Saturday, 23 March 2013

Speak like a Saxon: faint praise

From the poem Beowulf... Ecgðeow is a praiseworthy warrior. Why? He's brave and renowned in battle and all the rest of it. But what marks him out for particular praise is this: he wasn't guilty of friendly fire. He successfully managed not to take out his own side:

nealles druncne slog heorðgeneatas

["nay-all-es drunk-nuh slog hay-orth-yuh-nay-at-as"]  

He didn't at all slay his heath-companions when he was drunk.

Great. Well done,  Ecgðeow!

(ll.2179-2180)

No comments: