corresponding to him)
at once plunged down {65} in order to combat the foe corresponding to
Grendel. There are unsatisfactory features in the story as it stands. For
why, it might be urged, should the wrenching off of an arm have been fatal
to so tough a monster? And why, it has often been asked, is the adversary
under the water sometimes male, sometimes female? And why is it apparently
the blood of Grendel, not of his mother, which discolours the water and
burns up the sword, and the head of Grendel, not of his mother, which is
brought home in triumph? These arguments may not carry much weight, but at
any rate when we turn to the folk-tale we find that the adventure beneath
the earth _is_ the natural following up of the adventure in the house, not
the result of any renewed attack.

In addition, there are many striking coincidences between individual
versions or groups of the folk-tale on the one hand and the
_Beowulf-Grettir_ story on the other: yet it is very difficult to know what
value should be attached to these parallels, since there are many features
of popular story which float around and attach themselves to this or that
tale without any original connection, so that it is easy for the same trait
to recur in _Beowulf_ and in a group of folk-tales, without this proving
that the stories as a whole are connected[134].

The hero of the Bear's son folk-tale is often in his youth unmanageable or
lazy. This is also emphasized in the stories both of Grettir and of Orm:
and though such a feature was uncongenial to the courtly tone of _Beowulf_,
which sought to depict the hero as a model prince, yet it _is_ there[135],
even though only alluded to incidentally, and elsewhere ignored or even

Again, the hero of the folk-tale is very frequently (but not necessarily)
either descended from a bear, nourished by a bear, or has some ursine
characteristic. We see this recurring in certain traits of Beowulf such as
his bear-like method of hugging {66} his adversary to death. Here again the
courtly poet has not emphasized his hero's wildness[137].

Again, there are some extraordinary coincidences in names, between the
_Beowulf-Grettir_ story and the folk-tale. These are not found in _Beowulf_
itself, but only in the stories of Grettir and Orm. Yet, as the
_Grettir_-episode is presumably derived from the same original as the
_Beowulf_-episode, any _original_ connection between it and the folk-tale
involves such connection for _Beowulf_ also. We have seen that in _Grettis
saga_ the priest Stein, as the unfaithful guardian of the rope which is to
draw up the hero, seems to represent the faithless companions of the
folktale. There is really no other way of accounting for him, for except on
this supposition he is quite otiose and unnecessary to the _Grettir_-story:
the saga-man has no use for him. And his name confirms this explanation,
for in the folk-tale one of the three faithless companions of the hero is
called the Stone-cleaver, _Steinhauer_, _Stenkløver_, or even, in one
Scandinavian version, simply _Stein_[138].

Again, the struggle in the _Grettis saga_ is localized at Sandhaugar in
Barthardal in Northern Iceland. Yet it is difficult to say why the
saga-teller located the story there. The scenery, with the neighbouring
river and mighty waterfall, is fully described: but students of Icelandic
topography assert that the neighbourhood does _not_ at all lend itself to
this description[139]. When we turn to the story of Orm we find it
localized on the island Sandey. We are forced to the conclusion that the
name belongs to the story, and that in some early version this was
localized at a place called Sandhaug, perhaps at one of the numerous places
in Norway of that name. Now turning to one of the Scandinavian versions of
the folk-tale, we find that the descent into the earth and the consequent
struggle is localized in _en stor sandhaug_[140].


On the other hand, it must be remembered that if a collection is made of
some two hundred folk-tales, it is bound to contain, in addition to the
essential kernel of common tradition, a vast amount of that floating
material which tends to associate itself with this or that hero of story.
Individual versions or groups of versions of the tale may contain features
which occur also in the _Grendel_-story, without that being any evidence
for primitive connection. Thus we are told how Grendel forces open the door
of Heorot. In a Sicilian version of the folk-tale the doors spring open of
themselves as the foe appears. This has been claimed as a parallel. But, as
a sceptic has observed, the extraordinary thing is that of so slight a
similarity (if it is entitled to be called a similarity) we should find
only one example out of two hundred, and have to go to Sicily for

    The parallel between the _Beowulf_-story and the "Bear's son" folk-tale
    had been noted by Laistner (_Das Rätsel der Sphinx_, Berlin, 1889, II,
    22 _etc._): but the prevalent belief that the _Beowulf_-story was a
    nature-myth seems to have prevented further investigation on these
    lines till Panzer independently (p. 254) undertook his monumental work.

Yet there are other features in the folk-tale which are entirely
unrepresented in the _Beowulf-Grettir_ story. The hero of the folk-tale
rescues captive princesses in the underworld (it is because they wish to
rob him of this prize that his companions leave him below); he is saved by
some miraculous helper, and finally, after adopting a disguise, puts his
treacherous comrades to shame and weds the youngest princess. None of these
elements[142] are to be found in the stories of Beowulf, Grettir, Orm or
Bjarki, yet they are essential to the fairy tale[143].


So that to speak of _Beowulf_ as a version of the fairy tale is undoubtedly
going too far. All we can say is that some early story-teller took, from
folk-tale, those elements which suited his purpose, and that a tale,
containing many leading features found in the "Bear's son" story, but
omitting many of the leading motives of that story, came to be told of
Beowulf and of Grettir[144].

       *       *       *       *       *


Our poem begins with an account of the might, and of the funeral, of Scyld
Scefing, the ancestor of that Danish royal house which is to play so large
a part in the story. After Scyld's death his retainers, following the
command he had given them, placed their beloved prince in the bosom of a
ship, surrounded by many treasures brought from distant lands, by weapons
of battle and weeds of war, swords and byrnies. Also they placed a golden
banner high over his head, and let the sea bear him away, with soul
sorrowful and downcast. Men could not say for a truth, not the wisest of
councillors, who received that burden.

Now there is much in this that can be paralleled both from the literature
and from the archaeological remains of the North. Abundant traces have been
found, either of the burial or of the burning of a chief within a ship. And
we are told by different authorities of two ancient Swedish kings who,
sorely wounded, and unwilling to die in their beds, had themselves placed
upon ships, surrounded by weapons and the bodies of the slain. The funeral
pyre was then lighted on the vessel, and the ship sent blazing out to sea.
Similarly the dead body of Baldr was put upon his ship, and burnt.

    Haki konungr fekk svá stór sár, at hann sá, at hans lífdagar mundu eigi
    langir verða; þá lét hann taka skeið, er hann átti, ok lét hlaða dauðum
    m[o,]nnum, ok vápnum, lét þá flytja út til hafs ok leggja stýri {69} í
    lag ok draga upp segl, en leggja eld í tyrvið ok gera bál á skipinu;
    veðr stóð af landi; Haki var þá at kominn dauða eða dauðr, er hann var
    lagiðr á bálit; siglði skipit síðan loganda út í haf, ok var þetta
    allfrægt lengi síðan.

    (King Haki was so sore wounded that he saw that his days could not be
    long. Then he had a warship of his taken, and loaded with dead men and
    weapons, had it carried out to sea, the rudder shipped, the sail drawn
    up, the fir-tree wood set alight, and a bale-fire made on the ship. The
    wind blew from the land. Haki was dead or nearly dead, when he was
    placed on the pyre. Then the ship sailed blazing out to sea; and that
    was widely famous for a long time after.)

    _Ynglinga Saga_, Kap. 23, in _Heimskringla_, udg. af Finnur Jónsson,
    København, 1893, vol. I, p. 43.

    The _Skjoldunga Saga_ gives a story which is obviously connected with
    this. King Sigurd Ring in his old age asked in marriage the lady
    Alfsola; but her brothers scorned to give her to an aged man. War
    followed; and the brothers, knowing that they could not withstand the
    hosts of Sigurd, poisoned their sister before marching against him. In
    the battle the brothers were slain, and Sigurd badly wounded.

    Qui, Alfsola funere allato, magnam navim mortuorum cadaveribus oneratam
    solus vivorum conscendit, seque et mortuam Alfsolam in puppi collocans
    navim pice, bitumine et sulphure incendi jubet: atque sublatis velis in
    altum, validis a continente impellentibus ventis, proram dirigit,
    simulque manus sibi violentas intulit; sese ... more majorum suorum
    regali pompa Odinum regem (id est inferos) invisere malle, quam inertis
    senectutis infirmitatem perpeti....

    _Skjoldungasaga i Arngrim Jónssons udtog_, udgiven af Axel Olrik,
    Kjøbenhavn, 1894, Cap. XXVII, p. 50 [132].

    So with the death of Baldr.

    En æsirnir tóku lík Baldrs ok fluttu til sævar. Hringhorni hét skip
    Baldrs; hann var allra skipa mestr, hann vildu goðin framm setja ok
    gera þar á bálf[o,]r Baldrs ... þá var borit út á skipit lík Baldrs,...
    Oðinn lagði á bálit gullhring þann, er Draupnir heitir ... hestr Baldrs
    var leiddr á bálit með [o,]llu reiði.

    (But the gods took the body of Baldr and carried it to the sea-shore.
    Baldr's ship was named Hringhorni: it was the greatest of all ships and
    the gods sought to launch it, and to build the pyre of Baldr on it....
    Then was the body of Baldr borne out on to the ship.... Odin laid on
    the pyre the gold ring named Draupnir ... and Baldr's horse with all
    his trappings was placed on the pyre.)

    _Snorra Edda: Gylfaginning_, 48; udg. af Finnur Jónsson, København,

    We are justified in rendering _setja skip fram_ by "launch": Olrik
    (_Heltedigtning_, I, 250) regards Baldr's funeral as a case of the
    burning of a body in a ship on land. But it seems to me, as to Mr
    Chadwick (_Origin_, 287), that the natural meaning is that the ship was
    launched in the sea.

But the case of Scyld is not exactly parallel to these. The ship which
conveyed Scyld out to sea was _not_ set alight. And the words of the poet,
though dark, seem to imply that it was intended to come to land somewhere:
"None could say who received that freight." {70}

Further, Scyld not merely departed over the waves--he had in the first
instance come over them: "Not with less treasure did they adorn him," says
the poet, speaking of the funeral rites, "than did those who at the
beginning sent him forth alone over the waves, being yet a child."

Scyld Scefing then, like Tennyson's Arthur, comes from the unknown and
departs back to it.

The story of the mysterious coming over the water was not confined to
Scyld. It meets us in connection with King Scef, who was regarded, at any
rate from the time of Alfred, and possibly much earlier, as the remotest
ancestor of the Wessex kings. Ethelwerd, a member of the West Saxon royal
house, who compiled a bombastic Latin chronicle towards the end of the
tenth century, traces back the pedigree of the kings of Wessex to Scyld
_and his father Scef_. "This Scef," he says, "came to land on a swift boat,
surrounded by arms, in an island of the ocean called Scani, when a very
young child. He was unknown to the people of that land, but was adopted by
them as if of their kin, well cared for, and afterwards elected king[145]."
Note here, firstly, that the story is told, not of Scyld Scefing, but of
Scef, father of Scyld. Secondly, that although Ethelwerd is speaking of the
ancestor of the West Saxon royal house, he makes him come to land and rule,
not in the ancient homeland of continental Angeln, but in the "island of
Scani," which signifies what is now the south of Sweden, and perhaps also
the Danish islands[146]--that same land of _Scedenig_ which is mentioned in
_Beowulf_ as the realm of Scyld. The tone of the narrative is, so far as we
can judge from Ethelwerd's dry summary, entirely warlike: Scef is
surrounded by weapons.

In the twelfth century the story is again told by William of Malmesbury.
"Sceldius was the son of Sceaf. He, they say, was carried as a small boy in
a boat without any oarsman to a certain isle of Germany called Scandza,
concerning which {71} Jordanes, the historian of the Goths, speaks. He was
sleeping, and a handful of corn was placed at his head, from which he was
called 'Sheaf.' He was regarded as a wonder by the folk of that country and
carefully nurtured; when grown up he ruled in a town then called Slaswic,
and now Haithebi--that region is called ancient Anglia[147]."

William of Malmesbury was, of course, aware of Ethelwerd's account, and may
have been influenced by it. Some of his variations may be his own
invention. The substitution of the classical form _Scandza_ for Ethelwerd's
_Scani_ is simply a change from popular to learned nomenclature, and
enables the historian to show that he has read something of Jordanes. The
alteration by which Malmesbury makes Sceaf, when grown up, rule at
Schleswig in ancient Angel, may again be his own work--a variant added in
order to make Sceaf look more at home in an Anglo-Saxon pedigree.

But William of Malmesbury was, as we shall see later, prone to incorporate
current ballads into his history, and after allowing for what he may have
derived from Ethelwerd, and what he may have invented, there can be no
doubt that many of the additional details which he gives are genuine
popular poetry. Indeed, whilst the story of Scyld's _funeral_ is very
impressive in _Beowulf_, it is in William's narrative that the story of the
child coming over the sea first becomes poetic.

Now since even the English historians connected this tale with the Danish
territory of _Scani, Scandza_, we should expect to find it again on turning
to the records of the Danish royal house. And we do find there, generally
at the head of the pedigree[148], a hero--Skjold--whose name corresponds,
and whose relationship to the later Danish kings shows him to be the same
as the _Scyld Scefing_ of _Beowulf_. But neither Saxo Grammaticus, nor any
other Danish historian, knows anything of {72} Skjold having come in his
youth or returned in his death over the ocean.

How are we to harmonize these accounts?

_Beowulf_ and Ethelwerd agree in representing the hero as "surrounded by
arms"; William of Malmesbury mentions only the sheaf; the difference is
weighty, for presumably the spoils which the hero brings with him from the
unknown, or takes back thither, are in harmony with his career. _Beowulf_
and Ethelwerd seem to show the warrior king, William of Malmesbury seems
rather to be telling the story of a semi-divine foundling, who introduces
the tillage of the earth[149].

In _Beowulf_ the child is Scyld Scefing, in Ethelwerd and William of
Malmesbury he is Sceaf, father of Scyld.

_Beowulf_, Ethelwerd and William of Malmesbury agree in connecting the
story with _Scedenig_, _Scani_ or _Scandza_, yet the two historians and the
_Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ all make Sceaf the ancestor of the West Saxon
house. Yet we have no evidence that the English were regarded as having
come from Scandinavia.

The last problem admits of easy solution. In heathen times the English
traced the pedigree of most of their kings to Woden, and stopped there. For
higher than that they could not go. But a Christian poet or genealogist,
who had no belief in Woden as a god, would regard the All Father as a
man--a mere man who, by magic powers, had made the heathen believe he was a
god. To such a Christian pedigree-maker Woden would convey no idea of
finality; he would feel no difficulty in giving this human Woden any number
of ancestors. Wishing to glorify the pedigree of his king, he would add any
other distinguished and authentic genealogies, and the obvious place for
these would be at the end of the line, i.e., above Woden. Hence we have in
some quite early (not West Saxon) pedigrees, five names given as ancestors
of Woden. These five names end in Geat or Geata, who was apparently
regarded as a god, and was possibly Woden under another name[150]. Somewhat
later, in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, under {73} the year 855, we have a
long version of the West Saxon pedigree with yet nine further names above
Geat, ending in Sceaf. Sceaf is described as a son of Noah, and so the
pedigree is carried back to Adam, 25 generations in all beyond Woden[151].
But it is rash to assume with Müllenhoff that, because Sceaf comes at the
head[152] of this English pedigree, Sceaf was therefore essentially an
English hero. _All_ these later stages above Woden look like the ornate
additions of a later compiler. Some of the figures, Finn, Sceldwa, Heremod,
Sceaf himself, we have reason to identify with the primitive heroes of
other nations.

The genealogist who finally made Sceaf into a son born to Noah in the ark,
and then carried the pedigree nine stages further back through Noah to
Adam, merely made the last of a series of accretions. It does not follow
that, because he made them ancestors of the English king, this compiler
regarded Noah, Enoch and Adam as Englishmen. Neither need he have so
regarded Sceaf or Scyld[153] or Beaw. In fact--and this has constantly been
overlooked--the authority for Sceaf, Scyld and Beaw as Anglo-Saxon heroes
is but little stronger than the authority for Noah and Adam in that
capacity. No manuscript exists which stops at Scyld or Sceaf. There is no
version which goes beyond Geat except that which goes up to Adam. Scyld,
Beaw, Sceaf, Noah and Adam as heroes of English mythology are all alike

We must be careful, however, to define what we mean when we regard these
stages of the pedigree as doubtful. They are doubtful in so far as they are
represented as standing above Woden in the Anglo-Saxon pedigree, because it
is incredible that, in primitive and heathen times, Woden was credited with
a dozen or more forefathers. The _position_ of these names in the pedigree
is therefore doubtful. But it is only their connection with the West Saxon
house that is unauthentic. It does not follow that the names are, _per se_,
unauthentic. On the contrary, it is because the genealogist had such
implicit belief in the authenticity of the generations {74} from Noah to
Adam that he could not rest satisfied with his West Saxon pedigree till he
had incorporated these names. They are not West Saxon, but they are part of
a tradition much more ancient than any pedigree of the West Saxon kings.
And the argument which applies to the layer of Hebrew names between Noah
and Adam applies equally to the layer of Germanic names between Woden and
Sceaf. From whatever branch of the Germanic race the genealogist may have
taken them, the fact that he placed them where he did in the pedigree is a
proof of his veneration for them. But we must not without evidence claim
them as West Saxon or Anglo-Saxon: we must not be surprised if evidence
points to some of them being connected with other nations--as Heremod, for
example, with the Danes[154].

More difficult are the other problems. William of Malmesbury tells the
story of Sceaf, with the attributes of a culture-hero: _Beowulf_, four
centuries earlier, tells it of Scyld, a warrior hero: Ethelwerd tells it of
Sceaf, but gives him the warrior attributes of Scyld[155] instead of the
sheaf of corn.

The earlier scholars mostly agreed[156] in regarding Malmesbury's
attribution of the story to Sceaf as the original and correct version of
the story, in spite of its late date. As a representative of these early
scholars we may take Müllenhoff[157]. Müllenhoff's love of mythological
interpretation found ample scope in the story of the child with the sheaf,
which he, with considerable reason, regarded as a "culture-myth."
Müllenhoff believed the carrying over of the attributes of a god to a line
of his supposed descendants to be a common feature of myth--the descendants
representing the god under another name. In accordance with this view,
Scyld could be explained as an "hypostasis" of his father or forefather
Sceaf, as a figure further explaining him and representing him, so that in
the end the tale of the boat arrival came to be told, in _Beowulf_, of
Scyld instead of Sceaf.


Recent years have seen a revolt against most of Müllenhoff's theories. The
view that the story originally belonged to Sceaf has come to be regarded
with a certain amount of impatience as "out of date." Even so fine a
scholar as Dr Lawrence has expressed this impatience:

    "That the graceful story of the boy sailing in an open boat to the land
    of his future people was told originally of Sceaf ... needs no detailed
    refutation at the present day.

    "The attachment of the motive to Sceaf must be, as an examination of
    the sources shows, a later development[158]."

Accordingly the view of recent scholars has been this: That the story
belongs essentially to Scyld. That, as the hero of the boat story is
obviously of unknown parentage, we must interpret _Scefing_ not as "son of
Sceaf" but as "with the sheaf" (in itself a quite possible explanation).
That this stage of the story is preserved in _Beowulf_. That subsequently
_Scyld Scefing_, standing at the head of the pedigree, came to be
misunderstood as "Scyld, son of Sceaf". That consequently the story, which
must be told of the earlier ancestor, was thus transferred from Scyld to
his supposed father Sceaf--the version which is found in Ethelwerd and
William of Malmesbury.

One apparent advantage of this theory is that the oldest version, that of
_Beowulf_, is accepted as the correct and original one, and the much later
versions of the historians Ethelwerd and William of Malmesbury are regarded
as subsequent corruptions. This on the surface seems eminently reasonable.
But let us look closer. _Scyld Scefing_ in _Beowulf_ is to be interpreted
"Scyld with the Sheaf." But _Beowulf_ nowhere mentions the sheaf as part of
Scyld's equipment. On the contrary, we gather that the hero is connected
rather with prowess in war. It is the same in Ethelwerd. It is not till
William of Malmesbury that the sheaf comes into the story. So that the
interpretation of _Scefing_ as "with the sheaf" assumes the accuracy of
William of Malmesbury's story even in a point where it receives no support
from the _Beowulf_ version. In other words this theory does the very thing
to avoid doing which it was called into being[159].


Besides this, there are two fundamental objections to the theory that Sceaf
is a late creation, a figure formed from the misunderstanding of the
epithet _Scefing_ applied to _Scyld_. One portion of the poem of _Widsith_
consists of a catalogue of ancient kings, and among these occurs _Sceafa_,
ruling the Langobards. Now portions of _Widsith_ are very ancient, and this
catalogue in which Sceafa occurs is almost certainly appreciably older than
_Beowulf_ itself.

Secondly, the story of the wonderful foundling who comes over the sea from
the unknown and founds a royal line, must _ex hypothesi_ be told of the
first in the line, and we have seen that it is Sceaf, not Scyld, who comes
at the head of the Teutonic names in the genealogy in the _Anglo-Saxon

Now we can date this genealogy fairly exactly. It occurs under the year
855, and seems to have been drawn up at the court of King Æthelwulf. In any
case it cannot be later than the latter part of Alfred's reign. This takes
us back to a period when the old English epic was still widely popular. A
genealogist at Alfred's court must have known much about Old English story.

These facts are simply not consistent with the belief that Sceaf is a late
creation, a figure formed from a misunderstanding of the epithet _Scefing_,
applied to Scyld[160].


To arrive at any definite conclusion is difficult. But the following may be

It may be taken as proved that the Scyld or Sceldwa of the genealogists is
identical with the Scyld Scefing of _Beowulf_. For Sceldwa according to the
genealogy is also ultimately a _Sceafing_, and is the father of Beow; Scyld
is _Scefing_ and is father of Beowulf[161].

It is equally clear that the Scyld Scefing of _Beowulf_ is identical with
the Skjold of the Danish genealogists and historians. For Scyld and Skjold
are both represented as the founder and head of the Danish royal house of
Scyldingas or Skjoldungar, and as reigning in the same district. Here,
however, the resemblance ceases. _Beowulf_ tells us of Scyld's marvellous
coming and departure. The only Danish authority who tells us much of Skjold
is Saxo Grammaticus, who records how as a boy Skjold wrestled successfully
with a bear and overcame champions, and how later he annulled unrighteous
laws, and distinguished himself by generosity to his court. But the Danish
and English accounts have nothing specifically in common, though the type
they portray is the same--that of a king from his youth beloved by his
retainers and feared by neighbouring peoples, whom he subdues and makes
tributary. It looks rather as if the oldest traditions had had little to
say about this hero beyond the typical things which might be said of any
great king; so that Danes and English had each supplied the deficiency in
their own way.

Now this is exactly what we should expect. For Scyld-Skjold is hardly a
personality: he is a figure evolved out of the name _Scyldingas_,
_Skjoldungar_, which is an old epic title for the Danes. Of this we may be
fairly certain: the Scyldingas did not get their name because they were
really descended from Scyld, but Scyld was created in order to provide an
eponymous father to the Scyldingas[162]. In just the same way {78}
tradition also evolved a hero Dan, from whom the Danes were supposed to
have their name. Saxo Grammaticus has combined both pedigrees, making
Skjold a descendant of Dan; but usually it was agreed that nothing came
before Skjold, that he was the beginning of the Skjoldung line[163]. At
first a mere name, we should expect that he would have no characteristic
save that, like every respectable Germanic king, he took tribute from his
foes and gave it to his friends. He differs therefore from those heroic
figures like Hygelac or Guthhere (Gunnar) which, being derived from actual
historic characters, have, from the beginning of their story, certain
definite features attached to them. Scyld is, in the beginning, merely a
name, the ancestor of the Scyldings. Tradition collects round him

Hence it will be rash to attach much weight to any feature which is found
in one account of him only. Anything we are told of Scyld in English
sources alone is not to be construed as evidence as to his original story,
but only as to the form that story assumed in England. When, for example,
_Beowulf_ tells us that Scyld is _Scefing_, or that he is father of
Beowulf, it will be very rash of us to assume that these relationships
existed in the Danish, but have been forgotten. This is, I think,
universally admitted[164]. Yet the very scholars who emphasize this, have
assumed that the marvellous arrival as a child, in a boat, surrounded by
weapons, is an essential feature of Scyld's story. Yet the evidence for
this is no better and no worse than the evidence for his relationship to
Sceaf or Beow--it rests solely on the English documents. Accordingly it
only shows what was told about Scyld in England.

Of course the boat arrival _might_ be an original part of the story of
_Scyld-Skjold_, which has been forgotten in his native {79} country, but
remembered in England. But I cannot see that we have any right to assert
this, without proof.

What we can assert to have been the original feature of Scyld is this--that
he was the eponymous hero king of the Danes. Both _Beowulf_ and the
Scandinavian authorities agree upon that. The fact that his name (in the
form _Sceldwa_) appears in the genealogy of the kings of Wessex is not
evidence against a Danish origin. The name appears in close connection with
that of Heremod, another Danish king, and is merely evidence of a desire on
the part of the genealogist of the Wessex kings to connect his royal house
with the most distinguished family he knew: that of the Scyldingas, about
whom so much is said in the prologue to _Beowulf_.

Neither do the instances of place-names in England, such as _Scyldes
treow_, _Scildes well_, prove Scyld to have been an English hero. They
merely prove him to have been a hero who was celebrated in England--which
the Prologue to _Beowulf_ alone is sufficient to show to have been the
case. For place-names commemorating heroes of alien tribes are common
enough[165] on English ground.

So much at least is gained. Whatever Müllenhoff[166] and his followers
constructed upon the assumption that Scyld was an essentially Anglo-Saxon
hero goes overboard. Scyld is the ancestor king of the Danish house--more
than this we can hardly with safety assert.

Now let us turn to the figure of Sceaf. This was not necessarily connected
with Scyld from the first.

The story of Sceaf first meets us in its completeness in the pages of
William of Malmesbury. And William of Malmesbury is a twelfth century
authority; by his time the Old English courtly epics had died out--for they
could not have long survived the Norman Conquest and the overthrow of Old
English court life. But the popular tradition[167] remained, and {80} a
good many of the old stories, banished from the hall, must have lingered on
at the cross-roads--tales of Wade and Weyland, of Offa and Sceaf. For
songs, sung by minstrels at the cross roads, William of Malmesbury is good
evidence, and he owns to having drawn information from similar popular
sources[168]. William's story, then, is evidence that in his own day there
was a tradition of a mythical king Sheaf who came as a child sleeping in a
ship with a sheaf of corn at his head How old this tradition may be, we
cannot say. Ethelwerd knew the story, though he has nothing to say of the
sheaf. But we have seen that when we get back to the ninth century, and the
formation of the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, at a court where we may be sure
the old English heroic stories were still popular, it is Sceaf and not
Sceldwa who is regarded as the beginning of things--the king whose origin
is so remote that he is the oldest Germanic ancestor one can get back
to[169]: "he was born in Noah's ark."

Whether or no Noah's ark was chosen as Sceaf's birthplace because legend
represented him as coming in a boat over the water, we cannot tell. But the
place he occupies, with only the Biblical names before him, as compared
with Sceldwa the son of Heremod, clearly marks Sceaf rather than Sceldwa as
the hero who comes from the unknown. Turning now to the catalogue of kings
in _Widsith_, probably the oldest extant piece of Anglo-Saxon verse, some
generations more ancient than _Beowulf_, we find a King Sceafa, who ruled
over the Langobards. Finally, in _Beowulf_ itself, although the story is
told of Scyld, nevertheless this Scyld is characterized as _Scefing_. If
this means "with the sheaf," then the _Beowulf_-story stands convicted of
imperfection, of needing explanation outside itself from the {81} account
which William of Malmesbury wrote four centuries later. If it means "son of
Sceaf," why should a father be given to Scyld, when the story demands that
he should come from the unknown? Was it because, if the boat story was to
be attributed to Scyld, it was felt that this could only be made plausible
by giving him some relation to Sceaf?

When we find an ancient king bearing the extraordinary name of "Sheaf," it
is difficult not to connect this with the honour done to the sheaf of corn,
survivals of which have been found in different parts of England. In
Herrick's time, the sheaves of corn were still kissed as they were carried
home on the Hock-cart, whilst

                      Some, with great
  Devotion, stroke the home-borne wheat.

Professor Chadwick argues, on the analogy of Prussian and Bulgarian harvest
customs, that the figure of the "Harvest Queen" in the English ceremony is
derived from a corn figure made from the last sheaf, and that the sheaf was
once regarded as a religious symbol[170]. But the evidence for this is
surely even stronger than would be gathered from Professor Chadwick's very
cautious statement. I suppose there is hardly a county in England from Kent
to Cornwall and from Kent to Northumberland, where there is not evidence
for honour paid to the last sheaf--an honour which cannot be accounted for
as merely expressing the joy of the reapers at having got to the end of
their task. In Kent "a figure composed of some of the best corn" was made
into a human shape: "this is afterwards curiously dressed by the women, and
adorned with paper trimmings cut to resemble a cap, ruffles, handkerchief,
etc., of the finest lace. It is brought home with the last load of
corn[171]." In Northumberland and Durham a sheaf known as the "Kern baby"
was made into the likeness of a human figure, decked out and brought home
in triumph with dancing and singing[172]. But the most striking form of the
sheaf ceremony is found in the honour done to the "Neck" in the West of


    ... After the wheat is all cut, on most farms in the north of Devon the
    harvest people have a custom of "crying the neck." I believe that this
    practice is seldom omitted on any large farm in that part of the
    country. It is done in this way. An old man, or someone else well
    acquainted with the ceremonies used on the occasion (when the labourers
    are reaping the last field of wheat), goes round to the shocks and
    sheaves, and picks out a little bundle of all the best ears he can
    find; this bundle he ties up very neat and trim, and plats and arranges
    the straws very tastefully. This is called "the neck" of wheat, or
    wheaten-ears. After the field is cut out, and the pitcher once more
    circulated, the reapers, binders, and the women, stand round in a
    circle. The person with "the neck" stands in the centre, grasping it
    with both his hands. He first stoops and holds it near the ground, and
    all the men forming the ring take off their hats, stooping and holding
    them with both hands towards the ground. They then all begin at once in
    a very prolonged and harmonious tone to cry "the neck!" at the same
    time slowly raising themselves upright, and elevating their arms and
    hats above their heads; the person with "the neck" also raising it on
    high. This is done three times. They then change their cry to "wee
    yen!"--"way yen!"--which they sound in the same prolonged and slow
    manner as before, with singular harmony and effect, three times. This
    last cry is accompanied by the same movements of the body and arms as
    in crying "the neck." ...

    ... After having thus repeated "the neck" three times, and "wee yen" or
    "way yen" as often, they all burst out into a kind of loud and joyous
    laugh, flinging up their hats and caps into the air, capering about and
    perhaps kissing the girls. One of them then gets "the neck," and runs
    as hard as he can down to the farm-house, where the dairy-maid, or one
    of the young female domestics, stands at the door prepared with a pail
    of water. If he who holds "the neck" can manage to get into the house,
    in any way, unseen or openly, by any other way than the door at which
    the girl stands with the pail of water, then he may lawfully kiss her;
    but, if otherwise, he is regularly soused with the contents of the
    bucket. On a fine still autumn evening, the "crying of the neck" has a
    wonderful effect at a distance, far finer than that of the Turkish
    muezzin, which Lord Byron eulogizes so much, and which he says is
    preferable to all the bells in Christendom. I have once or twice heard
    upwards of twenty men cry it, and sometimes joined by an equal number
    of female voices. About three years back, on some high grounds, where
    our people were harvesting, I heard six or seven "necks" cried in one
    night, although I know that some of them were four miles off[173].

The account given by Mrs Bray of the Devonshire custom, in her letters to
Southey, is practically identical with this[174]. We have plenty of
evidence for this ceremony of "Crying the Neck" in the South-Western
counties in Somersetshire[175], in Cornwall[176], and in a mutilated form
in Dorsetshire[177].


On the Welsh border the essence of the ceremony consisted in tying the last
ears of corn--perhaps twenty--with ribbon, and severing this "neck" by
throwing the sickle at it from some distance. The custom is recorded in
Cheshire[178], Shropshire[179], and under a different name in
Herefordshire[180]. The term "neck" seems to have been known as far afield
as Yorkshire and the "little England beyond Wales"--the English-speaking
colony of Pembrokeshire[181].

Whether we are to interpret the expression "the Neck," applied to the last
sheaf, as descended from a time when "the corn spirit is conceived in human
form, and the last standing corn is a part of its body--its neck[182] ..."
or whether it is merely a survival of the Scandinavian word for
sheaf--_nek_ or _neg_[183], we have here surely evidence of the worship of
the sheaf. "In this way 'Sheaf' was greeted, before he passed over into a
purely mythical being[184]."

I do not think these "neck" customs can be traced back beyond the
seventeenth century[185]. Though analogous usages are recorded in England
(near Eton) as early as the sixteenth century[186], it was not usual at
that time to trouble to record such things.

The earliest document bearing upon the veneration of the sheaf comes from a
neighbouring district, and is contained in the Chronicle of the Monastery
of Abingdon, which tells how in the time of King Edmund (941-946) a
controversy arose as to the right of the monks of Abingdon to a certain
portion of land adjoining the river. The monks appealed to a judgment of
God to vindicate their claim, and this took the shape of {84} placing a
sheaf, with a taper on the top, upon a round shield and letting it float
down the river, the shield by its movements hither and thither indicating
accurately the boundaries of the monastic domain. At last the shield came
to the field in debate, which, thanks to the floods, it was able to

Professor Chadwick, who first emphasized the importance of this strange
ordeal[188], points out that although the extant MSS of the _Chronicle_
date from the thirteenth century, the mention of a _round_ shield carries
the superstition back to a period before the Norman Conquest. Therefore
this story seems to give us evidence for the use of the sheaf and shield
together as a magic symbol in Anglo-Saxon times. "An ordeal by letting the
sheaf sail down the river on a shield was only possible at a time when the
sheaf was regarded as a kind of supernatural being which could find the way

But a still closer parallel to the story of the corn-figure coming over the
water is found in Finnish mythology in the person of Sämpsä Pellervoinen.
Finnish mythology seems remote from our subject, but if the figure of
Sämpsä was borrowed from Germanic mythology, as seems to be thought[190],
we are justified in laying great weight upon the parallel.

Readers of the _Kalewala_ will remember, near the beginning, the figure of
Sämpsä Pellervoinen, the god of Vegetation. He does not seem to do much.
But there are other Finnish {85} poems in his honour, extant in varying
versions[191]. It is difficult to get a collected idea from these
fragmentary records, but it seems to be this: Ahti, the god of the sea,
sends messengers to summon Sämpsä, so that he may bring fertility to the
fields. In one version, first the Winter and then the Summer are sent to
arouse Sämpsä, that he may make the crops and trees grow. Winter--

  Took a foal swift as the spring wind,
  Let the storm wind bear him forward,
  Blew the trees till they were leafless,
  Blew the grass till it was seedless,
  Bloodless likewise the young maidens.

Sämpsä refuses to come. Then the Summer is sent with better results. In
another version Sämpsä is fetched from an island beyond the sea:

  It is I who summoned Sämpsä
  From an isle amid the ocean,
  From a skerry bare and treeless.

In yet another variant we are told how the boy Sämpsä

  Took six grains from off the corn heap,
  Slept all summer mid the corn heap,
  In the bosom of the corn boat.

Now "It's a long, long way to" Ilomantsi in the east of Finland, where this
last variant was discovered. But at least we have evidence that, within the
region influenced by Germanic mythology, the spirit of vegetation was
thought of as a boy coming over the sea, or sleeping in a boat with

To sum up:

Sceafa, when the Catalogue of Kings in _Widsith_ was drawn up--before
_Beowulf_ was composed, at any rate in its present form--was regarded as an
ancient king. When the West Saxon pedigree was drawn up, certainly not much
more than a century and a half after the composition of _Beowulf_, and
perhaps much less, Sceaf was regarded as the primitive figure in the
pedigree, before whom no one lived save the Hebrew patriarchs. That he was
originally thought of as a child, {86} coming across the water, with the
sheaf of corn, is, in view of the Finnish parallel, exceedingly probable,
and acquires some confirmation from the Chronicler's placing him in Noah's
ark. But the definite evidence for this is late.

Scyld, on the other hand, is in the first place probably a mere eponym of
the power of the Scylding kings of Denmark. He may, at a very early date,
have been provided with a ship funeral, since later two Swedish kings, both
apparently of Danish origin, have this ship funeral accorded to them, and
in one case it is expressly said to be "according to the custom of his
ancestors." But it seems exceedingly improbable that his original story
represented him as coming over the sea in a boat. For, if so, it remains to
be explained why this motive has entirely disappeared among his own people
in Scandinavia, and has been preserved only in England. Would the Danes
have been likely to forget utterly so striking a story, concerning the king
from whom their line derived its name? Further, in England, _Beowulf_ alone
attributes this story to Scyld, whilst later historians attribute it to
Sceaf. In view of the way in which the story of William of Malmesbury is
supported by folklore, to regard that story as merely the result of error
or invention seems perilous indeed.

On the other hand, all becomes straightforward if we allow that Scyld and
Sceaf were both ancient figures standing at the head of famous dynasties.
Their names alliterate. What more likely than that their stories should
have influenced each other, and that one king should have come to be
regarded as the parent or ancestor of the other? Contamination with Scyld
would account for Sceaf's boat being stated to have come to land in Scani,
Scanza--that Scedeland which is mentioned as the seat of Scyld's rule. Yet
this explanation is not necessary, for if Sceaf were an early Longobard
king, he would be rightly represented as ruling in Scandinavia[193].

       *       *       *       *       *



The Anglo-Saxon genealogies agree that the son of Sceldwa (Scyld) is Beow
(Beaw, Beo). In _Beowulf_, he is named not Beow, but Beowulf.

Many etymologies have been suggested for _B[=e]ow_. But considering that
Beow is in some versions a grandson, in all a descendant of Sceaf, it can
hardly be an accident that his name is identical with the O.E. word for
grain, _b[=e]ow_. The Norse word corresponding to this is _bygg_[194].

Recent investigation of the name is best summed up in the words of Axel

    "New light has been cast upon the question of the derivation of the
    name Beow by Kaarle Krohn's investigation of the debt of Finnish to
    Norse mythology, together with Magnus Olsen's linguistic
    interpretation. The Finnish has a deity Pekko, concerning whom it is
    said that he promoted the growth of barley: the Esths, closely akin to
    the Finns, have a corresponding Peko, whose image--the size of a
    three-year-old child--was carried out into the fields and invoked at
    the time of sowing, or else was kept in the corn-bin by a custodian
    chosen for a year. This Pekko is plainly a personification of the
    barley; the form corresponding phonetically in Runic Norse would be
    *_beggw-_ (from which comes Old Norse _bygg_).

    "So in Norse there was a grain *_beggw-_ (becoming _bygg_) and a
    corn-god *_Beggw-_ (becoming _Pekko_). In Anglo-Saxon there was a grain
    _béow_ and an ancestral _Béow_. And all four are phonetically identical
    (proceeding from a primitive form *_beuwa_, 'barley'). The conclusion
    which it is difficult to avoid is, that the corn-spirit 'Barley' and
    the ancestor 'Barley' are one and the same. The relation is the same as
    that between King Sheaf and the worship of the sheaf: the worshipped
    corn-being gradually sinks into the background, and comes to be
    regarded as an epic figure, an early ancestor.

    "We have no more exact knowledge of the mythical ideas connected either
    with the ancestor Beow or the corn-god Pekko. But we know enough of the
    worship of Pekko to show that he dwelt in the corn-heap, and that, in
    the spring, he was fetched out in the shape of a little child. That
    reminds us not a little of Sämpsä, who lay in the corn-heap on the
    ship, and came to land and awoke in the spring[195]."


But it may be objected that this is "harking back" to the old mythological
interpretations. After refusing to accept Müllenhoff's assumptions, are we
not reverting, through the names of Sceaf and Beow, and the worship of the
sheaf, to very much the same thing?

No. It is one thing to believe that the ancestor-king Beow may be a
weakened form of an ancient divinity, a mere name surviving from the figure
of an old corn-god Beow; it is quite another to assume, as Müllenhoff did,
that what we are told about Beowulf was originally told about Beow _and
that therefore we are justified in giving a mythological meaning to it_.

All we know, conjecture apart, about Beow is his traditional relationship
to Scyld, Sceaf and the other figures of the pedigree. That Beowulf's
dragon fight belonged originally to him is only a conjecture. In
confirmation of this conjecture only one argument has been put forward: an
argument turning upon Beowulf, son of Scyld--that obscure figure,
apparently equivalent to Beow, who meets us at the beginning of our poem.

Beowulf's place as a son of Scyld and father of Healfdene is occupied in
the Danish genealogies by Frothi, son of Skjold, and father of Halfdan. It
has been urged that the two figures are really identical, in spite of the
difference of name. Now Frothi slays a dragon, and it has been argued that
this dragon fight shows similarities which enable us to identify it with
the dragon fight attributed in our poem to Beowulf the Geat.

The argument is a strong one--if it really is the case that the dragon
slain by Frothi was the same monster as that slain by Beowulf the Geat.

Unfortunately this parallel, which will be examined in the next section, is
far from certain. We must be careful not to argue in a circle, identifying
Beowulf and Frothi because they slew the same dragon, and then identifying
the dragons because they were slain by the same hero.

Whilst, therefore, we admit that it is highly probable that Beow (grain)
the descendant of Sceaf (sheaf) was originally a corn divinity or corn
fetish, we cannot follow Müllenhoff in his bold attribution to this
"culture hero" of Beowulf's adventures with the dragon or with Grendel.

       *       *       *       *       *



Scyld, although the source of that Scylding dynasty which our poem
celebrates, is _not_ apparently regarded in _Beowulf_ as the earliest
Danish king. He came to the throne after an interregnum; the people whom he
grew up to rule had long endured cruel need, "being without a prince[196]."
We hear in _Beowulf_ of one Danish king only whom we can place
chronologically before Scyld--viz. Heremod[197]. The way in which Heremod
is referred to would fit in very well with the supposition[198] that he was
the last of a dynasty; the immediate predecessor of Scyld; and that it was
the death or exile of Heremod which ushered in the time when the Danes were
without a prince.

Now there is a natural tendency in genealogies for each king to be
represented as the descendant of his predecessor, whether he really was so
or no; so that in the course of time, and sometimes of a very short time,
the first king of a new dynasty may come to be reckoned as son of a king of
the preceding line[199]. Consequently, there would be nothing surprising
if, in another account, we find Scyld represented as a son of Heremod. And
we _do_ find the matter represented thus in the West Saxon genealogy, where
Sceldwa or Scyld is son of Heremod. Turning to the Danish accounts,
however, we do not find any _Hermóðr_ (which is the form we should expect
corresponding to _Herem[=o]d_) as father to Skjold (Scyld). Either no
father of Skjold is known, or else (in Saxo Grammaticus) he has a father
Lotherus. But, although the names are different, there is some
correspondence between what we are told of Lother and what we are told of
Heremod. A close parallel has indeed been drawn by Sievers between the
whole dynasty: on the one hand Lotherus, his son Skioldus, and his
descendant Frotho, {90} as given in Saxo: and on the other hand the
corresponding figures in _Beowulf_, Heremod, Scyld, and Scyld's son,
Beowulf the Dane.

The fixed and certain point here is the identity of the central figure,
Skioldus-Scyld. All the rest is very doubtful; not that there are not many
parallel features, but because the parallels are of a commonplace type
which might so easily recur accidentally.

The story of Lother, as given by Saxo, will be found below: the story of
Heremod as given in _Beowulf_ is hopelessly obscure--a mere succession of
allusions intended for an audience who knew the tale quite well. Assuming
the stories of Lother and Heremod to be different versions of one original,
the following would seem to be the most likely reconstruction[200], the
more doubtful portions being placed within round brackets thus ( ):

    The old Danish prince [Dan in Saxo] has two sons, one a weakling
    [_Humblus_, Saxo] the other a hero [_Lotherus_, Saxo: _Heremod_,
    _Beowulf_] (who was already in his youth the hope of the nation). But
    after his father's death the elder was (through violence) raised to the
    throne: and Lother-Heremod went into banishment. (But under the rule of
    the weakling the kingdom went to pieces, and thus) many a man longed
    for the return of the exile, as a help against these evils. So the hero
    conquers and deposes the weaker brother. But then his faults break
    forth, his greed and his cruelty: he ceases to be the darling and
    becomes the scourge of his people, till they rise and either slay him
    or drive him again into exile.

If the stories of Lother and Heremod _are_ connected, we may be fairly
confident that Heremod, not Lother, was the name of the king in the
original story.

For Scandinavian literature does know a Hermoth (_Hermóðr_), though no such
adventures are attributed to him as those recorded of Heremod in _Beowulf_.
Nevertheless it is probable that this Hermoth and Heremod in _Beowulf_ are
one and the same, because both heroes are linked in some way or other with
Sigemund. How these two kings, Heremod and Sigemund, came to be connected,
we do not know, but we find this connection recurring again and again[201].
This _may_ be {91} mere coincidence: but I doubt if we are justified in
assuming it to be so[202].

It has been suggested[203] that both Heremod and Sigemund were originally
heroes specially connected with the worship of Odin, and hence grouped
together. The history of the Scandinavian Sigmund is bound up with that of
the magic sword which Odin gave him, and with which he was always
victorious till the last fight when Odin himself shattered it.

And we are told in the Icelandic that Odin, whilst he gave a sword to
Sigmund, gave a helm and byrnie to Hermoth.

Again, whilst in one Scandinavian poem Sigmund is represented as welcoming
the newcomer at the gates of Valhalla, in another the same duty is
entrusted to Hermoth.

It is clear also that the _Beowulf_-poet had in mind some kind of
connection, though we cannot tell what, between Sigemund and Heremod.

We may take it, then, that the Heremod who is linked with Sigemund in
_Beowulf_ was also known in Scandinavian literature as a hero in some way
connected with Sigmund: whether or no the adventures which Saxo records of
Lotherus were really told in Scandinavian lands in connection with Hermoth,
we cannot say. The wicked king whose subjects rebel against him is too
common a feature of Germanic story for us to feel sure, without a good deal
of corroborative evidence, that the figures of Lotherus and Heremod are

The next king in the line, Skioldus in Saxo, is, as we have seen, clearly
identical with Scyld in _Beowulf_. But beyond the name, the two traditions
have, as we have also seen, but little in common. Both are youthful
heroes[204], both force neighbouring kings to pay tribute[205]; but such
things are commonplaces[206].

We must therefore turn to the next figure in the pedigree: the son of
Skjold in Scandinavian tradition is Frothi (Frotho {92} in Saxo)[207], the
son of Scyld in _Beowulf_ is Beowulf the Dane. And Frothi is the father of
Halfdan (Haldanus in Saxo) as Beowulf the Dane is of Healfdene. The Frothi
of Scandinavian tradition corresponds then in position to Beowulf the Dane
in Old English story[208].

Now of Beowulf the Dane we are told so little that we have really no means
of drawing a comparison between him and Frothi. But a _theory_ that has
found wide acceptance among scholars assumes that the dragon fight of
Beowulf the Geat was originally narrated of Beowulf the Dane, and only
subsequently transferred to the Geatic hero. Theoretically, then, Beowulf
the Dane kills a dragon. Now certainly Frotho kills a dragon: and it has
been generally accepted[209] that the parallels between the dragon slain by
Frotho and that slain by Beowulf the Geat are so remarkable as to exclude
the possibility of mere accidental coincidence, and to lead us to conclude
that the dragon story was originally told of that Beowulf who corresponds
to Frothi, i.e. Beowulf the Dane, son of Scyld and father of Healfdene; not
Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, the Geat.

But are the parallels really so close? We must not forget that here we are
building theory upon theory. That the Frotho of Saxo is the same figure as
Beowulf the Dane in Old English, is a theory, based upon his common
relationship to Skiold-Scyld before him and to Haldanus-Healfdene coming
after him: that Beowulf the Dane was the original hero of the dragon fight,
and that that dragon fight was only subsequently transferred to the credit
of Beowulf the Geat, is again a theory. Only if we can find real parallels
between the dragon-slaying of Frotho and the dragon-slaying of Beowulf will
these theories have confirmation.


Parallels have been pointed out by Sievers which he regards as so close as
to justify a belief that both are derived ultimately from an old lay, with
so much closeness that verbal resemblances can still be traced.

Unfortunately the parallels are all commonplaces. That Sievers and others
have been satisfied with them was perhaps due to the fact that they started
by assuming as proved that the dragon fight of Beowulf the Geat belonged
originally to Beowulf the Dane[210], and argued that since Frotho in Saxo
occupies a place corresponding exactly to that of Beowulf the Dane in
_Beowulf_, a comparatively limited resemblance between two dragons coming,
as it were, at the same point in the pedigree, might be held sufficient to
identify them.

But, as we have seen, the assumption that the dragon fight of Beowulf the
Geat belonged originally to Beowulf the Dane is only a theory that will
have to stand or fall as we can prove that the dragon fight of Frotho is
really parallel to that of Beowulf the Geat, and therefore must have
belonged to the connecting link supplied by the Scylding prince Beowulf the
Dane. In other words, the theory that the dragon in _Beowulf_ is to be
identified with the dragon which in Saxo is slain by Frotho the Danish
prince, father of Haldanus-Healfdene, is one of the main arguments upon
which we must base the theory that the dragon in _Beowulf_ was originally
slain by the Danish Beowulf, father of Healfdene, not by Beowulf the Geat.
We cannot then turn round, and assert that the fact that they were both
slain by a Danish prince, the father of Healfdene, is an argument for
identifying the dragons.

Turning to the dragon fight itself, the following parallels have been noted
by Sievers:

(1) A native (_indigena_) comes to Frotho, and tells him of the
treasure-guarding dragon. An informer (_melda_) plays the same part in

But a dragon is not game which can be met with every day. He is a shy
beast, lurking in desert places. Some informant has very frequently to
guide the hero to his {94} foe[212]. And the situation is widely different.
Frotho knows nothing of the dragon till directed to the spot: Beowulf's
land has been assailed, he knows of the dragon, though he needs to be
guided to its _exact_ lair.

(2) Frotho's dragon lives on an island. Beowulf's lives near the sea, and
there is an island (_[=e]alond_, 2334) in the neighbourhood.

But _[=e]alond_ in _Beowulf_ probably does not mean "island" at all: and in
any case the dragon did not live upon the _[=e]alond_. Many dragons have
lived near the sea. Sigemund's dragon did so[213].

(3) The hero in each case attacks the dragon single-handed.

But what hero ever did otherwise? On the contrary, Beowulf's exploit
differs from that of Frotho and of most other dragon slayers in that he is
unable to _overcome_ his foe single-handed, and needs the support of

(4) Special armour is carried by the dragon slayer in each case.

But this again is no uncommon feature. The Red Cross Knight also needs
special armour. Dragon slayers constantly invent some ingenious or even
unique method. And again the parallel is far from close. Frotho is advised
to cover his shield and his limbs with the hides of bulls and kine: a
sensible precaution against fiery venom. Beowulf constructs a shield of
iron[214]: which naturally gives very inferior protection[215].

(5) Frotho's informant tells him that he must be of good courage[216].
Wiglaf encourages Beowulf[217].

But the circumstances under which the words are uttered are entirely
different, nor have the words more than a general resemblance. That a man
needs courage, if he is going to tackle a dragon, is surely a conclusion at
which two minds could have arrived independently.

(6) Both heroes waste their blows at first on the scaly back of the dragon.


But if the hero went at once for the soft parts, there would be no fight at
all, and all the fun would be lost. Sigurd's dragon-fight is, for this
reason, a one-sided business from the first. To avoid this, Frotho is
depicted as beginning by an attack on the dragon's rough hide (although he
has been specially warned by the _indigena_ not to do so):

                          ventre sub imo
  esse locum scito quo ferrum mergere fas est,
  hunc mucrone petens medium rimaberis anguem[218].

(7) The hoard is plundered by both heroes.

But it is the nature of a dragon to guard a hoard[219]. And, having slain
the dragon, what hero would neglect the gold?

(8) There are many verbal resemblances: the dragon spits venom[220], and
twists himself into coils[221].

Some of these verbal resemblances may be granted as proved: but they surely
do not prove the common origin of the two dragon fights. They only tend to
prove the common origin of the school of poetry in which these two dragon
fights were told. That dragons dwelt in mounds was a common Germanic
belief, to which the Cottonian Gnomic verses testify. Naturally, therefore,
Frotho's dragon is _montis possessor_: Beowulf's is _beorges hyrde_. The
two phrases undoubtedly point back to a similar gradus, to a similar
traditional stock phraseology, and to similar beliefs: that is all. As well
argue that two kings must be identical, because each is called _folces

These commonplace phrases and commonplace features are surely quite
insufficient to prove that the stories are identical--at most they only
prove that they bear the impress of one and the same poetical school. If a
parallel is to carry weight there must be something individual about it, as
there is, for example, about the arguments by which the identity of Beowulf
and Bjarki have been supported. That a hero comes from {96} Geatland
(Gautland) to the court where Hrothulf (Rolf) is abiding; that the same
hero subsequently is instrumental in helping Eadgils (Athils) against Onela
(Ali)--here we have something tangible. But when two heroes, engaged upon
slaying a dragon, are each told to be brave, the parallel is too general to
be a parallel at all. "There is a river in Macedon: and there is also
moreover a river at Monmouth, and there is salmons in both."

And there is a fundamental difference, which would serve to neutralize the
parallels, even did they appear much less accidental than they do.

Dragon fights may be classified into several types: two stand out
prominently. There is the story in which the young hero begins his career
by slaying a dragon or monster and winning, it may be a hoard of gold, it
may be a bride. This is the type of story found, for instance, in the tales
of Sigurd, or Perseus, or St George. On the other hand there is the hero
who, at the end of his career, seeks to ward off evil from himself and his
people. He slays the monster, but is himself slain by it. The great example
of this type is the god Thor, who in the last fight of the gods slays the
Dragon, but dies when he has reeled back nine paces from the "baleful

Now the story of the victorious young Frotho is of the one type: that of
the aged Beowulf is of the other. And this difference is essential,
fundamental, dominating the whole situation in each case: giving its
cheerful and aggressive tone to the story of Frotho, giving the elegiac and
pathetic note which runs through the whole of the last portion of
_Beowulf_[223]. It is no mere detail which could be added or subtracted by
a narrator without altering the essence of the story.

In face of this we must pronounce the two stories essentially and
originally distinct. If, nevertheless, there were a large number of
striking and specific similarities, we should have to allow that, though
originally distinct, the one dragon story had influenced the other in
detail. For, whilst each poet who retold the tale would make alterations in
detail, and might {97} import such detail from one dragon story into
another, what we know of the method of the ancient story tellers does not
allow us to assume that a poet would have altered the whole drift of a
story, either by changing the last death-struggle of an aged, childless
prince into the victorious feat of a young hero, or by the reverse process.

Those, therefore, who hold the parallels quoted above to be convincing, may
believe that one dragon story has influenced another, originally
distinct[224]. To me, it does not appear that even this necessarily follows
from the evidence.

It seems very doubtful whether any of the parallels drawn by Sievers
between the stories of Lotherus and Heremod[225], Skioldus and Scyld,
Frotho and Beowulf, are more than the resemblances inevitable in poetry
which, like the Old Danish and the Old English, still retains so many
traces of the common Germanic frame in which it was moulded.

Indeed, of the innumerable dragon-stories extant, there is probably not one
which we can declare to be really identical with that of Beowulf. There is
a Danish tradition which shows many similarities[226], and I have given
this below, in Part II; but rather as an example of a dragon-slaying of the
_Beowulf_ type, than because I believe in any direct connection between the
two stories.

       *       *       *       *       *





Our poem, the first original poem of any length in the English tongue,
ignores England. In one remarkable passage (ll. 1931-62) it mentions with
praise Offa I, the great king who ruled the Angles whilst they were still
upon the Continent. But, except for this, it deals mainly with heroes who,
so far as we can identify them with historic figures, are Scandinavian.

Hence, not unnaturally, the first editor boldly declared _Beowulf_ to be an
Anglo-Saxon version of a Danish poem; and this view has had many
supporters. The poem _must_ be Scandinavian, said one of its earliest
translators, because it deals mainly with Scandinavian heroes and "everyone
knows that in ancient times each nation celebrated in song its own heroes
alone[227]." And this idea, though not so crudely expressed, seems really
to underlie the belief which has been held by numerous scholars, that the
poem is nothing more than a translation of a poem in which some
Scandinavian minstrel had glorified the heroes of his own nation.

But what do we mean by "nation"? Doubtless, from the point of view of
politics and war, each Germanic tribe, or offshoot of a tribe, formed an
independent nation: the Longobardi had no hesitation in helping the
"Romans" to cut the throats of their Gothic kinsmen: Penda the Mercian was
willing to ally with the Welshmen in order to overthrow his {99} fellow
Angles of Northumbria. But all this, as the history of the ancient Greeks
or of the ancient Hebrews might show us, is quite compatible with a
consciousness of racial unity among the warring states, with a common
poetic tradition and a common literature. For purposes of poetry there was
only one nation--the Germanic--split into many dialects and groups, but
possessed of a common metre, a common style, a common standard of heroic
feeling: and any deed of valour performed by any Germanic chief might
become a fit subject for the poetry of any Germanic tribe of the heroic

So, if by "nation" we mean the whole Germanic race, then Germanic poetry is
essentially "national." The Huns were the only non-Germanic tribe who were
received (for poetical purposes) into Germania. Hunnish chiefs seem to have
adopted Gothic manners, and after the Huns had disappeared it often came to
be forgotten that they were not Germans. But with this exception the tribes
and heroes of Germanic heroic poetry are Germanic.

If, however, by "nation" we understand the different warring units into
which the Germanic race was, politically speaking, divided, then Germanic
poetry is essentially "international."

This is no theory, but a fact capable of conclusive proof. The chief actors
in the old Norse Volsung lays are not Norsemen, but Sigurd the Frank,
Gunnar the Burgundian, Atli the Hun. In Continental Germany, the ideal
knight of the Saxons in the North and the Bavarians in the South was no
native hero, but Theodoric the Ostrogoth. So too in England, whilst
_Beowulf_ deals chiefly with Scandinavian heroes, the _Finnsburg_ fragment
deals with the Frisian tribes of the North Sea coast: _Waldere_ with the
adventures of Germanic chiefs settled in Gaul, _Deor_ with stories of the
Goths and of the Baltic tribes, whilst _Widsith_, which gives us a
catalogue of the old heroic tales, shows that amongst the heroes whose
names were current in England were men of Gothic, Burgundian, Frankish,
Lombard, Frisian, Danish and Swedish race. There is nothing peculiar, then,
in the fact that _Beowulf_ celebrates heroes who were not of Anglian birth.

In their old home in Schleswig the Angles had been in the exact centre of
Germania: with an outlook upon both the North Sea and the Baltic, and in
touch with Scandinavian tribes on the North and Low German peoples on the
South. That the Angles were interested in the stories of all the nations
which surrounded them, and that they brought these stories with them to
England, is certain. It is a mere accident that the one heroic poem which
happens to have been preserved at length is almost exclusively concerned
with Scandinavian doings. It could easily have happened that the history of
the _Beowulf_ MS and the _Waldere_ MS might have been reversed: that the
_Beowulf_ might have been cut up to bind other books, and the _Waldere_
preserved intact: in that case our one long poem would have been localized
in ancient Burgundia, and would have dealt chiefly with the doings of
Burgundian champions. But we should have had no more reason, without
further evidence, to suppose the _Waldere_ a translation from the
Burgundian than we have, without further evidence, to suppose _Beowulf_ a
translation from the Scandinavian.

To deny that _Beowulf_, as we have it, is a translation from the
Scandinavian does not, of course, involve any denial of the Scandinavian
origin of the _story_ of Beowulf's deeds. The fact that his achievements
are framed in a Scandinavian setting, and that the closest parallels to
them have to be sought in Scandinavian lands, makes it probable on _a
priori_ grounds that the story had its origin there. On the face of it,
Müllenhoff's belief that the story was indigenous among the Angles is quite
unlikely. It would seem rather to have originated in the Geatic country.
But stories, whether in prose or verse, would spread quickly from the
Geatas to the Danes and from the Danes to the Angles.

After the Angles had crossed the North Sea, however, this close intimacy
ceased, till the Viking raids again reminded Englishmen, in a very
unpleasant way, of their kinsmen across the sea. Now linguistic evidence
tends to show that _Beowulf_ belongs to a time prior to the Viking
settlement in England, and it is unlikely that the Scandinavian traditions
embodied in _Beowulf_ found their way to England just at the time when
{101} communication with Scandinavian lands seems to have been suspended.
We must conclude then that all this Scandinavian tradition probably spread
to the Angles whilst they were still in their old continental home, was
brought across to England by the settlers in the sixth century, was handed
on by English bards from generation to generation, till some Englishmen
formed the poem of _Beowulf_ as we know it.

Of course, if evidence can be produced that _Beowulf_ is translated from
some Scandinavian original, which was brought over in the seventh century
or later, that is another matter. But the evidence produced so far is not
merely inconclusive, but ludicrously inadequate.

It has been urged[228] by Sarrazin, the chief advocate of the translation
theory, that the description of the country round Heorot, and especially of
the journey to the Grendel-lake, shows such local knowledge as to point to
its having been composed by some Scandinavian poet familiar with the
locality. Heorot can probably, as we have seen, be identified with Leire:
and the Grendel-lake Sarrazin identifies with the neighbouring Roskilde
fjord. But it is hardly possible to conceive a greater contrast than that
between the Roskilde fjord and the scenery depicted in ll. 1357 _etc._,
1408 _etc._ Seen, as Sarrazin saw it, on a May morning, in alternate sun
and shadow, the Roskilde fjord presents a view of tame and peaceful beauty.
In the days of Hrothgar, when there were perhaps fewer cultivated fields
and more beech forests, the scenery may have been less tame, but can hardly
have been less peaceful. The only trace of accurate geography is that
Heorot is represented as not on the shore, and yet not far remote from it
(ll. 307 _etc._). But, as has been pointed out above, we know that
traditions of the attack by the Heathobeardan upon Heorot were current in
England: and these would be quite sufficient to keep alive, even among
English bards, some remembrance of the strategic situation of Heorot with
regard to the sea. A man need not have been near Troy, to realize that the
town was no seaport and yet near the sea.


Again, it has been claimed by Sarrazin that the language of _Beowulf_ shows
traces of the Scandinavian origin of the poem. Sarrazin's arguments on this
head have been contested energetically by Sievers[229]. After some heated
controversy Sarrazin made a final and (presumably) carefully-weighed
statement of his case. In this he gave a list of twenty-nine words upon
which he based his belief[230]. Yet of these twenty-nine, twenty-one occur
in other O.E. writings, where there can be no possible question of
translation from the Scandinavian: some of these words, in fact, are
amongst the commonest of O.E. poetical expressions. There remain eight
which do not happen to be found elsewhere in the extant remains of O.E.
poetry. But these are mostly compounds like _heaðo-l[=a]c_,
_feorh-s[=e]oc_: and though the actual compound is not elsewhere extant in
English, the component elements are thoroughly English. There is no reason
whatever to think that these eight rare words are taken from Old Norse.
Indeed, three of them do not occur in Old Norse at all.

Evidence to prove _Beowulf_ a translation from a Scandinavian original is,
then, wanting. On the other hand, over and above the difficulty that the
_Beowulf_ belongs just to the period when intimate communication between
the Angles and Scandinavians was suspended, there is much evidence against
the translation theory. The earliest Scandinavian poetry we possess, or of
which we can get information, differs absolutely from _Beowulf_ in style,
metre and sentiment: the manners of _Beowulf_ are incompatible with all we
know of the wild heathendom of Scandinavia in the seventh or eighth
century[231]. _Beowulf_, as we now have it, with its Christian references
and its Latin loan-words, _could_ not be a translation from the
Scandinavian. And the proper names in _Beowulf_ which Sarrazin claimed were
Old Norse, not Old English, and had been taken {103} over from the Old
Norse original, are in all cases so correctly transliterated as to
necessitate the assumption that they were brought across early, at the time
of the settlement of Britain or very shortly after, and underwent phonetic
development side by side with the other words in the English language. Had
they been brought across from Scandinavia at a later date, much confusion
must have ensued in the forms.

Somewhat less improbable is the suggestion "that the poet had travelled on
the continent and become familiar with the legends of the Danes and Geats,
or else had heard them from a Scandinavian resident in England[232]." But
it is clear from the allusive manner in which the Scandinavian tales are
told, that they must have been familiar to the poet's audience. If, then,
the English audience knew them, why must the poet himself have travelled on
the continent in order to know them? There is, therefore, no need for this
theory, and it is open to many of the objections of the translation theory:
for example it fails, equally with that theory, to account for the
uniformly correct development of the proper names.

The obvious conclusion is that these Scandinavian traditions were brought
over by the English settlers in the sixth century. Against this only one
cavil can be raised, and that will not bear examination. It has been
objected that, since Hygelac's raid took place about 516, since Beowulf's
accession was some years subsequent, and since he then reigned fifty years,
his death cannot be put much earlier than 575, and that this brings us to a
date when the migration of the Angles and Saxons had been completed[233].
But it is forgotten that all the historical events mentioned in the poem,
which we can date, occur before, or not very long after, the raid of
Hygelac, c. 516. The poem asserts that fifty years after these events
Beowulf slew a dragon and was slain by it. But this does not make the
dragon historic, nor does it make the year 575 the historic date of the
death of Beowulf. We cannot be sure that there _was_ any actual king of the
Geatas named Beowulf; and if there was, the last known historic act with
which that king is associated is the raising of Eadgils to the Swedish
throne, {104} c. 525: the rest of Beowulf's long reign, since it contains
no event save the slaying of a dragon, has no historic validity.

It is noteworthy that, whereas there is full knowledge shown in our poem of
those events which took place in Scandinavian lands during the whole period
from about 450 to 530--the period during which hordes of Angles, Saxons and
Jutes were landing in Britain--there is no reference, not even by way of
casual allusion, to any continental events which we can date with certainty
as subsequent to the arrival of the latest settlers from the continent.
Surely this is strong evidence that these tales were brought over by some
of the last of the invaders, not carried to England by some casual
traveller a century or two later.

       *       *       *       *       *


A full discussion of the dialect, metre and syntax of _Beowulf_ forms no
part of the scheme of this study. It is only intended in this section to
see how far such investigations throw light upon the literary history of
the poem.


_Beowulf_ is written in the late West Saxon dialect. Imbedded in the poem,
however, are a large number of forms, concerning which this at least can be
said--that they are not normal late West Saxon. Critics have classified
these forms, and have drawn conclusions from them as to the history of the
poem: arguing from sporadic "Mercian" and "Kentish" forms that _Beowulf_ is
of Mercian origin and has passed through the hands of a Kentish

But, in fact, the evidence as to Old English dialects is more scanty and
more conflicting than philologists have always been willing to admit. It is
exceedingly difficult to say with any certainty what forms are "Mercian"
and what "Kentish." Having run such forms to earth, it is still more
difficult to say what arguments are to be drawn from their _occasional_
{105} appearance in any text. Men from widely different parts of the
country would be working together in the scriptorium of one and the same
monastery, and this fact alone may have often led to confusion in the
dialectal forms of works transcribed.

A thorough investigation of the significance of all the abnormal forms in
_Beowulf_ has still to be made. Whether it would repay the labour of the
investigator may well be questioned. In the meantime we may accept the view
that the poem was in all probability originally written in some
non-West-Saxon dialect, and most probably in an Anglian dialect, since this
is confirmed by the way in which the Anglian hero Offa is dragged into the

    Ten Brink's attempt to decide the dialect and transmission of _Beowulf_
    will be found in his _Beowulf_, pp. 237-241: he notes the difficulty
    that the "Kentish" forms from which he argues are nearly all such as
    occur also sporadically in West Saxon texts. A classification of the
    forms by P. G. Thomas will be found in the _Modern Language Review_, I,
    202 _etc._ How difficult and uncertain all classification must be has
    been shown by Frederick Tupper (_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXVI,
    235 _etc._; _J.E.G.P._ XI, 82-9).

"_Lichtenheld's Test._"

Somewhat more definite results can be drawn from certain syntactical
usages. There can be no doubt that as time went on, the use of _se_,
_s[=e]o_, _þæt_ became more and more common in O.E. verse. This is largely
due to the fact that in the older poems the _weak adjective_ + _noun_
appears frequently where we should now use the definite article: _w[=i]sa
fengel_--"the wise prince"; _se w[=i]sa fengel_ is used where some
demonstrative is needed--"that wise prince." Later, however, _se_,
_s[=e]o_, _þæt_ comes to be used in the common and vague sense in which the
definite article is used in Modern English.

We consequently get with increasing frequency the use of the _definite
article_ + _weak adjective_ + _noun_: whilst the usage _weak adjective_ +
_noun_ decreases. Some rough criterion of date can thus be obtained by an
examination of a poet's usage in this particular. Of course it would be
absurd--as has been done--to group Old English poems in a strict
chronological order according to the proportion of forms with and without
the article. Individual usage must count for a good deal: {106} also the
scribes in copying and recopying our text must to a considerable extent
have obliterated the earlier practice. Metre and syntax combine to make it
probable that, in line 9 of our poem, the scribe has inserted the
unnecessary article _þ[=a]ra_ before _ymbsittendra_: and in the rare cases
where we have an O.E. poem preserved in two texts, a comparison proves that
the scribe has occasionally interpolated an article. But this later
tendency to level out the peculiarity only makes it the more remarkable
that we should find such great differences between O.E. poems, all of them
extant in copies transcribed about the year 1000.

How great is the difference between the usage of _Beowulf_ and that of the
great body of Old English poetry will be clear from the following

The proportion of phrases containing the weak adjective + noun with and
without the definite article in the certain works of Cynewulf is as

                  With article  Without article
  _Juliana_              27               3
  _Christ (II)_          28               3
  _Elene_                66               9

In _Guthlac_ (A) (c. 750) the proportions are:

                  With article  Without article
  _Guthlac_ (A)          42               6

Contrast this with the proportion in our poem:

                  With article  Without article
  _Beowulf_              13              65

The nearest approach to the proportions of _Beowulf_ is in the (certainly
very archaic)

                  With article  Without article
  _Exodus_               10              14

On the other hand, certain late texts show how fallible this criterion is.
Anyone dating _Maldon_ solely by "Lichtenheld's Test" would assuredly place
it much earlier than 991.


It is easy to make a false use of grammatical statistics: and this test
should only be applied with the greatest caution. But the difference
between _Beowulf_ and the works of Cynewulf is too striking to be
overlooked. In _Beowulf_, to every five examples without the article (e.g.
_heaðo-st[=e]apa helm_) we have _one_ with the article (e.g. _se hearda
helm_): in Cynewulf to every five examples without the article we have
_forty_ with it.

A further test of antiquity is in the use of the weak adjective with the
instrumental--a use which rapidly diminishes.

There are eighteen such instrumental phrases in _Beowulf_ (3182
lines)[235]. In _Exodus_ (589 lines) there are six
examples[236]--proportionally more than in _Beowulf_. In Cynewulf's
undoubted works (c. 2478 lines) there is one example only, _beorhtan

    This criterion of the absence of the definite article before the weak
    adjective is often referred to as Lichtenheld's Test (see article by
    him in _Z.f.d.A._ XVI, 325 _etc._). It has been applied to the whole
    body of O.E. poetry by Barnouw (_Textcritische Untersuchungen_, 1902).
    The data collected by Barnouw are most valuable, but we must be
    cautious in the conclusions we draw, as is shown by Sarrazin (_Eng.
    Stud._ XXXVIII, 145 _etc._), and Tupper (_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc._ XXVI,

    Exact enumeration of instances is difficult. For example, Lichtenheld
    gave 22 instances of definite article + weak adjective + noun in
    _Beowulf_[238]. But eight of these are not quite certain; _se g[=o]da
    m[=æ]g Hygel[=a]ces_ may be not "the good kinsman of Hygelac," but "the
    good one--the kinsman of Hygelac," for there is the half line pause
    after _g[=o]da_. These eight examples therefore should be
    deducted[239]. One instance, though practically certain, is the result
    of conjectural emendation[240]. Of the remaining thirteen[241] three
    are variations of the same phrase.

    The statistics given above are those of Brandl (_Sitzungsberichte d. k.
    Preuss. Akad. d. Wissenschaften_, 1905, p. 719) which are based upon
    those of Barnouw.

"_Morsbach's Test._"

Sievers' theories as to O.E. metre have not been accepted by all scholars
in their entirety. But the statistics which he {108} collected enable us to
say, with absolute certainty, that some given types of verse were not
acceptable to the ear of an Old English bard.

Sceptics may emphasize the fact that Old English texts are uncertain, that
nearly all poems are extant in one MS only, that the MS in each case was
written down long after the poems were composed, and that precise verbal
accuracy is therefore not to be expected[242]. All the more remarkable then
becomes the fact, for it is a fact, that there are certain types of line
which never occur in _Beowulf_, and that there are other types which are
exceedingly rare. Again, there are certain types of line which _do_ occur
in _Beowulf_ as we have it, though they seem contrary to the principles of
O.E. scansion. When we find that such lines consistently contain some word
which had a different metrical value when our extant MS of _Beowulf_ was
transcribed, from that which it had at the earlier date when _Beowulf_ was
composed, and that the earlier value makes the line metrical, the
conclusion is obvious. _Beowulf_ must have been composed at a time or in a
dialect when the earlier metrical values held good.

But we reach a certain date beyond which, if we put the language back into
its older form, it will no longer fit into the metrical structure. For
example, words like _fl[=o]d_, _feld_, _eard_ were originally "u-nouns":
with nom. and acc. sing. _fl[=o]du_, etc. But the half-line _ofer fealone
fl[=o]d_ (1950) becomes exceedingly difficult if we put it in the form
_ofer fealone fl[=o]du_[243]: the half-line _f[=i]felcynnes eard_ becomes
absolutely impossible in the form _f[=i]felcynnes eardu_[244].

It can, consequently, with some certainty be argued that these half-lines
were composed after the time when _fl[=o]du_, _eardu_ had become _fl[=o]d_,
_eard_. Therefore, it has been further argued, _Beowulf_ was composed after
that date. But are we justified in this further step--in assuming that
because a certain number of half-lines in _Beowulf_ must have been composed
after a certain date, therefore _Beowulf_ itself must have been composed
after that date?


From what we know of the mechanical way in which the Old English _scribe_
worked, we have no reason to suppose that he would have consistently
altered what he found in an older copy, so as to make it metrical according
to the later speech into which he was transcribing it. But if we go back to
a time when poems were committed to memory by a _scop_, skilled in the laws
of O.E. metre, the matter is very different. A written poem may be copied
word for word, even though the spelling is at the same time modernized, but
it is obvious that a poem preserved orally will be altered slightly from
time to time, if the language in which it is written is undergoing changes
which make the poem no longer metrically correct.

Imagine the state of things at the period when final _u_ was being lost
after a long syllable. This loss of a syllable would make a large number of
the half-lines and formulas in the old poetry unmetrical. Are we to suppose
that the whole of O.E. poetry was at once scrapped, and entirely new poems
composed to fit in with the new sound laws? Surely not; old formulas would
be recast, old lines modified where they needed it, but the old poetry
would go on[245], with these minor verbal changes adapting it to the new
order of things. We can see this taking place, to a limited extent, in the
transcripts of Middle English poems. In the transmission of poems by word
of mouth it would surely take place to such an extent as to baffle later

Consequently I am inclined to agree that this test is hardly final except
"on the assumption that the poems were written down from the very
beginning[247]." And we are clearly not justified in making any such
assumption. A small number of such lines would accordingly give, not so
much a means of fixing a period before which _Beowulf_ cannot have been
composed, as merely {110} one before which _Beowulf_ cannot have been fixed
by writing in its present form.

If, however, more elaborate investigation were to show that the
_percentage_ of such lines is _just as great_ in _Beowulf_ as it is in
poems certainly written after the sound changes had taken place, it might
be conceded that the test was a valid one, and that it proved _Beowulf_ to
have been written after these sound changes occurred.

This would then bring us to our second difficulty. At what date exactly did
these sound changes take place? The chief documents available are the
proper names in Bede's History, and in certain Latin charters, the glosses,
and a few early runic inscriptions. Most important, although very scanty,
are the charters, since they bear a date. With these we proceed to

A. The dropping of the _u_ after a long accented syllable (_fl['=o]du_
becoming _fl['=o]d_), or semi-accented syllable (_St['=a]nfòrdu_ becoming

There is evidence from an Essex charter that this was already lost in 692
or 693 (_uuidmundesfelt_)[248]. From this date on, examples without the _u_
are forthcoming in increasing number[249]. One certain example only has
been claimed for the preservation of _u_. In the runic inscription on the
"Franks casket" _flodu_ is found for _flod_. But the spelling of the Franks
casket is erratic: for example _giuþeasu_ is also found for _giuþeas_, "the
Jews." Now _u_ here is impossible[250], and we must conclude perhaps that
the inscriber of the runes intended to write _giuþea su[mæ]_[250] or
_giuþea su[na]_[251], "some of the Jews," "the sons of the Jews," and that
having reached the end of his line at _u_, he neglected to complete the
word: or else perhaps that he wrote _giuþeas_ and having some additional
space added a _u_ at the end of his line, just for fun. Whichever
explanation we {111} adopt, it will apply to _flodu_, which equally comes
at the end of a line, and the _u_ of which may equally have been part of
some following word which was never completed[252].

Other linguistic data of the Franks casket would lead us to place it
somewhere in the first half of the eighth century, and we should hardly
expect to find _u_ preserved as late as this[253]. For we have seen that by
693 the _u_ was already lost after a subordinate accent in the Essex
charter. Yet it is arguable that the _u_ was retained later after a long
accented syllable (_fl[=ó]du_) than after a subordinate accent
(_uu[=í]dmùndesfèlt_); and, besides, the casket is Northumbrian, and the
sound changes need not have been simultaneous all over the country.

We cannot but feel that the evidence is pitifully scanty. All we can say is
that _perhaps_ the _flodu_ of the Franks casket shows that _u_ was still
preserved after a fully accented syllable as late as 700. But the _u_ in
_flodu_ may be a deliberate archaism on the part of the writer, may be a
local dialectal survival, may be a mere miswriting.

B. The preservation of _h_ between consonant and vowel.

Here there is one clear example which we can date: the archaic spelling of
the proper name _Welhisc_. _Signum manus uelhisci_ occurs in a Kentish
charter of 679[254]. The same charter shows _h_ already lost between
vowels: _uuestan ae_ (_ae_ dative of _[=e]a_, "river," cf. Gothic _ahwa_).

Not much can be argued from the proper name _Welhisc_, as to the current
pronunciation in Kent in 679, for an old man may well have continued to
spell his name as it was spelt when he was a child, even though the current
pronunciation had changed[255]. But we have further evidence in the
glosses, which show _h_ sometimes preserved and sometimes not. These
glosses are mechanical copies of an original which was presumably compiled
between 680 and 720. We are therefore justified in arguing that at that
date _h_ was still preserved, at any rate occasionally.


Of "Morsbach's test" we can then say that it establishes something of an
argument that _Beowulf_ was composed after the date when final _u_ after a
long syllable, or _h_ between consonant and vowel, were lost, and that this
date was probably within a generation or so of the year 700 A.D. But there
are too many uncertain contingencies involved to make the test at all a
conclusive one.

    Morsbach's _Zur Datierung des Beowulf-epos_ will be found in the
    Göttingen _Nachrichten_, 1906, pp. 252-77. These tests have been worked
    out for the whole body of Old English poetry in the _Chronologische
    Studien_ of Carl Richter, Halle, 1910.

       *       *       *       *       *


Certain peculiarities in the structure of _Beowulf_ can hardly fail to
strike the reader. (1) The poem is not a biography of Beowulf, nor yet an
episode in his life: it is two distinct episodes: the Grendel business and
the dragon business, joined by a narrow bridge. (2) Both these stories are
broken in upon by digressions: some of these concern Beowulf himself, so
that we get a fairly complete idea of the life of our hero: but for the
most part these digressions are not strictly apposite. (3) Even apart from
these digressions, the narrative is often hampered: the poet begins his
story, diverges and returns. (4) The traces of Christian thought and
knowledge which meet us from time to time seem to belong to a different
world from that of the Germanic life in which our poem has its roots.

Now in the middle of the nineteenth century it was widely believed that the
great epics of the world had been formed from collections of original
shorter lays fitted together (often unskilfully) by later redactors. For a
critic starting from this assumption, better material than the _Beowulf_
could hardly be found. And it _was_ with such assumptions that Carl
Müllenhoff, the greatest of the scholars who have dissected the _Beowulf_,
set to work. He attended the lectures of Lachmann, and formed, {113} a
biographer tells us, the fixed resolve to do for one epic what his admired
master had done for another[256].

Müllenhoff claimed for his theories that they were simple[257] and
straightforward: and so they were, if we may be allowed to assume as a
basis that the _Beowulf_ is made up out of shorter lays, and that the only
business of the critic is to define the scope of these lays. In the story
of Beowulf's fight with Grendel (ll. 194-836: Müllenhoff's Sect. I) and
with the dragon (ll. 2200-3183: Müllenhoff's Sect. IV) Müllenhoff saw the
much interpolated remains of two original lays by different authors. But,
before it was united to the dragon story, the Grendel story, Müllenhoff
held, had already undergone many interpolations and additions. The story of
Grendel's mother (ll. 837-1623: Sect. II) was added, Müllenhoff held, by
one continuator as a sequel to the story of Grendel, and ll. 1-193 were
added by another hand as an introduction. Then this Grendel story was
finally rounded off by an interpolator (A) who added the account of
Beowulf's return home (Sect. III, ll. 1629-2199) and at the same time
inserted passages into the poem throughout. Finally came Interpolator B,
who was the first to combine the Grendel story, thus elaborated, with the
dragon story. Interpolator B was responsible for the great bulk of the
interpolations: episodes from other cycles and "theologizing" matter.

Ten Brink, like Müllenhoff, regarded the poem as falling into four
sections: the Grendel fight, the fight with Grendel's mother, the return
home, the dragon fight. But Müllenhoff had imagined the epic composed out
of one set of lays: incoherences, he thought, were due to the bungling of
successive interpolators. Ten Brink assumed that in the case of all three
fights, with Grendel, with Grendel's mother, and with the dragon, there had
been two _parallel_ versions, which a later redactor had combined together,
and that it was to this combination that the frequent repetitions in the
{114} narrative were due: he believed that not only were the different
episodes of the poem originally distinct, but that each episode was
compounded of two originally distinct lays, combined together.

Now it cannot be denied that the process postulated by Müllenhoff _might_
have taken place: a lay on Grendel and a lay on the dragon-fight might have
been combined by some later compiler. Ten Brink's theory, too, is
inherently not improbable: that there should have been two or more versions
current of a popular story is probable enough: that a scribe should have
tried to fit these two parallel versions together is not without precedent:
very good examples of such attempts at harmonizing different versions can
be got from an examination of the MSS of _Piers Plowman_.

It is only here and there that we are struck by an inherent improbability
in Müllenhoff's scheme. Thus the form in which Müllenhoff assumes the poem
to have existed before Interpolator A set to work on it, is hardly a
credible one. The "original poet" has brought Beowulf from his home to the
Danish court, to slay Grendel, and the "continuator" has taken him to the
haunted lake: Beowulf has plunged down, slain Grendel's mother, come back
to land. Here Müllenhoff believed the poem to have ended, until
"Interpolator A" came along, and told how Beowulf returned in triumph to
Hrothgar, was thanked and rewarded, and then betook himself home, and was
welcomed by Hygelac. That it would have been left to an interpolator to
supply what from the old point of view was so necessary a part of the story
as the return to Hrothgar is an assumption perilous indeed. "An epic poem
only closes when everything is really concluded: not, like a modern novel,
at a point where the reader can imagine the rest for himself[258]."

Generally speaking, however, the theories of the "dissecting school" are
not in themselves faulty, if we admit the assumptions on which they rest.
They fail however in two ways. An examination of the short lay and the long
epic, so far as these are represented in extant documents, does not bear
out {115} well the assumptions of the theorizers. Secondly, the minute
scrutiny to which the poem has been subjected in matters of syntax, metre,
dialect and tradition has failed to show any difference between the parts
attributed to the different authors, such as we must certainly have
expected to find, had the theories of the "dissecting school" been correct.

That behind our extant _Beowulf_, and connecting it with the events of the
sixth century, there must have been a number of older lays, may indeed well
be admitted: also that to these lays our poem owes its plot, its traditions
of metre and its phraseology, and perhaps (but this is a perilous
assumption) continuous passages of its text. But what Müllenhoff and ten
Brink go on to assume is that these original oral lays were simple in
outline and treated a single well-defined episode in a straightforward
manner; that later redactors and scribes corrupted this primitive
simplicity; but that the modern critic, by demanding it, and using its
presence or absence as a criterion, can still disentangle from the complex
composite poem the simpler elements out of which it was built up.

Here are rather large assumptions. What right have we to postulate that
this primitive "literature without letters[259]," these short oral ballads
and lays, dealt with a single episode without digression or confusion:
whilst the later age,--the civilized, Christianized age of written
literature during which _Beowulf_ in the form in which we now have it was
produced,--is assumed to have been tolerant of both?

No doubt, here and there, in different literatures, groups of short lays
can be found which one can imagine might be combined into an orderly
narrative poem, without much hacking about. But on the other hand a short
lay will often tell, in less than a hundred lines, a story more complex
than that of the _Iliad_ or the _Odyssey_. Its shortness may be due, not to
any limitation in the scope of the plot, but rather to the passionate haste
with which it rushes through a long story. It is one thing to admit that
there must have been short lays on the story of Beowulf: it is another to
assume that these lays were of such a character that nothing was needed but
compilers {116} with a taste for arrangement and interpolation in order to
turn them into the extant epic of _Beowulf_.

When we find nearly five hundred lines spent in describing the reception of
the hero in Hrothgar's land, we may well doubt whether this passage can
have found its way into our poem through any such process of fitting
together as Müllenhoff postulated. It would be out of scale in any
narrative shorter than the _Beowulf_ as we have it. It suggests to us that
the epic is developed out of the lay, not by a process of fitting together,
but rather by a retelling of the story in a more leisurely way.

A comparison of extant short lays or ballads with extant epics has shown
that, if these epics were made by stringing lays together, such lays must
have been different from the great majority of the short lays now known.
"The lays into which this theory dissects the epics, or which it assumes as
the sources of the epics, differ in two ways from extant lays: they deal
with short, incomplete subjects and they have an epic breadth of

It has been shown by W. P. Ker[261] that a comparison of such fragments as
have survived of the Germanic short lay (_Finnsburg_, _Hildebrand_) does
not bear out the theory that the epic is a conglomeration of such lays. "It
is the change and development in style rather than any increase in the
complexity of the themes that accounts for the difference in scale between
the shorter and the longer poems."

A similar conclusion is reached by Professor Hart: "It might be
illuminating to base a _Liedertheorie_ in part, at least, upon a study of
existing _Lieder_, rather than wholly upon an attempt to dismember the epic
in question. Such study reveals indeed a certain similarity in kind of
Ballad and Epic, but it reveals at the same time an enormous difference in
degree, in stage of development. If the _Beowulf_, then, was made up of a
series of heroic songs, strung together with little or no modification,
these songs must have been something very different from the popular


And subsequent investigations into the history and folk-lore of our poem
have not confirmed Müllenhoff's theory: in some cases indeed they have hit
it very hard. When a new light was thrown upon the story by the discovery
of the parallels between _Beowulf_ and the _Grettis saga_, it became clear
that passages which Müllenhoff had condemned as otiose interpolations were
likely to be genuine elements in the tale. Dr Olrik's minute investigations
into the history of the Danish kings have shown from yet another point of
view how allusions, which were rashly condemned by Müllenhoff and ten Brink
as idle amplifications, are, in fact, essential.

How the investigation of the metre, form, and syntax of _Beowulf_ has
disclosed an archaic strictness of usage has been explained above (Sect.
II). This usage is in striking contrast with the practice of later poets
like Cynewulf. How far we are justified in relying upon such differences of
usage as criteria of _exact_ date is open to dispute. But it seems clear
that, had Müllenhoff's theories been accurate, we might reasonably have
expected to have been able to differentiate between the earlier and the
later strata in so composite a poem.

The composite theory has lately been strongly supported by Schücking[263].
Schücking starts from the fact, upon which we are all agreed, that the poem
falls into two main divisions: the story of how Beowulf at Heorot slew
Grendel and Grendel's mother, and the story of the dragon, which fifty
years later he slew at his home. These are connected by the section which
tells how Beowulf returned from Heorot to his own home and was honourably
received by his king, Hygelac.

It is now admitted that the ways of Old English narrative were not
necessarily our ways, and that we must not postulate, because our poem
falls into two somewhat clumsily connected sections, that therefore it is
compounded out of two originally distinct lays. But, on the other hand, as
Schücking rightly urges, instances _are_ forthcoming of two O.E. poems
having been clumsily connected into one[264]. Therefore, whilst no one
would now urge that _Beowulf_ is put together out of two older {118} lays,
_merely_ because it can so easily be divided into two sections, this fact
does suggest that a case exists for examination.

Now if a later poet had connected together two old lays, one on the Grendel
and Grendel's mother business, and one on the dragon business, we might
fairly expect that this connecting link would show traces of a different
style. It is accordingly on the connecting link, the story of _Beowulf's
Return_ and reception by Hygelac, that Schücking concentrates his
attention, submitting it to the most elaborate tests to see if it betrays
metrical, stylistic or syntactical divergencies from the rest of the poem.

Various tests are applied, which admittedly give no result, such as the
frequency of the repetition in the _Return_ of half verse formulas which
occur elsewhere in _Beowulf_[265], or the way in which compound nouns fit
into the metrical scheme[266]. Metrical criteria are very little more
helpful[267]. We have seen that the antiquity of _Beowulf_ is proved by the
cases where metre demands the substitution of an older uncontracted form
for the existing shorter one. Schücking argues that no instance occurs in
the 267 lines of the _Return_. But, even if this were the case, it might
well be mere accident, since examples only occur at rare intervals anywhere
in _Beowulf_. As a matter of fact, however, examples are to be found in the
_Return_[268] (quite up to the normal proportion), though two of the
clearest come in a portion of it which Schücking rather arbitrarily

Coming to syntax in its broadest sense, and especially the method of
constructing and connecting sentences, Schücking enumerates several
constructions which are found in the _Return_, but not elsewhere in
_Beowulf_. Syntax is a subject to which he has given special study, and his
opinion upon it must be of value. But I doubt whether anyone as expert in
the subject as Schücking could not find in every passage of like length in
_Beowulf_ some constructions not to be exactly paralleled elsewhere in the


The fact that we find here, and here only, passages introduced by the
clauses _ic sceal forð sprecan_[269], and _t[=o] lang ys t[=o]
reccenne_[270], is natural when we realize that we have here the longest
speech in the whole poem, which obviously calls for such apologies for

The fact that no parentheses occur in the _Return_ does not differentiate
it from the rest of _Beowulf_: for, as Schücking himself points out
elsewhere, there are three other passages in the poem, longer than the
_Return_, which are equally devoid of parentheses[271].

There remain a few _hapax legomena_[272], but very inconclusive.

There are, in addition, examples which occur only in the _Return_, and in
certain other episodic passages. These episodic passages also, Schücking
supposes, may have been added by the same reviser who added the _Return_.
But this is a perilous change of position. For example, a certain
peculiarity is found only in the _Return_ and the introductory genealogical
section[273]; or in the _Return_ and the _Finn Episode_[274]. But when
Schücking proceeds to the suggestion that the _Introduction_ or the _Finn
Episode_ may have been added by the same reviser who added _Beowulf's
Return_, he knocks the bottom out of some of his previous arguments. The
argument from the absence of parentheses (whatever it was worth) must go:
for according to Schücking's own punctuation, such parentheses are found
both in the _Introduction_ and in the _Finn Episode_. If these are by the
author of the _Return_, then doubt is thrown upon one of the alleged
peculiarities of that author; we find the author of the _Return_ no more
averse _on the whole_ to parentheses than the author or authors of the rest
of the poem.

Peculiar usages of the moods and tenses are found twice in the
_Return_[275], and once again in the episode where Beowulf {120} recalls
his youth[276]. Supposing this episode to be also the work of the author of
the _Return_, we get peculiar constructions used three times by this
author, which cannot be paralleled elsewhere in _Beowulf_[277].

Now a large number of instances like this last might afford basis for
argument; but they must be in bulk in order to prove anything. By the laws
of chance we might expect, in any passage of three hundred lines, taken at
random anywhere in _Beowulf_, to find something which occurred only in one
other passage elsewhere in the poem. We cannot forthwith declare the two
passages to be the work of an interpolator. One swallow does not make a

And the arguments as to style are not helped by arguments as to matter.
Even if it be granted--which I do not grant--that the long repetition
narrating Beowulf's contest with Grendel and Grendel's mother is tedious,
there is no reason why this tedious repetition should not as well be the
work of the original poet as of a later reviser. Must we find many
different authors for _The Ring and the Book_? It must be granted that
there are details (such as the mention of Grendel's glove) found in the
Grendel struggle as narrated in _Beowulf's Return_, but not found in the
original account of the struggle. Obviously the object is to avoid
monotony, by introducing a new feature: but this might as well have been
aimed at by the old poet retelling the tale as by a new poet retelling it.

To me, the fact that so careful and elaborate a study of the story of
_Beowulf's Return_ fails to betray any satisfactory evidence of separate
authorship, is a confirmation of the verdict of "not proven" against the
"dividers[278]." But there can be no doubt that Schücking's method, his
attempt to prove differences in treatment, grammar, and style, is the right
one. If any satisfactory results are to be attained, it must be in this

       *       *       *       *       *



Later students (like the man in Dante, placed between two equally enticing
dishes) have been unable to decide in favour of either of the rival
theories of Müllenhoff and ten Brink, and consequently the unity of the
poem, which always had its champions, has of late years come to be
maintained with increasing conviction and certainty.

Yet many recent critics have followed Müllenhoff so far at least as to
believe that the Christian passages are inconsistent with what they regard
as the "essentially heathen" tone of the rest of the poem, and are
therefore the work of an interpolator[279].

Certainly no one can escape a feeling of incongruity, as he passes from
ideas of which the home lies in the forests of ancient Germany, to others
which come from the Holy Land. But that both sets of ideas could not have
been cherished, in England, about the year 700, by one and the same poet,
is an assumption which calls for examination.

As Christianity swept northward, situations were created which to the
modern student are incongruous. But the Teutonic chief often had a larger
mind than the modern student: he needed to have, if he was to get the best
at the same time both from his wild fighting men and from his Latin clerks.
It is this which gives so remarkable a character to the great men of the
early centuries of converted Teutonism: men, like Theodoric the Great or
Charles the Great, who could perform simultaneously the duties of a
Germanic king and of a Roman Emperor: kings like Alfred the Great or St
Olaf, who combined the character of the tough fighting chieftain with that
of the saintly churchman. I love to think of these incongruities: to
remember that the warrior Alfred, surrounded by _thegn_ and _gesith_,
listening to the "Saxon songs" which he loved, was yet the same Alfred who
painfully translated Gregory's _Pastoral {122} Care_ under the direction of
foreign clerics. It is well to remember that Charles the Great, the
catholic and the orthodox, collected ancient lays which his successors
thought too heathen to be tolerated; or that St Olaf (who was so holy that,
having absent mindedly chipped shavings off a stick on Sunday, he burnt
them, as penance, on his open hand) nevertheless allowed to be sung before
him, on the morning of his last fight, one of the most wild and utterly
heathen of all the old songs--the _Bjarkamál_.

It has been claimed that the account of the funeral rites of Beowulf is
such as "no Christian poet could or would have composed[280]." Lately this
argument has been stated more at length:

    "In the long account of Beowulf's obsequies--beginning with the dying
    king's injunction to construct for him a lofty barrow on the edge of
    the cliff, and ending with the scene of the twelve princes riding round
    the barrow, proclaiming the dead man's exploits--we have the most
    detailed description of an early Teutonic funeral which has come down
    to us, and one of which the accuracy is confirmed in every point by
    archaeological or contemporary literary evidence[281]. Such an account
    must have been composed within living memory of a time when ceremonies
    of this kind were still actually in use[282]."

Owing to the standing of the scholar who urges it, this argument is coming
to rank as a dogma[283], and needs therefore rather close examination.

Professor Chadwick _may_ be right in urging that the custom of burning the
dead had gone out of use in England even before Christianity was
introduced[284]: anyhow it is certain that, wherever it survived, the
practice was disapproved by ecclesiastics, and was, indeed, formally
censured and suppressed by the church abroad.

The church equally censured and endeavoured to suppress the ancient
"heathen lays"; but without equal success. Now, in many of these lays the
heathen rites of cremation must certainly have been depicted, and, in this
way, the memory of the old funeral customs must have been kept fresh, long
{123} after the last funeral pyre had died out in England. Of course there
were then, as there have been ever since, puritanical people who objected
that heathen lays and heathen ways were no fit concern for a Christian man.
But the protests of such purists are just the strongest evidence that the
average Christian did continue to take an interest in these things. We have
seen that the very monks of Lindisfarne had to be warned by Alcuin. I
cannot see that there is any such _a priori_ impossibility that a poet,
though a sincere Christian enough, would have described a funeral in the
old style, modelling his account upon older lays, or upon tradition derived
from those lays.

The church might disapprove of the practice of cremation, but we have no
reason to suppose that mention of it was tabooed. And many of the old
burial customs seem to have kept their hold, even upon the converted.
Indeed, when the funeral of Attila is instanced as a type of the old
heathen ceremony, it seems to be forgotten that those Gothic chieftains who
rode their horses round the body of Attila were themselves probably Arian
Christians, and that the historian who has preserved the account was an
orthodox cleric.

Saxo Grammaticus, ecclesiastic as he was, has left us several accounts[285]
of cremations. He mentions the "pyre built of ships" and differs from the
poet of _Beowulf_ chiefly because he allows those frankly heathen
references to gods and offerings which the poet of _Beowulf_ excludes. Of
course, Saxo was merely translating. One can quite believe that a Christian
poet composing an account of a funeral in the old days, would have omitted
the more frankly heathen features, as indeed the _Beowulf_ poet does. But
Saxo shows us how far into Christian times the ancient funeral, in all its
heathendom, was remembered; and how little compunction an ecclesiastic had
in recording it. The assumption that no Christian poet would have composed
the account of Beowulf's funeral or of Scyld's funeral ship, seems then to
be quite unjustified.

The further question remains: Granting that he _would_, could he? Is the
account of Beowulf's funeral so true to old custom that it must have been
composed by an eye-witness of {124} the rite of cremation? Is its "accuracy
confirmed in every point by archaeological or contemporary literary

As to the archaeological evidence, the fact seems to be that the account is
archaeologically so inexact that it has given great trouble to one eminent
antiquary, Knut Stjerna. That the pyre should be hung with arms, which are
_burnt_ with the hero (ll. 3139-40), and that then a second supply of
unburnt treasures should be _buried_ with the cremated bones (ll. 3163-8),
is regarded by Stjerna as extraordinary[286].

Surely, any such inexactitude is what we should expect in a late poet,
drawing upon tradition. He would know that in heathen times bodies were
burnt, and that weapons were buried; and he might well combine both. It is
not necessary to suppose, as Stjerna does, that the poet has combined two
separate accounts of Beowulf's funeral, given in older lays, in one of
which the hero was burnt, and in the other buried. But the fact that an
archaeological specialist finds the account of Beowulf's funeral so inexact
that he has to assume a confused and composite source, surely disposes of
the argument that it is so exact that it must date back to heathen times.

As to confirmation from literary documents, the only one instanced by
Chadwick is the account of the funeral of Attila. The parallel here is by
no means so close as has been asserted. The features of Attila's funeral
are: the lying in state, during which the chosen horsemen of the nation
rode round the body singing the dead king's praises; the funeral feast; and
the burial (not burning) of the body. Now the only feature which recurs in
_Beowulf_ is the praise of the dead man by the mounted thanes. Even here
there is an essential difference. Attila's men rode round the dead body of
their lord _before_ his funeral. Beowulf's retainers ride and utter their
lament around (not the body but) the grave mound of their lord, ten days
after the cremation.

And this is perhaps no accidental discrepancy: it may well correspond to a
real difference in practice between the Gothic custom of the time of the
migrations and the Anglo-Saxon {125} practice as it prevailed in Christian
times[287]. For many documents, including the _Dream of the Rood_, tend to
show that the _sorhl[=e]oð_, the lament of the retainers for their dead
lord, survived into Christian times, but as a ceremony which was subsequent
not merely to the funeral, but even to the building of the tomb.

So that, here again, so far from the archaeological accuracy of the account
of Beowulf's funeral being confirmed by the account of that of Attila, we
find a discrepancy such as we might expect if a Christian poet, in later
times, had tried to describe a funeral of the old heathen type.

Of course, the evidence is far too scanty to allow of much positive
argument. Still, _so far as it goes_, and that is not far, it rather tends
to show that the account of the funeral customs is not quite accurate,
representing what later Christian times knew by tradition of the rite of
cremation, rather than showing the observation of that rite by an

We must turn, then, to some other argument, if we wish to prove that the
Christian element is inconsistent with other parts of the poem.

A second argument that _Beowulf_ must belong either to heathen times, or to
the very earliest Christian period in England, has been found in the
character of the Christian allusions: they contain no "reference to Christ,
to the Cross, to the Virgin or the Saints, to any doctrine of the church in
regard to the Trinity, the Atonement, _etc._[288]" "A pious Jew would have
no difficulty in assenting to them all[289]." Hence it has been argued[290]
that they are the work of an interpolator who, working upon a poem
"essentially heathen," was not able to impose upon it more than this "vague
and colourless Christianity." I cannot see this. If passages had to be
rewritten at all, it was just as easy to rewrite them in a tone
emphatically Christian as in a tone mildly so. The difficulties which the
interpolator would meet in removing a heathen phrase, and composing a
Christian half-line in substitution, would be metrical, rather than
theological. For example, in a second {126} half-line the interpolator
could have written _ond h[=a]lig Crist_ or _ylda nergend_ just as easily as
_ond h[=a]lig god_, or _ylda waldend_: he could have put in an allusion to
the Trinity or to the Cross as easily as to the Lord of Hosts or the King
of Glory. It would depend upon the alliteration which was the more
convenient. And surely, if he was a monk deliberately sitting down to turn
a heathen into a Christian poem, he would, of two alternatives, have
favoured the more dogmatically Christian.

The vagueness which is so characteristic of the Christian references in
_Beowulf_ can then hardly be due to the poem having originally been a
heathen one, worked over by a Christian.

Others have seen in this vagueness a proof "that the minstrels who
introduced the Christian element had but a vague knowledge of the new
faith[291]": or that the poem was the work of "a man who, without having,
or wanting to have, much definite instruction, had become Christian because
the Court had newly become Christian[292]." But, vague as it is, does the
Christianity of _Beowulf_ justify such a judgment as this? Do not the
characters of Hrothgar or of Beowulf, of Hygd or of Wealhtheow, show a
Christian influence which, however little dogmatic, is anything but
superficial? This is a matter where individual feeling rather than argument
must weigh: but the _Beowulf_ does not seem to me the work of a man whose
adherence to Christianity is merely nominal[293].

And, so far as the absence of dogma goes, it seems to have been overlooked
that the Christian references in the _Battle of Maldon_, written when
England had been Christian for over three centuries, are precisely of the
same vague character as those in _Beowulf_.

Surely the explanation is that to a devout, but not {127}
theologically-minded poet, writing battle poetry, references to God as the
Lord of Hosts or the Giver of Victory came naturally--references to the
Trinity or the Atonement did not. This seems quite a sufficient
explanation; though it may be that in _Beowulf_ the poet has consciously
avoided dogmatic references, because he realized that the characters in his
story were not Christians[294]. That, at the same time, he allows those
characters with whom he sympathizes to speak in a Christian spirit is only
what we should expect. Just so Chaucer allows his pagans--Theseus for
instance--to use Christian expressions about God or the soul, whilst
avoiding anything strikingly doctrinal.

Finally I cannot admit that the Christian passages are "poetically of no
value[295]." The description of Grendel nearing Heorot is good:

  Ð[=a] c[=o]m of m[=o]re under mist-hleoþum
  Grendel gongan--

but it is heightened when the poet adds:

  Godes yrre bær.

Yet here again it is impossible to argue: it is a matter of individual

When, however, we come to the further statement of Dr Bradley, that the
Christian passages are not only interpolations poetically worthless, but
"may be of any date down to that of the extant MS" (i.e. about the year
1000 A.D.), we have reached ground where argument _is_ possible, and where
definite results can be attained. For Dr Bradley, at the same time that he
makes this statement about the character of the Christian passages, also
quotes the archaic syntax of _Beowulf_ as proving an early date[296]. _But
this archaic syntax is just as prominent a feature of the Christian
passages as of any other parts of the poem._ If these Christian passages
are really the work of a "monkish copyist, whose piety exceeded his poetic
powers[297]," how do they come to show an antique syntax and a strict
technique surpassing those of Cynewulf or the _Dream {128} of the Rood_?
Why do they not betray their origin by metrical inaccuracies such as we
find in poems undoubtedly interpolated, like _Widsith_ or the _Seafarer_?

Dr Bradley is "our chief English seer in these matters," as Dr Furnivall
said long ago; and it is only with the greatest circumspection that one
should differ from any of his conclusions. Nevertheless, I feel that,
before we can regard any portion of _Beowulf_ as later than the rest,
discrepancies need to be demonstrated.

Until such discrepancies between the different parts of _Beowulf_ can be
demonstrated, we are justified in regarding the poem as homogeneous: as a
production of the Germanic world enlightened by the new faith. Whether
through external violence or internal decay, this world was fated to rapid
change, and perished with its promise unfulfilled. The great merit of
_Beowulf_ as a historic document is that it shows us a picture of a period
in which the virtues of the heathen "Heroic Age" were tempered by the
gentleness of the new belief; an age warlike, yet Christian: devout, yet

       *       *       *       *       *





Saxo, Book I, ed. Ascensius, fol. iii b; ed. Holder, p. 10, l. 25.

    Uerum a Dan, ut fert antiquitas, regum nostrorum stemmata, ceu quodam
    deriuata principio, splendido successionis ordine profluxerunt. Huic
    filii Humblus et Lotherus fuere, ex Grytha, summæ inter Teutones
    dignitatis matrona, suscepti.

    Lecturi regem ueteres affixis humo saxis insistere, suffragiaque
    promere consueuerant, subiectorum lapidum firmitate facti constantiam
    ominaturi. Quo ritu Humblus, decedente patre, nouo patriæ beneficio rex
    creatus, sequentis fortunæ malignitate, ex rege priuatus euasit. Bello
    siquidem a Lothero captus, regni depositione spiritum mercatus est; hæc
    sola quippe uicto salutis conditio reddebatur. Ita fraternis iniuriis
    imperium abdicare coactus, documentum hominibus præbuit, ut plus
    splendoris, ita minus securitatis, aulis quam tuguriis inesse. Ceterum
    iniuriæ tam patiens fuit, ut honoris damno tanquam beneficio gratulari
    crederetur, sagaciter, ut puto, regiæ conditionis habitum contemplatus.
    Sed nec Lotherus tolerabiliorem regem quam militem egit, ut prorsus
    insolentia ac scelere regnum auspicari uideretur; siquidem
    illustrissimum quemque uita aut opibus spoliare, patriamque bonis
    ciuibus uacuefacere probitatis loco duxit, regni æmulos ratus, quos
    nobilitate pares habuerat. Nec diu scelerum impunitus, patriæ
    consternatione perimitur; eadem spiritum eripiente, quæ regnum largita
    fuerat. {130}

    Cuius filius Skyoldus naturam ab ipso, non mores sortitus, per summam
    tenerioris ætatis industriam cuncta paternæ contagionis uestigia
    ingeniti erroris deuio præteribat. Igitur ut a paternis uitiis
    prudenter desciuit, ita auitis uirtutibus feliciter respondit,
    remotiorem pariter ac præstantiorem hereditarii moris portionem
    amplexus. Huius adolescentia inter paternos uenatores immanis beluæ
    subactione insignis extitit, mirandoque rei euentu futuræ eius
    fortitudinis habitum ominata est. Nam cum a tutoribus forte, quorum
    summo studio educabatur, inspectandæ uenationis licentiam impetrasset,
    obuium sibi insolitæ granditatis ursum, telo uacuus, cingulo, cuius
    usum habebat, religandum curauit, necandumque comitibus præbuit. Sed et
    complures spectatæ fortitudinis pugiles per idem tempus uiritim ab eo
    superati produntur, e quibus Attalus et Scatus clari illustresque
    fuere. Quindecim annos natus, inusitato corporis incremento
    perfectissimum humani roboris specimen præferebat, tantaque indolis
    eius experimenta fuere, ut ab ipso ceteri Danorum reges communi quodam
    uocabulo Skioldungi nuncuparentur....

Saxo then relates the adventures of Gram, Hadingus and Frotho, whom he
represents as respectively son, grandson and great-grandson of Skioldus.
That Gram and Hadingus are interpolated in the family is shewn by the fact
that the pedigree of Sweyn Aageson passes direct from Skiold to his son

Saxo, Book II, ed. Ascensius, fol. xi b; ed. Holder, p. 38, l. 4.

    Hadingo filius Frotho succedit, cuius uarii insignesque casus fuere.
    Pubertatis annos emensus, iuuenilium præferebat complementa uirtutum,
    quas ne desidiæ corrumpendas præberet, abstractum uoluptatibus animum
    assidua armorum intentione torquebat. Qui cum, paterno thesauro
    bellicis operibus absumpto, stipendiorum facultatem, qua militem
    aleret, non haberet, attentiusque necessarii usus subsidia
    circunspiceret, tali subeuntis indigenæ carmine concitatur:

      Insula non longe est præmollibus edita cliuis,
      Collibus æra tegens et opimæ conscia prædæ.
      Hic tenet eximium, montis possessor, aceruum
      Implicitus giris serpens crebrisque reflexus
      Orbibus, et caudæ sinuosa uolumina ducens,
      Multiplicesque agitans spiras, uirusque profundens.
      Quem superare uolens clypeo, quo conuenit uti,
      Taurinas intende cutes, corpusque bouinis
      Tergoribus tegito, nec amaro nuda ueneno
      Membra patere sinas; sanies, quod conspuit, urit.
      Lingua trisulca micans patulo licet ore resultet,
      Tristiaque horrifico minitetur uulnera rictu,
      Intrepidum mentis habitum retinere memento.
      Nec te permoueat spinosi dentis acumen,
      Nec rigor, aut rapida iactatum fauce uenenum.
      Tela licet temnat uis squamea, uentre sub imo
      Esse locum scito, quo ferrum mergere fas est;
      Hunc mucrone petens medium rimaberis anguem.
      Hinc montem securus adi, pressoque ligone
      Perfossos scrutare cauos; mox ære crumenas
      Imbue, completamque reduc ad littora puppim.

    Credulus Frotho solitarius in insulam traiicit: ne comitatior beluam
    adoriretur, quam athletas aggredi moris fuerat. Quæ cum aquis pota
    specum repeteret, impactum Frothonis ferrum aspero cutis horrore
    contempsit. Sed et spicula, quæ in eam coniecta fuerant, eluso
    mittentis conatu læsionis irrita resultabant. At ubi nil tergi duritia
    cessit, uentris curiosius annotati mollities ferro patuit. Quæ se morsu
    ulcisci cupiens, clypeo duntaxat spinosum oris acumen impegit. Crebris
    deinde linguam micatibus ducens, uitam pariter ac uirus efflauit.

    Repertæ pecuniæ regem locupletem fecere....

Saxo, Book II, ed. Ascensius, fol. xv b; ed. Holder, p. 51, l. 4.

    His, uirtute paribus, æqua regnandi incessit auiditas. Imperii cuique
    cura extitit; fraternus nullum respectus astrinxit. Quem enim nimia sui
    caritas ceperit, aliena deserit: nee sibi quisquam ambitiose atque
    aliis amice consulere potest. Horum maximus Haldanus, Roe et Scato
    fratribus interfectis, naturam scelere polluit: regnum parricidio
    carpsit. Et ne ullum crudelitatis exemplum omitteret, comprehensos
    eorum fautores prius {132} uinculorum poena coercuit, mox suspendio
    consumpsit. Cuius ex eo maxime fortuna ammirabilis fuit, quod, licet
    omnia temporum momenta ad exercenda atrocitatis officia contulisset,
    senectute uitam, non ferro, finierit.

    Huius filii Roe et Helgo fuere. A Roe Roskildia condita memoratur: quam
    postmodum Sueno, furcatæ barbæ cognomento clarus, ciuibus auxit,
    amplitudine propagauit. Hic breui angustoque corpore fuit: Helgonem
    habitus procerior cepit. Qui, diuiso cum fratre regno, maris
    possessionem sortitus, regem Sclauiæ Scalcum maritimis copiis
    lacessitum oppressit. Quam cum in prouinciam redegisset, uarios pelagi
    recessus uago nauigationis genere perlustrabat.

Saxo, Book II, ed. Ascensius, fol. xvi a; ed. Holder, p. 53, l. 16.

    Huic filius Roluo succedit, uir corporis animique dotibus uenustus, qui
    staturæ magnitudinem pari uirtutis habitu commendaret.

_Ibid._, ed. Ascensius, fol. xvii a; ed. Holder, p. 55, l. 40.

    Per idem tempus Agnerus quidam, Ingelli films, sororem Roluonis, Rutam
    nomine, matrimonio ducturus, ingenti conuiuio nuptias instruit. In quo
    cum pugiles, omni petulantiæ genere debacchantes, in Ialtonem quendam
    nodosa passim ossa coniicerent, accidit, ut eius consessor, Biarco
    nomine, iacientis errore uehementem capite ictum exciperet. Qui dolore
    pariter ac ludibrio lacessitus, osse inuicem in iacientem remisso,
    frontem eius in occuput reflexit, idemque loco frontis intorsit,
    transuersum hominis animum uultus obliquitate mulctando. Ea res
    contumeliosam ioci insolentiam temperauit, pugilesque regia abire
    coegit. Qua conuiuii iniuria permotus, sponsus ferro cum Biarcone
    decernere statuit, uiolatæ hilaritatis ultionem duelii nomine
    quæsiturus. In cuius ingressu, utri prior feriendi copia deberetur
    diutule certatum est. Non enim antiquitus in edendis agonibus crebræ
    ictuum uicissitudines petebantur: sed erat cum interuallo temporis
    etiam feriendi distincta successio; rarisque sed atrocibus plagis
    certamina gerebantur, ut gloria potius percussionum magnitudini, quam
    numero deferretur. Prælato ob generis dignitatem Agnero, tanta ui ictum
    ab eo editum {133} constat, ut, prima cassidis parte conscissa,
    supremam capitis cuticulam uulneraret, ferrumque mediis galeæ
    interclusum foraminibus dimitteret. Tunc Biarco mutuo percussurus, quo
    plenius ferrum libraret, pedem trunco annixus, medium Agneri corpus
    præstantis acuminis mucrone transegit. Sunt qui asserant, morientem
    Agnerum soluto in risum ore per summam doloris dissimulationem spiritum
    reddidisse. Cuius ultionem pugiles auidius expetentes, simili per
    Biarconem exitio mulctati sunt. Utebatur quippe præstantis acuminis
    inusitatæque longitudinis gladio, quem Løui uocabat. Talibus operum
    meritis exultanti nouam de se siluestris fera uictoriam præbuit. Ursum
    quippe eximiæ magnitudinis obuium sibi inter dumeta factum iaculo
    confecit: comitemque suum Ialtonem, quo uiribus maior euaderet,
    applicato ore egestum belluæ cruorem haurire iussit. Creditum namque
    erat, hoc potionis genere corporei roboris incrementa præstari. His
    facinorum uirtutibus clarissimas optimatum familiaritates adeptus,
    etiam regi percarus euasit; sororem eius Rutam uxorem asciuit, uictique
    sponsam uictoriæ præmium habuit. Ab Atislo lacessiti Roluonis ultionem
    armis exegit, eumque uictum hello prostrauit. Tunc Roluo magni acuminis
    iuuenem Hiarthwarum nomine, sorore Sculda sibi in matrimonium data,
    annuoque uectigali imposito, Suetiæ præfectum constituit, libertatis
    iacturam affinitatis beneficio leniturus.

    Hoc loci quiddam memoratu iucundum operi inseratur. Adolescens quidam
    Wiggo nomine, corpoream Roluonis magnitudinem attentiori contemplatione
    scrutatus, ingentique eiusdem admiratione captus, percontari per
    ludibrium coepit, quisnam esset iste Krage, quem tanto staturæ fastigio
    prodiga rerum natura ditasset; faceto cauillationis genere inusitatum
    proceritatis habitum prosecutus. Dicitur enim lingua Danica 'krage'
    truncus, cuius semicæsis ramis fastigia conscenduntur, ita ut pes,
    præcisorum stipitum obsequio perinde ac scalæ beneficio nixus,
    sensimque ad superiora prouectus, petitæ celsitudinis compendium
    assequatur. Quern uocis iactum Roluo perinde ac inclytum sibi cognomen
    amplexus, urbanitatem dicti ingentis armillæ dono prosequitur. Qua
    Wiggo dexteram excultam extollens, læua per pudoris simulationem post
    tergum {134} reflexa, ridiculum corporis incessum præbuit, præfatus,
    exiguo lætari munere, quem sors diutinæ tenuisset inopiæ. Rogatus, cur
    ita se gereret, inopem ornamenti manum nulloque cultus beneficio
    gloriantem ad aspectum reliquæ uerecundo paupertatis rubore perfundi
    dicebat. Cuius dicti calliditate consentaneum priori munus obtinuit.
    Siquidem Roluo manum, quæ ab ipso occultabatur, exemplo reliquæ in
    medium accersendam curauit. Nec Wiggoni rependendi beneficii cura
    defuit. Siquidem arctissima uoti nuncupatione pollicitus est, si
    Roluonem ferro perire contingeret, ultionem se ab eius interfectoribus
    exacturum. Nec prætereundum, quod olim ingressuri curiam proceres
    famulatus sui principia alicuius magnæ rei uoto principibus obligare
    solebant, uirtute tirocinium auspicantes.

    Interea Sculda, tributariæ solutionis pudore permota, diris animum
    commentis applicans, maritum, exprobrata condicionis deformitate,
    propulsandæ seruitutis monitu concitatum atque ad insidias Roluoni
    nectendas perductum atrocissimis nouarum rerum consiliis imbuit, plus
    unumquenque libertati quam necessitudini debere testata. Igitur crebras
    armorum massas, diuersi generis tegminibus obuolutas, tributi more per
    Hiarthwarum in Daniam perferri iubet, occidendi noctu regis materiam
    præbituras. Refertis itaque falsa uectigalium mole nauigiis, Lethram
    pergitur, quod oppidum, a Roluone constructum eximiisque regni opibus
    illustratum, ceteris confinium prouinciarum urbibus regiæ fundationis
    et sedis auctoritate præstabat. Rex aduentum Hiarthwari conuiualis
    impensæ deliciis prosecutus ingenti se potione proluerat, hospitibus
    præter morem ebrietatis intemperantiam formidantibus. Ceteris igitur
    altiorem carpentibus somnum, Sueones, quibus scelesti libido propositi
    communem quietis usum ademerat, cubiculis furtim delabi coepere.
    Aperitur ilico telorum occlusa congeries, et sua sibi quisque tacitus
    arma connectit. Deinde regiam petunt, irruptisque penetralibus in
    dormientium corpora ferrum destringunt. Experrecti complures, quibus
    non minus subitæ cladis horror quam somni stupor incesserat, dubio nisu
    discrimini restitere, socii an hostes occurrerent, noctis errore
    incertum reddente. Eiusdem forte silentio noctis Hialto, qui {135}
    inter regios proceres spectatæ probitatis merito præeminebat, rus
    egressus, scorti se complexibus dederat. Hic cum obortum pugnæ fragorem
    stupida procul aure sensisset, fortitudinem luxuriæ prætulit, maluitque
    funestum Martis discrimen appetere, quam blandis Veneris illecebris
    indulgere. Quanta hunc militem regis caritate flagrasse putemus, qui,
    cum ignorantiæ simulatione excusationem absentiæ præstare posset,
    salutem suam manifesto periculo obicere, quam uoluptati seruare satius
    existimauit? Discedentem pellex percunctari coepit, si ipso careat,
    cuius ætatis uiro nubere debeat. Quam Hialto, perinde ac secretius
    allocuturus, propius accedere iussam, indignatus amoris sibi
    successorem requiri, præciso naso deformem reddidit, erubescendoque
    uulnere libidinosæ percunctationis dictum mulctauit, mentis lasciuiam
    oris iactura temperandam existimans. Quo facto, liberum quæsitæ rei
    iudicium a se ei relinqui dixit. Post hæc, repetito ocius oppido,
    confertissimis se globis immergit, aduersasque acies mutua uulnerum
    inflictione prosternit. Cumque dormientis adhuc Biarconis cubiculum
    præteriret, expergisci iussum, tali uoce compellat:

Saxo's translation of the _Bjarkamál_ follows. The part which concerns
students of _Beowulf_ most is the account of how Roluo deposed and slew

Saxo, Book II, ed. Ascensius, fol. xix a; ed. Holder, p. 62, l. 1.

  At nos, qui regem uoto meliore ueremur,
  Iungamus cuneos stabiles, tutisque phalangem
  Ordinibus mensi, qua rex præcepit, eamus
  Qui natum Bøki Røricum strauit auari,
  Implicuitque uirum leto uirtute carentem.
  Ille quidem præstans opibus, habituque fruendi
  Pauper erat, probitate minus quam foenore pollens;
  Aurum militia potius ratus, omnia lucro
  Posthabuit, laudisque carens congessit aceruos
  Æris, et ingenuis uti contempsit amicis.
  Cumque lacessitus Roluonis classe fuisset,
  Egestum cistis aurum deferre ministros
  Iussit, et in primas urbis diffundere portas.
  Dona magis quam bella parans, quia militis expers
  Munere, non armis, tentandum credidit hostem;
  Tanquam opibus solis bellum gesturus, et usu
  Rerum, non hominum, Martem producere posset.
  Ergo graues loculos et ditia claustra resoluit
  Armillas teretes et onustas protulit arcas,
  Exitii fomenta sui, ditissimus æris,
  Bellatoris inops, hostique adimenda relinquens
  Pignora, quæ patriis præbere pepercit amicis.
  Annellos ultro metuens dare, maxima nolens
  Pondera fudit opum, ueteris populator acerui.
  Rex tamen hunc prudens, oblataque munera spreuit,
  Rem pariter uitamque adimens; nec profuit hosti
  Census iners, quem longo auidus cumulauerat æuo.
  Hunc pius inuasit Roluo, summasque perempti
  Cepit opes, inter dignos partitus amicos,
  Quicquid auara manus tantis congesserat annis;
  Irrumpensque opulenta magis quam fortia castra,
  Præbuit eximiam sociis sine sanguine prædam.
  Cui nil tam pulchrum fuit, ut non funderet illud,
  Aut carum, quod non sociis daret, æra fauillis
  Assimulans, famaque annos, non foenore mensus.
  Unde liquet, regem claro iam funere functum
  Præclaros egisse dies, speciosaque fati
  Tempora, præteritos decorasse uiriliter annos.
  Nam uirtute ardens, dum uiueret, omnia uicit,
  Egregio dignas sortitus corpore uires.
  Tam præceps in bella fuit, quam concitus amnis
  In mare decurrit, pugnamque capessere promptus
  Ut ceruus rapidum bifido pede tendere cursum.

Saxo, Book II, ed. Ascensius, fol. xxi a; ed. Holder, p. 67, l. 1.

    Hanc maxime exhortationum seriem idcirco metrica ratione compegerim,
    quod earundem sententiarum intellectus Danici cuiusdam carminis
    compendio digestus a compluribus antiquitatis peritis memoriter

    Contigit autem, potitis uictoria Gothis, omne Roluonis {137} agmen
    occumbere, neminemque, excepto Wiggone, ex tanta iuuentute residuum
    fore. Tantum enim excellentissimis regis meritis ea pugna a militibus
    tributum est, ut ipsius cædes omnibus oppetendæ mortis cupiditatem
    ingeneraret, eique morte iungi uita iucundius duceretur.

    Lætus Hiartuarus prandendi gratia positis mensis conuiuium pugnæ
    succedere iubet, uictoriam epulis prosecuturus. Quibus oneratus magnæ
    sibi ammirationi esse dixit, quod ex tanta Roluonis militia nemo, qui
    saluti fuga aut captione consuleret, repertus fuisset. Unde liquidum
    fuisse quanto fidei studio regis sui caritatem coluerint, cui
    superstites esse passi non fuerint. Fortunam quoque, quod sibi ne unius
    quidem eorum obsequium superesse permiserit, causabatur, quam
    libentissime se talium uirorum famulatu usurum testatus. Oblato Wiggone
    perinde ac munere gratulatus, an sibi militare uellet, perquirit.
    Annuenti destrictum gladium offert. Ille cuspidem refutans, capulum
    petit, hunc morem Roluoni in porrigendo militibus ense extitisse
    præfatus. Olim namque se regum clientelæ daturi, tacto gladii capulo
    obsequium polliceri solebant. Quo pacto Wiggo capulum complexus,
    cuspidem per Hiartuarum agit, ultionis compos, cuius Roluoni
    ministerium pollicitus fuerat. Quo facto, ouans irruentibus in se
    Hiartuari militibus cupidius corpus obtulit, plus uoluptatis se ex
    tyranni nece quam amaritudinis ex propria sentire uociferans. Ita
    conuiuio in exequias uerso, uictoriæ gaudium funeris luctus insequitur.
    Clarum ac semper memorabilem uirum, qui, uoto fortiter expleto, mortem
    sponte complexus suo ministerio mensas tyranni sanguine maculauit.
    Neque enim occidentium manus uiuax animi uirtus expauit, cum prius a se
    loca, quibus Roluo assueuerat, interfectoris eius cruore respersa
    cognosceret. Eadem itaque dies Hiartuari regnum finiuit ac peperit.
    Fraudulenter enim quæsitæ res eadem sorte defluunt, qua petuntur,
    nullusque diuturnus est fructus, qui scelere ac perfidia partus fuerit.
    Quo euenit ut Sueones, paulo ante Daniæ potitores, ne suæ quidem
    salutis potientes existerent. Protinus enim a Syalandensibus deleti
    læsis Roluonis manibus iusta exsoluere piacula. Adeo plerunque fortunæ
    sæuitia ulciscitur, quod dolo ac fallacia patratur.

       *       *       *       *       *



(ed. Finnur Jónsson, København, 1904, p. 65 ff.)

Síðan fór B[o,]ðvarr leið sína til Hleiðargarðs. Hann kemr til konungs
atsetu. B[o,]ðvarr leiðir síðan hest sinn á stall hjá konungs hestum hinum
beztu ok spyrr engan at; gekk síðan inn í h[o,]llina, ok var þar fátt
manna. Hann sez utarliga, ok sem hann hefir verit þar litla hríð, heyrir
hann þrausk n[o,]kkut utar í hornit í einhverjum stað. B[o,]ðvarr lítr
þangat ok sér, at mannsh[o,]nd kemr upp úr mikilli beinahrúgu, er þar lá;
h[o,]ndin var sv[o,]rt mj[o,]k. B[o,]ðvarr gengr þangat til ok spyrr, hverr
þar væri í beinahrúgunni; þá var honum svarat ok heldr óframliga: "H[o,]ttr
heiti ek, Bokki sæll." "Hví ertu hér, segir B[o,]ðvarr, eða hvat gerir þú?"
H[o,]ttr segir: "ek geri mér skjaldborg, Bokki sæll." B[o,]ðvarr sagði:
"vesall ertu þinnar skjaldborgar." B[o,]ðvarr þrífr til hans ok hnykkir
honum upp úr beinahrúgunni. H[o,]ttr kvað þá hátt við ok mælti: "nú viltu
mér bana, ger eigi þetta, svá sem ek hefi nú vel um búiz áðr, en þú hefir
nú rótat í sundr skjaldborg minni, ok hafða ek nú svá gert hana háva utan
at mér, at hún hefir hlíft mér við [o,]llum h[o,]ggum ykkar, svá _at_ engi
h[o,]gg hafa komit á mik lengi, en ekki var hún enn svá búin, sem ek ætlaði
hún skyldi verða." B[o,]ðvarr mælti: "ekki muntu fá skjaldborgina lengr."
H[o,]ttr mælti ok grét: "skaltu nú bana mér, Bokki sæll?" B[o,]ðvarr bað
hann ekki hafa hátt, tók hann upp síðan ok bar hann út úr h[o,]llinni ok
til vats n[o,]kkurs, sem þar var í nánd, ok gáfu fáir at þessu gaum, ok þó
hann upp allan. Síðan gekk B[o,]ðvarr til þess rúms, sem hann hafði áðr
tekit, ok leiddi eptir sér H[o,]tt ok þar setr hann H[o,]tt hjá sér, en
hann er svá hræddr, at skelfr á honum leggr ok liðr, en þó þykkiz hann
skilja, at þessi maðr vill hjálpa sér. Eptir þat kveldar ok drífa menn í
h[o,]llina ok sjá Hrólfs kappar, at H[o,]ttr er settr á bekk upp, ok þykkir
þeim sá maðr hafa gert sik ærit djarfan, er þetta hefir til tekit. Ilt
tillit hefir H[o,]ttr, þá _er_ hann sér kunningja sína, því _at_ hann hefir
ilt eitt af þeim reynt; hann vill lifa gjarnan ok fara aptr í beinahrúgu
sína, en B[o,]ðvarr heldr honum, svá _at_ hann náir ekki í burtu at fara,
því _at_ hann þóttiz ekki jafnberr fyrir h[o,]ggum þeira, ef hann næði
þangat {139} at komaz sem hann er nú. Hirðmenn hafa nú sama vanda, ok kasta
fyrst beinum smám um þvert gólfit til B[o,]ðvars ok Hattar. B[o,]ðvarr
lætr, sem hann sjái eigi þetta. H[o,]ttr er svá hræddr, at hann tekr eigi
mat né drukk, ok þykkir honum þá ok þá sem hann muni vera lostinn; ok nú
mælti H[o,]ttr til B[o,]ðvars: "Bokki sæll, nú ferr at þér stór hnúta, ok
mun þetta ætlat okkr til nauða." B[o,]ðvarr bað hann þegja; hann setr við
holan lófann ok tekr svá við hnútunni; þar fylgir leggrinn með; B[o,]ðvarr
sendi aptr hnútuna ok setr á þann, sem kastaði ok rétt framan í hann með
svá harðri svipan, at hann fekk bana; sló þá miklum ótta yfir hirðmennina.
Kemr nú þessi fregn fyrir Hrólf konung ok kappa hans upp í kastalann, at
maðr mikilúðligr sé kominn til hallarinnar ok hafi drepit einn hirðmann
hans, ok vildu þeir láta drepa manninn. Hrólfr konungr spurðiz eptir, hvárt
hirðmaðrinn hefði verit saklauss drepinn. "Því var næsta," s[o,]gðu þeir.
Kómuz þá fyrir Hrólf konung [o,]ll sannindi hér um. Hrólfr konungr sagði
þat skyldu fjarri, at drepa skyldi manninn--"hafi þit hér illan vanda upp
tekit, at berja saklausa menn beinum; er mér í því óvirðing, en yðr stór
sk[o,]mm, at gera slíkt; hefi ek jafnan rætt um þetta áðr, ok hafi þit at
þessu engan gaum gefit, ok hygg ek, at þessi maðr muni ekki alllítill fyrir
sér, er þér hafið nú á leitat, ok kallið hann til mín, svá _at_ ek viti,
hverr hann er." B[o,]ðvarr gengr fyrir konung ok kveðr hann kurteisliga.
Konunga spyrr hann at nafni. "Hattargriða kalla mik hirðmenn yðar, en
B[o,]ðvarr heiti ek." Konungr mælti: "hverjar bætr viltu bjóða mér fyrir
hirðmann minn?" B[o,]ðvarr segir: "til þess gerði hann, sem hann fekk."
Konungr mælti: "viltu vera minn maðr ok skipa rúm hans?" B[o,]ðvarr segir:
"ekki neita ek, at vera yðarr maðr, ok munu vit ekki skiljaz svá búit, vit
H[o,]ttr, ok dveljaz nær þér báðir, heldr en þessi hefir setit, elligar vit
f[o,]rum burt báðir." Konungr mælti: "eigi sé ek at honum sæmd en ek spara
ekki mat við hann." B[o,]ðvarr gengr nú til þess rúms, sem honum líkaði, en
ekki vill hann þat skipa, sem hinn hafði áðr; hann kippir upp í einhverjum
stað þremr m[o,]nnum, ok síðan settuz þeir H[o,]ttr þar niðr ok innar í
h[o,]llinni en þeim var skipat. Heldr þótti m[o,]nnum ódælt við B[o,]ðvar,
ok er þeim hinn mesti íhugi at honum. Ok sem leið at jólum, {140} gerðuz
menn ókátir. B[o,]ðvarr spyrr H[o,]tt, hverju þetta sætti; hann segir
honum, at dýr eitt hafi þar komit tvá vetr í samt, mikit ok ógurligt--"ok
hefir vængi á bakinu ok flýgr þat jafnan; tvau haust hefir þat nú hingat
vitjat ok gert mikinn skaða; á þat bíta ekki vápn, en kappar konungs koma
ekki heim, þeir sem at eru einna mestir." B[o,]ðvarr mælti: "ekki er
h[o,]llin svá vel skipuð, sem ek ætlaði, ef eitt dýr skal hér eyða ríki ok
fé konungsins." H[o,]ttr sagði: "þat er ekki dýr, heldr er þat hit mesta
tr[o,]ll." Nú kemr jólaaptann; þá mælti konungr: "nú vil ek, at menn sé
kyrrir ok hljóðir í nótt, ok banna ek [o,]llum mínum m[o,]nnum at ganga í
n[o,]kkurn háska við dýrit, en fé ferr eptir því sem auðnar; menn mína vil
ek ekki missa." Allir heita hér góðu um, at gera eptir því, sem konungr
bauð. B[o,]ðvarr leyndiz í burt um nóttina; hann lætr H[o,]tt fara með sér,
ok gerir hann þat nauðugr ok kallaði hann sér stýrt til bana. B[o,]ðvarr
segir, at betr mundi til takaz. Þeir ganga í burt frá h[o,]llinni, ok verðr
B[o,]ðvarr at bera hann; svá er hann hræddr. Nú sjá þeir dýrit; ok því næst
æpir H[o,]ttr slíkt, sem hann má, ok kvað dyrit mundu gleypa hann.
B[o,]ðvarr bað bikkjuna hans þegja ok kastar honum niðr í mosann, ok þar
liggr hann ok eigi með [o,]llu óhræddr; eigi þorir hann heim at fara heldr.
Nú gengr B[o,]ðvarr móti dýrinu; þat hæfir honum, at sverðit er fast í
umgj[o,]rðinni, er hann vildi bregða því. B[o,]ðvarr eggjar nú fast sverðit
ok þá bragðar í umgj[o,]rðinni, ok nú fær hann brugðit umgj[o,]rðinni, svá
_at_ sverðit gengr úr slíðrunum, ok leggr þegar undir bægi dýrsins ok svá
fast, at stóð í hjartanu, ok datt þá dýrit til jarðar dautt niðr. Eptir þat
ferr hann þangat sem H[o,]ttr liggr. B[o,]ðvarr tekr hann upp ok berr
þangat, sem dýrit liggr dautt. H[o,]ttr skelfr ákaft. B[o,]ðvarr mælti: "nú
skaltu drekka blóð dýrsins." Hann er lengi tregr, en þó þorir hann víst
eigi annat. B[o,]ðvarr lætr hann drekka tvá, sopa stóra; hann lét hann ok
eta n[o,]kkut af dýrshjartanu; eptir þetta tekr B[o,]ðvarr til hans, ok
áttuz þeir við lengi. B[o,]ðvarr mælti: "helzt ertu nú sterkr orðinn, ok
ekki vænti ek, et þú hræðiz nú hirðmenn Hrólfs konungs." H[o,]ttr sagði:
"eigi mun ek þá hræðaz ok eigi þik upp frá þessu." "Vel er þá orðit,
H[o,]ttr félagi; f[o,]ru vit nú til ok reisum upp dýrit ok búum svá um, at
aðrir ætli at kvikt muni vera." {141} Þeir gera nú svá. Eptir þat fara þeir
heim ok hafa kyrt um sik, ok veit engi maðr, hvat þeir hafa iðjat. Konungr
spyrr um morguninn, hvat þeir viti til dýrsins, hvárt þat hafi n[o,]kkut
þangat vitjat um nóttina; honum var sagt, at fé alt væri heilt í grindum ok
ósakat. Konungr bað menn forvitnaz, hvárt engi sæi líkindi til, at þat
hefði heim komit. Varðmenn gerðu svá ok kómu skjótt aptr ok s[o,]gðu
konungi, at dýrit færi þar ok heldr geyst at borginni. Konungr bað hirðmenn
vera hrausta ok duga nú hvern eptir því, sem hann hefði hug til, ok ráða af
óvætt þenna; ok svá var gert, sem konungr bauð, at þeir bjuggu sik til
þess. Konungr horfði á dýrit ok mælti síðan: "enga sé ek f[o,]r á dýrinu,
en hverr vill nú taka kaup einn ok ganga í móti því?" B[o,]ðvarr mælti:
"þat væri næsta hrausts manns forvitnisbót. H[o,]ttr félagi, rektu nú af
þér illmælit þat, at menn láta, sem engi krellr né dugr muni í þer vera;
far nú ok drep þú dýrit; máttu sjá, at engi er allfúss til annarra." "Já,"
sagði H[o,]ttr, "ek mun til þessa ráðaz." Konungr mælti: "ekki veit ek,
hvaðan þessi hreysti er at þér komin, H[o,]ttr, ok mikit hefir um þik
skipaz á skammri stundu." H[o,]ttr mælti: "gef mér til sverðit
Gullinhjalta, er þú heldr á, ok skal ek þá fella dýrit eða fá bana." Hrólf
konungr mælti: "þetta sverð er ekki beranda nema þeim manni, sem bæði er
góðr drengr ok hraustr." H[o,]ttr sagði: "svá skaltu til ætla, at mér sé
svá háttat." Konungr mælti: "hvat má vita, nema fleira hafi skipz um hagi
þína, en sjá þykkir, en fæstir menn þykkjaz þik kenna, at þú sér enn sami
maðr; nú tak við sverðinu ok njót manna bezt, ef þetta er til unnit." Síðan
gengr H[o,]ttr at dýrinu alldjarfliga ok høggr til þess, þá _er_ hann kemr
í h[o,]ggfæri, ok dýrit fellr niðr dautt. B[o,]ðvarr mælti: "sjáið nú,
herra, hvat hann hefir til unnit." Konungr segir: "víst hefir hann mikit
skipaz, en ekki hefir H[o,]ttr einn dýrit drepit, heldr hefir þú þat gert."
B[o,]ðvarr segir: "vera má, at svá sé." Konungr segir: "vissa ek, þá _er_
þú komt hér, at fáir mundu þínir jafningjar vera, en þat þykki mér þó þitt
verk frægiligast, at þú hefir gert hér annan kappa, þar _er_ H[o,]ttr er,
ok óvænligr þótti til mikillar giptu; ok nú vil ek _at_ hann heiti eigi
H[o,]ttr lengr ok skal hann heita Hjalti upp frá þessu; skaltu heita eptir
sverðinu Gullinhjalta." {142}

Then Bothvar went on his way to Leire, and came to the king's dwelling.

Bothvar stabled his horse by the king's best horses, without asking leave;
and then he went into the hall, and there were few men there. He took a
seat near the door, and when he had been there a little time he heard a
rummaging in a corner. Bothvar looked that way and saw that a man's hand
came up out of a great heap of bones which lay there, and the hand was very
black. Bothvar went thither and asked who was there in the heap of bones.

Then an answer came, in a very weak voice, "Hott is my name, good fellow."

"Why art thou here?" said Bothvar, "and what art thou doing?"

Hott said, "I am making a shield-wall for myself, good fellow."

Bothvar said, "Out on thee and thy shield-wall!" and gripped him and jerked
him up out of the heap of bones.

Then Hott cried out and said, "Now thou wilt be the death of me: do not do
so. I had made it all so snug, and now thou hast scattered in pieces my
shield-wall; and I had built it so high all round myself that it has
protected me against all your blows, so that for long no blows have come
upon me, and yet it was not so arranged as I meant it should be."

Then Bothvar said, "Thou wilt not build thy shield-wall any longer."

Hott said, weeping, "Wilt thou be the death of me, good fellow?" Bothvar
told him not to make a noise, and then took him up and bore him out of the
hall to some water which was close by, and washed him from head to foot.
Few paid any heed to this.

Then Bothvar went to the place which he had taken before, and led Hott with
him, and set Hott by his side. But Hott was so afraid that he was trembling
in every limb, and yet he seemed to know that this man would help him.

After that it grew to evening, and men crowded into the hall: and Rolf's
warriors saw that Hott was seated upon the bench. And it seemed to them
that the man must be bold {143} enough, who had taken upon himself to put
him there. Hott had an ill countenance when he saw his acquaintances, for
he had received naught but evil from them. He wished to save his life and
go back to his bone-heap, but Bothvar held him tightly so that he could not
go away. For Hott thought that, if he could get back into his bone-heap, he
would not be as much exposed to their blows as he was.

Now the retainers did as before; and first of all they tossed small bones
across the floor towards Bothvar and Hott. Bothvar pretended not to see
this. Hott was so afraid that he neither ate nor drank; and every moment he
thought he would be smitten.

And now Hott said to Bothvar, "Good fellow, now a great knuckle bone is
coming towards thee, aimed so as to do us sore injury." Bothvar told him to
hold his tongue, and put up the hollow of his palm against the knuckle bone
and caught it, and the leg bone was joined on to the knuckle bone. Then
Bothvar sent the knuckle bone back, and hurled it straight at the man who
had thrown it, with such a swift blow that it was the death of him. Then
great fear came over the retainers.

Now news came to King Rolf and his men up in the castle that a stately man
had come to the hall and killed a retainer, and that the retainers wished
to kill the man. King Rolf asked whether the retainer who had been killed
had given any offence. "Next to none," they said: then all the truth of the
matter came up before King Rolf.

King Rolf said that it should be far from them to kill the man: "You have
taken up an evil custom here in pelting men with bones without quarrel. It
is a dishonour to me and a great shame to you to do so. I have spoken about
it before, and you have paid no attention. I think that this man whom you
have assailed must be a man of no small valour. Call him to me, so that I
may know who he is."

Bothvar went before the king and greeted him courteously. The king asked
him his name. "Your retainers call me Hott's protector, but my name is

The king said, "What compensation wilt thou offer me for my retainer?"

Bothvar said, "He only got what he asked for."

The king said, "Wilt thou become my man and fill his place?"

Bothvar said, "I do not refuse to be your man, but Hott and I must not part
so. And we must sit nearer to thee than this man whom I have slain has sat;
otherwise we will both depart together." The king said, "I do not see much
credit in Hott, but I will not grudge him meat." Then Bothvar went to the
seat that seemed good to him, and would not fill that which the other had
before. He pulled up three men in one place, and then he and Hott sat down
there higher in the hall than the place which had been given to them. The
men thought Bothvar overbearing, and there was the greatest ill will among
them concerning him.

And when it drew near to Christmas, men became gloomy. Bothvar asked Hott
the reason of this. Hott said to him that for two winters together a wild
beast had come, great and awful, "And it has wings on its back, and flies.
For two autumns it has attacked us here and done much damage. No weapon
will wound it: and the champions of the king, those who are the greatest,
come not back."

Bothvar said, "This hall is not so well arrayed as I thought, if one beast
can lay waste the kingdom and the cattle of the king." Hott said, "It is no
beast: it is the greatest troll."

Now Christmas-eve came; then said the king, "Now my will is that men
to-night be still and quiet, and I forbid all my men to run into any peril
with this beast. It must be with the cattle as fate will have it: but I do
not wish to lose my men." All men promised to do as the king commanded. But
Bothvar went out in secret that night; he caused Hott to go with him, but
Hott did that only under compulsion, and said that it would be the death of
him. Bothvar said that he hoped that it would be better than that. They
went away from the hall, and Bothvar had to carry Hott, so frightened was
he. Now they saw the beast; and thereupon Hott cried out as loud as he
could, and said that the beast would swallow him. Bothvar said, "Be silent,
thou dog," and threw him down in the mire. And there he lay in no small
fear; but he did not dare to go home, any the more. {145}

Now Bothvar went against the beast, and it happened that his sword was fast
in his sheath when he wished to draw it. Bothvar now tugged at his sword,
it moved, he wrenched the scabbard so that the sword came out. And at once
he plunged it into the beast's shoulder so mightily that it pierced him to
the heart, and the beast fell down dead to the earth. After that Bothvar
went where Hott lay. Bothvar took him up and bore him to where the beast
lay dead. Hott was trembling all over. Bothvar said, "Now must thou drink
the blood of the beast." For long Hott was unwilling, and yet he did not
dare to do anything else. Bothvar made him drink two great sups; also he
made him eat somewhat of the heart of the beast.

After that Bothvar turned to Hott, and they fought a long time.

Bothvar said, "Thou hast now become very strong, and I do not believe that
thou wilt now fear the retainers of King Rolf."

Hott said, "I shall not fear them, nor thee either, from now on."

"That is good, fellow Hott. Let us now go and raise up the beast, and so
array him that others may think that he is still alive." And they did so.
After that they went home, and were quiet, and no man knew what they had

In the morning the king asked what news there was of the beast, and whether
it had made any attack upon them in the night. And answer was made to the
king, that all the cattle were safe and uninjured in their folds. The king
bade his men examine whether any trace could be seen of the beast having
visited them. The watchers did so, and came quickly back to the king with
the news that the beast was making for the castle, and in great fury. The
king bade his retainers be brave, and each play the man according as he had
spirit, and do away with this monster. And they did as the king bade, and
made them ready.

Then the king faced towards the beast and said, "I see no sign of movement
in the beast. Who now will undertake to go against it?"

Bothvar said, "That would be an enterprise for a man of true valour. Fellow
Hott, now clear thyself of that ill-repute, {146} in that men hold that
there is no spirit or valour in thee. Go now and do thou kill the beast;
thou canst see that there is no one else who is forward to do it."

"Yea," said Hott, "I will undertake this."

The king said, "I do not know whence this valour has come upon thee, Hott;
and much has changed in thee in a short time."

Hott said, "Give me the sword Goldenboss, Gullinhjalti, which thou dost
wield, and I will fell the beast or take my death." Rolf the king said,
"That sword cannot be borne except by a man who is both a good warrior and
valiant." Hott said, "So shalt thou ween that I am a man of that kind." The
king said, "How can one know that more has not changed in thy temper than
can be seen? Few men would know thee for the same man. Now take the sword
and have joy of it, if this deed is accomplished." Then Hott went boldly to
the beast and smote at it when he came within reach, and the beast fell
down dead. Bothvar said, "See now, my lord, what he has achieved." The king
said, "Verily, he has altered much, but Hott has not killed the beast
alone, rather hast thou done it." Bothvar said, "It may be that it is so."
The king said, "I knew when thou didst come here that few would be thine
equals. But this seems to me nevertheless thy most honourable work, that
thou hast made here another warrior of Hott, who did not seem shaped for
much luck. And now I will that he shall be called no longer Hott, but
Hjalti from this time; thou shalt be called after the sword Gullinhjalti

       *       *       *       *       *


(ed. G. Magnússon, 1853; R. C. Boer, 1900)

(_a_) _Glam episode_ (caps. 32-35)

Þórhallr hét maðr, er bjó á Þórhallsst[o,]ðum í Forsæludal. Forsæludalr er
upp af Vatnsdal. Þórhallr var Grímsson, Þórhallssonar, Friðmundarsonar, er
nam Forsæludal. Þórhallr átti þá konu, er Guðrún hét. Grímr hét sonr þeira,
en Þuríðr dóttir; þau váru vel á legg komin. Þórhallr var vel auðigr {147}
maðr, ok mest at kvikfé, svá at engi maðr átti jafnmart ganganda fé, sem
hann. Ekki var hann h[o,]fðingi, en þó skilríkr bóndí. Þar var reimt
mj[o,]k, ok fekk hann varla sauðamann, svá at honum þoetti duga. Hann
leitaði ráðs við marga vitra menn, hvat hann skyldi til bragðs taka; en
engi gat þat ráð til gefit, er dygði. Þórhallr reið til þings hvert sumar.
Hann átti hesta góða. Þat var eitt sumar á alþingi, at Þórhallr gekk til
búðar Skapta l[o,]gmanns, Þóroddssonar. Skapti var manna vitrastr, ok
heilráðr, ef hann var beiddr. Þat skildi með þeim feðgum: Þóroddr var
forspár ok kallaðr undirhyggjumaðr af sumum m[o,]nnum, en Skapti lagði þat
til með hverjum manni, sem hann ætlaði at duga skyldi, ef eigi væri af því
brugðit; því var hann kallaðr betrfeðrungr. Þórhallr gekk í búð Skapta;
hann fagnaði vel Þórhalli, því hann vissi, at hann var ríkr maðr at fé, ok
spurði hvat at tíðendum væri.

Þórhallr mælti: "Heilræði vilda ek af yðr þiggja."

"Í litlum foerum em ek til þess," sagði Skapti; "eða hvat stendr þik?"

Þórhallr mælti: "Þat er svá háttat, at mér helz lítt á sauðam[o,]nnum.
Verðr þeim heldr klakksárt, en sumir gera engar lyktir á. Vill nú engi til
taka, sá er kunnigt er til, hvat fyrir býr."

Skapti svarar: "Þar mun liggja meinvættr n[o,]kkur, er menn eru tregari til
at geyma síðr þíns fjár en annarra manna. Nú fyrir því, at þú hefir at mér
ráð sótt, þá skal ek fá þér sauðamann, þann er Glámr heitir, ættaðr ór
Svíþjóð, ór Sylgsd[o,]lum, er út kom í fyrra sumar, mikill ok sterkr, ok
ekki mj[o,]k við alþýðu skap."

Þórhallr kvaz ekki um þat gefa, ef hann geymdi vel fjárins; Skapti sagði
[o,]ðrum eigi vænt horfa, ef hann geymdi eigi fyrir afls sakir ok áræðis;
Þórhallr gekk þá út. Þetta var at þinglausnum.

Þórhalli var vant hesta tveggja ljósbleikra, ok fór sjálfr at leita; af því
þykkjaz menn vita, at hann var ekki mikilmenni. Hann gekk upp undir Sleðás
ok suðr með fjalli því, er Ármannsfell heitir. Þá sá hann, hvar maðr fór
ofan ór Goðaskógi ok bar hrís á hesti. Brátt bar saman fund þeira; Þórhallr
spurði hann at nafni, en hann kvez Glámr heita. Þessi maðr {148} var mikill
vexti ok undarligr í yfirbragði, bláeygðr ok opineygðr, úlfgrár á hárslit.
Þórhalli brá n[o,]kkut í brún, er hann sá þenna mann; en þó skildi hann, at
honum mundi til þessa vísat.

"Hvat er þér bezt hent at vinna?" segir Þórhallr.

Glámr kvað sér vel hent at geyma sauðfjár á vetrum.

"Viltu geyma sauðfjár míns?" segir Þórhallr; "gaf Skapti þik á mitt vald."

"Svá mun þér hentust mín vist, at ek fari sjálfráðr; því ek em skapstyggr,
ef mér líkar eigi vel," sagði Glámr.

"Ekki mun mér mein at því," segir Þórhallr, "ok vil ek, at þú farir til

"Gera má ek þat," segir Glámr; "eða eru þar n[o,]kkur vandhoefi á?"

"Reimt þykkir þar vera," sagði Þórhallr.

"Ekki hræðumz ek flykur þær," sagði Glámr, "ok þykkir mér at

"Þess muntu við þurfa," segir Þórhallr, "ok hentar þar betr, at vera eigi
alllítill fyrir sér."

Eptir þat kaupa þeir saman, ok skal Glámr koma at vetrnóttum. Siðan skildu
þeir, ok fann Þórhallr hesta sína, þar sem hann hafði nýleitat. Reið
Þórhallr heim, ok þakkaði Skapta sinn velgerning.

Sumar leið af, ok frétti Þórhallr ekki til sauðamanns, ok engi kunni skyn á
honum. En at ánefndum tíma kom hann á Þórhallsstaði. Tekr bóndi við honum
vel, en [o,]llum [o,]ðrum gaz ekki at honum, en húsfreyju þó minst. Hann
tók við fjárvarðveizlu, ok varð honum lítit fyrir því; hann var hljóðmikill
ok dimmraddaðr, ok féit st[o,]kk allt saman, þegar hann hóaði. Kirkja var á
Þórhallsst[o,]ðum; ekki vildi Glámr til hennar koma; hann var ós[o,]ngvinn
ok trúlauss, stirfinn ok viðskotaillr; [o,]llum var hann hvimleiðr.

Nú leið svá þar til er kemr atfangadagr jóla. Þá stóð Glámr snemma upp ok
kallaði til matar síns.

Húsfreyja svarar: "Ekki er þat háttr kristinna manna, at mataz þenna dag,
þvíat á morgin er jóladagr hinn fyrsti," segir hon, "ok er því fyrst skylt
at fasta í dag."

Hann svarar: "Marga hindrvitni hafi þér, þá er ek sé til enskis koma. Veit
ek eigi, at m[o,]nnum fari nú betr at, heldr {149} en þá, er menn fóru ekki
með slíkt. Þótti mér þá betri siðr, er menn váru heiðnir kallaðir; ok vil
ek mat minn en engar refjur."

Húsfreyja mælti: "Víst veit ek, at þér mun illa faraz í dag, ef þú tekr
þetta illbrigði til."

Glámr bað hana taka mat í stað; kvað henni annat skyldu vera verra. Hon
þorði eigi annat, en at gera, sem hann vildi. Ok er hann var mettr, gekk
hann út, ok var heldr gustillr. Veðri var svá farit, at myrkt var um at
litaz, ok fl[o,]graði ór drífa, ok gnýmikit, ok versnaði mj[o,]k sem á leið
daginn. Heyrðu menn til sauðamanns [o,]ndverðan daginn, en miðr er á leið
daginn. Tók þá at fjúka, ok gerði á hríð um kveldit; kómu menn til tíða, ok
leið svá fram at dagsetri; eigi kom Glámr heim. Var þá um talat, hvárt hans
skyldi eigi leita; en fyrir því, at hríð var á ok niðamyrkr, þá varð ekki
af leitinni. Kom hann eigi heim jólanóttina; biðu menn svá fram um tíðir.
At oernum degi fóru menn í leitina, ok fundu féit víða í f[o,]nnum, lamit
af ofviðri eða hlaupit á fj[o,]ll upp. Þvínæst kómu þeir á traðk mikinn
ofarliga í dalnum. Þótti þeim því líkt, sem þar hefði glímt verit heldr
sterkliga, þvíat grjótit var víða upp leyst, ok svá j[o,]rðin. Þeir hugðu
at vandliga ok sá, hvar Glámr lá, skamt á brott frá þeim. Hann var dauðr,
ok blár sem Hel, en digr sem naut. Þeim bauð af honum óþekt mikla, ok hraus
þeim mj[o,]k hugr við honum. En þó leituðu þeir við at foera hann til
kirkju, ok gátu ekki komit honum, nema á einn gilsþr[o,]m þar skamt ofan
frá sér; ok fóru heim við svá búit, ok s[o,]gðu bónda þenna atburð. Hann
spurði, hvat Glámi mundi hafa at bana orðit. Þeir kváðuz rakit hafa spor
svá stór, sem keraldsbotni væri niðr skelt þaðan frá, sem traðkrinn var, ok
upp undir bj[o,]rg þau, er þar váru ofarliga í dalnum, ok fylgðu þar með
blóðdrefjar miklar. Þat drógu menn saman, at sú meinvættr, er áðr hafði
[þar] verit, mundi hafa deytt Glám; en hann mundi fengit hafa henni
n[o,]kkurn áverka, þann er tekit hafi til fulls, þvíat við þá meinvætti
hefir aldri vart orðit síðan. Annan jóladag var enn til farit at foera Glám
til kirkju. Váru eykir fyrir beittir, ok gátu þeir hvergi foert hann, þegar
sléttlendit var ok eigi var forbrekkis at fara. Gengu nú frá við svá búit.
Hinn þriðja dag fór prestr með þeim, ok leituðu allan daginn, {150} ok
Glámr fannz eigi. Eigi vildi prestr optar til fara; en sauðamaðr fannz,
þegar prestr var eigi í ferð. Létu þeir þá fyrir vinnaz, at foera hann til
kirkju; ok dysjuðu hann þar, sem þá var hann kominn. Lítlu síðar urðu menn
varir við þat, at Glámr lá eigi kyrr. Varð m[o,]nnum at því mikit mein, svá
at margir fellu í óvit, ef sá hann, en sumir heldu eigi vitinu. Þegar eptir
jólin þóttuz menn sjá hann heima þar á boenum. Urðu menn ákafliga hræddir;
stukku þá margir menn í brott. Þvinæst tók Glámr at ríða húsum á nætr, svá
at lá við brotum. Gekk hann þá náliga nætr ok daga. Varla þorðu menn at
fara upp í dalinn, þóat ætti nóg ørendi. Þótti m[o,]nnum þar í heraðinu
mikit mein at þessu.

Um várit fekk Þórhallr sér hjón ok gerði bú á j[o,]rðu sinni. Tók þá at
minka aptrgangr, meðan sólargangr var mestr. Leið svá fram á miðsumar.
Þetta sumar kom út skip í Húnavatni; þar var á sá maðr, er Þorgautr hét.
Hann var útlendr at kyni, mikill ok sterkr; hann hafði tveggja manna afl;
hann var lauss ok einn fyrir sér; hann vildi fá starfa n[o,]kkurn, því(at)
hann var félauss. Þórhallr reið til skips ok fann Þorgaut; spurði ef hann
vildi vinna fyrir honum; Þorgautr kvað þat vel mega vera, ok kvez eigi
vanda þat.

"Svá skaltu við búaz," segir Þórhallr, "sem þar sé ekki veslingsm[o,]nnum
hent at vera, fyrir aptrg[o,]ngum þeim, er þar hafa verit um hríð, en ek
vil ekki þik á tálar draga."

Þorgautr svarar: "Eigi þykkjumz ek upp gefinn, þóat ek sjá smáváfur; mun þá
eigi [o,]ðrum dælt, ef ek hræðumz; ok ekki bregð ek vist minni fyrir þat."

Nú semr þeim vel kaupstefnan, ok skal Þorgautr gæta sauðfjár at vetri.

Leið nú af sumarit. Tók Þorgautr við fénu at vetrnáttum. Vel líkaði
[o,]llum við hann. Jafnan kom Glámr heim ok reið húsum. Þat þótti Þorgauti
allkátligt, ok kvað, "þrælinn þurfa mundu nær at ganga, ef ek hræðumz."
Þórhallr bað hann hafa fátt um; "er bezt, at þit reynið ekki með ykkr."

Þorgautr mælti: "Sannliga er skekinn þróttr ór yðr; ok dett ek eigi niðr
milli doegra við skraf þetta."

Nú fór svá fram um vetrinn allt til jóla. Atfangakveld jóla fór sauðamaðr
til fjár. {151}

Þá mælti húsfreyja: "Þurfa þoetti mér, at nú foeri eigi at fornum

Hann svarar: "Ver eigi hrædd um þat, húsfreyja," sagði hann; "verða mun
eitthvert s[o,]guligt, ef ek kem ekki aptr." Síðan gekk hann aptr til fjár
síns. Veðr var heldr kalt, ok fjúk mikit. Því var Þorgautr vanr, at koma
heim, þá er hálfrøkkvat var; en nú kom hann ekki heim í þat mund. Kómu
tíðamenn, sem vant var. Þat þótti m[o,]nnum eigi ólíkt á horfaz sem fyrr.
Bóndi vildi leita láta eptir sauðamanni, en tíðamenn t[o,]lduz undan, ok
s[o,]gðuz eigi mundu hætta sér út í tr[o,]llahendr um nætr; ok treystiz
bóndi eigi at fara, ok varð ekki af leitinni. Jóladag, er menn váru mettir,
fóru menn til ok leituðu sauðamanns. Gengu þeir fyrst til dysjar Gláms,
þvíat menn ætluðu af hans v[o,]ldum mundi orðit um hvarf sauðamanns. En er
þeir kómu nær dysinni, sáu þeir þar mikil tíðendi, ok þar fundu þeir
sauðamann, ok var hann brotinn á háls, ok lamit sundr hvert bein í honum.
Síðan foerðu þeir hann til kirkju, ok varð engum manni mein at Þorgauti
síðan. En Glámr tók at magnaz af nýju. Gerði hann nú svá mikit af sér, at
menn allir stukku brott af Þórhallsst[o,]ðum, útan bóndi einn ok húsfreyja.
Nautamaðr hafði þar verit lengi hinn sami. Vildi Þórhallr hann ekki lausan
láta fyrir góðvilja sakir ok geymslu. Hann var mj[o,]k við aldr, ok þótti
honum mikit fyrir, at fara á brott; sá hann ok, at allt fór at ónytju, þat
er bóndi átti, ef engi geymdi. Ok einn tíma eptir miðjan vetr var þat einn
morgin, at húsfreyja fór til fjóss, at mjólka kýr eptir tíma. Þá var
alljóst, þvíat engi treystiz fyrr úti at vera annarr en nautamaðr; hann fór
út, þegar lýsti. Hon heyrði brak mikit í fjósit, ok beljan [o,]skurliga;
hon hljóp inn oepandi ok kvaz eigi vita, hver ódoemi um væri í fjósinu.
Bóndi gekk út ok kom til nautanna, ok stangaði hvert annat. Þótti honum þar
eigi gott, ok gekk innar at hl[o,]ðunni. Hann sá, hvar lá, nautamaðr, ok
hafði h[o,]fuðit í [o,]ðrum bási en foetr í [o,]ðrum; hann lá á bak aptr.
Bóndi gekk at honum ok þreifaði um hann; finnr brátt, at hann er dauðr ok
sundr hryggrinn í honum. Var hann brotinn um báshelluna. Nú þótti bónda
eigi vært, ok fór í brott af boenum með allt þat, sem hann mátti í brott
flytja. En allt kvikfé þat, sem eptir var, deyddi Glámr. Ok þvinæst fór
{152} hann um allan dalinn ok eyddi alla boei upp frá Tungu. Var Þórhallr
þá með vinum sínum þat [sem] eptir var vetrarins. Engi maðr mátti fara upp
í dalinn með hest eðr hund, þvíat þat var þegar drepit. En er váraði, ok
sólargangr var sem mestr, létti heldr aptrg[o,]ngunum. Vildi Þórhallr nú
fara aptr til lands síns. Urðu honum ekki auðfengin hjón, en þó gerði hann
bú á Þórhallsst[o,]ðum. Fór allt á sama veg sem fyrr; þegar at haustaði,
tóku at vaxa reimleikar. Var þá mest sótt at bóndadóttur; ok svá fór, at
hon léz af því. Margra ráða var í leitat, ok varð ekki at g[o,]rt. Þótti
m[o,]nnum til þess horfaz, at eyðaz mundi allr Vatnsdalr, ef eigi yrði
boetr á ráðnar.

Nú er þar til at taka, at Grettir Ásmundarson sat heima at Bjargi um
haustit, síðan þeir Vígabarði skildu á Þóreyjargnúpi. Ok er mj[o,]k var
komit at vetrnóttum, reið Grettir heiman norðr yfir hálsa til Víðidals, ok
gisti á Auðunarst[o,]ðum. Sættuz þeir Auðunn til fulls, ok gaf Grettir
honum øxi góða, ok mæltu til vináttu með sér. Auðunn bjó lengi á
Auðunarst[o,]ðum ok var kynsæll maðr. Hans sonr var Egill, er átti
Úlfheiði, dóttur Eyjólfs Guðmundarsonar, ok var þeira sonr Eyjólfr, er
veginn var á alþingi. Hann var faðir Orms, kapiláns Þorláks biskups.
Grettir reið norðr til Vatnsdals ok kom á kynnisleit í Tungu. Þar bjó þá
J[o,]kull Bárðarson, móðurbróðir Grettis; J[o,]kull var mikill maðr ok
sterkr ok hinn mesti ofsamaðr. Hann var siglingamaðr, ok mj[o,]k ódæll, en
þó mikilhoefr maðr. Hann tók vel við Gretti, ok var hann þar þrjár nætr. Þá
var svá mikit orð á aptrg[o,]ngum Gláms, at m[o,]nnum var ekki jafntíðroett
sem þat. Grettir spurði inniliga at þeim atburðum, er h[o,]fðu orðit;
J[o,]kull kvað þar ekki meira af sagt en til væri hoeft; "eða er þér
forvitni á, frændi! at koma þar?"

Grettir sagði, at þat var satt.

J[o,]kull bað hann þat eigi gera, "því þat er gæfuraun mikil; en frændr
þínir eiga mikit í hættu, þar sem þú ert," sagði hann; "þykkir oss nú engi
slíkr af ungum m[o,]nnum sem þú; en illt mun af illum hljóta, þar sem Glámr
er. Er ok miklu betra, at fáz við mennska menn en við óvættir slíkar."

Grettir kvað sér hug á, at koma á Þórhallsstaði, ok sjá, hversu þar væri um
gengit. {153}

J[o,]kull mælti: "Sé ek nú, at eigi tjáir at letja þik; en satt er þat sem
mælt er, at sitt er hvárt, gæfa eða gervigleikr."

"Þá er [o,]ðrum vá fyrir dyrum, er [o,]ðrum er inn um komit; ok hygg at,
hversu þér mun fara sjálfum, áðr lýkr," kvað Grettir.

J[o,]kull svarar: "Vera kann, at vit sjáim báðir n[o,]kkut fram, en hvárrgi
fái við g[o,]rt."

Eptir þat skildu þeir, ok líkaði hvárigum annars spár.

Grettir reið á Þórhallsstaði, ok fagnaði bóndi honum vel. Hann spurði,
hvert Grettir ætlaði at fara; en hann segiz þar vilja vera um nóttina, ef
bónda líkaði, at svá væri. Þórhallr kvaz þ[o,]kk fyrir kunna, at hann væri
þar, "en fám þykkir sloegr til at gista hér um tíma; muntu hafa heyrt getit
um, hvat hér er at væla. En ek vilda gjarna, at þú hlytir engi vandræði af
mér. En þóat þú komiz heill á brott, þá veit ek fyrir víst, at þú missir
hests þíns; því engi heldr hér heilum sínum fararskjóta, sá er kemr."

Grettir kvað gott til hesta, hvat sem af þessum yrði.

Þórhallr varð glaðr við, er Grettir vildi þar vera, ok tók við honum báðum
h[o,]ndum. Var hestr Grettis læstr í húsi sterkliga. Þeir fóru til svefns,
ok leið svá af nóttin, at ekki kom Glámr heim.

Þá mælti Þórhallr: "Vel hefir brugðit við þína kvámu, þvíat hverja nótt er
Glámr vanr at ríða húsum eða brjóta upp hurðir, sem þú mátt merki sjá."

Grettir mælti: "Þá mun vera annathvárt, at hann mun ekki lengi á sér sitja,
eða mun af venjaz meirr en eina nótt. Skal ek vera hér nótt aðra ok sjá,
hversu ferr."

Siðan gengu þeir til hests Grettis, ok var ekki við hann glez. Allt þótti
bónda at einu fara. Nú er Grettir þar aðra nótt, ok kom ekki þrællinn heim.
Þá þótti bónda mj[o,]k vænkaz. Fór hann þá, at sjá hest Grettis. Þá var upp
brotit húsit, er bóndi kom til, en hestrinn dreginn til dyra útar, ok lamit
í sundr í honum hvert bein.

Þórhallr sagði Gretti, hvar þá var komit, ok bað hann forða sér: "þvíat
víss er dauðinn, ef þú bíðr Gláms."

Grettir svarar: "Eigi má ek minna hafa fyrir hest minn, en at sjá þrælinn."

Bóndi sagði, at þat var eigi bati, at sjá hann, "þvíat hann er ólíkr
n[o,]kkurri mannligri mynd; en góð þykki mér hver sú stund, er þú vilt hér

Nú líðr dagrinn; ok er menn skyldu fara til svefns, vildi Grettir eigi fara
af klæðum, ok lagðiz niðr í setit gegnt lokrekkju bónda. Hann hafði
r[o,]ggvarfeld yfir sér, ok knepti annat skautit niðr undir foetr sér, en
annat snaraði hann undir h[o,]fuð sér, ok sá út um h[o,]fuðsmáttina.
Setstokkr var fyrir framan setit, mj[o,]k sterkr, ok spyrndi hann þar í.
Dyraumbúningrinn allr var frá brotinn útidyrunum, en nú var þar fyrir
bundinn hurðarflaki, ok óvendiliga um búit. Þverþilit var allt brotit frá
skálanum, þat sem þar fyrir framan hafði verit, bæði fyrir ofan þvertréit
ok neðan. Sængr allar váru ór stað foerðar. Heldr var þar óvistuligt. Ljós
brann í skálanum um nóttina. Ok er af mundi þriðjungr af nótt, heyrði
Grettir út dynur miklar. Var þá farit upp á húsin, ok riðit skálanum ok
barit hælunum, svá at brakaði í hverju tré. Þvi gekk lengi; þá var farit
ofan af húsunum ok til dyra gengit. Ok er upp var lokit hurðunni, sá
Grettir, at þrællinn rétti inn h[o,]fuðit, ok sýndiz honum afskræmiliga
mikit ok undarliga stórskorit. Glámr fór seint ok réttiz upp, er hann kom
inn í dyrnar; hann gnæfaði ofarliga við ræfrinu; snýr at skálanum ok lagði
handleggina upp á þvertréit, ok gægðiz inn yfir skálann. Ekki lét bóndi
heyra til sín, þvíat honum þótti oerit um, er hann heyrði, hvat um var úti.
Grettir lá kyrr ok hroerði sik hvergi. Glámr sá, at hrúga n[o,]kkur lá í
setinu, ok réz nú innar eptir skálanum ok þreif í feldinn stundarfast.
Grettir spyrndi í stokkinn, ok gekk því hvergi. Glámr hnykti í annat sinn
miklu fastara, ok bifaðiz hvergi feldrinn. Í þriðja sinn þreif hann í með
báðum h[o,]ndum svá fast, at hann rétti Gretti upp ór setinu; kiptu nú í
sundr feldinum í millum sín. Glámr leit á slitrit, er hann helt á, ok
undraðiz mj[o,]k, hverr svá, fast mundi togaz við hann. Ok í því hljóp
Grettir undir hendr honum, ok þreif um hann miðjan, ok spenti á honum
hrygginn sem fastast gat hann, ok ætlaði hann, at Glámr skyldi kikna við.
En þrællinn lagði at handleggjum Grettis svá fast, at hann h[o,]rfaði allr
fyrir orku sakir. Fór Grettir þá undan í ýms setin. Gengu þá frá
stokkarnir, ok allt brotnaði, þat sem fyrir varð. Vildi {155} Glámr leita
út, en Grettir foerði við foetr, hvar sem hann mátti. En þó gat Glámr
dregit hann fram ór skálanum. Áttu þeir þá allharða sókn þvíat þrællinn
ætlaði at koma honum út ór boenum; en svá illt sem var at eiga við Glám
inni, þá sá Grettir, at þó var verra, at fáz við hann úti; ok því brauz
hann í móti af [o,]llu afli at fara út. Glámr foerðiz í aukana, ok knepti
hann at sér, er þeir kómu í anddyrit. Ok er Grettir sér, at hann fekk eigi
við spornat, hefir hann allt eitt atriðit, at hann hleypr sem harðast í
fang þrælnum ok spyrnir báðum fótum í jarðfastan stein, er stoð í dyrunum.
Við þessu bjóz þrællinn eigi; hann hafði þá togaz við at draga Gretti at
sér; ok því kiknaði Glámr á bak aptr, ok rauk [o,]fugr út á dyrnar, svá at
herðarnar námu uppdyrit, ok ræfrit gekk í sundr, bæði viðirnir ok þekjan
frerin; fell hann svá opinn ok [o,]fugr út ór húsunum, en Grettir á hann
ofan. Tunglskin var mikit úti ok gluggaþykkn; hratt stundum fyrir, en
stundum dró frá. Nú í því, er Glámr fell, rak skýit frá tunglinu, en Glámr
hvesti augun upp í móti. Ok svá, hefir Grettir sagt sjálfr, at þá eina sýn
hafi hann sét svá, at honum brygði við. Þá sigaði svá at honum af [o,]llu
saman, moeði ok því, er hann sá at Glámr gaut sínum sjónum harðliga, at
hann gat eigi brugðit saxinu, ok lá náliga í milli heims ok heljar. En því
var meiri ófagnaðarkraptr með Glámi en flestum [o,]ðrum
aptrg[o,]ngum[o,]nnum, at hann mælti þá á þessa leið: "Mikit kapp hefir þú
á lagit, Grettir," sagði hann, "at finna mik. En þat mun eigi undarligt
þykkja, þóat þú hljótir ekki mikit happ af mér. En þat má ek segja þér, at
þú hefir nú fengit helming afls þess ok þroska, er þér var ætlaðr, ef þú
hefðir mik ekki fundit. Nú fæ ek þat afl eigi af þér tekit, er þú hefir áðr
hrept; en því má ek ráða, at þú verðr aldri sterkari en nú ertu, ok ertu þó
nógu sterkr, ok at því mun m[o,]rgum verða. Þú hefir frægr orðit hér til af
verkum þínum; en heðan af munu falla til þín sektir ok vígaferli, en flest
[o,]ll verk þín snúaz þér til ógæfu ok hamingjuleysis. Þú munt verða útlægr
g[o,]rr, ok hljóta jafnan úti at búa einn samt. Þá legg ek þat á við þik,
at þessi augu sé þér jafnan fyrir sjónum, sem ek ber eptir; ok mun þér
erfitt þykkja, einum at vera; ok þat mun þér til dauða draga."

Ok sem þrællinn hafði þetta mælt, þá rann af Gretti ómegin, {156} þat sem á
honum hafði verit. Brá hann þá saxinu ok hjó h[o,]fuð af Glámi ok setti þat
við þjó honum. Bóndi kom þá út, ok hafði klæz, á meðan Glámr lét ganga
t[o,]luna; en hvergi þorði hann nær at koma, fyrr en Glámr var fallinn.
Þórhallr lofaði guð fyrir, ok þakkaði vel Gretti, er hann hafði unnit þenna
óhreina anda. Fóru þeir þá til, ok brendu Glám at k[o,]ldum kolum. Eptir
þat [báru þeir [o,]sku hans í eina hít ok] grófu þar niðr, sem sízt váru
fjárhagar eða mannavegir. Gengu heim eptir þat, ok var þá mj[o,]k komit at
degi. Lagðiz Grettir niðr, þvíat hann var stirðr mj[o,]k. Þórhallr sendi
menn á næstu boei eptir m[o,]nnum; sýndi ok sagði, hversu farit hafði.
[O,]llum þótti mikils um vert um þetta verk, þeim er heyrðu. Var þat þá
almælt, at engi væri þvílíkr maðr á [o,]llu landinu fyrir afls sakir ok
hreysti ok allrar atgervi, sem Grettir Ásmundarson.

Þórhallr leysti Gretti vel af garði ok gaf honum góðan hest ok klæði
soemilig, því[at] þau váru [o,]ll sundr leyst, er hann hafði áðr borit.
Skildu þeir með vináttu. Reið Grettir þaðan í Ás í Vatnsdal, ok tók
Þorvaldr við honum vel ok spurði inniliga at sameign þeira Gláms; en
Grettir segir honum viðskipti þeira, ok kvaz aldri í þvílíka aflraun komit
hafa, svá langa viðreign sem þeir h[o,]fðu saman átt.

Þorvaldr bað hann hafa sik spakan, "ok mun þá vel duga, en ella mun þér
slysgjarnt verða."

Grettir kvað ekki batnat hafa um lyndisbragðit, ok sagðiz nú miklu verr
stiltr en áðr, ok allar mótgerðir verri þykkja. Á því fann hann mikla muni,
at hann var orðinn maðr svá myrkfælinn, at hann þorði hvergi at fara einn
saman, þegar myrkva tók. Sýndiz honum þá hvers kyns skrípi; ok þat er haft
síðan fyrir orðtoeki, at þeim ljái Glámr augna eðr gefi glámsýni, er
mj[o,]k sýniz annan veg, en er. Grettir reið heim til Bjargs, er hann hafði
g[o,]rt ørendi sín, ok sat heima um vetrinn.

(_b_) _Sandhaugar episode_ (caps. 64-66)

Steinn hét prestr, er bjó at Eyjardalsá í Bárðardal. Hann var búþegn góðr
ok ríkr at fé. Kjartan hét son hans, r[o,]skr maðr ok vel á legg kominn.
Þorsteinn hvíti hét maðr, er {157} bjó at Sandhaugum, suðr frá Eyjardalsá.
Steinv[o,]r hét kona hans, ung ok glaðlát. Þau áttu b[o,]rn, ok váru þau
ung í þenna tíma. Þar þótti m[o,]nnum reimt mj[o,]k sakir tr[o,]llagangs.
Þat bar til, tveim vetrum fyrr en Grettir kom norðr í sveitir, at
Steinv[o,]r húsfreyja at Sandhaugum fór til jólatíða til Eyjardalsár eptir
vana, en bóndi var heima. L[o,]gðuz menn niðr til svefns um kveldit; ok um
nóttina heyrðu menn brak mikit í skálann, ok til sængr bónda. Engi þorði
upp at standa at forvitnaz um, þvíat þar var fáment mj[o,]k. Húsfreyja kom
heim um morguninn, ok var bóndi horfinn, ok vissi engi, hvat af honum var
orðit. Liðu svá hin næstu misseri. En annan vetr eptir, vildi húsfreyja
fara til tíða; bað hon húskarl sinn heima vera. Hann var tregr til; en bað
hana ráða. Fór þar allt á s[o,]mu leið, sem fyrr, at húskarl var horfinn.
Þetta þótti m[o,]nnum undarligt. Sáu menn þá blóðdrefjar n[o,]kkurar í
útidyrum. Þóttuz menn þat vita, at óvættir mundu hafa tekit þá báða. Þetta
fréttiz víða um sveitir. Grettir hafði spurn af þessu. Ok með því at honum
var mj[o,]k lagit at koma af reimleikum eða aptrg[o,]ngum, þá gerði hann
ferð sína til Bárðardals, ok kom atfangadag jóla til Sandha[u]ga. Hann
duldiz ok nefndiz Gestr. Húsfreyja sá, at hann var furðu mikill vexti, en
heimafólk var furðu hrætt við hann. Hann beiddiz þar gistingar. Húsfreyja
kvað honum mat til reiðu, "en ábyrgz þik sjálfr."

Hann kvað svá vera skyldu. "Mun ek vera heima," segir hann, "en þú far til
tíða, ef þú vilt."

Hon svarar: "Mér þykkir þú hraustr, ef þú þorir heima at vera."

"Eigi læt ek mér at einu getit," sagði hann.

"Illt þykkir mér heima at vera," segir hon, "en ekki komumz ek yfir ána."

"Ek skal fylgja þér yfir," segir Gestr.

Síðan bjóz hon til tiða, ok dóttir hennar með henni, lítil vexti. Hláka
mikil var úti, ok áin í leysingum; var á henni jakaf[o,]r.

Þá mælti húsfreyja: "Ófoert er yfir ána, bæði m[o,]nnum ok hestum."

"V[o,]ð munu á vera," kvað Gestr; "ok verið eigi hræddar." {158}

"Ber þú fyrst meyna," kvað húsfreyja, "hon er léttari."

"Ekki nenni ek at gera tvær ferðir at þessu," segir Gestr, "ok mun ek bera
þik á handlegg mér."

Hon signdi sik ok mælti: "Þetta er ófoera; eða hvat gerir þú þá af

"Sjá mun ek ráð til þess," segir hann; ok greip þær upp báðar ok setti hina
yngri í kné móður sinnar, ok bar þær svá á vinstra armlegg sér; en hafði
lausa hina hoegri h[o,]nd ok óð svá, út á vaðit. Eigi þorðu þær at oepa,
svá váru þær hræddar. En áin skall þegar upp á brjósti honum. Þá rak at
honum jaka mikinn; en hann skaut við hendi þeiri, er laus var, ok hratt frá
sér. Gerði þá svá djúpt, at strauminn braut á [o,]xlinni. Óð hann
sterkliga, þar til er hann kom at bakkanum [o,]ðrum megin, ok fleygir þeim
á land. Síðan sneri hann aptr, ok var þá hálfrøkkvit, er hann kom heim til
Sandhauga; ok kallaði til matar. Ok er hann var mettr, bað hann heimafólk
fara innar í stofu. Hann tók þá borð ok lausa viðu, ok rak um þvera
stofuna, ok gerði bálk mikinn, svá at engi heimamaðr komz fram yfir. Engi
þorði í móti honum at mæla, ok í engum skyldi kretta. Gengit var í
hliðvegginn stofunnar inn við gaflhlaðit; ok þar þverpallr hjá. Þar lagðiz
Gestr niðr ok fór ekki af klæðunum. Ljós brann í stofunni gegnt dyrum.
Liggr Gestr svá fram á nóttina.

Húsfreyja kom til Eyjardalsár til tíða, ok undruðu menn um ferðir hennar
yfir ána. Hon sagðiz eigi vita, hvárt hana hefði yfir flutt maðr eða
tr[o,]ll. Prestr kvað mann víst vera mundu, þóat fárra maki sé; "ok látum
hljótt yfir," sagði hann; "má vera, at hann sé ætlaðr til at vinna bót á
vandræðum þínum." Var húsfreyja þar um nóttina.

Nú er frá Gretti þat at segja, at þá er dró at miðri nótt, heyrði hann út
dynur miklar. Þvínæst kom inn í stofuna tr[o,]llkona mikil. Hon hafði í
hendi trog, en annarri skálm, heldr mikla. Hon litaz um, er hon kom inn, ok
sá, hvar Gestr lá, ok hljóp at honum, en hann upp í móti, ok réðuz á
grimmliga ok sóttuz lengi í stofunni. Hon var sterkari, en hann fór undan
koenliga. En allt þat, sem fyrir þeim varð, brutu þau, jafnvel þverþilit
undan stofunni. Hon dró hann fram yfir dyrnar, ok svá í anddyrit; þar tók
hann fast í móti. Hon {159} vildi draga hann út ór boenum, en þat varð eigi
fyrr en þau leystu frá allan útidyraumbúninginn ok báru hann út á herðum
sér. Þoefði hon þá ofan til árinnar ok allt fram at gljúfrum. Þá var Gestr
ákafliga móðr, en þó varð annathvárt at gera: at herða sik, ella mundi hon
steypa honum í gljúfrin. Alla nóttina sóttuz þau. Eigi þóttiz hann hafa
fengiz við þvílíkan ófagnað fyrir afls sakir. Hon hafði haldit honum svá
fast at sér, at hann mátti hvárigri hendi taka til n[o,]kkurs, útan hann
helt um hana miðja k[ett]una. Ok er þau kómu á árgljufrit, bregðr hann
flagðkonunni til sveiflu. Í því varð honum laus hin hoegri h[o,]ndin. Hann
þreif þá skjótt til saxins, er hann var gyrðr með, ok bregðr því; høggr þá
á [o,]xl tr[o,]llinu, svá at af tók h[o,]ndina hoegri, ok svá, varð hann
lauss. En hon steyptiz í gljúfrin ok svá í fossinn. Gestr var þá bæði
stirðr ok móðr, ok lá þar lengi á hamrinum. Gekk hann þá heim, er lýsa tók,
ok lagðiz í rekkju. Hann var allr þrútinn ok blár.

Ok er húsfreyja kom frá tíðum, þótti henni heldr raskat um hýbýli sín. Gekk
hon þá til Gests ok spurði, hvat til hefði borit, er allt var brotit ok
boelt. Hann sagði allt, sem farit hafði. Henni þótti mikils um vert, ok
spurði, hverr hann var. Hann sagði þá til hit sanna, ok bað soekja prest ok
kvaz vildu finna hann. Var ok svá g[o,]rt. En er Steinn prestr kom til
Sandhauga, varð hann brátt þess víss, at þar var kominn Grettir
Ásmundarson, er Gestr nefndiz. Prestr spurði, hvat hann ætlaði af þeim
m[o,]nnum mundi vera orðit, er þar h[o,]fðu horfit. Grettir kvaz ætla, at í
gljúfrin mundu þeir hafa horfit. Prestr kvaz eigi kunna at leggja trúnað á
sagnir hans, ef engi merki mætti til sjá. Grettir segir, at sífðar vissi
þeir þat gørr. Fór prestr heim. Grettir lá í rekkju margar nætr. Húsfreyja
gerði við hann harðla vel; ok leið svá af jólin. Þetta er s[o,]gn Grettis,
at tr[o,]llkonan steypðiz í gljúfrin við, er hon fekk sárit; en
Bárðardalsmenn segja, at hana dagaði uppi, þá er þau glímdu, ok spryngi, þá
er hann hjó af henni h[o,]ndina, ok standi þar enn í konu líking á
bjarginu. Þeir dalbúarnir leyndu þar Gretti.

Um vetrinn eptir jól var þat einn dag, at Grettir fór til Eyjardalsár. Ok
er þeir Grettir funduz ok prestr, mælti Grettir: "Sé ek þat, prestr," segir
hann, "at þú leggr lítinn {160} trúnað á sagnir mínar. Nú vil ek at þú
farir með mér til árinnar, ok sjáir, hver líkendi þér þykkir á vera."

Prestr gerði svá. En er þeir kómu til fossins, sáu þeir skúta upp undir
bergit; þat var meitilberg svá mikit, at hvergi mátti upp komaz, ok nær tíu
faðma ofan at vatninu. Þeir h[o,]fðu festi með sér.

Þá mælti prestr: "Langt um ófoert sýniz mér þér niðr at fara."

Grettir svarar: "Foert er víst; en þeim mun bezt þar, sem ágætismenn eru.
Mun ek forvitnaz, hvat í fossinum er, en þú skalt geyma festar."

Prestr bað hann ráða, ok keyrði niðr hæl á berginu, ok bar at grjót, [ok
sat þar hjá].

Nú er frá Gretti at segja, at hann lét stein í festaraugat ok lét svá síga
ofan at vatninu.

"Hvern veg ætlar þú nú," segir prestr, "at fara?"

"Ekki vil ek vera bundinn," segir Grettir, "þá er ek kem í fossinn; svá
boðar mér hugr um."

Eptir þat bjó hann sik til ferðar, ok var fáklæddr, ok gyrði sik með
saxinu, en hafði ekki fleiri vápn. Síðan hljóp hann af bjarginu ok niðr í
fossinn. Sá prestr í iljar honum, ok vissi síðan aldri, hvat af honum varð.
Grettir kafaði undir fossinn, ok var þat torvelt, þvíat iða var mikil, ok
varð hann allt til grunns at kafa, áðr en hann koemiz upp undir fossinn.
Þar var forberg n[o,]kkut, ok komz hann inn þar upp á. Þar var hellir
mikill undir fossinum, ok fell áin fram af berginu. Gekk hann þá inn í
hellinn, ok var þar eldr mikill á br[o,]ndum. Grettir sá, at þar sat
j[o,]tunn [o,]gurliga mikill; hann var hræðiligr at sjá. En er Grettir kom
at honum, hljóp j[o,]tunninn upp ok greip flein einn ok hjó til þess, er
kominn var, þvíat bæði mátti h[o,]ggva ok leggja með [honum]. Tréskapt var
í; þat k[o,]lluðu menn þá heptisax, er þannveg var g[o,]rt. Grettir hjó á
móti með saxinu, ok kom á skaptit, svá at í sundr tók. J[o,]tunninn vildi
þá seilaz á bak sér aptr til sverðs, er þar hekk í hellinum. Í því hjó
Grettir framan á brjóstit, svá at náliga tók af alla bringspelina ok
kviðinn, svá at iðrin steyptuz ór honum ofan í ána, ok keyrði þau ofan
eptir ánni. Ok er prestr sat við festina, sá hann, at slyðrur n[o,]kkurar
rak ofan eptir strengnum blóðugar {161} allar. Hann varð þá lauss á velli,
ok þóttiz nú vita, at Grettir mundi dauðr vera. Hljóp hann þá frá
festarhaldinu ok fór heim. Var þá komit at kveldi, ok sagði prestr vísliga,
at Grettir væri dauðr; ok sagði, at mikill skaði væri eptir þvílíkan mann.

Nú er frá Gretti at segja; hann lét skamt h[o,]ggva í milli, þar til er
j[o,]tunninn dó. Gekk Grettir þá innar eptir hellinum. Hann kveikti ljós ok
kannaði hellinn. Ekki er frá því sagt, hversu mikit fé hann fekk í
hellinum; en þat ætla menn, at verit hafi n[o,]kkut. Dvaldiz honum þar fram
á nóttina. Hann fann þar tveggja manna bein, ok bar þau í belg einn.
Leitaði hann þá ór hellinum ok lagðiz til festarinnar, ok hristi hana, ok
ætlaði, at prestr mundi þar vera. En er hann vissi, at prestr var heim
farinn, varð hann þá at handstyrkja upp festina, ok komz hann svá upp á
bjargit. Fór hann þá heim til Eyjardalsár ok kom í forkirkju belginum þeim,
sem beinin váru í, ok þar með rúnakefli því, er vísur þessar váru
forkunnliga vel á ristnar:

  "Gekk ek í gljúfr et d[o,]kkva
  gein veltiflug steina,
  viþ hj[o,]rgæþi hríþar
  hlunns úrsv[o,]lum munni,
  fast lá framm á brjósti
  flugstraumr í sal naumu
  heldr kom á herþar skáldi
  h[o,]rþ fjón Braga kvónar."

Ok en þessi:

  "Ljótr kom mér í móti
  mellu vinr ór helli;
  hann fekz, heldr at s[o,]nnu
  harþfengr, viþ mik lengi;
  harþeggjat lét ek h[o,]ggvit
  heptisax af skepti;
  Gangs klauf brjóst ok bringu
  bjartr gunnlogi svarta[298]."


Þar sagði svá, at Grettir hafi bein þessi ór hellinum haft. En er prestr
kom til kirkju um morgininn, fann hann keflit ok þat sem fylgdi, ok las
rúnarnar. En Grettir hafði farit heim til Sandhauga.

En þá er prestr fann Gretti, spurði hann inniliga eptir atburðum; en hann
sagði alla s[o,]gu um ferð sína, ok kvað prest ótrúliga hafa haldit
festinni. Prestr lét þat á sannaz. Þóttuz menn þat vita, at þessar óvættir
mundu valdit hafa mannahv[o,]rfum þar í dalnum. Varð ok aldri mein af
aptrg[o,]ngum eða reimleikum þar í dalnum síðan. Þótti Grettir þar g[o,]rt
hafa mikla landhreinsan. Prestr jarðaði bein þessi í kirkjugarði.


    The _Grettis saga_ was first printed in the middle of the eighteenth
    century, in Iceland (Marcússon, _Nockrer Marg-frooder Sogu-þatter_,
    1756, pp. 81-163). It was edited by Magnússon and Thordarson,
    Copenhagen, 1853, with a Danish translation, and again by Boer
    (_Altnordische Saga-bibliothek_, Halle, 1900). An edition was also
    printed at Reykjavik in 1900, edited by V. Ásmundarson.

    There are over forty MSS of the saga: _Cod. Arn. Mag. 551 a_ (quoted in
    the notes below as A) forms the basis of all three modern editions.
    Boer has investigated the relationship of the MSS (_Die
    handschriftliche überlieferung der Grettissaga, Z.f.d.Ph._ XXXI,
    40-60), and has published, in an appendix to his edition, the readings
    of five of the more important, in so far as he considers that they can
    be utilized to amend the text supplied by A.

    The reader who consults the editions of both Magnússon and Boer will be
    struck by the differences in the text, although both are following the
    same MS. Many of these differences are, of course, due to the fact that
    the editors are normalizing the spelling, but on different principles:
    many others, however, are due to the extraordinary difficulty of the MS
    itself. Mr Sigfús Blöndal, of the Royal Library of Copenhagen, has
    examined _Cod. Arn. Mag. 551 a_ for me, and he writes:

        "It is the very worst MS I have ever met with. The writing is
        small, almost every word is abbreviated, and, worst of all, the
        writing is in many places effaced, partly by smoke (I suppose the
        MS needs must have been lying for years in some smoky and damp
        _baðstofa_) rendering the parchment almost as black as
        shoe-leather, but still more owing to the use of chemicals, which
        modern editors have been obliged to use, to make sure of what there
        really was in the text. By the use of much patience and a lens, one
        can read it, though, in most places. Unfortunately, this does not
        apply to the _Glámur_ episode, a big portion of which belongs to
        the very worst part of the MS, and the readings of that portion are
        therefore rather uncertain."

    The Icelandic text given above agrees in the main with that in the
    excellent edition of Boer, to whom, in common with all students of the
    {163} _Grettis saga_, I am much indebted: but I have frequently adopted
    in preference a spelling or wording nearer to that of Magnússon. In
    several of these instances (notably the spelling of the verses
    attributed to Grettir) I think Prof. Boer would probably himself agree.

    The words or letters placed between square brackets are those which are
    not to be found in _Cod. Arn. Mag. 551 a_.

    To Mr Blöndal, who has been at the labour of collating with the MS, for
    my benefit, both the passages given above, my grateful thanks are due.

    There are English translations of the _Grettis saga_ by Morris and E.
    Magnússon (1869, and in Morris' _Works_, 1911, vol. VII) and by G. A.
    Hight (_Everyman's Library_, 1914).

    For a discussion of the relationship of the _Grettis saga_ to other
    stories, see also Boer, _Zur Grettissaga_, in _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXX, 1-71.

(_a_) _Glam episode_ (p. 146 above)

There was a man called Thorhall, who lived at Thorhall's Farm in
Shadow-dale. Shadow-dale runs up from Water-dale. Thorhall was son of Grim,
son of Thorhall, son of Frithmund, who settled Shadow-dale. Thorhall's wife
was called Guthrun: their son was Grim, and Thurith their daughter--they
were grown up.

[Sidenote: p. 147]

Thorhall was a wealthy man, and especially in cattle, so that no man had as
much live stock as he. He was not a chief, yet a substantial yeoman. The
place was much haunted, and he found it hard to get a shepherd to suit him.
He sought counsel of many wise men, what device he should follow, but he
got no counsel which was of use to him. Thorhall rode each summer to the
All-Thing; he had good horses. That was one summer at the All-Thing, that
Thorhall went to the booth of Skapti Thoroddsson, the Law-man.

Skapti was the wisest of men, and gave good advice if he was asked. There
was this difference between Skapti and his father Thorodd: Thorodd had
second sight, and some men called him underhanded; but Skapti gave to every
man that advice which he believed would avail, if it were kept to: so he
was called 'Better than his father.' Thorhall went to the booth of Skapti.
Skapti greeted Thorhall well, for he knew that he was a prosperous man, and
asked what news he had.

Thorhall said, "I should like good counsel from thee." "I am little use at
that," said Skapti. "But what is thy need?" {164}

Thorhall said, "It happens so, that it is difficult for me to keep my
shepherds: they easily get hurt, and some will not serve their time. And
now no one will take on the task, who knows what is before him."

Skapti answered, "There must be some evil being about, if men are more
unwilling to look after thy sheep than those of other folk. Now because
thou hast sought counsel of me, I will find thee a shepherd, who is named
Glam, a Swede, from Sylgsdale, who came out to Iceland last summer. He is
great and strong, but not much to everybody's taste."

Thorhall said that he would not mind that, if he guarded the sheep well.
Skapti said that if Glam had not the strength and courage to do that, there
was no hope of anyone else. Then Thorhall went out; this was when the
All-Thing was nearly ending.

Thorhall missed two light bay horses, and he went himself to look for
them--so it seems that he was not a great man. He went up under Sledge-hill
and south along the mountain called Armannsfell.

Then he saw where a man came down from Gothashaw, bearing faggots on a
horse. They soon met, and Thorhall asked him his name, and he said he was
called Glam. Glam [Sidenote: p. 148] was tall and strange in bearing, with
blue[299] and glaring eyes, and wolf-grey hair. Thorhall opened his eyes
when he saw him, but yet he discerned that this was he to whom he had been

"What work art thou best fitted for?" said Thorhall.

Glam said he was well fitted to watch sheep in the winter.

"Wilt thou watch my sheep?" said Thorhall. "Skapti gave thee into my hand."

"You will have least trouble with me in your house if I go my own way, for
I am hard of temper if I am not pleased," said Glam.

"That will not matter to me," said Thorhall, "and I wish that thou shouldst
go to my house."

"That may I well do," said Glam, "but are there any difficulties?"


"It is thought to be haunted," said Thorhall.

"I am not afraid of such phantoms," said Glam, "and it seems to me all the
less dull."

"Thou wilt need such a spirit," said Thorhall, "and it is better that the
man there should not be a coward."

After that they struck their bargain, and Glam was to come at the
winter-nights [14th-16th of October]. Then they parted, and Thorhall found
his horses where he had just been searching. Thorhall rode home and thanked
Skapti for his good deed.

Summer passed, and Thorhall heard nothing of his shepherd, and no one knew
anything of him; but at the time appointed he came to Thorhall's Farm. The
yeoman greeted him well, but all the others could not abide him, and
Thorhall's wife least of all. Glam undertook the watching of the sheep, and
it gave him little trouble. He had a great deep voice, and the sheep came
together as soon as he called them. There was a church at Thorhall's Farm,
but Glam would not go to it. He would have nothing to do with the service,
and was godless; he was obstinate and surly and abhorred by all.

Now time went on till it came to Yule eve. Then Glam rose early and called
for meat. The yeoman's wife answered, "That is not the custom of Christian
men to eat meat today, because tomorrow is the first day of Yule," said
she, "and therefore it is right that we should first fast today."

He answered, "Ye have many superstitions which I see are good for nothing.
I do not know that men fare better now [Sidenote: p. 149] than before, when
they had nought to do with such things. It seemed to me a better way when
men were called heathen; and I want my meat and no tricks."

The yeoman's wife said, "I know for a certainty that it will fare ill with
thee today, if thou dost this evil thing."

Glam bade her bring the meat at once, else he said it should be worse for
her. She dared not do otherwise than he willed, and when he had eaten he
went out, foul-mouthed.

Now it had gone so with the weather that it was heavy all round, and
snow-flakes were falling, and it was blowing loud, and grew much worse as
the day went on. The shepherd {166} was heard early in the day, but less
later. Then wind began to drive the snow, and towards evening it became a
tempest. Then men came to the service, and so it went on to nightfall. Glam
did not come home. Then there was talk whether search ought not to be made
for him, but because there was a tempest and it was pitch dark, no search
was attempted. That Yule night he did not come home, and so men waited till
after the service [next, i.e. Christmas, morning]. But when it was full
day, men went to search, and found the sheep scattered in the
snow-drifts[300], battered by the tempest, or strayed up into the
mountains. Then they came on a great space beaten down, high up in the
valley. It looked to them as if there had been somewhat violent wrestling
there, because the stones had been torn up for a distance around, and the
earth likewise. They looked closely and saw where Glam lay a little
distance away. He was dead, and blue like Hel and swollen like an ox. They
had great loathing of him, and their souls shuddered at him. Nevertheless
they strove to bring him to the church, but they could get him no further
than the edge of a ravine a little below, and they went home leaving
matters so, and told the yeoman what had happened. He asked what appeared
to have been the death of Glam. They said that, from the trodden spot, up
to a place beneath the rocks high in the valley, they had tracked marks as
big as if a cask-bottom had been stamped down, and great drops of blood
with them. So men concluded from this, that the evil thing which had been
there before must have killed Glam, but Glam must have done it damage which
had been enough, in that nought has ever happened since from that evil

The second day of Yule it was again essayed to bring Glam to the church.

Beasts of draught were harnessed, but they could not move him where it was
level ground and not down hill, so they departed, leaving matters so.

The third day the priest went with them, and they searched [Sidenote: p.
150] all day, but Glam could not be found. The priest would go no {167}
more, but Glam was found when the priest was not in the company. Then they
gave up trying to carry him to the church, and buried him where he was,
under a cairn.

A little later men became aware that Glam was not lying quiet. Great harm
came to men from this, so that many fell into a swoon when they saw him,
and some could not keep their wits. Just after Yule, men thought they saw
him at home at the farm. They were exceedingly afraid, and many fled away.
Thereupon Glam took to riding the house-roofs at nights, so that he nearly
broke them in. He walked almost night and day. Men hardly dared to go up
into the dale, even though they had business enough. Men in that
country-side thought great harm of this.

In the spring Thorhall got farm-hands together and set up house on his
land. Then the apparition began to grow less frequent whilst the sun's
course was at its height; and so it went on till midsummer. That summer a
ship came out to Hunawater. On it was a man called Thorgaut. He was an
outlander by race, big and powerful; he had the strength of two men. He was
in no man's service, and alone, and he wished to take up some work, since
he had no money. Thorhall rode to the ship, and met Thorgaut. He asked him
if he would work for him. Thorgaut said that might well be, and that he
would make no difficulties.

"But thou must be prepared," said Thorhall, "that it is no place for
weaklings, by reason of the hauntings which have been going on for a while,
for I will not let thee into a trap."

Thorgaut answered, "It does not seem to me that I am undone, even though I
were to see some little ghosts. It must be no easy matter for others if I
am frightened, and I will not give up my place for that."

So now they agreed well, and Thorgaut was to watch the sheep when winter

Now the summer passed on. Thorgaut took charge of the sheep at the
winter-nights. He was well-pleasing to all. Glam ever came home and rode on
the roofs. Thorgaut thought it sporting, and said that the thrall would
have to come nearer {168} in order to scare him. But Thorhall bade him keep
quiet: "It is best that ye should not try your strength together." Thorgaut
said, "Verily, your courage is shaken out of you: I shall not drop down
with fear between day and night over such talk."

Now things went on through the winter up to Yule-tide. On Yule evening the
shepherd went out to his sheep. Then [Sidenote: p. 151] the yeoman's wife
said, "It is to be hoped that now things will not go in the old way."

He answered, "Be not afraid of that, mistress; something worth telling will
have happened if I do not come back."

Then he went to his sheep. The weather was cold, and it snowed much.
Thorgaut was wont to come home when it was twilight, but now he did not
come at that time. Men came to the service, as was the custom. It seemed to
people that things were going as they had before. The yeoman wished to have
search made for the shepherd, but the church-goers excused themselves, and
said they would not risk themselves out in the hands of the trolls by
night. And the yeoman did not dare to go, so the search came to nothing.

On Yule-day, when men had eaten, they went and searched for the shepherd.
They went first to Glam's cairn, because men thought that the shepherd's
disappearance must have been through his bringing-about. But when they came
near the cairn they saw great things, for there they found the shepherd
with his neck broken and not a bone in him whole. Then they carried him to
the church, and no harm happened to any man from Thorgaut afterwards; but
Glam began to increase in strength anew. He did so much that all men fled
away from Thorhall's Farm, except only the yeoman and his wife.

Now the same cattle-herd had been there a long time. Thorhall would not let
him go, because of his good-will and good service. He was far gone in age
and was very unwilling to leave: he saw that everything went to waste which
the yeoman had, if no one looked after it. And once after mid-winter it
happened one morning that the yeoman's wife went to the byre to milk the
cows as usual. It was quite light, because no one dared to go out before,
except the cattle-herd: he went {169} out as soon as it dawned. She heard
great cracking in the byre and a hideous bellowing. She ran back, crying
out, and said she did not know what devilry was going on in the byre.

The yeoman went out, and came to the cattle, and they were goring each
other. It seemed to him no good to stay there, and he went further into the
hay-barn. He saw where the cattle-herd lay, and he had his head in one
stall and his feet in the next. He lay on his back. The yeoman went to him
and felt him. He soon found that he was dead, and his back-bone broken in
two; it had been broken over the partition slab.

Now it seemed no longer bearable to Thorhall, and he left his farm with all
that he could carry away; but all the live-stock [Sidenote: p. 152] left
behind Glam killed. After that he went through all the dale and laid waste
all the farms up from Tongue. Thorhall spent what was left of the winter
with his friends. No man could go up into the dale with horse or hound,
because it was slain forthwith. But when spring came, and the course of the
sun was highest, the apparitions abated somewhat. Now Thorhall wished to go
back to his land. It was not easy for him to get servants, but still he set
up house at Thorhall's Farm.

All went the same way as before. When autumn came on the hauntings began to
increase. The yeoman's daughter was most attacked, and it fared so that she
died. Many counsels were taken, but nothing was done. Things seemed to men
to be looking as if all Water-dale must be laid waste, unless some remedies
could be found.

Now the story must be taken up about Grettir, how he sat at home at Bjarg
that autumn, after he had parted from Barthi-of-the-Slayings at Thorey's
Peak. And when it had almost come to the winter-nights, Grettir rode from
home, north over the neck to Willow-dale, and was a guest at Authun's Farm.
He was fully reconciled to Authun, and gave him a good axe, and they spake
of their wish for friendship one with the other. (Authun dwelt long at
Authun's Farm, and much goodly offspring had he. Egil was his son, who
wedded Ulfheith, daughter of Eyjolf Guthmundson; and their son was Eyjolf,
who was slain at the All-Thing. He was father of Orm, chaplain to {170}
Bishop Thorlak.) Grettir rode north to Water-dale and came on a visit to
Tongue. At that time Jokul Barthson lived there, Grettir's uncle. Jokul was
a man great and strong and very proud. He was a seafaring man, and very
over-bearing, yet of great account. He received Grettir well, and Grettir
was there three nights.

There was so much said about the apparitions of Glam that nothing was
spoken of by men equally with that. Grettir inquired exactly about the
events which had happened. Jokul said that nothing more had been spoken
than had verily occurred. "But art thou anxious, kinsman, to go there?"

Grettir said that that was the truth. Jokul begged him not to do so, "For
that is a great risk of thy luck, and thy kinsmen have much at stake where
thou art," said he, "for none of the young men seems to us to be equal to
thee; but ill will come of ill where Glam is, and it is much better to have
to do with mortal men than with evil creatures like that."

Grettir said he was minded to go to Thorhall's Farm and [Sidenote: p. 153]
see how things had fared there. Jokul said, "I see now that it is of no
avail to stop thee, but true it is what men say, that good-luck is one
thing, and goodliness another."

"Woe is before one man's door when it is come into another's house. Think
how it may fare with thee thyself before the end," said Grettir.

Jokul answered, "It may be that both of us can see somewhat into the
future, but neither can do aught in the matter."

After that they parted, and neither was pleased with the other's

Grettir rode to Thorhall's Farm, and the yeoman greeted him well. He asked
whither Grettir meant to go, but Grettir said he would stay there over the
night if the yeoman would have it so. Thorhall said he owed him thanks for
being there, "But few men find it a profit to stay here for any time. Thou
must have heard what the dealings are here, and I would fain that thou
shouldst have no troubles on my account; but though thou shouldst come
whole away, I know for certain that thou {171} wilt lose thy steed, for no
one who comes here keeps his horse whole."

Grettir said there were plenty of horses, whatever should become of this

Thorhall was glad that Grettir would stay there, and welcomed him

Grettir's horse was strongly locked in an out-house. They went to sleep,
and so the night passed without Glam coming home. Then Thorhall said,
"Things have taken a good turn against thy coming, for every night Glam has
been wont to ride the roofs or break up the doors, even as thou canst see."

Grettir said, "Then must one of two things happen. Either he will not long
hold himself in, or the wonted haunting will cease for more than one night.
I will stay here another night and see how it goes."

Then they went to Grettir's horse, and he had not been attacked. Then
everything seemed to the yeoman to be going one way. Now Grettir stayed for
another night, and the thrall did not come home. Then things seemed to the
yeoman to be taking a very hopeful turn. He went to look after Grettir's
horse. When he came there, the stable was broken into, and the horse
dragged out to the door, and every bone in him broken asunder.

Thorhall told Grettir what had happened, and bade him save his own
life--"For thy death is sure if thou waitest for Glam."

Grettir answered, "The least I must have in exchange for my horse is to see
the thrall."

The yeoman said that there was no good in seeing him: [Sidenote: p. 154]
"For he is unlike any shape of man; but every hour that thou wilt stay here
seems good to me."

Now the day went on, and when bed-time came Grettir would not put off his
clothes, but lay down in the seat over against the yeoman's
sleeping-chamber. He had a shaggy cloak over him, and wrapped one corner of
it down under his feet, and twisted the other under his head and looked out
through the head-opening. There was a great and strong partition beam in
front of the seat, and he put his feet against it. The {172} doorframe was
all broken away from the outer door, but now boards, fastened together
carelessly anyhow, had been tied in front. The panelling which had been in
front was all broken away from the hall, both above and below the
cross-beam; the beds were all torn out of their places, and everything was
very wretched[301].

A light burned in the hall during the night: and when a third part of the
night was past, Grettir heard a great noise outside. Some creature had
mounted upon the buildings and was riding upon the hall and beating it with
its heels, so that it cracked in every rafter. This went on a long time.
Then the creature came down from the buildings and went to the door. When
the door was opened Grettir saw that the thrall had stretched in his head,
and it seemed to him monstrously great and wonderfully huge. Glam went
slowly and stretched himself up when he came inside the door. He towered up
to the roof. He turned and laid his arm upon the cross-beam and glared in
upon the hall. The yeoman did not let himself be heard, because the noise
he heard outside seemed to him enough. Grettir lay quiet and did not move.

Glam saw that a heap lay upon the seat, and he stalked in up the hall and
gripped the cloak wondrous fast. Grettir pressed his feet against the post
and gave not at all. Glam pulled a second time much more violently, and the
cloak did not move. A third time he gripped with both hands so mightily
that he pulled Grettir up from the seat, and now the cloak was torn asunder
between them.

Glam gazed at the portion which he held, and wondered much who could have
pulled so hard against him; and at that moment Grettir leapt under his arms
and grasped him round {173} the middle, and bent his back as mightily as he
could, reckoning that Glam would sink to his knees at his attack. But the
thrall laid such a grip on Grettir's arm that he recoiled at the might of
it. Then Grettir gave way from one seat to another. The beams[302] started,
and all that came in their way was broken. [Sidenote: p. 155] Glam wished
to get out, but Grettir set his feet against any support he could find;
nevertheless Glam dragged him forward out of the hall. And there they had a
sore wrestling, in that the thrall meant to drag him right out of the
building; but ill as it was to have to do with Glam inside, Grettir saw
that it would be yet worse without, and so he struggled with all his might
against going out. Glam put forth all his strength, and dragged Grettir
towards himself when they came to the porch. And when Grettir saw that he
could not resist, then all at once he flung himself against the breast of
the thrall, as powerfully as he could, and pressed forward with both his
feet against a stone which stood fast in the earth at the entrance. The
thrall was not ready for this, he had been pulling to drag Grettir towards
himself; and thereupon he stumbled on his back out of doors, so that his
shoulders smote against the cross-piece of the door, and the roof clave
asunder, both wood and frozen thatch. So Glam fell backwards out of the
house and Grettir on top of him. There was bright moonshine and broken
clouds without. At times they drifted in front of the moon and at times
away. Now at the moment when Glam fell, the clouds cleared from before the
moon, and Glam rolled up his eyes; and Grettir himself has said that that
was the one sight he had seen which struck fear into him. Then such a
sinking came over Grettir, from his weariness and from that sight of Glam
rolling his eyes, that he had no strength to draw his knife and lay almost
between life and death.


But in this was there more power for evil in Glam than in most other
apparitions, in that he spake thus: "Much eagerness hast thou shown,
Grettir," said he, "to meet with me. But no wonder will it seem if thou
hast no good luck from me. And this can I tell thee, that thou hast now
achieved one half of the power and might which was fated for thee if thou
hadst not met with me. Now no power have I to take that might from thee to
which thou hast attained. But in this may I have my way, that thou shalt
never become stronger than now thou art, and yet art thou strong enough, as
many a one shall find to his cost. Famous hast thou been till now for thy
deeds, but from now on shall exiles and manslaughters fall to thy lot, and
almost all of thy labours shall turn to ill-luck and unhappiness. Thou
shalt be outlawed and doomed ever to dwell alone, away from men; and then
lay I this fate on thee, that these eyes of mine be ever before thy sight,
and it shall seem grievous unto thee to be alone, and that shall drag thee
to thy death."

And when the thrall had said this, the swoon which had [Sidenote: p. 156]
fallen upon Grettir passed from him. Then he drew his sword and smote off
Glam's head, and placed it by his thigh.

Then the yeoman came out: he had clad himself whilst Glam was uttering his
curse, but he dare in no wise come near before Glam had fallen. Thorhall
praised God for it, and thanked Grettir well for having vanquished the
unclean spirit.

Then they set to work and burned Glam to cold cinders. After, they put the
ashes in a skin-bag and buried them as far as possible from the ways of man
or beast. After that they went home, and by that time it was well on to
day. Grettir lay down, for he was very stiff. Thorhall sent people to the
next farm for men, and showed to them what had happened. To all those who
heard of it, it seemed a work of great account; and that was then spoken by
all, that no man in all the land was equal to Grettir Asmundarson for might
and valour and all prowess. Thorhall sent Grettir from his house with
honour, and gave him a good horse and fit clothing; for all the clothes
which he had worn before were torn asunder. They parted great friends.
Grettir rode thence to Ridge in Water-dale, and Thorvald greeted him well,
and asked closely as to his meeting {175} with Glam. Grettir told him of
their dealings, and said that never had he had such a trial of strength, so
long a struggle had theirs been together.

Thorvald bade him keep quiet, "and then all will be well, otherwise there
are bound to be troubles for thee."

Grettir said that his temper had not bettered, and that he was now more
unruly than before, and all offences seemed worse to him. And in that he
found a great difference, that he had become so afraid of the dark that he
did not dare to go anywhere alone after night had fallen. All kinds of
horrors appeared to him then. And that has since passed into a proverb,
that Glam gives eyes, or gives "glam-sight" to those to whom things seem
quite other than they are. Grettir rode home to Bjarg when he had done his
errand, and remained at home during the winter.

(_b_) _Sandhaugar episode_ (p. 156 above)

There was a priest called Stein who lived at Eyjardalsá (Isledale River) in
Barthardal. He was a good husbandman and rich in cattle. His son was
Kjartan, a doughty man and well grown. There was a man called Thorstein the
White who [Sidenote: p. 157] lived at Sandhaugar (Sandheaps), south of
Isledale river; his wife was called Steinvor, and she was young and merry.
They had children, who were young then.

People thought the place was much haunted by reason of the visitation of
trolls. It happened, two winters before Grettir came North into those
districts, that the good-wife Steinvor at Sandhaugar went to a Christmas
service, according to her custom, at Isledale river, but her husband
remained at home. In the evening men went to bed, and during the night they
heard a great rummage in the hall, and by the good-man's bed. No one dared
to get up to look to it, because there were very few men about. The
good-wife came home in the morning, but her husband had vanished, and no
one knew what had become of him.

The next year passed away. But the winter after, the good-wife wished again
to go to the church-service, and she bade her {176} manservant remain at
home. He was unwilling, but said she must have her own way. All went in the
same manner as before, and the servant vanished. People thought that
strange. They saw some splashes of blood on the outer door, and men thought
that evil beings must have taken away both the good-man and the servant.

The news of this spread wide throughout the country. Grettir heard of it;
and because it was his fortune to get rid of hauntings and spirit-walkings,
he took his way to Barthardal, and came to Sandhaugar on Yule eve. He
disguised himself[303], and said his name was Guest. The good-wife saw that
he was great of stature; and the farm-folk were much afraid of him. He
asked for quarters for the night. The good-wife said that he could have
meat forthwith, but "You must look after your own safety."

He said it should be so. "I will be at home," said he, "and you can go to
the service if you will."

She answered, "You are a brave man, it seems to me, if you dare to remain
at home."

"I do not care to have things all one way[304]," said he.

"It seems ill to me to be at home," said she, "but I cannot get over the

"I will see you over," said Guest.

Then she got ready to go to the service, and her small daughter with her.
It was thawing, the river was in flood, and there were ice-floes in it.
Then the good-wife said, "It is impossible for man or horse to get across
the river."

"There must be fords in it," said Guest, "do not be afraid."

[Sidenote: p. 158]

"Do you carry the child first," said the good-wife, "she is the lighter."

"I do not care to make two journeys of it," said Guest, "and I will carry
thee on my arm."

She crossed herself and said, "That is an impossible way; what will you do
with the child?"


"I will see a way for that," said he; and then he took them both up, and
set the child on her mother's knee and so bore them both on his left arm.
But he had his right hand free, and thus he waded out into the ford.

They did not dare to cry out, so much afraid were they. The river washed at
once up against his breast; then it tossed a great icefloe against him, but
he put out the hand that was free and pushed it from him. Then it grew so
deep that the river dashed over his shoulder; but he waded stoutly on,
until he came to the bank on the other side, and threw Steinvor and her
daughter on the land.

Then he turned back, and it was half dark when he came to Sandhaugar and
called for meat; and when he had eaten, he bade the farm folk go to the far
side of the room. Then he took boards and loose timber which he dragged
across the room, and made a great barrier so that none of the farm folk
could come over it. No one dared to say anything against him or to murmur
in any wise. The entrance was in the side wall of the chamber by the
gable-end, and there was a dais there. Guest lay down there, but did not
take off his clothes: a light was burning in the room over against the
door: Guest lay there far into the night.

The good-wife came to Isledale river to the service, and men wondered how
she had crossed the river. She said she did not know whether it was a man
or a troll who had carried her over. The priest said, "It must surely be a
man, although there are few like him. And let us say nothing about it,"
said he, "it may be that he is destined to work a remedy for your evils."
The good-wife remained there through the night.

Now it is to be told concerning Grettir that when it drew towards midnight
he heard great noises outside. Thereupon there came into the room a great
giantess. She had in one hand a trough and in the other a short-sword,
rather a big one. She looked round when she came in, and saw where Guest
lay, and sprang at him; but he sprang up against her, and they struggled
fiercely and wrestled for a long time in the room. She was the {178}
stronger, but he gave way warily; and they broke all that was before them,
as well as the panelling of the room. She dragged him forward through the
door and so[305] into the porch, and he [Sidenote: p. 159] struggled hard
against her. She wished to drag him out of the house, but that did not
happen until they had broken all the fittings of the outer doorway and
forced them out on their shoulders. Then she dragged him slowly down
towards the river and right along to the gorge.

By that time Guest was exceedingly weary, but yet, one or other it had to
be, either he had to gather his strength together, or else she would have
hurled him down into the gorge. All night they struggled. He thought that
he had never grappled with such a devil in the matter of strength. She had
got such a grip upon him that he could do nothing with either hand, except
to hold the witch by the middle; but when they came to the gorge of the
river he swung the giantess round, and thereupon got his right hand free.
Then quickly he gripped his knife that he wore in his girdle and drew it,
and smote the shoulder of the giantess so that he cut off her right arm. So
he got free: but she fell into the gorge, and so into the rapids below.

Guest was then both stiff and tired, and lay long on the rocks; then he
went home when it began to grow light, and lay down in bed. He was all
swollen black and blue.

And when the good-wife came from the service, it seemed to her that things
had been somewhat disarranged in her house. Then she went to Guest and
asked him what had happened, that all was broken and destroyed[306]. He
told her all that had taken place. She thought it very wonderful, and asked
who he was. He told her the truth, and asked her to send for the priest,
and said he wished to meet him; and so it was done.

Then when Stein the priest came to Sandhaugar, he knew soon that it was
Grettir Asmundarson who had come there, and who had called himself Guest.

The priest asked Grettir what he thought must have become of those men who
had vanished. Grettir said he thought they {179} must have vanished into
the gorge. The priest said that he could not believe Grettir's saying, if
no signs of it were to be seen. Grettir said that they would know more
accurately about it later. Then the priest went home. Grettir lay many days
in bed. The good-wife looked after him well, and so the Christmas-time

Grettir's account was that the giantess fell into the gulf when she got her
wound; but the men of Barthardal say that day came upon her whilst they
wrestled, and that she burst when he smote her hand off, and that she
stands there on the cliff yet, a rock in the likeness of a woman[307].

The dwellers in the dale kept Grettir in hiding there. But after Christmas
time, one day that winter, Grettir went to Isledale river. And when Grettir
and the priest met, Grettir [Sidenote: p. 160] said "I see, priest, that
you place little belief in my words. Now will I that you go with me to the
river and see what the likelihood seems to you to be."

The priest did so. But when they came to the waterfall they saw that the
sides of the gorge hung over[308]: it was a sheer cliff so great that one
could in nowise come up, and it was nearly ten fathoms[309] from the top to
the water below. They had a rope with them. Then the priest said, "It seems
to me quite impossible for thee to get down."

Grettir said, "Assuredly it is possible, but best for those who are men of
valour. I will examine what is in the waterfall, and thou shalt watch the


The priest said it should be as he wished, drove a peg into the cliff,
piled stones against it, and sat by it[310].

Now it must be told concerning Grettir that he knotted a stone into the
rope, and so let it down to the water.

"What way," said the priest, "do you mean to go?"

"I will not be bound," said Grettir, "when I go into the water, so much my
mind forebodes me."

After that he got ready for his exploit, and had little on; he girded
himself with his short sword, and had no other weapon.

Then he plunged from the cliff down into the waterfall. The priest saw the
soles of his feet, and knew no more what had become of him. Grettir dived
under the waterfall, and that was difficult because there was a great eddy,
and he had to dive right to the bottom before he could come up behind the
waterfall. There was a jutting rock and he climbed upon it. There was a
great cave behind the waterfall, and the river fell in front of it from the
precipice. He went into the cave, and there was a big fire burning. Grettir
saw that there sat a giant of frightful size. He was terrible to look upon:
but when Grettir came to him, the giant leapt up and seized a pike, and
hewed at the new-comer: for with the pike he could both cut and stab. It
had a handle of wood: men at that time called a weapon made in such a way a
_heptisax_. Grettir smote against it with his short sword, and struck the
handle so that he cut it asunder. Then the giant tried to reach back for a
sword which hung behind him in the cave. Thereupon Grettir smote him in the
breast, and struck off almost all the lower part of his chest and his
belly, so that the entrails gushed out of him down into the river, and were
swept along the current.

And as the priest sat by the rope he saw some lumps, clotted [Sidenote: p.
161] with blood, carried down stream. Then he became unsteady, and thought
that now he knew that Grettir must be dead: and he ran from keeping the
rope and went home. It was then evening, and the priest said for certain
that Grettir was dead, and added that it was a great loss of such a man.

Now the tale must be told concerning Grettir. He let little space go
between his blows till the giant was dead. Then he {181} went further into
the cave; he kindled a light and examined it. It is not said how much
wealth he took in the cave, but men think that there was something. He
stayed there far into the night. He found there the bones of two men, and
put them into a bag. Then he left the cave and swam to the rope and shook
it, for he thought that the priest must be there. But when he knew that the
priest had gone home, then he had to draw himself up, hand over hand, and
so he came up on to the cliff.

Then he went home to Isledale river, and came to the church porch, with the
bag that the bones were in, and with a rune-staff, on which these verses
were exceedingly well cut:

  There into gloomy gulf I passed,
  O'er which from the rock's throat is cast
  The swirling rush of waters wan,
  To meet the sword-player feared of man.
  By giant's hall the strong stream pressed
  Cold hands against the singer's breast;
  Huge weight upon him there did hurl
  The swallower of the changing whirl[311].

And this rhyme too:

  The dreadful dweller of the cave
  Great strokes and many 'gainst me drave;
  Full hard he had to strive for it,
  But toiling long he wan no whit;
  For from its mighty shaft of tree
  The heft-sax smote I speedily;
  And dulled the flashing war-flame fair
  In the black breast that met me there.

[Sidenote: p. 162]

These verses told also that Grettir had taken these bones out of the cave.
But when the priest came to the church in the morning he found the staff,
and what was with it, and read the runes; but Grettir had gone home to

But when the priest met Grettir he asked him closely as to what had
happened: and Grettir told him all the story of his journey. And he added
that the priest had not watched the rope faithfully. The priest said that
that was true enough.

Men thought for certain that these monsters must have caused the loss of
men there in the dale; and there was never any loss from hauntings or
spirit-walkings there afterwards.

{182} Grettir was thought to have caused a great purging of the land. The
priest buried these bones in the churchyard.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Hrólfs saga Kraka og Bjarkarímur_ udgivne ved F. Jónsson, København,

  58. Flestir [o,]muðu Hetti heldr,
  hann var ekki í máli sneldr,
  einn dag fóru þeir út af h[o,]ll,
  svó ekki vissi hirðin [o,]ll.

  59. Hjalti talar er felmtinn fær,
  "f[o,]rum við ekki skógi nær,
  hér er sú ylgr sem etr upp menn,
  okkr drepr hún báða senn."

  60. Ylgrin hljóp úr einum runn,
  ógurlig með gapanda munn,
  h[o,]rmuligt varð Hjalta viðr,
  á honum skalf bæði leggr og liðr.

  61. Ótæpt Bjarki að henni gengr,
  ekki dvelr hann við það lengr,
  h[o,]ggur svó að í hamri stóð,
  hljóp úr henni ferligt blóð.

  62. "Kjóstu Hjalti um kosti tvó,"
  kappinn B[o,]ðvar talaði svó,
  "drekk nú blóð eða drep eg þig hér,
  dugrinn líz mér engi í þér."

  63. Ansar Hjalti af ærnum móð,
  "ekki þori eg að drekka blóð,
  nýtir flest ef nauðigr skal,
  nú er ekki á betra val."

  64. Hjalti gj[o,]rir sem B[o,]ðvar biðr,
  að blóði frá eg hann lagðist niðr,
  drekkur síðan drykki þrjá,
  duga mun honum við einn að rjá.
                          IV, 58-64.

  4. Hann hefr fengið hjartað snjalt
  af h[o,]rðum móði,
  fekk hann huginn og aflið alt
  af ylgjar blóði.

  5. Í grindur vandist grábj[o,]rn einn
  í garðinn Hleiðar,
  var sá margur vargrinn beinn
  og víða sveiðar.

  6. Bjarka er kent, að hjarðarhunda
  hafi hann drepna,
  ekki er hónum allvel hent
  við ýta kepna.

  7. Hrólfur býst og hirð hans [o,]ll
  að húna stýri,
  "Sá skal mestr í minni h[o,]ll
  er mætir dýri."

  8. Beljandi hljóp bj[o,]rninn framm
  úr bóli krukku,
  veifar sínum vónda hramm,
  svó virðar hrukku.

  9. Hjalti sér og horfir þá á,
  er hafin er róma,
  hafði hann ekki í h[o,]ndum þá
  nema hnefana tóma.

  10. Hrólfur fleygði að Hjalta þá
  þeim hildar vendi,
  kappinn móti krummu brá
  og klótið hendi.

  11. Lagði hann síðan bj[o,]rninn brátt
  við bóginn hægra,
  bessi fell í brúðar átt
  og bar sig lægra.

  12. Vann hann það til frægða fyst
  og fleira síðar,
  hans var lundin l[o,]ngum byst
  í leiki gríðar.

  13. Hér með fekk hann Hjalta nafn
  hins hjartaprúða,
  Bjarki var eigi betri en jafn
  við býti skrúða.
                          V, 4-13.

  23. Aðals var glaðr afreksmaðr,
  austur þangað kómu,
  fyrðar þeir með fránan geir
  flengja þegar til rómu.

  24. Ýtar býta engum frið,
  unnu vel til mála,
  þar fell Áli og alt hans lið
  ungr í leiki stála.

  25. Hestrinn beztur Hrafn er kendr,
  hafa þeir tekið af Ála,
  Hildisvín er hjálmrinn vendr,
  hann kaus Bjarki í mála.

  26. [O,]ðling bað þá eigi drafl
  eiga um n[o,]kkur skipti,
  það mun kosta kóngligt afl,
  hann kappann gripunum svipti.

  27. Ekki þótti B[o,]ðvar betr,
  í burtu fóru þeir Hjalti,
  létust áðr en liðinn er vetr
  leita að Fróða malti.

  28. Síðan ríða seggir heim
  og s[o,]gðu kóngi þetta,
  hann kveðst mundu handa þeim
  heimta slíkt af létta.
                          VIII, 23-28.


58. Most [of Rolf's retainers] much tormented Hott [Hjalti]; he was not
cunning in speech. One day Hjalti and Bothvar went out of the hall, in such
wise that none of the retainers knew thereof. {185}

59. Hjalti spake in great terror, "Let us not go near the wood; here is the
she-wolf who eats up men; she will kill us both together."

60. The she-wolf leapt from a thicket, dread, with gaping jaws. A great
terror was it to Hjalti, and he trembled in every limb.

61. Without delay or hesitation went Bjarki towards her, and hewed at her
so that the axe went deep; a monstrous stream of blood gushed from her.

62. "Choose now, Hjalti, of two things"--so spake Bothvar the
champion--"Drink now the blood, or I slay thee here; it seems unto me that
there is no valour in thee."

63. Hjalti replied stoutly enough, "I cannot bring myself to drink blood;
but if I needs must, it avails most [to submit], and now is there no better

64. Hjalti did as Bothvar bade: he stooped down to the blood; then drank he
three sups: that will suffice him to wrestle with one man.

IV, 58-64.

4. He [Hjalti] has gained good courage and keen spirit; he got strength and
all valour from the she-wolf's blood.

5. A grey bear visited the folds at Hleithargarth; many such a ravager was
there far and wide throughout the country.

6. The blame was laid upon Bjarki, because he had slain the herdsmen's
dogs; it was not so suited for him to have to strive with men[312].

7. Rolf and all his household prepared to hunt the bear; "He who faces the
beast shall be greatest in my hall."

8. Roaring did the bear leap forth from out its den, swinging its evil
claws, so that men shrank back.

9. Hjalti saw, he turned and gazed where the battle began; nought had he
then in his hands--his empty fists alone.


10. Rolf tossed then to Hjalti his wand of war [his sword]; the warrior put
forth his hand towards it, and grasped the pommel.

11. Quickly then he smote the bear in the right shoulder; Bruin fell to the
earth, and bore himself in more lowly wise.

12. That was the beginning of his exploits: many followed later; his spirit
was ever excellent amid the play of battle.

13. Herefrom he got the name of Hjalti the stout-hearted: Bjarki was no
more than his equal.

V, 4-13.

23. Joyful was the valiant Athils when they [Bjarki and Rolf's champions]
came east to that place [Lake Wener]; troops with flashing spears rode
quickly forthwith to the battle.

24. No truce gave they to their foes: well they earned their pay; there
fell Ali and all his host, young in the game of swords.

25. The best of horses, Hrafn by name, they took from Ali; Bjarki chose for
his reward the helm Hildisvin.

26. The prince [Athils] bade them have no talk about the business; he
deprived the champions[313] of their treasures--that will be a test of his

27. Ill-pleased was Bothvar: he and Hjalti departed; they declared that
before the winter was gone they would seek for the treasure [the malt of

28. Then they rode home and told it to the king [Rolf]; he said it was
their business to claim their due outright.

VIII, 23-28.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Fornmanna S[o,]gur_, Copenhagen, 1827, III. 204 _etc._; _Flateyarbók_,
Christiania, 1859-68, I. 527 _etc._)

7. Litlu síðarr enn þeir Ormr ok Ásbj[o,]rn h[o,]fðu skilit, fýstist
Ásbj[o,]rn norðr í Sauðeyjar, fór hann við 4 menn ok 20 á skipi, heldr
norðr fyrir Mæri, ok leggr seint dags at Sauðey {187} hinni ytri, gánga á
land ok reisa tjald, eru þar um nóttina, ok verða við ekki varir; um
morgininn árla rís Ásbj[o,]rn upp, klæðir sik, ok tekr vópn sín, ok gengr
uppá land, en biðr menn sína bíða sín; en er nokkut svá var liðit frá því,
er Ásbj[o,]rn hafði í brott gengit, verða þeir við þat varir, at ketta
ógrlig var komin í tjaldsdyrnar, hon var kolsv[o,]rt at lit ok heldr
grimmlig, þvíat eldr þótti brenna or n[o,]sum hennar ok munni, eigi var hon
ok vel eyg; þeim brá mj[o,]k við þessa sýn, ok urðu óttafullir. Ketta
hleypr þá innar at þeim, ok grípr hvern at [o,]ðrum, ok svá er sagt at suma
gleypti hon, en suma rifi hon til dauðs með klóm ok t[o,]nnum, 20 menn drap
hon þar á lítilli stundu, en 3 kvómust út ok undan ok á skip, ok héldu
þegar undan landi; en Ásbj[o,]rn gengr þar til, er hann kemr at hellinum
Brúsa, ok snarar þegar inn í; honum varð nokkut dimt fyrir augum, en
skuggamikit var í hellinum; hann verðr eigi fyrr var við, enn hann er
þrifinn álopt, ok færðr niðr svá hart, at Ásbirni þótti furða í, verðr hann
þess þá varr, at þar er kominn Brúsi j[o,]tun, ok sýndist heldr mikiligr.
Brúsi mælti þá: þó lagðir þú mikit kapp á at sækja híngat; skaltu nú ok
eyrindi hafa, þvíat þú skalt hér lífit láta með svá miklum harmkvælum, at
þat skal aðra letja at sækja mik heim með ófriði; fletti hann þá Ásbj[o,]rn
klæðum, þvíat svá, var þeirra mikill afla munr, at j[o,]tuninn varð einn at
ráða þeirra í milli; bálk mikinn sá Ásbj[o,]rn standa um þveran hellinn ok
stórt gat á miðjum bálkinum; járnsúla stór stóð nokkut svá fyrir framan
bálkinn. Nú skal prófa þat, segir Brúsi, hvárt þú ert nokkut harðari enn
aðrir menn. Lítit mun þat at reyna, segir Ásbj[o,]rn....

Síðan lét Ásbj[o,]rn líf sitt með mikilli hreysti ok dreingskap.

8. Þat er at segja at þeir þrír menn, er undan kómust, sóttu knáliga róðr,
ok léttu eigi fyrr enn þeir kómu at landi, s[o,]gðu þau tíðindi er gerzt
h[o,]fðu í þeirra f[o,]rum, kvóðust ætla Ásbj[o,]rn dauðan, en kunnu ekki
frá at segja, hversu at hefði borizt um hans líflát; kvómu þeir sér i skip
með kaupm[o,]nnum, ok fluttust svá suðr til Danmerkr; spurðust nú þessi
tíðindi víða, ok þóttu mikil. Þa var orðit h[o,]fðíngja skipti í Noregi,
Hakon jarl dauðr, en Ólafr Tryggvason í land kominn, ok bauð [o,]llum rétta
trú. Ormr Stórólfsson spurði út til Íslands um {188} farar ok líflát
Ásbjarnar, er m[o,]nnum þótti sem vera mundi; þótti honum þat allmikill
skaði, ok undi eigi lengr á Íslandi, ok tók sér far í Reyðarfirði, ok fór
þar utan; þeir kvómu norðarliga við Noreg, ok sat hann um vetrinn í
Þrándheimi; þá hafði Ólafr ráðit 3 vetr Noregi. Um vórit bjóst Ormr at fara
til Sauðeya, þeir vóru því nærr margir á skipi, sem þeir Ásbj[o,]rn h[,]fðu
verit; þeir l[o,]gðu at minni Sauðey síð um kveldit, ok tj[o,]lduðu á
landi, ok lágu þar um náttina....

9. Nú gengr Ormr þar til er hann kemr at hellinum, sér hann nú bjargit þat
stóra, ok leizt úmátuligt nokkurum manni þat í brott at færa; þó dregr hann
á sik glófana Menglaðarnauta, tekr síðan á bjarginu ok færir þat burt or
dyrunum, ok þikist Ormr þá aflraun mesta sýnt hafa; hann gekk þá inní
hellinn, ok lagði málajárn í dyrnar, en er hann var inn kominn, sá hann
hvar kettan hljóp með gapanda ginit. Ormr hafði boga ok [o,]rvamæli, lagði
hann þá [o,]r á streing, ok skaut at kettunni þremr [o,]rum, en hon hendi
allar með hvoptunum, ok beit í sundr, hefir hon sik þá at Ormi, ok rekr
klærnar framan í fángit, svá at Ormr kiknar við, en klærnar gengu í gegnum
klæðin svá at í beini stóð; hon ætlar þá at bíta í andlit Ormi, finnr hann
þá at honum mun eigi veita, heitir þá á sjálfan guð ok hinn heilaga Petrum
postula, at gánga til Róms, ef hann ynni kettuna ok Brúsa, son hennar;
síðan fann Ormr at mínkaðist afl kettunnar, tekr hann þá annarri hendi um
kverkr henni, en annarri um hrygg, ok gengr hana á bak, ok brýtr ísundr í
henni hrygginn, ok gengr svá af henni dauðri. Ormr sá þá, hvar bálkr stórr
var um þveran hellinn; hann gengr þá innar at, en er hann kemr þar, sér
hann at fleinn mikill kemr utar í gegnum bálkinn, hann var bæði digr ok
lángr; Ormr grípr þá í móti fleininum, ok leggr af út; Brúsi kippir þá at
sér fleininum ok var hann fastr svá at hvergi gekk; þat undraðist Brúsi, ok
gægdist upp yfir bálkinn, en er Ormr sér þat, þrífr hann í skeggit á Brúsa
báðum h[o,]ndum, en Brúsi bregzt við í [o,]ðrum stað, sviptast þeir þá fast
um bálkinn. Ormr hafði vafit skegginu um h[o,]nd sér, ok rykkir til svá
fast, at hann rífr af Brúsa allan skeggstaðinn, h[o,]kuna, kjaptana báða,
vángafyllurnar upp alt at eyrum, gekk hér með holdit niðr at beini. Brúsi
lét þá {189} síga brýnnar, ok grettist heldr greppiliga. Ormr st[o,]kkr þá
innar yfir bálkinn, grípast þeir þá til ok glíma lengi, mæddi Brúsa þá fast
blóðrás, tekr hann þá heldr at gángast fyrir, gefr Ormr þá á, ok rekr Brúsa
at bálkinum ok brýtr hann þar um á bak aptr. Snemma sagði mér þat hugr,
sagði Brúsi, at ek munda af þér nokkut erfitt fá, þegar ek heyrða þín
getit, enda er þat nú fram komit, muntu nú vinna skjótt um, ok h[o,]ggva
h[o,]fuð af mér, en þat var satt, at mj[o,]k pínda ek Ásbj[o,]rn prúða, þá
er ek rakta or honum alla þarmana, ok gaf hann sik ekki við, fyrrenn hann
dó. Illa gerðir þú þat, segir Ormr, at pína hann svá mj[o,]k jafnr[o,]skvan
mann, skaltu ok hafa þess nokkurar menjar. Hann brá þá saxi ok reist
blóð[o,]rn á baki honum, ok skar [o,]ll rifin frá hryggnum, ok dró þar út
lúngun; lét Brúsi svá líf sitt með litlum dreingskap; síðan bar Ormr eld
at, ok brendi upp til [o,]sku bæði Brúsa ok kettuna, ok er hann hafði þetta
starfat, fór hann burt or hellinum með kistur tvær fullar af gulli ok
silfri, en þat sem meira var fémætt, gaf hann í vald Menglaðar, ok svá
eyna; skildu þau með mikilli vináttu, kom Ormr til manna sinna í nefndan
tíma, héldu síðan til meginlands. Sat Ormr í Þrándheimi vetr annan.



A little after Orm and Asbiorn had parted, Asbiorn wished to go north to
Sandeyar[314]; he went aboard with twenty-four men, went north past Mæri,
and landed late in the day at the outermost of the Sandeyar[314]. They
landed and pitched a tent, and spent the night there, and met with nothing.

Early in the morning Asbiorn arose, clothed himself, took his arms, went
inland, and bade his men wait for him.

But when some time had passed from Asbiorn's having gone away, they were
aware that a monstrous[315] cat had come to the {190} door of the tent: she
was coal-black in colour and very fierce, for it seemed as if fire was
burning from her nostrils and mouth, and her eyes were nothing fair: they
were much startled at this sight, and full of fear. Then the cat leapt
within the tent upon them, and gripped one after the other, and so it is
said that some she swallowed and some she tore to death with claws and
teeth. Twenty men she killed in a short time, and three escaped aboard
ship, and stood away from the shore.

But Asbiorn went till he came to the cave of Brusi, and hastened in
forthwith. It was dim before his eyes, and very shadowy in the cave, and
before he was aware of it, he was caught off his feet, and thrown down so
violently that it seemed strange to him. Then was he aware that there was
come the giant Brusi, and he seemed to him a great one.

Then said Brusi, "Thou didst seek with great eagerness to come hither--now
shalt thou have business, in that thou shalt here leave thy life with so
great torments that that shall stay others from attacking me in my lair."

Then he stripped Asbiorn of his clothes, forasmuch as so great was their
difference in strength that the giant could do as he wished. Asbiorn saw a
great barrier standing across the cave, and a mighty opening in the midst
of it; a great iron column stood somewhat in front of the barrier. "Now it
must be tried," said Brusi, "whether thou art somewhat hardier than other
men." "Little will that be to test," said Asbiorn....

    [Asbiorn then recites ten stanzas, Brusi tormenting him the while. The
    first stanza is almost identical with No. 50 in the _Grettis saga_.]

Then Asbiorn left his life with great valour and hardihood.


Now it must be told concerning the three men who escaped; they rowed
strongly, and stopped not until they came to land. They told the tidings of
what had happened in their journey, and said that they thought that Asbiorn
was dead, but that they could not tell how matters had happened concerning
his death. They took ship with merchants, and so went south to {191}
Denmark: now these tidings were spread far and wide, and seemed weighty.

There had been a change of rulers in Norway: jarl Hakon was dead, and Olaf
Tryggvason come to land: and he proclaimed the true faith to all. Orm
Storolfson heard, out in Iceland, about the expedition of Asbiorn, and the
death which it seemed to men must have come upon him. It seemed to him a
great loss, and he cared no longer to be in Iceland, and took passage at
Reytharfirth and went abroad. They reached Norway far to the north, and he
stayed the winter at Thrandheim: Olaf at that time had reigned three years
in Norway.

In the spring Orm made ready for his journey to Sandeyar, and there were
nearly as many in the ship as the company of Asbiorn had been.

They landed at Little Sandey late in the evening, and pitched a tent on the
land, and lay there the night....


Now Orm went till he came to the cave. He saw the great rock, and thought
it was impossible for any man to move it. Then he drew on the gloves that
Menglath had given him, and grasped the rock and moved it away from the
door; this is reckoned Orm's great feat of strength. Then he went into the
cave, and thrust his weapon against the door. When he came in, he saw a
giantess (she-cat) springing towards him with gaping jaws. Orm had a bow
and quiver; he put the arrow on the string, and shot thrice at the
giantess. But she seized all the arrows in her mouth, and bit them asunder.
Then she flung herself upon Orm, and thrust her claws into his breast, so
that Orm stumbled, and her claws went through his clothes and pierced him
to the bone. She tried then to bite his face, and Orm found himself in
straits: he promised then to God, and the holy apostle Peter, to go to
Rome, if he conquered the giantess and Brusi her son. Then Orm felt the
power of the giantess diminishing: he placed one hand round her throat, and
the other round her back, and bent it till he broke it in two, and so left
her dead.

Then Orm saw where a great barrier ran across the cave: he went further in,
and when he came to it he saw a great shaft {192} coming out through the
barrier, both long and thick. Orm gripped the shaft and drew it away; Brusi
pulled it towards himself, but it did not yield. Then Brusi wondered, and
peeped up over the barrier. But when Orm saw that, he gripped Brusi by the
beard with both hands, but Brusi pulled away, and so they tugged across the
barrier. Orm twisted the beard round his hand, and tugged so violently that
he pulled the flesh of Brusi away from the bone--from chin, jaws, cheeks,
right up to the ears. Brusi knitted his brows and made a hideous face. Then
Orm leapt in over the barrier, and they grappled and wrestled for a long
time. But loss of blood wearied Brusi, and he began to fail in strength.
Orm pressed on, pushed Brusi to the barrier, and broke his back across it.
"Right early did my mind misgive me," said Brusi, "even so soon as I heard
of thee, that I should have trouble from thee: and now has that come to
pass. But now make quick work, and hew off my head. And true it is that
much did I torture the gallant Asbiorn, in that I tore out all his
entrails--yet did he not give in, before he died." "Ill didst thou do,"
said Orm, "to torture him, so fine a man as he was, and thou shalt have
something in memory thereof." Then he drew his knife, and cut the "blood
eagle" in the back of Brusi, shore off his ribs and drew out his lungs. So
Brusi died in cowardly wise. Then Orm took fire, and burned to ashes both
Brusi and the giantess. And when he had done that, he left the cave, with
two chests full of gold and silver.

And all that was most of value he gave to Menglath, and the island
likewise. So they parted with great friendship, and Orm came to his men at
the time appointed, and then they sailed to the mainland. Orm remained a
second winter at Thrandheim.

       *       *       *       *       *


Paa den Tid, da kong Gram Guldkølve regierede i Leire, vare der ved Hoffet
to Ministre, Bessus og Henrik. Og da der paa samme Tid indkom idelige
klager fra Indbyggerne i Vendsyssel, at et grueligt Udyr, som Bønderne
kaldte Lindorm, ødelagde baade Mennesker og Kreaturer, gav Bessus det Raad,
at Kongen skulde sende Henrik did hen, efterdi ingen i det ganske Rige
kunde maale sig med ham in Tapperhed og Mod. Da svarede {193} Henrik, at
han vel vilde paatage sig dette, dog tilføiede han, at han ansaae det for
umuligt at slippe fra saadan Kamp med Livet. Og belavede han sig da strax
til Reisen, tog rørende Afsked med sin Herre og Konge og sagde iblandt
andet: "Herre! om jeg ikke kommer tilbage, da sørg for min kone og for mine
Børn!" Da han derefter var kommen over til Vendsyssel, lod han sig af
Bønderne vise det Sted, hvor Uhyret havde sit Leie, og fik da at vide, at
Ormen endnu den samme Dag havde været ude af Hulen og borttaget en Hyrde og
en Oxe, og at den efter Sædvane nu ikke vilde komme ud, førend om tre
Timer, naar den skulde ned til Vandet for at drikke efter Maaltidet. Henrik
iførte sig da sin fulde Rustning, og eftersom Ingen vovede at staae ham bi
i dette Arbeide, lagde han sig ganske alene ved Vandet, dog saaledes, at
Vinden ikke bar fra ham henimod Dyret. Da udsendte han først en vældig Piil
fra sin Bue, men uagtet den rammede nøie det sted, hvortil han havde
sigtet, tørnede den dog tilbage fra Ormens haarde Skæl. Herover blev Uhyret
saa optændt af Vrede, at det strax gik henimod ham, agtende ham kun et
ringe Maaltid; men Henrik havde iforveien hos en Smed ladet sig giøre en
stor Krog med Gjenhold, hvilken han jog ind i Beestets aabne Gab, saa at
det ikke kunde blive den qvit, ihvormeget det end arbeidede, og ihvorvel
Jernstangen brast i Henriks Hænder. Da slog det ham med sin vældige Hale
til Jorden, og skiøndt han havde fuldkommen Jernrustning paa, kradsede det
dog med sine forfærdelige Kløer saa at han, næsten dødeligt saaret, faldt i
Besvimelse. Men da han, efterat Ormen i nogen Tid havde haft ham liggende
under sin Bug, endelig kom lidt til sin Samling igien, greb han af yderste
Evne en Daggert, af hvilke han førte flere med sig i sit Bælte, og stak
Dyret dermed i underlivet, hvor Sksællene vare blødest, saa at det tilsidst
maate udpuste sin giftige Aande, medens han selv laae halv knust under dens
Byrde. Da Bønderne i Vendsyssel som stode i nogen Afstand, under megen
Frygt og lidet Haab omsider mærkede, at Striden sagtnede, og at begge
Parter holdte sig rolige, nærmede de sig og fandt Hr. Henrik næsten livløs
under det dræbte Udyr. Og efterat de i nogen Tid havde givet ham god Pleie,
vendte han tilbage for at dø hos sin Konge, til hvem han gientagende
anbefalede sin {194} Slægt. Fra ham nedstammer Familien Lindenroth, som til
Minde om denne vældige Strid fører en Lindorm i sit Vaaben.

_MS_ 222. 4^o. Stamme och Slectebog over den høiadelige Familie af
Lindenroth, in _Danmarks Folkesagn_, samlede af J. M. Thiele, 1843, I,



In the days when King Gram Guldkølve ruled in Leire, there were two
ministers at court, Bessus and Henry. And at that time constant complaints
came to the court from the inhabitants of Vendsyssel, that a dread monster,
which the peasants called a Drake, was destroying both man and beast. So
Bessus gave counsel, that the king should send Henry against the dragon,
seeing that no one in the whole kingdom was his equal in valour and
courage. Henry answered that assuredly he would undertake it; but he added
that he thought it impossible to escape from such a struggle with his life.
And he made himself ready forthwith for the expedition, took a touching
farewell of his lord and king, and said among other things: "My lord, if I
come not back, care thou for my wife and my children."

Afterwards, when he crossed over to Vendsyssel, he caused the peasants to
show him the place where the monster had its lair, and learnt how that very
day the drake had been out of its den, and had carried off a herdsman and
an ox; how, according to its wont, it would now not come out for three
hours, when it would want to go down to the water to drink after its meal.
Henry clothed himself in full armour, and inasmuch as no one dared to stand
by him in that task, he lay down all alone by the water, but in such wise
that the wind did not blow from him toward the monster. First of all he
sent a mighty arrow from his bow: but, although it exactly hit the spot at
which he had aimed, it darted back from the dragon's hard scales. At this
the monster was so maddened, that it attacked him forthwith, reckoning him
but a little meal. But Henry had had a mighty barbed crook prepared by a
smith beforehand, which he thrust into the beast's open mouth, so that it
could {195} not get rid of it, however much it strove, although the iron
rod broke in Henry's hands. Then it smote him to the ground with its mighty
tail, and although he was in complete armour, clutched at him with its
dread claws, so that he fell in a swoon, wounded almost to death. But when
he came somewhat to his senses again, after the drake for some time had had
him lying under its belly, he rallied his last strength and grasped a
dagger, of which he carried several with him in his belt, and smote it
therewith in the belly, where the scales were weakest. So the monster at
last breathed out its poisoned breath, whilst he himself lay half crushed
under its weight. When the Vendsyssel peasants, who stood some distance
away, in great fear and little hope, at last noticed that the battle had
slackened, and that both combatants were still, they drew near and found
Henry almost lifeless under the slain monster. And after they for some time
had tended him well, he returned to die by his king, to whom he again
commended his offspring. From him descends the family Lindenroth, which in
memory of this mighty contest carries a drake on its coat of arms.

    This story resembles the dragon fight in _Beowulf_, in that the hero
    faces the dragon as protector of the land, with forebodings, and after
    taking farewell; he attacks the dragon in its lair, single-handed; his
    first attack is frustrated by the dragon's scales; in spite of
    apparatus specially prepared, he is wounded and stunned by the dragon,
    but nevertheless smites the dragon in the soft parts and slays him; the
    watchers draw near when the fight is over. Yet these things merely
    prove that the two stories are of the same type; there is no evidence
    that this story is descended from _Beowulf_.

       *       *       *       *       *



Of the Old English Genealogies, the only one which, in its stages _below_
Woden, immediately concerns the student of _Beowulf_ is the Mercian. This
contains three names which also occur in _Beowulf_, though two of them in a
corrupt form--Offa, Wermund (Garmund, _Beowulf_), and Eomær (Geomor,

This Mercian pedigree is found in its best form in _MS Cotton Vesp. B. VI_,
fol. 109 _b_,[316] and in the sister MS at Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge (_C.C.C.C._ 183)[317]. Both these MSS are of {196} the 9th
century. They contain lists of popes and bishops, and pedigrees of kings.
By noting where these lists stop, we get a limit for the final compilation
of the document. It must have been drawn up in its present form between 811
and 814[318]. But it was obviously compiled from lists already existing,
and some of them were even at that date old. For the genealogy of the
Mercian kings, from Woden, is not traced directly down to this period
811-814, but in the first place only as far as Æthelred (reigning 675-704),
son of Penda: that is to say, it stops considerably more than a century
before the date of the document in which it appears. Additional pedigrees
are then appended which show the subsequent stages down to and including
Cenwulf, king of Mercia (reigning 796-821). It is difficult to account for
such an arrangement except on the hypothesis that the genealogy was
committed to writing in the reign of Æthelred, the monarch with whose name
it terminates in its first form, and was then brought up to date by the
addition of the supplementary names ending with Cenwulf. This is confirmed
when we find that precisely the same arrangement holds good for the
accompanying Northumbrian pedigree, which terminates with Ecgfrith
(670-685), the contemporary of Æthelred of Mercia, and is then brought up
to date by additional names.

Genealogies which draw from the same source as the _Vespasian_ genealogies,
and show the same peculiarities, are found in the _Historia Brittonum_ (§§
57-61). They show, even more emphatically than do the _Vespasian_ lists,
traces of having been originally drawn up in the time of Æthelred of Mercia
(675-704) or possibly of his father Penda, and of having then been brought
up to date in subsequent revisions[319].

One such revision must have been made about 796[320]: it is a {197}
modification of this revision which is found in the _Historia Brittonum_.
Another was that which, as we have seen, must have been made between
811-814, and in this form is found in _MS Cotton Vespasian B. VI_, _MS
C.C.C.C._ 183, both of the 9th century, and in the (much later) _MS Cotton
Tiberius B. V_.

The genealogy up to Penda is also found in the _A.-S. Chronicle_ under the
year 626 (accession of Penda).

This Mercian list, together with the Northumbrian and other pedigrees which
accompany it, can claim to be the earliest extant English historical
document, having been written down in the 7th century, and recording
historic names which (allowing thirty years for a generation) cannot be
later than the 4th century A.D. In most similar pedigrees the earliest
names are meaningless to us. But the Mercian pedigree differs from the
rest, in that we are able from _Beowulf_, _Widsith_, Saxo Grammaticus,
Sweyn Aageson and the _Vitae Offarum_, to attach stories to the names of
Wermund and Offa. How much of these stories is history, and how much
fiction, it is difficult to say--but, with them, extant English history and
English poetry and English fiction alike have their beginning.

  MS Cotton Vesp. B. VI.          MS C.C.C.C. 183.

  Aeðilred    Peding           Æðelred      Pending
  Penda       Pypbing          Penda        Pybbing
  Pypba       Crioding         Pybba        Creoding
  Crioda      Cynewalding      Creoda       Cynewalding
  Cynewald    Cnebbing         Cynewald     Cnebbing
  Cnebba      Icling           Cnebba       Icling
  Icil        Eamering         Icel         Eomæring
  Eamer       Angengeoting     Eomær        Angengeoting
  Angengeot   Offing           Angengiot    Offing
  Offa        Uærmunding       Offa         Wærmunding
  Uermund     Uihtlaeging      Wærmund      Wihtlæging
  Uihtlaeg    Wioðulgeoting    Wihtlæg      Wioþolgeoting
  Weoðulgeot  Wodning          Weoþolgiot   Wodning
  Woden       Frealafing       Woden        Frealafing


   _Historia Brittonum_[321].         _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle._
   MS Harl 3859.                   MSS Cotton Tib. A. VI. and B.I.[322]
   Penda                           Penda          Pybbing
   Pubba                           Pybba          Creoding
                                   Creoda         Cynewalding
                                   Cynewald       Cnebbing
                                   Cnebba         Iceling
                                   Icel           Eomæring
   Eamer                           Eomær          Angelþeowing
   Ongen                           Angelþeow      Offing
   Offa                            Offa           Wærmunding
   Guerdmund                       Wærmund        Wihtlæging
   Guithleg                        Wihtlæg        Wodening



The stages above Woden are found in two forms: a short list which traces
the line from Woden up to Geat: and a longer list which carries the line
from Geat to Sceaf and through Noah to Adam.

The line from Woden to Geat is found in the _Historia Brittonum_, not with
the other genealogies, but in § 31, where the pedigree of the Kentish royal
family is given, when the arrival of Hengest in Britain is recounted.
Notwithstanding the dispute regarding the origin and date of the _Historia
Brittonum_, there is a pretty general agreement that this _Woden to Geat_
pedigree is one of the more primitive elements, and is not likely to be
much later than the end of the 7th century[323]. The original nucleus of
the _Historia Brittonum_ was revised by {199} Nennius in the 9th century,
or possibly at the end of the 8th[324]. The earliest MS of the _Historia_,
that of Chartres, belongs to the 9th or 10th century--this is fragmentary
and already interpolated; the received text is based upon _MS Harleian_
3859, dating from the end of the 11th century[325], or possibly somewhat

I give the pedigree in four forms:

A. The critical text of the _Historia Brittonum_ as edited by Th. Mommsen
(_Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auct. Antiq., Chronica Minora_, III,
Berolini, 1898, p. 171).

B. _MS Harl._ 3859, upon which Mommsen's text is based, fol. 180.

C. The _Chartres MS._

D. Mommsen's critical text of the later revision, _Nennius interpretatus_,
which he gives parallel to the _Historia Brittonum_.

            A                  B                C                  D

    Hors et Hengist   Hors & Hengist    Cors et Haecgens    Hors et Hengist
     filii Guictgils   filii Guictgils   filii Guictils     filii Guictgils
       Guigta               Guitta            Guicta            Guigta
       Guectha              Guectha           Gueta             Guectha
       VVoden               VVoden            VVoden            Voden
       Frealaf              Frealaf           Frelab            Frealaf
       Fredulf              Fredulf           Freudulf          Fredolf
       Finn                 Finn              Fran              Finn
       Fodepald             Fodepald          Folcpald          Folcvald
       Geta                 Geta              G[e]uta           Gaeta
       qui fuit,            qui fuit,         qui sunt [_sic_], Vanli
       ut aiunt,            ut aiunt,         ut aiunt,         Saxi
       filius dei           filius dei        filius dei        Negua

_MS Cotton Vespasian B. VI_ (9th century) contains a number of Anglo-Saxon
genealogies and other lists revised up to the period 811-14[326]. The
genealogy of the kings of Lindsey in this list has the stages from Woden to
Geat. This genealogy is also found in the sister list in the 9th century MS
at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (_MS C.C.C.C._ 183).


A similar list is to be found in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ (entered under
the year 547). But there it is appended to the genealogy of the
Northumbrian kings. This genealogy has been erased in the oldest MS
(Parker, end of the 9th century) to make room for later additions, but is
found in _MSS Cotton Tiberius A. VI_ and _B. I._

  _Cotton (Vespasian)  _Corpus MS._                 _A.-S. Chronicle_
  UUoden Frealafing    Woden Frealafing             Woden Freoþolafing
  Frealaf Frioðulfing  Frealaf Frioþowulsing (sic)  Freoþelaf Freoþulfing
  Frioðulf Finning     Freoþowulf Godwulfing        Friþulf Finning
  Finn Goduulfing                                   Finn Godulfing
  Godulf Geoting       Godwulf Geating              Godulf Geating

The _Fodepald_ or _Folcpald_ who, in the _Historia Brittonum_, appears as
the father of Finn, is clearly the _Folcwalda_ who appears as Finn's father
in _Beowulf_ and _Widsith_. The Old English _w_ ([wynn]) has been mistaken
for _p_, just as in _Pinefred_ for _Winefred_ in the _Life of Offa II_. In
the _Vespasian MS_ and in other genealogies Godwulf is Finn's father. It
has been very generally held that Finn and his father Godwulf are mythical
heroes, quite distinct from the presumably historic Finn, son of Folcwalda,
mentioned in _Beowulf_ and _Widsith_: and that by confusion _Folcwald_ came
to be written instead of _Godwulf_ in the genealogy, as given in the
_Historia Brittonum_. I doubt whether there is sufficient justification for
this distinction between a presumed historic Finn Folcwalding and a
mythical Finn Godwulfing. Is it not possible that Godwulf was a
traditional, probably historic, king of the Frisians, father of Finn, and
that _Folcwalda_[327] was a _title_ which, since it alliterated
conveniently, in the end supplanted the proper name in epic poetry?



The stages above Geat are found in the genealogy of the West-Saxon kings
only[328]. This is recorded in the _Chronicle_ {201} under the year 855
(notice concerning Æthelwulf) and it was probably drawn up at the court of
that king. Though it doubtless contains ancient names, it is apparently not
so ancient as the _Woden-Geat_ list. It became very well known, and is also
found in Asser and the _Textus Roffensis_. It was copied by later
historians such as William of Malmesbury, and by the Icelandic

The principal versions of this pedigree are given in tabular form below
(pp. 202-3); omitting the merely second-hand reproductions, such as those
of Florence of Worcester.

       *       *       *       *       *


This roll was drawn up in the reign of Henry VI, and its compiler must have
had access to a document now lost.

There are many copies of the roll extant--the "Moseley" Roll at University
College, London (formerly in the Phillipps collection); at Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge (No. 98 A); at Trinity College, Cambridge; and in the
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris[330]; and one which recently came into the
market in London.

     |         |      |       |         |      |         |       |     |
Cinrinicius  Gothus Iutus  Wandalus  Gethius Fresus  Suethedus  Dacus Geate


  PARKER MS                  ASSER           TEXTUS ROFFENSIS I

  Woden Fribowalding         Uuoden          Woden
  Friþuwald Freawining       Frithowald      Friþewold
  Frealaf Friþuwulfing       Frealaf         Frealaf
  Friþuwulf Finning          Frithuwulf      Friþewulf
  Fin Godwulfing             Fingodwulf      Finn
  Godwulf Geating                            Godwulf
  Geat Tætwaing              Geata* ...      Geata* ...
  Tætwa Beawing              Caetuua         Teþwa
  Beaw Sceldwaing            Beauu           Beaw
  Sceldwea Heremoding        Sceldwea        Scaldwa
  Heremod Itermoning         Heremod         Heremod
  Itermon Hraþraing          Itermod         Iterman
                             Hathra          Haþra
                             Huala           Hwala
                             Beduuig         Bedwig
  se wæs geboren in þære     Seth            Scyf, se wæs in
    earce Noe etc.           Noe, etc.         ðam arken geboran
                                              [but son
                                              of Sem, not Noe]

                           * quem Getam     *ðene ða hæþena
                           iamdudum pagani  wuþedon for god
                           pro deo

   ETHELWERD                  MSS COTT. TIB. A. VI [& B. I]

   Uuothen                    Woden Frealafing
   Frithouulf                 Frealaf Fin[n]ing
   Fin                        Finn Godwulfing [Godulfing]
   Goduulfe                   Godulf Geat[t]ing
   Geat                       Geata [Geatt] Tætwaing
   Tetuua                     Tætwa Beawing
   Beo                        Beaw Sceldweaing [Scealdwaing]
   Scyld                      Scyldwa [Scealdwa] Heremoding
                              Heremod Itermoning
                              Itermon Haðraing
                              Haðra Hwalaing
                              Hwala Bedwiging
                              Bedwig Sceafing, [i]d est filius Nóe, se
   Scef. Ipse Scef cum uno      wæs geboren on þære earce Nóes
  dromone advectus est in
     insula oceani quae dicitur Scani, armis circundatus, eratque valde
     recens puer, et ab incolis illius terrae ignotus; attamen ab eis
     suscipitur et ut familiarem diligenti animo eum custodierunt et post
     in regem eligunt; de cuius prosapia ordinem trahit Athulf [i.e.
     Æthelwulf] rex.


  MS Cott. Tib. B. IV       Textus Roffensis II      MS Cott. Tib. B. V

  Woden Frealafing          Woden Frealafing         Woden Frealafing

  Frealaf Finning           Frealaf Finning          Frealaf Finning
  Fin Godulfing             Finn Godulfing           Finn Godulfing
  Godulf Gating             Godulf Eating            Godulf Eating
  Geat Tætwaing             Eata Teþwafing           Eat Beawing
  Tætwa Beawing             Teþwa Beawing
  Beaw Scealdwaing          Beaw Scealdwaging        Beaw Scealdwaging
  Scealdhwa Heremoding      Scealwa Heremoding       Scealwa Heremoding
  Heremod Itermoning        Heremod Hermanning       Heremod Itermanning
  Itermon Haðrahing         Herman Haþraing          Iterman Haðraing
  Haþra                     Haðra Hwalaing           Haðra Bedwiging
  Hwala Beowung             Hwala Bedwining
  Beowi Sceafing, id est    Beadwig Sceafing         Bedwig Sceafing
    filius Noe, se wæs      Se Scef wæs Noes sunu    se Scef wæs Nóes sunu
    geboren on þære arce      and he wæs innan ðære    and he wæs innan
    Nones ...                 earce geboren            þære earce geboren

  Langfeðgatal        Flateyarbók
  Langebek, 1, 3      Christiania, 1860, 1, 27

  Voden               Voden, _er ver_
    þan kollvm ver      _kollum_ Odinn
  Frealaf             Frilafr, _e.v.k._ Bors
  Finn                Burri, _e.v.k._ Finn
  Godvlfi             Godolfr

  Beaf                Beaf, _e.v.k._ Biar
  Scealdna            Skialldin, _e.v.k._ Skiolld
  Heremotr            Heremoth, _e.v.k._ Hermod
  Itermann            Trinaan
  Athra               Atra

  Bedvig              Beduigg
  Seskef vel          Seseph

William of Malmesbury. Wodenius fuit filius Fridewaldi, Fridewaldus
Frelafii, Frelafius Finni, Finnus Godulfi, Godulfus Getii, Getius Tetii,
Tetius Beowii, Beowius Sceldii, Sceldius Sceaf. Iste, ut ferunt, in quandam
insulam Germaniae Scandzam ... appulsus, navi sine remige, puerulus, posito
ad caput frumenti manipulo, dormiens, ideoque Sceaf nuncupatus, ab
hominibus regionis illius pro miraculo exceptus et sedulo nutritus, adulta
aetate regnavit in oppido quod tunc Slaswic, nunc vero Haithebi appellatur
... Sceaf fuit filius Heremodii, Heremodius Stermonii, Stermonius Hadrae,
Hadra Gwalae, Gwala Bedwigii, Bedwegius Strephii; hic, ut dicitur, fuit
filius Noae in arca natus. {204}

The following marginal note occurs:

    Iste Steldius p_r_im_us_ inhabitator Germanie fuit. Que Germania sic
    dicta erat, quia instar ramor_um_ germina_n_ciu_m_ ab arbore, sic
    nome_n_ regnaq_ue_ germania nuncupa_n_tur. In nouem filiis diuisa a
    radice Boerini geminaueru_n_t. Ab istis nouem filiis Boerini
    descenderu_n_t nouem gentes septentrionalem p_ar_tem inhabitantes, qui
    quondam regnu_m_ Brita_n_nie inuaseru_n_t et optinueru_n_t, videlicet
    Saxones, Angli, Iuthi, Daci, Norwagences, Gothi, Wandali, Geathi et

       *       *       *       *       *


    From the _Annales Lundenses_. These Annals are comparatively late,
    going up to the year 1307; but the short _Chronicle of the Kings of
    Leire_, which is incorporated in them, is supposed to date from the
    latter half of the 12th century. The text is given in Langebek,
    _Scriptores Rerum Danicarum_, _I_, 224-6 (under the name of _Annales
    Esromenses_) from _Cod. Arn. Mag._ 841. There is a critical edition by
    Gertz, _Scriptores Minores historiæ Danicæ_, Copenhagen, 1917, based
    upon _Cod. Arn. Mag._ 843. The text given below is mainly that of
    Langebek, with corrections from Gertz's fine edition. See below, p.

Erat ergo Dan rex in Dacia[332] per triennium. Anno tandem tertio cognouit
uxorem suam Daniam, genuitque ex ea filium nomine Ro. Qui post patris
obitum hereditarie possidebat regnum. Patrem uero suum Dan colle apud
Lethram tumulauit Sialandiæ, ubi sedem regni pro eo pater constituit, quam
ipse post eum diuitiis multiplicibus ditauit. Tempore illo ciuitas magna
erat in medio Sialandiæ, ubi adhuc mons desertus est, nomine Hekebiarch,
ubi sita erat ciuitas quæ Høkekoping nuncupata est; ad quam ut mox Ro rex
uidit, quod mercatores a nauibus in uia currus conducentes multum
expenderent, a loco illo ciuitatem amoueri jussit ad portum, ubi tenditur
Isæfiorth, et circa fontem pulcherrimum domos disponere. Ædificauit ibi Ro
ciuitatem honestam, cui nomen partitiuum imposuit post se et Fontem, partem
capiens fontis partemque sui, Roskildam Danice uocans, quæ hoc nomine
uoca[bi]tur[333] in æternum. Uixit autem rex Ro ita pacifice, ut nullus ei
aciem opponeret, nec ipse usquam expeditionem direxit[334]. Erat autem uxor
eius {205} fecunda sobole, ex qua genuit duos filios, nomen primi Helhgi et
secundi Haldan[335]. Cumque cepissent pueri robore confortari et crescere,
obiit pater eorum Ro, et sepultus est tumulo quodam Læthræ, post cuius
obitum partiti sunt regnum filii, quod in duas partes diuidentes, alter
terras, alter mare possidebat. Rexit itaque terras Haldanus, et genuit
filium nomine Siwardum, cognomine Album, qui patrem suum Haldanum Læthræ
tumulauit mortuum. Helgi autem rex erat marinus, et multos ad se traxit
malificos, nauali bello bene adeptus diuersas partes, quasdam pace, quasdam
cum piratica classe[336] petisse perhibetur....

The Chronicle then tells how Rolf was born, the son of Helgi and Yrse or
Ursula: also of the death and burial of Helgi.

Filius autem eius et Ursulæ puer crescebat Rolf et fortitudine uigebat.
Mater uero eius Ursula, uelo uiduitatis deposito, data est regi Suethiæ
Athislo, qui ex ea filiam sibi genuit, Rolf uero ex matre eius sororem
nomine Skuld. Interea dum hæc de rege marino Helgi agerentur, frater eius,
rex Daciæ, mortuus est Haldanus. Post quem[337] rex Sweciæ Athisl a Danis
suscepit tributum.

Interea ... confortabatur filius Helgi, Rolff, cognomine Krake. Quem post
mortem Snyo[338] Dani [in][339] regem assumpserunt. Qui Sialandiæ apud
Lethram, sicut antecessores sui, sæpissime moratus est. Sororem suam nomine
Sculd secum habuit, Athisli regis filiam, et suæ matris Ursulæ, de qua
superius dictum est; quam fraterno amore dilexit. Cui provinciam
Hornshæræth Sialandiæ ad pascendas puellas suas in expensam dedit, in qua
uillam ædificauit, nomine Sculdelef, unde nomen suscepit. Hoc tempore erat
quidam Comes Scaniæ, nomine Hiarwarth, Teotonicus genere, Rolf tributarius,
qui ad eum procos misit, ut {206} sororem suam Sculd Hiarwardo daret
uxorem. Quo nolente, propria ipsius uoluntate puellæ clanculo eam raptam
sociauit sibi. Unde conspirauerunt inter se deliberantes Hiarwart et Sculd,
quomodo Rolf interficeretur, et Hiarwardus superstes regni heres
efficeretur. Non post multum vero temporis animosus ad uxoris exhortationem
Hiarwart Sialandiam classe petiit. Genero suo Rolff tributum attulisse
simulauit. Die quadam dilucescente ad Læthram misit, ut uideret tributum,
Rolff nunciauit. Qui cum uidisset non tributum sed exercitum armatum,
uallatus est Rolff militibus, et a Hyarwardo interfectus est. Hyarwardum
autem Syalandenses et Scanienses, qui cum eo erant, in regem assumpserunt.
Qui breui tempore, a mane usque ad primam, regali nomine potitus est. Tunc
uenit Haky, frater Haghbardi, filius Hamundi; Hyarwardum interfecit et
Danorum rex effectus est. Quo regnante, uenit quidam nomine Fritleff a
partibus Septentrionalibus et filiam sibi desponsauit Rolff Crake, ex qua
filium nomine Frothe genuit, cognomine Largus.

       *       *       *       *       *


Book IV, ed. Ascensius, fol. xxxii b; ed. Holder, pp. 106-7.

Cui filius Wermundus succedit. Hic prolixis tranquillitatis otiis
felicissima temporum quiete decursis, diutinam domesticæ pacis constantiam
inconcussa rerum securitate tractabat. Idem prolis expers iuuentam exegit;
senior uero filium Uffonem sero fortunæ munere suscitauit, cum nullam ei
sobolem elapsa tot annorum curricula peperissent. Hic Uffo coæuos quosque
corporis habitu supergressus, adeo hebetis ineptique animi principio
iuuentæ existimatus est, ut priuatis ac publicis rebus inutilis uideretur.
Siquidem ab ineunte ætate nunquam Iusus aut ioci consuetudinem præbuit;
adeoque humanæ delectationis uacuus fuit, ut labiorum continentiam iugi
silentio premeret, et seueritatem oris a ridendi prorsus officio
temperaret. Uerum ut incunabula stoliditatis opinione referta habuit, ita
post modum conditionis contemptum claritate mutauit; et quantum inertiæ
spectaculum fuit, tantum prudentiæ et fortitudinis exemplum euasit.


Book IV, ed. Ascensius, fol. xxxiv b; ed. Holder, pp. 113-7.

Cumque Wermundus ætatis uitio oculis orbaretur, Saxoniæ rex, Daniam duce
uacuam ratus, ei per legatos mandat, regnum, quod præter ætatis debitum
teneat, sibi procurandum committat, ne nimis longa imperii auiditate
patriam legibus armisque destituat. Qualiter enim regem censeri posse, cui
senectus animum, cæcitas oculum pari caliginis horrore fuscauerit? Quod si
abnuat, filiumque habeat, qui cum suo ex prouocatione confligere audeat,
uictorem regno potiri permittat. Si neutrum probet, armis secum, non
monitis agendum cognoscat, ut tandem inuitus præbeat, quod ultroneus
exhibere contemnat. Ad hæc Wermundus, altioribus suspiriis fractus,
impudentius se ætatis exprobratione lacerari respondit, quem non ideo huc
infelicitatis senectus prouexerit, quod pugnæ parcus timidius iuuentam
exegerit. Nec aptius sibi cæcitatis uitium obiectari, quod plerunque talem
ætatis habitum talis iactura consequi soleat, potiusque condolendum
calamitati quam insultandum uideatur. Iustius autem Saxoniæ regi
impatientiæ notam afferri posse, quem potius senis fatum operiri, quam
imperium poscere decuisset, quod aliquanto præstet defuncto succedere, quam
uiuum spoliare. Se tamen, ne tanquam delirus priscæ libertatis titulos
externo uideatur mancipare dominio, propria manu prouocationi pariturum. Ad
hæc legati, scire se inquiunt, regem suum conserendæ cum cæco manus
ludibrium perhorrere, quod tam ridiculum decernendi genus rubori quam
honestati propinquius habeatur. Aptius uero per utriusque pignus et
sanguinem amborum negotio consuli. Ad hæc obstupefactis animo Danis,
subitaque responsi ignorantia perculsis, Uffo, qui forte cum ceteris
aderat, responsionis a patre licentiam flagitabat, subitoque uelut ex muto
uocalis euasit. Cumque Wermundus, quisnam talem a se loquendi copiam
postularet, inquireret, ministrique eum ab Uffone rogari dixissent, satis
esse perhibuit, ut infelicitatis suæ uulneribus alienorum fastus illuderet,
ne etiam a domesticis simili insultationis petulantia uexaretur. Sed
satellitibus Uffonem hunc esse pertinaci affirmatione testantibus, "Liberum
ei sit," inquit, "quisquis est, cogitata profari." Tum Uffo, frustra ab
eorum rege regnum appeti, inquit, quod tam proprii rectoris officio quam
{208} fortissimorum procerum armis industriaque niteretur: præterea, nec
regi filium nec regno successorem deesse. Sciantque, se non solum regis
eorum filium, sed etiam quemcunque ex gentis suæ fortissimis secum
adsciuerit, simul pugna aggredi constituisse. Quo audito legati risere,
uanam dicti animositatem existimantes. Nec mora, condicitur pugnæ locus,
eidemque stata temporis meta præfigitur. Tantum autem stuporis Uffo
loquendi ac prouocandi nouitate præsentibus iniecit, ut, utrum uoci eius an
fiduciæ plus admirationis tributum sit, incertum extiterit.

Abeuntibus autem legatis, Wermundus, responsionis auctore laudato, quod
uirtutis fiduciam non in unius, sed duorum prouocatione statuerit, potius
se ei, quicunque sit, quam superbo hosti regno cessurum perhibuit.
Uniuersis autem filium eius esse testantibus, qui legatorum fastum fiduciæ
sublimitate contempserit, propius eum accedere iubet: quod oculis nequeat,
manibus experturus. Corpore deinde eius curiosius contrectato, cum ex
artuum granditate lineamentisque filium esse cognosset, fidem assertoribus
habere coepit, percontarique eum, cur suauissimum uocis habitum summo
dissimulationis studio tegendum curauerit, tantoque ætatis spatio sine uoce
et cunctis loquendi commerciis degere sustinuerit, ut se linguæ prorsus
officio defectum natiuæque taciturnitatis uitio obsitum credi permitteret?
Qui respondit, se paterna hactenus defensione contentum, non prius uocis
officio opus habuisse, quam domesticam prudentiam externa loquacitate
pressam animaduerteret. Rogatus item ab eo, cur duos quam unum prouocare
maluit, hunc iccirco dimicationis modum a se exoptatum respondit, ut
Athisli regis oppressio, quæ, quod a duobus gesta fuerat, Danis opprobrio
extabat, unius facinore pensaretur, nouumque uirtutis specimen prisca
ruboris monumenta conuelleret. Ita antiquæ crimen infamiæ recentis famæ
litura respergendum dicebat. Quem Wermundus iustam omnium æstimationem
fecisse testatus, armorum usum, quod eis parum assueuisset, prædiscere
iubet. Quibus Uffo oblatis, magnitudine pectoris angustos loricarum nexus
explicuit; nec erat ullam reperire, quæ eum iusto capacitatis spatio
contineret. Maiore siquidem corpore erat, quam ut alienis armis uti posset.
Ad ultimum, cum paternam quoque {209} loricam uiolenta corporis astrictione
dissolueret, Wermundus eam a læuo latere dissecari, fibulaque sarciri
præcepit, partem, quæ clypei præsidio muniatur, ferro patere parui
existimans. Sed et gladium, quo tuto uti possit, summa ab eo cura conscisci
iussit. Oblatis compluribus, Uffo manu capulum stringens, frustatim
singulos agitando comminuit; nec erat quisquam ex eis tanti rigoris
gladius, quem non ad primæ concussionis motum crebra partium fractione
dissolueret. Erat autem regi inusitati acuminis gladius, Skrep dictus, qui
quodlibet obstaculi genus uno ferientis ictu medium penetrando diffinderet,
nec adeo quicquam prædurum foret, ut adactam eius aciem remorari potuisset.
Quem ne posteris fruendum relinqueret, per summam alienæ commoditatis
inuidiam in profunda defoderat, utilitatem ferri, quod filii incrementis
diffideret, ceteris negaturus. Interrogatus autem, an dignum Uffonis robore
ferrum haberet, habere se dixit, quod, si pridem a se terræ traditum
recognito locorum habitu reperire potuisset, aptum corporis eius uiribus
exhiberet. In campum deinde perduci se iubens, cum, interrogatis per omnia
comitibus, defossionis locum acceptis signorum indiciis comperisset,
extractum cauo gladium filio porrigit. Quem Uffo nimia uetustate fragilem
exesumque conspiciens, feriendi diffidentia percontatur, an hunc quoque
priorum exemplo probare debeat, prius habitum eius, quam rem ferro geri
oporteat, explorandum testatus. Refert Wermundus, si præsens ferrum ab ipso
uentilando collideretur, non superesse, quod uirium eius habitui
responderet. Abstinendum itaque facto, cuius in dubio exitus maneat.

Igitur ex pacto pugnæ locus expetitur. Hunc fluuius Eidorus ita aquarum
ambitu uallat, ut earum interstitio repugnante, nauigii duntaxat aditus
pateat. Quem Uffone sine comite petente, Saxoniæ regis filium insignis
uiribus athleta consequitur, crebris utrinque turbis alternos riparum
anfractus spectandi auiditate complentibus. Cunctis igitur huic spectaculo
oculos inferentibus, Wermundus in extrema pontis parte se collocat, si
filium uinci contigisset, flumine periturus. Maluit enim sanguinis sui
ruinam comitari, quam patriæ interitum plenis doloris sensibus intueri.
Uerum Uffo, geminis iuuenum congressibus lacessitus, gladii diffidentia
amborum ictus umbone {210} uitabat, patientius experiri constituens, quem e
duobus attentius cauere debuisset, ut hunc saltem uno ferri impulsu
contingeret. Quem Wermundus imbecillitatis uitio tantam recipiendorum
ictuum patientiam præstare existimans, paulatim in occiduam pontis oram
mortis cupiditate se protrahit, si de filio actum foret, fatum precipitio
petiturus. Tanta sanguinis caritate flagrantem senem fortuna protexit. Uffo
siquidem filium regis ad secum auidius decernendum hortatus, claritatem
generis ab ipso conspicuo fortitudinis opere æquari iubet, ne rege ortum
plebeius comes uirtute præstare uideatur. Athletam deinde, explorandæ eius
fortitudinis gratia, ne domini sui terga timidius subsequeretur, admonitum
fiduciam a regis filio in se repositam egregiis dimicationis operibus
pensare præcepit, cuius delectu unicus pugnæ comes adscitus fuerit.
Obtemperantem illum propiusque congredi rubore compulsum, primo ferri ictu
medium dissecat. Quo sono recreatus Wermundus, filii ferrum audire se
dixit, rogatque, cui potissimum parti ictum inflixerit. Referentibus deinde
ministris, eum non unam corporis partem, sed totam hominis transegisse
compagem, abstractum præcipitio corpus ponti restituit, eodem studio lucem
expetens, quo fatum optauerat. Tum Uffo, reliquum hostem prioris exemplo
consumere cupiens, regis filium ad ultionem interfecti pro se satellitis
manibus parentationis loco erogandam impensioribus uerbis sollicitat. Quem
propius accedere sua adhortatione coactum, infligendi ictus loco curiosius
denotato, gladioque, quod tenuem eius laminam suis imparem uiribus
formidaret, in aciem alteram uerso, penetrabili corporis sectione
transuerberat. Quo audito Wermundus Screp gladii sonum secundo suis auribus
incessisse perhibuit. Affirmantibus deinde arbitris, utrunque hostem ab
eius filio consumptum, nimietate gaudii uultum fletu soluit. Ita genas,
quas dolor madidare non poterat, lætitia rigauit. Saxonibus igitur pudore
moestis, pugilumque funus summa cum ruboris acerbitate ducentibus, Uffonem
Dani iocundis excepere tripudiis. Quieuit tum Athislanæ cædis infamia,
Saxonumque obprobriis expirauit.

Ita Saxoniæ regnum ad Danos translatum, post patrem Uffo regendum suscepit,
utriusque imperii procurator effectus, {211} qui ne unum quidem rite
moderaturus credebatur. Hic a compluribus Olauus est dictus, atque ob animi
moderationem Mansueti cognomine donatus. Cuius sequentes actus uetustatis
uitio solennem fefellere notitiam. Sed credi potest, gloriosos eorum
processus extitisse, quorum tam plena laudis principia fuerint.

       *       *       *       *       *


In Langebek, _Scriptores_, i, 44-7; Gertz, I, 97.


De primo Rege Danorum.

Skiold Danis primum didici præfuisse. Et ut eius alludamus uocabulo,
idcirco tali functus est nomine, quia uniuersos regni terminos regiæ
defensionis patrocinio affatim egregie tuebatur. A quo primum, modis
Islandensibus, "Skioldunger" sunt reges nuncupati. Qui regni post se
reliquit hæredes, Frothi uidelicet et Haldanum. Successu temporum fratribus
super regni ambitione inter se decertantibus, Haldan, fratre suo
interempto, regni monarchiam obtinuit. Hic filium, scilicet Helghi, regni
procreauit hæredem, qui ob eximiam uirtutum strenuitatem, pyraticam semper
exercuit. Qui cum uniuersorum circumiacentium regnorum fines maritimos
classe pyratica depopulatus, suo subiugasset imperio, "Rex maris" est
cognominatus. Huic in regno successit filius Rolf Kraki, patria virtute
pollens, occisus in Lethra, quæ tunc famosissima Regis extitit curia, nunc
autem Roskildensi uicina ciuitati, inter abiectissima ferme uix colitur
oppida. Post quem regnauit filius eius Rökil cognomento dictus
"Slaghenback." Cui successit in regno hæres, agilitatis strenuitate
cognominatus, quem nostro uulgari "Frothi hin Frökni" nominabant. Huius
filius et hæres regni extitit Wermundus, qui adeo prudentiæ pollebat
uirtute, ut inde nomen consequeretur. Unde et "Prudens" dictus est. Hic
filium genuit Uffi nomine, qui usque ad tricesimum ætatis suæ annum fandi
possibilitatem cohibuit, propter enormitatem opprobrii, quod tunc temporis
Danis ingruerat, eo quod in {212} ultionem patris duo Dani in Sueciam
profecti, patricidam suum una interemerunt. Nam et tunc temporis
ignominiosum extitit improperium, si solum duo iugularent; præsertim cum
soli strenuitati tunc superstitiosa gentilitas operam satagebat impendere.
Præfatus itaque Wermundus usque ad senium regni sui gubernabat imperium;
adeo tandem ætate consumptus, ut oculi eius præ senio caligarent. Cuius
debilitatis fama cum apud transalpinas[340] partes percrebuisset, elationis
turgiditate Teotonica intumuit superbia, utpote suis nunquam contenta
terminis. Hinc furoris sui rabiem in Danos exacuit Imperator, se iam
Danorum regno conquisito sceptrum nancisci augustius conspicatus.
Delegantur itaque spiculatores, qui turgidi principis jussa reportent
præfato Danorum regi, scilicet Wermundo, duarum rerum præfigentes
electionem, quarum pars tamen neutra extitit eligenda. Aut enim regnum
jussit Romano resignare imperio, et tributum soluere, aut athletam
inuestigare, qui cum Imperatoris campione monomachiam committere auderet.
Quo audito, regis extitit mens consternata; totiusque regni procerum
legione corrogata, quid facto opus sit, diligenti inquisitione
percontabatur. Perplexam se namque regis autumabat autoritas, utpote cui et
ius incumbebat decertandi, et qui regno patrocinari tenebatur. Uultum
coecitas obnubilauerat, et regni heres elinguis factus, desidia torpuerat,
ita ut in eo, communi assertione, nulla prorsus species salutis existeret.
Nam ab infantia præfatus Uffo uentris indulgebat ingluuiei, et Epicuræorum
more, coquinæ et cellario alternum officiose impendebat obsequium.
Corrogato itaque coetu procerum, totiusque regni placito[341] celebrato,
Alamannorum regis ambitionem explicuit, quid in hac optione haud eligenda
facturus sit, indagatione cumulata senior sciscitatur. Et dum uniuersorum
mens consternaretur angustia, cunctique indulgerent silentio, præfatus Uffo
in media concione surrexit. Quem cum cohors uniuersa conspexisset, satis
nequibat admirari, ut quid elinguis uelut orationi gestus informaret. Et
quia omne rarum dignum nouimus admiratione, omnium in se duxit intuitum.
Tandem sic orsus coepit: "Non nos minæ moueant lacessentium, cum {213} ea
Teotonicæ turgiditati innata sit conditio, ut uerborum ampullositate
glorientur, minarumque uentositate pusillanimes et imbecilles calleant
comminatione consternare. Me etenim unicum et uerum regni natura produxit
heredem, cui profecto nouistis incumbere, ut monomachiæ me discrimini
audacter obiiciam, quatenus uel pro regno solus occumbam, uel pro patria
solus uictoriam obtineam. Ut ergo minarum cassetur ampullositas, hæc
Imperatori referant mandata, ut Imperatoris filius et heres imperii, cum
athleta præstantissimo, mihi soli non formidet occurrere." Dixit, et hæc
verba dictauit voce superba. Qui dum orationem complesset, a collateralibus
senior sciscitabatur, cuiusnam hæc fuisset oratio? Cum autem a
circumstantibus intellexisset, quod filius suus, prius veluti mutus, hunc
effudisset sermonem, palpandum eum jussit accersiri. Et cum humeros
lacertosque, et clunes, suras atque tibias, cæteraque membra organica
crebro palpasset: "Talem," ait, "me memini in flore extitisse iuuentutis."
Quid multa? Terminus pugnæ constituitur et locus. Talique responso
percepto, ad propria legati repedabant.


De duello Uffonis.

Superest ergo, ut arma nouo militi congrua corrogentur. Allatisque ensibus,
quos in regno præstantiores rex poterat inuestigare, Uffo singulos dextra
uibrans, in partes confregit minutissimas. "Hæccine arma sunt," inquit,
"quibus et uitam et regni tuebor honorem?" Cuius cum pater uiuidam
experiretur uirtutem, "Unicum adhuc," ait, "et regni et uitæ nostræ
superest asylum." Ad tumulum itaque ducatum postulauit, in quo prius
mucronem experientissimum occultauerat. Et mox intersigniis per petrarum
notas edoctus, gladium jussit effodi præstantissimum. Quem illico dextra
corripiens, "Hic est," ait, "fili, quo numerose triumphaui, et qui mihi
infallibile semper tutamen extitit." Et hæc dicens, eundem filio
contradidit. Nec mora; terminus ecce congressioni præfixus arctius {214}
instabat. Tandem, confluentibus undique phalangis innumerabilibus, in
Egdoræ fluminis mediamne[342] locus pugnæ constituitur: ut ita pugnatores
ab utriusque coetus adminiculo segregati nullius opitulatione fungerentur.
Teotonicis ergo ultra fluminis ripam in Holsatia considentibus, Danis uero
citra amnem dispositis, rex pontis in medio sedem elegit, quatenus, si
unigenitus occumberet, in fluminis se gurgitem præcipitaret, ne pariter
nato orbatus et regno cum dolore superstes canos deduceret ad inferos.
Deinde emissis utrinque pugilibus, in medio amne conuenerunt. Ast ubi miles
noster egregius Uffo, duos sibi conspexit occurrere, tanquam leo pectore
robusto infremuit, animoque constanti duobus electis audacter se opponere
non detrectauit, illo cinctus mucrone, quem patrem supra meminimus
occuluisse, et alterum dextra strictum gestans. Quos cum primum obuios
habuisset, sic singillatim utrumque alloquitur, et quod raro legitur
accidisse, athleta noster elegantissimus, cuius memoria in æternum non
delebitur, ita aduersarios animabat ad pugnam: "Si te," inquit, "regni
nostri stimulat ambitio, ut nostræ opis, potentiæque, opumque capessere
uelis opulentias, comminus te clientem decet præcedere, ut et regni tui
terminos amplifices, et militibus tuis conspicientibus, strenuitatis nomen
nanciscaris." Campionem uero hunc in modum alloquitur: "Uirtutis tuæ
experientiam jam locus est propagare, si comminus accesseris, et eam, quam
pridem Alamannis gloriam ostendisti, Danis quoque propalare non cuncteris.
Nunc ergo famam tuæ strenuitatis poteris ampliare, et egregiæ munificentiæ
dono ditari, si et dominum præcedas, et clypeo defensionis eum tuearis.
Studeat, quæso, Teotonicis experta strenuitas variis artis pugillatoriæ
modis Danos instruere, ut tandem optata potitus uictoria, cum triumphi
ualeas exultatione ad propria remeare." Quam quum complesset exhortationem,
pugilis cassidem toto percussit conamine, ita ut, quo feriebat, gladius in
duo dissiliret. Cuius fragor per uniuersum intonuit exercitum. Unde cohors
Teotonicorum exultatione perstrepebat: sed contra Dani desperationis
consternati tristitia, gemebundi murmurabant. Rex uero, ut audiuit, quod
filii ensis dissiliuisset, in margine se pontis jussit {215} locari. Uerum
Uffo, subito exempto, quo cinctus erat, gladio, pugilis illico coxam
cruentauit, nec mora, et caput pariter amputauit. Sic ergo ludus fortunæ ad
instar lunæ uarius, nunc his, nunc illis successibus illudebat, et quibus
iamiam exultatione fauebat ingenti, eos nouercali mox uultu, toruoque
conspexit intuitu. Hoc cognito, senior jam confidentius priori se jussit
sede locari. Nec jam anceps diu extitit uictoria. Siquidem Uffo ualide
instans, ad ripam amnis pepulit hæredem imperii, ibique eum haud
difficulter gladio iugulauit. Sicque duorum solus uictor existens, Danis
irrogatam multis retro temporibus infamiam gloriosa uirtute magnifice satis
aboleuit. Atque ita Alamannis cum improperii uerecundia, cassatisque
minarum ampullositatibus, cum probris ad propria remeantibus, postmodum in
pacis tranquillitate præcluis Uffo regni sui regebat imperium.

       *       *       *       *       *


The text of Saxo Grammaticus, given above, is based upon the magnificent
first edition printed by Badius Ascensius (Paris, 1514). Even at the time
when this edition was printed, manuscripts of Saxo had become exceedingly
scarce, and we have now only odd leaves of MS remaining. One fragment,
however, discovered at Angers, and now in the Royal Library at Copenhagen,
comes from a MS which had apparently received additions from Saxo himself,
and therefore affords evidence as to his spelling.

Holder's edition (Strassburg, 1886) whilst following in the main the 1514
text of Badius Ascensius, is accordingly revised to comply with the
spelling of the Copenhagen fragments, and with any other traces of MS
authority extant. I doubt the necessity for such revision. If the text were
extant in MS, one might feel bound to follow the spelling of the MS, as in
the case of the old English MSS of the _Vitae Offarum_ below: but seeing
that Saxo, with the exception of a few pages, is extant only in a 16th
century printed copy, the spelling of which is almost identical with that
now current in Latin text books, it seems a pity to restore conjecturally
mediæval spellings likely {216} to worry a student. Accordingly I have
followed the printed text of 1514, modernizing a very few odd spellings,
and correcting some obvious printers errors[343].

A translation of the first nine books of Saxo by Prof. O. Elton has been
published by the Folk-Lore Society (No. XXXIII, 1893).

Saxo completed his history in the early years of the 13th century. His
elder contemporary, Sweyn Aageson, had already written a _Brief History of
the Kings of Denmark_. Sweyn's _History_ must have been completed not long
after 1185, to which date belongs the last event he records. The extracts
given from it (pp. 211-15) are taken from Langebek's collection, with
modifications of spelling. Langebek follows the first edition (Stephanius,
1642); the MS used in this edition had been destroyed in 1728. _Cod. Arn.
Mag. 33_, recently printed by Gertz, although very corrupt, is supposed to
give the text of Sweyn's _History_ in a form less sophisticated than that
of the received text (see Gertz, _Scriptores Minores Historiæ Danicæ_,
1917, p. 62). The _Little Chronicle of the Kings of Leire_ is probably
earlier than Sweyn's _History_. Gertz dates it c. 1170, and thinks it was
written by someone connected with the church at Roskilde. It covers only
the early traditional history. See above, pp. 17, 204.

For comparison, the following lists, as given in the roll of kings known as
_Langfeðgatal_, in the _Little Chronicle_, in Sweyn, and in Saxo may be

                 | _Little_    |             |              |Names as given
  _Langfeðgatal_ |_Chronicle_  |_Sweyn_      |   _Saxo_     | in _Beowulf_
                 |  Dan        |             |  Dan         |
                 |             |             | {Humblus     |
                 |             |             | {Lotherus    | ? = Heremod
   Skioldr ...   |             |  Skiold     |  Skioldus    | Scyld
                 |             |             |  Gram        |
                 |             |             |  Hadingus    |
                 |             | {Frothi     |  Frotho I    | ?= Beowulf I
   Halfdan       |             | {Haldanus   | {Haldanus I  | Healfdene
                 |   Ro        |             | {Roe I       |
                 |             |             | {Scato       |
  {Hroar         | {Haldan     |             | {Roe II      | Hrothgar
  {Helgi         | {Helgi      |  Helghi     | {Helgo       | Halga
   Rolf Kraki    |  Rolf Krake |  Rolf Kraki |  Roluo Krage | Hrothulf
                 |  Hiarwarth  |             |  Hiarthuarus | Heoroweard
                 |             |             |   . . . .    |
   Hrærekr       |             |  Rökil      |  Røricus     | Hrethric

       *       *       *       *       *


The text is given from _MS Cotton Nero D. I_ (quoted in the footnotes as
A), collated with _MS Claudius E. IV_ (quoted as B). Minor variations of B
are not usually noted. The two MSS agree closely.

The _Nero_ MS is the more elaborate of the two, and is adorned with very
fine drawings. _Claudius_, however, offers occasionally a better text; it
has been read by a corrector whose alterations--contrary to what is so
often the ease in mediæval MSS--seem to be authoritative.

The _Lives of the Offas_ were printed by Wats in his edition of Matthew
Paris (1639-40) from MS A. Miss Rickert has printed extracts from the two
lives, in _Mod. Phil._ II, 14 _etc._, following MS A, "as Wats sometimes
takes liberties with the text."


[Sidenote: Fol. 2 _a_]

Inter occidentalium Anglorum reges illustrissimos, precipua
co_m_mendac_i_onis laude celebratur Rex Warmundus, ab hiis qui historias
Angloru_m_ no_n_ solum relatu proferre, set eciam scriptis inserere
consueuerant. Is fundator erat cui_us_dam urbis a seip_s_o denominate, que
lingua Anglicana Warwic, id est curia Warmundi, nuncupatur. Qui usq_ue_ ad
annos seniles absq_ue_ liberis extitit, pret_er_ unicum filiu_m_; q_ue_m,
ut estimabat, regni sui heredem _et_ successorem puerilis debilitatis
incomodo labora_n_tem, constituere non ualebat. Licet enim idem unic_us_
filius eius, Offa uel Offanus no_m_i_n_e, statura fuisset procer_us_, {218}
corpore integer, _et_ elegantissime forme iuuenis existeret, perma_n_sit
t_ame_n a natiuitate uisu priuatus usq_ue_ ad annu_m_ septimu_m_, mutus
autem _et_ u_er_ba humana n_on_ proferens usq_ue_ ad annu_m_ etatis sue
tricesimum. Huius debilitatis incomodum no_n_ solum rex, s_ed_ eciam regni
proceres, supra q_u_am dici potest moleste sustinuerunt. Cum eni_m_
imineret p_at_ri etas senilis, _et_ ignoraret diem mortis sue, nesciebat
q_ue_m alium sibi[345] _con_stitueret heredem _et_ regni successore_m_.
Quidam au_tem_ p_r_imari_us_ regni, cui nomen Riganus[346], cu_m_ quoda_m_
suo co_m_plice Mitunno no_m_i_n_e, ambic_i_osus cu_m_ ambic_i_oso, seductor
cu_m_ proditore uidens regem decrepitu_m_, _et_ sine spe prolis procreande
senio fatiscente_m_, de se p_re_sumens, cepit ad regie dignitatis culmen
aspirare, conte_m_ptis aliis regni primatib_us_, se solum p_re_ cet_er_is
ad h_oc_ dignu_m_ reputando.

Iccirco diebus singulis regi molestus nimis, proterue eum aggreditur, ut se
h_er_edis loco adoptaret. Aliq_u_ando cor regis blande alliciens, interi_m_
aspere minis _et_ terroribus prouocans, persuadere no_n_ cessat regi q_uo_d
optabat[347]. Suggerebat eciam regi per uiros potentes, _com_plices
cupiditatis _et_ malicie sue, se regni sui su_m_mu_m_ apice_m_, uiolentia
_et_ terrorib_us_ et ui extorquere, nisi arbitrio uoluntatis sue rex ip_s_e
pareret, faciendo uirtute_m_ de necessitate. Super h_oc_ itaq_ue et_ aliis
regni negociis, euocato semel concilio, proteruus ille a rege reprobatus
discessit a curie p_re_sentia, iracundie calore freme_n_s in semetip_s_o,
pro repulsa q_u_am sustinuit.

[Illustration: Riganus (or Aliel) comes before King Warmundus to claim that
he should be made King in place of the incompetent Offa

_From MS Cotton Nero D. I, fol. 2 a._ ]

{219} [Sidenote: Fol. 2 _b_] Nec mora, accitis m_u_ltis qui cont_r_a regis
i_m_p_er_ium parte_m_ sua_m_ _con_fouebant, infra paucos dies, copiosum
i_m_mo infinitu_m_ exc_er_citu_m_ _con_gregauit: _et_ sub spe uictorie
uirilit_e_r optinende, regem _et_ suos ad hostile p_re_lium prouocauit. Rex
au_tem_ confectus senio, time_n_s rebellare, declinauit aliquocie_n_s
impet_us_ adu_er_sarior_um_. Tandem uero, co_n_uocatis i_n_ unum
p_r_incipib_us_ _et_ magnatib_us_ suis, delib_er_are cep_i_t q_u_o
f_a_c_t_o opus h_abe_ret. Dum igit_ur_ t_r_actarent i_n_ co_m_mune per
aliq_u_ot dies, secu_m_ deliberantes instantissime nec_es_citatis
articulu_m_, affuit int_er_ _ser_moci|nantes natus _et_ unigenitus regis,
eo usq_ue_ elinguis _et_ absq_ue_ sermone, s_ed_ aure purgata, singulorum
uerba discernens. Cum aute_m_ p_at_ris seniu_m_, _et_ se ip_su_m ad regni
negocia q_u_asi inutilem _et_ min_us_ efficacem despici _et_ reprobari ab
om_n_ib_us_ perpenderet, contritus est _et_ humiliatus in semetip_s_o,
usq_ue_ in lac_r_imarum aduberem profusionem. _Et_ exitus aq_u_arum
dedux_er_unt oculi eius; _et_ estuabat dolore cordis intrinsecus
amarissimo. Et q_u_a_m_ u_er_bis no_n_ pot_er_at, deo aff_e_c_t_u
int_r_inseco p_re_cordial_it_er suggerebat, ingemiscens, repone_n_sq_ue_
lac_r_imabilem q_ue_relam coram ip_s_o, orabat ut a spiritu s_an_c_t_o
reciperet consolac_i_on_em_, a p_at_re luminu_m_ fortitudinem, _et_ a filio
p_at_ris unigenito sapi_enci_e salutaris donatiuum. In breui igitur,
_con_t_r_iti cordis uota prospiciens, is, cui nuda _et_ aperta sunt omnia,
resoluit os adolescentis in u_er_ba discreta _et_ manifeste articulata.
Sicq_ue_ de regni principatu tumide _et_ minaciter contra se _et_ p_at_rem
suu_m_ perstrepentes, subito _et_ ex insp_er_ato alloquitur: "Quid adhuc me
_et_ p_at_re meo sup_er_stite contra leges _et_ iura uobis uendicatis regni
iudicium enormiter cont_re_ctare: _et_ me excluso, herede geneali, alium
degen_er_em facinorosu_m_ _ec_iam in minas _et_ diffiduciac_i_onem
sup_er_be nimis prorumpente_m_, subrogare ut uos no_n_ immerito iniquitatis
_et_ prodic_i_onis arguere valeam_us_. Quid, inq_u_am, ext_er_i, q_u_id
ex_tr_anei cont_ra_ nos agere debeant, cu_m_ nos affines _et_ domestici
n_ost_ri a p_at_ria q_u_am hactenus gen_er_is n_ost_ri successio iure
possedit hereditario, uelitis expellere?" Et dum hec Offanus uel Offa (hoc
eni_m_ nomen adolescentulo erat) qui ia_m_ n_un_c primo et_er_no nomine
cu_m_ b_e_n_e_d[_i_]c[_i_]onis memoria meruit intitulari, ore facundo,
s_er_mone rethorico, uultu sereno prosequeret_ur_, omniu_m_ audientium plus
q_u_am dici potest attonitoru_m_ oculos facies _et_ corda in se
conu_er_tit. Et prosequens inceptum s_er_mone_m_, _con_tinuando r_ati_onem,
ait (intuens ad superna): "Deum testor, om_ne_sq_ue_ celestis curie
primates, quod tanti sceleris _et_ discidii incentores, (n_is_i qui
cep_er_int titubare, uiriliter eriganter in uirtute_m_ p_r_istinam
roborati) inde_m_pnes (pro ut desides _et_ formidolosi promerueru_n_t) ac
impunitos, no_n_ paciar. Fideles autem, ac strenuos, omni honore
proseq_u_ar [et] co_n_fouebo."

Audito _i_gi_tur_ adolescentis sermone, q_ue_m mutum estimabant vanu_m_
_et_ inutilem, _con_st_er_nati admodum _et_ conterriti, ab ei_us_ {220}
p_re_sencia discesseru_n_t, q_u_i cont_r_a p_at_rem suu_m_ _et_ ip_su_m,
mota sedic_i_one, ausu temerario co_n_spirau_er_ant. Rigan_us_ t_ame_n,
co_n_tumax _et_ superbus, comitante Mittunno cu_m_ aliis complicibus suis,
qui iam iram in odium _con_u_er_t_er_ant, minas minis recessit cumulando,
rege_m_q_ue_ delirum cu_m_ filio suo inutili ac vano murione, frontose
diffiduciauit. Econt_r_a, naturales ac fideles regis, ipsius minas
paruipende_n_tes, i_m_mo [Sidenote: Fol. 3 _a_] | uilipendentes,
inestimabili gaudio perfusi, regis _et_ filii sui pedibus incuruati, sua
suor_um_q_ue_ corpora ad uindicandam regis iniuriam exponunt gratanter
uniu_er_si. Nec mora, rex in sua _et_ filii sui presentia generali edicto
eos qui parti sue fauebant iubet assistere, uolens co_m_muni eor_um_
consilio edoceri, q_u_aliter in agendis suis procedere _et_ negocia sua
exequi habeat conuenienter. Qui super hiis diebus aliquot deliberantes,
inprimis consulu_n_t regi ut filium suu_m_ morib_us_ _et_ etate ad h_oc_
maturu_m_, militari cingulo faciat insigniri: vt ad bellum procedens,
hostibus suis horrori fieret _et_ formidini. Rex aute_m_ sano et salubri
co_n_silio suoru_m_ obtemperans, celebri[348] ad hoc co_n_dicto die, cu_m_
solle_m_pni _et_ regia pompa, gladio filium suum accinxit; adiunctis
tirocinio suo strenuis adolescentib_us_ gen_er_osis, quos rex ad dec_us_
_et_ gloriam filii sui militarib_us_ indui fecit, _et_ honorari.

Cum aute_m_ post h_ec_[349], aliq_u_andiu cu_m_ sociis suis decertans,
instrumenta tiro Offanus experiretur, omnes eum strenuissimu_m_ _et_
singulos sup_er_ante_m_ uehement_er_[350] admirabant_ur_. Rex igit_ur_
in_de_ maiore_m_ assumens audaciam, _et_ in spem erectus alacriorem,
co_m_municato cu_m_ suis consilio, co_n_t_r_a hostes regni sui
insidiatores, i_m_mo iam manifeste _contr_a regnu_m_ suu_m_ insurgentes,
_et_ inito c_er_tami_n_e adu_er_santes, resu_m_pto sp_irit_u bellum
instaurari p_re_cep_i_t. Potentissim_us_ aut_em_ ille, q_u_i regnu_m_ sibi
usurpare moliebatur, cu_m_ filiis suis iuuenib_us_ duob_us_, uidelicet
tironib_us_ strenuissimis Otta _et_ Milione nominatis, ascita quoq_ue_
no_n_ minima multitudine, n_ich_ilomin_us_ audact_er_ ad rebellandum, se
suosq_ue_ p_re_munire cepit, alacer _et_ imp_er_t_er_rit_us_. Et preliandi
diem _et_ locum, hinc in_de_ rex _et_ eius emulus det_er_minarunt.

Congregato itaq_ue_ ut_r_obiq_ue_ copiosissimo _et_ formidabili nimis
exc_er_citu, parati ad congressum, fixerunt tentoria e regione, nichilq_ue_
int_er_erat nisi fluui_us_ torrens in medio, qui {221} utrumq_ue_
exc_er_citu_m_ sequestrabat. Et aliq_u_andiu hinc in_de_ meticulosi _et_
co_n_sternati, rapidi fluminis alueum int_er_positu_m_ (qui uix erat homini
uel equo t_r_ansmeabil_is_) transire distulerunt. Tela tamen sola, cu_m_
crebris co_m_minac_i_onibus _et_ conuiciis, transuolarunt. Tande_m_
indignatus Offa _et_ egre ferens probrose more dispendia, electis de
exc_er_citu suo robustiorib_us_ _et_ bello magis strenuis, q_u_os _eciam_
credebat fideliores, subitus _et_ improuisus flumen raptim p_er_transiens,
f_a_c_t_o impetu uehementi[351] _et_ repentino, hostes ei obuiam
occurre_n_tes, preocupatos t_ame_n circa ripam flum_in_is, plurimos de
adu_er_sarior_um_ exc_er_citu cont_r_iuit, _et_ i_n_ ore gladii trucidauit.
Primosq_ue_ om_ne_s t_r_ibunos _et_ p_r_imicerios potenter dissipauit.
Cu_m_ t_ame_n sui co_m_militones, forte uolentes p_re_scire in Offa
p_re_uio Martis fortuna_m_, segnit_er_ amne_m_ t_r_ansmearent, q_u_i latus
suu_m_ tenebantur suffulcire, _et_[352] pocius [Sidenote: Fol. 3 _b_] |
circumuallando roborare, et resu_m_pto sp_irit_u uiuidiore, reliquos
om_ne_s, hinc in_de_ ad modu_m_ nauis uelificantis _et_ equora uelocit_er_
sulcantis, impetuosissime diuisit, ense t_er_ribilit_er_ fulminante, _et_
hostiu_m_ cruore sepius inebriato, don_e_c sue om_ne_s acies ad ip_su_m
illese _et_ inde_m_pnes t_r_ansmear_en_t. Quo cu_m_ p_er_uenirent sui
co_m_militones, congregati ci_r_ca ip_su_m do_mi_n_u_m suu_m_,
exc_er_citu_m_ magnu_m_ et fortem co_n_flau_er_unt. Duces aute_m_
_con_t_r_arii exc_er_citus, sese densis agminib_us_ _et_ consertis aciebus,
uiolent_er_ opponu_n_t aduentantib_us_. Et congressu inito cruentissimo,
acclamatu_m_ _est_ utrobiq_ue_ et exhortatu_m_, ut res agatur pro capite,
_et_ c_er_tamen pro sua _et_ uxoru_m_ suar_um_, _et_ lib_er_or_um_
suor_um_, _et_ possessionu_m_ lib_er_ac_i_one, i_n_ea_n_t iustissimu_m_,
auxilio diuino p_ro_tegente. P_er_strepunt igitur tube cu_m_ lituis, clamor
exhortantiu_m_, equor_um_ hinnit_us_, morientiu_m_ _et_ uulnerator_um_
gemitus, fragor lancearum, gladioru_m_ tinnit_us_, ictuu_m_ tumultus, aera
p_er_t_ur_bare uidebant_ur_. Adu_er_sarii tandem Offe legiones deiciunt,
_et_ i_n_ fugam dissipatas _con_u_er_tunt.

Quod cum videret Offa strenuissim_us_, _et_ ex hostiu_m_ cede cruent_us_,
hausto sp_irit_u alac_r_iori, in hostes, more leonis _et_ leene sublatis
catulis, irruit truculent_er_, gladiu_m_ suu_m_ cruore hostili inebriando.
Quod cu_m_ uiderent t_r_ucida_n_di, fugitiui _et_ meticulosi pudore
confusi, reuersi su_n_t sup_er_ hostes, et ut famam redim_er_ent,
ferociores in obstantes fulminant _et_ debacant_ur_.


Multoq_ue_ temp_or_e t_r_uculent_er_ nimis dec_er_tatu_m_ est, _et_
utrobiq_ue_ suspensa est uictoria; tandem p_ost_ multor_um_ ruinam, hostes
fatigati pedem retulerunt, ut respirarent _et_ pausare_n_t p_ost_

Similit_er eciam et_ exc_er_citus Offani. Quod t_ame_n moleste nimis tulit
Offan_us_, cui_us_ sanguis in ulc_i_one_m_ estuabat, _et_ i_n_defessus
propugnator cessare erubescebat. Hic casu Offe obuiant duo filii diuitis
illi_us_, qui regnu_m_ p_at_ris ei_us_ sibi atte_m_ptauit usurpare. Nomen
p_r_imogenito Brutus [sive Hildebrandus][353] _et_ iuniori Sueno. Hii
probra _et_ u_er_ba turpia in Offam irreu_er_enter ingesserunt, _et_ iuueni
pudorato i_n_ _con_sp_ec_tu exc_er_cituum, no_n_ min_us_ s_er_monib_us_
q_u_am armis, molesti extit_er_unt. Offa igit_ur_, mag_is_ lacessitus, _et_
calore audacie scintillans, _et_ iracundia us_que_ ad fremitu_m_ succensus,
in impetu sp_iritu_s sui i_n_ eosde_m_ audact_er_ irruit. Et eor_um_
alteru_m_, videlic_et_ Brutu_m_, unico gladii ictu percussit, amputatoq_ue_
galee cono, craneu_m_ usq_ue_ ad cerebri medulla_m_ p_er_forauit, _et_ i_n_
morte singultante_m_ sub eq_u_inis pedib_us_ pot_e_nt_er_ p_re_cipitauit.
Alteru_m_ u_er_o, qui h_oc_ uiso fugam iniit, repentin_us_ inseq_ue_ns,
uuln_er_e letali sauciatu_m_, _con_te_m_psit _et_ prostratu_m_. Post
h_ec_[354] deseuie_n_s in cet_er_os _con_t_r_arii exc_er_citus duces,
gladi_us_ Offe q_u_icq_u_id obuiam h_ab_uit prost_er_nendo deuorauit,
exc_er_citu ip_s_i_us_ tali exemplo recenci_us_ i_n_ hostes insurgente,
_et_ iam gloriosius t_r_iu_m_phante.

[Sidenote: Fol. 4 _a_]

Pat_er_, uero, p_re_d_i_c_t_or_um_ iuuenu_m_, pert_er_rit_us_ _et_ dolore
i_n_t_r_inseco sauciatus, subt_er_fugiens amne_m_ oppositu_m_, nitebat_ur_|
pert_r_ansire: s_ed_ interf_e_c_t_oru_m_ sanguine torre_n_s fluuius, eum
loricatu_m_ _et_ armor_um_ pond_er_e grauatu_m_ _et_ multipl_icite_r
fatigatum, cum multis de suo excercitu simili incomodo p_re_peditis, ad ima
subm_er_sit, _et_ sine uuln_er_ib_us_, miseras animas exalarunt proditores,
toti posteritati sue probra relinq_ue_ntes. Amnis aute_m_ a Rigano ibi
subm_er_so sorciebatur uocabulum, _et_ Riganburne, vt f_act_i uiuat
perpetuo memoria, nuncupat_ur_. [Hiic alio no_m_i_n_e Auene

Reliqui aute_m_ om_ne_s de exc_er_citu Rigani [qui _et_ Aliel
dicebatur][355] qui sub ducatu Mitunni regebantur, in abissu_m_
desperac_i_onis dem_er_si, _et_ timore effeminati, cum eorum duce i_n_
q_u_o {223} magis Rigan_us_ confidebat, in noctis crepusculo trucidati,
cu_m_ uictoria gloriosa campu_m_ Offe strenuissimo (i_n_ nulla parte
corporis sui deformit_er_ mutilato, nec _eciam_ uel letaliter uel
periculose uuln_er_ato, licet ea die multis se letiferis opposuiss_et_
p_er_iculis) reliquerunt[356].

Sicq_ue_ Offe circa iuuentutis sue primicias, a Domino data est uictoria in
bello nimis ancipiti, ac cruentissimo, _et_ int_er_ alienigenas uirtutis
_et_ indust_r_ie sue nomen celebre ipsius uentilatum, _et_ odor longe
lateq_ue_ bonitatis ac ciuilitatis, n_e_c no_n_ _et_ st_r_enuitatis ei_us_
circumfusus, nomen ei_us_ ad sidera subleuauit.

Porro in crastinu_m_ post uictoria_m_, hostiu_m_ spolia int_er_fector_um_
_et_ fugitiuor_um_ magnifice co_n_te_m_pnens, n_e_c sibi uolens
aliq_u_atenus usurpare, ne q_u_omodolib_et_ auaricie turpit_er_
redargueretur, militibus suis stipendiariis, _et_ naturalib_us_ suis
hominib_us_ (p_re_cipue[357] hiis quos nou_er_at indigere) liberalit_er_
dereliq_u_it. Solos t_ame_n magnates, quos ip_s_emet i_n_ prelio cep_er_at,
sibi retinuit incarc_er_andos, redime_n_dos, u_e_l iudicialiter puniendos.
Iussitq_ue_ ut int_er_fector_um_ duces _et_ p_r_incipes, quor_um_ fama
titulos magnificauit, _et_ p_re_cipue eor_um_ qui in p_re_lio magnifice ac
fidelit_er_ se habuerant (licet ei[358] adu_er_sarentur) seorsum honorifice
i_n_tumulare_n_t_u_r, f_a_c_t_is eis obsequiis, cu_m_ lamentac_i_onib_us_.
Exc_er_citus au_tem_ popularis cadau_er_a, in arduo _et_ eminenti loco, ad
post_er_itatis memoriam, t_r_adi iussit sepulture ignobiliori. Vnde locus
ille hoc no_m_i_n_e Anglico Q_u_almhul[359], a strage uidelicet _et_
sepultura interfectorum m_er_ito meruit intitulari.

Multor_um_ eciam et magnor_um_ lapidum super eos struem excercitus Offe,
uoce p_re_conia iussus, congessit eminentem. Totaq_ue_ circumiacens
planicies[360] ab ip_s_o cruentissimo c_er_tamine _et_ notabili sepultura
nomen _et_ titulum indelebilem est sortita, et Blodiweld[361] a sa_n_guine
int_er_fector_um_ deno_m_i_n_abat_ur_.

Deletis igitur _et_ confusis hostib_us_, Offa cum ingenti t_r_iumpho ac
tripudio _et_ gloria reu_er_tit_ur_ ad propria. Pater uero Warmu_n_d_us_,
q_u_i sese recep_er_at in locis tucioribus rei euentu_m_ exp_e_ctans, s_ed_
iam fausto nuncio c_er_tificatus, comperiensq_ue_ _et_ securus de carissimi
filii sui uictoria, cu_m_ ingenti leticia ei {224} procedit obuius[362]: et
in a_m_plexus eius diutissime _com_moratus, _con_ceptu_m_ [Sidenote: Fol. 4
_b_] | interius de filii sui palma gaudium teg_er_e non uolens set n_e_c
ualens, hui_us_ cum lac_ri_mis exultac_i_onis prorupit in vocem: "Euge fili
dulcissime, quo affectu, quaue mentis leticia, laudes tuas prout dignu_m_
est prosequar? Tu eni_m_ es spes mea _et_ subditor_um_ iubilus ex
i_n_sp_er_ato _et_ exultac_i_o. In te spes inopinata meis reuixit
temporibus; in sinu tuo leticia mea, i_m_mo spes pocius toci_us_ regni est
reposita. Tu pop_u_li toci_us_ firmamentum, tu pacis _et_ lib_er_tatis mee
basis _et_ stabile, deo aspirante, fundamentum. Tibi debetur ruina
prot_e_rui proditoris illi_us_, q_u_ondam publici hostis n_ost_ri, qui
regni fastigium quod m_ih_i _et_ de genere meo propagatis iure debetur
h_er_editario, tam impudent_er_ q_u_am imprudenter, cont_r_a leges _et_ ius
gentium usurpare moliebatur. S_ed_ uultus d_omi_ni super eu_m_ _et_
co_m_plices suos facientes mala, ut perderet de terra memoriam eoru_m_,
Deus ulcionu_m_ Domin_us_ dissipau_i_t consilium ipsius. Ip_su_m q_u_o_que_
Riganu_m_ in sup_er_bia rigente_m_, _et_ i_m_mite_m_ Mitunnu_m_
_com_militone_m_ ipsius, cum exc_er_citu eor_um_ proiecit in flumen
rapacissimu_m_. Descendunt q_u_asi plu_m_bum i_n_ aq_u_is uehem_en_tib_us_;
deuorauit gladi_us_ tuus hostes n_ost_ros fulmina_n_s _et_ cruentat_us_,
hostili sanguine magnifice i_n_ebriatus; non degen_er_ es fili mi genealis,
s_ed_ pat_r_issans, patrum tuor_um_ uestigia seq_ue_ris magnificorum.
Sepult_us_ i_n_ inf_er_no n_oste_r hostis _et_ adu_er_sarius, fructus
viarum suaru_m_ condignos iam colligit, quos uiu_us_ promerebatur. Luctum
_et_ miseriam q_u_am senectuti mee malignus ille inf_er_re disposuerat,
u_er_sa uice, clementia diuina conuertit in tripudium[363]. Quamobre_m_ in
p_re_senti accipe, quod tuis m_er_itis exigentib_us_ debetur, eciam si
filius meus non esses, _et_ si m_ih_i iure h_er_editario non succederes;
ecce iam, cedo, _et_ regnu_m_ Anglor_um_ uoluntatis tue arbitrio deinceps
committo; etas enim mea fragilis _et_ iam decrepita, regni ceptrum ulterius
sustinere no_n_ sufficit. Iccirco te fili desid_er_atissime, uicem meam
supplere te co_n_uenit, _et_ corpus meu_m_ senio _con_fectum, donec
morientis oculos clauseris, quieti t_r_ad_er_e liberiori, vt a curis _et_
secularib_us_ sollicitudinibus, quib_us_ discerpor lib_er_atus, p_re_cibus
uacem _et_ _con_te_m_plac_i_oni. Armis hucusq_ue_ mat_er_ialib_us_
dimicaui: restat {225} ut de cet_er_o uita mea q_ue_ sup_er_est, militia
sit sup_er_ t_er_ram _con_t_r_a hostes sp_irit_uales.

"Ego u_er_o pro incolumitate tua _et_ regni statu, q_uo_d strenuitati tue,
O anime mee dimidiu_m_, ia_m_ _com_misi, preces quales mea, sci[t][364]
simplicitas _et_ potest i_m_becillitas, Deo fundam indefessas. S_ed_ q_uia_
temp_us_ perbreue amodo m_ih_i restat, _et_ corpori meo solum s_upe_rest
sepulchru_m_, aure_m_ benigna_m_ meis accomoda salutaribus consiliis, _et_
cor credulu_m_ meis monitis i_n_clina magnificis. Uerum ip_s_os qui
nobiscum c_ontr_a hostes publicos, Riganu_m_ videlicet _et_ Mitunnu_m_
[Sidenote: Fol. 5 _a_] | _et_ eor_um_ complices emulos n_ost_ros
fidelit_er_ steter_un_t, _et_ periculoso discrimini pro nobis se
opposuer_un_t, p_ate_rno amore t_ib_i co_m_mendo, diligendos, honorandos,
promouendos. Eos aute_m_ qui dec_r_epite sen_e_ctutis mee membra[365]
debilia _con_te_m_ptui h_abe_re ausi s_un_t, asserentes u_er_ba mea _et_
regalia p_re_cepta e_ss_e sinilia delirame_n_ta, p_re_sumentes tem_er_e
apice regali me priuato te exheredare, susp_e_ctos habe _et_
co_n_te_m_ptibiles, si qui sint elapsi ab hoc bello, _et_ a tuo gladio
deuorante, eciam cu_m_ eor_um_ post_er_itate: ne cu_m_ in ramusculos
uir_us_ pullulet, a radice aliquid _con_simile t_ib_i gen_er_etur in
posteru_m_. No_n_ eni_m_ recolo me talem eor_um_ promeruisse, q_u_i me _et_
te filiu_m_ meu_m_ gratis oderunt, persecuc_i_one_m_. Similit_er_ eos, quos
d_i_c_t_i proditores pro eo q_uo_d nobis fideliter adhes_er_ant, exulare
coeg_er_unt, u_e_l qui impote_n_tes rabiem eor_um_ fugiendo resist_er_e, ad
horam declinau_er_unt, cu_m_ omni mansuetudi_n_e studeas reuocare, _et_
honores eor_um_ cu_m_ possessionib_us_ ex innata t_ib_i regali
munific_e_ntia, graci_us_ ampliare. Laus industrie tue _et_ fame
p_re_conia, _et_ strenuitatis tue titulus, q_ue_ adolesc_e_nciam tuam
diuinit_us_ illustraru_n_t, in posterum de te maiora p_ro_m_i_ttu_n_t.
Desid_er_anti animo sicient_er_ affecto, ip_su_mq_ue_ Deu_m_, qui te
t_ib_i, sua mera gr_aci_a reddidit _et_ restaurauit, dep_re_cor affectuose,
vt has iuuentutis tue primicias, h_oc_ i_n_opinato t_r_iumpho subarratas,
melior semp_er_ ac splendidior op_er_um gl_ori_a subseq_u_atur. Et procul
dubio post morte_m_ meam (que non longe abest, iubente D_omi_no) fame tue
magnitudo per orbem uniu_er_su_m_ dilatabitur, _et_ felix suscipiet
inc_r_ementu_m_. Et q_ue_ D_e_o placita sunt, opere felici consumabis,
q_ue_ diuinitus p_ro_sp_er_abunt_ur_."


Hec aute_m_ filius deuotus _et_ mansuet_us_, licet magnific_us_
t_r_iumphator exaudiss_et_ _et_ intenta aure intellexiss_et_, flexis
genib_us_ _et_ iunctis manib_us_, _et_ exundantib_us_ oculis, p_at_ri suo
grates[366] rettulit accumulatas. Rex itaq_ue_ per fines Anglie missis
nunciis expeditissimis, q_u_i ma_n_data regia detuler_un_t, tocius dicionis
sue conuocat nobilitatem. Que conuocata ex reg_is_ precepto, _et_
persuasione, Offano filio suo unigenito ligiam fecerunt fidelitatem _et_
homagiu_m_ in p_at_ris presencia. Quod _et_ om_ne_s, animo uolenti, i_m_mo
gaudenti, co_m_munit_er_ perfec_er_unt.

Rex igitur q_ue_m pocius prona voluntas, q_u_a_m_ uigor prouexit
corporalis, per climata regni sui proficiscitur secur_us_ _et_ letabundus,
nullo _contr_adicente, u_e_l impediente, ut regni munic_i_o_ne_s _et_
varias possessiones, diu per inimicos suos alienatas _et_ iniuste ac
uiolent_er_ possessas, ad sue dic_i_onis reacciperet iure potestate_m_. Que
o_mn_ia sibi sunt s_i_n_e_ difficultate u_e_l more dispendio restituta.
Statimq_ue_ p_ate_r filium eoru_m_ possessionib_us_ corporaliter
inuestiuit; _et_ p_ate_rno contulit aff_e_c_t_u ac gratuito, proc_er_ib_us_
[Sidenote: Fol. 5 _b_] co_n_gaude_n_|tib_us_ super hoc uniuersis. Post hec
autem, Rex filio suo Offano erarium suum adaperiens, auru_m_ suu_m_ _et_
argentu_m_, uasa co_n_cupiscibilia, gemmas, oloserica omnia, sue subdidit
potestati. Sicq_ue_ subactis _et_ subt_r_actis hostibus[367] cunctis,
aliquandiu per uniu_er_sum regnu_m_ uiguit pax _et_ securitas diu

Rex igitur filii sui prosperitate gauisus, qui _eciam_ diatim de bono i_n_
melius gradatim ascendit, aliquo tempore uite sue metas distulit naturales:
iubilus quoq_ue_ in corde senis conceptus languores seniles plurimu_m_
mitigauit. Tandem Rex plenus dierum, cu_m_ b_e_n_e_dicc_i_one omniu_m_, qui
ip_su_m _eciam_ a remotis[368] partib_us_ p_er_ fama_m_ cognou_er_unt[369],
nature debita persoluens decessit. Et decedens, filio suo apice_m_ regni
sui pacatum _et_ quietu_m_ reliquit: Offan_us_ aute_m_ oculos p_at_ris sui
pie claudens, lamentaciones mensurnas cum magnis eiulatibus, lac_r_imis
_et_ specialib_us_ planctib_us_ (prout moris t_un_c erat principibus
magnificis) lugubriter pro tanto funere continuauit. Obsequiisq_ue_ cu_m_
exequiis, magnifice tam in ecc_lesi_a q_u_am in locis forinsecis conpletis,
apparatu regio _et_ loco celeberrimo _et_ nominatissimo.

{227} regibus _con_digno, videlicet i_n_ eminenc_i_ori ecc_lesi_a penes
Glou_er_nia_m_ urbem egregiam, eidem exhiberi iubet sepulturam. Offanus
aute_m_ cu_m_ morib_us_ o_mn_ibus foret redimitus, elegans corp_or_e, armis
strenuus, munificus _et_ benignus, post obitum p_at_ris sui magnifici
Warmundi[370], cui_us_ mores tractatus exigit speciales, plenarie
o_mn_iu_m_ p_r_incipum Regni d_omi_nium suscipit, _et_ debitu_m_ cum omni
deuoc_i_one, _et_ mera uoluntate, famulatu_m_. Cum igitur cui_us_dam
sole_m_pnitatis arrid_er_et serenitas, Offanus cu_m_ solle_m_pni t_r_ipudio
o_mn_ib_us_ applaudentibus _et_ faustum omen acclama_n_tibus, Anglie
diademate feliciter est i_n_signit_us_.

Adquiescens _i_gi_tur_ senior_um_ co_n_siliis _et_ sapientum
persuasionib_us_, cepit tocius regni irrep_re_h_e_nsibil_ite_r, immo
laudabiliter, habenas[371] modernanter _et_ sapient_er_ gubernare. Sic
igitur, subactis hostib_us_ regni uniu_er_sis, uiguit pax secura _et_
firmata i_n_ finib_us_ Anglor_um_, p_er_ te_m_pora longa; precipue t_ame_n
p_er_ spaciu_m_ temp_or_is qui_n_q_ue_nnale. Erat au_tem_ iam t_r_iginta
q_u_atuor annos etatis attingens, annis prospere pubescentib_us_.

Et cum Rex, more iuuenili, venatus gr_aci_a per nemora frequent_er_, cu_m_
suis ad h_oc_ conuocatis uenatorib_us_ _et_ canibus sagacib_us_, expeditus
peragrasset, contigit die quada_m_ quod aere turbato, longe a suor_um_
cat_er_ua semotus, solus p_er_ nemoris opaca penitus ipsoru_m_ locor_um_,
n_e_cnon _et_ fortune ignar_us_, casu deambulabat. Du_m_ aute_m_ sic per
ignota diu_er_ticula i_n_caucius oberraret, _et_ per inuia, uocem
lac_r_imabilem _et_ miserabiliter q_ue_rulam haut longe a se audiuit.
Cui_us_ sonitu_m_ secutus, int_er_ densos frutices [Sidenote: Fol. 6 _a_] |
virginem singularis forme _et_ regii apparat_us_, s_ed_ decore
uenustissimam, ex insperato repperit. Rex uero rei euentu_m_ admirans, que
ibi ageret et querele causas, eam blande alloq_ue_ns, cepit sciscitari. Que
ex imo pectoris flebilia t_r_ahens suspiria, regi respondit (neq_u_aq_u_am
in auctorem s_ed_ in seip_s_am reatum retorquens): "Peccatis meis" inquit
"exigentib_us_ infortunii hui_us_ calamitas m_ih_i accidit." Erat aute_m_
reguli cui_us_dam filia q_u_i Eboracensibus preerat. Hui_us_
inco_m_parabilis pulchritudinis singulare_m_ eminentiam p_ate_r admirans,
amatorio demone seductus, cep_i_t ea_m_ incestu libidinoso concupisc_er_e,
_et_ ad amorem illicitu_m_ sepe sollicitare ipsam puellam, {228} minis,
pollicitis, blanditiis, atq_ue_ mun_er_ibus adolescentule temptans emollire
_con_stantiam. Illa autem op_er_i nephario nullatenus adquiescens, cum
p_ate_r t_ame_n minas minis exaggeraret[372], _et_ promissa promissis
accumularet, mun_er_a mun_er_ib_us_ adaugeret, iuxta illud poeticu_m_:

Imperium, promissa, preces, confudit in unu_m_:

elegit magis incidere i_n_ manus ho_m_i_n_u_m_, _et_ eciam ferarum
qualiumcunq_ue_, vel gladii subire sent_e_ntiam, q_u_am D_e_i offensam
incurrere, p_ro_ tam g_r_aui culpa manifestam. Pater itaq_ue_ ipsam sibi
parere _con_stanter renuentem, euocatis quibusdam maligne me_n_tis
hominib_us_ quos ad hoc elegerat, p_re_cepit eam i_n_ desertum solitudinis
remote duci, u_e_l pocius t_r_ahi, _et_ crudelissima morte
conde_m_pnata_m_, bestiis i_b_id_em_ d_e_relinq_u_i. Qui cum in locu_m_
horroris _et_ vaste solitudinis p_er_uenissent, trahentes eam seductores
illi, Deo ut creditur inspirante, miserti pulch_r_itudinis[373] illius eam
ibidem sine t_r_ucidac_i_one _et_ me_m_b_r_or_um_ mutilac_i_one, uiuam,
s_ed_ t_ame_n sine aliquoru_m_ uictualiu_m_ alimento (exceptis talib_us_
qui de radicibus _et_ frondib_us_ uel h_er_bis colligi, urgente ultima
fame, possunt) dimiserunt.

Cum hac rex aliq_u_andiu habens sermonem, comitem itineris sui illam
habuit, don_e_c solitarii cui_us_da_m_ habitac_i_one_m_ reperissent, ubi
nocte s_upe_rueniente quiescentes pernoctau_er_unt. In c_r_astinu_m_ autem
solitarius ille uiarum _et_ semitaru_m_ peritus, regem cu_m_ comite sua
usq_ue_ ad fines domesticos, _et_ loca regi no_n_ ignota[374] conduxit. Ad
suos itaq_ue_ rex rediens, desolate illius q_u_am nup_er_ inuenerat curam
gerens, familiarib_us_ _et_ domesticis generis sui sub diligenti custodia

Post hec aliq_u_ot annis elapsis, cu_m_ rex celibem age_n_s uitam, mente
castus _et_ corpore perseueraret, proceres dic_i_onis sue, no_n_ solum de
tunc p_re_senti, s_ed_ de fut_ur_o sibi periculo precauentes, _et_
nimiru_m_ multum solliciti, d_omi_n_u_m suum de uxore ducenda unanimiter
_con_uenerunt: ne sibi _et_ regno successorem _et_ heredem no_n_ habens,
post obitum ipsi_us_ iminens p_er_iculum generaret. Etatis eni_m_ iuuenilis
pubertas, moru_m_ maturitas, _et_ urgens regni necessitas, n_e_cno_n_ _et_
honoris dignitas, itide_m_ postularu_n_t. [Sidenote: Fol. 6 _b_] | Et cum
super hoc negocio, sepius regem {229} sollicitarentur, _et_ alloquerentur,
ipse multociens ioculando, _et_ talia u_er_ba asserendo int_er_ludia fuisse
uanitatis, procerum suoru_m_ constantiam dissimulando differendoq_ue_
delusit. Quod quidam adu_er_tentes, co_m_municato cu_m_ aliis consilio,
regem ad nubendu_m_ incuntabiliter urgere ceperunt. Rex uero more optimi
principis, cui_us_ primordia iam bene subarrauerat, nolens uoluntati
magnatu_m_ suor_um_ resistere, diu secum de thori socia, libra profunde
r_ati_onis, studiose cepit deliberare. Cu_m_q_ue_ hoc in mente sua
sollicicius tractaret, uen_i_t forte i_n_ mente_m_ suam illius iuuencule
memoria, q_u_am dudum inter uenandum i_n_uenit uagabundam, solam, feris
_et_ predonibus miserabiliter expositam: quam ad tuciora ducens,
familiaribus gen_er_is sui co_m_mis_er_at alendam, ac carius custodiendam.
Que, ut rex audiuit, morib_us_ laudabiliter redimita, decoris existens
exp_ec_tabilis, omnibus sibi cognitis amabilem exhibuit _et_ laudabilem;
hec igit_ur_ sola, relictis multis, _eciam_ regalis stematis sibi oblatis,
complacuit; illamq_ue_ solam i_n_ matrimoniu_m_ sibi adoptauit.

Cum aute_m_ eam duxisset in uxorem, non int_er_ueniente m_u_lta mora,
elegantissime forme utriusq_ue_ sexus liberos ex eadem procreauit. Itaq_ue_
cum p_r_ius e_ss_et rex propria seueritate subditis suis formidabilis,
magnates eius, n_e_cnon _et_ populus eius uniu_er_sus, heredum _et_
successor_um_ apparentia animati, regni robur _et_ leticiam geminar_un_t.
Rex q_u_o_que_ ab uniu_er_sis suis, _et_ no_n_ solum prope positis, i_m_mo
alienigenis _et_ remotis, extit_i_t honori, uen_er_ac_i_oni, ac
dilecc_i_oni. Et cu_m_ inter se in Britannia, (q_ue_ tunc temporis in
plurima regna multiphariam diuisa fuisset) reg_u_li sibi finitimi
hostilit_er_ se impet_er_ent, solus Rex Offa pace regni sui potitus
felicit_er_, se sibiq_ue_ s_u_bditos in pace regebat _et_ lib_er_tate. Unde
_et_ adiacencium prouinciarum reges ei_us_ mendicabant auxilium, _et_ i_n_
necc_ess_itatis articulo, consiliu_m_.

Rex itaq_ue_ Northamhi_m_bror_um_, a barbara Scotor_um_ gente, _et eciam_
aliquib_us_ suor_um_, _gr_auit_er_ _et_ usq_ue_ f_er_me ad
int_er_nec_i_onem percussus, _et_ proprie defensionis auxilio destitutus,
ad Offam regem potentem legatos destinat; _et_ pacificum supplicans, ut
p_re_sidii eius solacio cont_r_a hostes suos roboretur. Tali mediante
_con_dic_i_one, ut Offe filiam sibi matrimonio copularet, _et_ non se
proprii regni, _sed_ Offam, primarium ac {230} principem preferr_et_, _et_
se cu_m_ suis om_n_ib_us_ ip_s_i subiugaret. Nichil itaq_ue_ dotis cum Offe
filia rogitauit, hoc sane contentus premio, ut a regni sui finibus barbaros
illos potenter _et_ frequenter experta fugaret strenuitate.

Cum autem legatorum uerba rex Offa succepisset, consilio suorum fretus
[Sidenote: Fol. 7 _a_] sup|plicantis uoluntati ac precibus adquieuit si
t_ame_n rex ille pactum huiusmodi, tactis sac_ro_s_an_c_t_is
euuangeliis[375], _et_ obsidum tradic_i_one, fideliter tenendum
confirmaret. Sic igitur Rex Offa, super hiis condic_i_onib_us_ sub c_er_ta
forma co_n_firmatus, _et_ ad plenum certificatus, in partes illas cu_m_
equitum numerosa multitudine proficiscitur. Cum autem illuc perueniss_et_,
timore eius consternata pars aduersa cessit, fuge presidio se saluando.
Quam t_ame_n rex Offa audacter prosecutus, non prius destitit fugare
fugientem, donec eam ex integro contriuisset; s_ed_ nec eo contentus,
ulteri_us_ progreditur, barbaros expugnaturus. Int_er_ea ad patriam suam
nunciu_m_ i_m_p_er_itu_m_ destinau_i_t, ad primates et precipuos regni sui,
quib_us_ tocius dic_i_onis sue regimen commendau_er_at, et lit_er_as regii
sigilli sui munimine co_n_signatas[376], eidem nunc_i_o commisit,
deferendas. Q_u_i autem destinatus fuit, iter arripiens u_er_sus Offe
regnum, ut casu accidit int_er_ eundu_m_, hospitandi gr_aci_a aulam regiam
introiuit illi_us_ regis, cuius filiam Offa sibi m_at_rimo_n_io
copulau_er_at. Rex au_tem_ ille, cum de statu _et_ causa itineris sui
subdole requirendo cognouisset, uultus sui serenitate animi u_er_suciam
mentitus, specie ten_us_ illum amantissime suscepit: _et_ uelamen sceleris
sui querens, a conspectu publico sub quodam dilecc_i_onis pretexu, ad regii
thalami secreta penetralia ip_su_m nuncium nichil sinist_r_i suspicantem
introduxit: magnoq_ue_ studio elaborauit, ut ip_su_m, uino estuanti
madentem, redderet temulentum, et ip_s_o nuncio uel dormiente uel aliquo
alio modo ignorante, mandata d_omi_ni sui regis Offe tacit_us_ ac subdolus
apertis _et_ explicatis lit_er_is persc_r_utabatur; cepitq_ue_ perniciose
immutare et p_er_uertere sub Offe nomine sigillu_m_ adultera_n_s,
fallacesq_ue_ _et_ perniciosas literas loco inuentarum occultauit. Forma
autem adulterinar_um_ [l_ite_rar_um_][377] hec est q_ue_ subscribitur[378]:


[379]"Rex Offa, maioribus et p_re_cipuis regni sui, salutis et
prosperitatis augmentu_m_. Uniu_er_sitati u_est_re notum facio, i_n_
itin_er_e quod arripui infortunia _et_ adu_er_sa plurima tam michi q_u_am
subditis meis accidisse, _et_ maiores excercitus mei, non ignauia propria,
u_e_l hostium oppugnantium uirtute, set pocius peccatis n_ost_ris iusto Dei
iudicio interisse. Ego autem instantis periculi causam p_er_tracta_n_s,
_et_ consciencie mee intima perscrutatus, i_n_ memetip_s_o nichil aliud
conicio altissimo displicere, nisi quod perditam _et_ maleficam illa_m_
absq_ue_ meorum consensu uxorem imperito _et_ infelici duxi matrimonio. Ut
ergo de malefica memorata, uoluntati u_est_re ad plenum q_u_a_m_ temere
offendi satisfiat, asportetur cum lib_er_is ex ea genitis ad loca deserta,
ho_m_i_ni_b_us_ i_n_cognita[380], [Sidenote: Fol. 7 _b_] | feris _et_
auib_us_ aut siluestribus predonibus frequentata: ubi cum pueris suis
puerpera, truncata manus et pedes, exemplo pereat inaudito."

Nuncius autem mane facto, uino quo maduerat digesto, co_m_pos iam sui
effectus, discessit: et post aliquot dies perueniens ad propria,
magnatib_us_ qui regno regis Offe p_re_erant literas do_mi_ni sui sigillo
signatas exposuit. In quar_um_ auditu perlecta mandati serie, in stuporem
_et_ uehementissimam admirac_i_one_m_ uniu_er_si, plus q_u_am dici possit,
rapiuntur. Et super hiis, aliquot diebus co_m_municato cum magnatibus
consilio deliberantes, periculosum ducebant[381] mandatis ac iussionib_us_
regiis non obtemperare. Misera _i_gi_tur_ seducta, deducta est in
remotissimu_m_ _et_ i_n_habitabilem locum horroris et uaste solitudinis:
cu_m_ qua eciam liberi ei_us_ miseri _et_ miserabiles queruli _et_
uagientes, absq_ue_ mi_sericordi_a, ut cu_m_ ea t_r_ahere_n_t_ur_
occidendi, iudiciu_m_ acceperu_n_t.

Nec mora, memorati apparitores matre_m_ cu_m_ pignorib_us_ suis in
des_er_tu_m_ uastissimu_m_ t_r_aheba_n_t. Mat_r_i uero p_ro_pt_er_ ei_us_
forma_m_ admirabile_m_ p_ar_ce_n_tes, lib_er_os ei_us_, n_e_c forme, n_e_c
sexui, etati u_e_l _con_dic_i_oni p_ar_c_e_ntes, d_e_truncarunt menbratim,
i_m_mo poci_us_ frustatim[382] crudeliter in bestialem feritate_m_
seuientes. Completaq_ue_ tam crudeli sente_n_cia, cruenti apparitores ocius
reuertunt_ur_. Nec mora, solitarius quidam uitam in omni s_an_c_t_itate,
uigiliis assiduis, ieiuniis crebris, _et_ continuis {232} or_ati_onib_us_,
ducens heremiticam, circa noctis crepusculum eo p_er_t_r_ansie_n_s,
mulieris cuiusdam luctus lac_r_imabiles _et_ querelas usq_ue_ ad intima
cordis _et_ ossuum[383] medullas penetratiuas, quas D_omi_n_u_s ex
mortuorum corporib_us_ licet lac_er_atis elicuit, audiuit.
Infantulorumq_ue_ uagitus lugubres nimis cu_m_ doloris ululatibus quasi in
materno sinu audiendo similiter annotauit. Mis_er_icordia autem s_an_c_tus_
Dei motus, usq_ue_ ad lacrimaru_m_ aduberem effusionem, quo ipsa uox
ip_su_m uocabat, Domino ducente peruenit. Et cu_m_ illuc peruenisset, nec
aliud q_u_am corp_or_a humana in frusta detruncata reperisset,
cognouit[384] in sp_irit_u ip_s_a alicuius innocentis corp_us_, uel
aliquorum i_n_nocentiu_m_ corpuscula extitisse, que tam inhumanam
sentenciam subierunt. Nec sine martirii palma, ipsos quorum hee fuerunt
exuuie, ab h_oc_[385] sec_u_lo t_r_ansmigrasse suspicabatur. Auxiliu_m_
t_ame_n pro D_e_i amore _et_ caritatis intuitu postulatu_m_ non denegans,
se pro illorum reparac_i_one prostrauit in deuotissima_m_ cum lacrimis
or_aci_onem, maxime propter uocem celitus emissam, quam profecto
cognou_i_t[384] p_er_ D_eu_m li_n_g_u_as cadau_er_u_m_ p_ro_tulisse. Piis
_i_gi_tur_ s_an_c_tu_s _com_mot_us_ uisc_er_ib_us_, igneq_ue_ succe_n_s_us_
caritatis, ex cognic_i_one[386] ei_us_, q_u_am, ut ia_m_ d_i_c_tu_m,
dudu_m_ uiderat, h_ab_uit, f_a_c_tus_ hilarior, pro ipsis [Sidenote: Fol. 8
_a_] | flexis genib_us_, inundantibus oculis, iunctisq_ue_ palmis orauit,
dicens: "D_omi_ne Jesu Ch_rist_e, q_u_i Lazarum quatriduanu_m_ ac fetidum
resuscitasti, immo qui omniu_m_ n_ostro_r_u_m corpora i_n_ ext_r_emo
examine suscitabis, u_est_ram oro mis_er_icordiam, ut non habens ad me
peccatorem, s_ed_ ad horum innocentum pressuras respectu_m_ piissimu_m_,
corpuscula h_ec_ iubeas resuscitari, ad laudem _et_ gloriam tuam i_n_
se_m_pit_er_nu_m_, vt om_ne_s qui mortis horum causam _et_ forma_m_
audierint, te glorificent Deum _et_ Dominum mundi Saluatorem."

Sic igitur s_an_c_tu_s iste, D_omi_ni de fidei sue[387] uirtute i_n_ Domino
presumens _et_ co_n_fidens, int_er_ orandum, membra p_re_cisa
recollige_n_s, _et_ sibi particulas adaptans _et_ coniungens, _et_ i_n_
q_u_antum potuit redintegrans, in parciu_m_ q_u_amplurimu_m_, set in
integritate_m_ pocius delectat_us_, Domino rei consummac_i_onem q_u_i
mortificat _et_ uiuificat co_m_mendauit. Coniuncta igitur corpora, signo
crucis triumphali consignauit. Mira fidei uirtus et {233} efficacia, signo
c_r_ucis uiuifice et or_ati_onis ac fidei serui D_e_i uirtute, no_n_
solu_m_ m_at_ris orbate anim_us_ reparat_ur_, s_ed_ _et_ filior_um_
corp_us_cula in pristinu_m_ _et_ integrum nature sunt reformata decorem,
necnon _et_ anime mortuor_um_ ad sua pristina domicilia sunt reuerse. Ad
mansiuncule igitur sue septa (a qua elongatus fuerat, gr_aci_a lignor_um_
ad pulmentaria deq_u_oquenda colligendor_um_) ip_s_e senex: qui prius
detruncati fuerant, Domino iubente integ_r_i uiui _et_ alacres sunt
reuersi, ducem s_an_c_tu_m suum sequentes pedetentim. Ubi more patris,
ip_s_am desolatam cum liberis sibi ip_s_is restitutis, alimentis quibus
potuit, _et_ q_ue_ ad manum habuit, pie ac misericordit_er_ _con_fouebat.

Nesciens _er_go quo migraret regina, cu_m_ suis infantulis intra
uastissimam heremum cum memorato solitario, diu moram ibidem
or_ati_onib_us_, uigiliis, ac aliis s_an_c_ti_s operibus eius intenta _et_
iamiam conuenienter informata, _et_ edulio siluestri sustentata,
co_n_tinuabat. Post duoru_m_ uero mensium curricula, Rex Offa
uictoriosissimus domu_m_ let_us_ remeauit, spolia deuictorum suis
magnatib_us_ regali munificentia gloriose distribuendo; uerunt_ame_n, ne
lacrime gaudia regis, _et_ eoru_m_ q_u_i cum eo aduen_er_ant,
miserabilit_er_ int_er_rump_er_ent, consiliarii regii q_u_e de regina _et_
lib_er_is ei_us_ accid_er_a_n_t, diu sub silenc_i_o caute dissimulando,
_et_ causas absencie eius fictas annectendo, _con_celabant. Tandem cu_m_
rex uehement_er_ admiraretur ubinam regina delituisset, q_ue_ ip_s_i regi
ab ancipiti bello reu_er_tenti occurrisse gaudenter teneretur, _et_ in
oscul_is_ _et_ amplexib_us_ ceteris gaudentius t_r_iumphatore_m_
aduentante_m_ suscepisse, sciscitabatur instanti_us_, _et_ toruius _et_
p_ro_t_er_uius, quid de ip_s_a fieret uel euenisset. Suspicabatur eni_m_
eam morbo detenta_m_, ipsa_m_q_ue_ cu_m_ lib_er_is [Sidenote: Fol. 8 _b_] |
suis, regis _et_ aliorum hominu_m_, ut quieti uacaret, frequentiam
declinasse. Tande_m_ cum iratus nullatenus se uelle ampli_us_ ignorare,
cu_m_ iuramento, q_u_id de uxore sua _et_ lib_er_is euenisset, uultu toruo
asseruisset, unus ex edituis omnia q_ue_ accid_er_ant, de tirannico ei_us_
mandato, _et_ mandati plenaria execuc_i_one, seriatim enarrauit.

Hiis auditis, risus in luctu_m_, gaudium i_n_ lamenta, iubilus in singultus
flebilit_er_ conu_er_tuntur, totaq_ue_ regia ululatibus personuit _et_
merorib_us_. Lugensq_ue_ rex diu ta_m_ i_m_mane infortuniu_m_, induit se
sacco cilicino, aspersum cin_er_e, ac multiplicit_er_ {234} deformatum.
Tandem monitu suorum, qui dicebant n_on_ uiror_um_ magnificor_um_ s_ed_
pocius effeminator_um_, dolorem int_er_iecto solacio nolle temperare[388],
e_ss_e propriu_m_ _et_ _con_suetudine_m_, rex cepit respirare, _et_ dolori
modu_m_ imponere. Consilio igitur p_er_itorum, qui nouerant regem
libent_er_ i_n_ te_m_pore p_ro_sp_er_o in studio uenatico plurimu_m_
delectari, conuocantur uenatores, ut rex spaciaturus uenando, dolorem
suu_m_ diminueret _et_ luctu_m_ solacio demulceret. Qui int_er_ uenandum
dum p_er_ siluaru_m_ abdita, Deo misericordiaru_m_ _et_ toci_us_
co_n_solac[_i_]onis ducente, felicit_er_ solus per inuia oberrauit, _et_
tandem ad heremitoriu_m_ memorati h_er_emite directe peruenit, eiusq_ue_
exiguu_m_ domicilium subintrans, humaniss[_im_]e _et_ cu_m_ su_m_mo gaudio
receptus _est_. Et cu_m_ humili residens sedili, membra[389] fatigata
quieti daret ad horam, recolens qual_ite_r uxore_m_ sua_m_ ibidem quonda_m_
diuinitus reperisset, _et_ feliciter educasset, _et_ educatam duxisset i_n_
uxorem, _et_ q_u_am elegantem ex ea prolem p_ro_tulisset, eruperunt lacrime
cu_m_ gemitibus, _et_ in querelas lugubres ora resoluens, hospiti suo
sinistru_m_ de uxore sua q_u_i[390] infausto sidere nup_er_ euen_er_at
qua_m_ _et_ ip_s_e q_u_onda_m_ viderat, enarrauit. At senex sereno uultu,
factus ex intrinsecus concepto gaudio alacrior, consolatus est regem, et in
uocem exultac_i_o_n_is eminus prorumpens: "Eia d_omi_ne mi rex, eia, ait;
uere Deus misericordiar_um_, D_omi_n_u_s, famulos suos quasi p_ate_r filios
in omni t_r_ibulacione p_ost_ pressuras consolatur, percutit _et_ medetur,
deicit ut gloriosius eleuet pregrauatum. Uiuit uxor tua, cum lib_er_is tuis
in o_mn_i sospitate restauratis: non meis m_er_itis, s_ed_ poci_us_ tuis,
integritati, sanitati _et_ leticie pleni_us_ qui trucidabantur
restituunt_ur_. Recognosce[391] q_u_anta fecit t_ib_i D_omi_n_u_s, _et_ in
laudes et gr_aci_ar_um_ acciones tot_us_ exurge." Tunc prosiliens
s_an_c_tu_s pre gaudio, euocauit reginam, que in int_er_iori diu_er_ticulo,
pueros suos balneo micius m_ate_rno studio _con_fouebat. Que cu_m_ ad regem
int_r_oisset, uix se [Sidenote: Fol. 9 _a_] | gaudio capiens, pedibus
mariti sui p_ro_uoluta, in lacrimis exultac_i_onis inundauit. In cuius
amplexus desid_er_atissimos rue_n_s rex, ipsam in maius q_u_am dici possit
gaudiu_m_ suscepit. Interi_m_ senex, pueros elegantissimos _et_ ex
abluc_i_one elegantiores, uestit, comit, _et_ p_ate_rno more _et_
aff_e_c_t_u componit, _et_ ad p_re_sentiam p_at_ris _et_ matris
int_r_oducit. Quos p_ate_r int_r_a {235} b_r_achia suscipiens, _et_ ad
pectus arctiorib_us_ amplexib_us_ applicans, roseis uultib_us_ infantu_m_
oscula i_m_p_r_imit m_u_ltiplicata; quos t_ame_n rore lac_r_imarum, p_re_
nimia mentis exultac_i_one, madefecit. Et cu_m_ diucius eor_um_ colloquiis
pasceret_ur_, co_n_u_er_sus rex ad senem, ait: "O p_ate_r s_anct_e, p_ate_r
dulcissime[392], me_n_tis mee reparator, _et_ gaudii cordis mei
restaurator, qua merita u_est_ra, caritatis officia, pietatisq_ue_
beneficia, p_ro_seq_u_ar remun_er_ac[_i_]one? Accipe _er_go, licet m_u_lto
maiora exigant m_er_ita tua, q_u_icq_u_id erarium meu_m_ ualet effund_er_e;
me, meos, et mea, tue expono uoluntati." At s_anctu_s, "D_omi_ne mi rex,
non decet me peccatore_m_ conu_er_su_m_ ad Do_mi_n_u_m, ad insanias quas
reliqui falsas respicere. Tu uero pocius pro a_n_i_m_ab_us_ p_at_ris tui
_et_ matris tue, quib_us_ q_u_andoq_ue_ car_us_ fuera_m_ ac familiaris,
_et_ tua, _et_ uxoris tue, _et_ lib_er_or_um_ tuor_um_ corporali sanitate,
_et_ salute sp_irit_uali, regni tui soliditate, _et_ successor_um_ tuor_um_
p_ro_sp_er_itate, Deo gratus, qui tot in te congessit beneficia, cenobium
quodda_m_ fundare, u_e_l aliquod dirutu_m_ studeas restaurare: in quo digne
_et_ laudabiliter Deo in perpetuum s_er_uiatur; _et_ tui memoria cu_m_
p_re_cib_us_ ad D_omi_n_u_m fusis, cu_m_ b_e_n_e_diccionib_us_ semp_er_
recenter recolatur." Et _con_u_er_sus ad reginam, ait, "Et tu, filia,
q_u_amuis mulier, no_n_ t_ame_n muliebrit_er_, ad hoc regem accendas _et_
admoneas diligenter, filiosq_ue_ tuos instrui facias, ut[393] _et_
D_omi_n_u_m D_eu_m, qui eos uite reparauit, studeant g_r_atant_er_
honorare, _et_ eidem fidelit_er_ famulando fundandi cenobii possessiones
ampliare, _et_ tueri libertates."

Desc_e_nsus ad sec_un_d_u_m Offa_m_.

Sanctus autem ad cellam reu_er_sus, post paucu_m_ temporis ab i_n_colatu
h_uiu_s mundi migrauit ad D_omi_n_u_m, m_er_cedem et_er_nam pro labore
temporali recepturus. Rex au_tem_, cito monita ipsius salubria da_n_s
obliuioni _et_ incurie, ex tunc ocio ac paci uacauit: prolemq_ue_ copiosam
utriusq_ue_ sexus expectabilis pulch_r_itudinis procreauit. Unde semen
regium a latere _et_ descensu felix suscepit incrementu_m_. Qui co_m_pleto
vite sue tempore, post etatem bonam q_u_ieuit in pace, _et_ regaliter
sepultus, appositus _est_ ad patres suos; in eo multu_m_ redarguend_us_,
quod cenobium[394] uotiuo aff_ect_u repromissu_m_, thesauris parcendo no_n_
construxit. Post {236} uictorias eni_m_ a D_omin_o[395] sibi collatas,
amplexib_us_ _et_ ignauie n_e_cno_n_ auaricie plus equo indulsit.
P_ro_speritas eni_m_ secularis, animos, licet [Sidenote: Fol. 9 _b_]
uir|iles, solet frequenter effeminare. Ueru_n_tamen hoc onus humeris filii
sui moritu_r_us apposuit: qui cum deuota assercione, illud sibi suscepit.
S_ed_ nec ipse Deo auerso pollicita, prout p_at_ri suo promiserat,
compleuit; set filio suo huius uoti obligac_i_onem i_n_ fine uite sue
dereliquit. Et sic memorati uoti uinculum, sine efficacia complementi de
p_at_re in filium descendens, usq_ue_ ad temp_or_a Pineredi filii Tuinfreth
suspendebatur. Quibus pro pena negligentie, tale euenit i_n_fortuniu_m_, ut
om_ne_s principes, quos Offa magnificus edomuerat, a subiecc_i_one ipsius
Offe _et_ posteritatis sue procaciter recesseru_n_t, _et_ ip_su_m
moriente_m_ despexerunt. Quia ut p_re_d_i_c_tu_m est, ad morte_m_
u_er_gens, deliciis _et_ senii ualitudine marcuit eneruatus.

De ortu secundi Offe.

Natus est igitur memorato Tuinfred[o][396] (_et_ qui de stemate regum
fuit) filius, videlicet Pineredus, usq_ue_ ad annos adolescentie
i_n_utilis, poplitib_us_ cont_r_actis, qui n_e_c oculor_um_ uel aurium
plene officio naturali fung_er_et_ur_. Unde p_at_ri suo Tuin_fredo_ _et_
m_at_ri sue Marcelline, oneri fuit no_n_ honori, _con_fusioni _et_ n_on_
exultac_i_oni. Et licet unic_us_ eis fuisset, mallent prole caruisse,
q_u_a_m_ talem habuisse. Uer_un_t_ame_n memorie reducentes euentu_m_ Offe
magni, qui in ten_er_a etate penitus erat inutilis, _et_ postea, Deo
propicio, penit_us_ sibi restitutus, mirabili strenuitate om_ne_s suos
edomuit adu_er_sarios, _et_ bello p_re_pote_n_s, gloriose multociens de
magnis hostib_us_ t_r_iu_m_phauit: spem conceperunt, quod eodem medico
medente (Chr_ist_o uidelicet, qui _eciam_ mortuos suscitat, p_ro_piciatus)
posset similiter uisitari _et_ sibi restitui. Pater igitur ei_us_ _et_
m_ate_r ip_s_um pueru_m_ inito salubri consilio, i_n_ templo presentaru_n_t
Domino, votiua deuoc_i_one firmit_er_ promitte_n_tes: "Ut si ip_su_m Deus
restauraret, q_uo_d parentes eius negligenter omiserunt, ip_s_e puer cu_m_
se facultas offerret fidelit_er_ adimpleret": videl_icet_ de cenobio[397],
cui_us_ mencio p_re_libata est, honorifice construendo: uel de diruto
restaurando. Et cum h_ec_ tam puer q_u_am p_ate_r _et_ m_ate_r deuotissime
postularent, exaudita est or_ati_o eorum a Deo, qui se nu_n_q_u_am
difficilem exhibet precib_us_ iustis supplicantium, hoc modo.


Q_u_om_od_o p_ro_sp_er_abat_ur_.

Erat in eadem regione (Mercior_um_ uidelic_et_) quidam tirannus, pocius
dest_r_uens _et_ dissipans regni nobilitatem, q_u_a_m_ rege_n_s, no_m_i_n_e
Beormredus[398]. Hic gen_er_osos, quos regius sanguis preclaros
[fecerat][399], usq_ue_ ad int_er_necionem subdole perseq_ue_batur,
relegauit, _et_ occulta nece p_er_didit iugulandos. Sciebat eni_m_, q_uo_d
uniu_er_sis de regno m_er_ito extitit odiosus; et ne aliq_u_is loco ipsius
subrogaret_ur_ (_et_ p_re_s_er_tim de sang_u_ine regio propagatus)
uehementer formidabat. Tetendit insuper laq_ue_os Tuinfredo _et_ uxori
eius, ut ip_s_os de t_er_ra expelleret, u_e_l poci_us_ p_er_d_er_et
t_r_ucidatos. [Sidenote: Fol. 10 _a_] | Puerum autem Pinefredum[400]
spreuit, n_e_c ip_su_m querere ad perdendum dignabatur; reputa_n_s eu_m_
inutilem _et_ ualitudinariu_m_. Fugientes igitur memorat_us_ T_uinfredus_
_et_ uxor ei_us_ _et_ familia a facie p_er_seq_ue_ntis, sese in locis
tucioribus receperunt, ne gen_er_ali calu_m_pnie inuolu_er_entur. Quod
comp_er_iens Pinefredus adolescens, q_u_asi a g_r_aui so_m_pno
expergefactus, erexit se: _et_ co_m_pagib_us_ neruor_um_ laxatis, _et_
miraculose prot_e_nsis, sese de longa desidia redarguens, fecit alices,
b_r_achia, crura, pedes, extendendo. Et aliquocie_n_s oscitans, cum loqui
conaretur, solutum _est_ uinculum lingue eius, _et_ loquebatur recte,
u_er_ba proferens ore facundo pro_m_pci_us_ articulata. Quid plura? de
cont_r_acto, muto, _et_ ceco, fit elegans corpore, eloquens s_er_mone, acie
p_er_spicax oculor_um_. Qui temp_or_e modico in tantam floruit ac uiguit
strenuitatem, ut null_us_ in regno M_er_cior_um_, ip_s_i in morib_us_ _et_
probitate m_u_ltiplici ualuit co_m_parari, unde ip_s_i Mercii,
s_e_c_un_d_u_m Offam, _et_ n_on_ Pinefredu_m_, iam no_m_i_n_antes (q_uia_ a
Deo respectus _et_ electus fuisset, eode_m_ m_od_o quo _et_ rex Offa filius
regis Warmundi) cep_er_unt ip_s_i quasi D_omi_no uniu_er_salit_er_
adherere; ip_su_mq_ue_ ia_m_ f_a_c_tu_m milite_m_, _contra_ regem
Beormredu_m_ _et_ eius insidias, potenter ac prudent_er_ protegere, dantes
ei dextras, _et_ fed_us_ cu_m_ ip_s_o, prestitis iuramentis, ineuntes. Quod
audiens Beormredus, doluit, _et_ dolens timuit sibi vehement_er_.
Penituitq_ue_ eu_m_ amarissime, ip_su_m Pinefredum[400] (qui iam Offa
nominabat_ur_) cum cet_er_is fraudulenter no_n_ int_er_emisse....


[Sidenote: Fol. 11 _a_]

Qualiter Offa rex uxore_m_ dux_er_it.

Diebus itaq_ue_ sub eisde_m_, regnante in Francia Karolo rege magno ac
uictoriosissimo, queda_m_ puella, facie uenusta, s_ed_ mente nimis
i_n_honesta, ip_s_i regi co_n_sanguinea, pro quoda_m_ q_u_od pat_r_au_er_at
c_r_imine flagiciosissimo, addicta est iudicialiter morti ignominiose;
ueru_m_, ob regie dignitatis reuerentiam, igni uel ferro tradenda n_on_
iudicatur, s_ed_ in nauicula armamentis carente, apposito uictu tenui,
uentis _et_ mari, eor_um_q_ue_ ambiguis casib_us_ exponitur
_con_de_m_pnata. Que diu uariis[401] p_ro_cellis exagitata, tande_m_
fortuna trahente, litori Britonu_m_ est appulsa, et cu_m_ in t_er_ra
subiecta potestati regis Offe memorata ci_m_ba applicuiss_et_,
co_n_sp_e_ctui regis p_ro_tin__us__ p_re_sentat_ur_. Int_er_ogata au_tem_
q_ue_nam e_ss_et, respondens, p_at_ria lingua affi_r_mauit, se Karolo regi
F_r_ancor_um_ fuisse _con_sa_n_guinitate p_ro_pi_n_q_u_am, Dridamq_ue_
no_m_i_n_ata_m_, s_ed_ p_er_ tirannide_m_ [Sidenote: Fol. 11 _b_] |
quor_un_dam ignobiliu_m_ (quor_um_ nuptias ne degeneraret, spreuit) tali
fuisse disc_r_imini adiudicatam, abortisq_ue_ lac_r_imis addidit dice_n_s,
"Deus aute_m_ qui innocentes a laq_ue_is insidia_n_tiu_m_ lib_er_at, me
captiuam ad alas tue p_ro_tec_i_onis, o regum serenissime, felicit_er_
transmisit, vt meu_m_ infortuniu_m_, i_n_ auspicium fortunatu_m_
t_r_ansmutet_ur_, _et_ beatior i_n_ exilio q_u_a_m_ in natali p_at_ria, ab
o_mn_i p_re_dicer post_er_itate."

Rex au_tem_ u_er_bor_um_ suor_um_ ornatu_m_ _et_ eloq_ue_ntiam, _et_
corporis puellaris cultu_m_ _et_ elegantia_m_ considerans[402], motus
pietate, precepit ut ad comitissa_m_ Marcellin[am][403] matre_m_ sua_m_
tucius duceretur alenda, ac mitius sub tam honeste matrone custodia,
don_e_c regiu_m_ mandatu_m_ audiret, co_n_fouenda. Puelle igitur infra
paucos dies, macie _et_ pallore per alimenta depulsis, rediit decor
pristinus, ita ut mulieru_m_ pulch_er_ima censeretur. S_ed_ cito in u_er_ba
iactantie _et_ elac_i_onis (s_e_c_un_d_u_m p_at_rie sue co_n_suetudine_m_)
proru_m_pens, d_omi_ne sue comitisse, q_ue_ m_ate_rno aff_e_c_t_u eam
dulcit_er_ educau_er_at, molesta nimis fuit, ip_s_am procaciter
conte_m_pnendo. S_ed_ comitissa, pro amore filii sui regis, o_mn_ia
pacienter tolerauit: licet _et_ ip_s_a d_i_c_t_a puella, int_er_ comite_m_
_et_ comitissam u_er_ba discordie seminasset. Una igitur dieru_m_, cu_m_
rex ip_s_am causa uisitac_i_onis adiens, u_er_b_is_ _con_solatoriis {239}
alloq_ue_retur, incidit i_n_ retia amoris illius; erat eni_m_ iam sp_eci_es
illius co_n_cupiscibilis. Clandestino _i_gi_tur_ ac repentino m_at_rimonio
ip_s_am sibi, i_ncon_sultis p_at_re _et_ m_at_re, n_e_cno_n_ _et_
magnatib_us_ suis uniu_er_sis, copulauit. Unde ut_er_q_ue_ parentu_m_,
dolore ac tedio i_n_ etate senili _con_tabescens, dies uite abreuiando, sue
mortis horam lugubrit_er_ anticiparu_n_t; sciebant eni_m_ ipsam mulierculam
fuisse _et_ regalibus amplexibus prorsus indignam; perpendebantq_ue_ iamiam
ueracissime, n_on_ sine causa exilio lacrimabili, ipsam, ut pr_e_d_i_c_tu_m
_est_, fuisse conde[_m_]pnatam. Cu_m_ aut_em_ annos longeue senectutis
vixisset[404] comes T_uinfredus_, _et_ p_re_ senectute caligasse_n_t oculi
ei_us_, data filio suo regi b_e_n_e_d_i_c_i_one, nature debita persoluit;
cui_us_ corpus magnifice, p_ro_ut decuit, tradidit sepulture. Anno
q_u_o_que_ sub eode_m_ uxor ei_us_ comitissa M_arcellina_, m_ate_r
uidelic_et_ regis, valedicens filio, ab huius incolatu seculi feliciter

[Sidenote: Fol. 19_a_]

De s_anct_o Ælb_er_to[405] cui t_er_cia filia regis Offe t_r_ad_e_nda fuit

Erat quoq_ue_ quida_m_ iuuenis, cui rex Offa regnu_m_ Orientalium
Anglor_um_, q_uo_d eu_m_ iure sanguinis _con_ti_n_gebat, co_n_cesserat,
no_m_i_n_e Ælbertus. De cui_us_ virtutibus[406] q_u_ida_m_ u_er_sificator,
solitus regu_m_ laudes _et_ gesta describ_er_e, elegant_er_ ait;

  Ælb_er_tus iuuenis fuerat rex, fortis ad arma,
  Pace pius, pulch_er_ corpore, me_n_te sagax.

Cu_m_q_ue_ Hu_m_b_er_t_us_ Archiep_is_c_opus_ Lichefeld_e_nsis, _et_ Vnwona
Ep_is_c_opus_ Legrecestr_en_sis, uiri s_anct_i _et_ discreti, et de nobili
stirpe M_er_cior_um_ oriundi, speciales essent regis _con_siliarii, _et_
semp_er_ q_ue_ honesta era_n_t _et_ iusta atq_ue_ utilia, regi Offe
suggessissent, i_n_uidebat eis regina uxor Offe, q_ue_ p_r_ius Drida,
postea u_er_o Quendrida, id est regina Drida, q_uia_ regi ex insp_er_ato
nupsit, est app_e_llata: sicut i_n_ p_re_cedentib_us_ pleni_us_
enarrat_ur_. Mulier auara et subdola, sup_er_biens, eo q_uo_d ex stirpe
Karoli origine_m_ duxerat, et i_n_exorabili odio uiros memoratos
p_er_seq_ue_batur, tende_n_s eis muscipulas muliebres. Porro cu_m_ ip_s_i
reges sup_r_ad_i_c_t_os regi Offe in sp_irit_u consilii salubrit_er_
re_con_ciliassent, _et_ ut eide_m_ regi fed_er_e m_at_rimoniali
speciali_us_ _con_iungerent_ur_, dilig_e_nt_er_ _et_ efficacit_er_
p_ro_curassent, ip_s_a mulier f_a_c_t_a eor_um_ {240} nitebat_ur_ i_n_
irritu_m_ reuocare, n_e_c pot_er_at, quib_us_ acriter inuidebat. Ip_s_as
eni_m_ puellas filias suas, ultramarinis, alienigenis, in regis
supplantac_i_one_m_ et regni M_er_c_i_or_um_ p_er_niciem, credidit
t_r_adidisse marita_n_das. Cui_us_ rei p_re_scii d_i_c_t_i Ep_iscop_i,
muliebre co_n_siliu_m_ prudencie repagulis impediebant. Uerum et adhuc
tercia filia regis Offe i_n_ thalamo regine remansit maritanda, Ælfleda
no_m_i_n_e. Procurantib_us_ _i_gi_tur_ sup_r_ad_i_c_t_is ep_iscop_is,
inclinatu_m_ est[407] cor regis ad co_n_sensum, lic_et_ _contr_adic_er_et
regina, ut _et_[408] h_ec_ regi Ælb_er_to nuptui trad_er_et_ur_: ut _et_
sic speciali_us_ regi O_ffe_ teneretur i_n_ fidelitate dilec_i_onis
obligatus. Uocat_us i_gi_tur_ rex Ælb_er_t_us_, a rege O_ffa_, ut filiam
sua_m_ desponsaret, affuit festiu_us_ [Sidenote: Fol. 19_b_] | et gaudens,
ob honorem sibi a tanto rege oblatum. Cui amicabiliter rex occurrens
aduentanti, recepit ip_su_m in osculo _et_ p_ate_rno amplexu, dicens:
"Prospere ueneris fili _et_ gen_er_, ex h_oc_, iuuenis amantissime, te in
filiu_m_ adopto specialem." S_ed_ h_ec_ postq_u_am eff_er_ate regine
plenius i_n_notuer_i_t[409], plus accensa est liuore ac furore, dole_n_s
eu_m_ pietatis i_n_ manu[410] regis _et_ suor_um_ fidelium prosperari.
Vide_n_sq_ue_ sue neq_u_icie argumenta minime p_re_ualere, n_e_c hanc
salte_m_ t_er_ciam filiam sua_m_, ad uolu_n_tatem suam alic_u_i
t_r_ansmarino amico suo, i_n_ regni subu_er_sione_m_ (q_uo_d c_er_tissime
sperauerat) dare nuptui, cu_m_ n_on_ p_re_ualuisset i_n_ d_i_c_t_os
ep_iscop_os h_uius_ rei auctores emin_us_ malignari, i_n_ Ælb_er_tu_m_
regem uir_us_ sue malicie truculent_er_ euomuit, hoc m_od_o.

Fraus mulieb_ri_s c_r_udelissima.

Rex hui_us_ rei ignarus tanta_m_ latitasse fraude_m_ n_on_ credebat, i_m_mo
poci_us_ credebat h_ec_ ip_s_i o_mn_ia placit_ur_a. Cu_m_ igit_ur_ rex
piissim_us_ ipsa_m_ sup_er_ p_re_missis[411] secreci_us_ co_n_ueniret,
_con_siliu_m_ q_ue_rens q_u_al_ite_r _et_ q_u_ando forent _com_plenda,
h_ec_ respondit: "Ecce t_r_adidit D_eu_s hodie inimicu_m_ tuu_m_, t_ib_i
caute, si sapis, t_r_ucidandu_m_, qui sub specie sup_er_ficiali, uenenu_m_
prodic_i_o_n_is i_n_ te _et_ regnu_m_ tuu_m_ ex_er_cende, neq_u_it_er_, ut
fertur, occultauit. Et te cupit iam senesc_e_nte_m_, cu_m_ sit iuuenis _et_
elegans, de regno supplanta_n_do precipitare; _et_ posteru_m_ suor_um_,
i_m_mo _et_ multoru_m_, ut iactitat, quos regnis _et_ possessionibus
uiolent_er_ {241} _et_ iniuste spoliasti, iniurias ui_n_dicare. In cui_us_
rei fidem, michi a meis amicis significatu_m_ est, quod regis Karoli multis
mun_er_ibus _et_ nu_n_ciis ocultis int_er_meantib_us_, implorat ad h_oc_
patrociniu_m_: se sponde_n_s ei fore tributariu_m_. Illo igitur, dum se
t_ib_i fortuna p_re_bet fauorabile_m_, extincto latent_er_, regnu_m_ ei_us_
in ius tuu_m_ _et_ successor_um_ tuor_um_ t_r_anseat in et_er_nu_m_."

Cui rex mente nimiu_m_ p_er_turbatus, _et_ de u_er_bis quib_us_ credidit
i_n_e_ss_e ueraciter falsitate_m_ _et_ fraude_m_, cu_m_ indignacione ipsam
i_n_crepando, respondit: "Quasi una d_e_ stultis mulierib_us_ locuta es!
Absit a me, absit, tam detestabile f_a_c_tu_m! Quo perpetrato, m_ih_i
meisq_ue_ successorib_us_ foret obprobriu_m_ sempit_er_nu_m_, et
p_e_cc_atu_m i_n_ gen_us_ meu_m_ c_um_ g_r_aui uind_i_c_t_a diuci_us_
propagabile." Et hiis d_i_c_t_is, rex iratus ab ea recessit; detestans
ta_n_tos ac tales occultos laq_ue_os in muliere latitasse.

Interea mentis p_er_turbac_i_one paulati_m_ deposita, _et_ hiis ciuilit_er_
dissimulatis, reges co_n_sederunt ad me_n_sam pransuri: ubi regalib_us_
esculentis _et_ poculentis refecti, in ti_m_panis, citharis, _et_ choris,
diem totu_m_ in i_n_genti gaudio expleu_er_unt. S_ed_ regina malefica,
int_er_im a ferali p_ro_posito n_on_ recedens, iussit i_n_ dolo thalamu_m_
more regio pallis sericis _et_ auleis solle_m_pnit_er_ adornari, i_n_ q_u_o
rex Ælb_er_tus nocturnu_m_ caperet so_m_pnu_m_; iuxta stratu_m_ quoq_ue_
regium sedile p_re_parari fecit, cultu nobilissimo ext_r_uctu_m_, _et_
cortinis undiq_ue_ redimitu_m_. Sub q_u_o _eciam_ fossam p_re_parari fecit
profunda_m_, [Sidenote: Fol. 20_a_] | ut nephandu_m_ propositu_m_
perduc_er_et ad eff_e_c_tu_m.

De martirio S_an_c_t_i Ælb_er_ti, regis innocentissimi.

Regina uero uultu sereno _con_ceptu_m_ scelus pallians, intrauit i_n_
palatiu_m_, ut tam regem Offanu_m_ q_u_am rege_m_ Ælb_er_tu_m_ exhilararet.
Et int_er_ iocandu_m_, co_n_u_er_sa ad Ælb_er_tum, n_ih_il sinistri[412]
suspicantem, ait, "Fili, ueni uisendi causa puellam t_ib_i nuptu
copulanda_m_, te i_n_ thalamo meo sicient_er_ exp_e_ctante_m_, ut
s_er_monib_us_ g_r_atissimis amores subarres profut_ur_os." Surge_n_s
_i_gi_tur_ rex Ælb_er_tus, secut_us_ est regina_m_ i_n_ thalamu_m_
i_n_grediente_m_: rege Offano remanente, q_u_i nil mali formidabat.
Ingresso _i_gi_tur_ rege Æ_lberto_ cu_m_ regina, exclusi su_n_t om_ne_s qui
eundem e uestigio seq_ue_bant_ur_ sui co_m_militones. Et cu_m_ puellam
exp_e_ctasset, ait regina: "Sede fili du_m_ ueniat aduocata."

{242} Et cu_m_ in memorato sedili residisset, cu_m_ ip_s_a sella in fosse
corruit profunditate_m_. In q_u_a, subito a lictorib_us_ quos regina no_n_
procul abscond_er_at, rex innocens suffocatus expirauit. Na_m_ ilico cu_m_
corruisset, proiec_er_unt sup_er_ eu_m_ regina _et_ sui _com_plices
nepha_n_dissimi puluinaria cu_m_ uestib_us_ _et_ cortinis, ne clamans ab
aliq_u_ib_us_ audiret_ur_. Et sic elegantissimus iuuenis rex _et_ martir
Æ_lbertus_, innoce_n_t_er_ _et_ sine noxa extinctus, accepit corona_m_
uite, [q_ua_m][413] ad i_n_star Joh_ann_is Bapt_iste_ mulieris laq_ue_is
irretitus, meruit optinere.

Puella u_er_o regis filia Ælfleda ui_r_guncula uen_us_tissima, cu_m_ h_ec_
audisset, no_n_ t_antu_m mat_r_is detestata facinora, s_ed_ toci_us_ seculi
pomp_am_ relinq_ue_ns, h_ab_itu_m_ suscep_i_t religio_n_is, u_t_ ui_r_go
martiris uestigia seq_ue_ret_ur_. [_P_]orro[414] ad augmentu_m_[415]
muliebris tirannidis[416], decollatu_m_ _est_ corp_us_culu_m_ exanime
q_uia_ adhuc palpitans uidebatur. Clam _i_gi_tur_ delatum est corpus cu_m_
capite, usq_ue_ ad partes remociores ad occultandum sub profundo t_er_re,
et dum spiculator c_r_uentus ista ferret, caput obiter amissu_m_ est
feliciter: nox eni_m_ erat, _et_ festinabat lictor, _et_ ap_er_to ore
sacci, caput cecidit euolutu_m_, ignorante h_oc_ portitore. Corpus au_tem_
ab ip_s_o carnifice sine aliquo teste conscio ignobilit_er_ est humatu_m_.
Contigit au_tem_, D_e_o sic disponente, u_t_ quida_m_ cecus eadem via
g_r_aderetur, baculo semitam p_re_te_m_ptante. Habens au_tem_ caput
memoratu_m_ pro pedu_m_ offendiculo, mirabatur q_u_idna_m_ esset: erat
eni_m_ pes ei_us_ irretitus i_n_ cincinnis capitis flauis _et_ prolixis. Et
palpans c_er_cius cognouit[417] e_ss_e caput hominis decollati. Et datu_m
est_ ei i_n_ sp_irit_u intelligere, q_uo_d alicui_us_ s_an_c_t_i caput
e_ss_et, ac iuuenis. Et cu_m_ maduissent man_us_ ei_us_ sanguine, apposuit
_et_ sang_u_inem faciei sue: _et_ loco ubi q_ua_n_do_q_ue_ oculi ei_us_
extit_er_ant, et ilico restitutus est ei uisus; et quod habuerat p_ro_
pedum offendiculo, factum est ei felix luminis restitucio. S_ed_ et in
eodem loco q_u_o caput s_an_c_tu_m iacuerat, fons erupit lucidissimus. Quod
cum celebriter[418] fuerat diuulgatum, comp_er_tu_m_ _est_ hoc fuisse caput
s_an_c_t_i adolescentis Æ_lberti_, q_ue_m regina i_n_ thalamo neq_u_iter
fec_i_t sugillari ac decollari. Corp_us_ au_tem_ ubinam locorum
occultatu_m_ fuerat, penit_us_ ignorat_ur_. H_oc_ cu_m_ _con_staret
Hu_m_b_er_to Archiep_iscop_o, f_act_a capside ex auro _et_ argento, illud
iussit in tesauro recondi p_re_c_i_oso in Ecc_lesi_a Herefordensi.

[Illustration: Drida (Thryth) entraps Albertus (Æthelberht) of East Anglia,
and causes him to be slain

_From MS Cotton Nero D. I, fol. 19 b._

   hraþe seoþðan wæs
æfter mund-[gh]ripe m[=e]ce [gh]epin[gh]ed.
(_Beowulf_, ll. 1937-8.) ]


De p_re_d_ict_i facinoris ul_ci_one.

Cuius tande_m_ detestabilis sceleris a regina perpetrati, ad
co_m_militonu_m_ b_eat_i re_gis_ _et_ Ma_rti_ris aures cum[419]
p_er_ueniss_et_, fama celeri_us_ ante luce_m_ aurore diei seq_ue_ntis
clanculo recesserunt, ne de ipsis simile fieret iudiciu_m_ metuentes. Unde
dolens regina, in thalamo ficta i_n_firmitate decubans, q_u_asi uulpecula

Rex u_er_o Offa cu_m_ de co_m_misso facinore c_er_titudine_m_
co_m_perisset, sese lugens, in cenac_u_lo int_er_iori recludens,
pe[_r_][420] tres dies cibum penit_us_ no_n_ gustauit, anima_m_ sua_m_
lac_r_imis, lamentac_i_o_n_ib_us_, _et_ ieiunio uehement_er_ affligens. Et
execrans mulieris impietate_m_, eam iussit om_n_ib_us_ uite sue dieb_us_
inclusam i_n_ loco remota_m_ secrec_i_ori pecc_at_a sua deplorare, si forte
s_i_bi celitus collata gr_aci_a, penite_n_do tanti co_m_missi facinoris
maculam posset abolere. Rex au_tem_ ip_s_am postea ut sociam lat_er_is in
lecto suo dormire quasi susp_e_cta_m_ n_on_ p_er_misit[421].

De morte illi_us_ facinorose regine.

In loco igitur sibi d_e_putato, co_m_morante regina annis aliq_u_ot,
insidiis latronu_m_ preuenta, auro _et_ argento quo multu_m_ habundabat
spoliata[422], in puteo suo prop_r_io p_re_cipitata, spiritu_m_ exalauit;
iusto d_e_i iudic_i_o sic _con_de_m_pnata, ut sicut regem Ælb_er_tu_m_
innocente_m_ in foueam fecit p_re_cipitari, _et_ p_re_cipitatum suffocari,
sic i_n_ putei profunditate s_u_bm_er_sa, uita_m_ mis_er_a_m_ t_er_minaret.

       *       *       *       *       *

O. _WIDSITH_, ll. 18, 24-49

  18. Ætla, w[=e]old H[=u]num, Eormanr[=i]c [GH]otum,
        *    *    *    *    *    *
      Þ[=e]odr[=i]c w[=e]old Froncum, þyle Rondin[gh]u_m_,
  25. Breoca Brondin[gh]u_m_, Billin[gh] Wernum.
      [=O]swine w[=e]old [=E]owum _ond_ [=Y]tum [GH]efwulf,
      Fin Folcwaldin[gh] Fr[=e]sna cynne.
      Si[gh]ehere len[gh]est S[=æ]-Denum w[=e]old,
      Hnæf H[=o]cin[gh]um, Helm Wulfin[gh]u_m_,
  30. Wald W[=o]in[gh]um, W[=o]d Þyrin[gh]u_m_,
      S[=æ]ferð Syc[gh]um, Sw[=e]om On[gh]endþ[=e]ow,
      Sceafthere Ymbrum, Sc[=e]afa Lon[gh]-Beardu_m_,
      H[=u]n Hætwerum, _ond_ Holen Wrosnum.
      Hrin[gh]weald wæs h[=a]ten Herefarena cyning.
  35. Offa w[=e]old Ongle, Alew[=i]h Denu_m_:
      s[=e] wæs þ[=a]ra manna m[=o]d[gh]ast ealra;
      n[=o]hwæþre h[=e] ofer Offan eorlscype fremede,
      ac Offa [gh]esl[=o][gh] [=æ]rest monna
      cniht wesende cyner[=i]ca m[=æ]st;
  40. n[=æ]ni[gh] efen-eald him eorlscipe m[=a]ran
      on [=o]rette [=a]ne sweorde:
      merce [gh]em[=æ]rde wið Myr[gh]in[gh]u_m_
      b[=i] F[=i]feldore; h[=e]oldon forð siþþan
      En[gh]le _ond_ Sw[=æ]fe, sw[=a] hit Offa [gh]esl[=o][gh].
  45. Hr[=o]þwulf _ond_ Hr[=o]ð[gh][=a]r h[=e]oldon len[gh]est
      sibbe ætsomne suhtorfædran,
      siþþan h[=y] forwr[=æ]con w[=i]cin[gh]a cynn
      _ond_ In[gh]eldes ord forb[=i][gh]dan,
      forh[=e]owan æt Heorote Heaðo-Beardna þrym.

       *       *       *       *       *





The _Finnsburg Fragment_ was discovered two centuries ago in the library of
Lambeth Palace by George Hickes. It was written on a single leaf, which was
transcribed and published by Hickes: but the leaf is not now to be found.
This is to be regretted for reasons other than sentimental, since Hickes'
transcript is far from accurate[423].

The _Fragment_ begins and breaks off in the middle of a line: but possibly
not much has been lost at the beginning. For the {246} first lines of the
fragment, as preserved, reveal a well-loved opening motive--the call to
arms within the hall, as the watcher sees the foes approach. It was with
such a call that the _Bjarkamál_, the poem on the death of Rolf Kraki,
began: "a good call to work" as a fighting king-saint thought it[424]. It
is with a similar summons to business that the _Finnsburg Fragment_ begins.
The watchman has warned the king within the hall that he sees lights
approaching--so much we can gather from the two and a half words which are
preserved from the watchman's speech, and from the reply made by the
"war-young" king: "This is not the dawn which is rising, but dire deeds of
woe; to arms, my men." And the defending warriors take their posts: at the
one door Sigeferth and Eaha: at the other Ordlaf and Guthlaf, and Hengest

Then the poet turns to the foes, as they approach for the attack. The text
as reported by Hickes is difficult: but it seems that Garulf[426] is the
name of the warrior about to lead the assault on the hall. Another warrior,
Guthere, whether a friend, kinsman, or retainer[427] we do not know, is
dissuading him, urging him not to risk so precious a life in the first
brunt. But Garulf pays no heed; he challenges the champion on guard: "Who
is it who holds the door?"

"Sigeferth is my name," comes the reply, "Prince I am of the Secgan: a
wandering champion known far and wide: many a woe, many a hard fight have I
endured: from me canst thou have what thou seekest."

So the clash of arms begins: and the first to fall is Garulf, son of
Guthlaf: and many a good man round him. "The swords flashed as if all
Finnsburg were afire."


Never, we are told, was there a better defence than that of the sixty
champions within the hall. "Never did retainers repay the sweet mead better
than his bachelors did unto Hnæf. For five days they fought, so that none
of the men at arms fell: but they held the doors." After a few more lines
the piece breaks off.

There are many textual difficulties here. But these, for the most part, do
not affect the actual narrative, which is a story of clear and
straightforward fighting. It is when we try to fit this narrative into
relationship with the _Episode_ in _Beowulf_ that our troubles begin.
Within the _Fragment_ itself one difficulty only need at present be
mentioned. Guthlaf is one of the champions defending the hall. Yet the
leader of the assault, Garulf, is spoken of as Guthlaf's son. Of course it
is possible that we have here a tragic incident parallel to the story of
Hildebrand and Hadubrand: father and son may have been separated through
earlier misadventures, and now find themselves engaged on opposite sides.
This would harmonize with the atmosphere of the _Finnsburg_ story, which is
one of slaughter breaking out among men near of kin, so that afterwards an
uncle and a nephew are burnt on the same pyre. And it has been noted[428]
that Garulf rushes to the attack only after he has asked "Who holds the
door?" and has learnt that it is Sigeferth: Guthlaf had gone to the
opposite door. Can Garulf's question mean that he knows his father Guthlaf
to be inside the hall, and wishes to avoid conflict with him? Possibly; but
I do not think we can argue much from this double appearance of the name
Guthlaf. It is possible that the occurrence of Guthlaf as Garulf's father
is simply a scribal error. For, puzzling as the tradition of _Finnsburg_
everywhere is, it is peculiarly puzzling in its proper names, which are
mostly given in forms that seem to have undergone some alteration. And even
if _G[=u]ðl[=a]fes sunu_ be correctly written, it is possible that the
Guthlaf who is father of Garulf is not to be identified with the Guthlaf
whom Garulf is besieging within the hall[429].


One or other of these rather unsatisfactory solutions must unfortunately be
accepted. For no theory is possible which will save us from admitting that,
according to the received text, Guthlaf is fighting on the one side, and a
"son of Guthlaf" on the other.

       *       *       *       *       *


Further details of the story we get in the _Episode_ of _Finnsburg_, as
recorded in _Beowulf_ (ll. 1068-1159).

Beowulf is being entertained in the court of the king of the Danes, and the
king's harper tells the tale of Hengest and Finn. Only the main events are
enumerated. There are none of the dramatic speeches which we find in the
_Fragment_. It is evident that the tale has been reduced in scope, in order
that it may be fitted into its place as an episode in the longer epic.

The tone, too, is quite different. Whereas the _Fragment_ is inspired by
the lust and joy of battle, the theme of the _Episode_, as told in
_Beowulf_, is rather the pity of it all; the legacy of mourning and
vengeance which is left to the survivors:

  For never can true reconcilement grow
  Where wounds of deadly hate have struck so deep.

It is on this note that the _Episode_ in _Beowulf_ begins: with the tragic
figure of Hildeburh. Hildeburh is closely related to both contending
parties. She is sister to Hnæf, prince of the "Half-Danes," and she is
wedded to Finn, king of the Frisians. Whatever may be obscure in the story,
it is clear that a fight has taken place between the men of Hnæf and those
of Finn, and that Hnæf has been slain: probably by Finn directly, though
perhaps by his followers[430]. A son of Finn has also fallen.

With regard to the peoples concerned there are difficulties. Finn's
Frisians are presumably the main Frisian race, dwelling in and around the
district still known as Friesland; for in the Catalogue of Kings in
_Widsith_ it is said that "Finn Folcwalding {249} ruled the kin of the
Frisians[431]." Hnæf and his people are called Half-Danes, Danes and
Scyldings; Hnæf is therefore presumably related to the Danish royal house.
But, in no account which has come down to us of that house, are Hnæf or his
father Hoc ever mentioned as kings or princes of Denmark, and their
connection with the family of Hrothgar, the great house of Scyldings who
ruled Denmark from the capital of Leire, remains obscure. In _Widsith_, the
people ruled over by Hnæf are called "children of Hoc" (_H[=o]cingum_), and
are mentioned immediately after the "Sea-Danes[432]."

Then there is a mysterious people called the _Eotens_, upon whom is placed
the blame of the struggle: "Verily Hildeburh had little reason to praise
the good faith of the Eotens." This is the typical understatement of Old
English rhetoric: it can only point to deliberate treachery on the part of
the Eotens. Our interpretation of the poem will therefore hinge largely
upon our interpretation of this name. There have been two views as to the
Eotens. The one view holds them to be Hnæf's Danes, and consequently places
on Hnæf the responsibility for the aggression. This theory is, I think,
quite wrong, and has been the cause of much confusion: but it has been held
by scholars of great weight[433]. The other view regards the Eotens as
subjects {250} of Finn and foes of Hnæf. This view has been more generally
held, and it is, as I shall try to show, only along these lines that a
satisfactory solution can be found.

The poet continues of the woes of Hildeburh. "Guiltless, she lost at the
war those whom she loved, child and brother. They fell as was fated,
wounded by the spear, and a sad lady was she. Not for naught did the
daughter of Hoc [i.e. Hildeburh] bewail her fate when morning came, when
under the sky she could behold the murderous bale of her kinsfolk...."

Then the poet turns to the figure of Finn, king of the Frisians. His cause
for grief is as deep as that of Hildeburh. For he has lost that body of
retainers which to a Germanic chief, even as to King Arthur, was dearer
than a wife[434]. "War swept away all the retainers of Finn, except some

What follows is obscure, but as to the general drift there is no doubt.
After the death of their king Hnæf, the besieged Danes are led by Hengest.
Hengest must be Hnæf's retainer, for he is expressly so called (_þ[=e]odnes
þegn_) "the king's thegn." So able is the defence of Hengest, and so heavy
the loss among Finn's men, that Finn has to come to terms. Peace is made
between Finn and Hengest, and the terms are given fully in the _Episode_.
Unfortunately, owing to the confusion of pronouns, we soon lose our way
amidst the clauses of this treaty, and it becomes exceedingly difficult to
say who are the people who are alluded to as "they." This is peculiarly
unlucky because here again the critical word _Eotena_ occurs, but amid such
a tangle of "thems" and "theys" that it is not easy to tell from this
passage to which side the Eotens belong[435].

But one thing in the treaty is indisputable. In the midst of these
complicated clauses, it is said of the Danes, the retainers {251} of Hnæf,
that they are not to be taunted with a certain fact: or perhaps it may be
that they are not, when speaking amongst themselves, to remind each other
of a certain fact. However that may be, what _is_ clear is the _fact_, the
mention of which is barred. Nothing is to be said of it, even though "_they
were following the slayer (bana) of their lord, being without a prince,
since they were compelled so to do_." Here, at least, are two lines about
the interpretation of which we can be certain: and I shall therefore return
to them. We must be careful, however, to remember that the word _bana_,
"slayer," conveys no idea of fault or criminality. It is a quite neutral
word, although it has frequently been mistranslated "murderer," and has
thus helped to encourage the belief that Finn slew Hnæf by treachery. Of
course it conveys no such implication: _bana_ can be applied to one who
slays another in self-defence: it implies neither the one thing nor the

Then the poet turns to the funeral of the dead champions, who are burned on
one pyre by the now reconciled foes. The bodies of Hnæf and of the son (or
sons)[436] of Hildeburh are placed together, uncle and nephew side by side,
whilst Hildeburh stands by lamenting.

Then, we are told, the warriors, deprived of their friends, departed to
Friesland, to their homes and to their high-city.

Hengest still continued to dwell for the whole of that winter with Finn,
and could not return home because of the winter storms. But when spring
came and the bosom of the earth became fair, there came also the question
of Hengest's departure: but he thought more of vengeance than of his
sea-journey: "If he might bring about that hostile meeting which he kept in
his mind concerning the child (or children) of the Eotens." Here again the
word _Eotena_ is used ambiguously, but, I think, this time not without some
indication of its meaning. It has indeed been urged that the child or
children of the Eotens are Hnæf, and any other Danes who may have fallen
with him, and that when it is said that Hengest keeps them in mind, it is
meant that he is remembering his fallen comrades with a view to taking
{252} vengeance for them. But this would be a queer way of speaking, as
Hengest and his living comrades would on this theory be also themselves
children of the Eotens[437]. We should therefore need the term to be
further defined: "children of the Eotens _who fell at Finnsburg_." It seems
far more likely, from the way in which the expression is used here, that
the children of the Eotens are the people _upon_ whom Hengest intends to
take vengeance.

Then, we are further told, Hunlafing places in the bosom of Hengest a sword
of which the edges were well known amongst the Eotens. Here again there has
been ambiguity, dispute and doubt. Hunlafing has been even bisected into a
chief "Hun," and a sword "Lafing" which "Hun" is supposed to have placed in
the bosom of Hengest (or of someone else). Upon this act of "Hun" many an
interpretation has been placed, and many a theory built. Fortunately it has
become possible, by a series of rather extraordinary discoveries, such as
we had little reason to hope for at this time of day, to put Hunlafing
together again. We now know (and this I think should be regarded as outside
the region of controversy) that the warrior who put the sword into
Hengest's bosom _was_ Hunlafing. And about Hunlafing we gather, though very
little, yet enough to help us. He is apparently a Dane, the son of Hunlaf,
and Hunlaf is the brother of the two champions Guthlaf and Ordlaf[438]. Now
Guthlaf and Ordlaf, as we know from the _Fragment_, were in the hall
together {253} with Hengest: it was "Guthlaf, Ordlaf and Hengest himself"
who undertook the defence of one of the doors against the assailants.
Guthlaf and Ordlaf were apparently sons of the king of Denmark. As
Scyldings they would be Hnæf's kinsmen, and accompanied him to his meeting
with Finn. Hunlafing, then, is a nephew of two champions who were attacked
in the hall, and it is possible, though we cannot prove this, that his
father Hunlaf was himself also in the hall, and was slain in the
struggle[439]. At any rate, when Hunlaf's son places a sword in the bosom
of Hengest, this can only mean one thing. It means mischief. The placing of
the sword, by a prince, in the bosom of another, is a symbol of
war-service. It means that Hengest has accepted obligations to a Danish
lord, a Scylding, a kinsman of the dead Hnæf, and consequently that he
means to break the troth which he has sworn to Finn.

Further, we are told concerning the sword, that its edges were well known
amongst the Eotens. At first sight this might seem, and to many has seemed,
an ambiguous phrase, for a sword may be well known amongst either friends
or foes. The old poets loved nothing better than to dwell upon the
adornments of a sword, to say how a man, by reason of a fine sword which
had been given to him, was honoured amongst his associates at table[440].
But if this had been the poet's meaning here, he would surely have dwelt,
not upon the edges of the sword, but upon its gold-adorned hilt, or its
jewelled pommel. When he says the _edges_ of the sword were well known
amongst the Eotens, this seems to convey a hostile meaning. We know that
the ill-faith of the Eotens was the cause of the trouble. The phrase about
the sword seems therefore to mean that Hengest used this sword in order to
take vengeance on the Eotens, presumably for their treachery.

The _Eotenas_, therefore, far from being the men of Hnæf and Hengest, must
have been their foes.

Then the poet goes on to tell how "Dire sword-bale came upon the valiant
Finn likewise." The Danes fell upon Finn at {254} his own home, reddened
the floor of his hall with the life-blood of his men, slew him, plundered
his town, and led his wife back to her own people.

Here the _Episode_ ends.

       *       *       *       *       *


Now our first task is to find what is the relation between the events told
in the _Fragment_ and the events told in the _Episode_ in _Beowulf_. It
can, I think, be shown that the events of the _Fragment_ precede the events
of the _Episode_ in _Beowulf_; that is to say that the fight in the hall,
of which we are told in the _Fragment_, is the same fight which has taken
place before the _Episode_ in _Beowulf_ begins, the fight which has
resulted in the slaughter over which Hildeburh laments, and which
necessitates the great funeral described in the first part of the _Episode_
(ll. 1108-24).

How necessary it is to place the _Fragment_ here, before the beginning of
the _Episode_, will be best seen, I think, if we examine the theory which
has tried to place it elsewhere.

This is the theory, worked out elaborately and ingeniously by Möller[441],
a theory which has had considerable vogue, and many of the assumptions of
which have been widely accepted. According to Möller and his followers, the
story ran something like this:

    "Finn, king of the Frisians, had carried off Hildeburh, daughter of Hoc
    (1076), probably with her consent. Her father Hoc seems to have pursued
    the fugitives, and to have been slain in the fight which ensued on his
    overtaking them. After the lapse of some twenty years, the brothers
    Hnæf and Hengest, Hoc's sons, were old enough to undertake the duty of
    avenging their father's death. They make an inroad into Finn's

Up to this, all is Möller's hypothesis, unsupported by any evidence, either
in the _Fragment_ or the _Episode_. It is based, so far as it has any real
foundation, upon a mythical interpretation of Finn, and upon parallels with
the Hild-story, the Gudrun-story, and a North Frisian folk-tale[442]. Some
of the {255} parallels are striking, but they are not sufficient to justify
Möller's reconstruction. The authenticity of large portions of the
folk-tale is open to doubt[443]: and these portions are vital to any
parallel with the story of _Finnsburg_; whilst we have no right to read
into the Finn story details from the Hild or Gudrun stories, unless we can
show that they are really versions of the same tale: and this cannot be
shown. Möller's suppositions as to the events before the _Episode_ in
_Beowulf_ opens, must therefore be dismissed. Möller's reconstruction then
gets into relation with the real story, as narrated in _Beowulf_:

    "A battle takes place in which many warriors, among them Hnæf and a son
    of Finn (1074, 1079, 1115), are killed. Peace is therefore solemnly
    concluded, and the slain warriors are burnt (1068-1124).

    As the year is too far advanced for Hengest to return home (ll. 1130
    ff.), he and those of his men who survive remain for the winter in the
    Frisian country with Finn. But Hengest's thoughts dwell constantly on
    the death of his brother Hnæf, and he would gladly welcome any excuse
    to break the peace which has been sworn by both parties. His
    ill-concealed desire for revenge is noticed by the Frisians, who
    anticipate it by themselves taking the initiative and attacking Hengest
    and his men whilst they are sleeping in the hall. _This is the night
    attack described in the Fragment._ It would seem that after a brave and
    desperate resistance Hengest himself falls in this fight[444], but two
    of his retainers, Guthlaf and Oslaf[444], succeed in cutting their way
    through their enemies and in escaping to their own land. They return
    with fresh troops, attack and slay Finn, and carry his queen Hildeburh
    off with them (1125-1159)[445]."

Now the difficulties of this theory will, I think, be found to be
insuperable. Let us look at some of them.

Möller's view rests upon his interpretation of the Eotens as the men of
Hnæf[446]. Since the Eotens are the aggressors, he _has_ consequently to
invent the opening, which makes Hnæf and Hengest the invaders of Finn's
country: and he _has_ therefore to relegate the _Fragment_ (in which Hnæf's
men are clearly not the attacking party but the attacked) to a later stage
in the story. But we have already seen that this interpretation of the
Eotens as the men of Hnæf is not the natural one.

Further, the assumption that Hnæf and Hengest are brothers, though still
frequently met with[447], is surely not justifiable. {256} There is nothing
which demands any such relationship, and there is much which definitely
excludes it. _After Hnæf's death_, Hengest is described as the thegn of
Hnæf: an expression without parallel or explanation, if he was really his
brother and successor. Again, we are expressly told in the _Episode_ that
the Danish retainers make terms with Finn, _the slayer of their lord, being
without a prince_. How could this be said, if Hengest was now their lord
and prince? These lines are, as we have seen, one of the few clear and
indisputable things in the poem. An interpretation which contradicts them
flatly, by making Hengest the lord of the Danish retainers, seems

Again, in _Beowulf_, the poet dwells upon the blameless sorrows of
Hildeburh. We gather that she wakes up in the morning to find that the
kinsfolk whom she loves have, during the night, come to blows. "Innocent,
she lost son and brother[448]--a sad lady she." Are such expressions
natural, if Hildeburh had eloped with Finn, and her father had in
consequence been slain by him some twenty years before? If she has taken
that calmly, and continued to live happily with Finn, would her equanimity
be so seriously disturbed by the slaughter of a brother in addition?

But these difficulties are nothing compared to the further difficulties
which Möller's adherents have to face when they proceed to find a place for
the night attack as told in the _Fragment_, in the middle of the _Episode_
in _Beowulf_, i.e. between lines 1145 and 1146. In the first place we have
no right to postulate that such important events could have been passed
over in silence in the summary of the story as given in _Beowulf_. For
Möller has to assume that after the reconciliation between Hengest and
Finn, Finn broke his pledges, attacked Hengest by night, slew most of the
men who were with him, including perhaps Hengest himself; and that the
_Beowulf_-poet nevertheless omitted all reference to these events, though
they occur in the midst of the story, and are essential to an understanding
of it.

But even apart from this initial difficulty, we find that by no process of
explaining _can_ we make the night attack narrated {257} in the _Fragment_
fit in at the point where Möller places it. In the night attack the men are
called to arms by a "war-young king." This "war-young king" cannot be, as
Möller supposes, Hengest, for the simple reason that Hengest, as I have
tried to show above, far from being the brother of Hnæf, and his successor
as king, is his servant and thegn. The king can only be Hnæf. But Hnæf has
already been slain before the _Episode_ begins: and this makes it
impossible to place the _Fragment_ (in which Hnæf appears) in the middle of
the _Episode_. Further, it is said in the _Fragment_ that never did
retainers repay a lord better than did his men repay Hnæf. Now these words
would only be possible if the retainers were fighting for their lord; that
is, either defending him alive or avenging him dead. But Möller's theory
assumes that we are dealing with a period when the retainers have
definitely left the service of their lord Hnæf, after his death, and have
entered the service of his slayer, Finn. They have thus dissolved all bonds
with their former lord: they have taken Finn's money and become _his_ men.
If Finn then turns upon his new retainers and treacherously tries to slay
them, it might be said that the retainers defended their own lives stoutly:
but it would be far-fetched to say that in doing so they repaid their lord
Hnæf. Their lord, according to Möller's view, is no longer Hnæf, but Finn,
who is seeking their lives.

Against such difficulties as these it is impossible to make headway, and we
must therefore turn to some more possible view of the situation[449].

       *       *       *       *       *


Let us therefore examine the second theory, which is more particularly
associated with the name of Bugge, though it was the current theory before
his time, and has been generally accepted since.

According to this view, the _Eotenas_ are the men of Finn, and since upon
them is placed the blame for the trouble, it {258} must be Finn that makes
a treacherous attack upon his wife's brother Hnæf, who is his guest in
Finnsburg[450]. This is the fight of which the _Fragment_ gives us the
beginning. Hnæf is slain, and then follow the events as narrated in the
_Episode_: the treaty which Finn makes with Hengest, the leader of the
survivors: and the ultimate vengeance taken upon Finn by these survivors.

Here I think we are getting nearer to facts, nearer to a view which can
command general acceptance: at any rate, in so far as the fight narrated in
the _Fragment_ is placed before the beginning of the _Episode_ in
_Beowulf_. Positive evidence that this is the right place for the
_Fragment_ is scanty, yet not altogether lacking. After all, the fight in
the _Fragment_ is a night attack, and the fight which precedes the
_Episode_ in _Beowulf_, as I have tried to show, is a night attack[451].
But our reason for putting the _Fragment_ before the commencement of the
_Episode_ is mainly negative: it lies in the insuperable difficulties which
meet us when we try to place it anywhere else.

But, it will be objected, there are difficulties also in placing the
_Fragment_ before the _Episode_. Perhaps: but I do not think these
difficulties will be found to survive examination.

The first objection to supposing that the _Fragment_ narrates the same
fight as precedes the _Episode_ is, that the fight in the _Fragment_ takes
place at Finnsburg[452], whilst the fight which precedes the _Episode_
apparently takes place away from Finn's capital: for after the fighting is
over, the dead burned, and the treaty made, the warriors depart "to see
Friesland, their homes, and their high-town (_h[=e]a-burh_)[453]."


But I do not see that this involves us in any difficulty. It is surely
quite reasonable that Finnsburg--Finn's castle--where the first fight takes
place, is not, and was never meant to be, the same as Finn's capital, his
_h[=e]aburh_, his "own home." After all, when a king's name is given to a
town, the presumption is rather that the town is _not_ his capital, but
some new settlement built in a newly acquired territory. _[=E]adwinesburh_
was not the capital of King Eadwine: it was the stronghold which he held
against the Picts on the outskirts of his realm. Aosta was not the capital
of Augustus, nor Fort William of William III, nor Harounabad of Haroun al
Raschid. So here: we know that the chief town of the Frisians was not
Finnsburg, but Dorestad: "Dorostates of the Frisians[454]." The fight may
have taken place at some outlying castle built by Finn, and named after him
_Finnsburg_: then he returned, we are told, to his _h[=e]aburh_: and it is
here, _æt his sylfes h[=a]m_, "in his own home" (the poet himself seems to
emphasize a distinction) that destruction in the end comes upon him. There
is surely no difficulty here.

A second discrepancy has often been indicated. In the _Fragment_ the fight
lasts five days before any one of the defenders fall: in the _Episode_ (it
is argued) Hildeburh in the morning finds her brother slain[455]. Even were
this so, I do not know that it need trouble us much. In a detail like this,
which {260} does not go to the heart of the story, there might easily be a
discrepancy between two versions[456].

But the whole difficulty merely arises from reading more into the words of
the _Episode_ than the text will warrant. It is not asserted in the
_Episode_ that Hildeburh found her kinsfolk dead in the morning, but that
in the morning she found "murderous bale amid her kinsfolk." Hildeburh woke
up to find a fight in progress: how long it went on, the _Episode_ does not
say: but that it was prolonged we gather from ll. 1080-5: and there is no
reason why the deadly strife which Hildeburh found in the morning might not
have lasted five days or more, before it culminated in the death of Hnæf.

Thirdly, the commander in the _Fragment_ is called a "war-young king."
This, it has been said, is inapplicable to Hnæf, since he is brother of
Hildeburh, who is old enough to have a son slain in the combat.

But an uncle may be very young. Beowulf speaks of his uncle Hygelac as
young, even though he seems to imply that his own youth is partly
past[457]. And no advantage, but the reverse, is gained, even in this
point, if, following Möller's hypothesis, and assuming that the fight
narrated in the _Fragment_ takes place after the treaty with Finn, we make
the "war-young king" Hengest. For those who, with Möller, suppose Hengest
to be brother of Hnæf, will have to admit the avuncular difficulty in him

       *       *       *       *       *


We may then, I think, accept as certain, that first come the events
narrated in the _Fragment_, then those told in the _Episode_ in _Beowulf_.
But we are not out of our troubles yet. There are difficulties in Bugge's
view which have still to be faced.

The cause of the struggle, according to Bugge and his adherents, is a
treacherous attack made by Finn upon his {261} brother-in-law Hnæf.
According to the _Episode_, it is the Eotens who are treacherous; so Eotens
must be another name for the Frisians.

The word occurs three times in the genitive, _Eotena_; once in the dative,
_Eotenum_: as a common noun it means "giant," "monster": earlier in
_Beowulf_ it is applied to Grendel and to the other misbegotten creatures
descended from Cain. But how "giant" can be applied to the Frisians, or to
either of the contending parties in the Finnsburg fight, remains
inexplicable[458]. _Eotena_ must rather be the name of some tribe. But what
tribe? The only people of whom we know, possessing a name at all like this,
are the people who colonized Kent, whom Bede calls Jutes, but whose name
would in Anglian be in the genitive _[=E]otna_, but in the dative
_[=E]otum_, or perhaps occasionally _[=E]otnum_, _[=E]otenum_[459]. Now a
scribe transliterating a poem from an Anglian dialect into West-Saxon
should, of course, have altered these forms into the corresponding
West-Saxon forms _[=Y]tena_ and _[=Y]tum_. But nothing would have been more
likely than that he would have misunderstood the tribal name as a common
noun, and retained the Anglian forms (altering _eotum_ or _eotnum_ into
_eotenum_) supposing the word to mean "giants." After all, the common noun
_eotenum_, "giants," was quite as like the tribal name _[=E]otum_, which
the scribe presumably had before him, as was the correct West-Saxon form of
that name, _[=Y]tum_.

It is difficult therefore to avoid the conclusion that the "Eotens" are
Jutes: and this is confirmed by three other pieces of evidence, not
convincing in themselves, but helpful as subsidiary arguments[460].


(1) We should gather from _Widsith_ that the Jutes were concerned in the
_Finnsburg_ business. For in that poem generally (though not always) tribes
connected in story are grouped together; and the Jutes and Frisians are so

                  [=Y]tum [weold] Gefwulf
  Fin Folcwalding Fr[=e]sna cynne.

(2) There is another passage in _Beowulf_ in which _Eotenas_ is possibly
used in the sense of "Jutes."

We have seen above[461] that according to a Scandinavian tradition Lotherus
was exiled _in Jutiam_: and Heremod, who has been held to be the
counterpart of Lotherus

                  _mid Eotenum_ wearð
  on f[=e]onda geweald forð forl[=a]cen.

But the identification of Lotherus and Heremod is too hypothetical to carry
the weight of much argument.

(3) Finn comes into many Old English pedigrees, which have doubtless
borrowed from one another. But the earliest in which we find him, and the
only one in which we find his father Folcwald, is that of the Jutish kings
of Kent[462]. Here, too, the name Hengest meets us.

The view that the name "Eoten" in the _Finnsburg_ story is a form of the
word "Jute" is, then, one which is very difficult to reject. It is one
which has in the past been held by many scholars and is, I think, held by
all who have recently expressed any opinion on the subject[463]. But this
renders very difficult the assumption of Bugge and his followers that the
word "Eoten" is synonymous with "Frisian[464]." For Frisians were not
Jutes. {263} The tribes were closely related; but the two words were not
synonymous. The very lines in _Widsith_, which couple Jutes and Frisians
together, as if they were related in story, show that the names were
regarded as those of distinct tribes. And this evidence from _Widsith_ is
very important, because the compiler of that list of names clearly knew the
story of Finn and Hnæf.

But this is not the only difficulty in Bugge's interpretation of the Eotens
as Frisians. The outbreak of war, we are told, is due to the treachery of
the Eotens. This Bugge and his followers interpret as meaning that Finn
must have treacherously attacked Hnæf. Yet the poet speaks of "the warriors
of Finn when the sudden danger fell upon them": _þ[=a] h[=i][=e] se f[=æ]r
begeat_. It is essential to _f[=æ]r_ that it signifies a sudden and
unexpected attack[465]: and the unexpected attack must have come, not upon
the assailants but upon the assailed.

Yet this difficulty, though it has been emphasized by Möller[466] and other
opponents of Bugge's view, is not insuperable[467], and I hope to show
below that there is no real difficulty. But it leads us to a problem not so
easily surmounted. If Finn made a treacherous attack upon Hnæf, and slew
him, how did it come that Hengest, and Hnæf's other men, made terms with
their murderous host?

In the primitive heathen days it had been a rule that the retainer must not
survive his vanquished lord[468]. The ferocity of this rule was
subsequently softened, and, in point of fact, we _do_ often hear, after
some great leader has been slain, of his followers accepting quarter from a
chivalrous foe, without being {264} therefore regarded as having acted
disgracefully[469]. But, if Finn had invited Hnæf and Hnæf's retainers to
be his guests, and had fallen upon them by treachery, the action of the
retainers in coming to terms with Finn, in entering his service, and
stipulating how much of his pay they shall receive, would be contrary to
all standards of conduct as understood in the Heroic Age, and would deprive
Hnæf's men of any sympathy the audience might feel for them. But Hnæf's men
are not censured: they are in fact treated most sympathetically in the
_Episode_, and in the _Fragment_, at an earlier point in the story, they
are enthusiastically applauded[470].

It is strange enough in any case that Hnæf's retainers should make terms
with the slayer of their lord. But it is not merely strange, it is
absolutely unintelligible, if we are to suppose that Finn has not merely
slain Hnæf, but has lured him into his power, and then slain him while a

It is to the credit of Bugge that he felt this difficulty: but his attempt
to explain it is hardly satisfactory. He fell back upon a parallel between
the story of the death of Rolf Kraki and the story of _Finnsburg_. We have
already seen that the resemblance is very close between the _Bjarkamál_,
which narrates the death of Rolf, and the opening of the _Finnsburg
Fragment_. The parallel which Bugge invoked comes from the sequel to the
Rolf story[471] which tells how Hiarwarus, the murderer of Rolf Kraki,
astonished by the devotion of Rolf's retainers, lamented their death, and
said how gladly he would have given quarter to such men, and taken them
into his service. Thereupon Wiggo, the one survivor, who had previously
vowed to avenge his lord, and had concealed himself with that object, came
forward and offered to accept these terms. Accordingly he placed his hand
upon the hilt of his new master's drawn sword, as if about to swear fealty
to him: but instead of swearing, he ran him through.

"Glorious and ever memorable hero, who valiantly kept his vow," says
Saxo[472]. Whether or no we share the exultation of {265} that excellent if
somewhat bloodthirsty ecclesiastic, we must admit that Wiggo's methods were
sensible and practical. If, singlehanded, he was to keep his vow, and
avenge his lord, he could only hope to do it by some such stratagem.

Bugge tries to explain Hengest's action on similar lines: "He does not
hesitate to enter the service of Finn in order thereby to carry out his

But the circumstances are entirely different. Wiggo was left alone, the
only survivor of Rolf's household, to face a whole army. But Hengest is no
single survivor: he and his fellows have made so good a defence that Finn
cannot overcome them by conflict on the _meðel-stede_. Not only so, but, if
we accept the interpretation that almost every critic and editor has put
upon the passage (ll. 1184-5), Hengest's position is even stronger. Finn
has lost almost all his thegns; the usual interpretation puts him at the
mercy of Hengest: at best it is a draw[474]. If, then, Hengest wants
vengeance upon Finn, why does he not pursue it? Instead of which, according
to Bugge, he enters Finn's service in order that he may get an opportunity
for revenge.

And note, that Wiggo did not swear the oath of fealty to the murderer of
his master Rolf: he merely put himself in the posture to do so, and then,
instead, ran the tyrant through forthwith. But Hengest _does_ swear the
oath, and _does not_ forthwith slay the tyrant. He spends the winter with
him, receives a sword from Hunlafing, after which his name does not occur
again. Finn is ultimately slain, but the names which are found in that
connection are those of Guthlaf and Oslaf [Ordlaf].

So Bugge's explanation comes to this: Hengest is fighting with success
against Finn, but he refrains from vengeance: instead, he treacherously
enters his service in order that he may take an opportunity of vengeance,
which opportunity, however, it is never made clear to us that he takes.

Had Hengest been a man of that kind, he would not have been a hero of Old
English heroic song.

       *       *       *       *       *



It is one of the merits of Bugge's view--one of the proofs of its general
soundness--that it admits of successive improvements at the hands of
succeeding commentators. No one has done more in this way than has Prof.
Ayres to clear up the story, particularly the latter part of the _Episode_.
Ayres evolves unity out of what had been before "a rapid-fire of events
that hit all around a central tragic situation and do not once touch it."
Hengest does not, Ayres thinks, enter the service of Finn with any such
well-formed plan of revenge as Bugge had attributed to him. Hengest was in
a difficult situation. It is his mental conflict, "torn between his oath to
Finn and his duty to the dead Hnæf," which gives unity to all that follows.
It is a tragedy of Hengest, hesitating, like Shakespeare's Hamlet, over the
duty of revenge. Prof. Ayres' statement here is too good to summarize; it
must be quoted at length:

    "How did he feel during that long, blood-stained winter? He naturally
    thought about home (_eard gemunde_, 1129), but there was no question of
    sailing then, no need yet of decision while the storm roared outside.
    By and by spring came round, as it has a way of doing. How did he feel
    then? Then, like any other Northerner, he wanted to put to sea:

                      fundode wrecca,
      gist of geardum.

    That is what he would naturally do. He would speak to Finn and be off;
    in the spring his business was on the sea. That is all right as to
    Finn, but as to the dead Hnæf it is very like running away; it is
    postponing vengeance sadly. Will he prove so unpregnant of his cause as
    that? No; though he would like to go to sea, he thought _rather_ of
    vengeance, and staid in the hope of managing a successful surprise
    against Finn and his people:

                      h[=e] t[=o] gyrn-wræce
      sw[=i]ðor þ[=o]hte     þonne t[=o] s[=æ]-l[=a]de,
      gif h[=e] torn-gem[=o]t     þurht[=e]on mihte,
      þæt h[=e] Eotena b[=e]arn     inne gemunde.

    All this says clearly that Hengest was thinking things over, whether he
    should or should not take vengeance upon Finn; it tells us also very
    clearly, with characteristic anticipation of the outcome of the story,
    that in the end desire for vengeance carried the day:

      Sw[=a] h[=e] ne-forwyrnde     worold-r[=æ]denne,

    he did not _thus_ prove recreant to his duty. But we have not been told
    the steps by which Hengest arrived at his decision. That seems {267} to
    be what we should naturally want to know at this point, and that is
    precisely what we are about to be told. Occasions gross as earth
    informed against him[475]."

Then Ayres goes on to explain the "egging," through the presentation of a
sword by Hunlafing. This feature of the story is now pretty generally so
understood; but Ayres has an interpretation of the part played by Guthlaf
and Oslaf, which is new and enlightening.

    "Hengest's almost blunted purpose was not whetted by Hunlafing alone.
    The latter's uncles, Guðlaf and Oslaf [Ordlaf] took occasion to mention
    to Hengest the fierce attack (the one, presumably, in which Hnæf had
    fallen); cast up to him all the troubles that had befallen them ever
    since their disastrous sea-journey to Finnsburg; they had plenty of
    woes to twit him with:

      siððan grimne gripe     G[=u]ðl[=a]f and [=O]sl[=a]f
      æfter s[=æ]-s[=i]ðe     sorge m[=æ]ndon,
      ætwiton w[=e]ana d[=æ]l.

    The effect of all this on Hengest is cumulative. Where he was before in
    perfect balance, he is now wrought to action by the words of his
    followers; he can control himself no longer; the balance is destroyed.
    The restless spirit (Hengest's in the first instance, but it may be
    thought of as referring to the entire attacking party, now of one mind)
    could no longer restrain itself within the breast:

                      ne meahte w[=æ]fre m[=o]d
      forhabban in hreðre.

    Vengeance wins the day[476]."

By this interpretation Ayres has, as he claims, "sharpened some of the
features" of the current interpretation of the Finn story. For, as he says,
"in some respects the current version was very unsatisfactory; there seemed
to be little relation between the presentation of the sword to Hengest and
the spectacle of Guðlaf and Oslaf howling their complaints in the face of

That Ayres' interpretation enhances the coherency of the story is beyond
dispute: that it does so at the cost of putting some strain upon the text
in one or two places may perhaps be urged[477]. But that in its main lines
it is correct seems to me certain: the story of Finnsburg is the tragedy of
Hengest--his hesitation and his revenge. Keeping this well in view, many of
the difficulties disappear.

       *       *       *       *       *



Many of the difficulties disappear: but the two big ones remain. Firstly,
if "Eoten" means "Jute," as it is usually agreed that it does, why should
the Frisians be called Jutes, seeing that a Frisian is not a Jute?
Secondly, when Hengest and the other thegns of Hnæf enter the service of
the slayer of their lord, they are not blamed for so doing, but rather
excused, _þ[=a] him sw[=a] geþearfod wæs_. Such a situation is unusual; but
it becomes incredible if that slayer, whose service they enter, had fallen
upon and slain their lord by treachery, when his guest.

It seems to me that neither of these difficulties is really inherent in the
situation, but rather accidental, and owing to the way Bugge's theory,
right enough in its main lines, has been presented both by Bugge and his
followers. For it is not necessary to assume that Frisians _are_ called
_Eotenas_ or Jutes. All that we are justified in deducing from the text is
that Frisians and _Eotenas_ are both under the command of Finn. If we
suppose what the text demands, _and no more_, we are at one stroke relieved
of both our difficulties. Though "Jute" can hardly have been synonymous
with "Frisian," nothing is more probable, as I shall try to show[478], than
that a great Frisian king should have had a tribe of Jutes subject to him,
or should have had in his pay a band of Jutish mercenaries. Now if the
trouble was due to these "Eotens"--and we are told that it was[479]--our
second difficulty is also solved. It would be much more natural for Hengest
to come to terms with Finn, albeit the _bana_ of his lord, if Finn's
conduct had not been stained by treachery, and if the blame for the
original attack did not rest with him.

And, as I have said, there is nothing in the text which justifies us in
assuming that _Eotenas_ means "Frisians" and that therefore _Eotena
tr[=e]owe_ refers to Finn's breach of faith. It has indeed been argued that
_Eotenas_ and Frisians are synonymous, {269} because in the terms of peace,
whilst it is stipulated that Hengest and his comrades are to have equal
control with the _Eotena bearn_, it is further stipulated that Finn is to
give Hengest's men gifts equal to those which he gives to the _Fr[=e]sena
cynn_[480]. Here then _Eotena bearn_ and _Fr[=e]sena cynn_ are certainly
parallel, and are both contrasted with Hengest and his troops. But surely
this in no wise proves _Eotena bearn_ and _Fr[=e]sena cynn_ synonymous:
they may equally well be different sections of Finn's host, just as in
_Brunanburh_ the soldiers of Athelstan are spoken of first as _Westseaxe_,
and then as _Myrce_. Are we to argue that West-Saxons are Mercians? So in
the account of Hygelac's fatal expedition[481] the opponents are called
Franks, Frisians, _H[=u]gas_, _Hetware_. A reader ignorant of the story
might suppose these all synonymous terms for one tribe. But we know that
they are not: the _Hetware_ were the people immediately attacked--the
Frankish overlord hastened to the rescue, and was apparently helped by the
neighbouring Frisians, who although frequently at this date opposed to the
Franks, would naturally make common cause against the pirate from

It was quite natural that the earlier students of the _Finnsburg Episode_,
thinking of the two opposing forces as two homogeneous tribes, and finding
mention of three tribal names, Danes, Eotens and Frisians, should have
assumed that the Eotens must be exactly synonymous with _either_ Danes _or_
Frisians. But it is now recognized that the conditions of the time
postulate not so much tribes as groups of tribes[483]. In the _Fragment_ we
have, on the side of the Danes, _Sigeferth_, prince of the _Secgan_. The
_Secgan_ are not necessarily Danes, because their lord is fighting on the
Danish side. Neither need the _Eotenas_ be Frisians, because they are
fighting on the Frisian side.

We cannot, then, argue that two tribes are identical, because engaged in
fighting a common foe: still less, because they are {270} mentioned with a
certain parallelism[484]. And anyway, it is impossible to find in the use
of the expression _Eotena bearn_ in l. 1088 any support for the
interpretation which makes _Eotena tr[=e]owe_ signify the treachery of Finn
himself. For, assuredly, the proviso that Hengest and his fellows are to
have half control as against the _Eotena bearn_ does not mean that they are
to have half control as against Finn himself. For the very next lines make
it clear that they are to enter Finn's service and become his retainers.
That Hengest and his men are to have equal rights with Finn's Jutish
followers (_Eotena bearn_) is reasonable enough: but they obviously have
not equal rights with Finn, their lord whom they are now to follow. _Eotena
bearn_ in l. 1088, then, does _not_ include Finn: how _can_ it then be used
as an argument that _Eotena tr[=e]owe_ must refer to _Finn's_ faith and his
breach of it?

Finn, then, is the _bana_ of Hnæf, but there is nothing in the text which
compels us to assume that he is the slayer of his guest.

The reader may regard my zeal to clear the character of Finn as excessive.
But it is always worth while to understand a good old tale. And it is only
when we withdraw our unjust aspersions upon Finn's good faith that the tale
becomes intelligible.

This, I know, has been disputed, and by the scholars whose opinion I most

The poet tells us that Finn was the _bana_ of Hnæf, so, says Ayres, "it is
hard to see how it helps matters[485]" to argue that Finn was not guilty of
treachery. And Lawrence argues in the same way:

    "How is it possible to shift the blame for the attack from Finn to the
    Eotenas when Finn is called the _bana_ of Hnæf? It does not matter
    whether he killed him with his own hands or not; he is clearly held
    responsible; the lines tell us it was regarded as disgraceful for the
    {271} Danes to have to follow him, and the revenge at the end falls
    heavily upon him. The insult and hurt to Danish pride would be very
    little lessened by the assumption that someone else started the
    quarrel; and for this assumption, too, the lines give no warrant[486]."

Let us take these objections in turn. I do not see how the fact that Finn
is called the _bana_ of Hnæf can prove _anything_ as to "the blame for the
attack." Of course the older editors may have thought so. Kemble translates
_bana_ "slaughterer," which implies brutality, and perhaps culpability.
Bosworth-Toller renders _bana_ "murderer," which certainly implies blame
for attack. But we know that these are mere mistranslations. Nothing as to
"blame for attack" is implied in the term _bana_: "_bana_ 'slayer' is a
perfectly neutral word, and must not be translated by 'murderer,' or any
word connoting criminality. A man who slays another in self-defence, or in
righteous execution of the law, is still his 'bane'[487]." Everyone admits
this to be true: and yet at the same time _bana_ is quoted to prove that
Finn is to blame; because, for want of a better word, we half-consciously
render _bana_ "murderer": and "murderer" _does_ imply blame. "Words," says
Bacon, "as a Tartar's bow, do shoot back upon the understanding of the

Lawrence continues: "The lines tell us that it was regarded as disgraceful
for the Danes to have to follow him." But surely this is saying too much.
That the Frisians are not to taunt the Danes with following the slayer of
their lord is only one of two possible interpretations of the ll. 1101-3.
And even if we accept this interpretation, it does not follow that the
Danes are regarded as having done anything with which they can be _justly_
taunted. It is part of the settlement between Gunnar and Njal, that Njal's
sons are not to be taunted: if a man repeats the taunts he shall fall
unavenged[488]. Surely a man may be touchy about being taunted, without
being regarded as having done anything disgraceful. Indeed, in our case,
the poet implies that taunts would _not_ be just, _þ[=a] him sw[=a]
geþearfod wæs_. But, as I try to show below, no _þearf_ could have excused
the submission of retainers to a foe who had just slain their lord by
deliberate treachery.


"The revenge at the end falls heavily upon Finn." It does; as so often
happens where the feud is temporarily patched up, it breaks out again, as
in the stories of Alboin, Ingeld or Bolli. But this does not prove that the
person upon whom the revenge ultimately falls heavily had been a
guest-slayer. The possibility of even temporary reconciliation rather
implies the reverse.

"The insult and hurt to Danish pride would be very little lessened by the
assumption that someone else [than Finn] started the quarrel; and for this
assumption, too, the lines give no warrant." But they _do_: for they tell
us that it was due to the bad faith of the Eotens. Commentators may argue,
if they will, that "Eotens" means Finn. But the weight of proof lies on
them, and they have not met it, or seriously attempted to meet it.

       *       *       *       *       *


Finn is surely entitled to be held innocent till he can be proved guilty.
And the argument for his guilt comes to this: the trouble was due to the
bad faith of the Eotens: "Eotens" means "Jutes": "Jutes" means "Frisians":
"Frisians" means "Finn": therefore the trouble was due to the treachery of

Now I agree that it is probable that _Eotenas_ means Jutes; and, as I have
said, there is nothing improbable in a Frisian king having had a clan of
Jutes, or a body of Jutish mercenaries, subject to him. But that the
Frisians as a whole should be called Jutes is, _per se_, exceedingly
improbable, and we have no shadow of evidence for it. Lawrence tries to
justify it by the authority of Siebs:

    "Siebs, perhaps the foremost authority on Frisian conditions,
    conjectures that ... the occupation by the Frisians of Jutish territory
    after the conquest of Britain assisted the confusion between the two

But _did_ the Frisians occupy Jutish territory? When we ask what is Siebs'
authority for the hypothesis that Frisians occupied Jutish territory, we
find it to be this: that because in _Beowulf_ "Jute" means "Frisian," some
such event must have taken place to account for this nomenclature[489]. So
it comes to this: the Frisians must have been called Jutes, because they
occupied {273} Jutish territory: the Frisians must have occupied Jutish
territory because they are called Jutes. I do not think we could have a
better example of what Prof. Tupper calls "philological legend."

Siebs rejects Bede's statement, which places the Jutes in what is now
Jutland: he believes them to have been immediately adjacent to the
Frisians. For this belief that the Jutes were immediate neighbours of the
Frisians there is, of course, some support, though not of a very convincing
kind: but the belief that the Frisians occupied the territory of these
adjacent Jutes rests, so far as I know, solely upon this identification of
the _Eotenas_-Jutes with the Frisians, which it is then in turn used to

But if by Jutes we understand (following Bede) a people dwelling north of
the Angles, in or near the peninsula of Jutland, then it is of course true
that (at a much later date) a colony of Frisians _did_ occupy territory
which is near Jutland, and which is sometimes included in the name
"Jutland." But, as I have tried to show above, this "North Frisian" colony
belongs to a period much later than that of the Finn-story: we have no
reason whatever to suppose that the Frisians of the Finn story are the
North Frisians of Sylt and the adjoining islands and mainland--the
_Frisiones qui habitabant Juthlandie_[490].

And when we have assumed, without evidence, that, at the period with which
we are dealing, Frisians had occupied Jutish territory, we are then further
asked to assume that, from this settlement in Jutish territory, such
Frisians came to be called Jutes. Now this is an hypothesis _per se_
conceivable, but very improbable. Throughout the whole Heroic Age, for a
thousand years after the time of Tacitus, Germanic tribes were moving, and
occupying the territory of other people. During this period, how many
instances can we find in which a tribe took the name of the people whose
territory it occupied? Even where the name of the new home is adopted, the
old tribal name is _not_ adopted. For instance, the Bavarians occupied the
territory of the Celtic Boii, but they did not call themselves Boii, but
Bai(haim)varii, "the dwellers in the land of the Boii"--a very {274}
different thing. In the same way the Jutes who settled in the land of the
Cantii did not call themselves _Kente_, but _Cantware_, "dwellers in
Cantium." Of course, where the old name of a country survives, it does
often _in the long run_ come to be applied to its new inhabitants; but this
takes many ages. It was not till a good thousand years after the English
had conquered the land of the Britons, that Englishmen began to speak and
think of themselves as "Britons." In feudal or 18th century days all the
subjects of the ruler of Britain, Prussia, Austria, may come to be called
British, Prussians, Austrians. But this is no argument for the period with
which we are dealing. The assumption, then, that a body of Frisians, simply
because they inhabited land which had once been inhabited by Jutes, should
have called themselves Jutes, is so contrary to all we know of tribal
nomenclature at this date, that one could only accept it if compelled by
very definite evidence to do so. And of such evidence there is no
scrap[491]. Neither is there a scrap of evidence for the underlying
hypothesis that any Frisians _were_ settled at this date in Jutish

And as if this were not hypothetical enough, a further hypothesis has then
to be built upon it: viz., that this name "Jutes," belonging to such of the
Frisians as had settled in Jutish territory, somehow became applicable to
Frisians as a whole. Now this might conceivably have happened, but only as
a result of certain political events. If the Jutish Frisians had become the
governing element in Frisia, it would be conceivable. But after all, we
know something about Frisian history, and I do not {275} think we are at
liberty to assume any such changes as would have enabled the Frisian
people, as a whole, to be called Jutes. How is it that we never get any
hint anywhere of this Jutish preponderance and Jutish ascendancy?

The argument that the "treachery of the Jutes" means the treachery of Finn,
King of the Frisians, has, then, no support at all.

One further argument there is, for attributing treason to Finn.

It has been urged that in other stories a husband entraps and betrays the
brother of his wife. But we are not justified in reading pieces of one
story into another, unless we believe the two stories to be really
connected. The Signy of the _V[o,]lsunga Saga_ has been quoted as a
parallel to Hildeburh[492]. Signy leaves the home of her father Volsung and
her brother Sigmund to wed King Siggeir. Siggeir invites the kin of his
wife to visit him, and then slays Volsung and all his sons, save Sigmund.
But it is the difference of the story, rather than its likeness, which is
striking. No hint is ever made of any possibility of reconciliation between
Siggeir and the kin of the men he has slain. The feud admits of no
atonement, and is continued to the utterance. Siggeir's very wife helps her
brother Sigmund to his revenge.

How different from the attitude of Sigmund and Signy is the willingness of
Hengest to come to terms, and the merely passive and elegiac bearing of
Hildeburh! These things do not suggest that we ought to read a King Siggeir
treachery into the story of Finn.

Again, the fact that Atli entices the brother of his wife into his power,
has been urged as a parallel. But surely it is rather unfair to erect this
into a kind of standard of conduct for the early Germanic brother-in-law,
and to assume as a matter of course that, because Finn is Hnæf's
brother-in-law, therefore he must have sought to betray him. The whole
atmosphere of the Finn-Hnæf story, with its attempted reconciliation, is as
opposed to that of the story of Atli as it is to the story of Siggeir.


The only epithet applied to Finn is _ferhð-freca_, "valiant in soul."
Though _freca_ is not necessarily a good word, and is applied to the dragon
as well as to Beowulf, yet it denotes grim, fierce, almost reckless
courage. It does not suggest a traitor who invites his foes to his house,
and murders them by night.

I interpret the lines, then, as meaning that the trouble arose from the
Jutes, and, since the context shows that these Jutes were on Finn's side,
and against the Danes, we must hold them to be a body of Jutes in the
service of Finn[493].

       *       *       *       *       *


But, as we have seen, it is objected that this interpretation of the
situation, absolving Finn from any charge of treachery or aggression, does
not "help matters[494]." Or, as Prof. Lawrence puts it, "the hurt to Danish
pride [in entering the service of Finn] would be very little lessened by
the assumption that someone else [than Finn] started the quarrel."

These objections seem to me to be contrary to the whole spirit of the old
heroic literature.

I quite admit that there is a stage in primitive society when the act of
slaying is everything, and the circumstances, or motives, do not count. In
the Levitical Law, it is taken for granted that, if a man innocently causes
the death of another, as for instance if his axe break, and the axe-head
accidentally kill his comrade, then the avenger of blood will seek to slay
the homicide, just as much as if he had been guilty of treacherous murder.
To meet such cases the Cities of Refuge are established, where the homicide
may flee till his case can be investigated; but even though found innocent,
the homicide may be at once slain by the avenger, should he step outside
the City of Refuge. And this "eye for eye" vengeance yields slowly: it took
long to establish legally in our own country the distinction between murder
and homicide.


For "The thought of man" it was held "shall not be tried: as the devil
himself knoweth not the thought of man." Nevertheless, even the Germanic
_wer-gild_ system permits consideration of circumstances: it often happens
that no _wer-gild_ is to be paid because the slain man has been unjust, or
the aggressor[495], or no _wer-gild_ will be accepted because the slaying
was under circumstances making settlement impossible.

Doubtless in Germanic barbarism there was once a stage similar to that
which must have preceded the establishment of the Cities of Refuge in
Israel[496]; but that stage had passed before the period with which we are
dealing; in the Heroic Age the motive _did_ count for a very great deal.
Not but what there were still the literal people who insisted upon "an eye
for an eye," without looking at circumstances; and these people often had
their way; but their view is seldom the one taken by the characters with
whom the poet or the saga-man sympathises. These generally hold a more
moderate creed. One may almost say that the leading motive in heroic
literature is precisely this difference of opinion between the people who
hold that under any circumstances it is shameful to come to an agreement
with the _bana_ of one's lord or friend or kinsman, and the people who are
willing _under certain circumstances_ to come to such an agreement.

It happens not infrequently that after some battle in which a great chief
has been killed, his retainers are offered quarter, and accept it; but I do
not remember any instance of their doing this if, instead of an open
battle, it is a case of a treacherous attack. The two most famous downfalls
of Northern princes afford typical examples: after the battle of Svold,
Kolbjorn Stallari accepts quarter from Eric, the chivalrous _bani_ of his
lord Olaf[497]; but Rolf's men refuse quarter after the treacherous murder
of their lord by Hiarwarus[498].


That men, after a fair fight, could take quarter from, or give it to, those
who had slain their lord or closest kinsman, is shown by abundant
references in the sagas and histories. For instance, when Eric, after the
fight with the Jomsvikings, offers quarter to his prisoners, that quarter
is accepted, even though their leaders, their nearest kin, and their
friends have been slain. The first to receive quarter is young Sigurd,
whose father Bui has just been killed: yet the writer obviously does not
the less sympathize with Sigurd, or with the other Jomsviking survivors,
and feels the action to be generous on the part of Eric, and in no wise
base on the part of the Jomsvikings[499]. But this is natural, because the
Jomsvikings have just been defeated by Eric in fair fight. It would be
impossible, if Eric were represented as a traitor, slaying the Jomsvikings
by a treacherous attack, whilst they were his guests. Is it to be supposed
that Sigurd, under such circumstances, would have taken quarter from the
slayer of Bui his father?

In the _Laxdæla Saga_, Olaf the Peacock, in exacting vengeance for the
slaying of his son Kjartan, shows no leniency towards the sons of Osvif, on
whom the moral responsibility rests. But he accepts compensation in money
from Bolli, who had been drawn into the feud against his will. Yet Bolli
was the actual slayer of Kjartan, and he had taken the responsibility as
such[500]. And Olaf is not held to have lowered himself by accepting a
money payment as atonement from the slayer of his son--on the contrary "he
was considered to have grown in reputation" from having thus spared Bolli.
But after Olaf's death, the feud bursts out again, and revenge in the end
falls heavily upon Bolli[501], as it does upon Finn.

On this question a fairly uniform standard of feeling will be found from
the sixth century to the thirteenth. That it _does_ make all the difference
in composing a feud, whether the slaying from which the feud arises was
treacherous or not, can be abundantly proved from many documents, from Paul
the Deacon, and possibly earlier, to the Icelandic Sagas. Such composition
of feuds may or may not be lasting; it may or may {279} not expose to taunt
those who make it; but the questions which arise are precisely these: Who
started the quarrel? Was the slaying fair or treacherous? Upon the answer
depends the possibility of atonement. There may be some insult and hurt to
a man's pride in accepting atonement, even in cases where the other side
has much to say for itself. But if the slaying has been fair, composition
is felt to be possible, though not without danger of the feud breaking out

Prof. Lawrence has suggested that perhaps, in the original version of the
_Finnsburg_ story, the Danes were reduced to greater straits than is
represented to be the case in the extant _Beowulf Episode_. He thinks that
it is "almost incomprehensible" that Hengest should make terms with Finn,
if he had really reduced Finn and his thegns to such a degree of
helplessness as the words of the _Episode_ state. It seems to me that the
matter depends much more upon the treachery or the honesty of Finn. If Finn
was guilty of treachery and slaughter of his guests, then it _is_
"unintelligible" that Hengest should spare him: but if Finn was really a
respectable character, then the fact that Hengest was making headway
against him is rather a reason why Hengest should be moderate, than
otherwise. To quote the _Laxdæla Saga_ again: though Olaf the Peacock lets
off Bolli, the _bani_ of his son Kjartan, with a money payment, he makes it
clear that he is master of the situation, before he shows this mercy.
Paradoxical as it sounds, it was often easier for a man to show moderation
in pursuing a blood feud, just _because_ he was in a strong position. It is
so again in the _Saga of Thorstein the White_. But the adversary must be
one who deserves to be treated with moderation.

Of course it is quite possible that Prof. Lawrence is right, and that in
some earlier and more correct version the Danes may have been represented
as so outnumbered by the Frisians that they had no choice except to
surrender to Finn, and enter his service, or else to be destroyed. But,
whether this be so or no, all parallel incidents in the old literature show
that their choice between these evil alternatives will depend upon whether
Finn, the _bana_ of their lord, slew that lord by deliberate and
premeditated treachery whilst he was his guest, or whether he {280} was
embroiled with him through the fault of others, under circumstances which
were perfectly honourable. If the latter is the case, then Hnæf's men
_might_ accept quarter. Their position is comparable with that of Illugi at
the end of the _Grettis Saga_[502]. Illugi is a prisoner in the hands of
the slayers of Grettir and he charges them with having overcome Grettir,
when already on the point of death from a mortifying wound, which they had
inflicted on him by sorcery and enchantment. The slayers propose to Illugi
terms parallel to those made to the retainers of Hnæf. "I will give thee
thy life," says their leader, "if thou wilt swear to us an oath not to take
vengeance on any of those who have been in this business."

Now, note the answer of Illugi: "That might have seemed to me a matter to
be discussed, if Grettir had been able to defend himself, and if ye had
overcome him with valour and courage; but now it is not to be looked for
that I will save my life by being such a coward as art thou. In a word, no
man shall be more harmful to thee than I, if I live, _for never can I
forget how it was that ye have vanquished Grettir_. Much rather, then, do I
choose to die."

Now of course it would have been an "insult and hurt" to the pride of
Illugi, or of any other decent eleventh century Icelander, to have been
compelled to swear an oath not to avenge his brother, even though that
brother had been slain in the most chivalrous way possible; and it would
doubtless have been a hard matter, even in such a case, for Illugi to have
kept his oath, had he sworn it. But the treachery of the opponents puts an
oath out of the question, just as it must have done in the case of the
followers of King Cynewulf[503] or of Rolf Kraki, and as it must have done
in the case of the followers of Hnæf, had the slaying of Hnæf been a
premeditated act of treachery on the part of Finn.

In the _Njáls Saga_, Flosi has to take up the feud for the slain Hauskuld.
Flosi is a moderate and reasonable man, so the first thing he does is to
enquire into the _circumstances_ under which Hauskuld was slain. Flosi
finds that the circumstances, and the outrageous conduct of the slayers,
give him no choice {281} but to prosecute the feud. So in the end he burns
Njal's hall, and in it the child of Kari.

Now to have burned a man's child to death might well seem a deed impossible
of atonement. Yet in the end Flosi and Kari are reconciled by a full
atonement, _the father of the slain child actually taking the first
step_[504]. And all this is possible because Flosi and Kari recognise that
each has been trying to play his part with justice and fairness, and that
each is dragged into the feud through the fault of others. When Flosi has
said of his enemy, "I would that I were altogether such a man as Kari is,"
we feel that reconciliation is in sight.

Very similar is the reconciliation between Alboin and Thurisind in
Longobard story, but with this difference, that here it is Alboin who seeks
reconciliation by going to the hall of the man whose son he has slain, thus
reversing the parts of Flosi and Kari; and reconciliation is possible--just
barely possible.

Again, when Bothvar comes to the hall of Rolf, and slays one of Rolf's
retainers, the other retainers naturally claim full vengeance. Rolf insists
upon investigating the _circumstances_. When he learns that it was his own
man who gave the provocation, he comes to terms with the slayer.

Of course it was a difficult matter, and one involving a sacrifice of their
pride, for the retainers of Hnæf to come to any composition with the _bana_
of their lord; but it is not unthinkable, if the quarrel was started by
Finn's subordinates without his consent, and if Finn himself fought fair.
But had the slaying been an act of premeditated treachery on the part of
Finn, the atonement would, I submit, have been not only difficult but
impossible. If the retainers of Hnæf had had such success as our poem
implies, then their action under such circumstances is, as Lawrence says,
"almost incomprehensible." If they did it under compulsion, and fear of
death, then their action would be contrary to all the ties of Germanic
honour, and would entirely deprive them of any sympathy the audience might
otherwise have felt for them. Yet it is quite obvious that the retainers of
Hnæf are precisely the people with whom the audience is expected to


In any case, the feud was likely enough to break out again as it did in the
case of Alboin and Thurisind, and equally in that of Hrothgar and Ingeld.

Indeed, the different versions of the story of the feud between the house
of Hrothgar and the house of Froda are very much to the point.

Much the oldest version--probably in its main lines quite historical--is
the story as given in _Beowulf_. Froda has been slain by the Danes in
pitched battle. Subsequently Hrothgar, upon whom, as King of the Danes, the
responsibility for meeting the feud has devolved, tries to stave it off by
wedding his daughter Freawaru to Ingeld, son of Froda. The sympathy of the
poet is obviously with the luckless pair, Ingeld and Freawaru, involved as
they are in ancient hatreds which are not of their making. For it is
foreseen how some old warrior, who cannot forget his loyalty to his former
king, will stir up the feud afresh.

But Saxo Grammaticus tells the story differently. Froda (Frotho) is
treacherously invited to a banquet, and then slain. By this treachery the
whole atmosphere of the story is changed. Ingeld (Ingellus) marries the
daughter of his father's slayer, and, for this, the old version reproduced
by Saxo showers upon him literally scores of phrases of scorn and contempt.
The whole interest of the story now centres not in the recreant Ingeld or
his wife of treacherous race, but in the old warrior Starkad, whose spirit
and eloquence is such that he can bring Ingeld to a sense of his "vast
sin[506]," can burst the bonds of his iniquity, and at last compel him to
take vengeance for his father.

In the _Saga of Rolf Kraki_ the story of Froda is still further changed. It
is a tale not only of treachery but also of slaying of kin. Consequently
the idea of any kind of atonement, however temporary, has become
impossible; there is no hint of it.

Now the whole atmosphere of the Hengest-story in _Beowulf_ is parallel to
that of the _Beowulf_ version of the Ingeld-story: agreement is possible,
though it does not prove to be permanent. There is room for much hesitation
in the minds of Hengest and of Ingeld: they remain the heroes of the story.
But if Finn had, as is usually supposed, invited Hnæf to his fort and then
{283} deliberately slain him by treachery, the whole atmosphere would have
been different. Hengest could not then be the hero, but the foil: the
example of a man whose spirit fails at the crisis, who does the utterly
disgraceful thing, and enters the service of his lord's treacherous foe.
The hero of the story would be some other character--possibly the young
Hunlafing, who, loyal in spite of the treachery and cowardice of his leader
Hengest, yet, remaining steadfast of soul, is able in the end to infuse his
own courage into the heart of the recreant Hengest, and to inspire all the
perjured Danish thegns to their final and triumphant revenge on Finn.

But that is not how the story is presented.

       *       *       *       *       *


The theory, then, which seems to fit in best with what we know of the
historic conditions at the time when the story arose, and which fits in
best with such details of the story as we have, is this:

Finn, King of Frisia, has a stronghold, Finnsburg, outside the limits of
Frisia proper. There several clans and chieftains are assembled[507]: Hnæf,
Finn's brother-in-law, prince of the Hocings, the Eotens, and Sigeferth,
prince of the Secgan; whether Sigeferth has his retinue with him or no is
not clear.

But the treachery of the Eotens causes trouble: they have some old feud
with Hnæf and his Danes, and attack them by surprise in their hall. There
is no proof that Finn has any share in this treason. It is therefore quite
natural that in the _Episode_--although the treachery of the Eotens is
censured--Finn is never blamed; and that in the _Fragment_, Finn has
apparently no share in the attack on the hall, at any rate during those
first five days to which the account in the _Fragment_ is limited.

The attack is led by Garulf (_Fragment_, l. 20), presumably the prince of
the Eotens: and some friend or kinsman is urging Garulf not to hazard so
precious a life in the first attack. And {284} here, too, the situation now
becomes clearer: if Garulf is the chief of the attacking people, we can
understand one of his kinsmen or friends expostulating thus: but if he is
merely one of a number of subordinates despatched by Finn to attack the
hall, the position would not be so easily understood.

Garulf, however, does not heed the warning, and falls, "first of all the
dwellers in that land." The _Fragment_ breaks off, but the fight goes on:
we can imagine that matters must have proceeded much as in the great attack
upon the hall in the _Nibelungen lied_[508]. One man after another would be
drawn in, by the duty of revenge, and Finn's own men would wake to find a
battle in progress. "The sudden bale (_f[=æ]r_) came upon them." Finn's son
joins in the attack, perhaps in order to avenge some young comrade in arms;
and is slain, possibly by Hnæf. Then Finn _has_ to intervene, and Hnæf in
turn is slain, possibly, though not certainly, by Finn himself. But
Hengest, the thegn of Hnæf, puts up so stout a defence, that Finn is unable
to take a full vengeance upon all the Danes. He offers them terms. What are
Hengest and the thegns to do?

Finn has slain their lord. But they are Finn's guests, and they have slain
Finn's son in his own house. Finn himself is, I take it, blameless. _It is
here that the tragic tension comes in._ We can understand how, even if
Hengest had Finn in his power, he might well have stayed his hand. So peace
is made, and all is to be forgotten: solemn oaths are sworn. And Finn keeps
his promise honestly. He resumes his position of host, making no
distinction between Eotens, Frisians and Danes, who are all, for the time
at least, his followers.

I think we have here a rational explanation of the action of Hengest and
the other thegns of Hnæf, in following the slayer of their lord.

The situation resembles that which takes place when Alboin seeks
hospitality in the hall of the man whose son he has slain, or when Ingeld
is reconciled to Hrothgar. Very similar, too, {285} is the temporary
reconciliation often brought about in an Icelandic feud by the feeling that
the other side has something to say for itself, and that both have suffered
grievously. The death of Finn's son is a set off against the death of
Hnæf[509]. But, as in the case of Alboin and of Ingeld, or of many an
Icelandic Saga, the passion for revenge is too deep to be laid to rest
permanently. This is what makes the figure of Hengest tragic, like the
figure of Ingeld: both have plighted their word, but neither can keep it.

The assembly breaks up. Finn and his men go back to Friesland, and Hengest
accompanies them: of the other Danish survivors nothing is said for the
moment: whatever longings they may have had for revenge, the poet
concentrates all for the moment in the figure of Hengest.

Hengest spends the winter with Finn, but he cannot quiet his conscience:
and in the end, he accepts the gift of a sword from a young Danish prince
Hunlafing, who is planning revenge. The uncles of Hunlafing, Guthlaf and
Oslaf [Ordlaf], had been in the hall when it was attacked, and had
survived. It is possible that the young prince's father, Hunlaf, was slain
then, and that his son is therefore recognised as having the nominal
leadership in the operations of vengeance[510]. Hengest, by accepting the
sword, promises his services in the work of revenge, and makes a great
slaughter of the treacherous Eotens. Perhaps he so far respects his oath
that he leaves the simultaneous attack upon Finn to Guthlaf and Oslaf
[Ordlaf]. Here we should have an explanation of _swylce_: "in like
wise[511]"; and also an explanation of the omission of Hengest's name from
the final act, the slaying of Finn himself. Hengest made the Eotens {286}
feel the sharpness of his sword: and in like wise Guthlaf and Oslaf
conducted their part of the campaign. Of course this is only a guess: but
it is very much in the manner of the Heroic Age to get out of a difficulty
by respecting the letter of an oath whilst breaking its spirit--just as
Hogni and Gunnar arrange that the actual slaying of Sigurd shall be done by
Guttorm, who had not personally sworn the oath, as they had.

       *       *       *       *       *


Conclusive external evidence in favour of the view just put forward we can
hardly hope for: for this reason, amongst others, that the names of the
actors in the Finn tragedy are corrupted and obscured in the different
versions. Hnæf and Hengest are too well known to be altered: but most of
the other names mentioned in the _Fragment_ do not agree with the forms
given in other documents. Sigeferth is the Sæferth of _Widsith_: the Ordlaf
(correct) of the _Fragment_ is the Oslaf of the _Episode_. The first
Guthlaf is confirmed by the Guthlaf of the _Episode_: the other names, the
second Guthlaf, Eaha and Guthere, we cannot control from other sources: but
they have all, on various grounds, been suspected.

Tribal names are equally varied. Sigeferth's people, the Secgan, are called
Sycgan in _Widsith_. And he would be a bold man who would deny (what almost
all students of the subject hold) that _Eotena, Eotenum_ in the _Episode_
is yet another scribal error: the copyist had before him the Anglian form,
_eotna, eotnum_, and miswrote _eotena, eotenum_, when he should have
written the West-Saxon equivalent of the tribal name, _[=Y]tena,
[=Y]tum_--the name we get in _Widsith_:

              [=Y]tum [weold] Gefwulf
  Fin Folcwalding Fr[=e]sna cynne.

But in _Widsith_ names of heroes and tribes are grouped together (often,
but not invariably) according as they are related in story. Consequently
Gefwulf is probably (not certainly) a hero of the Finn story. What part
does he play? If, as I have been trying to show, the Jutes are the
aggressors, then, as their chief, Gefwulf would probably be the leader of
the attack upon the hall. {287}

This part, in the _Fragment_, is played by Garulf.

Now _G[=a]rulf_ is not _Gefwulf_, and I am not going to pretend that it is.
But _G[=a]rulf_ is very near _Gefwulf_: and (what is important) more so in
Old English script than in modern script[512]. It stands to _Gefwulf_ in
exactly the same relation as _Hereg[=a]r_ to _Heorog[=a]r_ or _Sigeferð_ to
_S[=æ]ferð_ or _Ordl[=a]f_ to _[=O]sl[=a]f_: that is to say the initial
letter and the second element are identical. And no serious student, I
think, doubts that _Hereg[=a]r_ and _Heorog[=a]r_, or _Sigeferð_ and
_S[=æ]ferð_, or _Ordl[=a]f_ and _[=O]sl[=a]f_ are merely corruptions of one
name. And if it be admitted to be probable that _Gefwulf_ is miswritten for
_G[=a]rulf_, then the theory that Garulf was prince of the Jutes, and the
original assailant of Hnæf, in addition to being the only theory which
satisfactorily explains the internal evidence of the _Fragment_ and the
_Episode_, has also powerful external support.

       *       *       *       *       *


But, apart from any such confirmation, I think that the theory offers an
explanation of the known facts of the case, and that it is the only theory
yet put forward which does. It enables us to solve many minor difficulties
that hardly otherwise admit of solution. But, above all, it gives a tragic
interest to the story by making the actions of the two main characters,
Finn and Hengest, intelligible and human: they are both great chiefs,
placed by circumstances in a cruel position. Finn is no longer a
treacherous host, plotting the murder of his guests, without even having
the courage personally to superintend the dirty work: and Hengest is not
guilty of the shameful act of entering the service of a king who had slain
his lord by treachery when a guest. The tale of _Finnsburg_ becomes one of
tragic misfortune besetting great heroes--a tale of the same type as the
stories of Thurisind or Ingeld, of Sigurd or Theodric.

       *       *       *       *       *



It is now generally recognised that loose confederacies of tribes were, at
the period with which we are dealing, very common. Lawrence says this
expressly: "The actors in this drama are members of two North Sea tribes,
or _rather groups of tribes_[513]"; and again[514]: "At the time when the
present poem was put into shape, we surely have to assume for the Danes and
Frisians, not compact and unified political units, but groups of tribes
held somewhat loosely together, and sometimes known by tribal names."

This seems to me a quite accurate view of the political situation in the
later Heroic Age. The independent tribes, as they existed at the time of
Tacitus, tended to coalesce, and from such coalition the nations of modern
Europe are gradually evolved. In the seventh and eighth centuries a great
king of Northumbria or Frisia is likely to be king, not of one only, but of
many allied tribes. I cannot therefore quite understand why some scholars
reject so immediately the idea that the Eotens are not necessarily
Frisians, but rather a tribe in alliance with the Frisians. For if, as they
admit, we are dealing not with two compact units, but with two groups of
tribes, why must we assume, as earlier scholars have done, that _Eotenas_
must be synonymous either with Frisians or Danes? That assumption is based
upon the belief that we _are_ dealing with two compact units. It has no
other foundation. I can quite understand Kemble and Ettmüller jumping at
the conclusion that the Eotens _must_ be identical with the one side or the
other. But once we have recognised that confederacies of tribes, rather
than individual tribes, are to be expected in the period with which we are
dealing, then surely no such assumption should be made.

I think we shall be helped if we try to get some clear idea of the
nationalities concerned in the struggle. For to judge by the analogy of
other contemporary Germanic stories, there probably is some historic basis
for the _Finnsburg_ story: and even if the fight is purely fictitious, and
if Finn Folcwalding never existed, still the Old English poets would
represent the fictitious Frisian king in the light of what they knew of
contemporary kings.

Now the Frisians were no insignificant tribe. They were a power,
controlling the coasts of what was then called the "Frisian Sea[515]."
Commerce was in Frisian hands. Archaeological evidence points to a lively
trade between the Frisian districts and the coast of Norway[516]. From
about the sixth century, when "Dorostates of the Frisians" is mentioned by
the Geographer of Ravenna (or the source from which he drew) in a manner
which shows it to have been known even in Italy as a place of peculiar
{289} importance[517], to the ninth century, when it was destroyed by
repeated attacks of the Vikings, the Frisian port of Dorestad[518] was one
of the greatest trade centres of Northern Europe[519]. By the year 700 the
Frisian power had suffered severely from the constant blows dealt to it by
the Frankish Mayors of the Palace. Yet evidence seems to show that even at
that date the Frisian king ruled all the coast which intervened between the
borders of the Franks on the one side and of the Danes on the other[520].
When a zealous missionary demonstrated the powerlessness of the heathen
gods by baptizing three converts in the sacred spring of Fosetisland, he
was carried before the King of Frisia for judgement[521].

At a later date the "Danes" became the controlling power in the North Sea;
but in the centuries before the Viking raids began, the Frisians appear to
have had it all their own way.

Finn, son of Folcwald, found his way into some English genealogies[522]
just as the Roman Emperor did into others. This also seems to point to the
Frisian power having made an impression on the nations around.

We should expect all this to be reflected in the story of the great Frisian
king. How then would a seventh or eighth century Englishman regard Finn and
his father Folcwalda? Probably as paramount chiefs, holding authority over
the tribes of the South and East coast of the North Sea, similar to that
which, for example, a Northumbrian king held over the tribes settled along
the British coast. Indeed, the whole story of the Northumbrian kings, as
given in Bede, deserves comparison: the relation with the subordinate
tribes, the alliances, the feuds, the attempted assassinations, the loyalty
of the thegns--this is the atmosphere amid which the Finn story grew up in
England, and if we want to understand the story we must begin by getting
this point of view.

But, if this be a correct estimate of tribal conditions at the time the
_Finnsburg_ story took form, we no longer need far-fetched explanations to
account for Finnsburg not being in Friesland. It is natural that it should
not be, just as natural as that the contemporary Eadwinesburg should be
outside the ancient limits of Deira. Nor do we need any far-fetched
explanations why the Frisians should be called _Eotenas_. That the King of
Frisia should have had Jutes under his rule is likely enough. And this is
all that the words of the _Episode_ demand.

       *       *       *       *       *






(1) _Beowulf the Scylding and Beowulf son of Ecgtheow_

It is now ten years since Prof. Lawrence attacked the mythological theories
which, from the time when they were first enunciated by Kemble and
elaborated by Müllenhoff, had wielded an authority over _Beowulf_ scholars
which was only very rarely disputed[523].

Whilst in the main I agree with Prof. Lawrence, I believe that there _is_
an element of truth in the theories of Kemble. It would, indeed, be both
astonishing and humiliating if we found that a view, accepted for
three-quarters of a century by almost every student, had no foundation.
What is really remarkable is, not that Kemble should have carried his
mythological theory too far, but that, with the limited information at his
disposal, he at once saw certain aspects of the truth so clearly.

The mythological theories involve three propositions:

(_a_) That some, or all, of the supernatural stories told of Beowulf the
Geat, son of Ecgtheow (especially the Grendel-struggle and the
dragon-struggle), were originally told of Beowulf the Dane, son of Scyld,
who can be identified with the Beow or Beaw[524] of the genealogies.


(_b_) That this Beow was an ancient "god of agriculture and fertility."

(_c_) That therefore we can allegorize Grendel and the dragon into
culture-myths connected with the "god Beow."

Now (_c_) would not necessarily follow, even granting (_a_) and (_b_); for
though a hero of story be an ancient god, many of his most popular
adventures may be later accretion. However, these two propositions (_a_)
and (_b_) would, together, establish a very strong probability that the
Grendel-story and the dragon-story were ancient culture-myths, and would
entitle to a sympathetic hearing those who had such an interpretation of
them to offer.

That Beow is an ancient "god of agriculture and fertility," I believe to be
substantially true. We shall see that a great deal of evidence, unknown to
Kemble and Müllenhoff, is now forthcoming to show that there _was_ an
ancient belief in a corn-spirit Beow: and this Beow, whom we find in the
genealogies as son of Scyld or Sceldwa and descendant of Sceaf, is pretty
obviously identical with Beowulf, son of Scyld Scefing, in the _Prologue_
of _Beowulf_.

So far as the _Prologue_ is concerned, there is, then, almost certainly a
remote mythological background. But before we can claim that this
background extends to the supernatural adventures attributed to Beowulf,
son of Ecgtheow, we must prove our proposition (_a_): that these adventures
were once told, not of Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, but of Beowulf or Beow,
son of Scyld.

When it was first suggested, at the very beginning of _Beowulf_-criticism,
that Beowulf was identical with the Beow of the genealogies, it had not
been realized that there were in the poem _two_ persons named Beowulf: and
thus an anonymous scholar in the _Monthly Review_ of 1816[525], not knowing
that Beowulf the slayer of Grendel is (at any rate in the poem as it
stands) distinct from Beowulf, son of Scyld, connected both with Beow, son
of Scyld, so initiating a theory which, for almost a century, was accepted
as ascertained fact.


Kemble's identification was probably made independently of the work of this
early scholar. Unlike him, Kemble, of course, realized that in our poem
Beowulf the Dane, son of Scyld, is a person distinct from, is in fact not
related to, Beowulf son of Ecgtheow. But he deliberately identified the
two: he thought that two distinct traditions concerning the same hero had
been amalgamated: in one of these traditions Beowulf may have been
represented as son of Scyld, in the other as son of Ecgtheow, precisely as
the hero Gunnar or Gunter is in one tradition son of Gifica (Giuki), in
another son of Dankrat.

Of course such duplication as Kemble assumed is conceivable. Kemble might
have instanced the way in which one and the same hero reappears in the
pages of Saxo Grammaticus, with somewhat different parentage or
surroundings, as if he were a quite different person. The _Lives of the Two
Offas_ present another parallel: the adventures of the elder Offa have been
transferred to the younger, so that, along with much that is historical or
semi-historical, we have much in the _Life of Offa II_ that is simply
borrowed from the story of Offa I. In the same way it is conceivable that
reminiscences of the mythical adventures of the elder Beowulf (Beow) might
have been mingled with the history of the acts of the younger Beowulf, king
of the Geatas. A guarantee of the intrinsic reasonableness of this theory
lies in the fact that recently it has been put forward again by Dr Henry
Bradley. But it is not enough that a theory should be conceivable, and be
supported by great names. I cannot see that there is any positive evidence
for it at all.

The arguments produced by Kemble are not such as to carry conviction at the
present day. The fact that Beowulf the Geat, son of Ecgtheow, "is
represented throughout as a protecting and redeeming being" does not
necessarily mean that we must look for some god or demigod of the old
mythology--Frey or Sceaf or Beow--with whom we can identify him. This
characteristic is strongly present in many Old English monarchs and
magnates of historic, Christian, times: Oswald or Alfred or Byrhtnoth.
Indeed, it might with much plausibility be argued that we are to see in
this "protecting" character {294} of the hero evidence of Christian rather
than of heathen influence[526].

Nor can we argue anything from the absence of any historic record of a king
Beowulf of the Geatas; our records are too scanty to admit of argument from
silence: and were such argument valid, it would only prove Beowulf
fictitious, not mythological--no more necessarily an ancient god than Tom
Jones or Mr Pickwick.

There remains the argument of Dr Bradley. He points out that

    "The poem is divided into numbered sections, the length of which was
    probably determined by the size of the pieces of parchment of which an
    earlier exemplar consisted. Now the first fifty-two lines, which are
    concerned with Scyld and his son Beowulf, stand outside this numbering.
    It may reasonably be inferred that there once existed a written text of
    the poem that did not include these lines. Their substance, however, is
    clearly ancient. Many difficulties will be obviated if we may suppose
    that this passage is the beginning of a different poem, the hero of
    which was not Beowulf the son of Ecgtheow, but his Danish

In this Bradley sees support for the view that "there were circulated in
England two rival poetic versions of the story of the encounters with
supernatural beings: the one referring them to Beowulf the Dane" [of this
the _Prologue_ to our extant poem would be the only surviving portion,
whilst] "the other (represented by the existing poem) attached them to the
legend of the son of Ecgtheow."

But surely many objections have to be met. Firstly, as Dr Bradley admits,
the mention of Beowulf the Dane is not confined to the _Prologue_; this
earlier Beowulf "is mentioned at the beginning of the first numbered
section" and consequently Dr Bradley has to suppose that "the opening lines
of this section have undergone alteration in order to bring them into
connection with the prefixed matter." And why should we assume that the
"passus" of _Beowulf_ correspond to pieces of {295} parchment of various
sizes of which an earlier exemplar consisted? These "passus" vary in length
from 43 lines to 142, a disproportion by no means extraordinary for the
sections of one and the same poem, but very awkward for the pages of one
and the same book, however roughly constructed. One of the "passus" is just
twice the average length, and 30 lines longer than the one which comes next
to it in size. Ought we to assume that an artificer would have made his
book clumsy by putting in this one disproportionate page, when, by cutting
it in two, he could have got two pages of just about the size he wanted?
Besides, the different "passus" do not seem to me to show signs of having
been caused by such mechanical reasons as the dimensions of the parchment
upon which they were written. On the contrary, the 42 places where sections
begin and end almost all come where a reader might reasonably be expected
to pause: 16 at the beginning or end of a speech: 18 others at a point
where the narrative is resumed after some digression or general remark.
Only eight remain, and even with these, there is generally some pause in
the narrative at the point indicated. In only two instances does a "passus"
end at a flagrantly inappropriate spot; in one of these there is strong
reason to suppose that the scribe may have caused the trouble by beginning
with a capital where he had no business to have done so[528]. Generally,
there seems to be some principle governing the division of chapter from
chapter, even though this be not made as a modern would have made it. But,
if so, is there anything extraordinary in the first chapter, which deals
with events three generations earlier than those of the body of the poem,
being allowed to stand outside the numbering, as a kind of prologue?

The idea of a preface or prologue was quite familiar in Old English times.
The oldest MSS[529] of Bede's _History_ have, at the end of the preface,
_Explicit praefatio incipiunt capitula_. So we have in one of the two
oldest MSS[530] of the _Pastoral Care_ "Ðis is seo forespræc." On the other
hand, the prologue or preface might be left without any heading or
colophon, and the next {296} chapter begin as No. I. This is the case in
the other MS of the _Pastoral Care_[531]. Is there, then, such difficulty
in the dissertation on the glory of the ancient Danish kings being treated
as what, in fact, it is: a prologue or preface; and being, as such, simply
left outside the numbering?

Still less can we argue for the identification of our hero, the son of
Ecgtheow, with Frotho, and through him with Beow, from the supposed
resemblances between the dragon fights of Beowulf and Frotho. Such
resemblances have been divined by Sievers, but we have seen that it is the
dissimilarity, not the resemblance, of the two dragon fights which is
really noteworthy[532].

To prove that Beow was the original antagonist of Grendel there remains,
then, only the mention in the charter of a _Grendles mere_ near a
_B[=e]owan hamm_[533]. Now this was not known to Kemble at the time when he
formed his theory that the original slayer of Grendel was not Beowulf, but
Beow. And if the arguments upon which Kemble based his theory had been at
all substantial, this charter would have afforded really valuable support.
But the fact that two names occur near each other in a charter cannot
confirm any theory, unless that theory has already a real basis of its own.

(2) _Beow_

Therefore, until some further evidence be discovered, we must regard the
belief that the Grendel and the dragon stories were originally myths of
Beow, as a theory for which sufficient evidence is not forthcoming.

But note where the theory breaks down. It seems indisputable that Beowulf
the Dane, son of Scyld Scefing, is identical with Beo(w) of the
genealogies: for Beo(w) is son of Scyld[534] or Sce(a)ldwa[535], who is a
Scefing. But here we must stop. There is, as we have seen, no evidence that
the Grendel or dragon adventures were transferred from him to their present
hero, {297} Beowulf the Geat, son of Ecgtheow. It would, of course, be
quite possible to accept such transference, and _still_ to reject the
mythological interpretation of these adventures, just as it would be
possible to believe that Gawain was originally a sun-hero, whilst rejecting
the interpretation as a sun-myth of any particular adventure which could be
proved to have been once told concerning Gawain. But I do not think we need
even concede, as Boer[536] and Chadwick[537] do, that adventures have been
transferred from Beowulf the Dane to Beowulf the Geat. We have seen that
there is no evidence for such transference, however intrinsically likely it
may be. Till evidence _is_ forthcoming, it is useless to build upon
Kemble's conjecture that Beowulf the Scylding sank into Beowulf the

But it is due to Kemble to remember that, while he only put this forward as
a tentative conjecture, what he _was_ certain about was the identity of
Beowulf the Scylding with Beow, and the divinity of these figures. And here
all the evidence seems to justify him.

    "The divinity of the earlier Beówulf," Kemble wrote, "I hold for
    indisputable.... Beo or Beow is ... in all probability a god of
    agriculture and fertility.... It strengthens this view of the case that
    he is the grandson of Sceáf, _manipulus frumenti_, with whom he is
    perhaps in fact identical[539]."

Whether or no Beow and Sceaf were ever identical, it is certain that Beow
(grain) the descendant of Sceaf (sheaf) suggests a corn-myth, some survival
from the ancient worship of a corn-spirit.

Now _b[=e]ow_, 'grain, barley,' corresponds to Old Norse _bygg_, just as,
corresponding to O.E. _tr[=i]ewe_, we have O.N. _tryggr_, or corresponding
to O.E. _gl[=e]aw_, O.N. _gl[o,]ggr_. Corresponding to the O.E. proper name
_B[=e]ow_, we might expect an O.N. name, the first letters in which would
be _Bygg(v)-_.

And pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the Old Comedy. When Loki strode
into the Hall of Ægir, and assailed with clamour and scandal the assembled
gods and goddesses, there were present, among the major gods, also Byggvir
and his wife {298} Beyla, the servants of Frey, the god of agriculture and
fertility. Loki reviles the gods, one after the other: at last he exchanges
reproaches with Frey. To see his lord so taunted is more than Byggvir can
endure, and he turns to Loki with the words:

    Know thou, that were my race such as is that of Ingunar-Frey, and if I
    had so goodly a seat, finer than marrow would I grind thee, thou crow
    of ill-omen, and pound thee all to pieces[540].

Byggvir is evidently no great hero: he draws his ideas from the grinding of
the homely hand-mill, with which John Barleycorn has reason to be familiar:

    A miller used him worst of all,
  For he crushed him between two stones[541].

Loki, who has addressed by name all the other gods, his acquaintances of
old, professes not to know who is this insignificant being: but his
reference to the hand-mill shows that in reality he knows quite well:

    What is that little creature that I see, fawning and sneaking and
    snuffling: ever wilt thou be at the ears of Frey, and chattering at the

Byggvir replies with a dignity which reminds us of the traditional
characteristics of Sir John Barleycorn, or Allan O'Maut. For:

  Uskie-bae ne'er bure the bell
  Sae bald as Allan bure himsel[543].

{299} Byggvir adopts the same comic-heroic pose:

    Byggvir am I named, and all gods and men call me hasty; proud am I, by
    reason that all the children of Odin are drinking ale together[544].

But any claims Byggvir may make to be a hero are promptly dismissed by

    Hold thou silence, Byggvir, for never canst thou share food justly
    among men: thou didst hide among the straw of the hall: they could not
    find thee, when men were fighting[545].

Now the taunts of Loki, though we must hope for the credit of Asgard that
they are false, are never pointless. And such jibes as Loki addresses to
Byggvir _would_ be pointless, if applied to one whom we could think of as
in any way like our Beowulf. Later, Beyla, wife of Byggvir, speaks, and is
silenced with the words "Hold thy peace--wife thou art of Byggvir." Byggvir
must have been a recognized figure of the old mythology[546], but one
differing from the monster-slaying Beow of Müllenhoff's imagination.

Byggvir is a little creature (_et lítla_), and we have seen above[547] that
Scandinavian scholars have thought that they have discovered this old god
in the Pekko who "promoted the growth of barley" among the Finns in the
sixteenth century, and who is still worshipped among the Esthonians on the
opposite side of the gulf as a three year old child; the form _Pekko_ being
derived, it is supposed, from the primitive Norse form *_Beggwuz_. This is
a corner of a very big subject: the discovery, among the Lapps and Finns,
of traces of the heathendom of the most {300} ancient Teutonic world, just
as Thomsen has taught us to find in the Finnish language traces of Teutonic
words in their most antique form.

The Lappish field has proved the most successful hunting ground[548]: among
the Finns, apart from the Thunder-god, connection with Norse beliefs is
arguable mainly for a group of gods of fruitfulness[549]. The cult of
these, it is suggested, comes from scattered Scandinavian settlers in
Finland, among whom the Finns dwelt, and from whom they learnt the worship
of the spirits of the seed and of the spring, just as they learnt more
practical lessons. First and foremost among these stands Pekko, whom we
know to have been especially the god of barley, and whose connection with
Beow or Byggvir (*_Beggwuz_) is therefore a likely hypothesis enough[550].
Much less certain is the connection of Sämpsä, the spirit of vegetation,
with any Germanic prototype; he may have been a god of the rush-grass[551]
(Germ. _simse_). Runkoteivas or Rukotivo was certainly the god of rye, and
the temptation to derive his name from Old Norse (_rugr-tivorr_, "rye-god")
is great[552]. But we have not evidence for {301} the worship among
Germanic peoples of such a rye-god, as we have in the case of the
barley-god Byggvir-Beow. These shadowy heathen gods, however, do give each
other a certain measure of mutual support.

And, whether or no Pekko be the same as Byggvir, his worship is interesting
as showing how the spirit of vegetation may be honoured among primitive
folk. His worshippers, the Setukese, although nominally members of the
Greek Orthodox Church, speak their own dialect and often hardly understand
that of their Russian priests, but keep their old epic and lyric traditions
more than almost any other section of the Finnish-Esthonian race. Pekko,
who was honoured among the Finns in the sixteenth century for "promoting
the growth of barley," survives among the present-day peasantry around
Pskoff, not only as a spirit to be worshipped, but as an actual idol,
fashioned out of wax in the form of a child, sometimes of a three year old
child. He lives in the corn-bin, but on certain occasions is carried out
into the fields. Not everyone can afford the amount of wax necessary for a
Pekko--in fact there is usually only one in a village: he lodges in turn
with different members of his circle of worshippers. He holds two moveable
feasts, on moonlight nights--one in spring, the other in autumn. The wax
figure is brought into a lighted room draped in a sheet, there is feasting,
with dancing hand in hand, and singing round Pekko. Then they go out to
decide who shall keep Pekko for the next year--his host is entitled to
special blessing and protection. Pekko is carried out into the field,
especially to preside over the sowing[553].

I doubt whether, in spite of the high authorities which support it, we can
as yet feel at all certain about the identification of Beow and Pekko. But
I think we can accept with fair certainty the identification of Beow and
Byggvir. And we can at any rate use Pekko as a collateral example of the
way in which a grain-spirit is regarded. Now in either case we find no
support whatever for the supposition that the activities of {302} Beow, the
spirit of the barley, could, or would, have been typified under the guise
of battles such as those which Beowulf the Geat wages against Grendel,
Grendel's mother, and the dragon. In Beowulf the Geat we find much that
suggests the hero of folk-tale, overlaid with much that belongs to him as
the hero of an heroic poem, but nothing suggestive of a corn-myth. On the
other hand, so long as we confine ourselves to Beow and his ancestor Sceaf,
we _are_ in touch with this type of myth, however remotely. The way that
Sceaf comes over the sea, as recorded by William of Malmesbury, is
characteristic. That "Sheaf" should be, in the language of Müllenhoff,
"placed in a boat and committed to the winds and waves in the hope that he
will return new-born in the spring" is exactly what we might expect, from
the analogy of harvest customs and myths of the coming of spring.

In Sætersdale, in Norway, when the ice broke up in the spring, and was
driven ashore, the inhabitants used to welcome it by throwing their hats
into the air, and shouting "Welcome, Corn-boat." It was a good omen if the
"Corn-boats" were driven high and dry up on the land[554]. The floating of
the sheaf on a shield down the Thames at Abingdon[555] reminds us of the
Bulgarian custom, in accordance with which the venerated last sheaf of the
harvest was floated down the river[556]. But every neighbourhood is not
provided with convenient rivers, and in many places the last sheaf is
merely drenched with water. This is an essential part of the custom of
"crying the neck."

The precise ritual of "crying the neck" or "crying the mare" was confined
to the west and south-west of England[557]. But there is no such local
limitation about the custom of drenching the {303} last sheaf, or its
bearers and escort, with water. This has been recorded, among other places,
at Hitchin in Hertfordshire[558], in Cambridgeshire[559],
Nottinghamshire[560], Pembrokeshire[561], Wigtownshire[562] as well as in
Holstein[563], Westphalia[564], Prussia[565], Galicia[566], Saxon
Transsylvania[567], Roumania[568] and perhaps in ancient Phrygia[569].

Now it is true that drenching the last sheaf with water, as a rain charm,
is by no means the same thing as floating it down the river, in the
expectation that it will come again in the spring. But it shows the same
sense of the continued existence of the corn-spirit. That the _seed_, when
sown, should be sprinkled with water as a rain charm (as is done in places)
seems obvious and natural enough. But when the _last sheaf_ of the
preceding harvest is thus sprinkled, to ensure plenteous rain upon the
crops of next year, we detect the same idea of continuity which we find
expressed when Sceaf comes to land from over the sea: the spirit embodied
in the sheaf of last year's harvest returning, and bringing the renewed
power of vegetation.

The voyage of the Abingdonian sheaf on the Thames was conducted upon a
shield, and it may be that the "vessel without a rower" in which "Sheaf"
came to land was, in the original version, a shield. There would be
precedent for this. The shield was known by the puzzling name of "Ull's
ship" in Scaldic poetry, presumably because the god Ull used his shield as
a boat. Anyway, Scyld came to be closely connected with Sceaf and Beow. In
Ethelwerd he is son of the former and father of the latter: but in the
_Chronicle_ genealogies five names intervene between Scyld and Sceaf, and
the son of Sceaf is Bedwig, or as he is called in one version, Beowi.
_Bedwig_ and _Beowi_ are probably derived from _Beowius_, the Latinized
{304} form of _Beow_. A badly formed _o_ might easily be mistaken for a
_d_, and indeed _Beowius_ appears in forms much more corrupt. In that case
it would appear that while some genealogies made Beow the son of Scyld,
others made him son of Sceaf, and that the compiler of the pedigree got
over the difficulty in the usual way, by adding the one version to the

But all this is very hypothetical; and how and when Scyld came to be
connected with Sceaf and with Beow we cannot with any certainty say. At any
rate we find no trace of such connection in Danish traditions of the
primitive King Skjold of the Danes. But we can say, with some certainty,
that in Beowulf the Dane, the son of Scyld Scefing, in our poem, we have a
figure which is identical with Beow, son of Scyld or of Sceldwa and
descendant of Sceaf, in the genealogies, and that this Beow is likely to
have been an ancient corn-spirit, parallel to the Scandinavian Byggvir.
That amount of mythology probably _does_ underlie the _Prologue_ to
_Beowulf_, though the author would no doubt have been highly scandalized
had he suspected that his pattern of a young prince was only a disguised
heathen god. But I think that any further attempt to proceed, from this, to
mythologize the deeds of Beowulf the Great, is pure conjecture, and
probably quite fruitless conjecture.

I ought not to conclude this note without reference to the admirable
discussion of this subject by Prof. Björkman in _Englische Studien_[571].
This, with the elucidation of other proper names in _Beowulf_, was destined
to be the last big contribution to knowledge made by that ripe and good
scholar, whose premature loss we all deplore; and it shows to the full
those qualities of wide knowledge and balanced judgment which we have all
learnt to admire in him.

       *       *       *       *       *


It may be helpful to examine the places where the name of Grendel occurs in
English charters.


A.D. 708. Grant of land at Abbots Morton, near Alcester, co. Worcester, by
Kenred, King of the Mercians, to Evesham (extant in a late copy).

    _[=Æ]rest of grindeles pytt on w[=i]ðimære; of w[=i]ðimære on þæt
    r[=e]ade sl[=o]h ... of ð[=e]re d[=i]ce on þene blace p[=o]l; of þ[=a]m
    p[=o]le æfter long pidele in t[=o] þ[=a]m mersce; of þ[=a]m mersce
    þ[=a] æft on grindeles pytt[572]._

The valley of the Piddle Brook is about a mile wide, with hills rising on
each side till they reach a height of a couple of hundred feet above the
brook. The directions begin in the valley and run "From Grindel's 'pytt' to
the willow-mere; from the willow-mere to the red morass"; then from the
morass the directions take us up the hill and along the lea, where they
continue among the downs till we again make our descent into the valley,
"from the ditch to the black pool, from the pool along the Piddle brook to
the marsh, and from the marsh back to Grindel's 'pytt.'" In modern English
a "pit" is an artificial hole which is generally dry: but the word is
simply Latin _puteus_, "a well," and is used in this sense in the Gospel
translations. Here it is a hole, and we may be sure that, with the
willow-mere and the red slough on the one side, and the black pool and the
marsh on the other, the hole was full of water.

A.D. 739. Grant of land at Creedy, co. Devon, by Æthelheard, King of
Wessex, to Bishop Forthhere.

    _of doddan hrycge on grendeles pyt; of grendeles pytte on ifigbearo_

The spot is near the junction of the rivers Exe and Creedy, with Dartmoor
in the distance. The neighbourhood bears uncanny names, _C[=a]ines æcer,
egesan tr[=e]ow_. If, as has been suggested by Napier and Stevenson, a
trace of this pit still survives in the name Pitt farm, the mere must have
been in the uplands, about 600 feet above sea level.


A.D. 931. Grant of land at Ham in Wiltshire by Athelstan to his thane
Wulfgar. Quoted above, p. 43. It is in this charter that _on B[=e]owan
hammes hecgan, on Grendles mere_[574] occur. "Grendel pits or meres" are in
most other cases in low-lying marshy country: but this, like (perhaps) the
preceding one, is in the uplands--it must have been a lonely mere among the
hills, under Inkpen Beacon.

_Circa_ A.D. 957. A list of boundaries near Battersea[575].

    _Ðis synd ð[=a] landgem[=æ]re t[=o] Batriceseie. [=Æ]rst at h[=e]gefre;
    fram h[=e]gefre to gætenesheale; fram gæteneshæle to gryndeles syllen;
    fram gryndeles sylle to russemere; fram ryssemere to bælgenham...._

All this is low-lying land, just south of the Thames. _H[=e]gefre_ is on
the river; _Bælgenham_ is Balham, co. Surrey. "From Grendel's mire to the
rushy mere" harmonizes excellently with what we know of the swampy nature
of this district in early times.

A.D. 958. Grant of land at Swinford, on the Stour, co. Stafford, by King
Eadred to his thane Burhelm[576].

    _Ondlong bæces wið neoþan eostacote; ondlong d[=i]ces in grendels-mere;
    of grendels-mere in st[=a]nc[=o]fan; of st[=a]nc[=o]fan ondlong d[=u]ne
    on stiran mere...._

A.D. 972. Confirmation of lands to Pershore Abbey (Worcester) by King

    _of Grindles bece sw[=a] þæt gem[=æ]re ligð...._

A.D. 972. Extract from an account of the descent of lands belonging to
Westminster, quoting a grant of King Edgar[578].

    _andlang hagan to grendeles gatan æfter kincges mearce innan

The property described is near Watling Street, between Edgware, Hendon, and
the River Brent. It is a low-lying {307} district almost surrounded by the
hills of Hampstead, Highgate, Barnet, Mill Hill, Elstree, Bushey Heath and
Harrow. The bottom of the basin thus formed must have been a swamp[579].
What the "gate" may have been it is difficult to say. A foreign scholar has
suggested that it may have been a narrow mountain defile or possibly a
cave[580]: but this suggestion could never have been made by anyone who
knew the country. The "gate" is likely to have been a channel connecting
two meres--or it might have been a narrow piece of land between them--one
of those _enge [=a]npaðas_ which Grendel and his mother had to tread.
Anyway, there is nothing exceptional in this use of "gate" in connection
with a water-spirit. Necker, on the Continent, also had his "gates." Thus
there is a "Neckersgate Mill" near Brussels, and the name "Neckersgate"
used also to be applied to a group of houses near by, surrounded by

All the other places clearly point to a water-spirit: two meres, two pits,
a mire and a beck: for the most part situated in low-lying country which
must in Anglo-Saxon times have been swampy. All this harmonizes excellently
with the _fenfreoðo_ of _Beowulf_ (l. 851). Of course it does not in the
least follow that these places were named after the Grendel of our poem. It
may well be that there was in England a current belief in a creature
Grendel, dwelling among the swamps. Von Sydow has compared the Yorkshire
belief in Peg Powler, or the Lancashire Jenny Greenteeth. But these aquatic
monsters are not exactly parallel; for they abide in the water, and are
dangerous only to those who attempt to cross it, or at any rate venture too
near the bank[582], whilst Grendel and even his mother are capable of
excursions of some distance from their fastness amid the fens.


Of course the mere-haunting Grendel _may_ have been identified only at a
comparatively late date with the spirit who struggles with the hero in the
house, and flees below the earth in the folk-tale.

At any rate belief in a Grendel, haunting mere and fen, is clearly
demonstrable for England--at any rate for the south and west of England:
for of these place-names two belong to the London district, one to
Wiltshire, one to Devonshire, two to Worcester and one to Stafford. The
place-name _Grendele_ in Yorkshire is too doubtful to be of much help.
(_Domesday Book_, I, 302.) It is the modern village Grindale, four miles
N.W. of Bridlington. From it, probably, is derived the surname _Grindle,
Grindall_ (Bardsley).

Abroad, the nearest parallel is to be found in Transsylvania, where there
is a _Grändels môr_ among the Saxons of the Senndorf district, near
Bistritz. The Saxons of Transsylvania are supposed to have emigrated from
the neighbourhood of the lower Rhine and the Moselle, and there is a
_Grindelbach_ in Luxemburg which may possibly be connected with the marsh

Most of the German names in _Grindel-_ or _Grendel-_ are connected with
_grendel_, "a bar," and therefore do not come into consideration here[584]:
but the Transsylvanian "Grendel's marsh[585]," anyway, reminds us of the
English "Grendel's marsh" or "mere" or "pit." Nevertheless, the local story
with which the Transsylvanian swamp is connected--that of a peasant who was
ploughing with six oxen and was swallowed up in the earth--is such that it
requires considerable ingenuity to see any connection between it and the


The Anglo-Saxon place-names may throw some light upon the meaning and
etymology of "Grendel[587]." The name has generally been derived from
_grindan_, "to grind"; either directly[588], because Grendel grinds the
bones of those he devours, or indirectly, in the sense of "tormentor[589]."
Others would connect with O.N. _grindill_, "storm," and perhaps with M.E.
_gryndel_, "angry[590]."

It has recently been proposed to connect the word with _grund_, "bottom":
for Grendel lives in the _mere-grund_ or _grund-wong_ and his mother is the
_grund-wyrgin_. Erik Rooth, who proposes this etymology, compares the
Icelandic _grandi_, "a sandbank," and the common Low German dialect word
_grand_, "coarse sand[591]." This brings us back to the root "to grind,"
for _grand_, "sand" is simply the product of the grinding of the
waves[592]. Indeed the same explanation has been given of the word

However this may be, the new etymology differs from the old in giving
Grendel a name derived, not from his grinding or tormenting others, but
from his dwelling at the bottom of the lake or marsh[594]. The name would
have a parallel in the Modern English _grindle_, _grundel_, German
_grundel_[595], a fish haunting the bottom of the water.

The Old English place-names, associating Grendel as they do with meres and
swamps, seem rather to support this.

As to the Devonshire stream _Grendel_ (now the Grindle or Greendale Brook),
it has been suggested that this name is also {310} connected with the root
_grand_, "gravel," "sand." But, so far as I have been able to observe,
there is no particular suggestion of sand or gravel about this modest
little brook. If we follow the River Clyst from the point where the Grindle
flows into it, through two miles of marshy land, to the estuary of the Exe,
we shall there find plenty. But it is clear from the charter of 963 that
the name was then, as now, restricted to the small brook. I cannot tell why
the stream should bear the name, or what, if any, is the connection with
the monster Grendel. We can only note that the name is again found attached
to water, and, near the junction with the Clyst, to marshy ground.

Anyone who will hunt Grendel through the shires, first on the 6-in.
ordnance map, and later on foot, will probably have to agree with the Three
Jovial Huntsmen

            This huntin' doesn't pay,
  But we'n powler't up an' down a bit, an' had a rattlin' day.

But, if some conclusions, although scanty, can be drawn from place-names in
which the word _grendel_ occurs, nothing can be got from the numerous
place-names which have been thought to contain the name _B[=e]ow_. The
clearest of these is the _on B[=e]owan hammes hecgan_, which occurs in the
Wiltshire charter of 931. But we can learn nothing definite from it: and
although there are other instances of strong and weak forms alternating, we
cannot even be quite certain that the Beowa here is identical with the Beow
of the genealogies[596].

The other cases, many of which occur in _Domesday Book_ are worthless.
Those which point to a weak form may often be derived from the weak noun
_b[=e]o_, "bee": "The Anglo-Saxons set great store by their bees, honey and
wax being indispensables to them[597]."

_B[=e]as br[=o]c_, _B[=e]as feld_ (_Bewes feld_) occur in charters: but
here a connection with _b[=e]aw_, "horsefly," is possible: for parallels,
one has only to consider the long list of places enumerated by Björkman,
the names of which are derived from those of beasts, {311} birds, or
insects[598]. And in such a word as _B[=e]ol[=e]ah_, even if the first
element be _b[=e]ow_, why may it not be the common noun "barley," and not
the name of the hero at all?

No argument can therefore be drawn from such a conjecture as that of Olrik,
that _B[=e]as br[=o]c_ refers to the water into which the last sheaf
(representing Beow) was thrown, in accordance with the harvest custom, and
in the expectation of the return of the spirit in the coming spring[599].

       *       *       *       *       *


The problems to which this pedigree gives rise are very numerous, and some
have been discussed above. There are four which seem to need further

(I) A "Sceafa" occurs in _Widsith_ as ruling over the Longobards. Of course
we cannot be certain that this hero is identical with the Sceaf of the
genealogy. Now there is no one in the long list of historic or
semi-historic Longobard kings, ruling after the tribe had left Scandinavia,
who bears a name at all similar. It seems therefore reasonable to suppose
that Sceafa, if he is a genuine Longobard king at all, belongs to the
primitive times when the Longobardi or Winnili dwelt in "Scadan," before
the historic or semi-historic times with which our extant list deals. And
Old English accounts, although making Sceaf an ancestor of the Saxon kings,
are unanimous in connecting him with Scani or Scandza.

Some scholars[600] have seen a serious difficulty in the weak form
"Sceafa," as compared with "Sceaf." But we have the exactly parallel cases
of _Horsa_[601] compared with _Hors_[602], and _Hr[=æ]dla_[603] compared
with _Hr[=æ]del_[604], _Hr[=e]ðel_. Parallel, but not quite so certain, are
_Sceldwa_[605] and _Scyld_[606], _G[=e]ata_[607] and _G[=e]at_[608],
_B[=e]owa_[609] and _B[=e]aw, B[=e]o(w)_[610].


I do not think it has ever been doubted that the forms _Hors_ and _Horsa_,
or _Hr[=e]ðel_ and _Hr[=æ]dla_, relate to one and the same person. Prof.
Chadwick seems to have little or no doubt as to the identity of _Scyld_ and
_Sceldwa_[611], or _B[=e]o_ and _B[=e]owa_[612]. Why then should the
identity of _Sc[=e]af_ and _Sc[=e]afa_ be denied because one form is strong
and the other weak[613]? We cannot demonstrate the identity of the figure
in the genealogies with the figure in _Widsith_; but little difficulty is
occasioned by the weak form.

(II) Secondly, the absence of the name _Sc[=e]af_ from the oldest MS of the
_Chronicle_ (the _Parker MS_, _C.C.C.C._ 173) has been made the ground for
suggesting that when that MS was written (_c._ 892) Sceaf had not yet been
invented (Möller, _Volksepos_, 43; Symons in _Pauls Grdr_. (2), III, 645;
Napier, as quoted by Clarke, _Sidelights_, 125). But Sceaf, and the other
names which are omitted from the _Parker MS_, are found in the other MSS of
the _Chronicle_ and the allied pedigrees, which are known to be derived
independently from one and the same original. Now, unless the names were
older than the _Parker MS_, they could not appear in so many independent
transcripts. For, even though these transcripts are individually later,
their _agreement_ takes us back to a period earlier than that of the
_Parker MS_ itself[614].

An examination of the different versions of the genealogy, given on pp.
202-3, above, and of the tree showing the connection between them, on p.
315, will, I think, make this clear.

The versions of the pedigree given in the _Parker MS_ of the _Chronicle_,
in Asser and in _Textus Roffensis I_, all contain the stages _Friþuwald_
and _Friþuwulf_. Asser and _Roff. I_ are connected by the note about
_G[=e]ata_: but _Roff. I_ is not derived from that text of Asser which has
come down to us, as that {313} text has corrupted _Fin_ and _Godwulf_ into
one name and has substituted _Seth_ for _Sc[=e]af_ ["Seth, _Saxonice_
Sceaf": Florence of Worcester]. _Roff. I_ is free from both these

Ethelwerd is obviously connected with a type of genealogy giving the stages
_Friþuwald_ and _Friþuwulf_, but differs from all the others in giving no
stages between _Scyld_ and _Sc[=e]f_.

None of the other versions contain the names _Friþuwald_ and _Friþuwulf_.
They are closely parallel, but fall into groups showing special

_MSS Tib. A. VI_ and _Tib. B. I_ of the _Chronicle_ show only trifling
differences of spelling. The MSS belong respectively to about the years
1000 and 1050, and are both derived from an Abingdon original of about

_MS Cott. Tib. B. IV_ is derived from a copy of the _Chronicle_ sent North
about 892[616].

_MS Cott. Tib. B. V_ and _Textus Roffensis II_ are closely connected, but
neither is derived from the other. For _Roff. II_ preserves _Teþwa_ and
_Hw[=a]la_, who are lost in _Tib. B. V; Tib. B. V_ preserves _Iterman_, who
is corrupted in _Roff. II._ Both _Tib. B. V_ and _Roff. II_ carry the
pedigree down to Edgar, mentioning his three sons _[=E]adweard and
[=E]admund and Æþelred æðelingas syndon [=E]adg[=a]res suna cyninges_. The
original therefore apparently belongs to some date before 970, when Edmund
died (cf. Stevenson's Asser, 158, note).

Common features of _MS Cott. Tib. B. V_ and _Roff. II_ are (1) _Eat(a)_ for
_Geat(a)_, (2) the omission of _d_ from _Scealdwa_, and (3) the expression
_se Sc[=e]f_, "this Scef." Features (1) and (3) are copied in the Icelandic
pedigrees. _Scealdwa_ is given correctly there, but the Icelandic
transcriber could easily have got it from _Scealdwaging_ above. The
Icelandic was, then, ultimately derived either from _Tib. B. V_ or from a
version so closely connected as not to be worth distinguishing.

Accordingly _Cott. Tib. B. V_, _Textus Roffensis II_, _Langfeðgatal_ and
_Flateyarbók_ form one group, pointing to an archetype _c._ 970.


The pedigrees can accordingly be grouped on the system shown on the
opposite page[617].

(III) Prof. Chadwick, in his _Origin of the English Nation_, draws wide
deductions from the fact that the Danes traced the pedigree of their kings
back to Skjold, whilst the West-Saxons included Sceldwa (Scyld) in their
royal pedigree:

    "Since the Angli and the Danes claimed descent from the same ancestor,
    there can be no doubt that the bond was believed to be one of

This belief, Prof. Chadwick thinks, went back to exceedingly early
times[619], and he regards it as well-founded:

    "It is true that the Angli of Britain seem never to have included
    themselves among the Danes, but the reason for this may be that the
    term _Dene_ (_Danir_) had not come into use as a collective term before
    the invasion of Britain[620]."

Doubtless the fact that the name of a Danish king _Scyld_ or _Sceldwa_ is
found in a pedigree of West-Saxon kings, as drawn up at a period certainly
not later than 892, points to a belief, at that date, in some kind of a
connection. But we have still to ask: How close was the connection supposed
to be? And how old is the belief?

Firstly as to the closeness of the connection. Finn also occurs in the
pedigree--possibly the Frisian king: Sceaf occurs, possibly, though not
certainly, a Longobard king. Noah and Adam occur; are we therefore to
suppose that the compiler of the _Genealogy_ believed his kings to be of
one blood with the Hebrews? Certainly he did: but only remotely, as common
descendants of Noah. And the occurrence of Sceldwa and Sceaf and Finn in
the genealogies--granting the identity of these heroes with Skjold of the
Danes, Sceafa of the Longobards and Finn of the Frisians, might only prove
that the genealogist believed in their common (Germanic) race.


                                900           950           1000
                                 |             |              |

                            | A. Chron                                |
                           _| Parker MS ______________________________|
                          / | c. 890-900                              |
                         /                                    | Asser
                        /                                     | MS Cott.
                       /______________________________________| Otho A.XII,
                      /                        \              | c. 1000
                     /                          \__________________________
                    /                                         | B. Chron.
  Transcript of     \                        ................ | MS Cott.
  Chronicle from     Copy sent to Abingdon,  : presumed     : | Tib. A. VI,
  which all          kept there till c. 977__: Abingdon     :/| c. 1000
  extant                   \                 : copy, c. 977 :\
  MSS are                   \                :..............: \____________
  derived                    \____________
                       Copy sent to Ripon\
                                             \  | Common original
                                              \_| compiled about  _
                                                | 970              \
                                                         \          \______
                                                           \  | Genealogy
                                                            \_| MS Cott.
                                                              | Tib. B. V,_
                                                              | c. 1000


       1050           1100          1125
         |              |             |

  | W. Chron.
  | MS Cott, Otho B. XI, 2.
  | c. 1025

  ___________________________________| Textus Roffensis I,
                                     | c. 1120

         | C. Chron.
  _______| MS Cott. Tib. B. I,
         | c. 1050

         | D. Chron.
  _______| MS Cott. Tib. B. IV,
         | c. 1050

  ___________________________________| Textus Roffensis II,
                                     | c. 1120

  ___________________________________| Icelandic
                                     | Genealogies



Secondly, how old is the belief? The Anglian genealogies (Northumbrian,
Mercian and East Anglian), as reproduced in the _Historia Brittonum_ and in
the _Vespasian MS_, form part of what is doubtless, as is said above, the
oldest extant English historical document. But in this document _there is
no mention of Scyld_. Indeed, it contains no pedigree of the West-Saxon
kings at all. From whatever cause, the West-Saxon genealogy is not extant
from so early a date as are the pedigrees of the Northumbrian, Mercian,
East Anglian and Kentish kings[621]. Still, this may well be a mere
accident, and I am not prepared to dispute that the pedigree which traces
the West-Saxon kings to Woden dates back, like the other genealogies
connecting Old English kings with Woden, to primitive and heathen times.
Now the West-Saxon pedigree is found in many forms: some which trace the
royal house only to Woden, and some which go beyond Woden and contain a
list of names by which Woden is connected with Sceaf, and then with Noah
and Adam.

(1) The nucleus of the whole pedigree is to be found in the names between
Cynric or Cerdic and Woden. These occur in every version. The pedigree in
this, its simplest form, is found twice among the entries in the
_Chronicle_ which deal with the events of heathen times, under 552 and 597.
These names fall into verse:

  [Cynr[=i]c Cerdicing], Cerdic Elesing,
  Elesa Esling, Esla GiWising,
  GiWis W[=i]ging, W[=i]g Fr[=e]awining,
  Fr[=e]awine Friðug[=a]ring, Friðug[=a]r Bronding,
  Brond B[=æ]ldæging, B[=æ]ldæg W[=o]dening.

Like the mnemonic lists in _Widsith_, these lines are probably very old.
Their object is clearly to connect the founder of the West-Saxon royal
house with Woden. Note, that not only do the names alliterate, but the
alliteration is perfect. Every line attains double alliteration in the
first half, with one alliterating word only in the second half. The lines
must go back to times when lists of royal ancestors, both real and
imaginary, had to {317} be arranged in correct verse; times when such
things were recorded by memory rather than by writing. They are
pre-literary, and were doubtless chanted by retainers of the West-Saxon
kings in heathen days.

(2) An expanded form of this genealogy occurs in _MSS C.C.C.C._ 183 and
_Cotton Tib. B. V_. Woden is here furnished with a father Frealaf. We know
nothing of any Frealaf as father of the All-Father in heathen days, though
Frealaf is found in this capacity in other genealogies written down in the
ages after the conversion. Frealaf breaks the correct alliterative system.
In both MSS the pedigree is brought down to King Ine (688-726): both MSS
are ultimately, no doubt, derived from a list current in the time of that
king, that is to say less than a century after the conversion of Wessex.

(3) A further expansion, which Prof. Napier has held on linguistic
grounds[622] to have been written down as early as 750, is incorporated in
a genealogical and chronological note regarding the West-Saxon kings, which
is extant in many MSS[623]. _In its present form_ this genealogical note is
a recension, under Alfred, of a document coming down to the death of his
father Æthelwulf. It traces the pedigree of Æthelwulf to Cerdic, but it
keeps this district from the rhythmical nucleus, in which it traces Cerdic
to Woden, and no further.

(4) Then, in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, under the year 855, the pedigree
is given in its most elaborate form. There the genealogy of Æthelwulf is
traced in one unbroken series, not merely through Cerdic to Woden, but from
Woden through a long line of Woden's ancestors, including Frealaf, Geat,
Sceldwa and Sceaf, to Noah and Adam.

It has been noted above[624] that none of the _Chronicle_ pedigrees {318}
stop at Sceaf. The _Chronicle_, in the stages above Woden, recognizes as
stopping places only Geat (Northumbrian pedigree, anno 547) or Adam
(West-Saxon pedigree, anno 855).

(5) The Chronicle of Ethelwerd (_c._ 1000) does, however, stop at
Scef[625]. Now it has been argued that Ethelwerd's pedigree is merely
abbreviated from the pedigree in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ under 855, and
that, in making Scef the final stage, and in what he tells us about that
hero, Ethelwerd is merely adapting what he had read in _Beowulf_ about
Scyld[626]. But this seems hardly possible. Ethelwerd, it is true, borrows
most of his facts from the _Chronicle_, from Bede, and other known sources:
but there are some passages which show that he had access to a source now
lost. Ethelwerd was a member of the West-Saxon royal house, and he wrote
his Chronicle for a kinswoman, Matilda, in order, as he says, to explain
their common stock and race. They were both descended from Æthelwulf, the
chronicler being great-great-grandson of Æthelred, and the lady to whom he
dedicates his work being great-great-granddaughter of Alfred. So he writes
to tell "who and whence were their kin, so far as memory adduces, and our
parents have taught us." Accordingly, though he begins his Chronicle with
the Creation, the bulk of it is devoted to the deeds of his or Matilda's
ancestors. Is it credible that he would have cut out all the stages in
their common pedigree between Scyld and Scef, that he would have sacrificed
all the ancestors of Scef, thus severing relations with Noah and Adam, and
that he would have attributed to Scef the story which in _Beowulf_ is
attributed to Scyld, all this simply in order to bring his English pedigree
into some harmony with what is told about the Danish pedigree in
_Beowulf_--a poem of which we have no evidence that he had ever heard?

To suppose him to have done this, is to make him sacrifice, _without any
reason_, just that part of the pedigree in the _Chronicle_ under 855 which,
from all we know of Ethelwerd, was most likely to have interested him: that
which connected his race with Noah and Adam. Further, it is to suppose him
to have reproduced just those stages in the pedigree which on critical
{319} grounds modern scholars can show to be the oldest, and to have
modified or rejected just those which on critical grounds modern scholars
can show to be later accretion. When Brandl supposes Ethelwerd to have
produced his pedigree by comparing together merely the materials which have
come down to us to-day, namely _Beowulf_ and the _Chronicle_, he is, in
reality, attributing to him the mind and acumen of a modern critic. An
Anglo-Saxon alderman could only have detected and rejected the additions by
using some material which has _not_ come down to us. What more natural than
that Ethelwerd, who writes as the historian of the West-Saxon royal family,
should have known of a family pedigree which traced the line up to Sceaf
and his arrival in the boat, and that he should have (rightly) thought this
to be more authoritative than the pedigree in the _Chronicle_ under the
year 855, which had been expanded from it? Prof. Chadwick, it seems to me,
is here quite justified in holding that Ethelwerd had "acquired the
genealogy from some unknown source, in a more primitive form than that
contained in the _Chronicle_[627]."

But, because the source of Ethelwerd's pedigree is more primitive than that
contained in the _Chronicle_ under the year 855, it does not follow that it
goes back to heathen times. Wessex had been converted more than two
centuries earlier.

We are now in a position to make some estimate of the antiquity of Scyld
and Sceaf in the West-Saxon pedigree. The nucleus of this pedigree is to be
found in the verses connecting Cynric and Cerdic with Woden. (Even as late
as Æthelwulf and Alfred this nucleus is often kept distinct from the later,
more historic stages connecting Cerdic with living men.) Pedigrees of other
royal houses go to Woden, and many stop there; however, in times
comparatively early, but yet Christian, we find Woden provided with five
ancestors: later, Ethelwerd gives him ten: the _Chronicle_ gives him
twenty-five. It is evidently a process of accumulation.

Now, if the name of Scyld had occurred in the portion of the pedigree which
traces the West-Saxon kings up to Woden, {320} it would possess sufficient
authority to form the basis of an argument. But Scyld, like Heremod, Beaw
and Sceaf, occurs in the fantastic development of the pedigree, by which
Woden is connected up with Adam and Noah. The fact that these heroes occur
_above_ Woden makes it almost incredible that their position in the
pedigree can go back to heathen times. Those who believed in Woden as a god
can hardly have believed at the same time that he was a descendant of the
Danish king Scyld. This difficulty Prof. Chadwick admits: "It is difficult
to believe that in heathen times Woden was credited with five generations
of ancestors, as in the _Frealaf-Geat_ list." Still less is it credible
that he was credited with 25 generations of ancestors, as in the
_Frealaf-Geat-Sceldwa-Sceaf-Noe-Adam_ list.

The obvious conclusion seems to me to be that the names above Woden were
added in Christian times to the original list, which in heathen times only
went back to Woden, and _which is still extant in this form_. A Christian,
rationalizing Woden as a human magician, would have no difficulty in
placing him far down the ages, just as Saxo Grammaticus does[628].
Obviously _Noe-Adam_ must be an addition of Christian times, and the same
seems to me to apply to all the other names above Woden, which, though
ancient and Germanic, are not therefore ancient and Germanic in the
capacity of ancestors of Woden.

And even if these extraordinary ancestors of Woden were really believed in
in heathen times, they cannot have been regarded as the special property of
any one nation. For it was never claimed that the West-Saxon kings had any
unique distinction in tracing their ancestry to Woden, such as would give
them a special claim upon Woden's forefathers. How then can the ancient
belief (if indeed it _were_ an ancient belief) that Woden was descended
from Scyld, King of Denmark, prove that the Anglo-Saxons regarded
_themselves_ as specially related to the Danes? For any such relationship
derived through Woden must have been shared by all descendants of the

Prof. Chadwick avoids this difficulty by supposing that Woden did not
originally occur in the pedigree, but is a later {321} insertion[629]. But
how can this be so when, of the two forms in which the West-Saxon pedigree
appears, one (and, so far as our evidence goes, much the older one) traces
the kings to Woden _and stops there_. The _object_ of this pedigree is to
connect the West-Saxon kings with Woden. The expanded pedigrees, which
carry on the line still further, from Woden to Sceldwa, Sceaf and Adam,
though very numerous, are all traceable to one, or at most two, sources. It
is surely not the right method to regard Woden as an interpolation (though
he occurs in that portion of the pedigree which is common to all versions,
some of which we can probably trace back to primitive times), and to regard
as the original element Scyld and Sceaf (though they form part of the
continuation of the pedigree found only in, at most, two families of MSS
which we cannot trace back beyond the ninth century).

Besides, there is the strongest external support for Woden in the very
place which he occupies in the West-Saxon pedigree. That pedigree is traced
in all its texts up to one Baldæg and his father Woden. Those texts which
further give Woden's ancestry make him a descendant of Frealaf--they
generally make Woden son of Frealaf, though some texts insert an
intermediate Frithuwald.

Now the very ancient Northumbrian pedigree also goes up, by a different
route, to "Beldæg," and gives him Woden for a father. In some versions
(e.g. the _Historia Brittonum_) the Northumbrian pedigree stops there: in
others (e.g. the _Vespasian MS_) Woden has a father Frealaf. How then _can_
it be argued, contrary to the unanimous evidence of all the dozen or more
MSS of the West-Saxon pedigree, that _Woden_, standing as he does between
his proper father and his proper son, is an interpolation? There is no
evidence whatsoever to support such an argument, and everything to disprove

The fact that Sceaf, Sceldwa and Beaw occur above Woden, that some versions
of the pedigree stop at Woden, and that in heathen times presumably all
must have stopped when they reached the All-Father, seems to me a fatal
argument--not against the antiquity of the legends of Sceaf, Sceldwa, and
{322} Beaw, but against the antiquity of these characters in the capacity
(given to them in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_) of ancestors of the
West-Saxon kings, and against the vast deduction concerning the origin of
the English nation which Prof. Chadwick draws from this supposed antiquity.

(IV) Precisely the same argument--that Sceaf, Sceldwa and Beaw are found
_above Woden_ in the pedigree of the English kings, and are not likely to
have occupied that place in primitive heathen times, is fatal to the
attempt to draw from this pedigree any argument that the myths of these
heroes were specially and exclusively Anglo-Saxon. The argument of
Müllenhoff and other scholars for an ancient, _purely Anglo-Saxon_
Beowa-myth[630] falls, therefore, to the ground.

       *       *       *       *       *


A few years ago there was a tendency to exaggerate the value of grammatical
forms in fixing the date of Old English poetry, and attempts were made to
arrange Old English poems in a chronological series, according to the exact
percentage of "early" to "late" forms in each. There has now been a natural
reaction against the assumption that, granting certain forms to be archaic,
these would necessarily be found in a percentage diminishing exactly
according to the dates of composition of the various poems in which they
occur. The reaction has now gone to the other extreme, and grammatical
facts are in danger of being regarded as not being "in any way valid or
helpful indications of dates[631]."

Schücking[632], in an elaborate recent monograph on the date of _Beowulf_,
rejects the grammatical evidence as valueless, and proceeds to date the
poem about two centuries later than has usually been held, placing its
composition at the court of some christianized Scandinavian monarch in
England, about 900 A.D.


But it surely does not follow that, because grammatical data have been
misused, therefore no use can be made of them. And, if _Beowulf_ was
composed about the year 900, from stories current among the Viking
settlers, how are we to account for the fact that the proper names in
_Beowulf_ are given, not in the Scandinavian forms of the Viking age, nor
in corruptions of such forms, but in the correct English forms which we
should expect, according to English sound laws, if the names had been
brought over in the sixth century, and handed down traditionally[633]?

For example, King Hygelac no doubt called himself _Hugilaikaz_. The
_Chochilaicus_ of Gregory of Tours is a good--if uncouth--shot at
reproducing this name. The name became, in Norse, _Hugleikr_ and in Danish
_Huglek_ (_Hugletus_ in Saxo): traditional kings so named are recorded,
though it is difficult to find that they have anything in common with the
King Hygelac in _Beowulf_[634]. Had the name been introduced into England
in Viking times, we should expect the Scandinavian form, not

Even in the rare cases where the character in _Beowulf_ and his
Scandinavian equivalent bear names which are not phonologically identical,
the difference does not point to any corruption such as might have arisen
from borrowing in Viking days[636]. We have only to contrast the way in
which the names of Viking chiefs are recorded in the _Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle_, to be convinced that the Scandinavian stories recorded in
_Beowulf_ are due to contact during the age when Britain was being
conquered, not during the Viking period three or four centuries later[637].

And the arguments from literary and political history, which Schücking
adduces to prove his late date, seem to me to point in exactly the opposite
direction, and to confirm the orthodox view which would place _Beowulf_
nearer 700 than 900.


Schücking urges that, however highly we estimate the civilizing effect of
Christianity, it was only in the second half of the seventh century that
England was thoroughly permeated by the new faith. Can we expect already,
at the beginning of the eighth century, a courtly work, showing, as does
_Beowulf_, such wonderful examples of tact, modesty, unselfishness and
magnanimity? And this at the time when King Ceolwulf was forced by his
rebellious subjects to take the cowl. For Schücking[638], following
Hodgkin[639], reminds us how, in the eighth century, out of 15 Northumbrian
kings, five were dethroned, five murdered; two abdicated, and only three
held the crown to their death; and how at the end of the century
Charlemagne called the Northumbrian Angles "a perfidious and perverse
nation, murderers of their lords."

But surely, at the base of all this argument, lies the same assumption
which, as Schücking rightly holds, vitiates so many of the grammatical
arguments; the assumption that development must necessarily be in steady
and progressive proportion. We may take Penda as a type of the unreclaimed
heathen, and Edward the Confessor of the chaste and saintly churchman; but
Anglo-Saxon history was by no means a development in steady progression, of
diminishing percentages of ruffianism and increasing percentages of

The knowledge of, and interest in, heathen custom shown in _Beowulf_, such
as the vivid accounts of cremation, would lead us to place it as near
heathen times as other data will allow. So much must be granted to the
argument of Prof. Chadwick[640]. But the Christian tone, so far from
leading us to place _Beowulf_ late, would _also_ lead us to place it near
the time of the conversion. For it is precisely in these times just after
the conversion, that we get the most striking instances in all Old English
history of that "tact, modesty, generosity, and magnanimity" which
Schücking rightly regards as characteristic of _Beowulf_.

King Oswin (who was slain in 651) was, Bede tells us, handsome, courteous
of speech and bearing, bountiful both to great {325} and lowly, beloved of
all men for his qualities of mind and body, so that noblemen came from all
over England to enter his service--yet of all his endowments gentleness and
humility were the chief. We cannot read the description without being
reminded of the words of the thegns in praise of the dead Beowulf. Indeed,
I doubt if Beowulf would have carried gentleness to those around him quite
so far as did Oswin. For Oswin had given to Bishop Aidan an exceptionally
fine horse--and Aidan gave it to a beggar who asked alms. The king's mild
suggestion that a horse of less value would have been good enough for the
beggar, and that the bishop needed a good horse for his own use, drew from
the saint the stern question "Is that son of a mare dearer to thee than the
Son of God?" The king, who had come from hunting, stood warming himself at
the fire, thinking over what had passed; then he suddenly ungirt his sword,
gave it to his squire, and throwing himself at the feet of the bishop,
promised never again to grudge anything he might give in his charities.

Of course such conduct was exceptional in seventh century Northumbria--it
convinced Aidan that the king was too good to live long, as indeed proved
to be the case. But it shows that the ideals of courtesy and gentleness
shown in _Beowulf_ were by no means beyond the possibility of
attainment--were indeed surpassed by a seventh century king. I do not know
if they could be so easily paralleled in later Old English times.

And what is true from the point of view of morals is true equally from that
of art and learning. In spite of the misfortunes of Northumbrian kings in
the eighth century, the _first third_ of that century was "the Golden Age
of Anglo-Saxon England[641]." And not unnaturally, for it had been preceded
by half a century during which Northumbria had been free both from internal
strife and from invasion. The empire won by Oswiu over Picts and Scots in
the North had been lost at the battle of Nectansmere: but that battle had
been followed by the twenty years reign of the learned Aldfrid, whose
scholarship did not prevent him from nobly retrieving the state of the
kingdom[642], though he could not recover the lost dominions.


Now, whatever we may think of _Beowulf_ as poetry, it is remarkable for its
conscious and deliberate art, and for the tone of civilization which
pervades it. And this half century was distinguished, above any other
period of Old English history, precisely for its art and its civilization.
Four and a half centuries later, when the works of great Norman master
builders were rising everywhere in the land, the buildings which Bishop
Wilfrid had put up during this first period of conversion were still
objects of admiration, even for those who had seen the glories of the great
Roman basilicas[643].

Nor is there anything surprising in the fact that this "golden age" was not
maintained. On the contrary, it is "in accordance with the phenomena of
Saxon history in general, in which seasons of brilliant promise are
succeeded by long eras of national eclipse. It is from this point of view
quite in accordance with natural likelihood that the age of conversion was
one of such stimulus to the artistic powers of the people that a level of
effort and achievement was reached which subsequent generations were not
able to maintain. The carved crosses and the coins certainly degenerate in
artistic value as the centuries pass away, and the fine barbaric gold and
encrusted work is early in date[644]."

Already in the early part of the eighth century signs of decay are to be
observed. At the end of his _Ecclesiastical History_, Bede complains that
the times are so full of disturbance that one knows not what to say, or
what the end will be. And these fears were justified. A hundred and forty
years of turmoil and decay follow, till the civilization of the North and
the Midlands was overthrown by the Danes, and York became the uneasy seat
of a heathen jarl.

How it should be possible to see in these facts, as contrasted with the
Christian and civilized tone of _Beowulf_, any argument for late date, I
cannot see. On the contrary, because of its Christian civilization combined
with its still vivid, if perhaps not always quite exact, recollection of
heathen customs, we should be inclined to put _Beowulf_ in the early
Christian ages.


A further argument put forward for this late date is the old one that the
Scandinavian sympathies of _Beowulf_ show it to have been composed for a
Scandinavian court, the court, Schücking thinks, of one of the princes who
ruled over those portions of England which the Danes had settled[645]. Of
course Schücking is too sound a scholar to revive at this time of day the
old fallacy that the Anglo-Saxons ought to have taken no interest in the
deeds of any but Anglo-Saxon heroes. But how, he asks, are we to account
for such _enthusiasm_ for, such a burning interest in, a people of alien
dialect and foreign dynasty, such as the Scyldings of Denmark?

The answer seems to me to be that the enthusiasm of _Beowulf_ is not for
the Danish nation as such: on the contrary, _Beowulf_ depicts a situation
which is most humiliating to the Danes. For twelve years they have suffered
the depredations of Grendel; Hrothgar and his kin have proved helpless: all
the Danes have been unequal to the need. Twice at least this is emphasized
in the most uncompromising, and indeed insulting, way[646]. The poet's
enthusiasm is not, then, for the Danish race as such, but for the ideal of
a great court with its body of retainers. Such retainers are not
necessarily native born--rather is it the mark of the great court that it
draws men from far and wide to enter the service, whether permanently or
temporarily, even as Beowulf came from afar to help the aged Hrothgar in
his need.

It is this ideal of personal valour and personal loyalty, rather than of
tribal patriotism, which pervades _Beowulf_, and which certainly suits the
known facts of the seventh and early eighth centuries. The bitterest strife
in England in the seventh century had been between the two quite new states
of Northumbria and Mercia, both equally of Anglian race. Both these states
had been built up by a combination of smaller units, and not without
violating the old local patriotisms of the diverse elements from which they
had been formed. At first, at any rate, no such thing as Northumbrian or
Mercian patriotism can have existed. Loyalty was personal, to the king.
Neither the kingdom nor the _comitatus_ was homogeneous. We have seen {328}
that Bede mentions it as a peculiar honour to a Northumbrian prince that
_from all parts of England_ nobles came to enter his service. We must not
demand from the seventh or eighth century our ideals of exclusive
enthusiasm for the land of one's birth, ideals which make it disreputable
for a "mercenary" to sell his sword. The ideal is, on the contrary, loyalty
to a prince whose service a warrior _voluntarily_ enters. And the Danish
court is depicted as a pattern of such loyalty--before the Scyldings began
to work evil[647], by the treason of Hrothulf.

Further, the fact that the Danish court at Leire had been a heathen one
might be matter for regret, but it would not prevent its being praised by
an Englishman about 700. For England was then entirely Christian. In the
process of conversion no single Christian had, so far as we know, been
martyred. There had been no war of religion. If Penda had fought against
Oswald, it had been as the king of Mercia against the king of Northumbria.
Penda's allies were Christian, and he showed no antipathy to the new
faith[648]. So that at this date there was no reason for men to feel any
deep hostility towards a heathendom which had been the faith of their
grandfathers, and with which there had never been any embittered conflict.

But in 900 the position was quite different. For more than a generation the
country had been engaged in a life-and-death struggle between two warring
camps, the "Christian men" and the "heathen men." The "heathen men" were in
process of conversion, but were liable to be ever recruited afresh from
beyond the sea. It seems highly unlikely that _Beowulf_ could have been
written at this date, by some English poet, for the court of a converted
Scandinavian prince, with a view perhaps, as Schücking suggests, to
educating his children in the English speech. In such a case the one thing
likely to be avoided by the English poet, with more than two centuries of
Christianity behind him, would surely have been the praise of that
Scandinavian heathendom, from which his patron had freed himself, and from
which his children were to be weaned. The martyrdom of S. Edmund might have
seemed a more appropriate theme[649]. {329} The tolerant attitude towards
heathen customs, and the almost antiquarian interest in them, very justly,
as it seems to me, emphasized by Schücking[650], is surely far more
possible in A.D. 700 than in A.D. 900. For between those dates heathendom
had ceased to be an antiquarian curiosity, and had become an imminent

If those are right who hold that _Beowulf_ is no purely native growth, but
shows influence of the classical epic, then again it is easier to credit
such influence about the year 700 than 900. At the earlier date we have
scholars like Aldhelm and Bede, both well acquainted with Virgil, yet both
interested in vernacular verse. It has been urged, as a _reductio ad
absurdum_ of the view which would connect _Beowulf_ with Virgil, that the
relation to the _Odyssey_ is more obvious than that to the _Æneid_.
Perhaps, however, some remote and indirect connection even between
_Beowulf_ and the _Odyssey_ is not altogether unthinkable, about the year
700. At the end of the seventh century there was a flourishing school of
Greek learning in England, under Hadrian and the Greek Archbishop Theodore,
both "well read in sacred _and in secular_ literature." In 730 their
scholars were still alive, and, Bede tells us, could speak Greek and Latin
as correctly as their native tongue. Bede himself knew something about the
_Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_. Not till eight centuries have passed, and we
reach Grocyn and Linacre, was it again to be as easy for an Englishman to
have a first-hand knowledge of a Greek classic as it was about the year
700. What scholarship had sunk to by the days of Alfred, we know: and we
know that all Alfred's patronage did not produce any scholar whom we can
think of as in the least degree comparable to Bede.

So that from the point of view of its close touch with heathendom, its
tolerance for heathen customs, its Christian magnanimity and gentleness,
its conscious art, and its learned tone, all historic and artistic analogy
would lead us to place _Beowulf_ in the great age--the age of Bede.

This has brought us to another question--more interesting to many than the
mere question of date. Are we to suppose {330} any direct connection
between the classical and the Old English epic?

As nations pass through their "Heroic Age," similar social conditions will
necessarily be reflected by many similarities in their poetry. In heroic
lays like _Finnsburg_ or _Hildebrand_ or the Norse poems, phrases and
situations may occur which remind us of phrases and situations in the
_Iliad_, without affording any ground for supposing classical influence
direct or indirect.

But there is much more in _Beowulf_ than mere accidental coincidence of
phrase or situation.

A simple-minded romancer would have made the _Æneid_ a biography of Æneas
from the cradle to the grave. Not so Virgil. The story begins with mention
of Carthage. Æneas then comes on the scene. At a banquet he tells to Dido
his earlier adventures. Just so _Beowulf_ begins, not with the birth of
Beowulf and his boyhood, but with Heorot. Beowulf arrives. At the banquet,
in reply to Unferth, he narrates his earlier adventures. The _Beowulf_-poet
is not content merely to tell us that there was minstrelsy at the feast,
but like Virgil or Homer, he must give an account of what was sung. The
epic style leads often to almost verbal similarities. Jupiter consoling
Hercules for the loss of the son of his host says:

  stat sua cuique dies, breve et inreparabile tempus
  omnibus est vitae; sed famam extendere factis
  hoc virtutis opus[651].

In the same spirit and almost in the same words does Beowulf console
Hrothgar for the loss of his friend:

  [=U]re [=æ]ghwylc sceal ende geb[=i]dan
  worolde l[=i]fes; wyrce s[=e] þe m[=o]te
  d[=o]mes [=æ]r d[=e]aþe; þæt biþ drihtguman
  unlifgendum æfter s[=e]lest.

On the other hand, though we are often struck by the likeness in spirit and
in plan, it must be allowed that there is no tangible or conclusive proof
of borrowing[652]. But the influence may have been none the less effective
for being indirect: nor is {331} it quite certain that the author, had he
known his Virgil, would necessarily have left traces of direct borrowing.
For the deep Christian feeling, which has given to _Beowulf_ its almost
prudish propriety and its edifying tone, is manifested by no direct and
dogmatic reference to Christian personages or doctrines.

I sympathize with Prof. Chadwick's feeling that a man who knew Virgil would
not have disguised his knowledge, and would probably have lacked both
inclination and ability to compose such a poem as _Beowulf_[653]. But does
not this feeling rest largely upon the analogy of other races and ages? Is
it borne out by such known facts as we can gather about this period? The
reticence of _Beowulf_ with reference to Christianity does not harmonize
with one's preconceived ideas; and Bishop Aldhelm gives us an even greater
surprise. Let anyone read, or try to read, Aldhelm's _Epistola ad Acircium,
sive liber de septenario et de metris_. Let him then ask himself "Is it
possible that this learned pedant can also have been the author of English
poems which King Alfred--surely no mean judge--thought best of all he
knew?" These poems may of course have been educated and learned in tone.
But we have the authority of King Alfred for the fact that Aldhelm used to
perform at the cross roads as a common minstrel, and that he could hold his
audiences with such success that they resorted to him again and again[654].
Only after he had made himself popular by several performances did he
attempt to weave edifying matter into his verse. And the popular, secular
poetry of Aldhelm, his _carmen triviale_, remained current among the common
people for centuries. Nor was Aldhelm's classical knowledge of late growth,
something superimposed upon an earlier love of popular poetry, for he had
{332} studied under Hadrian as a boy[655]. Later we are told that King Ine
imported two Greek teachers from Athens for the help of Aldhelm and his
school[656]; this may be exaggeration.

Everything seems to show that about 700 an atmosphere existed in England
which might easily have led a scholarly Englishman, acquainted with the old
lays, to have set to work to compose an epic. Even so venerable a person as
Bede, during his last illness, uttered his last teaching not, as we should
expect on _a priori_ grounds, in Latin hexameters, but in English metre.
The evidence for this is conclusive[657]. But, at a later date, Alcuin
would surely have condemned the minstrelsy of Aldhelm[658]. Even King
Alfred seems to have felt that it needed some apology. It would have
rendered Aldhelm liable to severe censure under the Laws of King
Edgar[659]; and Dunstan's biographer indignantly denies the charge brought
against his hero of having learnt the heathen songs of his

The evidence is not as plentiful as we might wish, but it rather suggests
that the chasm between secular poetry and ecclesiastical learning was more
easily bridged in the first generations after the conversion than was the
case later.

But, however that may be, it assuredly does not give any grounds for
abandoning the old view, based largely upon grammatical and metrical
considerations, which would make _Beowulf_ a product of the early eighth
century, and substituting for it a theory which would make our poem a
product of mixed Saxon and Danish society in the early tenth century.

       *       *       *       *       *



The view that the Geatas of _Beowulf_ are the Jutes (Iuti, Iutae) of Bede
(i.e. the tribe which colonized Kent, the Isle of Wight and Hampshire) has
been held by many eminent scholars. It was dealt with only briefly above
(pp. 8-9) because I thought the theory was now recognized as being no
longer tenable. Lately, however, it has been maintained with conviction and
ability by two Danish scholars, Schütte and Kier. It therefore becomes
necessary once more to reopen the question, now that the only elaborate
discussion of it in the English language favours the "Jute-theory,"
especially as Axel Olrik gave the support of his great name to the view
that "the question is still open[661]" and that "the last word has not been
said concerning the nationality of the Geatas[662]."

As in most controversies, a number of rather irrelevant side issues have
been introduced[663], so that from mere weariness students are sometimes
inclined to leave the problem undecided. Yet the interpretation of the
opening chapters of Scandinavian history turns upon it.

Supporters of the "Jute-theory" have seldom approached the subject from the
point of view of Old English. Bugge[664] perhaps did so: but the
"Jute-theory" has been held chiefly by students of Scandinavian history,
literature or geography, like Fahlbeck[665], Steenstrup[666], Gering[667],
Olrik[668], Schütte[669] and Kier[670]. But, now that the laws of Old
English sound-change have been {334} clearly defined, it seldom happens
that anyone who approaches the subject primarily as a student of the
Anglo-Saxon language holds the view that the Geatas are Jutes.

And this is naturally so: for, from the point of view of language, the
question is not disputable. The _G[=e]atas_ phonologically are the _Gautar_
(the modern Götar of Southern Sweden). It is admitted that the words are
identical[671]. And, equally, it is admitted that the word _G[=e]atas_
cannot be identical with the word _Iuti_, _Iutae_, used by Bede as the name
of the Jutes who colonized Kent[671]. Bede's _Iuti_, _Iutae_, on the
contrary, would correspond to a presumed Old English _*[=I]uti_ or
_*[=I]utan_[672], current in his time in Northumbria. This in later
Northumbrian would become _[=I]ote_, _[=I]otan_ (though the form _[=I]ute_,
_[=I]utan_ might also survive). The dialect forms which we should expect
(and which we find in the genitive and dative) corresponding to this would
be: Mercian, _[=E]ote_, _[=E]otan_; Late West-Saxon, _[=Y]te_, _[=Y]tan_
(through an intermediate Early West-Saxon _*[=I]ete_, _*[=I]etan_, which is
not recorded).

If, then, the word _G[=e]atas_ came to supplant the correct form _[=I]ote_,
_[=I]otan_ (or its Mercian and West-Saxon equivalents _[=E]ote_,
_[=E]otan_, _[=Y]te_, _[=Y]tan_), this can only have been the result of
confusion. Such confusion is, on abstract grounds, conceivable: it is
always possible that the name of one tribe may come to be attached to
another. "Scot" has ceased to mean "Irishman," and has come to mean "North
Briton"; and there is no intrinsic impossibility in the word _G[=e]atas_
having been transferred by Englishmen, from the half-forgotten Gautar, to
the Jutes, and having driven out the correct name of the latter, _[=I]ote_,
_[=I]otan_. For example, there might have been an exiled Geatic family
among the Jutish invaders, which might have become so prominent as to cause
{335} the name _G[=e]atas_ to supplant the correct _[=I]ote_, _[=E]ote_,
etc. But, whoever the Geatas may have been, _Beowulf_ is their chief early
record: indeed, almost all we know of their earliest history is derived
from _Beowulf_. In _Beowulf_, therefore, if anywhere, the old names and
traditions should be remembered. The word _G[=e]at_ occurs some 50 times in
the poem. The poet obviously wishes to use other synonyms, for the sake of
variety and alliteration: hence we get _Weder-G[=e]atas_, _Wederas_,
_S[=æ]-G[=e]atas_, _G[=u]ð-G[=e]atas_. Now, if these Geatas are the Jutes,
how comes it that the poet _never_ calls them such, never speaks of them
under the correct tribal name of _[=E]ote_, etc., although this was the
current name at the time _Beowulf_ was written, and indeed for centuries

For, demonstrably, the form _[=E]ote_, etc., _was_ recognized as the name
of the Jutes till at least the twelfth century. Then it died out of current
speech, and only Bede's Latin _Iuti_ (and the modern "Jute" derived
therefrom) remained as terms used by the historians. The evidence is

(_a_) Bede, writing about the time when _Beowulf_, in its present form, is
supposed to have been composed, uses _Iuti_, _Iutae_, corresponding to a
presumed contemporary Northumbrian _*[=I]uti_, _*[=I]utan_.

(_b_) In the O.E. translation of Bede, made in Mercia perhaps two centuries
after Bede's time, we do indeed in one place find "Geata," "Geatum" used to
translate "Iutarum," "Iutis," instead of the correctly corresponding
Mercian form "Eota," "Eotum." Only two MSS are extant at this point. But
since both agree, and since they belong to different types, it is probable
that "Geata" here is no mere copyist's error, but is due to the translator
himself[673]. But, later, when the translator {336} has to render Bede's
"Iutorum," he gives, not "Geata," but the correct Mercian "Eota." There can
be no possible doubt here, for five MSS are extant at this point, and all
give the correct form--four in the Mercian, "Eota," whilst one gives the
West-Saxon equivalent, "Ytena."

Now the _G[=e]ata_-passage in the Bede translation is the chief piece of
evidence which those who would explain the Geatas of _Beowulf_ as "Jutes"
can call: and it does not, in fact, much help them. What they have to prove
is that the _Beowulf_-poet could _consistently and invariably_ have used
_G[=e]atas_ in the place of _[=E]ote_. To produce an instance in which the
two terms are both used by the same translator is very little use, when
what has to be proved is that the one term had already, at a much earlier
period, entirely ousted the other.

All our other evidence is for the invariable use of the correct form
_[=I]ote_, _[=I]otan_, etc. in Old English.

(_c_) The passage from Bede was again translated, and inserted into a copy
of the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, which was sent quite early to one of the
great abbeys of Northumbria[674]. In this, "Iutis, Iutarum" is represented
by the correct Northumbrian equivalent, "Iutum," "Iotum"; "Iutna."

(_d_) This Northumbrian Chronicle, or a transcript of it, subsequently came
South, to Canterbury. There, roughly about the year 1100, it was used to
interpolate an Early West-Saxon copy of the Chronicle. Surely at
Canterbury, the capital of the old Jutish kingdom, people must have known
the correct form of the Jutish name, whether _G[=e]atas_ or _[=I]ote_. We
find the forms "Iotum," "Iutum"; "Iutna."

(_e_) Corresponding to this Northumbrian (and Kentish) form _[=I]ote_,
Mercian _[=E]ote_, the Late West-Saxon form should be _[=Y]te_. Now _MS
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge_, 41, gives us "the Wessex version of the
English Bede" and is written by a scribe who knew the Hampshire
district[675]. In this MS the "Eota" of the Mercian original has been
transcribed as "Ytena," "Eotum" as "Ytum," showing that the scribe
understood the tribal name and its equivalent correctly. This was about the
{337} time of the Norman Conquest, but the name continued to be understood
till the early twelfth century at least. For Florence of Worcester records
that William Rufus was slain _in Noua Foresta quae lingua Anglorum Ytene
nuncupatur_; and in another place he speaks of the same event as happening
_in prouincia Jutarum in Noua Foresta_[676], which shows that Florence
understood that "Ytene" was _[=Y]tena land_, "the province of the Jutes."

It comes, then, to this. The "Jute-hypothesis" postulates not only that, at
the time _Beowulf_ was composed, _G[=e]atas_ had come to mean "Jutes," but
also that it had so completely ousted the correct old name _[=I]uti,
[=I]ote, [=E]ote, [=Y]te_, that none of the latter terms are ever used in
the poem as synonyms for Beowulf's people[677]. Yet all the evidence shows
that _[=I]uti_ etc. was the recognized name when Bede wrote, and we have
evidence at intervals showing that it was so understood till four centuries
later. But not only was _[=I]uti_, _[=I]ote_ never superseded in O.E.
times; there is no real evidence that _G[=e]atas_ was ever _generally_ used
to signify "Jutes." The fact that one translator in one passage (writing
probably some two centuries after _Beowulf_ was composed) uses "Geata,"
"Geatum," where he should have used "Eota," "Eotum," does not prove the
misnomer to have been general--especially when the same translator
subsequently uses the correct form "Eota."

I do not think sufficient importance has been attached to what seems (to
me) the vital argument against the "Jute-theory." It is not merely that
_G[=e]atas_ is the exact phonological equivalent of _Gautar_ (Götar) and
cannot be equivalent to Bede's _Iuti_. This difficulty may be got over by
the assumption that somehow the _Iuti_, or some of them, had adopted the
name _G[=e]atas_: and we are not in a position to disprove such assumption.
But the advocates of the "Jute-theory" have further to assume that, at the
date when _Beowulf_ was written, the correct name _Iuti_ (Northumbrian
_[=I]ote_, Mercian _[=E]ote_, West-Saxon _[=Y]te_) must have so passed into
disuse that it could not be once used as a {338} synonym for Beowulf's
people, by our synonym-hunting poet. And this assumption we _are_ in a
position to disprove.

The Jute-theory would therefore still be untenable on the ground of the
name, even though it were laboriously proved that, from the historical and
geographical standpoint, there was more to be said for it than had hitherto
been recognized. But even this has not been proved: quite the reverse. As I
have tried to show above, historical and geographical considerations,
though in themselves not absolutely conclusive, point emphatically to an
identification with the Götar, rather than with the Jutes[678].

The relations of Beowulf and the Geatas with the kings of Denmark and of
Sweden are the constant topic of the poem. Now the land of the Götar _was_
situated between Denmark and Sweden. But if the Geatas be Jutes, their
neighbours were the Danes on the east and the Angles on the south; farther
away, across the Cattegat lay the Götar, and beyond these the Swedes. If
the Geatas be Jutes, why should their immediate neighbours, the Angles,
never appear in _Beowulf_ as having any dealings with them? And why, above
all, should the Götar never be mentioned, whilst the Swedes, far to the
north, play so large a part? Even if Swedes and Götar had at this time been
under one king, the Götar could not have been thus ignored, seeing that,
owing to their position, the brunt of the fighting must have fallen on
them[679]. But we know that the Götar were independent. The strictly
contemporary evidence of Procopius shows quite conclusively that they were
one of the strongest of the Scandinavian kingdoms[680]. How then could
warfare be carried on for three generations between Jutes and Swedes
without concerning the Götar, whose territory lay in between?

Again, in the "Catalogue of Kings" in _Widsith_, the Swedes are named with
their famous king Ongentheow. The Jutes (_[=Y]te_) are also mentioned, with
_their_ king. And their king is {339} not Hrethel, Hæthcyn, Hygelac or
Heardred, but a certain Gefwulf, whose name does not even alliterate with
that of any known king of the Geatas[681].

Again, in the (certainly very early) _Book on Monsters_, Hygelac is
described as _Huiglaucus qui imperavit Getis_. Now Getis can mean
Götar[682], but can hardly mean Jutes.

The geographical case against the identification of Geatas and Götar
depends upon the assumption that the western sea-coast of the Götar in
ancient times must have coincided with that of West Gothland
(Vestra-Götland) in mediæval and modern times. Now as this coast consists
merely of a small strip south of the river Götaelv, it is argued that the
Götar could not be the maritime Geatas of _Beowulf_, capable of undertaking
a Viking raid to the mouth of the Rhine. But the assumption that the
frontiers of the Götar about A.D. 500 were the same as they were a thousand
years later, is not only improbable on _a priori_ grounds, but, as Schück
has shown[683], can be definitely disproved. Adam of Bremen, writing in the
eleventh century, speaks of the river Gothelba (Götaelv) as running through
the midst of the peoples of the Götar. And the obvious connection between
the name of the river and the name of the people seems to make it certain
that Adam is right, and that the original Götar must have dwelt around the
river Götaelv. But, if so, then they were a maritime folk: for the river
Götaelv is merely the outlet which connects Lake Wener with the sea,
running a course almost parallel with the shore and nowhere very distant
from it[684]. But even when Adam wrote, the {340} Götar to the north of the
river had long been politically subject to Norway[685]: and the
_Heimskringla_ tells us how this happened.

Harold Fairhair, King of Norway (a contemporary of King Alfred), attacked
them: they had staked the river Götaelv against him, but he moored his
ships to the stakes[686] and harried _on either shore_: he fought far and
wide in the country, had many battles _on either side of the river_, and
finally slew the leader of the Götar, Hrani Gauzki (the Götlander). Then he
annexed to Norway all the land north of the river and west of Lake Wener.
Thenceforward the Götaelv was the boundary between Norway and West
Gothland, though the country ultimately became Swedish, as it now is. But
it is abundantly clear from the _Heimskringla_ that Harold regarded as
hostile all the territory north of the Götaelv, and between Lake Wener and
the sea[687] (the old Ránriki and the modern Bohuslän).

But, if so, then the objection that the Götar are not a sufficiently
maritime people becomes untenable. For precisely to this region belong the
earliest records of maritime warfare to be found in the north of Europe,
possibly the earliest in Europe. The smooth rocks of Bohuslän are covered
with incised pictures of the Bronze age: and the favourite subject of these
is ships and naval encounters. About 120 different pictures of ships and
sea fights are reproduced by one scholar alone[688]. And at the present day
this province of Göteborg and Bohus is the most important centre in Sweden
both of fishery and shipping. Indeed, more than one quarter of the total
tonnage of the modern Swedish mercantile marine comes from this
comparatively tiny strip of coast[689].


It is surely quite absurd to urge that the men of this coast could not have
harried the Frisians in the manner in which Hygelac is represented as
doing. And surely it is equally absurd to urge that the people of this
coast would not have had to fear a return attack from the Frisians, after
the downfall of their own kings. The Frisians seem to have been "the chief
channel of communication between the North and West of Europe[690]" before
the rise of the Scandinavian Vikings, and to have been supreme in the North
Sea. The Franks were of course a land power, but the Franks, _when in
alliance with the Frisians_, were by no means helpless at sea. Gregory of
Tours tells us that they overthrew Hygelac on land, and _then in a sea
fight annihilated his fleet_. Now the poet says that the Geatas may expect
war when the Franks _and Frisians_ hear of Beowulf's fall. The objection
that, because they feared the Franks, the Geatas must have been reachable
by land, depends upon leaving the "and Frisians" out of consideration.

"Now we may look for a time of war" says the messenger "when the fall of
our king is known among the Franks and Frisians": then he gives a brief
account of the raid upon the land of the Frisians and concludes: "Ever
since then has the favour of the Merovingian king been denied us[691]."
What is there in this to indicate whether the raiders came from Jutland, or
from the coast of the Götar across the Cattegat, 50 miles further off? The
messenger goes on to anticipate hostility from the Swedes[692]. To this, at
any rate, the Götar were more exposed than the Jutes. Further, he concludes
by anticipating the utter overthrow of the Geatas[693]: and the poet
expressly tells us that these forebodings were justified[694]. There must
therefore be a reference to some famous national catastrophe. Now the Götar
_did_ lose their independence, and _were_ incorporated into the Swedish
kingdom. When did the Jutes suffer any similar downfall at the hands of
either Frisians, Franks, or Swedes?

The other geographical and historical arguments urged in favour of the
Jutes, when carefully scrutinized, are found either {342} equally
indecisive, or else actually to tell against the "Jute-theory."
Schütte[695] thinks that the name "Wederas" (applied in _Beowulf_ to the
Geatas) is identical with the name _Eudoses_ (that of a tribe mentioned by
Tacitus, who _may_[696] have dwelt in Jutland). But this is impossible
phonologically: _Wederas_ is surely a shortened form of _Weder-G[=e]atas_,
"the Storm-Geatas." Indeed, we have, in favour of the Götar-theory, the
fact that the very name of the Wederas survives on the Bohuslän coast to
this day, in the Wäder Öar and the Wäder Fiord.

Advocates of the "Jute-theory" lay great stress upon the fact that Gregory
of Tours and the _Liber Historiae Francorum_ call Hygelac a Dane[697]:
_Dani cum rege suo Chochilaico_. Now, when Gregory wrote in the sixth
century, either the Jutes were entirely distinct from, and independent of,
the Danes, or they were not. If they were distinct, how do Gregory's words
help the "Jute-theory"? He must be simply using "Dane," like the
Anglo-Saxon historians, for "Scandinavian." But if the Jutes were not
distinct from the Danes, then we have an argument against the
"Jute-theory." For we know from _Beowulf_ that the Geatas _were_ quite
distinct from the Danes[698], and quite independent of them[699].

It is repeatedly urged that the Geatas and Swedes fight _ofer s[=æ]_[700].
But _s[=æ]_ can mean a great fresh-water lake, like Lake Wener, just as
well as the ocean[701]: and as a matter of fact we know that the decisive
battle did take place on Lake Wener, _in stagno Waener, á Vænis ísi_[702].
Lake Wener is an obvious battle place for Götar and Swedes. They were
separated by the great and almost impassable forests of "Tived" and
"Kolmård," and the lake was their simplest way of meeting[703]. But it does
not equally fit Jutes and Swedes.

It is repeatedly objected that the Götar are remote from the
Anglo-Saxons[704]. Possibly: but remoteness did not prevent {343} the
Anglo-Saxons from being interested in heroes of the Huns or Goths or
Burgundians or Longobards, who were much more[705] distant. And the absence
of any direct connection between the history of the Geatas and the historic
Anglo-Saxon records, affords a strong presumption that the Geatas _were_ a
somewhat alien people. If the people of Beowulf, Hygelac, and Hrethel, were
the same people as the Jutes who colonized Kent and Hampshire, why do we
never, in the Kentish royal genealogies or elsewhere, find any claim to
such connection? The Mercians did not so forget their connection with the
old Offa of Angel, although a much greater space of time had intervened.
The fact that we have no mention among the ancestors of Beowulf and Hygelac
of any names which we can connect with the Jutish genealogy affords,
therefore, a strong presumption that they belonged to some other tribe.

The strongest historical argument for the "Jute-theory" was that produced
by Bugge. The _Ynglinga tal_ represents Ottar (who is certainly the Ohthere
of _Beowulf_) as having fallen in Vendel, and this Vendel was clearly
understood as being the district of that name in North Jutland. The body of
this Swedish king was torn asunder by carrion birds, and he was remembered
as "the Vendel-crow," a mocking nickname which pretty clearly goes back to
primitive times. Other ancient authors attributed this name, not to Ottar,
but to his father, who can be identified with the Ongentheow of _Beowulf_.
This would seem to indicate that the hereditary foes of Ongentheow and the
Swedish kings of his house were, after all, the Jutes of Vendel.

But Knut Stjerna has shown that the Vendel from which "Ottar Vendel-crow"
took his name was probably not the Vendel of Jutland at all, but the place
of that name north of Uppsala, famous for the splendid grave-finds which
show it to have been of peculiar importance during our period[706]. And
subsequent research has shown that a huge grave-mound, near this Vendel, is
mentioned in a record of the seventeenth century as King {344} Ottar's
mound, and is still popularly known as the mound of Ottar Vendel-crow[707].
But, if so, this story of the Vendel-crow, so far from supporting the
"Jute-hypothesis," tells against it: nothing could be more suitable than
Vendel, north of Uppsala, as the "last ditch" to which Ongentheow
retreated, if we assume his adversaries to have been the Götar: but it
would not suit the Jutes so well.

An exploration of the mound has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it
_was_ raised to cover the ashes of Ottar Vendel-crow, the Ohthere of
_Beowulf_[708]. That Ohthere fell in battle against the Geatas there is
nothing, in _Beowulf_ or elsewhere, to prove. But the fact that his ashes
were laid in mound at Vendel in Sweden makes it unlikely that he fell in
battle against the Jutes, and is quite incompatible with what we are told
in the _Ynglinga saga_ of his body having been torn to pieces by carrion
fowl on a mound in Vendel in Jutland. It now becomes clear that this story,
and the tale of the crow of wood made by the Jutlanders in mockery of
Ottar, is a mere invention to account for the name Vendel-crow: the name,
as so often, has survived, and a new story has grown up to give a reason
for the name.

What "Vendel-crow" originally implied we cannot be quite sure. Apparently
"Crow" or "Vendel-crow" is used to this day as a nickname for the
inhabitants of Swedish Vendel. Ottar may have been so called because he was
buried (possibly because he lived) in Vendel, not, like other members of
his race, his son and his father, at Old Uppsala. But however that may be,
what is clear is that, as the name passed from the Swedes to those
Norwegian and Icelandic writers who have handed it down {345} to us, Vendel
of Sweden was naturally misunderstood as the more familiar Vendel of
Jutland. Stjerna's conjecture is confirmed. The Swedish king's nickname,
far from pointing to ancient feuds between Jute and Swede, is shown to have
nothing whatsoever to do with Jutland.

It appears, then, that _G[=e]atas_ is phonologically the equivalent of
"Götar," but not the equivalent of "Jutes"; that what we know of the use of
the word "Jutes" (_[=I]ote_, etc.) in Old English makes it incredible that
a poem of the length of _Beowulf_ could be written, concerning their heroes
and their wars, without even mentioning them by their correct name; that in
many respects the geographical and historical evidence fits the Götar, but
does _not_ fit the Jutes; that the instances to the contrary, in which it
is claimed that the geographical and historical evidence fits the Jutes but
does not fit the Götar, are all found on examination to be either
inconclusive or actually to favour the Götar.

       *       *       *       *       *


The peat-bogs of Schleswig and Denmark have yielded finds of the first
importance for English archæology. These "moss-finds" are great
collections, chiefly of arms and accoutrements, obviously deposited with
intention. The first of these great discoveries, that of Thorsbjerg, was
made in the heart of ancient Angel: the site of the next, Nydam, also comes
within the area probably occupied by either Angles or Jutes; and most of
the rest of the "moss-finds" were in the closest neighbourhood of the old
Anglian home. The period of the oldest deposits, as is shown by the Roman
coins found among them, is hardly before the third century A.D., and some
authorities would make it considerably later.

An account of these discoveries will be found in Engelhardt's _Denmark in
the Early Iron Age_[709], 1866: a volume which {346} summarizes the results
of Engelhardt's investigations during the preceding seven years. He had
published in Copenhagen _Thorsbjerg Mosefund_, 1863; _Nydam Mosefund_,
1865. Engelhardt's work at Nydam was interrupted by the war of 1864: the
finds had to be ceded to Germany, and the exploration was continued by
German scholars. Engelhardt consoled himself that these "subsequent
investigations ... do not seem to have been carried on with the necessary
care and intelligence," and continued his own researches within the
narrowed frontiers of Denmark, publishing two monographs on the mosses of
Fünen: _Kragehul Mosefund_, 1867; _Vimose Fundet_, 1869.

These deposits, however, obviously belong to a period much earlier than
that in which _Beowulf_ was written: indeed most of them certainly belong
to a period earlier than that in which the historic events described in
_Beowulf_ occurred; so that, close as is their relation with Anglian
civilization, it is with the civilization of the Angles while still on the

The Archæology of _Beowulf_ has been made the subject of special study by
Knut Stjerna, in a series of articles which appeared between 1903 and his
premature death in 1909. A good service has been done to students of
_Beowulf_ by Dr Clark Hall in collecting and translating Stjerna's
essays[710]. They are a mine of useful information, and the reproductions
of articles from Scandinavian grave-finds, with which they are so copiously
illustrated, are invaluable. The magnificent antiquities from Vendel, now
in the Stockholm museum, are more particularly laid under
contribution[711]. Dr Clark Hall added a most useful "Index of things
mentioned in _Beowulf_[712]," well illustrated. Here again the
illustrations, with few exceptions, are from Scandinavian finds.


Two weighty arguments as to the origin of _Beowulf_ have been based upon
archæology. In the first place it has been urged by Dr Clark Hall that:

    "If the poem is read in the light of the evidence which Stjerna has
    marshalled in the essays as to the profusion of gold, the prevalence of
    ring-swords, of boar-helmets, of ring-corslets, and ring-money, it
    becomes clear how strong the distinctively Scandinavian colouring is,
    and how comparatively little of the _mise-en-scène_ must be due to the
    English author[713]."

Equally, Prof. Klaeber finds in Stjerna's investigations a strong argument
for the Scandinavian character of _Beowulf_[714].

Now Stjerna, very rightly and naturally, drew his illustrations of
_Beowulf_ from those Scandinavian, and especially Swedish, grave-finds
which he knew so well: and very valuable those illustrations are. But it
does not follow, because the one archæologist who has chosen to devote his
knowledge so wholeheartedly to the elucidation of _Beowulf_ was a
Scandinavian, using Scandinavian material, that therefore _Beowulf_ is
Scandinavian. This, however, is the inference which Stjerna himself was apt
to draw, and which is still being drawn from his work. Stjerna speaks of
our poem as a monument raised by the Geatas to the memory of their
saga-renowned king[715], though he allows that certain features of the
poem, such as the dragon-fight[716], are of Anglo-Saxon origin.

Of course, it must be allowed that accounts such as those of the fighting
between Swedes and Geatas, if they are historical (and they obviously are),
must have originated from eyewitnesses of the Scandinavian battles: but I
doubt if there is anything in _Beowulf_ so purely Scandinavian as to compel
us to assume that any line of the story, in the poetical form in which we
now have it, was _necessarily_ composed in Scandinavia. Even if it could be
shown that the conditions depicted in _Beowulf_ can be better illustrated
from the grave-finds of Vendel in Sweden than from English diggings, this
would not prove _Beowulf_ Scandinavian. Modern scientific archæology is
surely based on chronology as well as geography. The English finds date
from {348} the period before 650 A.D., and the Vendel finds from the period
after. _Beowulf_ might well show similarity rather with contemporary art
abroad than with the art of earlier generations at home. For intercourse
was more general than is always realized. It was not merely trade and
plunder which spread fashions from nation to nation. There were the
presents of arms which Tacitus mentions as sent, not only privately, but
with public ceremony, from one tribe to another[717]. Similar presentations
are indicated in _Beowulf_[718]; we find them equally at the court of the
Ostrogothic Theodoric[719]; Charles the Great sent to Offa of Mercia _unum
balteum et unum gladium huniscum_[720]; according to the famous story in
the _Heimskringla_, Athelstan sent to Harold Fairhair of Norway a sword and
belt arrayed with gold and silver; Athelstan gave Harold's son Hakon a
sword which was the best that ever came to Norway[721]. It is not
surprising, then, if we find parallels between English poetry and
Scandinavian grave-finds, both apparently dating from about the year 700
A.D. But I do not think that there is any _special_ resemblance, though,
both in _Beowulf_ and in the Vendel graves, there is a profusion lacking in
the case of the simpler Anglo-Saxon tomb-furniture.

Let us examine the five points of special resemblance, alleged by Dr Clark
Hall, on the basis of Stjerna's studies.

"The profusion of gold." Gold is indeed lavishly used in _Beowulf_: the
golden treasure found in the dragon's lair was so bulky that it had to be
transported by waggon. And, certainly, gold is found in greater profusion
in Swedish than in English graves: the most casual visitor to the Stockholm
museum must be impressed by the magnificence of the exhibits there. But,
granting gold to have been rarer in England than in Sweden, I cannot grant
Stjerna's contention that therefore an English poet could not have
conceived the idea of a vast gold hoard[722]; or that, even if the poet
does deck his warriors with gold somewhat more sumptuously than was
actually the case in England, {349} we can draw any argument from it. For,
if the dragon in _Beowulf_ guards a treasure, so equally does the typical
dragon of Old English proverbial lore[723]. Beowulf is spoken of as
_gold-wlanc_, but the typical thegn in _Finnsburg_ is called
_gold-hladen_[724]. The sword found by Beowulf in the hall of Grendel's
mother has a golden hilt, but the English proverb had it that "gold is in
its place on a man's sword[725]." Heorot is hung with golden tapestry, but
gold-inwoven fabric has been unearthed from Saxon graves at Taplow, and
elsewhere in England[726]. Gold glitters in other poems quite as lavishly
as in _Beowulf_, sometimes more so. Widsith made a hobby of collecting
golden _b[=e]agas_. The subject of _Waldere_ is a fight for treasure. The
byrnie of Waldere[727] is adorned with gold: so is that of Holofernes in
_Judith_[728], so is that of the typical warrior in the _Elene_[729]. Are
all these poems Scandinavian?

"The prevalence of ring-swords." We know that swords were sometimes fitted
with a ring in the hilt[730]. It is not clear whether the object of this
ring was to fasten the hilt by a strap to the wrist, for convenience in
fighting (as has been the custom with the cavalry sword in modern times) or
whether it was used to attach the "peace bands," by which the hilt of the
sword was sometimes fixed to the scabbard, when only being worn
ceremonially[731]. The word _hring-m[=æ]l_, applied three times to the
sword in _Beowulf_, has been interpretated as a reference to these
"ring-swords," though it is quite conceivable that it may refer only to the
damascening of the sword with a ringed pattern[732]. Assuming that the
reference in _Beowulf_ _is_ to a "ring-sword," Stjerna illustrates the
allusion from seven ring-swords, or fragments of ring-swords, found in
Sweden. But, as Dr Clark Hall himself points out (whilst oddly enough
accepting this argument {350} as proof of the Scandinavian colouring of
_Beowulf_) four ring-swords at least have been found in England[733]. And
these English swords are _real_ ring-swords; that is to say, the pommel is
furnished with a ring, within which another ring moves (in the oldest type
of sword) quite freely. This freedom of movement seems, however, to be
gradually restricted, and in one of these English swords the two rings are
made in one and the same piece. In the Swedish swords, however, this
restriction is carried further, and the two rings are represented by a knob
growing out of a circular base. Another sword of this "knob"-type has
recently been found in a Frankish tomb[734], and yet another in the
Rhineland[735]. It seems to be agreed among archæologists that the English
type, as found in Kent, is the original, and that the Swedish and
continental "ring-swords" are merely imitations, in which the ring has
become conventionalized into a knob[736]. But, if so, how can the mention
of a ring-sword in _Beowulf_ (if indeed that be the meaning of
_hring-m[=æ]l_) prove Scandinavian colouring? If it proved anything (which
it does not) it would tend to prove the reverse, and to locate _Beowulf_ in
Kent, where the true ring-swords have been found.

"The prevalence of boar-helmets." It is true that several representations
of warriors wearing boar-helmets have been found in Scandinavia. But the
only certainly Anglo-Saxon {351} helmet yet found in England has a
boar-crest[737]; and this is, I believe, the only actual boar-helmet yet
found. How then can the boar-helmets of _Beowulf_ show Scandinavian rather
than Anglo-Saxon origin?

"The prevalence of ring-corslets." It is true that only one trace of a
byrnie, and that apparently not of ring-mail, has so far been found in an
Anglo-Saxon grave. (We have somewhat more abundant remains from the period
prior to the migration to England: a peculiarly fine corslet of ring-mail,
with remains of some nine others, was found in the moss at Thorsbjerg[738]
in the midst of the ancient Anglian continental home; and other
ring-corslets have been found in the neighbourhood of Angel, at Vimose[739]
in Fünen.) But, for the period when _Beowulf_ must have been composed, the
ring-corslet is almost as rare in Scandinavia as in England[740]; the
artist, however, seems to be indicating a byrnie upon many of the warriors
depicted on the Vendel helm (Grave 14: seventh century). Equally, in
England, warriors are represented on the Franks Casket as wearing the
byrnie: also the laws of Ine (688-95) make it clear that the byrnie was by
no means unknown[741]. Other Old English poems, certainly not Scandinavian,
mention the ring-byrnie. How then can the mention of it in _Beowulf_ be a
proof of Scandinavian origin?

"The prevalence of ring-money." Before minted money became current, rings
were used everywhere among the Teutonic peoples. Gold rings, _intertwined_
so as to form a chain, have been found throughout Scandinavia, presumably
for use as a medium of exchange. The term _locenra b[=e]aga_ (gen. plu.)
occurs in _Beowulf_, and this is interpreted by Stjerna as "rings
_intertwined or locked_ together[742]." But _locen_ in _Beowulf_ need not
have the meaning of "intertwined"; it occurs elsewhere in Old English of a
single jewel, _sincgim locen_[743]. Further, even if _locen_ does mean
{352} "intertwined," such intertwined rings are not limited to Scandinavia
proper. They have been found in Schleswig[744]. And almost the very phrase
in _Beowulf_, _londes ne locenra b[=e]aga_[745], recurs in the _Andreas_.
The phrase there may be imitated from _Beowulf_, but, equally, the phrase
in _Beowulf_ may be imitated from some earlier poem. In fact, it is part of
the traditional poetic diction: but its occurrence in the _Andreas_ shows
that it cannot be used as an argument of Scandinavian origin.

Whilst, therefore, accepting with gratitude the numerous illustrations
which Stjerna has drawn from Scandinavian grave-finds, we must be careful
not to read a Scandinavian colouring into features of _Beowulf_ which are
at least as much English as Scandinavian, such as the ring-sword or the
boar-helmet or the ring-corslet.

There is, as is noted above, a certain atmosphere of profusion and wealth
about some Scandinavian grave-finds, which corresponds much more nearly
with the wealthy life depicted in _Beowulf_ than does the comparatively
meagre tomb-furniture of England. But we must remember that, after the
spread of Christianity in the first half of the seventh century, the custom
of burying articles with the bodies of the dead naturally ceased, or almost
ceased, in England. Scandinavia continued heathen for another four hundred
years, and it was during these years that the most magnificent deposits
were made. As Stjerna himself points out, "a steadily increasing luxury in
the appointment of graves" is to be found in Scandinavia in these centuries
before the introduction of Christianity there. When we find in Scandinavia
things (complete ships, for example) which we do not find in England, we
owe this, partly to the nature of the soil in which they were embedded, but
also to the continuance of such burial customs after they had died out in

Helm and byrnie were not necessarily unknown, or even very rare in England,
simply because it was not the custom to bury them with the dead. On the
other hand, the frequent mention of them in _Beowulf_ does not imply that
they were common: for {353} _Beowulf_ deals only with the aristocratic
adherents of a court, and even in _Beowulf_ fine specimens of the helm and
byrnie are spoken of as things which a king seeks far and wide to procure
for his retainers[746]. We cannot, therefore, argue that there is any
discrepancy. However, if we do so argue, it would merely prove, not that
_Beowulf_ is Scandinavian as opposed to English, but that it is
comparatively late in date. Tacitus emphasizes the fact that spear and
shield were the Teutonic weapons, that helmet and corslet were hardly
known[747]. Pagan graves show that at any rate they were hardly known _as
tomb-furniture_ in England in the fifth, sixth, and early seventh
centuries. The introduction of Christianity, and the intercourse with the
South which it involved, certainly led to the growth of pomp and wealth in
England, till the early eighth century became "the golden age of
Anglo-Saxon England."

It might therefore conceivably be argued that _Beowulf_ reflects the
comparative abundance of early Christian England, as opposed to the more
primitive heathen simplicity; but to argue a Scandinavian origin from the
profusion of _Beowulf_ admits of an easy _reductio ad absurdum_. For the
same arguments would prove a heathen, Scandinavian origin for the
_Andreas_, the _Elene_, the _Exodus_, or even for the Franks Casket,
despite its Anglo-Saxon inscription and Christian carvings.

However, though the absence of helm and byrnie from Anglo-Saxon graves does
not prove that these arms were not used by the living in heathen times, one
thing it assuredly _does_ prove: that the Anglo-Saxons in heathen times did
not sacrifice helm and byrnie recklessly in funeral pomp. And this brings
us to the second argument as to the origin of _Beowulf_ which has been
based on archæology.

Something has been said above of this second contention[748]--that the
accuracy of the account of Beowulf's funeral is confirmed in every point by
archæological evidence: that it must {354} therefore have been composed
within living memory of a time when ceremonies of this kind were still
actually in use in England: and that therefore we cannot date _Beowulf_
later than the third or fourth decade of the seventh century.

To begin with; the pyre in _Beowulf_ is represented as hung with helmets,
bright byrnies, and shields. Now it is impossible to say exactly how the
funeral pyres were equipped in England. But we _do_ know how the buried
bodies were equipped. And (although inhumation cemeteries are much more
common than cremation cemeteries) all the graves that have been opened have
so far yielded only one case of a helmet and byrnie being buried with the
warrior, and one other very doubtful case of a helmet without the byrnie.
Abroad, instances are somewhat more common, but still of great rarity. For
such things could ill be spared. Charles the Great forbade the export of
byrnies from his dominions. Worn by picked champions fighting in the
forefront, they might well decide the issue of a battle. In the mounds
where we have reason to think that the great chiefs mentioned in _Beowulf_,
Eadgils or Ohthere, lie buried, any trace of weapons was conspicuously
absent among the burnt remains. Nevertheless, the belief that his armour
would be useful to the champion in the next life, joined perhaps with a
feeling that it was unlucky, or unfair on the part of the survivor to
deprive the dead of his personal weapons, led in heathen times to the
occasional burial of these treasures with the warrior who owned them. The
fifth century tomb of Childeric I, when discovered twelve centuries later,
was found magnificently furnished--the prince had been buried with treasure
and much equipment[749], sword, scramasax[750], axe, spear. But these were
his own. Similarly, piety might have demanded that Beowulf should be burnt
with his full equipment. But would the pyre have been hung with helmets and
byrnies? Whose? Were the thegns asked to sacrifice theirs, and go naked
into the next fight in honour of their lord? If so, what archæological
authority have we for such a custom in England?


Then the barrow is built, and the vast treasure of the dragon (which
included "many a helmet[751]") placed in it. Now there are instances of
articles which have not passed through the fire being placed in or upon or
around an urn with the cremated bones[752]. But is there any instance of
the thing being done on this scale--of a wholesale burning of helmets and
byrnies followed by a burial of huge treasure? If so, one would like to
know when, and where. If not, how can it be argued that the account in
_Beowulf_ is one of which "the accuracy is confirmed in every point by
archæological or contemporary literary evidence?" Rather we must say, with
Knut Stjerna, that it is "too much of a good thing[753]."

    For the antiquities of Anglo-Saxon England, the student should consult
    the _Victoria County History_. The two splendid volumes of Professor G.
    Baldwin Brown on _Saxon Art and Industry in the Pagan Period_[754] at
    length enable the general reader to get a survey of the essential
    facts, for which up to now he has had to have recourse to innumerable
    scattered treatises. _The Archæology of the Anglo-Saxon Settlements_ by
    Mr E. Thurlow Leeds will also be found helpful.

    Side-lights from the field of Teutonic antiquities in general can be
    got from Prof. Baldwin Brown's _Arts and Crafts of our Teutonic
    Forefathers_, 1910, and from Lindenschmit's _Handbuch der deutschen
    Alterthumskunde, I. Theil: Die Alterthümer der Merovingischen Zeit_
    (Braunschweig, 1880-89), a book which is still indispensable. Hoops'
    _Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde_, Strassburg, 1911-19, 4
    vols., includes a large number of contributions of the greatest
    importance to the student of _Beowulf_, both upon archæological and
    other subjects. By the completion[755] of this most valuable work, amid
    heart-breaking difficulties, Prof. Hoops has placed all students under
    a great obligation.

    Much help can be got from an examination of the antiquities of Teutonic
    countries other than England. The following books are useful--for
    Norway: {356} Gustafson (G.), _Norges Oldtid_, 1906; for Denmark:
    Müller (S.), _Vor Oldtid_, 1897; for Sweden: Montelius (O.),
    _Civilization of Sweden in Heathen Times_, 1888, _Kulturgeschichte
    Schwedens_, 1906; for Schleswig: Mestorf (J.), _Vorgeschichtliche
    Alterthümer aus Schleswig_; for the Germanic nations in their
    wanderings on the outskirts of the Roman Empire: Hampel (J.),
    _Alterthümer des frühen Mittelalters in Ungarn_, 3 Bde, 1905; for
    Germanic remains in Gaul: Barrière-Flavy (M. C.), _Les Arts industriels
    des peuples barbares de la Gaule du V^me au VIII^me siècle_, 3 tom.

    Somewhat popular accounts, and now rather out of date, are the two
    South Kensington handbooks: Worsaae (J. J. A.), _Industrial Arts of
    Denmark_, 1882, and Hildebrand (H.), _Industrial Arts of Scandinavia_,

_Scandinavian Burial Mounds_

The three great "Kings' Mounds" at Old Uppsala were explored between 1847
and 1874: cremated remains from them can be seen in the Stockholm Museum.
An account of the tunnelling, and of the complicated structure of the
mounds, was given in 1876 by the Swedish State-Antiquary[756]. From these
finds Knut Stjerna dated the oldest of the "Kings' Mounds" about 500
A.D.[757], and the others somewhat later. Now, as we are definitely told
that Athils (Eadgils) and the two kings who figure in the list of Swedish
monarchs as his grandfather and great-grandfather (Aun and Egil) were "laid
in mound" at Uppsala[758], and as the chronology agrees, it seems only
reasonable to conclude that the three Kings' Mounds were raised over these
three kings[759].

That Athils' father Ottar (Ohthere) was not regarded as having been buried
at Uppsala is abundantly clear from the account given of his death, and of
his nickname Vendel-crow[760]. A mound near Vendel north of Uppsala is
known by his name. Such names are often the result of quite modern
antiquarian conjecture: but that such is not the case here was proved by
the recent discovery that an antiquarian survey (preserved in MS in the
Royal Library at Stockholm) dating from 1677, mentions in Vendel "widh
Hussby, [en] stor jorde högh, som heeter Otters högen[761]." An exploration
of Ottar's mound showed a striking similarity with the Uppsala mounds. The
structure was the same, a cairn of stones covered over with earth; the
{357} cremated remains were similar, there were abundant traces of burnt
animals, a comb, half-spherical draughts with two round holes bored in the
flat side, above all, there was in neither case any trace of weapons. In
Ottar's mound a gold Byzantine coin was found, pierced, having evidently
been used as an ornament. It can be dated 477-8; it is much worn, but such
coins seldom remained in the North in use for a century after their
minting[762]. Ottar's mound obviously, then, belongs to the same period as
the Uppsala mounds, and confirms the date attributed by Stjerna to the
oldest of those mounds, about 500 A.D.


    For weapons in general see Lehmann (H.), _Über die Waffen im
    angelsächsischen Beowulfliede_, in _Germania_, XXXI, 486-97; Keller
    (May L.), _The Anglo-Saxon weapon names treated archæologically and
    etymologically_, Heidelberg, 1906 (_Anglistische Forschungen_, XV: cf.
    Holthausen, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XVIII, 65-9, Binz, _Litteraturblatt_,
    XXXI, 98-100); ++Wagner (R.), _Die Angriffswaffen der
    Angelsächsischen_, Diss., Königsberg; and especially Falk (H.),
    _Altnordische Waffenkunde_, in _Videnskapsselskapets Skrifter,
    Hist.-Filos. Klasse_, 1914, Kristiania.

THE SWORD. The sword of the Anglo-Saxon pagan period (from the fifth to the
seventh century) "is deficient in quality as a blade, and also ... in the
character of its hilt[763]." In this it contrasts with the sword found in
the peat-bogs of Schleswig from an earlier period: "these swords of the
Schleswig moss-finds are much better weapons[764]," as well as with the
later Viking sword of the ninth or tenth century, which "is a remarkably
effective and well-considered implement[765]." It has been suggested that
both the earlier Schleswig swords and the later Viking swords (which bear a
considerable likeness to each other, as against the inferior Anglo-Saxon
sword) are the product of intercourse with Romanized peoples[766], whilst
the typical Anglo-Saxon sword "may represent an independent Germanic effort
at sword making[767]." However this may be, it is noteworthy that nowhere
in _Beowulf_ do we have any hint of the skill of any sword-smith who is
regarded as contemporary. A good sword is always "an old heirloom," "an
ancient treasure[768]." The sword of Wiglaf, which had belonged to Eanmund,
or the sword with which Eofor slays Ongentheow, are {358} described by the
phrase _ealdsweord eotenisc_, as if they were weapons of which the secret
and origin had been lost--indeed the same phrase is applied to the magic
sword which Beowulf finds in the hall of Grendel's mother.

The blade of these ancestral swords was sometimes damascened or adorned
with wave-like patterns[769]. The swords of the Schleswig moss-finds are
almost all thus adorned with a variegated surface, as often are the later
Viking swords; but those of the Anglo-Saxon graves are _not_. Is it
fanciful to suggest that the reference to damascening is a tradition coming
down from the time of the earlier sword as found in the Nydam moss? A few
early swords might have been preserved among the invaders as family
heirlooms, too precious to be buried with the owner, as the product of the
local weapon-smith was.

See, for a full discussion of the sword in _Beowulf_, Stjerna, _Hjälmar och
svärd i Beovulf_ (_Studier tillägnade O. Montelius_, Stockholm, pp. 99-120
= _Essays_, transl. Clark Hall, pp. 1-32). The standard treatise on the
sword, _Den Yngre Jernalders Sværd_, Bergen, 1889, by A. L. Lorange, deals
mainly with a rather later period.

THE HELMET. The helmet found at Benty Grange in Derbyshire in 1848 is now
in the Sheffield Museum[770]: little remains except the boar-crest, the
nose-piece, and the framework of iron ribs radiating from the crown, and
fixed to a circle of iron surrounding the brow (perhaps the
_fr[=e]awr[=a]sn_ of _Beowulf_, 1451). Mr Bateman, the discoverer,
described the helmet as "coated with narrow plates of horn, running in a
diagonal direction from the ribs, so as to form a herring-bone pattern; the
ends were secured by strips of horn, radiating in like manner as the iron
ribs, to which they were riveted at intervals of about an inch and a half:
all the rivets had ornamented heads of silver on the outside, and on the
front rib is a small cross of the same metal. Upon the top or crown of the
helmet, is an elongated oval brass plate, upon which stands the figure of
an animal, carved in iron, now much rusted, but still a very good
representation of a pig: it has bronze eyes[771]." Helmets of very similar
construction, but without the boar, have been found on the Continent and in
Scandinavia (Vendel, Grave 14, late seventh century). The continental
helmets often {359} stand higher[772] than the Benty Grange or Vendel
specimens, being sometimes quite conical (cf. the epithet "war-steep,"
_heaðo-st[=e]ap_, _Beowulf_). Many of the continental helmets are provided
with cheek-protections, and these also appear in the Scandinavian
representations of warriors on the Torslunda plates and elsewhere. These
side pieces have become detached from the magnificent Vendel helmet, which
is often shown in engravings without them[773], but they can be seen in the
Stockholm Museum[774]. If it ever possessed them, the Benty Grange helmet
has lost these side pieces. Such cheek-protections are, however,
represented, together with the nose-protection, on the head of one of the
warriors depicted on the Franks Casket. In the Vendel helms, the
nose-pieces were connected under the eyes with the rim of the helmet, so as
to form a mask[774]; the helmet in _Beowulf_ is frequently spoken of as the

Both helmet and boar-crest were sometimes gold-adorned[776]: the golden
boar was a symbol of the god Freyr: some magic protective power is still,
in _Beowulf_[777], felt to adhere to these swine-likenesses, as it was in
the days of Tacitus[778].

In Scandinavia, the Torslunda plates show the helmet with a boar-crest: the
Vendel helmet has representations of warriors whose crests have an animal's
head tailing off to a mere rim or roll: this may be the _walu_ or _wala_
which keeps watch over the head in _Beowulf_[779]. The helmet was bound
fast to the head[780]; exactly how, we do not know.

See Lehmann (H.), _Brünne und Helm im ags. Beowulfliede_ (Göttingen Diss.,
Leipzig; cf. Wülker, _Anglia_, VIII, _Anzeiger_, 167-70; Schulz, _Engl.
Stud._, IX, 471); Hoops' _Reallexikon_, s.v. _Helm_; Baldwin Brown, III,
194-6; Falk, _Altnord. Waffenkunde_, 155-73; Stjerna, _Hjälmar och svärd_,
1907, as above: but the attempt of Stjerna to arrange the helmets he
depicts in a {360} chronological series is perilous, and depends on a
dating of the Benty Grange helmet which is by no means generally accepted.

THE CORSLET. This in _Beowulf_ is made of rings[781], twisted and
interlaced by hand[782]. As stated above, the fragments of the only known
Anglo-Saxon byrnie were not of this type, but rather intended to have been
sewn "upon a doublet of strong cloth[783]." Byrnies were of various
lengths, the longer ones reaching to the middle of the thigh (_byrnan
s[=i]de_, _Beow._ 1291, cf. _loricæ longæ, síðar brynjur_).

See Falk, 179; Baldwin Brown, III. 194.

THE SPEAR. Spear and shield were the essential Germanic weapons in the days
of Tacitus, and they are the weapons most commonly found in Old English
tombs. The spear-shaft has generally decayed, analysis of fragments
surviving show that it was frequently of ash[784]. The butt-end of the
spear was frequently furnished with an iron tip, and the distance of this
from the spear-head, and the size of the socket, show the spear-shaft to
have been six or seven feet long, and three-quarters of an inch to one inch
in diameter.

See Falk, 66-90; Baldwin Brown, III, 234-41.

THE SHIELD. Several round shields were preserved on the Gokstad ship, and
in the deposits of an earlier period at Thorsbjerg and Nydam. These are
formed of boards fastened together, often only a quarter of an inch thick,
and not strengthened or braced in any way, bearing out the contemptuous
description of the painted German shield which Tacitus puts into the mouth
of Germanicus[785]. It was, however, intended that the shield should be
light. It was easily pierced, but, by a rapid twist, the foe's sword could
be broken or wrenched from his hand. Thus we are told how Gunnar gave his
shield a twist, as his adversary thrust his sword through it, and so
snapped off his sword at the hilt[786]. The shield was held by a bar,
crossing a hole some four inches wide cut in the middle. The hand was
protected by a hollow conical boss or umbo, fixed to the wood by its brim,
but projecting considerably. In England the wood of the shield has always
perished, but a large number of bosses have been preserved. The boss seems
to have been called _rond_, a word which is also used for the shield as a
whole. In _Beowulf_, 2673, _Gifts of Men_, 65, the meaning "boss" suits
_rond_ best, also in _rand sceal on scylde, fæst fingra gebeorh_ (_Cotton.
Gnomic Verses_, 37-8). But the original meaning of _rand_ must have been
the circular rim round the edge, and this {361} meaning it retains in
Icelandic (Falk, 131). The linden wood was sometimes bound with bast,
whence _scyld (sceal) gebunden, l[=e]oht linden bord_ (_Exeter Gnomic
Verses_, 94-5).

See Falk (126-54); Baldwin Brown, III, 196-204; Pfannkuche (K.), _Der
Schild bei den Angelsachsen_, Halle Dissertation, 1908.

THE BOW is a weapon of much less importance in _Beowulf_ than the spear.
Few traces of the bow have survived from Anglo-Saxon England, though many
wooden long-bows have been preserved in the moss-finds in a remarkably fine
state. They are of yew, some over six feet long, and in at least one
instance tipped with horn. The bow entirely of horn was, of course, well
known in the East, and in classical antiquity, but I do not think traces of
any horn-bow have been discovered in the North. It was a difficult weapon
to manage, as the suitors of Penelope found to their cost. Possibly that is
why Hæthcyn is represented as killing his brother Herebeald accidentally
with a horn-bow: he could not manage the exotic weapon.

See Falk, 91-103; Baldwin Brown, III, 241.

_The Hall_

It may perhaps be the fact that in the church of Sta. Maria de Naranco, in
the north of Spain, we have the hall of a Visigothic king driven north by
the Mohammedan invasion. But, even if this surmise[787] be correct, the
structure of a stone hall of about 750 A.D. gives us little information as
to the wooden halls of early Anglo-Saxon times. Heorot is clearly built of
timber, held together by iron clamps[788]. These halls were oblong, and a
famous passage in Bede[789] makes it clear that, at any rate at the time of
the Conversion, the hall had a door at both ends, and the fire burnt in the
middle. (The smoke escaped through a hole in the roof, through which
probably most of the light came, for windows were few or none.) The
_Finnsburg Fragment_ also implies two doors. Further indications can be
drawn from references to the halls of Norse chiefs. The Scandinavian hall
was divided by rows of wooden pillars into a central nave and side aisles.
The pillars in the centre were known as the "high-seat pillars." Rows of
seats ran down the length of the hall on each side. The central position,
facing the high-seat pillars and the fire, was the most honourable. The
place of honour for the chief guest was opposite: and it is quite clear
that in _Beowulf_ also the guest did not sit next his host[790].

Other points we may note about Heorot, are the tapestry with which its
walls are draped[791], and the paved and variegated floor[792]. Unlike so
{362} many later halls, Heorot has a floor little, if anything, raised
above the ground: horses can be brought in[793].

In later times, in Iceland, the arrangement of the hall was changed, and
the house consisted of many rooms; but these were formed, not by
partitioning the hall, but by building several such halls side by side: the
_stufa_ or hall proper, the _skáli_ or sleeping hall, _etc._

See M. Heyne, _Ueber die Lage und Construction der Halle Heorot_,
Paderborn, 1864, where the scanty information about Heorot is collected,
and supplemented with some information about Anglo-Saxon building. For the
Icelandic hall see Valtyr Guðmundsson, _Privatboligen på Island i
Sagatiden_, København, 1889. This has been summarized, in a more popular
form, in a chapter on _Den islandske Bolig i Fristatstiden_, contributed by
Guðmundsson to Rosenberg's _Træk af Livet paa Island i Fristatstiden_, 1894
(pp. 251-74). Here occurs the picture of an Icelandic hall which has been
so often reproduced--by Olrik, Holthausen, and in _Beowulf_-translations.
But it is a conjectural picture, and we can by no means assume all its
details for Heorot. Rhamm's colossal work is only for the initiated, but is
useful for consultation on special points (_Ethnographische Beiträge zur
Germanischslawischen Altertumskunde_, von K. Rhamm, 1905-8. I. _Die
Grosshufen der Nordgermanen_; II. _Urzeitliche Bauernhöfe_). For various
details see Hoops' _Reallexikon_, s.v. _flett_; Neckel in _P.B.B._ XLI,
1916, 163-70 (_under edoras_); Meiringer in _I.F._, especially XVIII, 257
(_under eoderas_); Kaufmann in _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXXIX, 282-92.


In a tumulus near Snape in Suffolk, opened in 1862, there were discovered,
with burnt bones and remains thought to be of Anglo-Saxon date, a large
number of rivets which, from the positions in which they were found, seemed
to give evidence of a boat 48 feet long by over nine feet wide[794]. A
boat, similar in dimensions, but better preserved, was unearthed near
Bruges in 1899, and the ribs, mast and rudder removed to the Gruuthuuse

Three boats were discovered in the peat-moss at Nydam in Schleswig in 1863,
by Engelhardt. The most important is the "Nydam boat," clinker-built (i.e.
with overlapping planks), of oak, 77 feet [23.5 m.] long, by some 11 [3.4
m.] broad, with rowlocks for fourteen oars down each side. There was no
trace of any mast. Planks and framework had been held together, partly by
iron bolts, and partly by ropes of bast. The boat had fallen to pieces, and
had to be laboriously put together in the museum at Flensborg. Another boat
was quite fragmentary, but a third boat, of fir, was found tolerably
complete. Then the war of 1864 ended Engelhardt's labours at Nydam.

[Illustration: THE GOKSTAD SHIP]

[Illustration: THE OSEBERG SHIP]


The oak-boat was removed to Kiel, where it now is.

The fir-boat was allowed to decay: many of the pieces of the oak-boat had
been rotten and had of necessity been restored in facsimile, and it is much
less complete than might be supposed from the numerous reproductions, based
upon the fine engraving by Magnus Petersen. The rustic with a spade, there
depicted as gazing at the boat, is apt to give a wrong impression that it
was dug out intact[796].

Such was, however, actually the case with regard to the ship excavated from
the big mound at Gokstad, near Christiania, by Nicolaysen, in 1880. This
was fitted both as a rowing and sailing ship; it was 66 feet [20.1 m.] long
on the keel, 78 feet [23.8 m.] from fore to aft and nearly 17 feet [5.1 m.]
broad, and was clinker-built, out of a much larger number of oaken planks
than the Nydam ship. It had rowlocks for sixteen oars down each side, the
gunwale was lined with shields, some of them well preserved, which had been
originally painted alternately black and yellow. The find owed its
extraordinary preservation to the blue clay in which it was embedded. Its
discoverer wrote, with pardonable pride: "Certain it is that we shall not
disinter any craft which, in respect of model and workmanship, will
outrival that of Gokstad[797]."

Yet the prophecy was destined to prove false: for on Aug. 8, 1903, a farmer
came into the National Museum at Christiania to tell the curator, Prof.
Gustafson, that he had discovered traces of a boat on his farm at Oseberg.
Gustafson found that the task was too great to be begun so late in the
year: the digging out of the ship, and its removal to Christiania, occupied
from just before Midsummer to just before Christmas of 1904. The potter's
clay in which the ship was buried had preserved it, if possible, better
than the Gokstad ship: but the movement of the soft subsoil had squeezed
and broken both ship and contents. The ship was taken out of the earth in
nearly two thousand fragments. These were carefully numbered and marked:
each piece was treated, bent back into its right shape, and the ship was
put together again plank by plank, as when it was first built. With the
exception of a piece about half a yard long, five or six little bits let
in, and one of the beams, the ship as it stands now consists of the
original woodwork. Two-thirds of the rivets are the old ones. Till his
death in 1915 Gustafson was occupied in treating and preparing for
exhibition first the ship, and then its extraordinarily rich contents: a
waggon and sledges beautifully carved, beds, chests, kitchen utensils which
had been buried with the princess who had owned them. A full account of the
find is only now being published[798].


    The Oseberg ship is the pleasure boat of a royal lady: clinker-built,
    of oak, exquisitely carved, intended not for long voyages but for the
    land-locked waters of the fiord, 70½ feet [21.5 m.] long by some 16½
    feet [5 m.] broad. There are holes for fifteen oars down each side, and
    the ship carried mast and sail.

    The upper part of the prow had been destroyed, but sufficient fragments
    have been found to show that it ended in the head of a snake-like
    creature, bent round in a coil. This explains the words
    _hringed-stefna_[799], _hring-naca_[800], _wunden-stefna_[801], used of
    the ship in _Beowulf_. A similar ringed prow is depicted on an engraved
    stone from Tjängvide, now in the National Historical Museum at
    Stockholm. This is supposed to date from about the year 1000[802].

    The Gokstad and Oseberg ships, together with the ship of Tune, a much
    less complete specimen (unearthed in 1867, and found like the others on
    the shore of the Christiania fiord) owe their preservation to the clay,
    and the skill of Scandinavian antiquaries. Yet they are but three out
    of thousands of ship- or boat-burials. Schetelig enumerates 552 known
    instances from Norway alone. Often traces of the iron rivets are all
    that remain.

    Ships preserved from the Baltic coast of Germany can be seen at
    Königsberg, Danzig and Stettin; they are smaller and apparently later;
    the best, that of Brösen, was destroyed.

    The seamanship of _Beowulf_ is removed by centuries from that of the (?
    fourth or fifth century) Nydam boat, which not only has no mast or
    proper keel, but is so built as to be little suited for sailing. In
    _Beowulf_ the sea is a "sail-road," the word "to row" occurs only in
    the sense of "swim," sailing is assumed as the means by which Beowulf
    travels between the land of the Geatas and that of the Danes. Though he
    voyages with but fourteen companions, the ship is big enough to carry
    back four horses. How the sail may have been arranged is shown in many
    inscribed stones of the eighth to the tenth centuries: notably those of
    Stenkyrka[803], Högbro[804], and Tjängvide[805].

    The Oseberg and Gokstad ships are no doubt later than the composition
    of _Beowulf_. But it is when looking at the Oseberg ship, especially if
    we picture the great prow like the neck of a swan ending in a serpent's
    coil, that we can best understand the words of _Beowulf_

      flota f[=a]m[=i]-heals fugle gel[=i]cost,

    well rendered by Earle "The foamy-necked floater, most like to a
    bird--the coily-stemmed."


See Boehmer (G. H.), _Prehistoric Naval Architecture of the North of
Europe, Report of the U.S. National Museum for 1891_ (now rather out of
date); Guðmundsson (V.), _Nordboernes Skibe i Vikinge- og Sagatiden_,
København, 1900; [*]Schnepper, _Die Namen der Schiffe u. Schiffsteile im
Altenglischen_ (Kiel Diss.), 1908; Falk (H.), _Altnordisches Seewesen_
(_Wörter u. Sachen_, IV, Heidelberg, 1912); Hoops' _Reallexikon_, s.v.

       *       *       *       *       *


That Leire was the royal town, not merely of Rolf Kraki, but of Rolf's
predecessors as well, is stated in the _Skjoldunga Saga_, extant in the
Latin abstract of Arngrim Jonsson: _Scioldus in arce Selandiae Hledro sedes
posuit, quae et sequentium plurimorum regum regia fuit_ (ed. Olrik,
København, 1894, p. 23 [105]). Similarly we are told in the _Ynglinga
Saga_, concerning Gefion, _Hennar fekk Skj[o,]ldr, sonr Óðins; þau bjoggu
at Hleiðru_ (_Heimskringla_, udgivne ved F. Jónsson, København, I, 15 [cap.

Above all, it is clear from the _Annales Lundenses_ that, in the twelfth
century, Dan, Ro (Hrothgar) and Haldan (Healfdene) were traditionally
connected with Leire, and three of the grave mounds there were associated
with these three kings. See the extract given above, pp. 204-5, and cf. p.

       *       *       *       *       *


The obvious interpretation of the name _B[=e]owulf_ is that suggested by
Grimm[806], that it means "wolf, or foe, of the bee." Grimm's suggestion
was repeated independently by Skeat[807], and further reasons for the
interpretation "bee-foe" have been found by Sweet[808] (who had been
anticipated by Simrock[809] in some of his points), by Cosijn[810],
Sievers[811], von Grienberger[812], Panzer[813] and Björkman[814].

From the phonological point of view the etymology is a {366} perfect one,
but many of those who were convinced that "Beowulf" meant "bee-foe" had no
satisfactory explanation of "bee-foe" to offer[815]. Others, like Bugge,
whilst admitting that, so far as the form of the words goes, the etymology
is satisfactory, rejected "bee-foe" because it seemed to them

Yet it is very far from meaningless. "Bee-foe" means "bear." The bear has
got a name, or nickname, in many northern languages from his habit of
raiding the hives for honey. The Finnish name for bear is said to be
"honey-hand": he is certainly called "sweet-foot," _sötfot_, in Sweden, and
the Old Slavonic name, "honey-eater," has come to be accepted in Russian,
not merely as a nickname, but as the regular term for "bear."

And "bear" is an excellent name for a hero of story. The O.E. _beorn_,
"warrior, hero, prince" seems originally to have meant simply "bear." The
bear, says Grimm, "is regarded, in the belief of the Old Norse, Slavonic,
Finnish and Lapp peoples, as an exalted and holy being, endowed with human
understanding and the strength of twelve men. He is called 'forest-king,'
'gold-foot,' 'sweet-foot,' 'honey-hand,' 'honey-paw,' 'honey-eater,' but
also 'the great,' 'the old,' 'the old grandsire[817].'" "Bee-hunter" is
then a satisfactory explanation of _B[=e]owulf_: while the alternative
explanations are none of them satisfactory.

Many scholars have been led off the track by the assumption that Beow and
Beowulf are to be identified, and that we must therefore assume that the
first element in Beowulf's name is _B[=e]ow_--that we must divide not
_B[=e]o-wulf_ but _B[=e]ow-ulf_, "a warrior after the manner of Beow[818]."
But there is no ground {367} for any such assumption. It is true that in
ll. 18, 53, "Beowulf" is written where we should have expected "Beowa."
But, even if two words of similar sound have been confused, this fact
affords no reason for supposing that they must necessarily have been in the
first instance connected etymologically. And against the "warrior of Beow"
interpretation is the fact that the name is recorded in the early
Northumbrian _Liber Vitae_ under the form "Biuuulf[819]." This name, which
is that of an early monk of Durham, is presumably the same as that of the
hero of our poem, though it does not, of course, follow that the bearer of
it was named with any special reference to the slayer of Grendel. Now
_Biuuulf_ is correct Northumbrian for "bee-wolf," but the first element in
the word cannot stand for _B[=e]ow_[820], unless the {368} affinities and
forms of that word are quite different from all that the evidence has
hitherto led us to believe. So much at least seems certain. Besides, we
have seen that Byggvir is taunted by Loki precisely with the fact that he
_is_ no warrior. If we can estimate the characteristics of the O.E. Beow
from those of the Scandinavian Byggvir, the name "Warrior after the manner
of Beow" would be meaningless, if not absurd. Bugge[821], relying upon the
parallel O.N. form _Bjólfr_[822], which is recorded as the name of one of
the early settlers in Iceland[823], tried to interpret the word as
_Boejólfr_ "the wolf of the farmstead," quoting as parallels _Heimulf_,
_Gardulf_. But _Bjólfr_ itself is best interpreted as "Bee-wolf[824]." And
admittedly Bugge's explanation does not suit the O.E. _B[=e]owulf_, and
necessitates the assumption that the word in English is a mere meaningless
borrowing from the Scandinavian: for _B[=e]owulf_ assuredly does not mean
"wolf of the farmstead[825]."

Neither can we take very seriously the explanation of Sarrazin and
Ferguson[826] that _B[=e]owulf_ is an abbreviation of _Beadu-wulf_, "wolf
of war." Our business is to interpret the name _B[=e]owulf_, or, if we
cannot, to admit that we cannot; not to substitute some quite distinct name
for it, and interpret that. Such theories merely show to what straits we
may be reduced, if we reject the obvious etymology of the word.

And there are two further considerations, which confirm, almost to a
certainty, this obvious interpretation of "Beowulf" as "Bee-wolf" or
"Bear." The first is that it agrees excellently with Beowulf's bear-like
habit of hugging his adversaries to death--a feature which surely belongs
to the original kernel of our story, since it is incompatible with the
chivalrous, {369} weapon-loving trappings in which that story has been
dressed[827]. The second is that, as I have tried to show, the evidence is
strongly in favour of Bjarki and Beowulf being originally the same
figure[828]: and Bjarki is certainly a bear-hero[829]. His name signifies
as much, and in the _Saga of Rolf Kraki_ we are told at length how the
father of Bjarki was a prince who had been turned by enchantment into a

If, then, Beowulf is a bear-hero[831], the next step is to enquire whether
there is any real likeness between his adventures at Heorot and under the
mere, and the adventures of the hero of the widely-spread "Bear's Son"
folk-tale. This investigation has, as we have seen above[832], been carried
out by Panzer in his monumental work, which marks an epoch in the study of

Panzer's arguments in favour of such connection would, I think, have been
strengthened if he had either quoted textually a number of the more
important and less generally accessible folk-tales, or, since this would
have proved cumbersome, if he had at least given abstracts of them. The
method which Panzer follows, is to enumerate over two hundred tales, and
from them to construct a story which is a compound of them all. This is
obviously a method which is liable to abuse, though I do not say that
Panzer has abused it. But we must not let a story so constructed usurp in
our minds the place of the actual recorded folk-tales. Folk-tales, as
Andrew Lang wrote long ago, "consist of but few incidents, grouped together
in a kaleidoscopic variety of arrangements." A collection of over two
hundred cognate tales offers a wide field for the selection therefrom of a
composite story. Further, some geographical discrimination is necessary:
these tales are scattered over Europe and Asia, and it is important to keep
constantly in mind whether a given type of tale belongs, for example, to
Greece or to Scandinavia.


A typical example of the Bear's son tale is _Der Starke Hans_ in
Grimm[833]. Hans is brought up in a robber's den: but quite apart from any
of the theories we are now considering, it has long been recognized that
this is a mere toning down of the original incredible story, which makes a
bear's den the nursery of the strong youth[834]. Hans overcomes in an empty
castle the foe (a mannikin of magic powers) who has already worsted his
comrades Fir-twister and Stone-splitter. He pursues this foe to his hole,
is let down by his companions in a basket by a rope, slays the foe with his
club and rescues a princess. He sends up the princess in the basket; but
when his own turn comes to be pulled up his associates intentionally drop
the basket when halfway up. But Hans, suspecting treason, has only sent up
his club. He escapes by magic help, takes vengeance on the traitors, and
weds the princess.

In another story in Grimm[835], the antagonist whom the hero overcomes, but
does not in this case slay, is called the Earthman, _Dat Erdmänneken_. This
type begins with the disappearance of the princesses, who are to the
orthodox number of three; otherwise it does not differ materially from the
abstract given above. Grimm records four distinct versions, all from
Western Germany.

The versions of this widespread story which are most easily accessible to
English readers are likely to prejudice such readers against Panzer's view.
The two versions in Campbell's _Popular Tales of the West Highlands_[836],
or the version in Kennedy's _Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts_[837]
are not of a kind to remind any unprejudiced reader strongly of _Beowulf_,
or of the _Grettir_-story either. Indeed, I believe that from countries so
remote as North Italy or Russia parallels can be found which are closer
than any so far quoted from the Celtic portions of the British Isles.
Possibly more Celtic parallels may be forthcoming in the future: some
striking ones at any rate are promised[838].


So, too, the story of the "Great Bird Dan" (_Fugl Dam_[839]), which is
accessible to English readers in Dasent's translation[840], is one in which
the typical features have been overlaid by a mass of detail.

A much more normal specimen of the "Bear's son" story is found, for
example, in a folk-tale from Lombardy--the story of _Giovanni dell'
Orso_[841]. Giovanni is brought up in a bear's den, whither his mother has
been carried off. At five, he has the growth of a man and the strength of a
giant. At sixteen, he is able to remove the stone from the door of the den
and escape, with his mother. Going on his adventures with two comrades, he
comes to an empty palace. The comrades are defeated: it becomes the turn of
Giovanni to be alone. An old man comes in and "grows, grows till his head
touched the roof[842]." Giovanni mortally wounds the giant, who however
escapes. They all go in search of him, and find a hole in the ground. His
comrades let Giovanni down by a rope. He finds a great hall, full of rich
clothes and provision of every kind: in a second hall he finds three girls,
each one more beautiful than the other: in a third hall he finds the giant
himself, drawing up his will[843]. Giovanni kills the giant, rescues the
damsels, and, in spite of his comrades deserting the rope, he escapes,
pardons them, himself weds the youngest princess and marries his comrades
to the elder ones.

I cannot find in this version any mention of the hero smiting the giant
below with a magic sword which he finds there, as suggested by Panzer[844].
But even without this, the first part of the story has resemblances to
_Beowulf_, and still more to the _Grettir_-story.

There are many Slavonic variants. The South Russian story of the Norka[845]
begins with the attack of the Norka upon the King's park. The King offers
half his kingdom to whomsoever will destroy the beast. The youngest prince
of three watches, {372} after the failure of his two elder brothers, chases
and wounds the monster, who in the end pulls up a stone and disappears into
the earth. The prince is let down by his brothers, and, with the help of a
sword specially given him in the underworld, and a draught of the water of
strength, he slays the foe, and wins the princesses. In order to have these
for themselves, the elder brothers drop what they suppose to be their
youngest brother, as they are drawing him up: but it is only a stone he has
cautiously tied to the rope in place of himself. The prince's miraculous
return in disguise, his feats, recognition by the youngest princess, the
exposure of the traitors, and marriage of the hero, all follow in due

A closer Russian parallel is that of _Ivashko Medvedko_[847]. "John
Honey-eater" or "Bear." John grows up, not by years, but by hours: nearly
every hour he gains an inch in height. At fifteen, there are complaints of
his rough play with other village boys, and John Bear has to go out into
the world, after his grandfather has provided him with a weapon, an iron
staff of immense weight. He meets a champion who is drinking up a river:
"Good morning, John Bear, whither art going?" "I know not whither; I just
go, not knowing where to go." "If so, take me with you." The same happens
with a second champion whose hobby is to carry mountains on his shoulder,
and with a third, who plucks up oaks or pushes them into the ground. They
come to a revolving house in a dark forest, which at John's word stands
with its back door to the forest and its front door to them: all its doors
and windows open of their own accord. Though the yard is full of poultry,
the house is empty. Whilst the three companions go hunting, the
river-swallower stays in the house to cook dinner: this done, he washes his
head, and sits at the window to comb his locks. Suddenly the earth shakes,
then stands still: a stone is lifted, and from under it appears Baba Yaga
driving in her mortar with a pestle: behind her comes barking a little dog.
A short dialogue ensues, and the champion, at her request, gives her food;
but the second helping she throws to her dog, and thereupon beats the
champion with {373} her pestle till he becomes unconscious; then she cuts a
strip of skin from his back, and after eating all the food, vanishes. The
victim recovers his senses, ties up his head with a handkerchief, and, when
his companions return, apologizes for the ill-success of his cooking: "He
had been nearly suffocated by the fumes of the charcoal, and had had his
work cut out to get the room clear." Exactly the same happens to the other
champions. On the fourth day it is the turn of John Bear, and here again
the same formulas are repeated. John does the cooking, washes his head,
sits down at the window and begins to comb his curly locks. Baba Yaga
appears with the usual phenomena, and the usual dialogue follows, till she
begins to belabour the hero with her pestle. But he wrests it from her,
beats her almost to death, cuts three strips from her skin, and imprisons
her in a closet. When his companions return, they are astonished to find
dinner ready. After dinner they have a bath, and the companions try not to
show their mutilated backs, but at last have to confess. "Now I see why you
all suffered from suffocation," says John Bear. He goes to the closet,
takes the three strips cut from his friends, and reinserts them: they heal
at once. Then he ties up Baba Yaga by a cord fastened to one foot, and they
all shoot at the cord in turn. John Bear hits it, and cuts the string in
two; Baba Yaga falls to the earth, but rises, runs to the stone from under
which she had appeared, lifts it, and vanishes. Each of the companions
tries in turn to lift the stone, but only John can accomplish it, and only
he is willing to go down. His comrades let him down by a rope, which
however is too short, and John has to eke it out by the three strips
previously cut from the back of Baba Yaga. At the bottom he sees a path,
follows it, and reaches a palace where are three beautiful maidens, who
welcome him, but warn him against their mother, who is Baba Yaga herself:
"She is asleep now, but she keeps at her head a sword. Do not touch it, but
take two golden apples lying on a silver tray, wake her gently, and offer
them to her. As soon as she begins to eat, seize the sword, and cut her
head off at one blow." John Bear carries out these instructions, and sends
up the maidens, two to be wives to his companions, and the youngest to be
his own wife. This leaves the third companion wifeless {374} and, in
indignation, he cuts the rope when the turn comes to pull John up. The hero
falls and is badly hurt. [John has forgotten, in this version, to put his
iron club into the basket instead of himself--indeed he has up to now made
no use of his staff.] In time the hero sees an underground passage, and
makes his way out into the white world. Here he finds the youngest maiden,
who is tending cattle, after refusing to marry the false companion. John
Bear follows her home, slays his former comrades with his staff, and throws
their bodies on the field for the wild beasts to devour. He then takes his
sweetheart home to his people, and weds her.

The abstract given above is from a translation made by one of my students,
Miss M. Steine, who tells me that she had heard the tale in this form many
times from her old nurse "when we were being sent to sleep, or sitting
round her in the evening." I have given it at this length because I do not
know of any accessible translation into any Western language.

Panzer enumerates two hundred and two variants of the story: and there are
others[848]. But there is reason in the criticism that what is important
for us is the form the folk-tale may have taken in those countries where we
must look for the original home of the _Beowulf_-story[849]. The Mantuan
folk-tale may have been carried down to North Italy from Scandinavia by the
Longobards: who can say? But Panzer's theory must stand or fall by the
parallels which can be drawn between the _Beowulf-Grettir_-story on the one
hand, and the folk-tales as they have been collected in the countries where
this story is native: the lands, that is to say, adjoining the North Sea.

Now it is precisely here that we do find the most remarkable resemblances:
in Iceland, the Faroes, Norway, Denmark, Jutland, Schleswig, and the Low
German lands as far as the Scheldt.

An Icelandic version exists in an unprinted MS at Reykjavik[850] which can
be consulted in a German translation[851]. In this {375} version a bear,
who is really an enchanted prince, carries off a princess. He resumes his
human form and weds the princess, but must still at times take the bear's
form. His child, the Bear-boy (Bjarndreingur), is to be kept in the house
during the long periods when the enchanted husband is away. But at twelve
years old the Bear-boy is too strong and unmanageable, bursts out, and
slays a bear who turns out to be his father. His mother's heart is broken,
but Bear-boy goes on his adventures, and associates with himself three
companions, one of whom is Stein. They build a house in the wood, which is
attacked by a giant, and, as usual, the companions are unable to withstand
the attacks. Bear-boy does so, ties the giant's hands behind his back, and
fastens him by his beard. But the giant tears himself free. As in
_Beowulf_, Bear-boy and his companions follow the track by the drops of
blood, and come to a hole. Stein is let some way down, the other companions
further, but only Bear-boy dares to go to the bottom. There he finds a
weeping princess, and learns that she, and her two sisters, have been
carried off by three giants, one of whom is his former assailant. He slays
all three, and sends their heads up, together with the maidens and other
treasures. But his companions desert the rope, and he has to climb up
unaided. In the end he weds the youngest princess.

The story from the Faroe Islands runs thus:

Three brothers lived together and took turns, two to go out fishing, and
one to be at home. For two days, when the two elder brothers were at home,
came a giant with a long beard (Skeggjatussi) and ate and drank all the
food. Then comes the turn of the despised youngest brother, who is called
in one version Øskudólgur--"the one who sits and rakes in the ashes"--a
kind of male Cinderella. This brother routs the giant, either by catching
his long beard in a cleft tree-trunk, or by branding him in the nose with a
hot iron. In either case the mutilated giant escapes down a hole: in one
version, after the other brothers come home, they follow him to this hole
by the track of his blood. The two elder brothers leave the task of
plunging down to the youngest one, who finds below a girl (in the second
version, two kidnapped princesses). He finds also a magic sword hanging
{376} on the wall, which he is only able to lift when he has drunk a magic
potion. He then slays the giant, rescues the maiden or maidens, is betrayed
in the usual way by his brothers: in the one version they deliberately
refuse to draw him up: in the other they cut the rope as they are doing so:
but he is discreetly sending up only a big stone. The hero is helped out,
however, by a giant, "Skræddi Kjálki" or "Snerkti risi," and in the end
marries the princess[852].

In the Norwegian folk-tale the three adventurers are called respectively
the Captain, the Lieutenant and the Soldier. They search for the three
princesses, and watch in a castle, where the Captain and Lieutenant are in
turn worsted by a strange visitor--who in this version is not identical
with the troll below ground who guards the princesses[853]. When the turn
of the Soldier comes, he seizes the intruder (the man, as he is called).

    "Ah no, Ah no, spare my life," said the man, "and you shall know all.
    East of the castle is a great sandheap, and down in it a winch, with
    which you can lower yourself. But if you are afraid, and do not dare to
    go right down, you only need to pull the bell rope which you will find
    there, and up you will come again. But if you dare venture so far as to
    come to the bottom, there stands a flask on a shelf over the door: you
    must drink what is in it: so will you become so strong that you can
    strike the head off the troll of the mountain. And by the door there
    hangs a Troll-sword, which also you must take, for no other steel will
    bite on his body."

    When he had learnt this, he let the man go. When the Captain and the
    Lieutenant came home, they were not a little surprised to find the
    Soldier alive. "How have you escaped a drubbing," said they, "has not
    the man been {377} here?" "Oh yes, he is quite a good fellow, he is,"
    said the Soldier, "I have learnt from him where the princesses are,"
    and he told them all. They were glad when they heard that, and when
    they had eaten, they went all three to the sandheap.

As usual, the Captain and the Lieutenant do not dare to go to the bottom:
the hero accomplishes the adventure, is (as usual) betrayed by his
comrades, but is saved because he has put a stone in the basket instead of
himself, and in the end is rescued by the interposition of "Kløverhans."

What is the explanation of the "sandheap" (_sandhaug_) I do not know. But
one cannot forget that Grettir's adventure in the house, followed by his
adventure with the troll under the earth, is localized at Sandhaugar. This
may be a mere accident; but it is worth noting that in following up the
track indicated by Panzer we come across startling coincidences of this
kind. As stated above, it can hardly be due to any influence of the
_Grettis Saga_ upon the folk-tale[854]. The likeness between the two is too
remote to have suggested a transference of such details from the one story
to the other.

We find the story in its normal form in Jutland[855]. The hero, a
foundling, is named Bjørnøre (Bear-ears). There is no explanation offered
of this name, but we know that in other versions of the story, where the
hero is half bear and half man, his bear nature is shown by his bear's
ears. "Bear-ears" comes with his companions to an empty house, worsts the
foe (the old man, _den gamle_) who has put his companions to shame, and
fixes him by his beard in a cloven tree. The foe escapes nevertheless; they
follow him to his hole: the companions are afraid, but "Bear-ears" is let
down, finds the enemy on his bed, and slays him. The rest of the story
follows the usual pattern. "Bear-ears" rescues and sends up the princesses,
his comrades detach the rope, which however is hauling up only the hero's
iron club. He escapes miraculously from his confinement below, and returns
to marry the youngest princess. In another Danish version, from the South
of Zealand[856], the hero, "Strong Hans" (nothing is said {378} about his
bear-origin), comes with his companions to a magnificent but empty castle.
The old witch worsts his comrades and imprisons them under the trap-door:
but Hans beats her and rescues them, though the witch herself escapes. Hans
is let down, rescues the princesses, is betrayed by his comrades (who,
thinking to drop him in drawing him up, only drop his iron club), and
finally weds the third princess.

A little further South we have three versions of the same tale recorded for
Schleswig-Holstein[857]. The hero wins his victory below by means of "a
great iron sword" (_en grotes ysernes Schwäert_) which he can only wield
after drinking of the magic potion.

From Hanover comes the story of Peter Bär[858], which shows all the
familiar features: from the same district came some of Grimm's variants.
Others were from the Rhine provinces: but the fullest version of all comes
from the Scheldt, just over the Flemish border. The hero, Jean l'Ourson, is
recovered as a child from a bear's den, is despised in his youth[859], but
gives early proof of his strength. He defends an empty castle _un superbe
château_, when his companion has failed, strikes off an arm[860] of his
assailant _Petit-Père-Bidoux_, chases him to his hole, _un puits vaste et
profond_. He is let down by his companion, but finding the rope too short,
plunges, and arrives battered at the bottom. There he perceives _une
lumière qui brillait au bout d'une longue galerie_[861]. At the end of the
gallery he sees his former assailant, attended by _une vieille femme à
cheveux blancs, qui semblait âgée de plus de cent ans_, who is salving his
wounded arm. The hero quenches the light (which is a magic one) smites his
foe on the head and kills him, and then rekindles the lamp[862]. His
companion above seeks to rob him of the two princesses he has won, by
detaching the rope. Nevertheless, he escapes, weds the good princess, and
punishes his faithless companion by making him wed the bad one.

The white-haired old woman is not spoken of as the mother {379} of the foe
she is nursing, and it may be doubted whether she is in any way parallel to
Grendel's mother. The hero does not fight her: indeed it is she who, in the
end, enables him to escape. Still the parallels between Jean l'Ourson and
Beowulf are striking enough. Nine distinct features recur, in the same
order, in the _Beowulf_-story and in this folk-tale. It needs a more robust
faith than I possess to attribute this solely to chance.

Unfortunately, this French-Flemish tale is found in a somewhat
sophisticated collection. Its recorder, as Sainte-Beuve points out in his
letter introductory to the series[863], uses literary touches which
diminish the value of his folk-tales to the student of origins. Any
contamination from the _Beowulf_-story or the _Grettir_-story is surely
improbable enough in this case: nevertheless, one would have liked the tale
taken down verbatim from the lips of some simple-minded narrator as it used
to be told at Condé on the Scheldt.

But if we take together the different versions enumerated above, the result
is, I think, convincing. Here are eight versions of one folk-tale taken as
representatives from a much larger number current in the countries in touch
with the North Sea: from Iceland, the Faroes, Norway, Jutland, Zealand,
Schleswig, Hanover, and the Scheldt. The champion is a bear-hero (as
Beowulf almost certainly is, and as Bjarki quite certainly is); he is
called, in Iceland, _Bjarndreingur_, in Jutland, _Bjørnøre_, in Hanover,
_Peter Bär_, on the Scheldt _Jean l'Ourson_. Like Beowulf, he is despised
in his youth (Faroe, Scheldt). In all versions he resists his adversary in
an empty house or castle, after his comrades have failed. In most versions
of the folk-tale this is the third attack, as it is in the case of Grettir
at Sandhaugar and of Bjarki: in _Beowulf_, on the contrary, we gather that
Heorot has been raided many times. The adversary, though vanquished,
escapes; in one version after the loss of an arm (Scheldt): they follow his
track to the hole into which he has vanished, sometimes, as in _Beowulf_,
marking traces of his blood (Iceland, Faroe, Schleswig). The hero always
ventures down alone, and gets into {380} an underworld of magic, which has
left traces of its mysteriousness in _Beowulf_. In one tale (Scheldt) the
hero sees a magic lamp burning below, just as he sees the fire in _Beowulf_
or the _Grettis Saga_. He overcomes either his original foe, or new ones,
often by the use of a magic sword (Faroe, Norway, Schleswig); this sword
hangs by the door (Norway) or on the wall (Faroe) as in _Beowulf_. After
slaying his foe, the hero rekindles the magic lamp, in the Scheldt fairy
tale, just as he kindles a light in the _Grettis Saga_, and as the light
flashes up in _Beowulf_ after the hero has smitten Grendel's mother. The
hero is in each case deserted by his companions: a feature which, while it
is marked in the _Grettis Saga_, can obviously be allowed to survive in
_Beowulf_ only in a much softened form. The chosen retainers whom Beowulf
has taken with him on his journey could not be represented as unfaithful,
because the poet is reserving the episode of the faithless retainers for
the death of Beowulf. To have twice represented the escort as cowardly
would have made the poem a satire upon the _comitatus_, and would have
assured it a hostile reception in every hall from Canterbury to Edinburgh.
But there is no doubt as to the faithlessness of the comrade Stein in the
_Grettis Saga_. And in Zealand, one of the faithless companions is called
_Stenhuggeren_ (the Stone-hewer), in Schleswig _Steenklöwer_, in Hanover
_Steinspieler_, whilst in Iceland he has the same name, _Stein_, which he
has in the _Grettis Saga_.

The fact that the departure home of the Danes in _Beowulf_ is due to the
same cause as that which accounts for the betrayal of his trust by Stein,
shows that in the original _Beowulf_-story also this feature must have
occurred, however much it may have become worn down in the existing epic.

I think enough has been said to show that there is a real likeness between
a large number of recorded folk-tales and the _Beowulf-Grettir_ story. The
parallel is not merely with an artificial, theoretical composite put
together by Panzer. But it becomes equally clear that _Beowulf_ cannot be
spoken of as a version of these folk-tales. At most it is a version of a
portion of them. The omission of the princesses in _Beowulf_ and the
_Grettis Saga_ is fundamental. With the princesses much else falls away.
There is no longer any motive for the betrayal of trust {381} by the
watchers. The disguise of the hero and his vengeance are now no longer
necessary to the tale.

It might be argued that there was something about the three princesses
which made them unsatisfactory as subjects of story. It has been thought
that in the oldest version the hero married all three: an awkward episode
where a _scop_ had to compose a poem for an audience certainly monogamous
and most probably Christian. The rather tragic and sombre atmosphere of the
stories of Beowulf and Grettir fits in better with a version from which the
princesses, and the living happily ever afterwards, have been dropped. On
the other hand, it might be argued that the folk-tale is composite, and
that the source from which the _Beowulf-Grettir_-story drew was a simpler
tale to which the princesses had not yet been added.

And there are additions as well as subtractions. Alike in _Beowulf_ and in
the _Grettis Saga_, the fight in the house and the fight below are
associated with struggles with monsters of different sex. The association
of "The Devil and his Dam" has only few and remote parallels in the
"Bear's-son" folk-tale.

But Panzer has, I think, proved that the struggle of Beowulf in the hall,
and his plunging down into the deep, is simply an epic glorification of a
folk-tale motive.

       *       *       *       *       *


Gregory of Tours mentions the defeat of Chochilaicus (Hygelac) as an event
of the reign of Theudoric. Now Theudoric succeeded his father Chlodoweg,
who died 27 Nov. 511. Theudoric died in 534. This, then, gives the extreme
limits of time; but as Gregory mentions the event among the first
occurrences of the reign, the period 512-520 has generally been suggested,
or in round numbers about 515 or 516.

Nevertheless, we cannot attach much importance to the mere order followed
by Gregory[864]. He may well have had no means of dating the event exactly.
Of much more importance than the order, is the fact he records, that
Theudoric did not {382} defeat Chochilaicus in person, but sent his son
Theudobert to repel the invaders.

Now Theudobert was born before the death of his grandfather Chlodoweg. For
Gregory tells us that Chlodoweg left not only four sons, but a grandson
Theudobert, _elegantem atque utilem_[865]: _utilem_ cannot mean that, at
the time of the death of Chlodoweg, Theudobert was of age to conduct
affairs of state, for Chlodoweg was only 45 at death[866]. The Merovingians
were a precocious race; but if we are to allow Theudobert to have been at
least fifteen before being placed in charge of a very important expedition,
and Chlodoweg to have been at least forty before becoming a grandfather,
the defeat of Hygelac cannot be put before 521; and probability would
favour a date five or ten years later.

There is confirmation for this. When Theudobert died, in 548, he left one
son only, quite a child and still under tutelage[867]; probably therefore
not more than twelve or thirteen at most. We know the circumstances of the
child's birth. Theudobert had been betrothed by his father Theudoric to a
Longobardic princess, Wisigardis[868]. In the meantime he fell in love with
the lady Deoteria[869], and married her[870]. The Franks were shocked at
this fickleness (_valde scandalizabantur_), and Theudobert had ultimately
to put away Deoteria[871], although they had this young son (_parvulum
filium_), who, as we have seen, could hardly have been born before 535, and
possibly was born years later. Theudobert then married the Longobardic
princess, in the seventh year after their betrothal. So it cannot have been
much before 530 that Theudobert's father was first arranging the
Longobardic match. A king is not likely to have waited to find a wife for a
son, upon whom his dynasty was to depend, till fifteen years after that son
was of age to win a memorable victory[872].

       *       *       *       *       *



    I remember it was with extreme difficulty that I could bring my master
    to understand the meaning of the word _opinion_, or how a point could
    be disputable; because reason taught us to affirm or deny only where we
    are certain; and beyond our knowledge we cannot do either. So that
    controversies, wranglings, disputes, and positiveness in false or
    dubious propositions are evils unknown among the _Houyhnhnms_.... He
    would laugh that a creature pretending to reason should value itself
    upon the knowledge of other people's conjectures, and in things, where
    that knowledge, if it were certain, could be of no use....

    I have often since reflected what destruction such a doctrine would
    make in the libraries of Europe.

      _Gulliver's Travels._

The following items are (except in special cases) not included in this

    (_a_) Articles dealing with single passages in _Beowulf_, or two
    passages only, in cases where they have already been recorded under the
    appropriate passage in the footnotes to the text, or in the glossary,
    of my revision of Wyatt's edition.

    (_b_) Articles dealing with the emendation or interpretation of single
    passages, in cases where such emendations have been withdrawn by their
    author himself.

    (_c_) Purely popular paraphrases or summaries.

    (_d_) Purely personal protests (e.g., _P.B.B._ XXI, 436), however well
    founded, in which no point of scholarship is any longer involved.

Books dealing with other subjects, but illustrating _Beowulf_, present a
difficulty. Such books may have a value for _Beowulf_ students, even though
the author may never refer to our poem, and have occasionally been included
in previous bibliographies. But, unless _Beowulf_ is closely concerned,
these books are not usually mentioned below: such enumeration, if carried
out consistently, would clog a bibliography already all too bulky. Thus,
Siecke's _Drachenkämpfe_ does not seem to come within the scope of this
bibliography, because the author is not concerned with Beowulf's dragon.

Obviously every general discussion of Old English metre must concern itself
largely with _Beowulf_: for such treatises the student is referred to the
section _Metrik_ of Brandl's Bibliography (_Pauls Grdr._); and, for Old
English heroic legend in general, to the Bibliography of my edition of

Many scholars, e.g. Heinzel, have put into their reviews of the books of
others, much original work which might well have formed the material for
independent articles. Such reviews are noted as "weighty," but it must not
be supposed that the reviews not so marked are negligible; unless of some
value to scholarship, reviews are not usually mentioned below.

The title of any book, article or review which I have not seen and verified
is denoted by the sign ++. {384}


§ 1. Periodicals.

§ 2. Bibliographies.

§ 3. The MS and its transcripts.

§ 4. Editions.

§ 5. Concordances, _etc._

§ 6. Translations (including early summaries).

§ 7. Textual criticism and interpretation.

§ 8. Questions of literary history, date and authorship. _Beowulf_ in the
light of history, archæology[873], heroic legend, mythology and folk-lore.

§ 9. Style and Grammar.

§ 10. Metre.


The periodicals most frequently quoted are:

_A.f.d.A._ = Anzeiger für deutsches Alterthum. Berlin, 1876 _etc._

_A.f.n.F._ = Arkiv för nordisk Filologi. Christiania, Lund, 1883 _etc._
_Quoted according to the original numbering._

_Anglia._ Halle, 1878 _etc._

_Archiv_ = Herrigs Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und
Litteraturen. Elberfeld, Braunschweig, 1846 _etc._ _Quoted according to the
original numbering._

_D.L.Z._ = Deutsche Literatur-Zeitung. Berlin, 1880 _etc._

_Engl. Stud._ = Englische Studien. Heilbronn, Leipzig, 1877 _etc._

_Germania._ Wien, 1856-92.

_I.F._ = Indogermanische Forschungen. Strassburg, 1892 _etc._

_J.(E.)G.Ph._ = Journal of (English and) Germanic Philology. Bloomington,
Urbana, 1897 _etc._

_Lit. Cbl._ = Literarisches Centralblatt. Leipzig, 1851 _etc._

_Literaturblatt_ für germanische und romanische Philologie. Heilbronn,
Leipzig, 1880 _etc._

_M.L.N._ = Modern Language Notes. Baltimore, 1886 _etc._ _Quoted by the
page, not the column._

_M.L.R._ = The Modern Language Review. Cambridge, 1906 _etc._

_Mod. Phil._ = Modern Philology. Chicago, 1903 _etc._

_Morsbachs Studien_ zur englischen Philologie. Halle, 1897 _etc._

_P.B.B._ = Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache u. Litteratur.
Halle, 1874 _etc._

_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ = Publications of the Modern Language
Association of America. Baltimore, 1889 _etc._

_Z.f.d.A._ = Zeitschrift für deutsches Alterthum. Leipzig, Berlin, 1841

_Z.f.d.Ph._ = Zachers Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie. Halle, 1869

_Z.f.ö.G._ = Zeitschrift für die österreichischen Gymnasien. Wien, 1850

The titles of other periodicals are given with sufficient fulness for easy



Bibliographies have been published from time to time as a supplement to
_Anglia_; also in the _Jahresbericht über...german. Philologie_; by Garnett
in his _Translation_, 1882 _etc._; and will be found in

    Wülker's _Grundriss_ (with very useful abstracts), 1885, pp. 245 _etc._

    Clark Hall's _Translation_, 1901, 1911.

    Holthausen's _Beowulf_, 1906, 1909, 1913, 1919.

    Brandl's _Englische Literatur_, in _Pauls Grdr._(2), II, 1015-24 (full,
    but not so reliable as Holthausen's).

    Sedgefield's _Beowulf_, 1910, 1913 (carefully selected).

An excellent critical bibliography of _Beowulf_-translations up to 1903 is
that of Tinker: see under § 6, _Translations_.


_Beowulf_ fills ff. 129 (132)_a_ to 198 (201)_b_ of the British Museum MS
_Cotton Vitellius A. XV._

_Beowulf_ is written in two hands, the first of which goes to l. 1939. This
hand was identified by Prof. Sedgefield (_Beowulf_, _Introduction_, p. xiv,
footnote) with that of the piece immediately preceding _Beowulf_ in the MS,
and by Mr Kenneth Sisam, in 1916, with that of all three immediately
preceding pieces: the _Christopher_ fragment, the _Wonders of the East_,
and the _Letter of Alexander on the Wonders of India_. The pieces preceding
these, however (the _Soliloquies of S. Augustine_, the _Gospel of
Nicodemus_, _Salomon and Saturn_), are certainly not in the same hand, and
their connection with the _Beowulf_-MS is simply due to the bookbinder.

From l. 1939 to the end, _Beowulf_ is written in a second hand, thicker and
less elegant than the first. This second hand seems to be clearly identical
with that in which the poem of _Judith_, immediately following _Beowulf_,
is written. This was pointed out by Sievers in 1872 (_Z.f.d.A._ XV, 457),
and has never, I think, been disputed (cf. Sisam, p. 337; Förster, p. 31).
Nevertheless the two poems have probably not always formed one book. For
the last page of _Beowulf_ was apparently once the last page of the volume,
to judge from its battered condition, whilst _Judith_ is imperfect at the
beginning. And there are trifling differences, e.g. in the frequency of the
use of contractions, and the form of the capital H.

This identity of the scribe of the second portion of _Beowulf_ and the
_Judith_ scribe, together with the identity (pointed out by Mr Sisam) of
the scribe of the first portion of _Beowulf_ and the scribe of the three
preceding works, is important. A detailed comparison of these texts will
throw light upon the characteristics of the scribes.

That the three preceding works are in the same hand as that of the first
_Beowulf_ scribe was again announced, independently of Mr Sisam, by Prof.
Max Förster, in 1919. Sievers had already in 1871 arrived at the same
result (see Förster, p. 35, note) but had not published it.

It seems to me in the highest degree improbable that the _Beowulf_-MS has
lost its ending, as Prof. Förster thinks (pp. 82, 88). Surely nothing could
be better than the conclusion of the poem as it stands in the MS: that the
{386} casual loss of a number of leaves could have resulted in so
satisfactory a conclusion is, I think, not conceivable. Moreover, the
scribe has crammed as much material as possible into the last leaf of
_Beowulf_, making his lines abnormally long, and using contractions in a
way he does not use them elsewhere. The only reason for this must be to
avoid running over into a new leaf or quire: there could be no motive for
this crowded page if the poem had ever run on beyond it.

There is pretty general agreement that the date of the _Beowulf_-MS is
about the year 1000, and that it is somewhat more likely to be before that
date than after.

The _Beowulf_-MS was injured in the great Cottonian fire of 1731, and the
edges of the parchment have since chipped away owing to the damage then
sustained. Valuable assistance can therefore be derived from the two
transcripts now preserved in the Royal Library of Copenhagen, made in 1787,
when the MS was much less damaged.

    A. Poema anglosaxonicum de rebus gestis Danorum ... fecit exscribi
    Londini A.D. MDCCLXXXVII Grimus Johannis Thorkelin.

    B. Poema anglosaxonicum de Danorum rebus gestis ... exscripsit Grimus
    Johannis Thorkelin. Londini MDCCLXXXVII.

The first description of the _Beowulf_-MS is in 1705 by H. WANLEY
(_Librorum Septentrionalium ... Catalogus_, pp. 218--19, Oxoniæ, forming
vol. II of Hickes' _Thesaurus_). Two short extracts from the MS are given
by Wanley. He describes the poem as telling of the wars _quæ Beowulfus
quidam Danus, ex regio Scyldingorum stirpe ortus, gessit contra Sueciæ
regulos_. The text was printed by THORKELIN in 1815, and the MS was
collated by CONYBEARE, who in his _Illustrations_ (1826) issued 19 pages of
corrections of Thorkelin. These corrections were further corrected by J. M.
KEMBLE in 1837 (Letter to M. Francisque Michel, in Michel's _Bibliothèque
Anglo-Saxonne_, pp. 20, 51-8). Meantime Kemble's text had been issued in
1833, based upon his examination of the MS. The MS was also seen by THORPE
(in 1830: Thorpe's text was not published till 1855) and by GRUNDTVIG (pub.
1861). A further collation was that of E. KÖLBING in 1876 (Zur
Beóvulf-handschrift, _Archiv_, LVI, 91-118). Kölbing's collation proves the
superiority of Kemble's text to Grundtvig's. Line for line transcripts of
the MS were those of Holder, Wülker and Zupitza:

    1881 HOLDER, A. Beowulf. Bd. I. Abdruck der Handschrift. Freiburg u.
    Tübingen. (++1881, from collation made in 1875.) Reviews: Kölbing,
    _Engl. Stud._ VII, 488; Kluge, _Literaturblatt_, 1883, 178; Wülker,
    _Lit. Cbl._ 1882, 1035-6.

        1882. 2 Aufl.

        1895. 3 Aufl. Reviews: Dieter, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, VI, 260-1;
        Brandl, _Z.f.d.A._ XL, 90.

    1881 WÜLKER, R. P. Beowulf: Text nach der handschrift, in Grein's
    _Bibliothek_, I, 18-148.

    1882 ZUPITZA, J. Beowulf. Autotypes of the unique Cotton MS. Vitellius
    A XV; with a transliteration and notes. _Early English Text Society_,
    London. Reviews: Trautmann, _Anglia_, VII, _Anzeiger_, 41; Kölbing,
    _Engl. Stud._ VII, 482 _etc._; Varnhagen, _A.f.d.A._ X, 304; Sievers,
    _Lit. Cbl._ 1884, 124.


Further discussion of the MS by

    1890 DAVIDSON, C. Differences between the scribes of Beowulf. _M.L.N._
    V, 43-4; MCCLUMPHA, C., criticizes the above, _M.L.N._ V, 123; reply by
    DAVIDSON, _M.L.N._ V, 189-90.

    1910 LAMB, EVELYN H. "Beowulf": Hemming of Worcester. _Notes and
    Queries_, Ser. XI, vol. I, p. 26. (Worthless. An assertion, unsupported
    by any evidence, that _both_ the hands of the Beowulf MS are those of
    Hemming of Worcester, who flourished c. 1096.)

    1916 SISAM, K. The Beowulf Manuscript. _M.L.R._ XI, 335-7. (Very
    important. Gives results of a scrutiny of the other treatises in _MS
    Vitellius A. XV_ (see above) and shows, among other things, that the
    Beowulf MS, before reaching the hands of Sir Robert Cotton, was (in
    1563) in those of Lawrence Nowell, the Elizabethan Anglo-Saxon

    1919 FÖRSTER, MAX. Die Beowulf-Handschrift, Leipzig, _Berichte der
    Sächs_. _Akad. der Wissenschaften_, Bd. 71. (An excellent and detailed
    discussion of the problems of the MS, quite independent of that of Mr
    Sisam, whose results it confirms.) Review: Schröder, _Z.f.d.A._ LVIII,

    1920 RYPINS, S. I. The Beowulf Codex. _Mod. Phil._ XVII, 541-8
    (promising further treatment of the problems of the MS).

The MS of Finnsburg has been lost. See above, p. 245.


    1705 HICKES, G. Linguarum Vett. Septentrionalium Thesaurus. Oxoniæ.
    (Vol. I, 192-3, text of Finnsburg Fragment.)

    1814 CONYBEARE, J. J. The Battle of Finsborough, in Brydges' _British
    Bibliographer_, vol. IV, pp. 261-7; No. XV (Text, Latin translation,
    and free verse paraphrase in English: some brief notes).

    1815 THORKELIN, G. J. De Danorum rebus gestis secul. III et IV. Poëma
    Danicum dialecto Anglo-Saxonica. (Copenhagen, with Lat. transl.)
    Reviews: See § 7, _Textual Criticism_, 1815, Grundtvig; also _Dansk
    Litteratur-Tidende_, 1815, 401-32, 437-46, 461-2 (defending Thorkelin
    against Grundtvig); _Iduna_, vii, 1817, 133-59; _Monthly Review_,
    LXXXI, 1816, 516-23; ++_Jenaische Literatur-Zeitung_, 1816,
    _Ergänzungsblätter_, 353-65 (summary in Wülker's _Grundriss_, p. 252);
    Outzen in _Kieler Blätter_, 1816, see § 8, below.

    1817 RASK, R. K. Angelsaksisk sproglære. Stockholm (pp. 163-6 contain
    Beowulf, ll. 53-114, with commentary).

    1820 Text of Finnsburg, given by GRUNDTVIG in _Bjowulfs Drape,_ pp.

    1826 Text of Finnsburg, and of large portions of Beowulf, given in
    CONYBEARE'S _Illustrations_. See § 5, _Translations_.

    1833 KEMBLE, J. M. Beowulf, the Travellers Song, and the Battle of
    Finnesburh, edited with a glossary ... and an historical preface.

        1835. Second edit.

    1847 SCHALDEMOSE, F. Beo-wulf og Scopes Widsið ... med Oversættelse.
    Kjøbenhavn. (Follows Kemble's text of 1835: Text and transl. of
    Finnsburg also given, pp. 161-4.) 1851, Reprinted.

    1849 KLIPSTEIN, L. F. Analecta Anglo-Saxonica. New York. (Selections
    from Beowulf, II, 227-61: Text of Finnsburg, 426-7.)

    1850 ETTMÜLLER, L. Engla and Seaxna scopas and b[=o]ceras. Quedlinburg
    u. Leipzig. (Text of large portions of Beowulf, with Finnsburg, pp.

    1855 THORPE, B. The A.S. poems of Beowulf, the scop or gleeman's tale,
    and Finnesburg, with a literal translation ... Oxford. ++1875,


    1857 GREIN, C. W. M. Bibliothek der angelsächsischen Poesie, I.
    Göttingen (pp. 255--343, Beóvulf, Ueberfall in Finnsburg).

        1861-4. Bd. III, IV. Sprachschatz.

    1861 RIEGER, M. Alt- u. angelsächsisches Lesebuch. Giessen. (Der Kampf
    zu Finnsburg, pp. 61-3: aus dem Beovulf, 63-82.)

    1861 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Beowulfes Beorh eller Bjovulfs-Drapen.
    Kiöbenhavn, London. (The Finnsburg Fragment is inserted in the text of
    Beowulf, after l. 1106.)

    1863 HEYNE, M. Beovulf, mit ausführlichem Glossar. Paderborn. (Anhang:
    Der Ueberfall in Finnsburg.) Reviews: Grein, _Lit. Cbl._ 1864, 137--8;
    Holtzmann, _Germania_, VIII, 506-7.

        1868. ++2 Aufl. Review: Rieger, _Z.f.d.Ph._ II, 371-4.

        1873. 3 Aufl. Review: Sievers, _Lit. Cbl._ 1873, 662-3, brief but

        1879. 4 Aufl. [in this, Kölbing's collation of 1876 was utilized;
        see p. 82]. Reviews: Brenner, _Engl. Stud._ IV, 135-9; Gering,
        _Z.f.d.Ph._ XII, 122-5.

    1867 GREIN, C. W. M. Beovulf, nebst den Fragmenten Finnsburg u.
    Valdere. Cassel u. Göttingen.

    1875 ETTMÜLLER, L. Carmen de Beóvulfi, Gautarum regis, rebus praeclare
    gestis atque interitu, quale fuerit antequam in manus interpolatoris,
    monachi Vestsaxonici, inciderat. (Zürich. University Programme. The
    additions of the "interpolator" being omitted, the edition contains
    2896 lines only.) Reviews: Schönbach, _A.f.d.A._ III, 36-46; ++Suchier,
    _Jenaer Literatur-Zeitung_, XLVII, 1876, 732.

    1876 ARNOLD, T. Beowulf, with a translation, notes and appendix.
    London. Reviews (unfavourable): Sweet, _Academy_, X, 1876, 588; Wülker,
    _Lit. Cbl._ 1877, 665-6, and _Anglia_, I, 177-86.

    1879 WÜLKER, R. P. Kleinere angelsächsische Dichtungen. Halle, Leipzig.
    (Finnsburg, pp. 6-7.)

    1883 MÖLLER, H. Das altenglische Volksepos in der ursprünglichen
    strophischen Form. I. Abhandlungen. II. Texte. Kiel. (Containing only
    those parts of the Finn-story and of Beowulf which Möller regarded as
    "genuine," in strophic form.) Reviews: Heinzel, _A.f.d.A._ X, 215-33
    (important); Schönbach, _Z.f.ö.G._ XXXV, 37-46.

    1883 WÜLKER, R. P. Das Beowulfslied, nebst den kleineren epischen ...
    stücken. Kassel. (In the second edit. of Grein's _Bibliothek der ags.
    Poesie._) Review: Kölbing, _Engl. Stud._ VII, 482 _etc._

    1883 HARRISON, J. A. and SHARP, R. Beowulf. Boston, U.S.A. (++1883, on
    the basis of Heyne's edition; with Finnsburg.) Reviews: York Powell,
    _Academy_, XXVI, 1884, 220-1; reply by Harrison, 308-9; by York Powell,
    327; Kölbing, _Engl. Stud._ VII, 482; Bright, _Literaturblatt_, 1884,

        1892. Third edit.

        1894. Fourth edit. Reviews: Wülker, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, V, 65-7;
        Glöde, _Engl. Stud._ XX, 417-18.

    1884 HOLDER, A. Beowulf, II. Berichtigter Text u. Wörterbuch. Freiburg
    u. Tübingen. Reviews: York Powell, _Academy_, XXVI, 1884, 220-1;
    Wülker, _Lit. Cbl._ 1885, 1008-9; Krüger, _Literaturblatt_, 1884,

        1899. 2 Aufl. [with suggestions of Kluge and Cosijn]. Reviews:
        Trautmann, _Anglia, Beiblatt,_ X, 257; Wülfing, _Engl. Stud._ XXIX,
        278-9; Holthausen, _Literaturblatt_, 1900, 60-2 (important

    1888 HEYNE, M. and SOCIN, A. [Fifth edit. of Heyne's text.] Paderborn
    u. Münster. Reviews: Koeppel, _Engl. Stud._ XIII, 466-72; Heinzel,
    _A.f.d.A._ XV, 189-94; Sievers, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXI, 354-65 (very important
    corrections); Schröer, _Literaturblatt_, 1889, 170-1.


        1898. 6 Aufl. Reviews: Trautmann, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, X, 257;
        Holthausen, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, X, 265; Sarrazin, _Engl. Stud._
        XXVIII, 408-10; Jantzen, _Archiv_, CIII, 175-6.

        1903. 7 Aufl. Reviews: Holthausen, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XVIII,
        193-4; Klaeber, the same, 289-91; Kruisinga, _Engl. Stud._ XXXV,
        401-2; v. Grienberger, _Z.f.ö.G._ LVI, 744-61 (very full); E. Kock,
        _A.f.n.F._ XXII, 215 (brief).

    1894 WYATT, A. J. Beowulf, edited with textual footnotes, index of
    proper names, and glossary. (Text of Finnsburg.) Cambridge. Reviews:
    Bradley, _Academy_, XLVI, 1894, 69-70; Wülker, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, V,
    65-7; Brenner, _Engl. Stud._ XX, 296; Zupitza, _Archiv_, XCIV, 326-9.

        1898. Second edit. Reviews: Trautmann, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, X, 257;
        Sarrazin, _Engl. Stud._ XXVIII, 407-8.

    1902 KLUGE, F. Angelsächsisches Lesebuch. 3 Aufl. Halle. (XXX. Der
    Überfall von Finnsburuh, pp. 127-8.)

    1903 TRAUTMANN, M. Finn u. Hildebrand. _Bonner Beiträge_, VII. (Text,
    translation and comment on the Episode and Fragment.) Reviews: Binz,
    _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXXVII, 529-36; Jantzen, _Die Neueren Sprachen_, XI, 543-8;
    _Neue philol. Rundschau_, 1903, 619-21 (signed -tz- ? Jantzen). Some
    additional notes by Trautmann, "Nachträgliches zu Finn u. Hildebrand"
    appeared in _Bonner Beiträge_, XVII, 122.

    1904 TRAUTMANN, M. Das Beowulflied ... das Finn-Bruchstück u. die
    Waldhere-Bruchstücke. Bearbeiteter Text u. deutsche Übersetzung.
    _Bonner Beiträge_, XVI. Reviews: Klaeber, _M.L.N._ XX, 83-7 (weighty);
    Eckhardt, _Engl. Stud._ XXXVII, 401-3; Schücking, _Archiv_, CXV,
    417-21; Barnouw, _Museum_, XIV, 96-8; _Neue philologische Rundschau_ (?
    by Jantzen), 1905, 549-50.

    1905-6 HOLTHAUSEN, F. Beowulf nebst dem Finnsburg-Bruchstück. I. Texte.
    II. Einleitung, Glossar u. Anmerkungen. Heidelberg. Reviews: Lawrence,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ VII, 125-9; Klaeber, _M.L.N._ XXIV, 94-5; Schücking, _Engl.
    Stud._ XXXIX, 94-111 (weighty); Deutschbein, _Archiv_, CXXI, 162-4; v.
    Grienberger, _Z.f.ö.G._ 1908, LIX, 333-46 (giving an elaborate list of
    etymological parallels); Barnouw, _Museum_, XIV, 169-70; Wülker,
    _D.L.Z._ 1906, 285-6; ++Jantzen, _Neue philologische Rundschau_, 1907,

        1908-9. 2 Aufl., nebst den kleineren Denkmälern der Heldensage,
        Finnsburg, Waldere, Deor, Widsith, Hildebrand. Reviews: Eichler,
        _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXI, 129-33; XXII, 161-5; Schücking, _Engl.
        Stud._ XLII, 108-11; Brandl, _Archiv_, CXXI, 473, CXXIV, 210; Binz,
        _Literaturblatt_, XXXII, 1911, 53-5: see also Koeppel, _Anglia,
        Beiblatt_, XXIII, 297.

        1912-13. 3 Aufl.

        1914-19. 4 Aufl. Reviews: Binz, _Literaturblatt_, XLI, 1920,
        316-17; Fischer, _Engl. Stud._ LIV, 404-6.

    1908 SCHÜCKING, L. L. Beowulf [8th edit. of Heyne's text]. Paderborn.
    Reviews: Lawrence, _M.L.N._ XXV, 155-7; Klaeber, _Engl. Stud._ XXXIX,
    425-33 (weighty); Imelmann, _D.L.Z._ 1909, 995 (contains important
    original contributions); v. Grienberger, _Z.f.ö.G._ LX, 1089; Boer,
    _Museum_, XVI, 139 (brief).

        1910. 9 Aufl. Reviews: Sedgefield, _Engl. Stud._ XLIII, 267-9; F.
        Wild, _Z.f.ö.G._ LXIV, 153-5.

        1913. 10 Aufl. Reviews: Klaeber, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXIV, 289-91;
        _Engl. Stud._ XLIX, 424; ++Degenhart, _Blätter f.
        gymnasialschulwesen_, LI, 130; E. A. Kock, _A.f.n.F._ XXXII, 222-3;
        Holthausen, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XLVIII, 127-31 (weighty).

        1918. 11, 12 Aufl. Reviews: Björkman, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXX,
        121-2, 180; Fischer, _Engl. Stud._ LIII, 338-9.


    1910 SEDGEFIELD, W. J. Beowulf, edited with Introduction, Bibliography,
    Notes, Glossary and Appendices. Manchester. Reviews: Thomas, _M.L.R._
    VI, 266-8; Lawrence, _J.E.G.Ph._ X, 633-40; Wild, _Anglia, Beiblatt_,
    XXIII, 253-60; Klaeber, _Engl. Stud._ XLIV, 119-26; Brandl, _Archiv_,
    CXXVI, 279.

        1913. Second edit. Reviews: _M.L.R._ IX, 429; Lawrence, _J.E.G.Ph._
        XIV, 609-13; Klaeber, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXV, 166-8.

    1912 Text of the Finn episode given in MEYER, W., Beiträge zur
    Geschichte der Eroberung Englands durch die Angelsachsen.

    1914 CHAMBERS, R. W. Beowulf with the Finnsburg Fragment, ed. by A. J.
    WYATT. New edition, revised. Cambridge. Reviews: Jones, _M.L.R._ XI,
    230-1: Lawrence, _J.E.G.Ph._ XIV, 609-13; Bright, _M.L.N._ XXXI, 188-9;
    Schücking, _Engl. Stud._ LV, 88-100.

    1915 DICKINS, B. Runic and Heroic Poems (Text of Finnsburg with Notes).
    Cambridge. Review: Mawer, _M.L.R._ XII, 82-4.

    1917 MACKIE, W. L. The Fight at Finnsburg (Introduction, Text and
    Notes).   _J.E.G.Ph._ XVI, 250-73.

    1919 SCHÜCKING, L. L. Kleines angelsächsisches Dichterbuch. [Includes
    Finnsburg Fragment, Finnsburg Episode and "Beowulf's Return" (ll.
    1888-2199).] Reviews: Binz, _Literaturblatt_, XLI, 1920, pp. 315-16;
    Imelmann, _D.L.Z._ XL, 1919, 423-5; Fischer, _Engl. Stud._ LIV, 1920,

    1920 Text of Finnsburg Fragment and Episode, with commentary, in
    IMELMANN'S "Forschungen zur altenglischen Poesie."

An edition of Beowulf by Prof. F. KLAEBER is in the press.


    1896 HOLDER, A. Beowulf, vol. II_b_, Wortschatz. Freiburg. Review:
    Brandl, _A.f.d.A._ XXIII, 107.

    1911 COOK, A. S. Concordance to Beowulf. Halle. Reviews: Klaeber,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ XI, 277-9; Garnett, _Amer. Jnl. Philol._ XXXIII, 86-7.


    1881 WÜLKER, R. P. Besprechung der Beowulfübersetzungen, _Anglia_, IV,
    _Anzeiger_, 69-80.

    1886 GUMMERE, F. B. The translation of Beowulf, and the relations of
    ancient and modern English verse, _Amer. Jour. of Phil._ VII, 46-78. (A
    weighty argument for translation into "the original metre.")

    1891 GARNETT, J. M. The translation of A.S. poetry, _Pub. Mod. Lang.
    Assoc. Amer._ VI, 95-105. (Agreeing in the main with Gummere.)

    1897 FRYE, P. H. The translation of Beowulf, _M.L.N._ XII, 79-82.
    (Advocating blank verse.)

    1898 FULTON, E. On translating A.S. poetry, _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc.
    Amer._ XIII, 286-96. (Recommending an irregular four-accent line.)

    1903 GARNETT, J. M. Recent translations of O.E. poetry, _Pub. Mod.
    Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XVIII, 445-58.

    1903 TINKER, C. B. The translations of Beowulf. A critical
    bibliography. _Yale Studies in English_. New York. Reviews: Klaeber,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ V, 116-8; Binz, _Anglia, Beiblatt,_ XVI, 291-2.

    1909 CHILD, G. C. "Gummere's Oldest English Epic," _M.L.N._ XXIV,
    253-4. (A criticism advocating prose translation.)

    1910 GUMMERE, F. B. Translation of Old English Verse, _M.L.N._ XXV,
    61-3. (Advocating alliterative verse.) Reply by CHILD, _M.L.N._ XXV,
    157-8. See also reviews of Gummere, under year 1909, below.


    1918 LEONARD, W. E. Beowulf and the Niebelungen couplet, _Univ. of
    Wisconsin Studies in Language and Literature_, II, 99-152.

    1805 TURNER, SHARON. History of the manners ... poetry ... and language
    of the Anglo-Saxons. London. (From p. 398 to p. 408 is a summary, with
    translations, of Beowulf, Prol.-VIII. Turner was misled as to the
    subject of the poem, because a leaf had been misplaced in the MS, so
    that the account of the fighting between Grendel and Beowulf (ll.
    740-82) occurred immediately after l. 91. The struggle between Beowulf
    and an (unnamed) adversary being thus made to follow the account of
    Hrothgar's court at Heorot, Turner was led to suppose that the poem
    narrated the attempt of Beowulf to avenge _on Hrothgar_ the feud for a
    homicide he had committed. "The transition," Turner not unreasonably
    complains, "is rather violent." The correct placing of the shifted leaf
    is due to Thorkelin.)

    1815 THORKELIN, G. J. [Latin version in his edition, q.v.] The
    reviewers gave summaries of the poem, with translations of portions of
    it: English in the _Monthly Review_, LXXXI, 1816, 516-23 (less
    inaccurate than Turner's summary); Danish in the _Dansk
    Litteratur-Tidende_, 1815, 401-32, 437-46, and by Grundtvig in the
    _Nyeste Skilderie_ (see below, § 7); Swedish in _Iduna_, VII, 1817,

    1819 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Stykker af Skjoldung-Kvadet eller Bjovulfs
    Minde, _Dannevirke_, IV, 234-62.

    1820 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Bjowulfs Drape, Kjøbenhavn. (Free rhymed
    translation of Beowulf: Finnsburg rendered into short lines, unrhymed:
    Introduction and most important critical notes.) Review: J. Grimm in
    _Gött. Anzeigen_, 1823 = _Kleinere Schriften_, IV, 178-86. For second
    edit., see 1865.

    1820 TURNER, SHARON. History of the Anglo-Saxons ... third edit.
    London. (Vol. III, pp. 325-48, contains a summary, with translations,
    of the earlier part of the poem, much less inaccurate than that of

    1826 CONYBEARE, J. J. Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon poetry. London. (Pp.
    35-136 contain a summary of Beowulf, with blank verse transl. and the
    corresponding text in A.S. and Latin; pp. 175-82, Finnsburg, text with
    transl. into Latin and into English verse.)

    1832 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Nordens mythologi. Anden Udgave. Kiöbenhavn.
    (Pp. 571-94 give a summary of the Beowulf-stories. This was, of course,
    wanting in the first edit. of 1808.)

    1837 KEMBLE, J. M. Translation ... with ... glossary, preface and
    notes. London. (The "postscript to the preface" in which Kemble
    supplemented and corrected the "Historical Preface" to his edition of
    1833, is the basis of the mythological explanations of Beowulf as an
    Anglian god, Beowa.)

    1839 LEO, H. [Summary with translation of extracts.] See § 8, below.

    1840 ETTMÜLLER, L. Beowulf, stabreimend übersetzt, mit Einleitung und
    Anmerkungen (Finnsburg, pp. 36-8). Zürich.

    1845 LONGFELLOW, H. W. The Poets and Poetry of Europe. Philadelphia.
    (Pp. 8-10 contain transl. of extracts from Beowulf.)

    1847 SCHALDEMOSE, F. [Danish transl. of Beowulf and Finnsburg, in his
    edit., q.v.]

    1849 WACKERBARTH, A. D. Beowulf, translated into English verse. London.
    (Imitation of Scott's metre.)

    1855 THORPE, B. [In his edit., q.v.]

    1857 UHLAND, L. [Prose transl. of Finnsburg.] _Germania_, II, 354-5.


    1857 GREIN, C. W. M. Dichtungen der Angelsachsen, stabreimend
    übersetzt. Göttingen. (Vol. I, pp. 222--308, Beowulf, trans. into
    alliterative verse.)

        1883. 2 Aufl. [Incorporating Grein's manuscript corrections, seen
        through the press by Wülker.] Cassel. Review: Krüger, _Engl. Stud._
        VIII, 139--42.

    1859 SIMROCK, K. Beowulf übersetzt u. erläutert. Stuttgart u. Augsburg.
    (Alliterative verse: Finnsburg Fragment inserted after l. 1124.)

    1859 SANDRAS, G. S. De carminibus anglo-saxonicis Caedmoni adjudicatis.
    Paris. (Pp. 8--10 contain extract from Beowulf and Latin transl.)

    1861 HAIGH, D. H. (Prose transl. of Finnsburg.) In _Anglo-Saxon Sagas,_
    pp. 32--3, q.v.

    1863 HEYNE, M. Beowulf übersetzt. Paderborn. (Blank verse.) Review:
    Holtzmann, _Germania_, VIII, 506--7.

        1897--8. 2 Aufl. Paderborn. Reviews: Holthausen, _Archiv_, CIII,

            373--6; Wülker, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, IX, 1; Jantzen,_ Engl.
            Stud._ XXV,

            271--3; Löhner, _Z.f.ö.G._ XLIX, 563.

        1915. 3 Aufl. Paderborn.

    1865 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Bjovulfs-Drapen. Anden Udgave.

    1872 VON WOLZOGEN, H. Beovulf aus dem ags. Leipzig. (Verse.)

    1876 ARNOLD, T. [In his edit., q.v.]

    1877 BOTKINE, L. Beowulf traduite en français. Havre. (Prose: some
    omissions.) Review: Körner, _Engl. Stud._ II, 248--51.

    1881 ZINSSER, G. Der Kampf Beowulfs mit Grendel [vv. 1--836] als Probe
    einer metrischen Uebersetzung. Saarbrücken. Reviews: _Archiv_, LXVIII,
    446; Krüger, _Engl. Stud_. VII, 370--2.

    1881 LUMSDEN, H. W. Beowulf ... transl. into modern rhymes. London.
    (Some omissions.) Reviews: _Athenæum_, April 1881, p. 587; Garnett,
    _Amer. Jour. of Phil._ II, 355--61; Wülker, _Anglia_, IV, _Anzeiger_,

        1883. ++Second edit. Review: York Powell, _Academy_, XXVI, 1884,
        pp. 220--1.

    1882 SCHUHMANN, G. Beovulf, antichissimo poema epico de' popoli
    germanici. _Giornale Napoletano di filosofia e lettere_. Anno IV, vol.
    7, 25--36, 175--190. (A summary only.)

    1882 GARNETT, J. M. Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, translated.
    Boston, U.S.A. Reviews: _Nation_ (New York), No. 919, 1883; Harrison,
    _Amer. Jour. of Phil._ IV, 84--6, reply by Garnett, 243--6; Schipper,
    _Anglia_, VI, _Anzeiger_, 120--4; Krüger, _Engl. Stud_. VIII, 133--8,
    and (second edit.) IX, 151; Bright, _Literaturblatt_, 1883, 386--7.

        1885. Second edit., revised.

        1900. Fourth edit.

    1883 GRION, GIUSTO. Beovulf, poema epico anglòsassone del VII secolo,
    tradotto e illustrato. In the _Atti della reale Accademia Lucchese_,
    XXII. (First Italian translation.) Review: Krüger, _Engl. Stud._ IX,

    1889 ++WICKBERG, R. Beowulf, en fornengelsk hjältedikt översatt.

        1914. ++Second edit. Upsala. Review: Kock, _A.f.n.F._ XXXII,

    1892 HALL, JOHN LESSLIE. Beowulf translated. (Verse, with notes.)
    Boston, U.S.A. Reviews: _M.L.N._ VII, 128, 1892 (brief mention);
    Miller, _Viking Club Year Book_, I, 91--2; Holthausen, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, IV, 33--6; Glöde, _Engl. Stud._ XIX, 257--60.

        1893. ++Student's edit.

    1892 (1891) EARLE, JOHN. The deeds of Beowulf. Oxford. (Prose
    translation, somewhat spoilt by its artificial and sometimes grotesque
    vocabulary; very valuable introduction, with summary of the controversy
    to date, {393} and notes.) Reviews: _Athenæum_, 1 Oct. 1892; Koeppel,
    _Engl. Stud._ XVIII, 93-5 (fair, though rather severe).

    1893 HOFFMANN, P. Beówulf ... aus dem angelsächsischen übertragen.
    Züllichau. (In the measure of the Nibelungenlied; ind. Finnsburg.)
    Reviews (mostly unfavourable): Shipley, _M.L.N._ IX, 121-3, 1894;
    Wülker, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, V, 67; Wülker, _Lit. Cbl._ 1894, p. 1930;
    Glöde, _Engl. Stud._ XIX, 412-5; ++Detter, _Öster. Literaturblatt_, V,
    9; ++Marold, _Deut. Literaturblatt_, XXIII, 332.

        1900. ++Second edit. Hannover.

    1895 MORRIS, W. and WYATT, A. J. The Tale of Beowulf. Kelmscott Press,
    Hammersmith. (Verse: archaic vocabulary.)

        1898. New edit. Review: Hulme, _M.L.N._ XV, 22-6, 1900.

    1896 SIMONS, L. Beówulf ... vertaald in stafrijm en met inleiding en
    aanteekeningen. Gent (_Koninklijke vlaamsche Academie_). Reviews:
    Glöde, _Engl. Stud._ XXV, 270-1; Uhlenbeck, _Museum_ (Groningen), V,

    1898 STEINECK, H. Altenglische Dichtungen (Beowulf, Elene, u.a.) in
    wortgetreuer Übersetzung. Leipzig. (Prose, line for line.) Reviews:
    Binz, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, IX, 220-2; Holthausen, _Archiv_, CIII, 376-8
    (both very unfavourable).

    1901 HALL, J. R. CLARK. Beowulf and the fight at Finnsburg. A
    translation into modern English prose. London. Reviews: _Athenæum_,
    1901, July, p. 56; _Academy_, LX, 1901, 342; Stedman, _Viking Club Year
    Book_, III, 72-4; Tinker, _J.E.G.Ph._ IV, 379-81; Holthausen, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XIII, 225-8; Dibelius, _Archiv_, CIX, 403-4; Vietor, _Die
    neueren Sprachen_, XI, 439; Wülker, _Lit. Cbl._ 1902, 30-1 ("sehr zu

        1911 (q.v.). New edit., with considerable additions.

    1902 TINKER, C. B. Beowulf translated out of the Old English. New York.
    (Prose.) Reviews: Klaeber, _J.E.G.Ph._ V, 91-3; Holthausen, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XIV, 7.

    1903 ++BJÖRKMAN, E. Swedish transl. (prose) of Beowulf, Part II (in
    Schück's _Världslitteraturen_, with introd. by Schück).

    1903-4 TRAUTMANN, M., in his editions, q.v.

    1904 CHILD, C. G. Beowulf and the Finnesburh Fragment translated.
    London and Boston. Reviews: Grattan, _M.L.R._ III, 303-4 ("a good prose
    translation which steers an even course between pseudo-archaisms and
    modern colloquialisms"); Miller, _Viking Club Year Book_, I, 91-2;
    Klaeber, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XVI, 225-7; Brandl, _Archiv_, CXXI, 473.

    1904 ++HANSEN, A. Transl. into Danish of Beowulf, ll. 491-924, _Danske

    1905 VOGT, P. Beowulf ... übersetzt. Halle. (Text rearranged according
    to theories of interpolation: Finnsburg Fragment translated, following
    Möller's text.) Reviews: Binz, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXI, 289-91;
    Eichler, _Z.f.ö.G._ LVII, 908-10; Klaeber, _Archiv_, CXVII, 408-10:
    Jantzen, _Lit. Cbl._ 1906, 257-8.

    1906 GERING, H. Beowulf nebst dem Finnsburg-Bruchstück übersetzt.
    Heidelberg. (Verse.) Reviews: Lawrence, _J.E.G.Ph._ VII, 129-33
    ("thoroughly scholarly"); Jantzen, _Lit. Cbl._ 1907, 64-5; Ries,
    _A.f.d.A._ XXXIII, 143-7; Binz, _Literaturblatt_, XXXI, 397-8
    ("Fliessend und ungezwungen, sinngetreu ..."); ++Zehme,
    _Monatsschrift_, XIV, 597-600; v. Grienberger, _Z.f.ö.G._ 1908, LIX,

        1914. 2 Aufl.

    1907 HUYSHE, W. Beowulf ... translated into ... prose ("Appendix: The
    Fight at Finn's burgh"). London. ("Translation," to quote Clark Hall,
    "apparently such as might have been compiled from previous translations
    by a person ignorant of Ags. Some original mistakes.") Reviews:
    _Athenæum_, 1907, II, 96 ("Mr Huyshe displays sad ignorance of Old
    {394} English ... but an assiduous study of the work of his
    predecessors has preserved him from misrepresenting seriously the
    general sense of the text"); _Notes and Queries_, Ser. X, vol. VIII,
    58; Garnett, _Amer. Jnl. Philol._ XXIX, 344-6; Klaeber, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XIX, 257.

    1909 GUMMERE, F. B. The oldest English Epic. Beowulf, Finnsburg,
    Waldere, Deor and the German Hildebrand, translated in the original
    metres. New York. Reviews: _Athenæum_, 1909, II, 151; Trautmann,
    _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXXIII, 353-60 (metrical debate); Sedgefield,
    _Engl. Stud._ XLI, 402-3 (discussing possibility of reproducing in Mod.
    Eng. the Old Eng. alliterative verse-rhythm); Derocquigny, _Revue
    Germanique_, VI, 356-7; see also above, p. 390.

    1910 HANSEN, ADOLF. Bjovulf, oversat af A. Hansen, og efter hans død
    gået efter og fuldført samt forsynet med en inledning og en
    oversættelse af brudstykket om kampen i Finsborg, af Viggo Julius von
    Holstein Rathlou; udgivet ved Oskar Hansen. København og Kristiania. An
    account of this translation, by v. Holstein Rathlou, in _Tilskueren_,
    June, 1910, pp. 557-62; Review: Olrik, _Danske Studier_, 1910, 112-13.

    1911 CLARK HALL, J. R. Beowulf and the Finnsburg Fragment. A
    translation into Modern English Prose. London. Reviews: Mawer, _M.L.R._
    VI, 542 ("probably the best working translation that we have, enriched
    by a valuable introduction and excellent appendices"); _Academy_, 1911,
    I, 225-6; Björkman, _Engl. Stud._ XLIV, 127-8; _Archiv_, CXXVI, 492-3;
    Binz, _Literaturblatt_, XXXII, 232.

    1912 PIERQUIN, H. Le poème Anglo-Saxon de Beowulf. (An extraordinary
    piece of work; the version mainly follows Kemble's text, which is
    reproduced, but with many misprints: Kemble's _Saxons in England_ is
    translated by way of introduction. The Finnsburg Fragment is included.)
    Reviews: _Academy_, 1912, II, 509-10 (seems to regard Pierquin as
    author of _Les Saxons en Angleterre_); Sedgefield, _M.L.R._ VIII,
    550-2; Klaeber, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXIV, 138-9; Imelmann, _D.L.Z._
    XXXIV (1913), 1062-3 (very unfavourable); ++Luick, _Mitt. d. inst. f.
    österr. gesch.-forsch._ XXXVI, 401; ++Barat, _Moyen Âge_, XXVI (see.
    ser. XVII), 298-302.

    1913 KIRTLAN, E. J. The Story of Beowulf. London. (A fair specimen of
    the less scholarly translations; nicely got up and not exceedingly
    incorrect.) Reviews: _Athenæum_, 1914, II, 71; Klaeber, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XXVII, 129-31.

    1914 CLARK HALL, J. R. Beowulf: a metrical translation. Cambridge. (Not
    so successful as the same writer's prose translation.) Reviews:
    Sedgefield, _M.L.R._ X, 387-9 (discussing the principles of metrical
    translation); Klaeber, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXVI, 170-2.

    1915 OLIVERO, F. Traduzioni dalla Poesia Anglo-sassone. Bari. (Pp.
    73-119, extracts from Beowulf.) Review: _M.L.R._ XI, 509.

    1916 ++BENEDETTI, A. La canzone di Beowulf, poema epico anglo-sassone
    del VI secolo. Versione italiana, con introduzione e note. Palermo.

    1918 LEONARD, W. E. [Specimen, Passus IX, of forthcoming transl., in
    the measure of the Nibelungenlied.] In _Univ. of Wisconsin Studies_,
    II, 149-52; see above.

        A translation of Beowulf into the Norwegian "landsmaal," by H.
        RYTTER, will appear shortly.

Popular paraphrases of Beowulf are not included in the above list. An
account will be found in Tinker's _Translations_ of those of E. H. Jones
(in COX'S _Popular Romances_, 1871); J. Gibb, 1881-4; Wägner-MacDowall,
1883 _etc._; Miss Z. A. Ragozin, 1898, 1900; A. J. Church, 1898; Miss C. L.
Thomson, 1899, 1904. Mention may also be made of those of ++F. A. Turner,
1894; H. E. Marshall, 1908; T. Cartwright, 1908; Prof. J. H. Cox, 1910. An
illustrated summary of {395} the _Beowulf_ story was issued by Mr W. T.
Stead in his penny "Books for the Bairns." The versions of Miss Thomson and
Prof. Cox are both good. The paraphrase in the _Canadian Monthly_, II, 83
(1872), attributed in several bibliographies to Earle, is assuredly not the
work of that scholar: it is an inaccurate version based upon Jones. An
account will be found in Tinker of the German paraphrase of Therese Dahn,
1883 _etc._; mention may also be made of those of J. Arnheim, 1871; ++ F.
Bässler, sec. edit. 1875 (praised highly by Klaeber in _J.E.G.Ph._ V, 118).


    1815 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Et Par Ord om det nys udkomne angelsaxiske
    Digt. _Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn_, No. 60 _etc._, cols. 945, 998,
    1009, 1025, 1045; Nok et Par Ord om Bjovulfs Drape, 1106, 1121, 1139
    (comment upon Thorkelin's text and translation).

    1815 THORKELIN, G. J. Reply to Grundtvig in _Nyeste Skilderie_, cols.
    1057, 1073. (There were further articles in the same magazine, but they
    were purely personal.)

    1820 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Emendations to Thorkelin's text, added to
    _Bjowulfs Drape_, 267-312.

    1826 CONYBEARE, J. J. Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon poetry. London.
    (Beowulf and "Finnsborough," pp. 30-182.)

    1859 BOUTERWEK, K. W. Zur Kritik des Beowulfliedes, _Z.f.d.A._ XI,

    1859 DIETRICH, F. Rettungen, _Z.f.d.A._ XI, 409-20.

    1863 HOLTZMANN, A. Zu Beowulf, _Germania_, VIII, 489-97. (Incl.

    1865 GREIN, C. W. M. Zur Textkritik der angelsächsischen Dichter:
    Finnsburg, _Germania_, X, 422.

    1868-9 BUGGE, SOPHUS. Spredte iagttagelser vedkommende de oldengelske
    digte om Beówulf og Waldere; _Tidskrift for Philologi og Pædagogik_,
    VIII, 40-78 and 287-307 (incl. Finnsburg, 304-5). Important.

    1871 RIEGER, M. Zum Beowulf, _Z.f.d.Ph._ III, 381-416.

    1873 BUGGE, S. Zum Beowulf, _Z.f.d.Ph._ IV, 192-224.

    1880 KÖLBING, E. Kleine Beiträge (Beowulf, 168, 169), _Engl. Stud._
    III, 92 _etc._

    1882 KLUGE, F. Sprachhistorische Miscellen (Beowulf, 63, 1027, 1235,
    1267), _P.B.B._ VIII, 532-5.

    1882 COSIJN, P. J. Zum Beowulf, _P.B.B._ VIII, 568-74.

    1883 SIEVERS, E. Zum Beowulf, _P.B.B._ IX, 135-44, 370.

    1883 KLUGE, F. Zum Beowulf, _P.B.B._ IX, 187-92.

    1883 KRÜGER, TH. Zum Beowulf, _P.B.B._ IX, 571-8.

    1889 MILLER, T. The position of Grendel's arm in Heorot, _Anglia_, XII,

    1890 JOSEPH, E. Zwei Versversetzungen im Beowulf, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXII,

    1891 SCHRÖER, A. Zur texterklärung des Beowulf, _Anglia_, XIII, 333-48.

    1891-2 COSIJN, P. J. Aanteekeningen op den Beowulf. Leiden.
    (Important.) Reviews: Lübke, _A.f.d.A._ XIX, 341-2; Holthausen,
    _Literaturblatt_, 1895, p. 82.

    1892 SIEVERS, E. Zur texterklärung des Beowulf, _Anglia_, XIV, 133-46.

    1895 BRIGHT, J. W. Notes on the Beowulf (ll. 30, 306, 386-7, 623, 737),
    _M.L.N._ X, 43-4.

    1899 TRAUTMANN, M. Berichtigungen, Vermutungen und Erklärungen zum
    Beowulf (ll. 1-1215). _Bonner Beiträge zur Anglistik_, II, 121-92.
    Reviews: Binz, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XIV, 358-60; Holthausen,
    _Literaturblatt_, 1900, 62-4 (important). See Sievers, _P.B.B._ XXVII,
    572; XXVIII, 271.

    1901 KLAEBER, F. A few Beowulf notes (ll. 459, 847 _etc._, 1206, 3024
    _etc._, 3171); _M.L.N._ XVI, 14-18.


    1902 KLAEBER, F. Zum Beowulf (497-8; 1745-7), _Archiv_, CVIII, 368-70.

    1902 KLAEBER, F. Beowulf's character, _M.L.N._ XVII, 162.

    1903 KRACKOW, O. Zu Beowulf, 1225, 2222, _Archiv_, CXI, 171-2.

    1904 BRYANT, F. E. Beowulf, 62, _M.L.N._ XIX, 121-2.

    1904 ABBOTT, W. C. Hrothulf, _M.L.N._ XIX, 122-5. (Abbott suggests that
    Hrothulf is the name--missing in whole or part from l. 62--of the
    husband of the daughter of Healfdene. This suggestion is quite
    untenable, for many reasons: Hrothulf (Rolf Kraki) is a Dane, and the
    missing husband is a Swede: but the article led to a long controversy
    between Bryant and Klaeber; see _M.L.N._ XX, 9-11; XXI, 143, 255; XXII,
    96, 160. Klaeber is undoubtedly right.)

    1904 KRAPP, G. B. Miscellaneous Notes: _Sc[=u]rheard_; _M.L.N._ XIX,

    1904 SIEVERS, E. Zum Beowulf, _P.B.B._ XXIX, 305-31. (Criticism of
    Trautmann's emendations.)

    1904 KOCK, E. A. Interpretations and Emendations of Early English
    Texts: III (Beowulf), _Anglia_, XXVII, 218-37.

    1904 SIEVERS, E. Zum Beowulf (l. 5, Criticism of Kock), _P.B.B._ XXIX,
    560-76. Reply by Kock, _Anglia_, XXVIII (1905), 140-2.

    1905 TRAUTMANN, M. Auch zum Beowulf: ein gruss an herren Eduard
    Sievers, _Bonner Beiträge zur Anglistik_, XVII, 143-74. (Reply to
    Sievers' criticism of Trautmann's conjectural emendations.) Review:
    Klaeber, _M.L.N._ XXII, 252.

    1905 SWIGGETT, G. L. Notes on the Finnsburg fragment, _M.L.N._ XX,

    1905 KLAEBER, F. Notizen zur texterklärung des Beowulf, _Anglia_,
    XXVIII, 439-47 (incl. Finnsburg); Zum Beowulf, the same, 448-56.

    1905 KLAEBER, F. Bemerkungen zum Beowulf, _Archiv_, CXV, 178-82. (Incl.

    1905 HOLTHAUSEN, F. Beiträge zur Erklärung des altengl. epos. I, Zum
    Beowulf; II, Zum Finnsburg-fragment; _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXXVII, 113-25.

    1905-6 KLAEBER, F. Studies in the Textual Interpretation of "Beowulf,"
    _Mod. Phil._ III, 235-66, 445-65 (Most important).

    1906 CHILD, C. G. Beowulf, 30, 53, 132 (i.e. 1323), 2957, _M.L.N._ XXI,
    175-7, 198-200.

    1906 HORN, W. Textkritische Bemerkungen (Beowulf, 69 _etc._), _Anglia_,
    XXIX, 130-1.

    1906 KLAEBER, F. Notizen zum Beowulf, _Anglia_, XXIX, 378-82.

    1907 KLAEBER, F. Minor Notes on the Beowulf, _J.E.G.Ph._ VI, 190-6.

    1908 TINKER, C. B. Notes on Beowulf, _M.L.N._ XXIII, 239-40.

    1908 KLAEBER, F. Zum Beowulf, _Engl. Stud._ XXXIX, 463-7.

    1909 KLAEBER, F. Textual Notes on Beowulf, _J.E.G.Ph._ VIII, 254-9.

    1910 VON GRIENBERGER, T. Bemerkungen zum Beowulf, _P.B.B._ XXXVI,
    77-101. (Incl. Finnsburg.)

    1910 SIEVERS, E. Gegenbemerkungen zum Beowulf, _P.B.B._ XXXVI, 397-434.
    (Incl. Finnsburg.)

    1910 SEDGEFIELD, W. J. Notes on "Beowulf," _M.L.R._ V, 286-8.

    1910 TRAUTMANN, M. Beiträge zu einem künftigen "Sprachschatz der
    altenglischen Dichter," _Anglia_, XXXIII, 276-9 (_gedræg_).

    1911 BLACKBURN, F. A. Note on Beowulf, 1591-1617, _Mod. Phil._ IX,
    555-66. (Argues that a loose leaf has been misplaced and the order of
    events thus disturbed.)

    1911 KLAEBER, F. Zur Texterklärung des Beowulf, vv. 767, 1129, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XXII, 372-4.

    1912 HART, J. M. Beowulf, 168-9, _M.L.N._ XXVII, 198.


    1912-14 GREIN, C. W. M. Sprachschatz der angelsächsischen dichter.
    Unter mitwirkung von F. Holthausen neu herausgegeben von J. J. Köhler.
    Heidelberg. Reviews: Trautmann, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXIV, 36-43;
    Schücking, _Engl. Stud._ XLIX, 113-5.

    1915 CHAMBERS, R. W. The "Shifted leaf" in Beowulf, _M.L.R._ X, 37-41.
    (Points out that the alleged "confused order of events" is that also
    followed in the Grettis saga.)

    1916 GREEN, A. The opening of the episode of Finn in Beowulf, _Pub.
    Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXXI, 759-97.

    1916 BRIGHT, J. W. Anglo-Saxon _umbor_ and _seld-guma_, _M.L.N._ XXXI,
    82-4; Beowulf, 489-90, _M.L.N._ XXXI, 217-23.

    1917 GREEN, A. An episode in Ongenþeow's fall, _M.L.R._ XII, 340-3.

    1917 HOLLANDER, L. M. Beowulf, 33, _M.L.N._ XXXII, 246-7. (Suggests the
    reading _[=i]tig_.)

    1917 HOLTHAUSEN, F. Zu altenglischen Denkmälern--Beowulf, 1140, _Engl.
    Stud._ LI, 180.

    1918 HUBBARD, F. G. Beowulf, 1598, 1996, 2026: uses of the impersonal
    verb _geweorþan_, _J.E.G.Ph._ XVII, 119.

    1918 KOCK, E. A. Interpretations and emendations of early English
    Texts: IV, Beowulf, _Anglia_, XLII, 99-124. (Important.)

    1918 ++KOCK, E. A. Jubilee Jaunts and Jottings, in the _Lunds univ.
    årsskrift_, N. F. avd. I, bd. 14, nr. 26 (_Festskrift vid ...
    250-årsjubileum_). Reviews: Holthausen, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXX, 1-5;
    Klaeber, _J.E.G.Ph._ XIX, 409-13.

    1919 MOORE, SAMUEL. Beowulf Notes (Textual), _J.E.G.Ph._ XVIII, 205-16.

    1919 KLAEBER, F. Concerning the functions of O.E. _geweorðan_,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ XVIII, 250-71. (Cf. paper of Prof. Hubbard above, by which
    this was suggested.)

    1919 KLAEBER, F. Textual notes on "Beowulf," _M.L.N._ XXXIV, 129-34.

    1919 BROWN, CARLETON. Beowulf, 1080-1106, _M.L.N._ XXXIV, 181-3.

    1919 BRETT, CYRIL. Notes on passages of Old and Middle English,
    _M.L.R._ XIV, 1-9.

    1919-20 KOCK, E. A. Interpretations and emendations of Early English
    Texts: V (Incl. Beowulf, 2030, 2419-24); VI (Incl. Beowulf 24, 154-6,
    189-90, 1992-3, 489-90, 581-3, 1745-7, 1820-1, 1931-2, 2164); VII
    (Incl. Beowulf, 1230, 1404, 1553-6); _Anglia_, XLIII, 303-4; XLIV, 98
    _etc._, 245 _etc._

    1920 BRYAN W. F. Beowulf Notes (303-6, 532-4, 867-71), _J.E.G.Ph._ XIX,


    See also preceding section.

No attempt is made here to deal with Old English heroic legend in general:
nor to enumerate the references to _Beowulf_ in histories of literature.
Probably the earliest allusion to our poem by a great writer is in Scott's
_Essay on Romance_ (1824):

    "The Saxons had, no doubt, Romances, ... and Mr Turner ... has given us
    the abridgement of one entitled Caedmon, in which the hero, whose
    adventures are told much after the manner of the ancient Norse Sagas,
    encounters, defeats and finally slays an evil being called Grendel...."

    1816 OUTZEN, N. Das ags. Gedicht Beowulf, _Kieler Blätter_, III,
    307-27. (See above, p. 4, note.) {398}

    1816 (Review of Thorkelin in) _Monthly Review_, LXXXI, 516-23. (Beowulf
    identified with Beaw Sceldwaing of the West Saxon genealogy; see above,
    p. 292.)

    1817 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. _Danne-Virke_, II, 207-89. (Identifies
    Chochilaicus; see above, p. 4, note.)

    1826 GRIMM, W. Einleitung über die Elfen, _Kleinere Schriften_, I, 405,
    esp. p. 467 (extract relating to Grendel's hatred of song). From
    ++_Irische Elfenmärchen_.

    1829 GRIMM, W. Die deutsche Heldensage. Göttingen. (Pp. 13-17. Extracts
    from Beowulf, with translation, relating to Weland, Sigemund, Hama and

    1836 KEMBLE, J. M. Über die Stammtafel der Westsachsen. München.
    Review: J. Grimm, _Göttingische gelehrte Anziegen_, 1836, 649-57, =
    _Kleinere Schriften_, V, 240.

    1836 MONE, F. J. Zur Kritik des Gedichts von Beowulf (in Untersuchungen
    zur Geschichte der teutschen Heldensage). Quedlinburg u. Leipzig. (Pp.

    1839 LEO, H. Bëówulf ... nach seinem inhalte, und nach seinen
    historischen und mythologischen beziehungen betrachtet. Halle.

    1841 DISRAELI, I. Amenities of Literature. London. (Beowulf; the
    Hero-Life. Vol. I, pp. 80-92.)

    1841 GRUNDTVIG, N. F. S. Bjovulfs Drape, _Brage og Idun_, IV, 481-538.
    (Discusses the story, with criticism of previous scholars, and
    especially of Kemble.)

    1843-9 GRIMM, W. Einleitung zur Vorlesung über Gudrun [with an abstract
    of Beowulf]; see _Kleinere Schriften_, IV, 557-60.

    1844 MÜLLENHOFF, K. Die deutschen Völker an Nord- und Ostsee in
    ältester Zeit, _Nordalbingische Studien_, I, 111 _etc._

    1845 A brief discussion of Beowulf in _Edinburgh Review_, LXXXII,

    1845 HAUPT, M. Zum Beowulf, _Z.f.d.A._ V, 10. (Drawing attention to the
    reference to Hygelac in the _liber de monstris_; see above, p. 4.)

    1848 MÜLLENHOFF, K. Die austrasische Dietrichssage, _Z.f.d.A._ VI, 435

    1849 MÜLLENHOFF, K. Sceáf u. seine Nachkommen, _Z.f.d.A._ VII, 410-19;
    Der Mythus von Beóvulf, _Z.f.d.A._ VII, 419-41.

    1849 GRIMM, J. Ueber das Verbrennen der Leichen, _Abhandl. d. Berl.
    Akad._, 1849, 191 _etc._ = _Kleinere Schriften_, II, 211-313 (esp.

    1849 BACHLECHNER, J. Die Merovinge im Beowulf, _Z.f.d.A._ VII, 524-6.

    1851 ZAPPERT, G. Virgil's Fortleben im Mittelalter, _Denkschriften der
    k. Akad. Wien, Phil.-Hist. Classe_, Bd. II, Abth. 2, pp. 17-70. (Gives
    numerous parallels between Virgil and "Beowulf," somewhat

    1852 BRYNJULFSSON, G. Oldengelsk og Oldnordisk, _Antikuarisk
    Tidsskrift_, Kjøbenhavn, 1852-4, pp. 81-143. (An important paper which
    has been unduly overlooked. Brynjulfsson notes the parallel between
    Beowulf and Bjarki (see above, p. 61) and in other respects anticipates
    later scholars, e.g., in noting the close relationship between Angles
    and Danes (p. 143) and less fortunately (pp. 129-31) in identifying the
    Geatas with the Jutes.)

    1856 BACHLECHNER, J. Eomaer und Heming (Hamlac), _Germania_, I, 297-303
    and 455-61.

    1856 BOUTERWEK, K. W. Das Beowulflied: Eine Vorlesung; _Germania_, I,

    1857 UHLAND, L. Sigemund und Sigeferd, _Germania_, II, 344-63 =
    _Schriften_, VIII, 479 _etc._ (Incl. Finnsburg.)


    1858 WEINHOLD, K. Die Riesen des germanischen Mythus, _Sitzungberichte
    der K. Akad., Wien, Phil-Hist. Classe_, XXVI, 225-306. (Grendel and his
    mother, p. 255.)

    1859 RIEGER, M. Ingaevonen, Istaevonen, Herminonen, _Z.f.d.A._ XI,

    1859 MÜLLENHOFF, K. Zur Kritik des angelsächsischen Volksepos, 2,
    Widsith, _Z.f.d.A._ XI, 275-94.

    1860 MÜLLENHOFF, K. Zeugnisse u. Excurse zur deutschen Heldensage,
    _Z.f.d.A._ XII, 253-386. (_This portion_ of vol. XII was published in

    1861 HAIGH, D. H. The Anglo-Saxon Sagas. London. (An uncritical attempt
    to identify the proper names in Beowulf and Finnsburg with sites in

    1862 GREIN, C. W. M. Die historischen Verhältnisse des Beowulfliedes,
    _Eberts Jahrbuch für roman. u. engl. Litt._ IV, 260-85. (Incl.

    1864 ++SCHULTZE, M. Ueber das Beowulfslied. _Programm der städtischen
    Realschule zu Elbing._ (Not seen, but contents, including the mythical
    interpretations current at the period, noted in _Archiv_, XXXVII, 232.)

    1864 HEYNE, M. Ueber die Lage und Construction der Halle Heorot.

    1868 KÖHLER, A. Germanische Alterthümer im Beóvulf, _Germania_, XIII,

    1869 MÜLLENHOFF, K. Die innere Geschichte des Beovulfs, _Z.f.d.A._ XIV,
    193-244. (Reprinted in _Beovulf_, 1889. See above, p. 113 _etc._)

    1870 KÖHLER, A. Die Einleitung des Beovulfliedes. Die beiden Episoden
    von Heremod, _Z.f.d.Ph._ II, 305-21.

    1875 SCHRØDER, L. Om Bjovulfs Drapen. København. (See above, p. 30.)

    1876 BOTKINE, L. Beowulf. Analyse historique et géographique. Havre.
    (Material subsequently incorporated in translation, q.v. § 6.) Review:
    Körner, _Engl. Stud._ I, 495-6.

    1877 SKEAT, W. W. The name "Beowulf," _Academy_, XI (Jan.-June), p.
    163. (Suggests Beowulf = "woodpecker"; see above, pp. 365-6, _note_.)

    1877 TEN BRINK, B. Geschichte der englischen Litteratur. (Beowulf,
    Finnsburg, pp. 29-40.)

    1877 DEDERICH, H. Historische u. geographische Studien zum ags.
    Beóvulfliede. Köln. (Incl. Finnsburg.) Reviews: Körner, _Engl. Stud._
    I, 481-95; Müllenhoff, _A.f.d.A._ III, 172-82; ++Suchier, _Jenaer
    Literatur-Zeitung_, XLVII, 732, 1876.

    1877 HORNBURG, J. Die Composition des Beowulf. _Programm des K. Lyceums
    in Metz._ Full summary by F. Hummel in _Archiv_, LXII, 231-3. See also
    under 1884.

    1877 SCHULTZE, M. Alt-heidnisches in der angelsächsischen Poesie,
    speciell im Beowulfsliede. Berlin.

    1877 SUCHIER, H. Ueber die Sage von Offa u. Þryðo, _P.B.B._ IV, 500-21.

    1878 MÜLLER, N. Die Mythen im Beówulf, in ihrem Verhältniss zur
    germanischen Mythologie betrachtet. Dissertation, Heidelberg. Leipzig.

    1879 LAISTNER, L. Nebelsagen. Stuttgart. (See above, p. 46, note.)

    1879 SWEET, H. Old English etymologies: I, _Beóhata_, _Engl. Stud._ II,
    312-14. (See above, p. 365.)

    1880 GERING, H. Der Beówulf u. die isländische Grettissaga, _Anglia_,
    III, 74-87. (Important. Gering announced Vigfússon's discovery to a
    wider circle of readers, with translation of the Sandhaugar episode,
    and useful comment. The discovery was further announced to American
    readers by GARNETT in the _American Journal of Philology_, I, 492
    (1880), though its importance was there rather understated. See above,
    p. 54.)


    1881 SMITH, C. SPRAGUE. Beówulf Gretti, _New Englander_, XL (N. S. IV),
    49-67. (Translation of corresponding passages in Grettis saga and

    1882 MARCH, F. A. The World of Beowulf, _Proceedings of Amer. Phil.
    Assoc._ pp. xxi-xxiii.

    1883 RÖNNING, F. Beovulfs-kvadet; en literær-historisk undersøgelse.
    København. Review: Heinzel, _A.f.d.A._ X, 233-9. (Rönning criticises
    Müllenhoff's theories of separate lays. His book and Heinzel's review
    are both important.)

    1883 MERBOT, R. Aesthetische Studien zur Ags. Poesie. Breslau. Reviews:
    Koch, _Anglia_, VI, _Anzeiger_, 100-3; Kluge, _Engl. Stud._, VIII,

    1884 EARLE, J. Anglo-Saxon Literature (The dawn of European
    Literature). London. (Pp. 120-39 deal with Beowulf. Earle holds Beowulf
    to be "a genuine growth of that junction in time ... when the heathen
    tales still kept their traditional interest, and yet the spirit of
    Christianity had taken full possession of the Saxon mind.")

    1884 FAHLBECK, P. Beowulfs-kvädet såsom källa för nordisk fornhistoria,
    _Antikvar. tidskr. för Sverige_, VIII, 1-87. Review: _Academy_, XXIX,
    1886, p. 12. (See above, pp. 8, 333.)

    1884 HARRISON, J. A. Old Teutonic life in Beowulf, _Overland Monthly_,
    Sec. Ser. vol. IV, 14-24; 152-61.

    1884 HERTZ, W. Beowulf, das älteste germanische Epos, _Nord und Süd_,
    XXIX, 229-53.

    1884 HORNBURG, J. Die komposition des Beovulf, _Archiv_, LXXII,
    333-404. (Rejects Müllenhoff's "Liedertheorie.")

    1884 KRÜGER, TH. Zum Beowulfliede. Bromberg. Reviewed favourably by
    Kölbing, _Engl. Stud._ IX, 150; severely by Kluge, _Literaturblatt_,
    1884, 428-9. (A useful summary, which had the misfortune to be
    superseded next year by the publication of Wülker's _Grundriss_.)

    1884 KRÜGER, TH. Über Ursprung u. Entwickelung des Beowulfliedes,
    _Archiv_, LXXI, 129-52.

    1884-5 EARLE, J. Beowulf, in _The Times_, London (Aug. 25, 1884, p. 6
    (not signed); Oct. 29, 1885, p. 3; Sept. 30, 1885, p. 3. "The Beowulf
    itself is a tale of old folk-lore which, in spite of repeated editing,
    has never quite lost the old crust of its outline.... This discovery,
    if established, must have the effect of quite excluding the application
    of the Wolffian hypothesis to our poem.")

    1885 WÜLKER, R. Grundriss zur geschichte der angelsächsischen
    Litteratur. Leipzig. 6. Die angelsächsische Heldendichtung, Beowulf,
    Finnsburg, 244-315. (An important and useful summary.)

    1885 LEHMANN, H. Brünne und Helm im angelsächsischen Beowulfliede.
    Dissertation, Göttingen. Leipzig. Reviews: Wülker, _Anglia_, VIII,
    _Anzeiger_, 167-70; Schulz, _Engl. Stud._ IX, 471.

    1886 SKEAT, W. W. On the signification of the monster Grendel ... with
    a discussion of ll. 2076-2100. Read before the Cambridge Philological
    Society. _Journal of Philology_, XV, 120-31. (Not _American Jour. of
    Phil._, as frequently quoted.)

    1886 SARRAZIN, G. Die Beowulfsage in Dänemark, _Anglia_, IX, 195-9;
    Beowa und Böthvar, _Anglia_, IX, 200-4; Beowulf und Kynewulf, _Anglia_,
    IX, 515-50; Der Schauplatz des ersten Beowulfliedes und die Heimat des
    Dichters, _P.B.B._ XI, 159-83 (see above, p. 101).

    1886 SIEVERS, E. Die Heimat des Beowulfdichters, _P.B.B._ XI, 354-62.

    1886 SARRAZIN, G. Altnordisches im Beowulfliede, _P.B.B._ XI, 528-41.
    (See above, p. 102.)

    1886 SIEVERS, E. Altnordisches im Beowulf? _P.B.B._ XII, 168-200.


    1886 SCHILLING, H. Notes on the Finnsaga, _M.L.N._ I, 89-92; 116-17.

    1886 LEHMANN, H. Über die Waffen im angelsächsischen Beowulfliede,
    _Germania_, XXXI, 486-97.

    1887 SCHILLING, H. The Finnsburg-fragment and the Finn-episode,
    _M.L.N._ II, 146-50.

    1887 MORLEY, H. Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, in _English
    Writers_, vol. I, 276-354. London.

    1887 BUGGE, S. Studien über das Beowulfepos, _P.B.B._ XII, 1-112,
    360-75. Important. (Das Finnsburgfragment, pp. 20-8.)

    1887 ++SCHNEIDER, F. Der Kampf mit Grendels Mutter. _Program des
    Friedrichs Real-Gymnasiums._ Berlin.

    1888 TEN BRINK, B. Beowulf. Untersuchungen. (_Quellen u. Forschungen_,
    LXII.) (Important. See above, p. 113.) Strassburg. Reviews: Wülker,
    _Anglia_, XI, 319-21 and _Lit. Cbl._ 1889, 251; Möller, _Engl. Stud._
    XIII, 247-315 (weighty, containing some good remarks on the
    Jutes-Geatas); Koeppel, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXIII, 113-22; Heinzel, _A.f.d.A._
    XV, 153-82 (weighty); Liebermann, _Deut. Zeitschr. f.
    Geschichtswissenschaft_, II, 1889, 197-9; Kraus, _D.L.Z._ XII, 1891,
    1605-7, 1846: reply by ten Brink ("Beowulfkritik und _ABAB_"), _D.L.Z._
    1892, 109-12.

    1888 SARRAZIN, G. Beowulf-Studien. Berlin. Reviews: Koeppel, _Engl.
    Stud._ XIII, 472-80; Sarrazin, Entgegnung, _Engl. Stud._ XIV, 421
    _etc._, reply by Koeppel, XIV, 427; Sievers, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXI, 366;
    Dieter, _Archiv_, LXXXIII, 352-3; Heinzel, _A.f.d.A._ XV, 182-9;
    Wülker, _Lit. Cbl._ 1889, 315-16; Wülker, _Anglia_, XI, 536-41.
    Holthausen, _Literaturblatt_, 1890, 14-16; Liebermann, _Deut. Zeitschr.
    f. Geschichtswissenschaft_, VI, 1891, 138; Kraus, _D.L.Z._ XII, 1891,
    pp. 1822-3. (All these reviews express dissent from Sarrazin's main
    conclusions, though many of them show appreciation of details in his
    work. See above, p. 101.)

    1888 KITTREDGE, G. L. Zu Beowulf, 107 _etc._, _P.B.B._ XIII, 210
    (Cain's kin).

    1889 MÜLLENHOFF, K. Beovulf (pp. 110-65=_Z.f.d.A._ XIV, 193-244).
    Berlin. See above, pp. 46-7, 113-15. Reviews: Schirmer, _Anglia_, XII,
    465-7; Sarrazin, _Engl. Stud._ XVI, 71-85 (important); Wülker, _Lit.
    Cbl._ 1890, 58-9; Heinzel, _A.f.d.A._ XVI, 264-75 (important); Koeppel,
    _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXIII, 110-13; Holthausen, _Literaturblatt_, 1890, 370-3;
    Liebermann, _Deut. Zeitschr. f. Geschichtswissenschaft_, VI, 1891,
    135-7; Kraus, _D.L.Z._ XII, 1891, pp. 1820-2; Logeman, _Le Moyen Âge_,
    III, 266-7 ("personne ne conteste plus ... que le poème se composait
    originairement de plusieurs parties"). Müllenhoff's book, like that of
    ten Brink, is based on assumptions generally held at the time, but now
    not so widely accepted; yet it remains important.

    1889 LAISTNER, L. Das Rätsel der Sphinx. Berlin. (See above, p. 67.)

    1889 LÜNING, O. Die Natur ... in der altgermanischen und
    mittelhochdeutschen Epik. Zürich. Reviews: Weinhold, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXII,
    246-7; Golther, _D.L.Z._ 1889, 710-2; Ballerstedt, _A.f.d.A._ XVI,
    71-4; Fränkel, _Literaturblatt_, 1890, 439-44.

    1890 ++DESKAU, H. Zum studium des Beowulf. Berichte des freien
    deutschen Hochstiftes, 1890. Frankfurt.

    1890 ++KLÖPPER, C. Heorot-Hall in the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf.
    Festschrift für K. E. Krause. Rostock.

    1891 JELLINEK, M. H. and KRAUS, C. Die Widersprüche im Beowulf,
    _Z.f.d.A_, XXXV, 265-81.

    1891 BUGGE, S. and OLRIK, A. Røveren ved Gråsten og Beowulf, _Dania_,
    I, 233-45.

    1891 JELLINEK, M. H. Zum Finnsburgfragment, _P.B.B._ XV, 428-31.

    1892 EARLE, J. The Introduction to his Translation (q.v.) gave a
    summary of the controversy, with "a constructive essay."


    1892 BROOKE, STOPFORD A. History of Early English Literature (Beowulf,
    pp. 17-131). London. Reviews: McClumpha, _M.L.N._ VIII, 27-9, 1892
    (attacks in a letter of unnecessary violence); Wülker, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_ IV, 170-6, 225-33; Glöde, _Engl. Stud._ XXII, 264-70.

    1892 GUMMERE, F. B. Germanic Origins. A study in primitive culture. New

    1892 FERGUSON, R. The Anglo-Saxon name Beowulf, _Athenæum_, June, 1892
    p. 763. See above, p. 368.

    1892 HAACK, O. Zeugnisse zur altenglischen Heldensage. Kiel.

    1892 ++KRAUS, K. Hrodulf. (P. Moneta, zum 40 jähr. Dienstjub.) Wien.
    (p. 4 _etc._)

    1892 OLRIK, A. Er Uffesagnet indvandret fra England? _A.f.n.F._ VIII
    (N.F. IV), 368-75.

    1892 SARRAZIN, G. Die Abfassungszeit des Beowulfliedes, _Anglia_, XIV,

    1892 SIEVERS, E. Sceaf in den nordischen Genealogien, _P.B.B._ XVI,

    1892 KÖGEL, R. Beowulf, _Z.f.d.A._ XXXVII, 268-76. (Etymology of the
    name.) Discussed by Sievers, _P.B.B._ XVIII, 413. See above, p. 367,

    1893 WARD, H. L. D. Catalogue of Romances in the British Museum;
    Beowulf: vol. II, pp. 1-15, 741-3.

    1893 TEN BRINK, B. Altenglische Literatur, _Pauls Grdr._(1), II, I,
    510-50. (Finnsburg, 545-50.)

    1894 MCNARY, S. J. Beowulf and Arthur as English Ideals, _Poet-Lore_,
    VI, 529-36.

    1894 ++DETTER, F. Über die Heaðobarden im Beowulf, _Verhandl. d. Wiener
    Philologenversammlung_, Mai, 1893. Leipzig, p. 404 _etc._ (Argues that
    the story is not historical, but mythical--_Ragnarok_.)

    1895 SIEVERS, E. Beowulf und Saxo, _Berichte der kgl. sächs.
    Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften_, XLVII, 175-93. (Important, see above,
    pp. 90-7.)

    1895 BINZ, G. Zeugnisse zur germanischen sage in England, _P.B.B._ XX,
    141-223. (A most useful collection, though the significance of many of
    the names collected is open to dispute.)

    1895 KLUGE, F. Zeugnisse zur germanischen sage in England, _Engl.
    Stud._ XXI, 446-8.

    1895-6 KLUGE, F. Der Beowulf u. die Hrolfs Saga Kraka, _Engl. Stud._
    XXII, 144-5.

    1896 Sarrazin, G. Neue Beowulf-studien, _Engl. Stud._ XXIII, 221-67.

    1897 Ker, W. P. Epic and Romance. London. (Beowulf, pp. 182-202.
    Important. See above, p. 116.) Reviews: Fischer, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, X,
    133-5; Brandl, _Archiv_, C, 198-200. New edit. 1908.

    1897 BLACKBURN, F. A. The Christian coloring in the Beowulf, _Pub. Mod.
    Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XII, 205-25. (See above, p. 125.)

    1897 SARRAZIN, G. Die Hirschhalle, _Anglia_, XIX, 368-92; Der
    Balder-kultus in Lethra, _ibid._ 392-7; Rolf Krake und sein Vetter im
    Beowulfliede, _Engl. Stud._ XXIV, 144-5. (Important. See above, p. 31.)

    1897 HENNING, R. Sceaf und die westsächsische Stammtafel, _Z.f.d.A._
    XLI, 156-69.

    1898 ARNOLD, T. Notes on Beowulf. London. Reviews: Hulme, _M.L.N._ XV,
    22-6, 1900; Sarrazin, _Engl. Stud._ XXVIII, 410-18; Garnett, _Amer.
    Jour. of Phil._ XX, 443.

    1898 NIEDNER, F. Die Dioskuren im Beowulf, _Z.f.d.A._ XLII, 229-58.

    1899 COOK, A. S. An Irish Parallel to the Beowulf Story, _Archiv_,
    CIII, 154-6.

    1899 AXON, W. E. A. A reference to the evil eye in Beowulf, _Trans. of
    the Royal Soc. of Literature_, London. (Very slight.)


    1899 ++FURST, CLYDE. "Beowulf" in "A Group of Old Authors."
    Philadelphia. (Popular.) Review: Child, _M.L.N._ XV, 31-2.

    1900 FÖRSTER, MAX. Bêowulf-Materialien, zum Gebrauch bei Vorlesungen.
    Braunschweig. Reviews: Holthausen, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XI, 289;
    Behagel, _Literaturblatt_, 1902, 67 (very brief).

        1908. 2 Aufl.

        1912. 3 Aufl. Review: Wild, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXIV, 166-7.

    1901 POWELL, F. YORK. Beowulf and Watanabe-No-Tsema, _Furnivall
    Miscellany_, pp. 395-6. Oxford. (A parallel from Japanese legend.)

    1901 LEHMANN, E. Fandens Oldemor, _Dania_, VIII, 179-94. Repeated
    ("Teuffels Grossmutter"), _Archiv f. Religionswiss._ VIII, 411-30. (See
    above, p. 49, note, and p. 381.)

    1901 ++OTTO, E. Typische Motive in dem weltlichen Epos der
    Angelsachsen. Berlin. Reviews: Binz, _Engl. Stud._ XXXII, 401-5; Spies,
    _Archiv_, CXV, 222.

    1901 OHLENBECK, C. C. Het Béowulf-epos als geschiedbron, _Tijdschrift
    voor nederlandsche taal- en letterkunde_, XX (N. R. XII), 169-96.

    1902 _Gerould, G. H._ Offa and Labhraidh Maen, _M.L.N._ XVII, 201-3.
    (An Irish parallel of the story of the dumb young prince.)

    1902 GOUGH, A. B. The Constance-Saga. Berlin. (The "Thrytho saga," pp.
    53-83.) Reviews: Eckhardt, _Engl. Stud._ XXXII, 110-3; Weyrauch,
    _Archiv_, CXI, 453.

    1902 BOER, R. C. Die Béowulfsage. I. Mythische reconstructionen; II.
    Historische untersuchung der überlieferung; _A.f.n.F._ XIX (N. F. XV),

    1902 BRANDL, A. Ueber den gegenwärtigen Stand der Beowulf-Forschung,
    _Archiv_, CVIII, 152-5.

    1903 ANDERSON, L. F. The Anglo-Saxon Scop. (_Univ. of Toronto Studies,
    Phil. Ser. 1._) Review: Heusler, _A.f.d.A._ XXXI, 113-5.

    1903 OLRIK, A. Danmarks Heltedigtning: I, Rolf Krake og den ældre
    Skjoldungrække. Kobenhavn. (Most important.) Reviews: Heusler,
    _A.f.d.A._ XXX, 26-36; Golther, _Literaturblatt_, XXVIII, 1907, pp.
    8-9; Ranisch, _A.f.d.A._ XXI, 276-80. Revised translation 1919 (q.v.).

    1903 ++BOER, R. C. Eene episode uit den Beowulf, _Handelingen van het 3
    nederl. phil. congres._, p. 84 _etc._

    1903 A Summary of the _Lives of the Offas_, with reproductions of a
    number of the drawings in _MS Cotton Nero D. I_, in _The Ancestor_, V,

    1903 HART, J. M. Allotria [on the forms _B[=e]anst[=a]n_, l. 524 and
    _Þr[=y]ðo_, l. 1931], _M.L.N._ XVIII, 117.

    1903 STJERNA, K. Hjälmar och svärd i Beovulf, _Studier tillägnade O.
    Montelius_, 99-120. Stockholm. See above, pp. 346 _etc._

    1903-4 BOER, R. C. Finnsage und Nibelungen-sage, _Z.f.d.A._ XLVII,

    1904 RICKERT, E. The O.E. Offa-saga, _Mod. Phil._ II, 29-76 and 321-76.
    (Important. See above, pp. 34 _etc._)

    1904 HAGEN, S. N. Classical names and stories in Beowulf, _M.L.N._ XIX,
    65-74 and 156-65. (Very fantastic).

    1904 STJERNA, K. Vendel och Vendelkråka, _A.f.n.F._ XXI (N. F. XVII),
    71-80. (Most important: see above, pp. 343-5.)

    1904 ++VETTER, F. Beowulf und das altdeutsche Heldenzeitalter in
    England, _Deutschland_, III, 558-71.

    1905 MOORMAN, F. W. The interpretation of nature in English poetry from
    Beowulf to Shakespeare. Strassburg. _Quellen u. Forschungen_, 95.


    1905 ROUTH, J. E. Two studies on the Ballad Theory of the Beowulf: I.
    The Origin of the Grendel legend; II. Irrelevant Episodes and
    Parentheses as features of Anglo-Saxon Poetic Style. Baltimore.
    Reviews: Eckhardt, _Engl. Stud._ XXXVII, 404-5; Heusler, _A.f.d.A._
    XXXI, 115-16; Schücking, _D.L.Z._ 1905, pp. 1908-10.

    1905 HEUSLER, A. Lied und Epos in germanischer Sagendichtung. Dortmund.
    (See above, p. 116.) Reviews: Kauffmann, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXXVIII, 546-8;
    Seemüller, _A.f.d.A._ XXXIV, 129-35; Meyer, _Archiv_, CXV, 403-4; Helm,
    _Literaturblatt_, XXVIII, 237-8.

    1905 SCHÜCKING, L. L. Beowulfs Rückkehr. (_Morsbachs Studien_, XXI.)
    Halle. (Important: see above, pp. 118-20.) Review: Brandl, _Archiv_,
    CXV, 421-3 (dissenting).

    1905 SCHÜCK, H. Studier i Ynglingatal, I-III. Uppsala.

    1905 HANSCOM, E. D. The Feeling for Nature in Old English Poetry,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ V, 439-63.

    1905 SARRAZIN, G. Neue Beowulf Studien, _Engl. Stud._ XXXV, 19-27.

    1905 STJERNA, K. Skölds hädanfärd, _Studier tillägnade H. Schück_,
    110-34. Stockholm.

    1905 ++STJERNA, K. Svear och Götar under folkvandringstiden, _Svenska
    Förnminnesforeningens Tidskr._ XII, 339-60. (Transl. by Clark Hall in
    _Essays_. See under 1912.)

    1905-6 RIEGER, M. Zum Kampf in Finnsburg, _Z.f.d.A._ XLVIII, 9-12.

    1905-6 HEUSLER, A. Zur Skiöldungendichtung, _Z.f.d.A._ XLVIII, 57-87.

    1905-6 NECKEL, J. Studien über Fróði, _Z.f.d.A._ XLVIII, 163-86.

    1905-7 STJERNA, K. Arkeologiska anteckningar till Beovulf, _Kungl.
    vitterhets akademiens månadsblad_ for 1903-5 (1907), pp. 436-51.

    1906 EMERSON, O. F. Legends of Cain, especially in Old and Middle
    English (see particularly § VI, "Cain's Descendants"), _Pub. Mod. Lang.
    Assoc. Amer._ XXI, 831-929. (Important.)

    1906 SKEMP, A. R. Transformation of scriptural story, motive, and
    conception in Anglo-Saxon poetry, _Mod. Phil._ IV, 423-70.

    1906 DUFF, J. W. Homer and Beowulf: a literary parallel, _Saga-Book of
    the Viking Club_. London.

    1906 MORSBACH, L. Zur datierung des Beowulf-epos, _Nachrichten der kgl.
    Ges. d. Wiss. zu Göttingen, Phil.-Hist. Klasse_, pp. 252-77.
    (Important. See above, pp. 107-12.)

    1906 PFÄNDLER, W. Die Vergnügungen der Angelsachsen, _Anglia_, XXIX,

    1906 GARLANDA, F. Béowulf. Origini, bibliografia, metrica ...
    significato storico, etico, sociologico. Roma. (Slight.)

    1906 STJERNA, K. Drakskatten i Beovulf, _Fornvännen_, I, 119-44.

    1907 CHADWICK, H. M. Origin of the English Nation. Cambridge.
    (Important.) Reviews: Andrews, _M.L.N._ XXIII, 261-2; Chambers,
    _M.L.R._ IV, 262-6; Schütte, _A.f.n.F._ XXV (N. F. XXI), 310-32 (an
    elaborate discussion of early Germanic ethnology and geography);
    Huchon, _Revue Germanique_, III, 625-31.

    1907 CHADWICK, H. M. "Early National Poetry," in _Cambridge History of
    English Literature_, vol. I, 19-32, 421-3. Important. See above, pp.

    1907 HART, WALTER MORRIS. Ballad and Epic. Boston: Harvard _Studies and
    Notes in Philology and Literature_. (Important: see above, p. 116.)
    Review: _Archiv_, CXIX, 468.

    1907 OLRIK, A. Nordisk Aandsliv i Vikingetid og tidlig Middelalder.
    København og Kristiania. (Translated into German by W. Ranisch, 1908,
    as "Nordisches Geistesleben.")


    1907 SCHÜCK, H. Folknamnet Geatas i den fornengelska dikten Beowulf.
    Uppsala. (Important. See above, pp. 8-10, 333 _etc._) Reviews: Mawer,
    _M.L.R._ IV, 273; Freeburg, _J.E.G.Ph._ XI, 279-83.

    1907 COOK, A. S. Various notes, _M.L.N._ XXI, 146-7. (Further classical
    parallels to Beowulf, 1408 ff., in succession to a parallel from Seneca
    quoted in _M.L.N._ XVII, 209-10.)

    1907 SARRAZIN, G. Zur Chronologie u. Verfasserfrage Ags. Dichtungen,
    _Engl. Stud._ XXXVIII, 145 _etc._, esp. 170-95 (Das Beowulflied und die
    ältere Genesis).

    1907 BRANDL, A. Entstehungsgeschichte des Beowulfepos. A five-line
    summary of this lecture is given in the _Sitzungsberichte d. k. preuss.
    Akad. Phil.-Hist. Classe_, p. 615.

    1907 HOLTHAUSEN, F. Zur altenglischen literatur--Zur datierung des
    Beowulf, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XVIII, 77.

    1907 ++GRÜNER, H. Mathei Parisiensis vitae duorum Offarum, in ihrer
    manuskript- und textgeschichte. Dissertation, Munich. Kaiserslautern.

    1908 BRANDL, A. Geschichte der alteng. Literatur. (Offprint from _Pauls
    Grdr._(2): Beowulf, pp. 988-1024; Finnsburg, pp. 983-6; an exceedingly
    useful and discriminating summary.)

    1908 SCHÜCKING, L. L. Das Angelsächsische Totenklagelied, _Engl. Stud._
    XXXIX, 1-13.

    1908 WEYHE, H. König Ongentheow's Fall, _Engl. Stud._ XXXIX, 14-39.

    1908 NECKEL, G. Beiträge zur Eddaforschung; Anhang: Die altgermanische
    heldenklage (pp. 495-6: cf. p. 376). Dortmund.

    1908 KLAEBER, F. Zum Finnsburg Kampfe, _Engl. Stud._ XXXIX, 307-8.

    1908 BJÖRKMAN, E. Über den Namen der Jüten, _Engl. Stud._ XXXIX,

    1908 LEVANDER, L. Sagotraditioner om Sveakonungen Adils, _Antikvarisk
    Tidskrift för Sverige_, XVIII, 3.

    1908 STJERNA, K. Fasta fornlämningar i Beovulf, _Antikvarisk Tidskrift
    för Sverige_, XVIII, 4.

    1908 GRAU, G. Quellen u. Verwandtschaften der älteren germanischen
    Darstellungen des jüngsten Gerichtes. Halle. (See esp. pp. 145-56.)
    Review: Guntermann, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XLI, 401-415.

    1909 SCHÜCK, H. Studier i Beowulfsagan. Uppsala. Review: Freeburg,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ XI, 488-97 (a very useful summary).

    1909 LAWRENCE, W. W. Some disputed questions in Beowulf-criticism,
    _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXIV, 220-73. (Very important.) Review:
    Brandl, _Archiv_, CXXIII, 473.

    1909 EHRISMANN, G. Religionsgeschichtliche Beiträge zum germanischen
    Frühchristentum, _P.B.B._ XXXV, 209-39.

    1909 BUGGE, S. Die Heimat der Altnordischen Lieder von den Welsungen u.
    den Nibelungen, II, _P.B.B._ XXXV, 240-71.

    1909 DEUTSCHBEIN, M. Die Sagenhistorischen u. literarischen Grundlagen
    des Beowulfepos, _Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift_, I, 103-19.

    1910 OLRIK, A. Danmarks Heltedigtning: II, Starkad den gamle og den
    yngre Skjoldungrække. København. (Most important.) Reviews: Heusler,
    _A.f.d.A._ XXXV, 169-83 (important); Ussing, _Danske Studier_, 1910,
    193-203; Boer, _Museum_, XIX, 1912, 171-4.

    1910 PANZER, F. Studien zur germanischen Sagengeschichte. I. Beowulf.
    München. (Most important: see above, pp. 62-8; 365-81. Valuable
    criticisms and modifications are supplied by the reviews, more
    particularly perhaps that of von Sydow (_A.f.d.A._ XXXV, 123-31), but
    also in the elaborate discussions of Heusler (_Engl. Stud._ XLII,
    289-98), Binz (_Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXIV, 321-37), Brandl (_Archiv_,
    CXXVI, 231-5), Kahle {406} (_Z.f.d.Ph._ XLIII, 383-94) and the briefer
    ones of Lawrence (_M.L.N._ XXVII, 57-60) Sedgefield _(M.L.R._ VI,
    128-31) and Golther (_Neue Jahrbücher f. das klassische Altertum_, XXV,

    1910 BRADLEY, H. Beowulf, in _Encyclopædia Britannica_, III, pp.
    758-61. (Important. See above, pp. 121, 127-8.)

    1910 SCHÜCK, H. Sveriges förkristna konungalängd. Uppsala.

    1910 CLARK HALL, J. R. A note on Beowulf, 1142-5, _M.L.N._ XXV, 113-14.

    1910 SARRAZIN, G. Neue Beowulf-studien, _Engl. Stud._ XLII, 1-37.

    1910 KLAEBER, F. Die ältere Genesis und der Beowulf, _Engl. Stud._
    XLII, 321-38.

    1910 HEUSLER, A. Zeitrechnung im Beowulf-epos, _Archiv_, CXXIV, 9-14.

    1910 NECKEL, G. Etwas von germanischer Sagenforschung, _Germ.-Rom.
    Monatsschrift_, II, 1-14.

    1910 SMITHSON, G. A. The Old English Christian Epic ... in comparison
    with the Beowulf. Berkeley. _Univ. of California Pub. in Mod. Phil._
    (See particularly pp. 363-8, 376-90.)

    1911 CLARKE, M. G. Sidelights on Teutonic History. Cambridge. Reviews:
    Mawer, _M.L.N._ VII, 126-7; Chambers, _Engl. Stud._ XLVIII, 166-8;
    Fehr, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXVI, 19-20; Imelmann, _D.L.Z._ XXXIV, 1913,
    1062 _etc._

    1911-19 HEUSLER, A. A series of articles in Hoops' _Reallexikon_:
    Beowulf, Dichtung, Ermenrich, Gautensagen, Heldensage, Hengest,
    Heremod, Offa, Skj[o,]ldungar, Ynglingar, _etc._ Strassburg.

    1911 NECKEL, G. Ragnacharius von Cambrai, _Festschrift zur
    Jahrhundertfeier der Universität zu Breslau = Mitt. d. Schlesischen
    Gesellschaft für Volkskunde_, XIII-XIV, 121-54. (A historical parallel
    between the treatment of Ragnachar by Chlodowech and that of Hrethric
    by Hrothulf.)

    1911 SCHÖNFELD, M. Worterbuch der altgermanischen Personen- und
    Völkernamen. Heidelberg. See also Schütte, Noter til Schönfelds
    Navnesamling, in _A.f.n.F._ XXXIII, 22-49.

    1911 KLAEBER, F. Aeneis und Beowulf, _Archiv_, CXXVI, 40-8, 339-59.
    (Important: see above, p. 330.)

    1911 LIEBERMANN, F. Grendel als Personenname, _Archiv_, CXXVI, 180.

    1911-12 KLAEBER, F. Die Christlichen Elemente im Beowulf, _Anglia_,
    XXXV, 111-36, 249-70, 453-82; XXXVI, 169-99. (Most important:
    demonstrates the fundamentally Christian character of the poem.)

    1912 CHADWICK, H. Munro. The Heroic Age. Cambridge. (Important: see
    above, p. 122.) Reviews: Mawer, _M.L.R._ VIII, 207-9; Chambers, _Engl.
    Stud._ XLVIII, 162-6.

    1912 STJERNA, K. Essays on questions connected with the O.E. poem of
    Beowulf, transl. and ed. by John R. Clark Hall, (Viking Club),
    Coventry. (Important: see above, pp. 346 _etc._) Reviews: Klaeber,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ XIII, 167-73, weighty; Mawer, _M.L.N._ VIII, 242-3;
    _Athenæum_, 1913, I, 459-60; Brandl, _Archiv_, CXXXII, 238-9; Schütte,
    _A.f.n.F._ XXXIII, 64-96, elaborate; Olrik, _Nord. Tidskr. f. Filol._
    IV, 2. 127; Mogk, _Historische Vierteljahrsschrift_, XVIII, 196-7.

    1912 CHAMBERS, R. W. Widsith: a study in Old English heroic legend.
    Cambridge. Reviews: Mawer, _M.L.R._ VIII, 118-21; Lawrence, _M.L.N._
    XXVIII, 53-5; Fehr, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXVI, 289-95; Jordan, _Engl.
    Stud._ XLV, 300-2; Berendsohn, _Literaturblatt_, XXXV (1914), 384-6.

    1912 BOER, R. C. Die Altenglische Heldendichtung. I. Béowulf. Halle.
    (Important.) Reviews: ++Jantzen, _Z. f. französischen u. englischen
    Unterricht_, XIII, 546-7; Berendsohn, _Literaturblatt_, XXXV, 152-4;
    Dyboski, _Allgemeines Literaturblatt_, XXII, 1913, 497-9; Imelmann,
    _D.L.Z._ XXXIV, 1913, 1062-6 (weighty criticisms); Barnouw, _Museum_,
    XXI, 53-8.


    1912 VON DER LEYEN, F. Die deutschen Heldensagen (Beowulf, pp. 107-23,
    345-7). München.

    1912 MEYER, W. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Eroberung Englands.
    Dissertation, Halle. (Finn story.)

    1912 LAWRENCE, W. W. The haunted mere in Beowulf. _Pub. Mod. Lang.
    Assoc. Amer._ XXVII, 208-45. (Important. See above, pp. 52-3.)

    1912 SCHÜTTE, G. The Geats of Beowulf, _J.E.G.Ph._ XI, 574-602. (See
    above, pp. 8, 333 _etc._)

    1912 STEFANOVI[VC], S. Ein beitrag zur angelsächsischen Offa-sage,
    _Anglia_, XXXV, 483-525.

    1912 MUCH, R. Grendel, _W[=o]rter u. Sachen_, IV, 170-3. (Deriving
    _Vendsyssel_, Vandal, and the _Wendle_ of Beowulf from _wandil_--"a
    bough, wand.")

    1912 CHAMBERS, R. W. Six thirteenth century drawings illustrating the
    story of Offa and of Thryth (Drida) from _MS Cotton Nero D. I._ London,
    _privately printed_.

    1913 ++FAHLBECK, P. Beowulfskvädet som källa för nordisk fornhistoria.
    (Stockholm, _N. F. K. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademiens
    Handlingar_, 13, 3.) Review: Klaeber, _Engl. Stud._ XLVIII, 435-7.

    1913 NERMAN, B. Studier över Svärges hedna litteratur. Uppsala.

    1913 NERMAN, B. Vilka konungar ligga i Uppsala högar? Uppsala.

    1913 LAWRENCE, W. W. The Breca episode in Beowulf (Anniversary papers
    to G. L. Kittredge). Boston.

    1913 SARRAZIN, G. Von Kädmon bis Kynewulf. Berlin. Reviews: Dudley,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ XV, 313-17; Berendsohn, _Literaturblatt_, XXXV (1914),
    386-8; Funke, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXXI, 121-33.

    1913 THOMAS, P. G. Beowulf and Daniel A, _M.L.R._ VIII, 537-9.
    (Parallels between the two poems.)

    1913 BELDEN, H. M. Onela the Scylfing and Ali the Bold, _M.L.N._
    XXVIII, 149-53.

    1913 STEDMAN, D. Some points of resemblance between Beowulf and the
    Grettla (or Grettis Saga). From the _Saga Book of the Viking Club_,
    London. (It should have been held unnecessary to prove the relationship
    yet once again.)

    1913 VON SYDOW, C. W. Irisches in Beowulf[874]. (_Verhandlungen der 52
    Versammlung deutscher Philologen in Marburg_, pp. 177-80.)

    1913 BERENDSOHN, W. A. Drei Schichten dichterischer Gestaltung im
    Beowulfepos, _Münchener Museum_, II, i, pp. 1-33.

    1913 DEUTSCHBEIN, M. Beowulf der Gautenkönig, _Festschrift für Lorenz
    Morsbach_, Halle, pp. 291-7, _Morsbachs Studien_, L. (Very important.
    Expresses very well, and with full working out of details, the doubts
    which some of us had already felt as to the historic character of the
    reign of Beowulf over the Geatas.)


    1913 BENARY, W. Zum Beowulf-Grendelsage, _Archiv_, CXXX, 154-5.
    (Grändelsmôr in Siebenbürgen: see above, p. 308.)

    1913 KLAEBER, F. Das Grändelsmôr--eine Frage, _Archiv_, CXXXI, 427.

    1913 BRATE, E. Betydelsen av ortnamnet Skälv [cf. Scilfingas], _Namn
    och Bygd_, I, 102-8.

    1914 MÜLLER, J. Das Kulturbild des Beowulfepos. Halle. _Morsbachs
    Studien_, LIII. Reviews: Klaeber, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXVII, 241-4;
    Brunner, _Archiv_, CXXXVIII, 242-3.

    1914 MOORMAN, F. W. English place-names and Teutonic Sagas, in _Essays
    and Studies by members of the English Association_, vol. V, pp. 75-103.
    (Argues that "Gilling" and other place-names in Yorkshire, point to an
    early colony of Scandinavian "Gautar," who may have been instrumental
    in introducing Scandinavian traditions into England.)

    1914 OLSON, O. L. Beowulf and the Feast of Bricriu, _Mod. Phil._ XI,
    407-27. (Emphasises the slight character of the parallels noted by

    1914 VON SYDOW, C. W. Grendel i anglosaxiska ortnamn, in _Nordiska
    Ortnamn, hyllningsskrift tillägnad Adolf Noreen_, Uppsala, pp.
    160-4=_Namn och Bygd_, II. (Important).

    1915 KIER, CHR. Beowulf, et Bidrag til Nordens Oldhistorie. København.
    (An elaborate and painstaking study of the historic problems of
    Beowulf, vitiated throughout by quite unjustifiable assumptions. See
    above, p. 333 _etc._) Review: Björkmann, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXVII,

    1915 BRADLEY, H. The Numbered Sections in Old English Poetical MSS,
    _Proc. Brit. Acad._ vol. VII.

    1915 LAWRENCE, W. W. Beowulf and the tragedy of Finnsburg, _Pub. Mod.
    Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXX, 372-431. (Important. An excellent survey of
    the Finnsburg problems.)

    1915 VAN SWERINGEN, G. F. The main ... types of men in the Germanic
    Hero-Sagas, _J.E.G.Ph._ XIV, 212-25.

    1915-19 LINDROTH, H. Är Skåne de gamles Scadinavia? _Namn och Bygd_,
    III, 1915, 10-28. Lindroth denied that the two words are the same, and
    was answered by A. Kock (_A.f.n.F._ XXXIV, 1917, 71 _etc._), A. Noreen
    (in ++_Studier tillegn. E. Tegnér_, 1918) and E. Björkman ("Scedeland,
    Scedenig," _Namn och Bygd_, VI, 1918, 162-8). Lindroth replied ("Äro
    Scadinavia och Skåne samma ord," _A.f.n.F._ XXXV, 1918, 29 _etc._, and
    "Skandinavien och Skåne," _Namn och Bygd_, VI, 1918, 104-12) and was
    answered by Kock ("Vidare om Skåne och Scadinavia," _A.f.n.F._ XXXVI,
    74-85). Björkman's discussion is the one of chief importance to
    students of Beowulf.

    1915 KLAEBER, F. Observations on the Finn episode, _J.E.G.Ph._ XIV,

    1915 ANSCOMBE, A. Beowulf in High-Dutch saga, _Notes and Queries_, Aug.
    21, 1915, pp. 133-4.

    1915 BERENDSOHN, WALTER A. Die Gelage am Dänenhof zu Ehren Beowulfs,
    _Münchener Museum_, III, i, 31-55.

    1915-16 PIZZO, E. Zur frage der ästhetischen einheit des Beowulf,
    _Anglia_, XXXIX, 1-15. (Sees in Beowulf the uniform expression of the
    early Anglo-Saxon Christian ideal.)

    1916 OLSON, O. L. The relation of the Hrólfs Saga Kraka and the
    Bjarkarímur to Beowulf. Chicago. (Olson emphasises that the monster
    slain by Bjarki in the _Saga_ does not attack the hall, but the cattle
    outside, and is therefore a different kind of monster from Grendel (p.
    30). But he does not disprove the general equation of Beowulf and
    Bjarki: many of the most striking points of resemblance, such as the
    support given to Eadgils (Athils) against Onela (Ali), lie outside the
    scope of his study.) Review: Hollander, _J.E.G.Ph._ XVI, 147-9.


    1916 NECKEL, G. Adel und gefolgschaft, _P.B.B._ XLI, 385-436 (esp. pp.
    410 ff. for social conditions in Beowulf).

    1917 FLOM, G. T. Alliteration and Variation in Old Germanic name
    giving, _M.L.N._ XXXII, 7-17.

    1917 MEAD, G. W. Wiðer[gh]yld of Beowulf, 2051, _M.L.N._ XXXII, 435-6.
    (Suggests, very reasonably, that Wiðer[gh]yld is the father of the
    young Heathobard warrior who is stirred to revenge.)

    1917 AYRES, H. M. The tragedy of Hengest in Beowulf, _J.E.G.Ph._ XVI,
    282-95. (See above, pp. 266-7.)

    1917 AURNER, N. S. An analysis of the interpretations of the Finnsburg
    documents. (_Univ. of Iowa Monographs: Humanistic Studies_, I, 6.)

    1917 BJÖRKMAN, E. Zu ae. _Eote_, _Yte_, usw., dän. _Jyder_, "Jüten,"
    _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXVIII, 275-80. (See above, p. 334.)

    1917 ROOTH, E. G. T. Der name Grendel in der Beowulfsage, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XXVIII, 335-40. (Etymologies. Grendel is the "sandman," a
    man-eating monster of the sea-bottom. With this, compare Panzer's
    interpretation of Grendel as the "earthman." See above, p. 309.)

    1917 SCHÜCKING, L. L. Wann entstand der Beowulf? Glossen, Zweifel und
    Fragen, _P.B.B._ XLII, 347-410. (Important. See above, pp. 322-32.)

    1917 FOG, REGINALD. Trolden "Grendel" i Bjovulf: en hypothese, _Danske
    Studier_, 1917, 134-40. (Grendel is here interpreted as an infectious
    disease, prevalent among those who sleep in an ill-ventilated hall in a
    state of intoxication, but to which Beowulf, whose health has been
    confirmed by a recent sea-voyage, is not liable. This view is not as
    new as its author believes it to be, and a letter from von Holstein
    Rathlau is added, pointing this out. It might further have been pointed
    out that as early as 1879 Grendel was explained as the malaria. Cf. the
    theories of Laistner, Kögel and Golther, and see above, p. 46.)

    1917 NEUHAUS, J. Sillende = vetus patria = Angel, _Nordisk Tidsskrift
    för Filologi_, IV. Række, Bd. V, 125-6; Helges Prinsesse Svåvå = Eider
    = den svebiske Flod hos Ptolemæos, VI, 29-32; Halfdan = Frode =
    Hadbardernes Konge, hvis Rige forenes med det danske, VI, 78-80;
    Vestgermanske Navne i dansk Historie og Sprog, 141-4. The inherent
    difficulty of the subject is enhanced by the obscurity of the writer's
    style: but much of the argument (e.g. that Halfdan and Frode are
    identical) is obviously based upon quite reckless conjectures. The
    question is complicated by political feeling: many of Neuhaus'
    arguments are repeated in his pamphlet, _Die Frage von Nordschleswig im
    Lichte der neuesten vorgeschichtlichen Untersuchungen_, Jena, 1919. His
    theories were vigorously refuted by G. SCHÜTTE, "Urjyske
    'Vestgermaner,'" _Nordisk Tidsskrift för Filologi_, IV. Række, Bd. VII,
    129 _etc._

    1917 ++FREDBORG. Det första årtalet i Sveriges historia. Umeå.

    1917 NERMAN, B. Ynglingasagan i arkeologisk belysning, _Fornvännen_,
    1917, 226-61.

    1917 NERMAN, B. Ottar Vendelkråka och Ottarshögen i Vendel, _Upplands
    Fornminnesförenings Tidskrift_, VII, 309-34.

    1917 BJÖRKMAN, E. B[=e]owulf och Sveriges Historia, _Nordisk
    Tidskrift_, 1917, 161-79.

    1917-18 ++VON SYDOW, C. W. Draken som skattevaktare, _Danmarks
    folkeminder_, XVII, 103 _etc._

    1918 HACKENBERG, E. Die Stammtafeln der angelsächsischen Königreiche,
    Dissertation, Berlin. (A useful collection.) Reviews: Fischer, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XXXI, 73-4; Ekwall, _Engl. Stud._ LIV, 307-10; Liebemann,
    _D.L.Z._ 1 March, 1919.

    1918 LAWRENCE, W. W. The dragon and his lair in Beowulf, _Pub. Mod.
    Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXXIII, 547-83.


    1918 BELDEN, H. M. Beowulf 62, once more, _M.L.N._ XXXIII, 123.

    1918 BELDEN, H. M. Scyld Scefing and Huck Finn, _M.L.N._ XXXIII, 315.

    1918 KLAEBER, F. Concerning the relation between Exodus and Beowulf,
    _M.L.N._ XXXIII, 218-24.

    1918 BJÖRKMAN, E. B[=e]ow, B[=e]aw, und B[=e]owulf, _Engl. Stud._ LII,
    145-93. (Very important. See above, p. 304.)

    1918 BRANDL, A. Die Urstammtafel der Westsachsen und das Beowulf-Epos,
    _Archiv_, CXXXVII, 6-24. (See above, p. 200, note.)

    1918 BRANDL, A. Die urstammtafel der englischen könige,
    _Sitzungsberichte d. k. preuss. Akad., Phil.-Hist. Classe_, p. 5. (Five
    line summary only published).

    1918 ++BJÖRKMAN, E. B[=e]owulf-forskning och mytologi, _Finsk
    Tidskrift_, 151 _etc._ (Cf. _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXX, 207.)

    1918 BJÖRKMAN, E. Sköldungaättens mytiska stamfäder, _Nordisk
    Tidskrift_, 163 _etc._

    1918 V. UNWERTH, W. Eine schwed. Heldensage als deutsches Volksepos,
    _A.f.n.F._ XXXV, 113-37. (An attempt to connect the story of Hygelac
    and Hæthcyn with the M.H.G. _Herbort ûz Tenelant_.)

    1918 NEUHAUS, J. Om Skjold, _A.f.n.F._ XXXV, 166-72. (A dogmatic
    assertion of errors in Olrik's arguments in the _Heltedigtning_.)

    1918 CLAUSEN, H. V. Kong Hugleik, _Danske Studier_, 137-49.
    (Conjectures based upon the assumption Geatas = Jutes.)

    1918 ++LUND University "Festskrift" contains NORLIND, Skattsägner; VON
    SYDOW, Sigurds strid med Favne.

    1919 OLRIK, A. The heroic legends of Denmark translated ... and revised
    in collaboration with the author by Lee M. Hollander. New York. (Very
    important.) Review: Flom, _J.E.G.Ph._ XIX, 284-90.

    1919 BJÖRKMAN, E. Bedwig in den westsächsischen genealogien, _Anglia,
    Beiblatt_, XXX, 23.

    1919 BJÖRKMAN, E. Zu einigen Namen im B[=e]owulf: _Breca_,
    _Brondingas_, _Wealhþ[=e]o(w)_; _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXX, 170-80.

    1919 MOGK, E. Altgermanische Spukgeschichten: Zugleich ein Beitrag zur
    Erklärung der Grendelepisode im Beowulf, _Neue Jahrbücher für das
    klass. altertum ... und deutsche literatur_, XXXIV, 103-17. (Mogk here
    abandons his older allegorical interpretation of Grendel as the
    destroying power of the sea, and sees in the Grendel-story a Germanic
    ghost-tale, poetically adorned.)

    1919 BJÖRKMAN, E. Skialf och Skilfing [edited by E. Ekwall, with a note
    on Björkman's work], _Namn och Bygd_, VII, 163-81.

    1919 LINDERHOLM, E. Vendelshögens konunganamn i socknens
    1600-tals-tradition, _Namn och Bygd_, VII, 36-40.

    1919 FOG, R. Bjarkemaals "Hjalte," _Danske Studier_, 1919, 29-35. (With
    a letter from A. Olrik.)

    1919 SEVERINSEN, P. Kong Hugleiks Dødsaar, _Danske Studier_, 1919, 96.

    1920 IMELMANN, R. Forschungen zur altenglischen Poesie. (IX. Hengest u.
    Finn; X. _Enge [=a]npaðas, unc[=u]ð gel[=a]d_; XII. _Þr[=y]ðo_; XIII.
    _H[=æ]þenra hyht._) Berlin. (A weighty statement of some original

    1920 BJÖRKMAN, E. Studien über die Eigennamen im Beowulf. Halle.
    _Morsbachs Studien_, LVIII. (An extremely valuable and discriminating
    digest. See above, p. 304.)

    1920 BARTO, P. S. The _Schwanritter-Sceaf_ Myth in _Perceval le
    Gallois_, _J.E.G.Ph._ XIX, 190-200.

    1920 HUBBARD, F. G. The plundering of the Hoard. _Univ. Wisconsin
    Stud._ 11.


    1920 SCHÜCKING, L. L. Wiðergyld (Beowulf, 2051), _Engl. Stud._ LIII,
    468-70. (Schücking, like Mead, but independently, interprets Withergyld
    as the name of the warrior whose son is being stirred to revenge.)

    1920 BJÖRKMAN, E. Hæðcyn und Hákon, _Engl. Stud._ LIV, 24-34.

    1920 HOOPS, J. Das Verhüllen des Haupts bei Toten, ein
    angelsächsisch-nordischer Brauch (Zu Beowulf, 446, _hafalan h[=y]dan_),
    _Engl. Stud._ LIV, 19-23.

    1920 NOREEN, A. Yngve, Inge, Inglinge [Ingwine], _Namn och Bygd_, VIII,

    1920 LA COUR, V. Lejrestudier, _Danske Studier_, 1920, 49-67. (Weighty.
    Emphasizing the importance of the site of Leire in the sixth century.)
    A discussion on the date and origin of Beowulf, by LIEBERMANN, is about
    to appear (_Gott. Gelehrt. Gesellschaft_).


Titles already given in previous sections are not repeated here. General
treatises on O.E. style and grammar are recorded here only if they have a
special and exceptional bearing upon _Beowulf_.

    1873 LICHTENHELD, A. Das schwache adjectiv im ags., _Z.f.d.A._ XVI,
    325-93. (Important. See above, pp. 105-7.)

    1875 HEINZEL, R. Über den Stil der altgermanischen Poesie. Strassburg.
    (_Quellen u. Forschungen_, X.) (Important and suggestive: led to
    further studies on the style of Beowulf, such as those of Hoffmann and
    Bode.) Review: Zimmer, _A.f.d.A._ II, 294-300.

    1877 ++ARNDT, O. Über die altgerm. epische Sprache. Paderborn.

    1877 SCHÖNBACH, A. [A discussion of words peculiar to sections of
    Beowulf, added to a review of Ettmüller's Beowulf], _A.f.d.A._ III,
    36-46. See also Möller, _Volksepos_, 60 _etc._

    1879 NADER, E. Zur Syntax des Béowulf. _Progr. der
    Staats-Ober-Realschule_, in Brünn. Review: Bernhardt, _Literaturblatt_,
    1880, 439-40 (unfavourable: reply by Nader and answer by Bernhardt,
    1881, 119-20).

    1881 ++GUMMERE, F. B. The Anglo-Saxon metaphor. Dissertation, Freiburg.

    1882 SCHEMANN, K. Die Synonyma im Beówulfsliede, mit Rücksicht auf
    Composition u. Poetik des Gedichtes. Hagen. Dissertation, Münster.
    (Examines the use of noun-synonyms in the different sections of the
    poem as divided by Müllenhoff, and finds no support for Müllenhoff's
    theories.) Review: Kluge, _Literaturblatt_, 1883, 62-3.

    1882 ++NADER, E. Der Genitiv im Beówulf. Brünn. Review: Klinghardt,
    _Engl. Stud._ VI, 288.

    1882 SCHULZ, F. Die Sprachformen des Hildebrand-Liedes im Beovolf.

    1883 NADER, E. Dativ u. Instrumental im Beówulf. Wien. Review:
    Klinghardt, _Engl. Stud._ VII, 368-70.

    1883 HARRISON, J. A. List of irregular (strong) verbs in Béowulf,
    _Amer. Jour. of Phil._ IV, 462-77.

    1883 HOFFMANN, A. Der bildliche Ausdruck im Beówulf u. in der Edda,
    _Engl. Stud._ VI, 163-216.

    1886 BODE, W. Die Kenningar in der angelsächsischen Dichtung. Darmstadt
    and Leipzig. Reviews: Gummere, _M.L.N._ II, 17-19 (important--praises
    Bode highly); Kluge, _Engl. Stud._ X, 117; Brandl, _D.L.Z._ 1887,
    897-8; Bischoff, _Archiv_, LXXIX, 115-6; Meyer, _A.f.d.A._ XIII, 136.

    1886 ++KÖHLER, K. Der syntaktische gebrauch des Infinitivs und
    Particips im Beowulf. Dissertation, Münster.

    1886 BANNING, A. Die epischen Formeln im Bêowulf. I. Die verbalen
    synonyma. Dissertation, Marburg.


    1887 TOLMAN, A. H. The style of Anglo-Saxon poetry, _Trans. Mod. Lang.
    Assoc. Amer._ III, 17-47.

    1888-9 NADER, E. Tempus und modus im Beowulf, _Anglia_, X, 542-63; XI,

    1889 KAIL, J. Über die Parallelstellen in der Ags. Poesie, _Anglia_,
    XII, 21-40. (A _reductio ad absurdum_ of the theories of Sarrazin.

    1891 DAVIDSON, C. The Phonology of the Stressed Vowels in Béowulf,
    _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ VI, 106-33. Review: Karsten, _Engl.
    Stud._ XVII, 417-20.

    1892 SONNEFELD, G. Stilistisches und Wortschatz im Beówulf.
    Dissertation, Strassburg. Würzburg.

    1893 TODT, A. Die Wortstellung im Beowulf, _Anglia_, XVI, 226-60.

    1898 KISTENMACHER, R. Die wörtlichen Wiederholungen im Bêowulf.
    Dissertation, Greifswald. Reviews: Mead, _J.(E.)G.Ph._ II, 546-7;
    Kaluza, _Engl. Stud._ XXVII, 121-2 (short but valuable).

    1902 BARNOUW, A. J. Textkritische Untersuchungen nach dem gebrauch des
    bestimmten Artikels und des schwachen Adjektivs in der altenglischen
    Poesie. Leiden. (Important, see above, p. 107.) Reviews: Kock, _Engl.
    Stud._ XXXII, 228-9; Binz, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXXVI, 269-74; Schücking,
    _Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen_, 1905, 730-40.

    1902 HEUSLER, A. Der dialog in der altgermanischen erzählenden
    Dichtung. _Z.f.d.A._ XLVI, 189-284.

    1903 SHIPLEY, G. The genitive case in Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Baltimore.
    Reviews: Kock, _Engl. Stud._ XXV, 92-5; Mourek, _A.f.d.A._ XXX, 172-4.

    1903 KRACKOW, O. Die Nominalcomposita als Kunstmittel im altenglischen
    Epos. Dissertation, Berlin. Review: Björkman, _Archiv_, CXVII, 189-90.

    1904 SCHÜCKING, L. L. Die Grundzüge der Satzverknüpfung im Beowulf. Pt.
    I. (_Morsbachs Studien_, XV.) Halle. (Important.) Reviews: Eckhardt,
    _Engl. Stud._ XXXVII, 396-7; Pogatscher, _D.L.Z._ 1905, 922-3; Behagel,
    _Literaturblatt_, XXVIII, 100-2; Grossmann, _Archiv_, CXVIII, 176-9.

    1904 HÄUSCHKEL, B. Die Technik der Erzählung im Beowulfliede.
    Dissertation, Breslau.

    1905 KRAPP, G. P. The parenthetic exclamation in Old English poetry,
    _M.L.N._ XX, 33-7.

    1905 SCHEINERT, M. Die Adjektiva im Beowulfepos als Darstellungsmittel,
    _P.B.B._ XXX, 345-430.

    1906 THOMAS, P. G. Notes on the language of Beowulf, _M.L.R._ I, 202-7.
    (A short summary of the dialectal forms.)

    1906 BARNOUW, A. J. Nochmals zum ags. Gebrauch des Artikels, _Archiv_,
    CXVII, 366-7.

    1907 RIES, J. Die Wortstellung im Beowulf. Halle. (An important and
    exhaustive study by an acknowledged specialist.) Reviews: Binz,
    _Anglia_, _Beiblatt_, XXII, 65-78 (important); Borst, _Engl. Stud._
    XLII, 93-101; Delbrück, _A.f.d.A._ XXXI, 65-76 (important); Reis,
    _Literaturblatt_, XXVIII, 328-30; _Lit. Cbl._ 1907, p. 1474; Huchon,
    _Revue germanique_, III, 634-8.

    1908 KRAUEL, H. Der Haken- und Langzeilenstil im Beowulf. Dissertation,

    1908 LORS, A. Aktionsarten des Verbums im Beowulf. Dissertation,

    1908 ++MOUREK, E. Zur Syntax des konjunktivs im Beowulf, _Prager
    deutsche stud._ VIII.

    1909-10 RANKIN, J. W. A study of the Kennings in Ags. poetry,
    _J.E.G.Ph._ VIII, 357-422; IX, 49-84. (Latin parallels; very


    1909 SHEARIN, H. G. The expression of purpose in Old English poetry,
    _Anglia_, XXXII, 235-52.

    1909 ++RIGGERT, G. Der syntaktische Gebrauch des Infinitivs in der
    altenglischen Poesie. Dissertation, Kiel.

    1910 RICHTER, C. Chronologische Studien zur angelsächsischen Literatur
    auf grund sprachl.-metrischer Kriterien. Halle. (_Morsbachs Studien_,
    XXXIII.) Reviews: Binz, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXII, 78-80; Imelmann,
    _D.L.Z._ 1910, 2986-7; Hecht, _Archiv_, CXXX, 430-2.

    1910 WAGNER, R. Die Syntax des Superlativs ... im Beowulf. Berlin.
    (_Palaestra_, XCI.) Reviews: Schatz, _D.L.Z._ 1910, 2848-9; Kock,
    _A.f.n.F._ XXVIII, 347-9.

    1910 SCHUCHARDT, R. Die negation im Beowulf. Berlin. (_Berliner
    Beiträge zur germ. u. roman. Philol._ XXXVIII.)

    1912 BRIGHT, J. W. An Idiom of the Comparative in Anglo-Saxon, _M.L.N._
    XXVII, 181-3. (Bearing particularly upon Beowulf, 69, 70.)

    1912 EXNER, P. Typische Adverbialbestimmungen in frühenglischer Poesie.
    Dissertation, Berlin.

    1912 GRIMM, P. Beiträge zum Pluralgebrauch in der altenglischen Poesie.
    Dissertation, Halle.

    1913 PAETZEL, W. Die Variationen in der altgermanischen
    Alliterationspoesie. Berlin. See pp. 73-84 for Beowulf and Finnsburg.
    (_Palaestra_, XLVIII.) Pt. I. had appeared in 1905 as a Berlin

§ 10. METRE

For bibliography of O.E. metre in general, see _Pauls Grdr._ (2), II,

    1870 SCHUBERT, H. De Anglosaxonum arte metrica. Dissertatio
    inauguralis, Berolini.

    1884 SIEVERS, E. Zur rhythmik des germanischen alliterationsverses: I.
    Vorbemerkungen. Die metrik des Beowulf: II. Sprachliche Ergebnisse,
    _P.B.B._ X, 209-314 and 451-545. (Most important.)

    1894 KALUZA, M. Studien zum altgermanischen alliterationsvers. I.
    Kritik der bisherigen theorien. II. Die Metrik des Beowulfliedes.
    (Important.) Reviews: Martin, _Engl. Stud._ XX, 293-6; Heusler,
    _A.f.d.A._ XXI, 313-17; Saran, _Z.f.d.Ph._ XXVII, 539-43.

    1905 TRAUTMANN, M. Die neuste Beowulfausgabe und die altenglische
    verslehre, _Bonner Beiträge zur Anglistik_, XVII, 175-91. (A discussion
    of O.E. metre in view of Holthausen's edition.) Review: Klaeber,
    _M.L.N._ XXII, 252.

    1908 MORGAN, B. Q. Zur lehre von der alliteration in der
    westgermanischen dichtung: I. Die tonverhältnisse der hebungen im
    Beowulf: II. Die gekreuzte alliteration; _P.B.B._ XXXIII, 95-181.

    1908 BOHLEN, A. Zusammengehörige Wortgruppen, getrennt durch Cäsur oder
    Versschluss, in der angelsächsischen Epik. Dissertation, Berlin.
    Reviews: Dittes, _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XX, 199-202; Kroder, _Engl. Stud._
    XL, 90.

    1912 TRAUTMANN, M. Zum altenglischen Versbau, _Engl. Stud._ XLIV,

    1913 SEIFFERT, F. Die Behandlung der Wörter mit auslautenden
    ursprünglich silbischen Liquiden oder Nasalen und mit
    Kontraktionsvokalen in der Genesis A und im Beowulf. Dissertation,
    Halle. (Concludes the dialect of the two poems to be distinct, but
    finds no evidence on these grounds which is the earlier.)

    1914 FIJN VAN DRAAT, P. The cursus in O.E. poetry, _Anglia_, XXXVIII,

    1918 LEONARD, W. E. Beowulf and the Niebelungen couplet, in _Univ. of
    Wisconsin Studies in Language and Literature_, II, 98-152. (Important.
    Pp. 123-46 advocating the "four-accent theory.")

    1920 ++NEUNER, E. Ueber ein- und dreihebige Halbverse in der
    altenglischen alliterierenden Poesie. Berlin. Review: Bright, _M.L.N._
    XXXVI, 59-63.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Abingdon, sheaf ordeal at, 83-4, 303
  Adam of Bremen, on the Götar, 339
  Æthelbert of East Anglia, 239-43
  Agnerus, 132-3
  Alboin and Thurisind, 281, 282, 285
  Alcester, _Grindeles pytt_ near, 305
  Alcuin, 22, 332
  Aldfrid, 325
  Aldhelm, 331
  Alfsola, 69
  Ali, _see_ Onela
  Aliel, _see_ Riganus
  _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, Pedigrees in, 72 _etc._, 312 _etc._
  Archæology in relation to _Beowulf_, 122 _etc._, 345-65
  Asbiorn, 186-92
  Athils, Athislus, _see_ Eadgils
  Attila, funeral of, compared with that of Beowulf, 124
  Atuarii, _see_ Hetware
  Ayres, Prof. H. M., on the _Finnsburg_ story, 266 _etc._

  Baldæg, 321
  Baldr, 69
  _bana_, 270-1
  Battersea, _Gryndeles sylle_ near, 306
  "Bear's-son" folk-tale, 62 _etc._, 369-81
  _B[=e]as broc_, _B[=e]as feld_, 310
  Bede, the Venerable, 326 _etc._
  Bedwig, 303-4
  Beow(a), Beaw, 10, 42 _etc._, 87-8, 202-3, 291 _etc._, 296 _etc._
  Beowi, 303
  Beowulf the Dane (Beowulf Scyldinga), 41 _etc._, 88, 92 _etc._, 291
  Beowulf son of Ecgtheow, king of the Geatas, 10-13;
    his struggle with Grendel and Grendel's mother, 41 _etc._;
    with the dragon, 92 _etc._;
    his funeral rites, 122 _etc._;
    etymology and meaning of the name, 365-9
  _Beowulf_, suggested translation from a Scandinavian original, 98-104;
    dialect, syntax and metre of, 104-12;
    theories as to the structure of, 112-20;
    the Christian elements in, 121-8;
    date of, 122, 322 _etc._, 353 _etc._;
    possible classical influence upon, 329 _etc._;
    archæology of, 345-65;
    division into fittes or passus, 294 _etc._
  Biar, 7, 45
  _Biuuulf_, 367
  _Bjarkamál_, 26, 264;
    Saxo's Latin translation quoted, 135-6
  _Bjarka rímur_, 58, 182-6
  Bjarki, 9, 12, 54-61, 132-6, 138-46, 182-6
  Bjarndreingur, 374-5
  Bjørnøre, 377
  Blackburn, Prof., on the Christian element in _Beowulf_, 125
  Blood-feud, in primitive society, 276 _etc._
  Boar-helmets, 350-1, 358-9
  Bocus, 26, 135
  Boerinus, 201
  Bothvar Bjarki, _see_ Bjarki
  Bow, the, in _Beowulf_, 361
  Bradley, Dr Henry, on the Christian elements in _Beowulf_, 127;
    on Beow and Beowulf the Dane, 293 _etc._;
    on the passus in _Beowulf_, 294-5
  Brusi, 187-92
  Brutus (Hildebrandus), 222
  Bugge, Sophus, on the _Finnsburg_ story, 257-66
  Burial mounds, Scandinavian, 356
  Burials, 122 _etc._, 353-5
  Byggvir, 45, 297 _etc._

  Cerdic, his ancestry, 316 _etc._
  Chadwick, Prof. H. M., on the date of _Beowulf_, 122, 353 _etc._
  Chatuarii, _see_ Hetware
  Chochilaicus, 2, 3
  Christianity of _Beowulf_, 121 _etc._, 322 _etc._
  Cities of Refuge, 276-7
  Clyst, river, 44, 310
  Creedy, the, _Grendeles pyt_ near, 305
  Crying the Neck, 82-3, 302
  Cynethryth, 37 _etc._

  Dan, king of the Danes, 129, 204
  Danes, first mentioned soon after A.D. 500, 14;
    their early kings, 13-31;
    their early history as recorded in Saxo, 129-37;
    in the _Little Chronicle of the Kings of Leire_, 204-6;
    in Sweyn Aageson, 211;
    their relation to the English, 314 _etc._
  Date of _Beowulf_, 122, 322 _etc._, 353 _etc._
  Dialect of _Beowulf_, 104
  Dorestad, 259, 288-9
  Dragons, not extinct in 1649, 11 (note);
    Frotho's dragon, 92 _etc._, 130-1;
    the Vendsyssel dragon, 192-5
  Dunstan, 332
  Drida, 36 _etc._; 238-43; _see also_ Thryth

  Eadgils (Athils, Athislus), 5-8; 184, 186, 356
  Eaha, 246
  Eanmund, 5
  _Edda_ of Snorri, 69
  Engelhardt, on the Moss-finds, 345 _etc._
  Eomaer (Eamer), 31, 197-8
  Eotan, Eote, _see_ Jutes
  Eotenas, part played by them in the _Finnsburg Episode_, 219 _etc._; 260
      _etc._; 283 _etc._
  Eric, jarl, 277, 278
  Esthonian cult of Pekko, 299 _etc._
  Ethelwerd, 70 _etc._, 202, 318 _etc._

  Fahlbeck, Pontus, his Jute-theory, 8, 333 _etc._
  Faroe "Bear's-son" tale, 375-6
  _ferhð-freca_, 276
  Fifeldor, 35, _note_
  Finn, son of Folcwald, 199, 200, 248 _etc._, 253-4, 283 _etc._, 289
  Finnsburg, the story of, 245-89;
    site of, 259
  Florence of Worcester, 8
  Folcwald(a), 199
  Frealaf, 321
  Freawaru, daughter of Hrothgar, 21 _etc._, 282
  Frisia in the Heroic Age, 288-9
  Froda (Frothi, Frotho), 21, 24-5, 211, 282
  Frotho and the dragon, 92-7, 130-1
  Frowinus, 33-4
  Funeral rites, _see_ Burials

  Garulf, his part in the _Finnsburg_ story, 246-7; 283 _etc._, 287
  Gautar, _see_ Geatas
  Geatas (O.N. Gautar), 2, 8-10, 333-45;
    their kings, 2-13;
    boundaries of their territory, 339
  Gefwulf, 286-7
  Genealogies, 311 _etc._
  Giovanni dell' Orso, 371
  Glam, 48, 147 _etc._, 164 _etc._
  Godulf, 200
  Götar, _see_ Geatas
  Gokstad ship, 363-4
  Gold in the Heroic Age, 348 _etc._
  Gram Guldkølve, 192, 194
  Grändels môr in Transsylvania, 308
  _grandi_, 309
  Greek scholarship in Anglo-Saxon times, 329
  Gregory of Tours, his account of the death of Hygelac, 3-4, 9, 342
  Grendel, 41 _etc._;
    occurrence of the name in English charters, 305-6;
    etymology, 309-10
  _Grendles mere_, 43-4, 306
  Grettir Asmundarson, 48 _etc._, 152-62, 169-82
  _Grettis Saga_, 162;
    extracts from, 146-62;
    translation, 162-82;
    death of Illugi, 280
  Grimm's story of _Der Starke Hans_, 370
  Grindale village, 308
  Grindle or Greendale brook, near Exeter, 44, 309
  _grundel_, 309
  Grundtvig, his identification of Chochilaicus, 4
  Guest (Gestr), _see_ Grettir
  Gullinhjalti, 141, 146
  Guthlaf, 246-7, 252, 267, 285

  Haki, 68-9
  Halga (Helgi, Helgo), 14 _etc._, 132, 205, 211
  Hall, Dr Clark, on the archæology of _Beowulf_, 346 _etc._
  Hall, the, in _Beowulf_, 361
  Ham, _Grendles mere_ near, 43-4, 306
  Hamlet (Amlethus), 39;
    Hengest's hesitation compared to that of Shakespeare's Hamlet, 266
  Hans, der starke, 370
  Harold Fairhair and the Gautar, 340
  Harvest customs, 81 _etc._
  _h[=e]aburh_, 259 _note_
  Healfdene (Halfdan, Haldanus), 14 _etc._, 131, 205, 211
  Heardred, slain by Onela, 5, 13
  Heathobeardan, 20 _etc._, 244
  Hendon, "Grendels gate" near, 306-7
  Hengest, 246, 250 _etc._, 284 _etc._
  Henry (Henrik) slays a dragon, 192-5
  Heorogar, 14, 287
  Heorot, 13-20; _see also_ Leire
  Heoroweard (Hj[o,]rvarðr, Hiarwarus), 14, 15, 29-30, 134-7, 205-6, 277
  Heremod, 89 _etc._
  Hermuthruda, 39
  Heruli, identified by some with the Heathobeardan, 24
  Hetware (Atuarii), 2-3
  Hiarthwarus, Hiarwarus, _see_ Heoroweard
  Hickes, his text of the _Finnsburg Fragment_, 245-6
  Hildebrandus, another name for Brutus, _q.v._
  Hildeburh, 248 _etc._
  Hjalti (Hott), 55 _etc._, 132 _etc._, 138-46, 182-6
  Hnæf, 247 _etc._, 283 _etc._
  Hocingas, 249
  Hott, _see_ Hjalti
  Hrethric, 25-7, 135 (Röricus), 211 (Rökil)
  Hrothgar (Hroarr, Roe), 14 _etc._, 132, 204, 244
  Hrothulf (Rolf Kraki, Roluo), 15, 25-9, 132-7, 139-46, 205-6, 244
  Hugleikr, 323
  Huglek, 323
  Humblus, 129
  Hunlafing, 252, 267, 283
  Hygelac, death of, 2-4

  Ialto, _see_ Hjalti
  Icelandic "Bear's-son" tale, 374-5
  Illugi, _see Grettis Saga_
  Ingeld, son of Froda, 21 _etc._, 244, 282, 284-5
  Intercourse between tribes in Heroic Age, 348 _etc._
  Ivashko Medvedko, 372-4

  Jean l'Ourson, 378-9
  Jenny Greenteeth, 307
  Jomsvikings, 278
  Jovial huntsmen, the Three, their views, 310
  Jutes, attempt to identify them with the Geatas, 8-10, 333-45;
    Jutes and _Eotenas_, 261 _etc._, 272 _etc._
  Jutland, "Bear's-son" tale in, 377

  _Kálfsvísa_, 7, 45
  Kemble, his mythological theories, 291 _etc._
  Keto, 33-4
  Klaeber, on the Christian element in _Beowulf_, 126

  Lawrence, Prof. W. W., on mythology in _Beowulf_, 43 _etc._, 291 _etc._;
    on _Finnsburg_, 270 _etc._
  _Laxdæla Saga_, parallels from, 278-9
  Leifus, 252, _note_
  Leire, 16 _etc._, 134, 204, 211, 216, 365;
    _see also_ Heorot
  _Leire, Little Chronicle of the Kings of_, extracts from, 204-6
  Lethra, _see_ Leire
  _Liber Historiae Francorum_, account of the death of Chochilaicus
      (Hygelac) in, 3
  "Lichtenheld's Test," 105 _etc._
  _Lokasenna_ quoted, 297-9
  Loki, 297-9
  Lombard story of the "Bear's-son," 371
  Longobardi, relation to the Heathobeardan, 23; 311;
    _see also_ Alboin
  Lother(us), 89 _etc._, 129

  Malmesbury, William of, _see_ William of Malmesbury
  Mercian genealogy, 195-8
  Milio, 220
  Minstrelsy forbidden to priests, 332
  Mitunnus, 218 _etc._
  Möller, on _Finnsburg_, 254-7
  _Monsters and Strange Beasts_, account of Hygelac in the _Book of (Liber
      Monstrorum)_, 4, 339
  "Morsbachs Test," 107-12
  Moss-finds, 345 _etc._
  Müllenhoff's theories on _Beowulf_, 113 _etc._, 292 _etc._
  Myrgingas, 31-2, 244
  Mythology in _Beowulf_, 46 _etc._, 291 _etc._

  Neck, _see_ Crying the Neck
  Neckersgate, 307
  _Njáls Saga_, parallels from, 271, 277, 280-1
  Norka, the, 371-2
  North Frisians, 249, _note_, 273
  Northumbrian anarchy in the eighth century, 324
  Norwegian folk-tale ("Bear's-son" type), 376-7
  Nydam, 345 _etc._
  Nydam boat, 362-3

  _Odyssey_, parallels with _Beowulf_, 329
  Offa I, king of Angel, 31-40, 197-8, 206-15, 217-35, 244
  Offa II, 36 _etc._, 235-43
  Ohthere, 5, 343 _etc._;
    _see also_ Ottar Vendel-crow
  Onela, 5-8, 184-6
  Ongentheow, 4-5, 8
  Ordlaf (Oslaf), 246, 252, 267, 285, 287
  Origin of the English, 314 _etc._
  Orm Storolfsson, 53, 186-92
  Oseberg ship, 363-4
  Oslaf, _see_ Ordlaf
  Oswin, king, 324 _etc._
  Oswiu, king, 325
  Otta, 220
  Ottar Vendelcrow, his mound, 343-5, 356;
    _see also_ Ohthere

  Panzer, his derivation of the story of _Beowulf_ from the "Bear's-son"
      folk-tale, 67-8, 369-81
  passus of _Beowulf_, 294 _etc._
  Peg o' Nell, 307
  Peg Powler, 307
  Pekko, 87, 299 _etc._
  Pellon-Pecko, _see_ Pekko
  Peter Bär, 378
  Pinefredus, _see_ Offa II
  Procopius, mentions the Goutai (Geatas), 8-9, 338

  Riganus (or Aliel), 218 _etc._
  Ring-corslets, 351, 360
  Ring-money, 351-2
  Ring-swords, 349 _etc._
  Roe, _see_ Hrothgar
  Rökil, _see_ Hrethric
  Röricus, _see_ Hrethric
  _Rolf Kraki, Saga of_, 16, 55 _etc._;
    extract from, 138-46;
    quoted in illustration of the _Finnsburg_ story, 281, 282
  Rolf Kraki, _see_ Hrothulf
  Roluo, _see_ Hrothulf
  Roskilde, 18, 132, 204
  Runkoteivas, 300
  Russian variants of the "Bear's-son" story, 371-4
  Ruta, 133

  Sämpsä, 84-5, 300
  _Saga of Rolf Kraki_, see _Rolf Kraki, Saga of_
  Sandhaugar, 48, 66, 156-62, 175-82
  Saxo Grammaticus, 16;
    his story of Starcatherus, 22-3;
    of Röricus, 26;
    of Hiarwarus, 30;
    of Uffo (Offa), 32-3;
    of Biarco (Bjarki), 57 _etc._;
    of Skyoldus, 77;
    of Lotherus, 89 _etc._;
    of Frotho, 91 _etc._;
    on cremation, 123;
    extracts from, 129-37, 206-11;
    on text of, 215-16; 282
  Sceaf, 68-86, 200-3, 302 _etc._, 311 _etc._
  Sceafa, 311
  Scenery of _Beowulf_, 101
  Schücking, Prof.,
    on the structure of _Beowulf_, 117-20;
    on the date of _Beowulf_, 322 _etc._
  Schütte, on the Geatas, 8, 333 _etc._
  Sculda, 133-4, 204-5
  Scyld, 68-86, 201-4, 303, 314 _etc._
  Secgan, 269, 286
  Setukese, 301
  Sheaf, _see_ Sceaf
  Shield, _see_ Scyld
  Shield, the, in Anglo-Saxon times, 360-1
  Ships, 362-4
  Sigeferth, 246-7, 269, 286, 287
  Sigmund, 91
  Sigurd Ring, 69
  Sinfjotli, his foul language, 28
  Skeggjatussi, 375
  Skjold (Skyoldus), 71 _etc._, 130, 211
  _Skjoldunga Saga_,
    account of Adilsus (Eadgils) in, 7;
    of Rolf Kraki (Hrothulf), 16 _etc._;
    quoted, 69, 252 _note_
  Spear, the, in Anglo-Saxon times, 360
  Starkad (Starcatherus), 22-3
  Steenklöwer, Stenhuggeren, 380
  Stein, 49, 66, 156-62, 175-82, 380
  Steinspieler, 380
  Steinv[o,]r, 157-62, 175-82
  Stjerna, Knut,
    on the funeral customs of _Beowulf_, 124;
    on Ottar Vendelcrow, 343-5;
    on the archæology of _Beowulf_, 346 _etc._
  Sueno, 222
  Svold, battle of, 277
  Sweden, kings of, 4-8;
    _see_ Eadgils, Ohthere, Onela, Ongentheow
  Sweyn Aageson, his account of Uffo (Offa), 33;
    extract from, 211-15; 216
  Swinford, _Grendels mere_ near, 306
  Swords in _Beowulf_ and in Anglo-Saxon grave-finds, 357

  Ten Brink's theories on _Beowulf_, 113 _etc._
  Theodoric, king of the Franks, 3
  Thorgaut, 150 _etc._, 167 _etc._
  Thorhall Grimsson, 146-56, 163-74
  Thorsbjerg, 345 _etc._
  Thryth, 37 _etc._, 238-43
  Tours, Gregory of, _see_ Gregory of Tours

  Uffo, _see_ Offa
  Ull, 303
  Unferth, 27-30
  Ursula, 205

  Vendel finds, 347 _etc._
  Vendsyssel, dragon of, 192-5
  Virgil, possible influence of, upon _Beowulf_, 329 _etc._
  _Vitae duorum Offarum_, 34 _etc._, 217-43
  _V[o,]lsunga Saga_, parallels from, 275, 286

  Wäder Öar and Wäder Fiord, 342
  Warmundus, _see_ Wermundus
  Weak and strong forms of heroic names used alternatively, 311
  Wealhtheow, her forebodings, 25
  Weapons in _Beowulf_, 357-61
  Wederas, name applied to the Geatas, 342
  Wener, Lake, 9, 342
  _wer-gild_, 277
  Wermund, 32 _etc._, 197-8, 206-15, 217-26
  West-Saxon genealogy, 72 _etc._, 198-201, 311 _etc._
    account of the Heathobeardan in, 20 _etc._;
    of Hrothulf, 25;
    of Offa, 31;
    of Sceafa, 80;
    extract from, 243-4; 286; 338
  Wiggo, 133-7, 264-5
  Wigo, 33-4
  Wijk bij Duurstede, _see_ Dorestad
  William of Malmesbury, 70 _etc._, 203, 302
  Woden's ancestors, 311 _etc._

  _Ynglinga tal_ and _Ynglinga Saga_, 5-7, 68-9, 344
  Yte, _see_ Jutes
  Ytene, 8, 337

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] The exact equivalent to _Hr[=o]ðgar_ is found in O.N., in the form
_Hróðgeirr_. The by-form _Hróarr_, which is used of the famous Danish king,
is due to a number of rather irregular changes, which can however be
paralleled. The Primitive Germanic form of the name would have been
*_Hr[=o]þugaisaz_: for the loss of the _g_ at the beginning of the second
element we may compare _Aðils_ with _[=E]adgils_ (Noreen, _Altisländische
Grammatik_, 1903, § 223); for the loss of _ð_ before _w_ compare _Hrólfr_
with _Hr[=o]ðwulf_ (Noreen, § 222); for the absence of _R-_ umlaut in the
second syllable, combined with loss of the _g_, compare O.N. _nafarr_ with
O.E. _nafug[=a]r_ (Noreen, § 69).

[2] Corresponding to O.N. _Aðils_ we should expect O.E. _Æðgils_, _Æðgisl_.
The form _[=E]adgils_ may be due to confusion with the famous Eadgils, king
of the Myrgingas, who is mentioned in _Widsith_. The name comes only once
in _Beowulf_ (l. 2392) and may owe its form there to a corruption of the
scribe. That the O.E. form is corrupt seems more likely than that the O.N.
_Aðils_, so well known and so frequently recorded, is a corruption of

[3] It must be remembered that the sound changes of the Germanic dialects
have been worked out so minutely that it is nearly always possible to
decide quite definitely whether two names do or do not exactly correspond.
Only occasionally is dispute possible [e.g. whether _Hrothgar_ is or is not
phonetically the exact equivalent of _Hroarr_].

[4] See below, pp. 8-10.

[5] _Chochilaicus_, which appears to be the correct form, corresponds to
_Hygelac_ (in the primitive form _Hugilaikaz_) as _Chlodovechus_ to

[6] The passages in _Beowulf_ referring to this expedition are:

1202 _etc._. Frisians (adjoining the Hetware) and Franks mentioned as the

2354 _etc._ Hetware mentioned.

2501 _etc._ Hugas (= Franks) and the Frisian king mentioned.

2914 _etc._ Franks, Frisians, Hugas, Hetware and "the Merovingian"

[7] The identification of Chochilaicus with Hygelac is the most important
discovery ever made in the study of _Beowulf_, and the foundation of our
belief in the historic character of its episodes. It is sometimes
attributed to Grundtvig, sometimes to Outzen. It was first vaguely
suggested by Grundtvig (_Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn_, 1815, col. 1030):
the importance of the identification was worked out by him fully, two years
later (_Danne-Virke_, II, 285). In the meantime the passage from Gregory
had been quoted by Outzen in his review of Thorkelin's _Beowulf_ (_Kieler
Blätter_, III, 312). Outzen's reference was obviously made independently,
but he failed to detect the real bearing of the passage upon _Beowulf_.
Credit for the find accordingly belongs solely to Grundtvig.

[8] Ongentheow is mentioned in _Widsith_ (l. 31) as a famous king of the
Swedes. Many of the kings mentioned in the same list can be proved to be
historical, and the reference in _Widsith_ therefore supports Ongentheow's
historic character, but is far, in itself, from proving it.

[9] Strictly _Anganþér_. See Heusler, _Heldennamen in mehrfacher
Lautgestalt, Z.f.d.A._ LII, 101.

[10] ll. 2382-4.

[11] ll. 2612-9.

[12] Whether it be accuracy or accident, these names Ottar and Athils come
just at that place in the list of the _Ynglinga tal_ which, when we reckon
back the generations, we find to correspond to the beginning of the sixth
century. And this is the date when we know from _Beowulf_ that they should
have been reigning.

[13] But the accounts are quite inconsistent. Saxo (ed. Holder, pp. 56-7)
implies a version in which Athils was deposed, if not slain, by Bothvar
Bjarki, which is quite at variance with other information given by Saxo.

[14] Unless they are among the fragments carried off to the Stockholm
Museum. Little of interest was found in these mounds when they were opened:
everything had been too thoroughly burnt.

[15] See Schück, _Folknamnet Geatas_, 22 _etc._

[16] See below, p. 98 and Appendix (E); The "Jute-Question."

[17] See below, pp. 45 _etc._

[18] Olrik (_Heltedigtning_, I, 22 _etc._). The Danish house--Healfdene,
Heorogar, Hrothgar, Halga, Heoroweard, Hrethric, Hrothmund, Hrothulf: the
Swedish--Ongentheow, Onela, Ohthere, Eanmund, Eadgils: the Geatic--Hrethel,
Herebeald, Hætheyn, Hygelac, Heardred. The same principle is strongly
marked in the Old English pedigrees.

[19] ll. 3018 _etc._

[20] As is done, e.g., by Schück (_Studier i Beowulf-sagan_, 27).

[21] "Dragon fights are more frequent, not less frequent, the nearer we
come to historic times": Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I, 313. The dragon
survived much later in Europe than has been generally recognized. He was
flying from Mount Pilatus in 1649. (See J. J. Scheuchzer, _Itinera per
Helvetiae Alpinas regiones_, 1723, III, p. 385.) The same authority quotes
accounts of dragons authenticated by priests, his own contemporaries, and
supplies many bloodcurdling engravings of the same.

[22] Cf. on this point Klaeber in _Anglia_, XXXVI (1912) p. 190.

[23] l. 2382.

[24] l. 2393.

[25] Of course, even if Beowulf's reign over the Geatas is not historic,
this does not exclude the possibility of his having _some_ historic

[26] Attempts at working out the chronology of _Beowulf_ have been made by
Gering (in his translation) and by Heusler (_Archiv_, CXXIV, 9-14). On the
whole the chronology of _Beowulf_ is self-consistent, but there are one or
two discrepancies which do not admit of solution.

[27] l. 468.

[28] l. 2161.

[29] _Widsith_, l. 46.

[30] _Beowulf_, l. 2160. Had Hrothulf been a son of Heorogar he could not
have been passed over in silence here. Neither can Hrothulf be Hrothgar's
sister's son: for since the sister married the Swedish king, Hrothulf would
in that case be a Swedish prince, and presumably would be living at the
Swedish court, and bearing a name connected by alliteration with those of
the Swedish, not the Danish house. Besides, had he been a Swedish prince,
he must have been heard of in connection with the dynastic quarrels of the
Swedish house.

[31] ll. 1163-5.

[32] ll. 1188-91.

[33] ll. 1180 _etc._

[34] Doubts are expressed, for example, in Trap's monumental topographical
work (_Kongeriket Danmark_, II, 328, 1898).

[35] For example Sweyn Aageson (c. 1200) had no doubt that the little
village of Leire near Roskilde was identical with the Leire of story: _Rolf
Kraki, occisus in Lethra, qvae tunc famosissima Regis extitit curia, nunc
autem Roskildensi vicina civitati, inter abjectissima ferme vix colitur
oppida._ Svenonis Aggonis _Historia Regum Daniae_, in Langebek, I, 45.

[36] _Ro ... patrem vero suum Dan colle apud Lethram tumulavit Sialandie
ubi sedem regni pro eo pater constituit, qvam ipse post eum divitiis
multiplicibus ditavit._ In the so-called _Annales Esromenses_, in Langebek,
I, 224. Cf. Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I, 188, 194. For further evidence, see
Appendix (G) below.

[37] We must not think of Heorot as an isolated country seat. The Royal
Hall would stand in the middle of the Royal Village, as in the case of the
halls of Attila (Priscus in Möller's _Fragmenta_, IV, 85) or Cynewulf
(_A.S. Chronicle_, Anno 755).

[38] _Lethram pergitur, quod oppidum, a Roluone constructum eximiisque
regni opibus illustratum, ceteris confinium prouinciarum urbibus regie
fundacionis et sedis auctoritate prestabat._ Saxo, Book II (ed. Holder, p.

[39] _His cognitis Helgo filium Roluonem Lethrica arce conclusit, heredis
saluti consulturus_ (p. 52).

[40] _A Roe Roskildia condita memoratur._ Saxo, Book II (ed. Holder, p.
51). Roe's spring, after being a feature of the town throughout the ages,
is now (owing perhaps to its sources having been tapped by a neighbouring
mineral-water factory) represented only by a pump in a market-garden.

[41] I owe this paragraph to information kindly supplied me by Dr Sofus
Larsen, librarian of the University Library, Copenhagen.

[42] It was once believed that, in prehistoric times, the sea came up to
Leire also (Forchhammer, Steenstrup and Worsaae: _Undersøgelser i
geologisk-antiqvarisk Retning_, Kjøbenhavn, 1851). A most exact scrutiny of
the geology of the coast-line has proved this to be erroneous. (Danmarks
geologiske Undersøgelse I.R. 6. _Beskrivelse til Kaartbladene Kjøbenhavn og
Roskilde_, af K. Rørdam, Kjøbenhavn, 1899.)

[43] The presence at Leire of early remains makes it tempting to suppose
that it may have been from very primitive times a stronghold or sacred
place. It is impossible here to examine these conjectures, which would
connect Heorot ultimately with the "sacred place on the isle of the ocean"
mentioned by Tacitus. The curious may be referred to Much in _P.B.B._ XVII,
196-8; Mogk in _Pauls Grdr._ (2) III, 367; Kock in the Swedish _Historisk
Tidskrift_, 1895, 162 _etc._; and particularly to the articles by Sarrazin:
_Die Hirsch Halle_ in _Anglia_, XIX, 368-91, _Neue Beowulfstudien_ (_Der
Grendelsee_) in _Engl. Stud._ XLII, 6-15.

[44] This seems to me much more probable than, as Olrik supposes, that
Froda fell in battle against Healfdene (_Skjoldungasaga_, 162 [80]).

[45] _Saga of Rolf Kraki_, cap. IV.

[46] Olrik wishes to read the whole of this account, not as a prediction in
the present future tense, but as a narrative of past events in the historic
present. (_Heltedigtning_, I, 16; II, 38.) Considering the rarity of the
historic present idiom in Old English poetry, this seems exceedingly

[47] ll. 2047-2056.

[48] _Verba dei legantur in sacerdotali convivio; ibi decet lectorem
audiri, non citharistam, sermones patrum, non carmina gentilium. Quid
Hinieldus cum Christo?_ See Jaffé's _Monumenta Alcuiniana_ (_Bibliotheca
Rer. Germ._ VI), Berlin, 1873, p. 357; _Epistolae_, 81.

[49] Saxo, Book _VI_ (ed. Holder, 205, 212-13).

The contrast between this lyrical outburst, and the matter-of-fact speech
in which the old warrior in _Beowulf_ eggs on the younger man, is
thoroughly characteristic of the difference between Old English and Old
Scandinavian heroic poetry. This difference is very noticeable whenever we
have occasion to compare a passage in _Beowulf_ with any parallel passage
in a Scandinavian poem, and should be carefully pondered by those who still
believe that _Beowulf_ is, in its present form, a translation from the

[50] Saxo, Book VIII (ed. Holder, p. 274); _Helga kviþa Hundingsbana_, II,
19. See also Bugge, _Helge-digtene_, 157.

[51] _Þáttr Þorsteins Skelks_ in _Flateyarbók_ (ed. Vigfússon and Unger),
I, 416.

[52] Similarly, there is certainly a primitive connection between the names
of the Geatas (Gautar) and of the Goths: but they are quite distinct
peoples: we should not be justified in speaking of the Geatas as identical
with the Goths.

[53] Müllenhoff (_Beovulf_, 29-32) followed by Much (_P.B.B._ XVII, 201)
and Heinzel (_A.f.d.A._ XVI, 271). The best account of the Heruli is in
Procopius (_Bell. Gott._ II, 14, 15).

[54] See also Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I, 21, 22: Sarrazin in _Engl. Stud._
XLII, 11: Bugge, _Helgi-digtene_, 151-63; 181: Chambers, _Widsith_, p. 82
(note), pp. 205-6.

[55] _Saga of Rolf Kraki: Skjoldungasaga._

[56] Best represented in Saxo.

[57] See above, p. 15.

[58] ll. 1180-87.

[59] ll. 1188-91.

[60] ll. 1163-5.

[61] ll. 1017-19.

[62] ll. 45-6.

[63] For a contrary view see Clarke, _Sidelights_, 100.

[64] Saxo has mistaken a title _hnøggvanbaugi_ for a father's name,
(_hins_) _hnøggva Baugs_ "(son of the) covetous Baug."

[65] _Langfeðgatal_ in Langebek, I, 5. The succession given in
_Langfeðgatal_ is Halfdan, Helgi and Hroar, Rolf, Hrærek: it should, of
course, run Halfdan, Helgi and Hroar, Hrærek, Rolf. Hrærek has been moved
from his proper place in order to clear Rolf of any suspicion of

[66] l. 1189.

[67] See Olrik, _Episke Love_ in _Danske Studier_, 1908, p. 79. Compare the
remark of Goethe in _Wilhelm Meister_, as to the necessity of there being
_both_ a Rosencrantz _and_ a Guildenstern (_Apprenticeship_, Book V, chap.

[68] ll. 587-9.

[69] ll. 1165-8.

[70] Perhaps such murder of kin was more common among the aristocratic
houses than among the bulk of the population (Chadwick, _H.A._ 348). In
some great families it almost becomes the rule, producing a state of things
similar to that in present day Afghanistan, where it has become a proverb
that a man is "as great an enemy as a cousin" (Pennell, _Afghan Frontier_,

[71] This is proposed by Cosijn (_Aanteekeningen_, 21) and again
independently by Lawrence in _M.L.N._ XXV, 157.

[72] ll. 467-9.

[73] ll. 2155-62.

[74] See _Widsith_, ed. Chambers, pp. 92-4.

[75] See Rickert, "The Old English Offa Saga" in _Mod. Phil._ II, esp. p.

[76] The common ascription of the _Lives of the Offas_ to Matthew Paris is
erroneous: they are somewhat earlier.

[77] The identification of _Fifeldor_ with the Eider has been doubted,
notably by Holthausen, though he seems less doubtful in his latest edition
(third edit. II, 178). The reasons for the identification appear to me the
following. Place names ending in _dor_ are exceedingly rare. When,
therefore, two independent authorities tell us that Offa fought at a place
named _Fifel-dor_ or _Egi-dor_, it appears unlikely that this can be a mere
coincidence: it seems more natural to assume that the names are corruptions
of one original. But further, the connection is not limited to the second
element in the name. For the Eider (_Egidora_, _Ægisdyr_) would in O.E. be
_Egor-dor_: and _Egor-dor_ stands to _Fifel-dor_ precisely as _egor-stream_
(Boethius, _Metra_, XX, 118) does to _fifel-stream_ (_Metra_, XXVI, 26),
_"egor" and "fifel" being interchangeable synonyms_. See note to _Widsith_,
l. 43 (p. 204). It is objected that the interchange of _fifel_ and _egor_,
though frequent in common nouns, would be unusual in the name of a place.
The reply is that the Old English scop may not have regarded it as a
place-name. He may have substituted _fifel-dor_ for the synonymous
_egor-dor_, "the monster gate," without realizing that it was the name of a
definite place, just as he would have substituted _fifel-stream_ for
_egor-stream_, "the monster stream, the sea," if alliteration demanded the

[78] _The Deeds of Beowulf_, LXXXV.

[79] See below, pp. 105-12, and Appendix (D) below.

[80] Wihtlæg appears in Saxo as _Vigletus_ (Book IV, ed. Holder, p. 105).

[81] _Nibelungen Lied_, ed. Piper, 328.

[82] Book IV (ed. Holder, p. 102).

[83] Kemble, _Beowulf_, _Postscript_ IX; followed by Müllenhoff, _etc._ So,
lately, Chadwick (_H.A._ 126): cf. also Sievers ('Beowulf und Saxo' in the
_Berichte d. k. sächs. Gesell. d. Wissenschaften_, 1895, pp. 180-88);
Bradley in _Encyc. Brit._ III, 761; Boer, _Beowulf_, 135. See also Olrik,
_Danmarks Heltedigtning_, I, 246. For further discussion see below,
Appendix (A).

[84] _Beo_--_Scyld_--_Scef_ in Ethelwerd: _Beowius_--_Sceldius_--_Sceaf_ in
William of Malmesbury. But in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ five generations
intervene between Sceaf and his descendant Scyldwa, father of Beaw.

[85] "Item there is vii acres lond lying by the high weye toward the
grendyll": _Bury Wills_, ed. S. Tymms (Camden Soc. XLIX, 1850, p. 31).

[86] I should hardly have thought it worth while to revive this old
"cesspool" theory, were it not for the statement of Dr Lawrence that
"Miller's argument that the word _grendel_ here is not a proper name at
all, that it means 'drain,' has never, to my knowledge, been refuted."
(_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXIV, 253.)

Miller was a scholar whose memory should be reverenced, but the letter to
the _Academy_ was evidently written in haste. The only evidence which
Miller produced for _grendel_ standing alone as a common noun in Old
English was a charter of 963 (Birch, 1103: vol. III, p. 336): _þanon forð
eft on grendel: þanon on clyst_: _grendel_ here, he asserted, meant
"drain": and consequently _gryndeles sylle_ and _grendles mere_ in the
other charters must mean "cesspool." But the locality of this charter of
963 is known (Clyst St Mary, a few miles east of Exeter), and the two words
exist there as names of streams to this day--"thence again along the
Greendale brook, thence along the river Clyst." The Grindle or Greendale
brook is no sewer, but a stream some half dozen miles in length which
"winds tranquilly through a rich tract of alluvial soil" (_Journal of the
Archaeol. Assoc._ XXXIX, 273), past three villages which bear the same
name, Greendale, Greendale Barton and Higher Greendale, under Greendale
Bridge and over the ford by Greendale Lane, to its junction with the Clyst.
Why the existence of this charming stream should be held to justify the
interpretation of _Grendel_ or _Gryndel_ as "drain" and _grendles mere_ as
"cesspool" has always puzzled me. Were a new Drayton to arise he might, in
a new _Polyolbion_, introduce the nymph complaining of her hard lot at the
hands of scholars in the Hesperides. I hope, when he next visits England,
to conduct Dr Lawrence to make his apologies to the lady. Meantime a glance
at the "six inch" ordnance map of Devon suffices to refute Miller's curious

[87] It is often asserted that the same Beowa appears as a witness to a
charter (Müllenhoff, _Beovulf_, p. 8: Haak, _Zeugnisse zur altenglischen
Heldensage_, 53). But this rests upon a misprint of Kemble (_C.D.S._ V,
44). The name is really _Beoba_ (Birch, _Cart. Sax._ I, 212).

[88] _Beaf er ver kollum Biar_, in the descent of Harold Fairhair from
Adam, in _Flateyarbók_, ed. Vigfússon and Unger, Christiania, 1859, I, 27.
[The genealogy contains many names obviously taken from a MS of the O.E.
royal pedigrees, not from oral tradition, as is shown by the miswritings,
e.g., _Beaf_ for _Beaw_, owing to mistaking the O.E. _w_ for _f_.] "This is
no proof," Dr Lawrence urges, "of popular acquaintance with Bjár as a
Scandinavian figure." (_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXIV, 246.) But how
are we to account for the presence of his name among a mnemonic list of
some of the most famous warriors and their horses--mention along with
heroes like Sigurd, Gunnar, Atli, Athils and Ali, unless Bjar was a
well-known figure?

[89] _en Bjárr [reið] Kerti_. _Kortr_, "short" (Germ. _Kurz_), if indeed we
are so to interpret it, is hardly an Icelandic word, and seems strange as
the name of a horse. Egilsson (_Lex. Poet._ 1860) suggests _kertr_,
"erect," "with head high" (cf. Kahle in _I.F._ XIV, 164).

[90] See Appendix (A) below.

[91] Müllenhoff derived Beaw from the root _bh[=u]_, "to be, dwell, grow":
Beaw therefore represented settled dwelling and culture. Müllenhoff's
mythological explanation (_Z.f.d.A._ VII, 419, _etc._, _Beovulf_, 1,
_etc._) has been largely followed by subsequent scholars, e.g., ten Brink
(_Pauls Grdr._ II, 533: _Beowulf_, 184), Symons (_Pauls Grdr._ (2), III,
645-6) and, in general outline, E. H. Meyer (_Mythol. der Germanen_, 1903,

[92] Uhland in _Germania_, II, 349.

[93] Laistner (_Nebelsagen_, 88, _etc._, 264, _etc._), Kögel (_Z.f.d.A._
XXXVII, 274: _Geschichte d. deut. Litt._ I, 1, 109), and Golther (_Handbuch
der germ. Mythologie_, 1895, 173) see in Grendel the demon of combined
storm and pestilence.

[94] E. H. Meyer (_Germ. Mythol._ 1891, 299).

[95] Mogk (_Pauls Grdr._ (2), III, 302) regards Grendel as a

[96] Boer (_Ark. f. nord. Filol._ XIX, 19).

[97] This suggestion is made (very tentatively) by Brandl, in _Pauls Grdr._
(2), II, i, 992.

[98] This view has been enunciated by Wundt in his _Völkerpsychologie_, II,
i, 326, _etc._, 382. For a discussion see A. Heusler in _Berliner
Sitzungsberichte_, XXXVII, 1909, pp. 939-945.

[99] Cf. Lawrence in _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXIV, 265, _etc._, and
Panzer's "Beowulf" throughout.

[100] The tradition of "the devil and his dam" resembles that of Grendel
and his mother in its coupling together the home-keeping female and the
roving male. See E. Lehmann, "Fandens Oldemor" in _Dania_, VIII, 179-194; a
paper which has been undeservedly neglected in the _Beowulf_
bibliographies. But the devil beats his dam (cf. _Piers Plowman_, C-text,
XXI, 284): conduct of which one cannot imagine Grendel guilty. See too
Lehmann in _Arch. f. Religionswiss._ VIII, 411-30: Panzer, _Beowulf_, 130,
137, _etc._: Klaeber in _Anglia_, XXXVI, 188.

[101] Cf. _Beowulf_, ll. 1282-7.

[102] There are other coincidences which _may_ be the result of mere
chance. In each case, before the adventure with the giants, the hero proves
his strength by a feat of endurance in the ice-cold water. And, at the end
of the story, the hero in each case produces, as evidence of his victory, a
trophy with a runic inscription: in _Beowulf_ an engraved sword-hilt; in
the _Grettis saga_ bones and a "rune-staff."

[103] Vigfússon, _Corp. Poet. Boreale_, II, 502: Bugge, _P.B.B._ XII, 58.

[104] Boer, for example, believes that _Beowulf_ influenced the _Grettis
saga_ (_Grettis saga_, Introduction, xliii); so, tentatively, Olrik
(_Heltedigtning_, I, 248).

[105] For this argument and the following, cf. Schück, _Studier i
Beowulfssagan_, 21.

[106] Even assuming that a MS of _Beowulf_ had found its way to Iceland, it
would have been unintelligible. This is shown by the absurd blunders made
when Icelanders borrowed names from the O.E. genealogies.

[107] Cf. Olrik, _A. f. n. F._, VIII (N.F. IV), 368-75; and Chadwick,
_Origin_, 125-6.

[108] _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXVII, 208 _etc._

[109] _Cotton. Gnomic Verses_, ll. 42-3.

[110] _Fornmannas[o,]gur_, III, 204-228.

[111] Hammershaimb, _Fær[=o]iske Kvoeder_, II, 1855, Nos. 11 and 12.

[112] A. I. Arwidsson, _Svenska Fornsånger_, 1834-42, Nos. 8 and 9.

[113] Boer, _Beowulf_, 177-180.

[114] ll. 1553-6.

[115] l. 455.

[116] The attacks have taken place at Yule for two successive years,
exactly as in the _Grettis saga_. [In _Beowulf_ it is, of course, "twelve
winters" (l. 147).] Is this mere accident, or does the _Grettis saga_ here
preserve the original time limit, which has been exaggerated in _Beowulf_?
If so, we have another point of resemblance between the _Saga of Rolf
Kraki_ and the earliest version of the _Beowulf_ story.

[117] _Beowulf_, ll. 801-5.

[118] Cf. _Beowulf_, ll. 590-606.

[119] _Beowulf_, l. 679.

[120] _Beowulf_, ll. 1508-9, 1524.

[121] It is only in this adventure that Rolf carries the sword
_Gullinhjalti_. His usual sword, as well known as Arthur's Excalibur, was
_Skofnungr_. For _Gyldenhilt_, whether descriptive, or proper noun, see
_Beowulf_, 1677.

[122] Cf. Symons in _Pauls Grdr._ (2), III, 649: Züge aus dem anglischen
Mythus von Béaw-Biar (Biarr oder Bjár?; s. Symons Lieder der Edda, I, 222)
wurden auf den dänischen Sagenhelden (Boðvarr) Bjarki durch Ähnlichkeit der
Namen veranlasst, übertragen. Cf. too, Heusler in _A.f.d.A._ XXX, 32.

[123] See p. 87 and Appendix (A) below.

[124] _Heltedigtning_, I, 1903, 135-6.

[125] _Beowulf_, 1518.

[126] See Heusler in _Z.f.d.A._ XLVIII, 62.

[127] Cf. on this Heusler, _Z.f.d.A._ XLVIII, 64-5.

[128] Cf. _Skjoldunga saga_, cap. XII; and see Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I,
201-5; _Bjarka rímur_, VIII.

[129] Similarly _Skáldskaparmál_, 41 (44).

[130] Bärensohn. Jean l'Ours. The name is given to the group because the
hero is frequently (though by no means always) represented as having been
brought up in a bear's den. The story summarized above is a portion of
Panzer's "Type A." See Appendix (H), below.

[131] ll. 704, 729.

[132] ll. 691-6.

[133] In the _Beowulf_ it was even desirable, as explained above, to go
further, and completely to exculpate the Danish watchers.

[134] From the controversial point of view Panzer has no doubt weakened his
case by drawing attention to so many of these, probably accidental,
coincidences. It gives the critic material for attack (cf. Boer, _Beowulf_,

[135] ll. 2183 _etc._

[136] ll. 408-9.

[137] It comes out strongly in the _Bjarki_-story.

[138] It can hardly be argued that Stein is mentioned because he was an
historic character who in some way came into contact with the historic
Grettir: for in this case his descent would have been given, according to
the usual custom in the sagas. (Cf. note to Boer's edition of _Grettis
saga_, p. 233.)

[139] P. E. K. Kaalund, _Bidrag til en historisk-topografisk Beskrivelse af
Island_, Kjøbenhavn, 1877, II, 151.

[140] The localization in _en stor sandhaug_ is found in a version of the
story to which Panzer was unable to get access (see p. 7 of his _Beowulf_,
Note 2). A copy is to be found in the University Library of Christiania, in
a small book entitled _Nor, en Billedbog for den norske Ungdom_.
Christiania, 1865. (_Norske Folke-Eventyr ... fortalte af P. C.
Asbjørnsen_, pp. 65-128.)

The _sandhaug_ is an extraordinary coincidence, if it _is_ a mere
coincidence. It cannot have been imported into the modern folk-tale from
the _Grettis saga_, for there is no superficial resemblance between the two

[141] Cf. Boer, _Beowulf_, 14.

[142] Yet both Beowulf and Orm are saved by divine help.

[143] Panzer exaggerates the case against his own theory when he quotes
only six versions as omitting the princesses (p. 122). Such unanimity as
this is hardly to be looked for in a collection of 202 kindred folk-tales.
In addition to these six, the princesses are altogether missing, for
example, in the versions Panzer numbers 68, 69, 77: they are only faintly
represented in other versions (e.g. 76). Nevertheless the rescue of the
princesses may be regarded as the most essential element in the tale.

[144] I cannot agree with Panzer when (p. 319) he suggests the possibility
of the _Beowulf_ and the _Grettir_-story having been derived independently
from the folk-tale. For the two stories have many features in common which
do not belong to the folk-tale: apart from the absence of the princesses we
have the _hæft-m[=e]ce_ and the strange conclusion drawn by the watchers
from the blood-stained water.

[145] Ipse Scef cum uno dromone advectus est in insula Oceani, quae dicitur
Scani, armis circundatus, eratque valde recens puer, & ab incolis illius
terrae ignotus; attamen ab eis suscipitur, & ut familiarem diligenti animo
eum custodierunt, & post in regem eligunt.

Ethelwerdus, III, 3, in Savile's _Rerum Anglicarum Scriptores post Bedam_,
Francofurti, 1601, p. 842.

[146] See Chadwick, _Origin_, 259-60.

[147] Sceldius [fuit filius] Sceaf. Iste, ut ferunt, in quandam insulam
Germaniae Scandzam, de qua Jordanes, historiographus Gothorum, loquitur,
appulsus navi sine remige, puerulus, posito ad caput frumenti manipulo,
dormiens, ideoque Sceaf nuncupatus, ab hominibus regionis illius pro
miraculo exceptus et sedulo nutritus: adulta aetate regnavit in oppido quod
tunc Slaswic, nunc vero Haithebi appellatur. Est autem regio illa Anglia
vetus dicta....

William of Malmesbury, _De Gestis Regum Anglorum_. Lib. II, § 116, vol. I,
p. 121, ed. Stubbs, 1887.

[148] Although Saxo Grammaticus has provided some even earlier kings.

[149] Cf. Müllenhoff in _Z.f.d.A._ VII, 413.

[150] In _Grímnismál_, 54, Odin gives _Gautr_ as one of his names.

[151] See below.

[152] Excluding, of course, the Hebrew names.

[153] _Scyld_ appears as _Scyldwa_, _Sce(a)ldwa_ in the _Chronicle_. The
forms correspond.

[154] See Part II.

[155] _armis circundatus_.

[156] For a list of the scholars who have dealt with the subject, see
_Widsith_, p. 119.

[157] _Beovulf_, p. 6 _etc._

[158] _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXIV, 259 _etc._

[159] This objection to the Scyld-theory has been excellently expressed by
Olrik--at a time, too, when Olrik himself accepted the story as belonging
to Scyld rather than Sceaf. "Binz," says Olrik, "rejects William of
Malmesbury as a source for the Scyld story. But he has not noticed that in
doing so he saws across the branch upon which he himself and the other
investigators are sitting. For if William is not a reliable authority, and
even a more reliable authority than the others, then 'Scyld with the sheaf'
is left in the air." _Heltedigtning_, I, 238-9, note.

[160] The discussion of Skjold by Olrik (_Danmarks Heltedigtning_, I,
223-271) is perhaps the most helpful of any yet made, especially in
emphasizing the necessity of differentiating the stages in the story. But
it must be taken in connection with the very essential modifications made
by Dr Olrik in his second volume (pp. 249-65, especially pp. 264-5). Dr
Olrik's earlier interpretation made Scyld the original hero of the story:
_Scefing_ Olrik interpreted, not as "with the sheaf," but as "son of Scef."
To the objection that any knowledge of Scyld's parentage would be
inconsistent with his unknown origin, Olrik replied by supposing that Scyld
was a foundling whose origin, though unknown to the people of the land to
which he came, was well known to the poet. The poet, Dr Olrik thought,
regarded him as a son of the Langobardic king, Sceafa, a connection which
we are to attribute to the Anglo-Saxon love of framing genealogies. But
this explanation of Scyld Scefing as a human foundling does not seem to me
to be borne out by the text of _Beowulf_. "The child is a poor foundling,"
says Dr Olrik, "_he suffered distress from the time when he was first found
as a helpless child_. Only as a grown man did he get compensation for his
childhood's adversity" (p. 228). But this is certainly not the meaning of
_egsode eorl[as]_. It is "_He inspired the earl[s] with awe_."

[161] See below (App. C) for instances of ancestral names extant both in
weak and strong forms, like _Scyld_, _Sceldwa_ (the identity of which no
one doubts) or _Sceaf_, _Sceafa_ (the identity of which has been doubted).

[162] "As for the name _Scyldungas-Skjöldungar_, we need not hesitate to
believe that this originally meant 'the people' or 'kinsmen of the shield.'
Similar appellations are not uncommon, e.g., _Rondingas_, _Helmingas_,
_Brondingas_ ... probably these names meant either 'the people of _the_
shield, _the_ helmet,' _etc._, or else the people who used shields,
helmets, _etc._, in some special way. In the former case we may compare the
Ancile of the Romans and the Palladion of the Greeks; in either case we may
note that occasionally shields have been found in the North which can never
have been used except for ceremonial purposes." Chadwick, _Origin_, p. 284:
cf. Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I, 274.

[163] Sweyn Aageson, _Skiold Danis primum didici praefuisse_, in Langebek,
_S.R.D._ I, 44.

[164] Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I, 246; Lawrence, _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc._
XXIV, 254.

[165] It is odd that Binz, who has recorded so many of these, should have
argued on the strength of these place-names that the Scyld story is not
Danish, but an ancient possession of the tribes of the North Sea coast (p.
150). For Binz also records an immense number of names of heroes of alien
stock--Danish, Gothic or Burgundian--as occurring in England (_P.B.B._ XX,
202 _etc._).

[166] _Beovulf_, p. 7.

[167] Chadwick, _Origin_, p. 278.

[168] The scandals about King Edgar (_infamias quas post dicam magis
resperserunt cantilenae_: see _Gesta Regum Anglorum_, II, § 148, ed.
Stubbs, vol. I, p. 165); the story of Gunhilda, the daughter of Knut, who,
married to a foreign King with great pomp and rejoicing, _nostro seculo
etiam in triviis cantitata_, was unjustly suspected of unchastity till her
English page, in vindication of her honour, slew the giant whom her
accusers had brought forward as their champion (_Gesta_, II, § 188, ed.
Stubbs, I, pp. 229, 230); the story of King Edward and the shepherdess,
learnt from _cantilenis per successiones temporum detritis_ (_Gesta_, II, §
138, ed. Stubbs, I, 155). Macaulay in the _Lays of Ancient Rome_ has
selected William as a typical example of the historian who draws upon
popular song. Cf. Freeman's _Historical Essays_.

[169] Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I, 245.

[170] _Origin_, pp. 279-281.

[171] Brand, _Popular Antiquities_, 1813, I, 443.

[172] Henderson, _Folklore of the Northern Counties_, 87-89.

[173] Hone's _Every Day Book_, 1827, p. 1170.

[174] _The Tamar and the Tavy_, I. 330 (1836).

[175] Raymond, _Two men o' Mendip_, 1899, 259.

[176] Miss M. A. Courtney, _Glossary of West Cornwall_; T. Q. Couch,
_Glossary of East Cornwall_, s. v. Neck (_Eng. Dial. Soc._ 1880); Jago,
_Ancient Language of Cornwall_, 1882, s. v. Anek.

[177] _Notes and Queries_, 4th Ser. XII, 491 (1873).

[178] Holland's _Glossary of Chester_ (_Eng. Dial. Soc._), s.v. _Cutting
the Neck._

[179] Burne, _Shropshire Folk Lore_, 1883, 371.

[180] "to cry the Mare." Blount, _Glossographia_, 4th edit. 1674, s.v.
_mare_. Cf. _Notes and Queries_, 5th Ser. VI, 286 (1876).

[181] Wright, _Eng. Dial. Dict._, s.v. _neck_.

[182] Frazer, _Spirits of the Corn_, 1912, I, 268. The word was understood
as = "neck" by the peasants, because "They'm taied up under the chin laike"
(_Notes and Queries_, 5th Ser. X, 51). But this may be false etymology.

[183] Wright, _Eng. Dial. Dict._ Cf. _Notes and Queries_, 5th Ser. X, 51.

[184] _Heltedigtning_, II, 252.

[185] The earliest record of the term "cutting the neck" seems to be found
in Randle Holme's _Store House of Armory_, 1688 (II, 73). It may be noted
that Holme was a Cheshire man.

[186] Mannhardt, _Mythologische Forschungen_, Strassburg, 1884, 326 _etc._

[187] Quod dum servi Dei propensius actitarent, inspiratum est eis salubre
consilium et (ut pium est credere) divinitus provisum. Die etenim statuto
mane surgentes monachi sumpserunt scutum rotundum, cui imponebant manipulum
frumenti, et super manipulum cereum circumspectae quantitatis et
grossitudinis. Quo accenso scutum cum manipulo et cereo, fluvio ecclesiam
praetercurrenti committunt, paucis in navicula fratribus subsequentibus.
Praecedebat itaque eos scutum et quasi digito demonstrans possessiones
domui Abbendoniae de jure adjacentes nunc huc, nunc illuc divertens; nunc
in dextra nunc in sinistra parte fiducialiter eos praeibat, usquedum
veniret ad rivum prope pratum quod Beri vocatur, in quo cereus medium
cursum Tamisiae miraculose deserens se declinavit et circumdedit pratum
inter Tamisiam et Gifteleia, quod hieme et multociens aestate ex
redundatione Tamisiae in modum insulae aqua circumdatur.

_Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon_, ed. Stevenson, 1858, vol. I, p. 89.

[188] Chadwick, _Origin_, 278.

[189] Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, II, 251.

[190] But is this so? "The word Sämpsä (now sämpsykka) 'small rush,
_scirpus silvaticus_, forest rush,' is borrowed from the Germanic family
(Engl. semse; Germ. simse)." Olrik, 253. But the Engl. "semse" is difficult
to track.

See also note by A. Mieler in _Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen_, X, 43, 1910.

[191] Kaarle Krohn, "Sampsa Pellervoinen" in _Finnisch-Ugrische
Forschungen_ IV, 231 _etc._, 1904.

[192] Cf. Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, II, 252 _etc._.

[193] I do not understand why Olrik (_Heltedigtning_, I, 235) declares the
coming to land in Scani (Ethelwerd) to be inconsistent with Sceaf as a
Longobardic king (_Widsith_). For, according to their national historian,
the Longobardi came from "Scadinavia" [Paul the Deacon, I, 1-7]. It is a
more serious difficulty that Paul knows of no Longobardic king with a name
which we can equate with Sceaf.

[194] So, corresponding to O.E. _tr[=i]ewe_ we have Icel. _tryggr_; to O.E.
_gl[=e]aw_, Icel. _gl[o,]ggr_; O.E. _sc[=u]wa_, Icel. _skugg-_.

[195] Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, II, 1910, pp. 254-5.

An account of the worship of Pekko will be found in _Finnisch-Ugrische
Forschungen_, VI, 1906, pp. 104-111: _Über den Pekokultus bei den
Setukesen_, by M. J. Eisen. See also Appendix (A) below.

Pellon-Pecko is mentioned by Michael Agricola, Bishop of Åbo, in his
translation of the Psalter into Finnish, 1551. It is here that we are told
that he "promoted the growth of barley."

[196] l. 15.

[197] That Heremod is a Danish king is clear from ll. 1709 _etc._ And as we
have all the stages in the Scylding genealogy from Scyld to Hrothgar,
Heremod must be placed earlier.

[198] Of Grein in _Eberts Jahrbuch_, IV, 264.

[199] A good example of this is supplied by the Assyrian records, which
make Jehu a son of Omri--whose family he had destroyed.

[200] This reconstruction is made by Sievers in the _Berichte d. k. sächs.
Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften_, 1895, pp. 180-88.

[201] The god _Hermóðr_ who rides to Hell to carry a message to the dead
Baldr is here left out of consideration. His connection with the king
_Hermóðr_ is obscure.

[202] On this see Dederich, _Historische u. geographische Studien_, 214;
Heinzel in _A.f.d.A._ XV, 161; Chadwick, _Origin_, 148; Chadwick, _Cult of
Othin_, 51.

[203] Chadwick, _Cult of Othin_, pp. 50, _etc._

[204] _puerulus ... pro miraculo exceptus_ (William of Malmesbury). Cf.
_Beowulf_, l. 7. In Saxo, Skjold distinguishes himself at the age of

[205] _omnem Alemannorum gentem tributaria ditione perdomuit._ Cf.
_Beowulf_, l. 11.

[206] See above, p. 77.

[207] This relationship of Frothi and Skjold is preserved by Sweyn Aageson:
Skiold Danis primum didici praefuisse.... A quo primum.... Skioldunger sunt
Reges nuncupati. Qui regni post se reliquit haeredes Frothi videlicet &
Haldanum. Svenonis Aggonis _Hist. Regum Dan._ in Langebek, _S.R.D._ I, 44.

In Saxo Frotho is not the son, but the great grandson of Skioldus--but this
is a discrepancy which may be neglected, because it seems clear that the
difference is due to Saxo having inserted two names into the line at this
point--those of Gram and Hadding. There seems no reason to doubt that
Danish tradition really represented Frothi as son of Skjold.

[208] Those who accept the identification would regard _Fróði_ (O.E.
_Fr[=o]da_, 'the wise') as a title which has ousted the proper name.

[209] Boer, _Ark. f. nord. filol._, XIX, 67, calls this theory of Sievers

[210] Sievers, p. 181.

[211] _Beowulf_, 2405. Cf. 2215, 2281.

[212] So Regin guides Sigurd: Una the Red Cross Knight. The list might be
indefinitely extended. Similarly with giants: "Then came to him a
husbandman of the country, and told him how there was in the country of
Constantine, beside Brittany, a great giant".... _Morte d'Arthur_, Book V,
cap. V.

[213] _Beowulf_, 895.

[214] l. 2338.

[215] ll. 2570 _etc._

[216] intrepidum mentis habitum retinere memento.

[217] ll. 2663 _etc._

[218] Cf. _Beowulf_, 2705: _forwr[=a]t Wedra helm wyrm on middan_.

[219] Cf. _Cotton. Gnomic verses_, ll. 26-7: _Draca sceal on hl[=æ]we:
fr[=o]d, frætwum wlanc._

[220] virusque profundens: _wearp wæl-f[=y]re_, 2582.


  implicitus gyris serpens crebrisque reflexus
  orbibus et caudae sinuosa volumina ducens
  multiplicesque agitans spiras.

Cf. _Beowulf_, 2567-8, 2569, 2561 (_hring-boga_), 2827 (_w[=o]hbogen_).

[222] _Volospá_, 172-3 in _Corpus Poeticum Boreale_. I, 200.

[223] Cf. on this Olrik, _Heltedigtning_, I, 305-15.

[224] Panzer, _Beowulf_, 313.

[225] A further and more specific parallel between Lotherus and Heremod has
been pointed out by Sarrazin (_Anglia_, XIX, 392). It seems from _Beowulf_
that Heremod went into exile (ll. 1714-15), and apparently _mid Eotenum_
(l. 902) which (in view of the use of the word _Eotena_, _Eotenum_, in the
_Finnsburg_ episode) very probably means "among the Jutes." A late
Scandinavian document tells us that _Lotherus ... superatus in Jutiam
profugit_ (Messenius, _Scondia illustrata_, printed 1700, but written about

[226] Pointed out by Panzer. A possible parallel to the old man who hides
his treasure is discussed by Bugge and Olrik in _Dania_, I, 233-245

[227] Cf. Ettmüller, _Scopas and Boceras_, 1850, p. ix; _Carmen de
Beovvulfi rebus gestis_, 1875, p. iii.

[228] _P.B.B._ XI, 167-170.

[229] Sarrazin, _Der Schauplatz des ersten Beowulfliedes_ (_P.B.B._ XI, 170
_etc._); Sievers, _Die Heimat des Beowulfdichters_ (_P.B.B._ XI, 354
_etc._); Sarrazin, _Altnordisches im Beowulfliede_ (_P.B.B._ XI, 528
_etc._); Sievers, _Altnordisches im Beowulf?_ (_P.B.B._ XII, 168 _etc._)

[230] _Beovulf-Studien_, 68.

[231] Sarrazin has countered this argument by urging that since the present
day Swedes and Danes have better manners than the English, they therefore
presumably had better manners already in the eighth century. I admit the
premises, but deny the deduction.

[232] Sedgefield, _Beowulf_ (1st ed.), p. 27.

[233] Schück, _Studier i Beovulfsagan_, 41.

[234] The brief _Fata Apostolorum_ is doubted by Sievers (_Anglia_, XIII,

[235] Two of these occur twice: _h[=a]tan heolfre_, 1423, 849; _n[=i]owan
stefne_, 1789, 2594; the rest once only, 141, 561, 963, 977, 1104, 1502,
1505, 1542, 1746, 2102, 2290, 2347, 2440, 2482, 2492, 2692. See Barnouw,

[236] 74, 99, 122, 257, 390, 412.

[237] _Christ_, 510.

[238] Lichtenheld omits 2011, _se m[=æ]ra mago Healfdenes_, inserting
instead 1474, where the same phrase occurs, but with a vocative force.

[239] 758, 813, 2011, 2587, 2928, 2971, 2977, 3120.

[240] 1199.

[241] 102, 713, 919, 997, 1016, 1448, 1984, 2255, 2264, 2675, 3024, 3028,

[242] Saintsbury in _Short History of English Literature_, I. 3.

[243] Morsbach, 270.

[244] Morsbach, 271.

[245] Chadwick, _Heroic Age_, 4.

[246] "Thus in place of the expression _to widan feore_ we find
occasionally _widan feore_ in the same sense, and even in _Beowulf_ we meet
with _widan feorh_, which is not improbably the oldest form of the phrase.
Before the loss of the final _-u_ it [_widan feorhu_] would be a perfectly
regular half verse, but the operation of this change would render it
impossible and necessitate the substitution of a synonymous expression. In
principle, it should be observed, the assumption of such substitutions
seems to be absolutely necessary, unless we are prepared to deny that any
old poems or even verses survived the period of apocope." Chadwick, _Heroic
Age_, pp. 46-7.

[247] _Heroic Age_, 46.

[248] Birch, _Cart. Sax._ No. 81. See Morsbach, 260.

[249] The most important examples being _breguntford_ (Birch, _Cart. Sax._
No. 115, dating between 693 and 731; perhaps 705): _heffled_ in the life of
St Gregory written by a Whitby monk apparently before 713: _-gar_ on the
Bewcastle Column, earlier than the end of the first quarter of the eighth
century and perhaps much earlier: and many names in _ford_ and _feld_ in
the Moore MS of Bede's _Ecclesiastical History_ (a MS written about 737).

[250] An English Miscellany presented to Dr Furnivall, 370.

[251] Grienberger, _Anglia_, XXVII, 448.

[252] i.e. _flodu ahof_ might stand for _fl[=o]d u[p] [)a]h[=o]f_, as is
suggested by Chadwick, _Heroic Age_, 69.

[253] In the Franks casket _b_ already appears as _f_, and the _n_ of
_sefu_, "seven," has been lost.

[254] Birch, _Cart. Sax._ No. 45.

[255] Chadwick, _Heroic Age_, 67: "In personal names we must clearly allow
for traditional orthography." Morsbach admits this in another connection
(p. 259).

[256] Lübke's preface to Müllenhoff's _Beovulf_. Both the tendencies
specially associated with Müllenhoff's name--the "mythologizing" and the
"dissecting"--are due to the influence of Lachmann. It must be frankly
admitted that on these subjects Müllenhoff did not begin his studies with
an open mind.

[257] "Es ist einfach genug"--_Beovulf_, 110.

[258] Möller, _V.E._ 140: cf. Schücking, _B.R._ 14.

[259] Earle, _Deeds of Beowulf_, xlix (an excellent criticism of

[260] Heusler, _Lied u. Epos_, 26.

[261] _Epic and Romance_, Chap. II, § 2.

[262] _Ballad and Epic_, 311-12.

[263] _Beowulfs Rückkehr_, 1905.

[264] e.g. _Genesis_.

[265] Chap. IV, pp. 29-33.

[266] Chap. V, pp. 34-41.

[267] Chap. VI, cf. esp. p. 50.

[268] In the portion which Schücking excludes, we twice have _g[=æ]ð_ =
_g[=a]ið_ (2034, 2055). Elsewhere in the _Return_ we have _d[=o]n_ =
_d[=o]an_ (2166) whilst _fr[=e]a_ (1934), _Hondsci[=o]_ (2076) need to be

[269] 2069.

[270] 2093.

[271] _Satzverknüpfung im Beowulf_, 139.

[272] _Þ[=y]l[=æ]s_ = "lest" (1918); _ac_ in direct question (1990);
_þ[=a]_ occurring unsupported late in the sentence (2192); _forþ[=a]m_
(1957) [see Sievers in _P.B.B._ XXIX, 313]; _sw[=a]_ = "since," "because"
(2184). But Schücking admits in his edition two other instances of
_forþ[=a]m_ (146 and 2645), so this can hardly count.

[273] _h[=y]rde ic_ as introducing a statement, 62, 2163, 2172; _sið ðan
[=æ]rest_, 6, 1947.

[274] A similar use of _þ[=a]_, 1078, 1988; cf. 1114, 1125, 2135.

[275] _hæbbe_, 1928; _g[=e]ong_, 2019.

[276] _þurfe_, 2495.

[277] Schücking, Chap. VIII.

[278] Cf. Brandl in Herrigs _Archiv_, CXV, 421 (1905).

[279] e.g. Blackburn in _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XII, 204-225;
Bradley in the _Encyc. Brit._ III, 760; Chadwick, _H.A._ 49; Clarke,
_Sidelights_, 10.

[280] Chadwick, in _Cambridge History_, I, 30.

[281] We may refer especially to the account of Attila's funeral given by
Jordanes. [Mr Chadwick's note.]

[282] Chadwick in _The Heroic Age_, 53.

[283] It is adopted, e.g., by Clarke, _Sidelights_, 8.

[284] Yet this is very doubtful: see Leeds, _Archæology_, 27, 74.

[285] Notably in Book VIII (ed. Holder, 264) and Book III (ed. Holder, 74).

[286] 'Fasta fornlämningar i Beowulf,' in _Ant. Tidskrift för Sverige_,
XVIII, 4, 64.

[287] See Schücking, _Das angelsächsische Totenklaglied_, in _Engl. Stud._
XXXIX, 1-13.

[288] Blackburn, in _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ Cf. Hart, _Ballad and
Epic_, 175.

[289] Clark Hall, xlvii.

[290] Blackburn, as above, p. 126.

[291] Chadwick, in _Cambridge History_, I, 30.

[292] Clark Hall, xlvii. See, to the contrary, Klaeber in _Anglia_, XXXVI,

[293] This point is fully developed by Brandl, 1002-3. As Brandl points
out, if we want to find a parallel to the hero Beowulf, saving his people
from their temporal and ghostly foes, we must look, not to the other heroes
of Old English heroic poetry, such as Waldhere or Hengest, but to Moses in
the Old English _Exodus_. [Since this was written the essentially Christian
character of _Beowulf_ has been further, and I think finally, demonstrated
by Klaeber, in the last section of his article on _Die Christlichen
Elemente im Beowulf_, in _Anglia_, XXXVI; see especially 194-199.]

[294] Cf. _Beowulf_, ll. 180 _etc._

[295] Bradley, in _Encyc. Brit._

[296] Bradley, in _Encyc. Brit._ III, 760-1.

[297] Blackburn, 218.

[298] See Finnur Jónsson, _Den Norsk-Islandske Skjaldedigtning_, B. ii.

[299] MS A, followed by Magnússon, makes Glam _bláeygðr_, "blue-eyed": Boer
reads _gráeygðr_, considering grey a more uncanny colour.

[300] MS A has _fon^m_ or _fen^m_, it is difficult to tell which. Magnússon
reads _fenum_, "morasses."

[301] Immediately inside the door of the Icelandic dwelling was the
_anddyri_ or vestibule. For want of a better word, I translate _anddyri_ by
"porch": but it is a porch inside the building. Opening out of this 'porch'
were a number of rooms. Chief among which were the _skáli_ or "hall," and
the _stufa_ or "sitting room," the latter reached by a passage (_g[o,]ng_).
These were separated from the "porch" by panelling. In the struggle with
Glam, Grettir is lying in the hall (_skáli_), but the panelling has all
been broken away from the great cross-beam to which it was fixed. Grettir
consequently sees Glam enter the outer door; Glam turns to the _skáli_, and
glares down it, leaning over the cross-beam; then enters the hall, and the
struggle begins. See Guðmundssen (V.), _Privatbolegen på Island i
Sagatiden_, 1889.

[302] The partition beams (_set-stokkar_) stood between the middle of the
_skáli_ or hall and the planked daïs which ran down each side. The strength
of the combatants is such that the _stokkar_ give way. Grettir gets no
footing to withstand Glam till they reach the outer-door. Here there is a
stone set in the ground, which apparently gives a better footing for a push
than for a pull. So Grettir changes his tactics, gets a purchase on the
stone, and at the same time pushes against Glam's breast, and so dashes
Glam's head and shoulders against the lintel of the outer-door.

[303] So MS 551 a. Magnússon reads _dvaldist þar_ "he stayed there."

[304] Meaning that an attack by the evil beings would at least break the

[305] A passage (_g[o,]ng_) had to be traversed between the door of the
room (_stufa_) and the porch (_anddyri_).

[306] MSS _bælt_. Boer reads _bolat_ "hewn down."

[307] A night troll, if caught by the sunrise, was supposed to turn into

[308] _Skúta_ may be acc. of the noun _skúti_, "overhanging precipice,
cave"; or it may be the verb, "hang over." Grettir and his companion see
that the sides of the ravine are precipitous (_skúta upp_) and so clean-cut
(_meitil-berg: meitill_, "a chisel") that they give no hold to the climber.
Hence the need for the rope. The translators all take _skúta_ as acc. of
_skúti_, which is quite possible: but they are surely wrong when they
proceed to identify the _skúti_ with the _hellir_ behind the waterfall. For
this cave behind the waterfall is introduced in the _saga_ as something
which Grettir discovers _after_ he has dived beneath the fall, the fall in
front naturally hiding it till then.

The verb _skúta_ occurs elsewhere in _Grettis saga_, of the glaciers
overhanging a valley. Boer's attempt to reconstruct the scene appears to me
wrong: cf. Ranisch in _A.f.d.A._ XXVIII, 217.

[309] The old editions read _fimm tigir faðma_ "fifty fathoms": but
according to Boer's collation the best MS (A) read X, whilst four of the
five others collated give XV (_fimtán_). The editors seem dissatisfied with
this: yet sixty to ninety feet seems a good enough height for a dive.

[310] _ok sat þar hjá_, not in MS A, nor in Boer's edition.

[311] The two poems are given according to the version of William Morris.

[312] On his first arrival at Leire, Bjarki had been attacked by, and had
slain, the watch-dogs (_Rímur_, IV, 41): this naturally brings him now into
disfavour, and he has to dispute with men.

[313] Reading _kappana_.

[314] The MSS have either _Sandeyar_ or _Saudeyar_ (_Sauðeyar_). But that
_Sandeyar_ is the correct form is shown by the name Sandø, which is given
still to the island of Dollsey, where Orm's fight is localized (Panzer,

[315] Literally "she-cat," _ketta_; but the word may mean "giantess." It is
used in some MSS of the _Grettis saga_ of the giantess who attacks Grettir
at Sandhaugar.

[316] See Sweet, _Oldest English Texts_, 1885, p. 170.

[317] See _Catalogue of MSS. in the Library of Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge_ by Montague Rhodes James, Camb., 1912, p. 437.

[318] See _Publications of the Palæographical Society_, 1880, where a
facsimile of part of the _Vespasian MS_ is given. (Pt. 10, Plate 165:
subsequently Ser. I, Vol. II.)

[319] So Zimmer, _Nennius Vindicatus_, Berlin, 1893, pp. 78 etc., and
Duchesne (_Revue Celtique_, XV, 196). Duchesne sums up these genealogies as
"un recueil constitué, vers la fin du VII^e siècle, dans le royaume de
Strathcluyd, mais complété par diverses retouches, dont la dernière est de

[320] This is shown by one of the supplementary Mercian pedigrees being
made to end, both in the _Vespasian_ genealogy and the _Historia
Brittonum_, in Ecgfrith, who reigned for a few months in 796. See
Thurneysen (_Z.f.d.Ph._ XXVIII, 101).

[321] Ed. Mommsen, p. 203.

[322] Anno 626: a similar genealogy will be found in these MSS and in the
Parker MS, anno 755 (accession of Offa II).

[323] Zimmer (_Nennius Vindicatus_, p. 84) argues that this _Geta-Woden_
pedigree belongs to a portion of the _Historia Brittonum_ written down A.D.
685. Thurneysen (_Z.f.d.Ph._ XXVIII, 103-4) dates the section in which it
occurs 679; Duchesne (_Revue Celtique_, XV, 196) places it more vaguely
between the end of the sixth and the beginning of the eighth century; van
Hamel (_Hoops Reallexikon_ s.v. _Nennius_) between much the same limits,
and clearly before 705.

[324] Zimmer (p. 275) says A.D. 796; Duchesne (p. 196) A.D. 800; Thurneysen
(_Zeitschr. f. Celtische Philologie_, I, 166) A.D. 826; Skene (_Four
Ancient Books of Wales_, 1868, I, 38) A.D. 858; van Hamel (p. 304) A.D.
820-859. See also Chadwick, _Origin_, 38.

[325] Bradshaw, _Investigations among Early Welsh, Breton and Cornish MSS._
in _Collected Papers_, 466.

[326] See above, p. 196.

[327] Cf. _Bretwalda_.

[328] The genealogies have recently been dealt with by E. Hackenberg, _Die
Stammtafeln der angelsächsischen Königreiche_, Berlin, 1918; and by Brandl,
(Herrig's _Archiv_, CXXXVII, 1-24). Most of Brandl's derivations seem to me
to depend upon very perilous conjectures. Thus he derives _Sc[=e]fing_ from
the Gr.-Lat. _scapha_, "a skiff": a word which was not adopted into Old
English. This seems to be sacrificing all probability to the desire to find
a new interpretation: and, even so, it is not quite successful. For Riley
in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, August, 1857, p. 126, suggested the
derivation of the name of Scef from the _schiff_ or _skiff_ in which he

[329] For a list of the Icelandic versions, see Heusler, _Die gelehrte
Urgeschichte im altisländischen Schrifttum_, pp. 18-19, in the
_Abhandlungen d. preuss. Akad._, _Phil. Hist. Klasse_, 1908, Berlin.

[330] The names are given as in the Trinity Roll (T), collated with Corpus
(C) and Moseley (M). For Paris (P) I follow Kemble's report (_Postscript to
Preface_, 1837, pp. vii, viii: _Stammtafel der Westsachsen_, pp. 18, 31).
All seem to agree in writing _t_ for _c_ in Steph and Steldius, and in
Boerinus, _obviously, as Kemble pointed out, r is written by error for
[wynn] = Beowinus_ [or _Beowius_]; Cinrinicius T, Cinrinicus C, Cininicus
P, Siuruncius M; Suethedus TCP, Suechedius M; Gethius T, Thecius M, Ehecius
CP; Geate T, Geathe CM, Geathus P.

[331] I follow the spelling of the Moseley roll in this note.

[332] _Dacia_ = "Denmark": _Dacia_ and _Dania_ were identified.

[333] _uocabitur_, Gertz; _uocatur_, all MSS.

[334] This account of the peaceful reign of Ro is simply false etymology
from Danish _ro_, "rest."

[335] Note that Ro (Hrothgar), the son of Haldanus (Healfdene), is here
represented as his father. Saxo Grammaticus, combining divergent accounts,
as he often does, accordingly mentions two Roes--one the brother of
Haldanus, the other his son. See above, pp. 131-2.

[336] _cum piratica classe_, Langebek; the MSS have _cum pietate_ (!) with
or without _classe_.

[337] _post quem_, Holder-Egger, Gertz; _postquam_, all MSS.

[338] Snyo: the viceroy whom Athisl had placed over the Danes.

[339] _in_ added by Gertz; omitted in all MSS.

[340] A scribal error for _transalbinas_, "beyond the Elbe."

[341] Assembly.

[342] Island.

[343] I have substituted _u_ for _v_, and have abandoned spellings like
_theutones_, _thezauro_, _orrifico_, _charitas_, _phas_ (for _fas_),
_atlethas_, _choercuit_, _iocundum_, _charum_, _foelicissima_, _nanque_,
_hæreditarii_, _exoluere_.

The actual reading of the 1514 text is abandoned by substituting: p. 130,
l. 3 _ingeniti_ for _ingenitis_ (1514); p. 132, l. 22, _iacientis_ for
_iacentis_; p. 134, l. 2, _diutinæ_ for _diutiuæ_; p. 136, l. 11, _fudit_
for _fugit_; p. 136, l. 20, _ut_ for _aut_; p. 137, l. 8, _ammirationi_ for
_ammirationis_; p. 137, l. 16, _offert_ for _affert_; p. 137, l. 17,
_Roluoni_ for _Rouolni_; p. 137, l. 27, _ministerio_ for _ministros_; p.
137, l. 33 _diuturnus_ for _diuturnius_; p. 206, l. 22, _diutinam_ for
_diutina_; p. 207, l. 3, _ei_ for _eique_; p. 207, l. 5, _destituat_ for
_deficiat_; p. 209, l. 2, _latere_ for _latera_; p. 209, l. 5, _conscisci_
for _concissi_; p. 209, l. 14, _defoderat_ for _defodera_.

[344] _Above this heading_ B _has_ Gesta Offe Regis mercior_um_.

[345] A _repeats_ sibi _after_ constitueret.

[346] Hic Riganus binomin[i]s fuit. Vocabat_ur_ eni_m_ alio nomine Aliel.
Rigan_us_ u_er_o a rigore. Huic erat fili_us_ Hildebrand_us_, miles
strenuus, ab ense sic d_i_c_tu_s. Hu_n_c uoluit p_ate_r p_ro_mouere:
_Contemporary rubric in_ A, _inserted in the middle of the sketch
representing Riganus demanding the kingdom from Warmundus._

[347] optat, B.

[348] celebri, B; celibri, A.

[349] hoc, B.

[350] ueheement_er_, A.

[351] ueheementi, A.

[352] eciam, B.

[353] _Added in margin in_ A; _not in_ B.

[354] hec _omitted_, B.

[355] _Added in margin in_ A; _not in_ B.

[356] dereliqueru_n_t, B.

[357] precipue _omitted_, B.

[358] ei _omitted_, B.

[359] Qualmhul _vel_ Q_u_almweld _in margin_, A.

[360] planies, A: planicies, _perhaps corrected from_ planies, B.

[361] blodifeld, B.

[362] Gloria t_r_iumphi, _in margin_, A.

[363] tripudium, B; tripuduum, A.

[364] scis, A, B.

[365] menbra, A.

[366] gracias, B.

[367] hosstibus, A.

[368] romotis, A.

[369] co_n_gnou_er_unt, A.

[370] Warmandi, A.

[371] habenas _repeated after_ regni _above in_ A, _but cancelled in_ B.

[372] exaggeret, B.

[373] pulcritudi_ni_s, B; pulch_r_itudini, A.

[374] i_n_gnota, A.

[375] euuangelii, B.

[376] co_n_si_n_gnatas, A.

[377] _from_ B, _written over erasure_.

[378] scrib_itu_r, B.

[379] Ep_isto_la, _in margin_, A.

[380] i_n_co_n_gnita, A.

[381] dicebant, B.

[382] frustratim, A, B.

[383] ossium, B.

[384] co_n_gnouit, A.

[385] hoc _omitted_, B.

[386] co_n_gnic_i_one, A.

[387] sui, A.

[388] obtemp_er_are, B.

[389] menbra, A.

[390] qui, AB; quae, Wats.

[391] reco_n_gnosce, A.

[392] sancte _et_ dulcissime, B.

[393] ut _added above line_, A, B.

[394] scenobium, A; _the _s_i s erased in_ B.

[395] deo, B

[396] tuinfreth, B.

[397] scenobio, A; s _erased_ B.

[398] de tiran_n_ide Beormredi reg_is_ Mercie, B.

[399] fecerat, _wanting in_ A; _added in margin_, B.

[400] Pinefredum, B; Penefredum, A, _but with_ i _above in first case._

[401] uariis _repeated_, A; _second_ variis _cancelled_, B.

[402] considerans, B, _inserted in margin; omitted_, A.

[403] Marcelline, A; Marcell, B.

[404] vixisset, B, _inserted in margin_; _omitted_, A.

[405] Alberto, _etc. passim_, B.

[406] virtutibus, _in margin, later hand,_ A; _in_ B, _over erasure._

[407] est _in margin_, A.

[408] et _omitted_, B.

[409] innotuerunt, B.

[410] in pietatis manu, B.

[411] p_re_missimis, A.

[412] sinistrum, B.

[413] quam _in margin_, A; _over erasure_, B.

[414] _Space for cap. left vacant_, A.

[415] aucmentu_m_, A.

[416] facinoris, B.

[417] co_n_gnouit, A.

[418] celeriter, B.

[419] cum _in_ A _is inserted after_ p_er_ueniss_et_, _instead of before:
and this was probably the original reading in_ B, _although subsequently

[420] _per_, B.

[421] _corrected to_ nullaten_us_ dormire quasi suspecta_m_ p_er_misit, B.

[422] Justa Vindicta, A, _in margin_.

[423] Mr Mackie, in an excellent article on the _Fragment_ (_J.E.G.Ph._
XVI, 251) objects that my criticism of Hickes' accuracy "is not altogether
judicial." Mackie urges that, since the MS is no longer extant, we cannot
tell how far the errors are due to Hickes, and how far they already existed
in the MS from which Hickes copied.

But we must not forget that there are other transcripts by Hickes, of MSS
which _are_ still extant, and from these we can estimate his accuracy. It
is no disrespect to the memory of Hickes, a scholar to whom we are all
indebted, to recognize frankly that his transcripts are not sufficiently
accurate to make them at all a satisfactory substitute for the original MS.
Hickes' transcript of the _Cottonian Gnomic Verses_ (_Thesaurus_, I, 207)
shows an average of one error in every four lines: about half these errors
are mere matters of spelling, the others are serious. Hickes' transcript of
the _Calendar_ (_Thesaurus_, I, 203) shows an average of one error in every
six lines. When, therefore, we find in the _Finnsburg Fragment_
inaccuracies of exactly the type which Hickes often commits, it would be
"hardly judicial" to attribute these to the MS which he copied, and to
attribute to Hickes in this particular instance an accuracy to which he has
really no claim.

Mr Mackie doubts the legitimacy of emending _Garulf_ to _Garulf[e]_: but
we must remember that Hickes (or his printer) was systematically careless
as to the final _e_: cf. _Calendar_, 15, 23, 41, 141, 144, 171, 210;
_Gnomic Verses_, 45. Other forms in the _Finnsburg Fragment_ which can be
easily paralleled by Hickes' miswritings in the _Calendar_ and _Gnomic
Verses_ are

  Confusion of _u_ and _a_  (_Finn._ 3, 27, perhaps 44) cf. _Gn._ 66.
     "      "  _c_  "  _e_  (_Finn._ 12) cf. _Cal._ 136, _Gn._ 44.
     "      "  _e_  "  _æ_  (_Finn._ 41) cf. _Cal._ 44, 73, _Gn._ 44.
     "      "  _e_  "  _a_  (_Finn._ 22) cf. _Cal._ 74.
     "      "  _eo_ "  _ea_ (_Finn._ 28) cf. _Cal._ 121.
     "      "  letters involving long down stroke, e.g., _f_, _s_, _r_,
            _þ_, _w_, _p_   (_Finn._ 2, 36) cf. _Cal._ 97, 142, 180, 181,
                             _Gn._ 9.
  Addition of _n_ (_Finn._ 22) cf. _Cal._ 161.

[424] _Heimskringla_, chap. 220.

[425] It has been suggested that the phrase "Hengest himself" indicates
that Hengest is the "war-young king." But surely the expression merely
marks Hengest out as a person of special interest. If we _must_ assume that
he is one of the people who have been speaking, then it would be just as
natural to identify him with the watcher who has warned the king, as with
the king himself. The difficulties which prevent us from identifying
Hengest with the king are explained below.

[426] Garulf must be an assailant, since he falls at the beginning of the
struggle, whilst we are told that for five days none of the defenders fell.

[427] Very possibly Guthere is uncle of Garulf. For Garulf is said to be
son of Guthlaf (l. 35) and a _Guth_ere would be likely to be a brother of a
_Guth_laf. Further, as Klaeber points out (_Engl. Stud._ XXXIX, 307) it is
the part of the uncle to protect and advise the nephew.

[428] Koegel, _Geschichte d. deut. Litt._ I, i, 165.

[429] Klaeber (_Engl. Stud._ XXXIX, 308) reminds us that, as there are two
warriors named Godric in the _Battle of Maldon_ (l. 325), so there may be
two warriors named Guthlaf here. But to this it might possibly be replied
that "Godric" was, in England, an exceedingly common name, "Guthlaf" an
exceedingly rare one.

[430] Finn is called the _bana_, "slayer" of Hnæf. But this does not
necessarily mean that he slew him with his own hand; it would be enough if
he were in command of the assailants at the time when Hnæf was slain. Cf.
_Beowulf_, l. 1968.

[431] The idea that Finn's Frisians are the "North Frisians" of Schleswig
has been supported by Grein (_Eberts Jahrbuch_, IV, 270) and, following
him, by many scholars, including recently Sedgefield (_Beowulf_, p. 258).
The difficulties of this view are very many: one only need be emphasized.
We first hear of these North Frisians of Schleswig in the 12th century, and
Saxo Grammaticus tells us expressly that they were a colony from the
greater Frisia (Book XIV, ed. Holder, p. 465). At what date this colony was
founded we do not know. The latter part of the 9th century has been
suggested by Langhans: so has the end of the 11th century by Lauridsen.
However this may be, all the evidence precludes our supposing this North
Friesland, or, as Saxo calls it, Fresia Minor, to have existed at the date
to which we must attribute the origin of the Finn story. On this point the
following should be consulted: Langhans (V.), _Ueber den Ursprung der
Nordfriesen_, Wien, 1879 (most valuable on account of its citation of
documents: the latter part of the book, which consists of an attempt to
rewrite the Finn story by dismissing as corrupt or spurious many of the
data, must not blind us to the value of the earlier portions): Lauridsen,
_Om Nordfrisernes Indvandring i Sønderjylland, Historisk Tidsskrift_, 6 R,
4 B. II, 318-67, Kjøbenhavn, 1893: Siebs, _Zur Geschichte der
Englisch-Friesischen Sprache_, 1889, 23-6: Chadwick, _Origin_, 94: Much in
_Hoops Reallexikon_, s.v. _Friesen_; and Bremer in _Pauls Grdr._ (2), III,
848, where references will be found to earlier essays on the subject.

[432] The theory that Hnæf is a captain of Healfdene is based upon a
rendering of l. 1064 which is in all probability wrong.

[433] The view that the _Eotenas_ are the men of Hnæf and Hengest has been
held by Thorpe (_Beowulf_, pp. 76-7), Ettmüller (_Beowulf_, 1840, p. 108),
Bouterwek (_Germania_, I, 389), Holtzmann (_Germania_, VIII, 492), Möller
(_Volksepos_, 94-5), Chadwick (_Origin_, 53), Clarke (_Sidelights_, 184).

[434] "And therefore, said the King ... much more I am sorrier for my good
knights' loss, than for the loss of my fair queen. For queens I might have
enow: but such a fellowship of good knights shall never be together in no
company." Malory, _Morte Darthur_, Bk. XX, chap. ix.

[435] The argument of Bugge (_P.B.B._ XII, 37) that the Eotens here (l.
1088) must be the Frisians, is inconclusive: but so is Miss Clarke's
argument that they must be Danes (_Sidelights_, 181), as is shown by
Lawrence (_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXX, 395).

[436] I say "son" in what follows, without prejudice to the possibility of
more than one son having fallen. It in no wise affects the argument.

[437] For example, it might well be said of Achilles, whilst thirsting for
vengeance upon the Trojans for the death of Patroclus, that "he could not
get the children of the Trojans out of his mind." But surely it would be
unintelligible to say that "he could not get the child of the Achaeans out
of his mind," meaning Patroclus, for "child of the Achaeans" is not
sufficiently distinctive to denote Patroclus. Cf. Boer in _Z.f.d.A._ XLVII,

[438] In the _Skjoldunga Saga_ [extant in a Latin abstract by Arngrim
Jonsson, ed. Olrik, 1894], cap. IV, mention is made of a king of Denmark
named Leifus who had six sons, three of whom are named Hunleifus, Oddleifus
and Gunnleifus--corresponding exactly to O.E. _H[=u]nl[=a]f_, _Ordl[=a]f_
and _G[=u]ðl[=a]f_. That Hunlaf was well known in English story is proved
by a remarkable passage unearthed by Dr Imelmann from _MS Cotton Vesp. D.
IV_ (fol. 139 _b_) where Hunlaf is mentioned together with a number of
other heroes of Old English story--Wugda, Hama, Hrothulf, Hengest, Horsa
(_Hoc testantur gesta rudolphi et hunlapi, Unwini et Widie, horsi et
hengisti, Waltef et hame_). See Chadwick, _Origin_, 52: R. Huchon, _Revue
Germanique_, III, 626: Imelmann, in _D.L.Z._ XXX, 999: April, 1909. This
disposes of the translation "Hun thrust or placed in his bosom Lafing, best
of swords," which was adopted by Bugge (_P.B.B._ XII, 33), Holder, ten
Brink and Gering. Hun is mentioned in _Widsith_ (l. 33) and in the
Icelandic _Thulor_.

That Guthlaf, Ordlaf and Hunlaf must be connected together had been noted
by Boer (_Z.f.d.A._ XLVII, 139) before this discovery of Chadwick's
confirmed him.

[439] The fragment which tells of the fighting in the hall is so imperfect
that there is nothing impossible in the assumption, though it is too
hazardous to make it.

[440] Cf. _Beowulf_, ll. 1900 _etc._

[441] _Das Altenglische Volksepos_, 46-99.

[442] C. P. Hansen, _Uald' Söld'ring tialen_, Møgeltønder, 1858. See
Möller, _Volksepos_, 75 _etc._

[443] See Müllenhoff in _A.f.d.A._ VI, 86.

[444] So Möller, _Volksepos_, 152.

[445] See _Beowulf_, ed. Wyatt, 1894, p. 145.

[446] _Volksepos_, 71 _etc._

[447] e.g., Sedgefield, _Beowulf_, 2nd ed., p. 258. So 1st ed., p. 13
(_Hoc_ being an obvious misprint).

[448] On the poet's use of plural for singular here, see Osthoff, _I.F._
XX, 202-7.

[449] I have thought it necessary to give fully the reasons why Möller's
view cannot be accepted, because in whole or in part it is still widely
followed in England. Chadwick (_Origin_, 53) still interprets "Eotens" as
"Danes"; and Sedgefield (_Beowulf_ (2), p. 258) gives Möller's view the
place of honour.

[450] The treachery of Finn is emphasized, for example, by Bugge (_P.B.B._
XII, 36), Koegel (_Geschichte d. deut. Litt._ 164), ten Brink (_Pauls
Grdr._ (1), II, 545), Trautmann (_Finn und Hildebrand,_ 59), Lawrence
(_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXX, 397, 430), Ayres (_J.E.G.Ph._ XVI,


          syþðan morgen c[=o]m
  ð[=a] h[=e]o under swegle ges[=e]on meahte, _etc._

[452] l. 36. The swords flash _swylce eal Finnsburuh f[=y]renu w[=æ]re_,
"as if all Finnsburg were afire." I think we may safely argue from this
that the swords are flashing near Finnsburg. It would be just conceivable
that the poet's mind travels back from the scene of the battle to Finn's
distant home: "the swords made as great a flash as would have been made had
Finn's distant capital been aflame": but this is a weak and forced
interpretation, which we have no right to assume, though it may be

[453] _Beowulf_, ll. 1125-7. I doubt whether it is possible to explain the
difficulty away by supposing that "the warriors departing to see Friesland,
their homes and their head-town" simply means that Finn's men, "summoned by
Finn in preparation for the encounter with the Danes, return to their
respective homes in the country," and that "_h[=e]aburh_ is a high sounding
epic term that should not be pressed." This is the explanation offered by
Klaeber (_J.E.G.Ph._ VI, 193) and endorsed by Lawrence (_Pub. Mod. Lang.
Assoc. Amer._ XXX, 401). But it seems to me taking a liberty with the text
to interpret _h[=e]aburh_ (singular) as the "respective homes in the
country" to which Finn's warriors resort on demobilisation. And the
statement of ll. 1125-7, that the warriors departed from the place of
combat to see Friesland, seems to necessitate that such place of combat was
not in Friesland. Klaeber objects to this (surely obvious) inference: "If
we are to infer [from ll. 1125-7] that Finnsburg lies outside Friesland
proper, we might as well conclude that _Dyflen_ (Dublin) is not situated in
Ireland according to the _Battle of Brunanburh (gewitan him þ[=a] Norðmenn
... Dyflen s[=e]can and eft [=I]raland_)." But how could anyone infer this
from the _Brunanburh_ lines? What we _are_ justified in inferring, is,
surely, that the _site of the battle of Brunanburh_ (from which the
Northmen departed to visit Ireland and Dublin) was not identical with
Dublin, and did not lie in Ireland. And by exact parity of reason, we are
justified in arguing that Finnsburg, the site of the first battle in which
Hnæf fell (from which site the warriors depart to visit Friesland and the
_h[=e]aburh_) was not identical with the _h[=e]aburh_, and did not lie in
Friesland. Accordingly the usual view, that Finnsburg is situated outside
Friesland, seems incontestable. See Bugge (_P.B.B._ XII, 29-30), Trautmann
(_Finn und Hildebrand_, 60) and Boer (_Z.f.d.A._ XLVII, 137). Cf. Ayres
(_J.E.G.Ph._ XVI, 294).

[454] See below, p. 289.

[455] So Brandl, 984, and Heinzel.

[456] Or just as the attack on the Danes began at night, we might suppose
(as does Trautmann) that it equally culminated in a night assault five days
later. There would be obvious advantage in night fighting when the object
was to storm a hall: Flugumýrr was burnt by night, and so was the hall of
Njal. So, too, was the hall of Rolf Kraki. It would be, then, on the
morning after this second night assault, that Hildeburh found her kinsfolk

[457] _Beowulf_, l. 1831: cf. l. 409.

[458] Leo (_Beowulf_, 1839, 67), Müllenhoff (_Nordalbingische Studien_, I,
157), Rieger (_Lesebuch; Z.f.d.Ph._ III, 398-401), Dederich (_Studien_,
1877, 96-7), Heyne (in his fourth edition) and in recent times Holthausen
have interpreted _eoten_ as a common noun "giant," "monster," and
consequently "foe" in general. But they have failed to produce any adequate
justification for interpreting _eoten_ as "foe," and Holthausen, the modern
advocate of this interpretation, has now abandoned it. Grundtvig
(_Beowulfes Beorh_, 1861, pp. 133 _etc._) and Möller (_Volksepos_, 97
_etc._) also interpret "giant," Möller giving an impossible mythological
explanation, which was, at the time, widely followed.

[459] Like _oxnum_, _nefenum_ (cf. Sievers, § 277, Anm. 1).

[460] I do not attach much importance to the argument which might be drawn
from the statement of Binz (_P.B.B._ XX, 185) that the evidence of proper
names shows that in the Hampshire district (which was colonized by Jutes)
the legend of _Finnsburg_ was particularly remembered. For on the other
hand, as Binz points out, similar evidence is markedly lacking for Kent.
And why, indeed, should the Jutes have specially commemorated a legend in
which their part appears not to have been a very creditable one?

[461] p. 97, note 225.

[462] See above, p. 200. Zimmer, _Nennius Vindicatus_, 84, assumes that the
Kentish pedigree borrowed these names from the Bernician: but there is no
evidence for this.

[463] Among those who have so held are Kemble, Thorpe (_Beowulf_, pp.
76-7), Ettmüller (_Beowulf_, 1840, p. 23), Bouterwek (_Germania_, I, 389),
Grein (_Eberts Jahrbuch_, IV, 270), Köhler (_Germania_, XIII, 155), Heyne
(in first three editions), Holder (_Beowulf_, p. 128), ten Brink (_Pauls
Grdr_. (1), II, 548), Heinzel (_A.f.d.A._ X. 228), Stevenson (_Asser_,
1904, p. 169), Schücking (_Beowulf_, 1913, p. 321), Klaeber (_J.E.G.Ph._
XIV, 545), Lawrence (_Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXX, 393), Moorman
(_Essays and Studies_, V, 99), Björkman (_Eigennamen im Beowulf_, 21).

So too, with some hesitation, Chadwick (_Orgin_, 52-3): with much more
hesitation, Bugge (_P.B.B._ XII, 37). Whilst this is passing through the
press Holthausen has withdrawn his former interpretation _eotena_,
"enemies," in favour of _Eotena_=_[=E]otna_, "Jutes" (_Engl. Stud._ LI,

[464] _P.B.B._ XII, 37.

[465] The cognate of O.E. _f[=æ]r_ (Mod. Eng. "fear") in other Germanic
languages, such as Old Saxon and Old High German, has the meaning of
"ambush." In the nine places where it occurs in O.E. verse it has always
the meaning of a peril which comes upon one suddenly, and is applied, e.g.
to the Day of Judgement (twice) or some unexpected flood (three times). In
compounds _f[=æ]r_ conveys an idea of suddenness: "_f[=æ]r-d[=e]að_,
repentina mors."

[466] _Volksepos_, 69.

[467] It has been surmounted in two ways. (1) By altering _eaferum_ to
_eaferan_ (a very slight change) and then making _f[=æ]r_ refer to the
_final_ attack upon Finn, in which he certainly _was_ on the defensive
(Lawrence, 397 _etc._, Ayres, 284, Trautmann, _BB._ II, Klaeber, _Anglia_,
XXVIII, 443, Holthausen). (2) By making _h[=i][=e]_ refer to _hæleð
Healf-Dena_ which follows (Green in _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXXI,
759-97); but this is forced. See also below, p. 284.

[468] Cf. Tacitus, _Germania_, XIV.

[469] For examples of this see pp. 278-82 below.

[470] _Fragment_, 40-1.

[471] See above, p. 30.

[472] Book II (ed. Holder, p. 67).

[473] _P.B.B._ XII, 34.

[474] For a discussion of the interpretation of the difficult _forþringan_,
see Carlton Brown in _M.L.N._ XXXIV, 181-3.

[475] _J.E.G.Ph._ XVI, 291-2.

[476] _Ib._ 293-4.

[477] I wish I could feel convinced, with Ayres, that the person whom
Guthlaf and Oslaf blame for their woes is Hengest rather than Finn. Such an
interpretation renders the story so much more coherent; but if the poet
really meant this, he assuredly did not make his meaning quite clear.

[478] See below, pp. 276, 288-9.

[479] Ne h[=u]ru Hildeburh herian þorfte Eotena tr[=e]owe.

[480] Ayres, in _J.E.G.Ph._ XVI, 286. So Lawrence in a private

[481] ll. 2910, _etc._

[482] We can construct the situation from such historical information as we
can get from Gregory of Tours and other sources. The author of _Beowulf_
may not have been clear as to the exact relation of the different tribes.
We cannot tell, from the vague way he speaks, how much he knew.

[483] I have argued this at some length below, but I do not think anyone
would deny it. Bugge recognized it to be true (_P.B.B._ XII, 29-30) as does
Lawrence (392). See below, pp. 288-9.

[484] We can never argue that words are synonymous because they are
parallel. Compare Psalm cxiv; in the first verse the parallel words are
synonymous, but in the second and third not:

"When Israel came out of Egypt and the house of Jacob from among the
strange people" [Israel = house of Jacob: Egypt = strange people].

"Judah was His sanctuary and Israel His dominion." [Judah is only one of
the tribes of Israel.]

"The sea saw that and fled: Jordan was driven back." [The Red Sea and
Jordan are distinct, though parallel, examples.]

[485] _J.E.G.Ph._ XVI, 288.

[486] _Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer._ XXX, 430.

[487] Plummer, _Two Saxon Chronicles Parallel_, II, 47.

[488] _Njáls Saga_, cap. 45.

[489] _Pauls Grdr._ (2), II, 524.

[490] Helmhold.

[491] I know of only one parallel for such assumed adoption of a name: that
also concerns the Jutes. The Angles, says Bede, dwelt between the Saxons
and Jutes: the Jutes must, then, according to Bede, have dwelt north of the
Angles, since the Saxons dwelt south. But the people north of the Angles
are now, and have been from early times, Scandinavian in speech, whilst the
Jutes who settled Kent obviously were not. The best way of harmonizing
known linguistic facts with Bede's statement is, then, to assume that
Scandinavians settled in the old continental home of these Jutes and took
over their name, whilst introducing the Scandinavian speech.

Now many scholars have regarded this as so forced and unlikely an
explanation that they reject it, and refuse to believe that the Jutes who
settled Kent can have dwelt north of the Angles, in spite of Bede's
statement. If we are asked to reject the "Scandinavian-Jute" theory, as too
unlikely on _a priori_ grounds, although it is demanded by the express
evidence of Bede, it is surely absurd to put forward a precisely similar
theory in favour of "Frisian-Jutes" upon no evidence at all.

[492] Koegel (164), Lawrence (382).

[493] Björkman (_Eigennamen im Beowulf_, 23) interprets the _Eotenas_ as
Jutist subjects of Finn. This suggestion was made quite independently of
anything I had written, and confirms me in my belief that it is a
reasonable interpretation.

[494] Ayres in _J.E.G.Ph._ XVI, 288.

[495] e.g. _Njáls Saga_, cap. 144: _Laxdæla Saga_, cap. 51.

[496] Of course a primitive stage can be conceived at which homicide is
regarded as worse than murder. Your brother shoots _A_ intentionally: he
must therefore have had good reasons, and you fraternally support him. But
you may feel legitimate annoyance if he aims at a stag, and shooting _A_ by
mere misadventure, involves you in a blood-feud.

[497] _Heimskringla, Ól. Tryggv._ K. 111; _Saga Olafs Tryggvasonar_, K. 70
(_Fornmanna S[o,]gur_, 1835, X.)

[498] Saxo Grammaticus (ed. Holder, p. 67).

[499] _Heimskringla, Ól. Tryggv._ K. 41.

[500] _lýsti vígi á hendr sér._ _Laxdæla Saga_, cap. 49.

[501] Cap. 55.

[502] Cap. 85.

[503] _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, anno 755.

[504] _Njáls Saga_, cap. 158.

[505] _Fragment_, ll. 40-1.

[506] p. 213 (ed. Holder).

[507] Finn may perhaps be holding a meeting of chieftains. For similar
meetings of chieftains, compare _S[o,]rla þáttr_, cap. 4; _Laxdæla Saga_,
cap. 12; _Skáldskaparmál_, cap. 47 (50).

[508] There is assuredly a considerable likeness between the Finn story and
the Nibelungen story: this has been noted often enough. It is more open to
dispute whether the likeness is so great as to justify us in believing that
the Nibelungen story is _copied_ from the Finn story, and may therefore
safely be used as an indication how gaps in our existing versions of that
story may be filled. See Boer in _Z.f.d.A._ XLVII, 125 _etc._

[509] The fact that both sides have suffered about equally facilitates a
settlement in the Teutonic feud, just as it does among the Afridis or the
Albanians at the present day.

[510] The situation would then be parallel to that in _Laxdæla Saga_, cap.
60-5, where the boy Thorleik, aged fifteen, is nominally in command of the
expedition which avenges his father Bolli, but is only able to accomplish
his revenge by enlisting the great warrior Thorgils, who is the real leader
of the raid.

[511] Bugge (_P.B.B._ XII, 36) interpreted this _swylce_ as meaning that
sword-bale came upon Finn in like manner as it had previously come upon
Hnæf. But this is to make _swylce_ in l. 1146 refer back to the death of
Hnæf mentioned (72 lines previously) in l. 1074. Möller (_Volksepos_, 67)
tries to explain _swylce_ by supposing the passage it introduces to be a
fragment detached from its context.

[512] f, r, s, þ, w, p ([Old English Letters]), all letters involving a
long down stroke, are constantly confused. For examples, see above, p. 245,
and cf. e.g. _Beowulf_, l. 2882 (_fergendra_ for _wergendra_); _Crist_, 12
(_cræstga_ for _cræftga_); _Phoenix_, 15 (_fnæft_ for _fnæst_); Riddles III
(IV), 18 (_þyran_ for _þywan_); XL (XLI), 63 (_þyrre_ for _þyrse_); XLII
(XLIII), 4 (_speop_ for _sp[=e]ow_), 11 (_wæs_ for _þæs_); LVII (LVIII), 3
(_rope_ for _r[=o]fe_ or _r[=o]we_), _etc._

[513] p. 392.

[514] p. 431.

[515] _Nennius Interpretatus_, ed. Mommsen (_Chronica Minora_, III, 179, in
_Mon. Germ. Hist._)

[516] "De norske oldsager synes at vidne om, at temmelig livlige
handelsforbindelser i den ældre jernalder har fundet sted mellem Norge og
de sydlige Nordsøkyster." Undset, _Fra Norges ældre Jernalder_ in the
_Aarbøger for Nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie_, 1880, 89-184, esp. p. 173.
See also Chadwick, _Origin_, 93. I am indebted to Chadwick's note for this
reference to Undset.

[517] _Ravennatis anonymi cosmographia_, ed. Pinder et Parthey, Berolini,
1860, pp. 27, 28 (§ I, 11).

[518] The modern Wijk bij Duurstede, not far from Utrecht, on the Lower

[519] An account of the numerous coins found among the ruins of the old
town will be found in the _Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte_, IV
(1864), pp. 301-303. They testify to its commercial importance.

[520] So Adam of Bremen, following Alcuin. Concerning "Heiligland" Adam
says: "Hanc in vita Sancti Willebrordi Fosetisland appellari discimus, quae
sita est in confinio Danorum et Fresonum." Adam of Bremen in Pertz,
_Scriptores_, VII, 1846, p. 369.

[521] Alcuin's _Life of Willibrord_ in Migne (1851)--Alcuini _Opera_, vol.
II, 699-702.

[522] See above, pp. 199-200.

[523] It had been disputed by Skeat, Earle, Boer, and others, but never
with such strong reasons.

[524] I use below the form "Beow," which I believe to be the correct one.
"Beaw" is the form in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_. But as the name of
Sceldwa, Beaw's father, is there given in a form which is not West-Saxon
(_sceld_, not _scield_ or _scyld_), it may well be that "Beaw" is also the
Anglian dialect form, if it be not indeed a mere error: and this is
confirmed by _Beo_ (Ethelwerd), _Beowius_ (William of Malmesbury),
_Boerinus_ (for _Beowinus_: Chronicle Roll), perhaps too by _Beowa_
(Charter of 931) and _Beowi_, (_MS Cott. Tib. B. IV_). For the significance
of this last, see pp. 303-4, below, and Björkman in _Engl. Stud._ LII, 171,
_Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXX, 23.

[525] Vol. LXXXI, p. 517.

[526] It has indeed been so argued by Brandl: "Beowulf ... ist nur der
Erlöser seines Volkes ... und dankt es schliesslich dem Himmel, in einer an
den Heiland gemahnenden Weise, dass er die Seinen um den Preis des eigenen
Lebens mit Schätzen beglücken konnte." _Pauls Grdr._ (2), II, l. 1002.

[527] _Encyclopædia Britannica_, 11th edit., III, 760-1.

[528] l. 2039, where a capital O occurs, but without a section number.

[529] _Moore, Namur, Cotton._

[530] _Cotton Tiberius B. XI._

[531] _Hatton_, 20.

[532] See above, pp. 92-7.

[533] See above, pp. 43-4.

[534] Ethelwerd.

[535] _Chronicle._

[536] Boer, _Beowulf_, 135, 143: _Arkiv f. nord. Filologi_, XIX, 29.

[537] _Heroic Age_, 126.

[538] _Postscript to Preface_, p. ix.

[539] _Postscript_, pp. xi, xiv.

[540] See _Lokasenna_ in _Die Lieder der Edda_, herausg. von Sijmons u.
Gering, I, 134.

                  Byggvir kvaþ:
  "[Veiztu] ef [ek] øþle ættak sem Ingunar-Freyr,
              ok svá sællekt setr,
  merge smæra mølþak [þá] meinkr[ó,]ko
              ok lemþa alla í liþo."

[541] Lines corresponding to these of Burns are found both in the Scotch
ballad recorded by Jamieson, and in the English ballad (Pepys Collection).
See Jamieson, _Popular Ballads and Songs_, 1806, II, 241, 256.


            Loki kvaþ:
  "Hvat's þat et lítla, es [ek] þat l[o,]ggra sék,
            ok snapvíst snaper?
  at eyrom Freys mont[u] æ vesa
            ok und kvernom klaka."

[543] Jamieson, II, 239. So Burns: "John Barleycorn was a hero bold," and
the ballad

  John Barleycorn is the wightest man
      That ever throve in land.


            Byggvir kvaþ:
  "Byggver ek heite, en mik bráþan kveþa
            goþ [o,]ll ok gumar;
  því emk hér hróþogr, at drekka Hrópts meger
            aller [o,]l saman."


            Loki kvaþ:
  "þege þú, Byggver! þú kunner aldrege
            deila meþ m[o,]nnom mat;
  [ok] þik í flets strae finna né m[ó,]tto,
            þás v[ó,]go verar."

[546] This follows from the allusive way in which he and his wife are
introduced--there must be a background to allusions. If the poet were
inventing this figure, and had no background of knowledge in his audience
to appeal to, he must have been more explicit. Cf. Olsen in Christiania
_Videnskapsselskapets Skrifter_, 1914, II, 2, 107.

[547] p. 87.

[548] See Olrik, "Nordisk og Lappisk Gudsdyrkelse," _Danske Studier_, 1905,
pp. 39-57; "Tordenguden og hans dreng," 1905, pp. 129-46; "Tordenguden og
hans dreng i Lappernes myteverden," 1906, pp. 65-9; Krohn, "Lappische
beiträge zur germ. mythologie," _Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen_, VI, 1906,
pp. 155-80.

[549] See Axel Olrik in _Festgabe f. Vilh. Thomsen_, 1912 (=
_Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen_, XII, 1, p. 40). Olrik refers therein to
his earlier paper on the subject in _Danske Studier_, 1911, p. 38, and to a
forthcoming article in the _Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift_, which
has, I think, never appeared. See also K. Krohn in _Göttingische gelehrte
Anzeigen_, 1912, p. 211. Reviewing Meyer's _Altgermanische
Religionsgeschichte_, Krohn, after referring to the Teutonic gods of
agriculture, continues "Ausser diesen agrikulturellen Gottheiten sind aus
der finnischen Mythologie mit Hülfe der Linguistik mehrere germanische
Naturgötter welche verschiedene Nutzpflanzen vertreten, entdeckt worden:
der Roggengott Runkoteivas oder Rukotivo, der Gerstengott Pekko (nach
Magnus Olsen aus urnord. Beggw-, vgl. Byggwir) und ein Gott des
Futtergrases Sämpsä (vgl. Semse od. Simse, 'die Binse')." See also Krohn,
"Germanische Elemente in der finnischen Volksdichtung," _Z.f.d.A._ LI,
1909, pp. 13-22; and Karsten, "Einige Zeugnisse zur altnordischen
Götterverehrung in Finland," _Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen_, XII, 307-16.

[550] As proposed by K. Krohn in a publication of the Finnish Academy at
Helsingfors which I have not been able to consult, but as to which see
Setälä in _Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen_, XIII, 311, 424. Setälä accepts
the derivation from _beggwu-_, rejecting an alternative derivation of Pekko
from a Finnish root.

[551] This is proposed by J. J. Mikkola in a note appended to the article
by K. Krohn, "Sampsa Pellervoinen < Njordr, Freyr?" in _Finnisch-Ugrische
Forschungen_, IV, 231-48. See also Olrik, "Forårsmyten hos Finnerne," in
_Danske Studier_, 1907, pp. 62-4.

[552] See note by K. Krohn, _Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen_, VI, 105.

[553] See above, p. 87, and M. J. Eisen, "Ueber den Pekokultus bei den
Setukesen," _Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen_, VI, 104-11.

[554] See M. Olsen, _Hedenske Kultminder i Norske Stedsnavne_, Christiania
_Videnskapsselskapets Skrifter_, II, 2, 1914, pp. 227-8.

[555] See above, p. 84.

[556] Mannhardt, _Mythologische Forschungen_, 332.

[557] In view of the weight laid upon this custom by Olrik as illustrating
the story of Sceaf, it is necessary to note that it seems to be confined to
parts of England bordering on the "Celtic fringe." See above, pp. 81,
_etc._ Olrik and Olsen quote it as Kentish (see _Heltedigtning_, II, 252)
but this is certainly wrong. Frazer attributes the custom of "crying the
mare" to Hertfordshire and Shropshire (_Spirits of the Corn_, I, 292 =
_Golden Bough_, 3rd edit., VII, 292). In this he is following Brand's
_Popular Antiquities_ (1813, I, 443; 1849, II, 24; also Carew Hazlitt,
1905, I, 157). But Brand's authority is Blount's _Glossographia_, 1674, and
Blount says _Herefordshire_.

[558] Brand, _Popular Antiquities_, 1849, II, 24.

[559] Frazer in the _Folk-Lore Journal_, VII, 1889, pp. 50, 51; _Adonis,
Attis and Osiris_, I, 237.

[560] Frazer, _Adonis, Attis and Osiris_, I, 238 (_Golden Bough_, 3rd

[561] Frazer, _Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild_, I, 143-4.

[562] Frazer in the _Folk-Lore Journal_, VII, 1889, pp. 50, 51.

[563] Mannhardt, _Forschungen_, 317.

[564] Frazer, _Spirits of the Corn_, I, 138.

[565] Mannhardt, 323; Fraser, _Adonis_, I, 238.

[566] Mannhardt, 330.

[567] Mannhardt, 24; Frazer, _Adonis_, I, 238.

[568] Frazer, _Adonis_, I, 237.

[569] Frazer, _Spirits of the Corn_, I, 217.

[570] See Björkman in _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXX, 1919, p. 23. In a similar
way Sceaf appears twice in William of Malmesbury, once as Sceaf and once as

[571] Vol. LII, p. 145.

[572] _MS Cott. Vesp. B. XXIV_, fol. 32 (Evesham Cartulary). See Birch,
_Cart. Sax._ I, 176 (No. 120); Kemble, _Cod. Dipl._ III, 376. Kemble prints
_þæt æft_ for _þ[=a] æft_ (MS "[=þ] æft"). For examples of "[=þ]" for
_þ[=a]_, see _Ælfrics Grammatik_, herausg. Zupitza, 1880; 38, 3; 121, 4;
291, 1.

[573] There are two copies, one of the tenth and one of the eleventh
century, among the Crawford Collection in the Bodleian. See Birch, _Cart.
Sax._ III, ..7 (No. 1331); Napier and Stevenson, _The Crawford Collection_
(_Anecdota Oxoniensia_), 1895, pp. 1, 3, 50.

[574] _MS Cotton Ch. VIII_, 16. See Birch, _Cart. Sax._ II, 363 (No. 677);
Kemble, _Cod. Dipl._ II, 172.

[575] A nearly contemporary copy: _Westminster Abbey Charters_, III. See
Birch, _Cart. Sax._ III, 189 (No. 994), and W. B. Sanders, _Ord. Surv.
Facs._ II, plate III.

[576] A fourteenth to fifteenth century copy preserved at Wells Cathedral
(_Registr. Album_, f. 289 _b_). See Birch, _Cart. Sax._ III, 223 (No.

[577] _MS Cotton Aug. II_, 6. See Birch, _Cart. Sax._ III, 588 (No. 1282).

[578] _Brit. Mus. Stowe Chart._ No. 32. See Birch, _Cart. Sax._ III, 605
(No. 1290).

[579] Cf. the _Victoria History_, Middlesex, II, p. 1.

[580] "_Grendeles gate_ har väl snarast varit någon naturbildning t. ex.
ett trångt bergpass eller kanske en grotta": C. W. von Sydow, in an
excellent article on _Grendel i anglosaxiska ortnamn_, in _Nordiska
Ortnamn: Hyllningsskrift tillägnad A. Noreen_, Upsala, 1914, pp. 160-4.

[581] Près du _Neckersgat molen_, il y avait jadis, antérieurement aux
guerres de religion, des maisons entourées d'eau et appelées _de hoffstede
te Neckersgate_: Wauters (A.), _Histoire des Environs de Bruxelles_, 1852,
III, 646.

[582] Peg Powler lived in the Tees, and devoured children who played on the
banks, especially on Sundays: Peg o' Nell, in the Ribble, demanded a life
every seven years. See Henderson (W.), _Notes on the Folk-Lore of the
Northern Counties of England_, 1879 (_Folk-Lore Society_), p. 265.

[583] See Kisch (G.), _Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der siebenbürgischen und
moselfränkischluxemburgischen Mundart, nebst
siebenbürgischniederrheinischem Ortsund Familiennamen-verzeichnis_ (vol.
XXXIII, 1 of the _Archiv des Vereins f. siebenbürg_. _Landeskunde_, 1905).

[584] See _Grindel_ in Förstemann (E.), _Altdeutsches Namenbuch_, Dritte
Aufl., herausg. Jellinghaus, II, 1913, and in Fischer (H.), _Schwäbisches
Wörterbuch_, III, 1911 (nevertheless Rooth legitimately calls attention to
the names recorded by Fischer in which _Grindel_ is connected with _bach_,
_teich_ and _moos_).

[585] There is an account of this by G. Kisch in the _Festgabe zur Feier
der Einweihung des neuen evang. Gymnasial Bürger- und
Elementar-schulgebäudes in Besztercze (Bistritz) am 7 Oct. 1911_; a
document which I have not been able to procure.

[586] Such a connection is attempted by W. Benary in Herrig's _Archiv_,
CXXX, 154. Alternative suggestions, which would exclude any connection with
the Grendel of _Beowulf_, are made by Klaeber, in _Archiv_, CXXXI, 427.

[587] A very useful summary of the different etymologies proposed is made
by Rooth in _Anglia, Beiblatt_, XXVIII (1917), 335-8.

[588] So Skeat, "On the significance of the monster Grendel," _Journal of
Philology_, Cambridge, XV (1886), p. 123; Laistner, _Rätsel der Sphinx_,
1889, p. 23; Holthausen, in his edition.

[589] So Weinhold in the _SB. der k. Akad. Wien, Phil.-Hist. Classe_, XXVI,

[590] Cf. Gollancz, _Patience_, 1913, Glossary. For _grindill_ as one of
the synonyms for "storm," see _Edda Snorra Sturlusonar_, Hafniae, 1852, II,
486, 569.

[591] This will be found in several of the vocabularies of Low German
dialects published by the _Verein für Niederdeutsche Sprachforschung_.

[592] See _grand_ in Falk and Torp, _Etymologisk Ordbog_, Kristiania,

[593] See Feist, _Etymol. Wörterbuch der Gotischen Sprache_, Halle, 1909;

[594] With Grendel, thus explained, Rooth would connect the "Earth man" of
the fairy-tale "Dat Erdmänneken" (see below, p. 370) and the name
_Sandhaug_, _Sandey_, which clings to the Scandinavian _Grettir-_ and
_Orm-_stories. We have seen that a _sandhaug_ figures also in one of the
Scandinavian cognates of the folk-tale (see above, p. 67). These
resemblances may be noted, though it would be perilous to draw deductions
from them.

[595] _Schweizerisches Idiotikon_, II, 1885, p. 776.

[596] See above, pp. 43, _etc._; below, p. 311.

[597] Duignan, _Warwickshire Place Names_, p. 22. Duignan suggests the same
etymology for _Beoshelle_, _beos_ being "the Norman scribe's idea of the
gen. plu." This, however, is very doubtful.

[598] _Engl. Stud._ LII, 177.

[599] _Heltedigtning_, II, 255. See above, pp. 81-7.

[600] Binz in _P.B.B._ XX, 148; Chadwick, _Origin_, 282. So Clarke,
_Sidelights_, 128. Cf. Heusler in _A.f.d. A._ XXX, 31.

[601] _A.-S. Chronicle._

[602] _Historia Brittonum._

[603] "hrædlan" (gen.), _Beowulf_, 454.

[604] "hrædles," _Beowulf_, 1485.

[605] _A.-S. Chronicle._

[606] _Beowulf_, Ethelwerd.

[607] Geata, Geta, _Historia Brittonum_; Asser; _MS Cott. Tib. A. VI;
Textus Roffensis_.

[608] _A.-S. Chronicle._

[609] Charter of 931.

[610] _A.-S. Chronicle_, Ethelwerd.

[611] _Origin_, 273.

[612] _Origin_, 282.

[613] Some O.H.G. parallels will be found in _Z.f.d.A._ XII, 260. The weak
form _G[=e]ata_, Mr Stevenson argues, is due to Asser's attempt to