XLIII

THE BURNING OF BEOWULF

          The folk of the Geatmen got him then ready
          A pile on the earth strong for the burning,
          Behung with helmets, hero-knights' targets,
          And bright-shining burnies, as he begged they should have them;
5       Then wailing war-heroes their world-famous chieftain,
          Their liegelord beloved, laid in the middle.
          Soldiers began then to make on the barrow
          The largest of dead-fires: dark o'er the vapor
          The smoke-cloud ascended, the sad-roaring fire,
10      Mingled with weeping (the wind-roar subsided)
          Till the building of bone it had broken to pieces,
          Hot in the heart. Heavy in spirit
          They mood-sad lamented the men-leader's ruin;
          And mournful measures the much-grieving widow
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          The men of the Weders made accordingly
          A hill on the height, high and extensive,
          Of sea-going sailors to be seen from a distance,
          And the brave one's beacon built where the fire was,
25      In ten-days' space, with a wall surrounded it,
          As wisest of world-folk could most worthily plan it.
          They placed in the barrow rings and jewels,
          All such ornaments as erst in the treasure
          War-mooded men had won in possession:
30      The earnings of earlmen to earth they entrusted,
          The gold to the dust, where yet it remaineth
          As useless to mortals as in foregoing eras.
          'Round the dead-mound rode then the doughty-in-battle,
          Bairns of all twelve of the chiefs of the people,
35      More would they mourn, lament for their ruler,
          Speak in measure, mention him with pleasure,
          Weighed his worth, and his warlike achievements
          Mightily commended, as 'tis meet one praise his
          Liegelord in words and love him in spirit,
40      When forth from his body he fares to destruction.
          So lamented mourning the men of the Geats,
          Fond-loving vassals, the fall of their lord,
          Said he was kindest of kings under heaven,
          Gentlest of men, most winning of manner,
45      Friendliest to folk-troops and fondest of honor.