Beowulf 评价人数不足
读书笔记 全书
Ecthelion

与The Fall of Arthur、The Story of Kullervo和The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun相比,这本书要长得多,也更不易读。书中除了托尔金翻译的散文体《贝奥武甫》,还有大量评注,涉及对古英语原文的分析和讨论(词义、句意、语境,有时甚至要考虑流传和抄录过程中可能出现的错误,以及笔录者夹带的私货……),虽然不时也有生动有趣的内容(比如第246页老头把贝奥武甫的说辞“翻译”成当代说法),但整体看来对外行是个挑战。好在后面的Sellic Spell和The Lay of Beowulf两部分都通俗易懂,因此阅读体验很像翻越一座不高不低的山,读的时候固然不轻松,但不至于不知所云,读完还很有成就感。

托尔金是在英王爱德华中学就读的时候首次接触古英语和《贝奥武甫》的,从此一发不可收。实际上,对古英语诗《贝奥武甫》的研究堪称托尔金最著名的学术成就之一,就连最不赞成他观点的人也承认他与众不同,“洞察入微,表述优美”。他1926年就完成了对这首诗的翻译,而在1936年,他在讲座“Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics”里公开表达了自己对《贝奥武甫》的研究观点。《托尔金传》一书用非常浅显易懂的方式概括了他的看法:“托尔金在讲座中说,《贝奥武甫》不仅仅是各种混乱文学传统的大杂烩(其他评论家常常如此形容),也不是供学术考察的文本,而是一部诗歌。他用富有特色的比喻描述了从前的文学评论家是怎么对待《贝奥武甫》诗人的作品的:‘有人继承了一片田地,地里有一堆古老的石头,它们曾经属于一座更古老的房屋。这堆古老的石头里有些已经被用来建造他自己住的房子,它距离他祖辈的老宅不远。他从余下的石头中取了一些,造了一座塔。但他的朋友们来了,立刻就发现这些石头曾经属于一座更古老的建筑(他们并没费事爬梯上塔)。于是,他们费了很大力气把塔推倒,想找到隐藏的雕花和铭文,或弄清这个人的祖先是从哪里找到建材的。有人怀疑地下有煤矿,于是开始挖掘,干脆把石头忘到了脑后。他们全都说:“这座塔真是太有意思了。”但他们还说(在推倒它之后):“它可真是一团糟。”我们可能以为,那人的后代会想想他是为了什么建塔,但就连他们也在发牢骚:“他可真是个怪人!想想吧,他用这些古老的石头,居然造了一座荒谬的塔!他为什么不修复那座老宅呢?他真是分不出轻重缓急。”但是,从那座塔顶,那个人当年可以眺望大海。’托尔金在讲座中呼吁,重建那座高塔。”(J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, Humphrey Carpenter)

“但是,从那座塔顶,那个人当年可以眺望大海。”

老头真是擅长用平平淡淡的一句话来表达极致的浪漫。

至于时至今日,本书的学术价值如何,正如小托爷爷在前言里所说:“我曾经在《齐格德与古德露恩的传奇》前言中说:‘本书性质使然,不能用当代研究的主流观点来评判。更确切地说,它旨在展示、记录家父在他那个时代,对一种他推崇备至的文学传统的看法。’同样的说法也适用于本书。”(In my foreword to The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún I said: ‘Of its nature it is not to be judged by views prevailing in contemporary scholarship. It is intended rather as a presentation and record of his perceptions, in his own day, of a literature that he greatly admired.’ The same could be said of this book.)

读者确实常常能感受到托尔金对《贝奥武甫》的推崇。据《托尔金传》的记述,后来他在“贝奥武甫”这门课上教过的学生人人都记得,他第一堂课会默不作声地走进教室,瞪着听众,然后突然开始用洪亮的嗓音诵读开篇的古英语诗句,从而让学生们深刻体会到《贝奥武甫》首先是一首富有感染力的史诗。W.H. Auden也听过他的课,多年后他给托尔金写信说:“我想我一直都没有告诉你,听你背诵《贝奥武甫》对我这个本科生来说是多么难忘的经历。那正是甘道夫之声。”

本书还收录了一份托尔金用古英语写的Sellic Spell。小托评论道:“我觉得最好不提供译文,因为要是不想误导读者,就得用逐字逐句的刻板风格去翻译,而我认为,这份文稿的价值主要在于展示家父是多么精通这门古代语言。”(I have not thought it desirable to provide a translation, because unless one translated it in a painfully literal fashion it would be misleading; and the interest of this text lies chiefly, in my view, in its demonstration of my father’s fluency in the ancient tongue.)这让人不由得想起《中洲历史》里那些老头假AElfwine之手而写的古英语《精灵宝钻》手稿。如此一而再再而三,我只能说:小托爷爷,令尊精通古英语这事,不管别人信不信,反正我是信了……

1. Preface

...also at the end of the book I have printed the two versions of his Lay of Beowulf, a rendering of the story in the form of a ballad to be sung. His singing of the Lay remains for me a clear memory after more than eighty years, my first acquaintance with Beowulf and the golden hall of Heorot.

“此外,在本书末尾,我刊出了他把故事改编成适合吟唱的歌谣形式而写出的两版《贝奥武甫之歌》。虽然八十余年已经过去了,但他吟唱歌谣的场面我记忆犹新,那是我与贝奥武甫和鹿厅金殿的初次邂逅。”——小托爷爷,您真是太擅长克制的煽情了TAT

2. Introduction to the Translation

这部分是小托写的,主要介绍托尔金在翻译这首长诗时的考虑,其中最重要的一条是文体的选择——他把诗歌译成了散文。不过,“他在翻译时尽可能贴近古英语诗一字一句的准确含义,同时仍多少保留了原诗的韵律,但要是翻译成‘头韵体诗’,准确度是远远不能跟这相比的。” (make a translation as close as he could to the exact meaning in detail of the Old English poem, far closer than could ever be attained by translation into ‘alliterative verse’, but nonetheless with some suggestion of the rhythm of the original.)

3. Beowulf

这部分是诗歌的翻译,将来我一定要对照冯象先生从古英语翻译的中文版再读一遍。另外,可以明显看出它对《魔戒》中洛汗的语言和习俗的影响。

Fate oft saveth a man not doomed to die, when his valour fails not.
Now for a little while thy valour is in flower; but soon shall it be that sickness or the sword rob thee of thy might, or fire’s embrace, or water’s wave, or bite of blade, or flight of spear, or dreadful age; or the flashing of thine eyes shall fail and fade; very soon ’twill come that thee, proud knight, shall death lay low.
Then about the tomb rode warriors valiant, sons of princes, twelve men in all, who would their woe bewail, their king lament, a dirge upraising, that man praising, honouring his prowess and his mighty deeds, his worth esteeming — even as is meet that a man should his lord beloved in words extol, in heart cherish, when forth he must from the raiment of flesh be taken far away.

4. Notes on the text of the Translation & Commentary

最大感想是:要是熟悉古英语就好了,一定能读出更多韵味。

The symbolism and emotional connotations of mead and ale are very different in Old English verse, especially what survives of heroic and courtly verse, from the modern associations. ‘Scyld denied the mead-benches to men’, i.e. he destroyed the kings of lesser tribes and their halls. [See the note to 627, p. 278.]
rád is the noun of action to rídan ‘ride’ and means riding — i.e. ‘riding on horseback; moving as a horse does (or a chariot), or as a ship does at anchor’; and hence ‘a journey on horseback’ (or more seldom by ship), ‘a course (however vagrant)’.
There is a statement in Old English that a hron was about seven times the size of a seal, and a hwæl about seven times the size of a hron.

The oddity of the appearance of the rare name Beowulf given to two distinct persons in this one poem can only be explained as: (a) mere accident: these two characters in tradition just happened to have the same name, and the author could not help himself; (b) error: the names became assimilated by scribes, since the poet made the poem; (c) deliberate: the poet gave this name to the two characters, or assimilated their names, on purpose: for some object of his own, or because of some theory he held.

——噗,上面这段我倒是读出了与HoMe系列同出一辙的无力感……

The second, the fall of a last defender of a people’s liberty, leaving them without hope.
Beowulf the bear-man, the giant-killer comes from a different world: fairy-story.
Scedeland contains the Old English form of the very ancient name seen now in the name Scandinavia. Its original form was Skaðin- (cf. Old Norse Skaði the giantess who went on snowshoes).
The Old English form was Scedeníg (* 1686; Sceden-isle 1415), the Old Norse Skáney (< Skaðney), whence modern Swedish Skåne.
The doctrine is that a young man (a prince) should already in his father’s lifetime begin the practice of that prime virtue of Northern kings, generosity, by giving gifts to loyal knights — gifts which are still technically in his father’s bearm.
The wilgesíþas are the ‘beloved companions’, the members of the king’s Round Table, the knights of his household or comitatus, who stand by his side at need; léode is more general: chief men, people: they follow him and render service.
One may say briefly that ship-burials of chieftains Norse and English did occur in historical fact (as revealed both by tradition and archaeology); and that the dating is reasonably sound. We cannot of course ‘date’ the fictitious Scyld — but the dramatic time of Beowulf is the sixth century, with a background of dimmer and older traditions of the fifth century (to which Healfdene, Ongentheow &c. belong), and that is near enough in agreement with archaeological dating of ship-burials.
The author of Beowulf was not a heathen, but he wrote in a time when the pagan past was still very near: so near that not only some facts were remembered, but moods and motives also.

People who dug into graves and carried off the treasures dedicated to the dead were still in those days called thieves and not archaeologists.

——这……您对考古到底有什么误会……

A mood in which what we should call the ritual of a departure over the sea whose further shore was unknown, and an actual belief in a magical land or other world located ‘over the sea’, can hardly be distinguished — It was a murnende mód filled with doubt and darkness.
the sea took him, and the ship bore him unsteered far away into the uttermost West out of the sight or thought of men.
The significance of much that follows is lost if we do not realize that to put Grendel into Heorot is like telling a ghost-story localized in Camelot (in romantic effect) and in the Tower of London (in historicity). And if we do not realize that the Danish house was allied with the mortal enemies of the Geats: with the Swedes.
We may at least conclude that a commanding figure in ancient Danish legend was ‘Halfdane’, and that there is a connexion between the Norse and English traditions; indeed they both have the same historical basis.

It is characteristic of our poet (and of most Anglo-Saxon poets who have left any traces) to put in this dark note of doom immediately after telling of the hall’s new-built splendour.

——所以我们要谅解Finrod的乌鸦嘴属性,这是职业需要!……

The general sense is clear: Heorot was still glorious, but it was doomed to be burned. All the history of Heorot was in the mind of poet and audience; but the poet was conscious of dramatic time (as throughout).
orc is found glossing Latin Orcus [Hell, Death].
This payment was called wergild: each man according to his status had a price or wer.
If that was refused or unobtainable, or the injury too great, honour required revenge.
beorht means ‘bright, clear of light and sound, loud or shining’.
Outside Old English we have Old High German helliruna ‘necromancia’, and the extremely interesting though corruptly preserved Gothic word, half-Latinized, haliurunnas in Jordanes’ history of the Goths, which he says means magas mulieres
Beowulf is a work, as we have it, of a single hand and mind — comparable to a play (say King Lear) by Shakespeare: thus it may have varied sources;
But it makes a unified artistic impression: the impress of a single imagination, and the ring of a single poetic style. The minor ‘discrepancies’ detract little from this, as a rule.
The poem most closely connected with Beowulf is Andreas — a missionary romance. Beowulf is not a missionary allegory;
Points of contact between pagan belief and Scripture (thus especially the Old Testament which told him the truth about Man before Christ) particularly interested him.
cunnan became more and more limited to the sense ‘know how to do (a thing)’, whence our ‘can’; while gecnawan ‘recognize’ slowly extended its sphere, until in modern English it covers both cunnan and witan,
‘All that glitters is not gold’ requires bið in Old English if it is a proverb: ne bið eal þe glitnað gold.
In Old Norse slíðr is not only an adjective, but also the name of the river that flows about the realm of Hel, Goddess of the dark underworld.
It would seem likely that the word retained a ‘heathen’ flavour in Old English, and meant ‘devilish’.
If Hrothgar had offered blót to Fréa in his distress, and had then seen a young champion arrive unexpectedly, he could still have well exclaimed Hine hálig god ús onsende in the original pagan material.
In its own style and diction Beowulf is not an obscure poem, far from it: it is on the whole, once you know the words, easier to read than other Old English verse.
grétan means fundamentally ‘hail, address, greet’, but in Old English, through the usages ‘accost, address oneself to’ it may be used (as a litotes) for ‘assail’; or it may come to mean or imply ‘set hand to, touch’ (as in gomenwudu gréted *1065, ‘the harp was touched to mirth’ 868–9).
it seems clear that grétan is used in two slightly different senses: to address (approach), and to lay hands on, touch.
myne thus means ‘thinking of (a person or thing)— intention, will— recollection’.
witan in Old English can be used with verbal nouns in the sense ‘know, feel’: as witan ege ‘feel fear, fear’. So witan myne could be taken to mean ‘have thought or memory (of).’

no doubt Grendel could have sat in the king’s throne and gnawed bones there

——就不必说得这么直白了……

The suddenness of the shift is, I think, due to the fact that this little couplet (dealing with grace and the position of heathens with regard to God) is an interpolation or elaboration probably by the same hand as altered the following passage.
This habit of ‘understatement’ (because it may become a habit, and that is a ‘linguistic idiom’ no longer having any special effect) is very common in Old English.
Both these passages illustrate two points: one, that the ‘meaning’ of the poet cannot be arrived at by a mere bald literal translation, or by warming it up with modern diction, without appreciating the idiom; and two, that we constantly need to know more than we do
when the text is peculiarly hard to interpret for one reason or another and where competing emendations lie thick on the ground.
fyrwyt (better spelt firwit) is usually glossed ‘curiosity, inquisitiveness’
It had two fundamental materials. ‘Historial’ legend and Fairy Story. The ‘historial legend’ is derived ultimately from traditions about real men, real events, real policies, in actual geographical lands— but it has passed through the minds of poets. The Fairy Story (or Folk-tale if you prefer that name) has at any rate been altered: for in this case it has been welded into the ‘history’.
Behind the stern young pride of Beowulf, on the surface credible enough, lies the roughness of the uncouth fairy-tale champion thrusting his way into the house. Behind the courtesies (tinged with irony) of Hrothgar lies the incredulity of the master of the haunted house; behind his lament for his vanished knights lurk still the warnings given to frighten off the new-comer, with stories of how everyone who has tried to deal with the monster has come to a bad end.
To which book does he belong? The Book of Kings, or Tales of Wonder? It is very difficult to decide— for Unferth is the actual link between the two worlds. He is balanced precisely between them. My own view is that Unferth is a composite character— in this tale a figure produced by the contact of the two elements: courtly and fairy story. He is thus very similar to Beowulf himself, and like him is not (evidently) entirely fictitious.
Unferth touches off the spark of Beowulf’s passionate (but not savage!) nature, and brings him to the point of a public vow to challenge Grendel at once. From that he cannot recede. More, we now really meet and know Beowulf and his character. Steadfast, loyal, chivalrous (according to the sentiment of the author’s time), but with a smouldering fire.

Real kings have ‘only daughters’; and this only daughter was not quite of the kind frequently met in fairy-tale, the only daughter who is also an only child, with whom the lucky suitor eventually obtains the kingdom too.

——捶地

To walk in with spear and shield was like walking in nowadays with your hat on.
Swords of course also were dangerous; but they were evidently regarded as part of a knight’s attire, and he would not in any case be willing to lay aside his sword, a thing of great cost and often an heirloom.

But against this danger very severe laws existed protecting the ‘peace’ of a king’s hall. It was death in Scandinavia to cause a brawl in a king’s hall. Among the laws of the West Saxon king Ine is found: Gif hwá gefeohte on cyninges húse, síe hé scyldig ealles his ierfes ond síe on cyninges dóme hwæðer hé líf áge þe náge. ‘If any man fight in the king’s house, he shall forfeit all his estate, and it shall be for the king to judge whether he be put to death or not.’

——嗯,的确是常见规矩,比如Doriath。

The word hádor is an adjective meaning ‘clear, bright’, nowhere else used as a noun.
The Germanic sarwa- is of unknown or uncertain ultimate etymology, but evidently meant skill (the skill of a smith or artificer), any device which required skill to plan and make.

And even if Beowulf had been milder, it would still be natural for the men in the hall to give the strangers the most horrible picture of Grendel and his ferocious deeds, for the saving of their faces.

——喷

I would add finally that Óðinn/ Wóden was evidently originally a wind- or storm-god. We note that the Géatas are called Weder-Géatas or simply Wederas: Wind-Géatas, or Wind-folk; while the only plausible (and indeed clearly correct) etymology of the hrǽd/ hreið element is to connect it with Old English and Old Norse hríð ‘storm’.

Warriors and champions were, of course, expensive. They ate and drank much.

——喷

Humour is not obvious in Beowulf— it would indeed be out of place if obtrusive— but a careful reading will often detect irony in what is said, either within the tale itself or appreciable by its hearers.

——顿时觉得,原来企图从字里行间读出深意的人不止我们=v=

He replies, in modern terms: ‘My dear Beowulf! How good of you to come to this country, where we once had the honour of receiving your father and helping him in his troubles. Some may remember his killing of Heatholaf. Your people were glad to get rid of him after that, and he took refuge here. But that, of course, was long ago, when I had only recently succeeded my dear brother. I settled the matter at some cost of treasure, and your father swore allegiance to me. As for Grendel, it is painful to be reminded of the shame he has put me to. But rumours can hardly have equalled the truth: he has killed hosts of men, many of them knights of great fame and courage. Over and over again all that has been left of them in the morning has been pools of blood in the hall. Well, well: take a seat now, and something to eat and drink. (It is not night yet.) In due time you can turn your mind to adding to your triumphs— if you are keen to try it.’

——都这么说话多好啊哈哈哈哈

He had a traditional temper of mind and behaviour already attached to him (as rough discourtesy was attached to Kay): envious, intelligent, but malicious and ‘worm-tongued’.
We are, or at any rate I am, not familiar, as actor or onlooker, with savage infighting with a sword. Nor indeed with swords in their variety. But it does not take a great effort of imagination to get some idea of Beowulf’s predicament.
Fate oft saveth a man not doomed to die, when his valour fails not; *572– 3 Wyrd oft nereð unfǽgne eorl, þonne his ellen déah
emotionally and in thought (so far as that was ever clear) this is basically an assertion not only of the worth in itself of the human will (and courage), but also of its practical effect as a possibility, that is, actually a denial of absolute Fate.
Basically ellen referred to the competitive, combative spirit of proud individuals.
make no effort to save themselves; or in some cases act wildly and irrationally, becoming ‘fey’,
the essential thing that made a gidd was probably the use of a reciting tone, which we should probably call ‘sing-song’ rather than ‘singing’— rhetoric (‘ making a speech’), recital (of a tale), and in later times reading aloud (as e.g. in vernacular addresses or sermons) were probably far more alike then than now.
The word ‘esquire’ is derived from Latin scútum ‘shield’ (scútárius ‘shield-bearer’ > Old French esquier), which with the development of heraldry, and of panoplied knights on horseback, became both a more personal and symbolic thing, and also larger and heavier.
The word gewife is a verbal derivative, of which the original meaning was ‘product of weaving (together)’. It is only found, however, as seen above in the figurative sense of ‘design, fate, fortune’.
Let us take one prime point: weaving. Though related activities, weaving and spinning are quite distinct operations (of wholly different imaginative suggestion). What is more: weaving needs a more or less elaborate machine (loom) and tools; it was not a specially female operation— it remained largely a masculine craft down to Bottom and beyond. The picture of three old sisters sitting at a loom (or three looms?) to determine the length of a man’s life cannot have been a primitive notion. On the other hand spinning (the production of threads) was far more ancient, and was specially associated with women (as still the ‘distaff side’ and ‘spinster’ remind us).
Latin Parca was originally singular. According to Walde, with probability, it is the name of a divinity concerned with birth (parere)— the ancestress, so to say, of the fairy godmother at christenings!
Physical courage (and sheer strength of body), pride and a fierce individualism which would brook no humiliation, and the duty (and pleasure) of revenge, were the chief features of ‘the man of honour’.
Fate and glory never have, of course, been completely dethroned, but it is a matter of degree.
But God is merciful. And to you, now young and eager, death will also come one day, but you have hope of Heaven. If you use your gifts as God wills. Brúc ealles wel!
A reward (which he can hardly have expected) was granted him: that his work should be the major piece of Old English verse that has survived the wrecks of That his work cannot now be read at all without trouble, nor understood and valued in detail without sustained effort, is due under God to wyrd, the doom of men to live briefly in a world where all withers and is forgotten. The English language has changed— but not necessarily improved!— in a thousand years. Wyrd has swept away to oblivion nearly all its kin; but Beowulf survives: for a time, for as long as learning keeps any honour in its land. And how long will that be? God ána wát.
The Sigemund story survives as a part of the most renowned and long-lived Germanic legend— the Völsunga saga / Niebelungenlied complex— and there is therefore plenty still left to invite (and perplex) comparison.
But it seems to me impossible to believe that it is accidental: that Sigemund, as a dragon-slayer, was made the chief figure of comparison, without any reference to the end of Beowulf (either as planned by our poet, or as already enshrined in legend).
It is, however, probable that the Völsung story (Wælsinges gewin *877, 712– 3) had not yet been connected with the Burgundian saga; possible, that Sigemund had not yet been provided with a son, other than Fitela.
In the Völsunga saga, a ‘cento’, made of different sources and different lays, one is conscious of this division.
wrecca means in origin an ‘exile’, a man driven out from the land of his home— for any reason: crime, collapse or conquest of his people or princely line, economic pressure or the desire for more opportunity, and often (if he was of high birth) dynastic struggles among members of the ‘royal family’.
It is possible that praise of the victor’s mother was an old element in the folk-legend of the ‘strong man’ and has not been fully assimilated to his historical background.
Hell was a native word. Punishment of the wicked is certainly contemplated in Old Norse (more or less) ‘heathen mythology’, and the poem Völuspá reserves a place of torment for them; though Hell, like Hades, was the ‘hidden land’ of all the dead— apart from the Odinic conception of Valhöll.
human works enlarged and endowed with added power: éacen; things of wonder and magic.
the fusion (at any rate, that which we find in Beowulf) is certainly not that of a pagan who remembers a few items from early sermons. It is the product, as I have said elsewhere, of deep thought and emotion.
I do not doubt that Cynewulf knew and admired Beowulf and echoed it, and I am perfectly certain that he did not in general revise or rewrite it: the style, temper, and mind are quite different from his.
The First Part depicts the rise of Beowulf, his emergence as a full hæleþ: his coming of age, and acquisition of blǽd, fame and fortune, glorified by the strength and hope of youth.
The contrast of Youth and Age— Age and death the inevitable sequel of Youth and triumph seen in the Rise (part I) and Fall (part II) of Beowulf is made far more vivid by thus setting Youth before Age for its judgement.
That his wife was called Þrýþ (or Þrýðe), Latinized later as Drida. Of her the original story was of the Atalanta type: the perilous maiden who destroys all weakling suitors, but is at last conquered by a strong man, and then becomes a good wife.
Arthur is usually young and eager for novelty. Victoria becomes indelibly fixed by the great act of living and reigning so long as an old and widowed queen. In ‘historial legend’ of the Anglo-Saxon kind any young knight who visited the court of England within, say twenty or thirty years of her death would be likely to find upon the throne a small but venerable figure in black, with white hair. Hygelac on the other hand died in the field as a still vigorous warrior, leaving his heir a minor.
(Ecgtheow has replaced Eofor and caused duplication of the ‘only daughter’.)
And it is told in this way precisely so that Beowulf should show kingly sagacity and fitness for rule, not merely great physical strength.
The statement that Heorot had been so well builded that the Danes thought that nothing but fire could destroy it (635–9, *778–82) is also probably an allusion to the fact that tradition recorded its final destruction by burning.
Ingeld’s name was probably pronounced Injeld, and that lays concerning him must have been extremely popular for him to be thus singled out as the typical pagan hero.
The third son of Healfdene is Halga ‘the holy’, and Hrothgar’s daughter is named after Frey ‘the lord’: Freawaru.
The note of senility and desire for peace (produced by the poet’s painting of him as an old man at the end of a long reign) must not delude us into regarding him as mere peacemaker and consolidator of an inherited power. There are many hints to the contrary. His warlike youth is alluded to (847–50, *1040–2). He had to fight to re-establish himself when he succeeded his brother Heorogar. In particular it may be noted that it was after a great victory that he set up his seat and built Heorot
precision is not to be expected when fairy-story intrudes upon historial legend.
We see thus that the allusion of Beowulf to Freawaru’s betrothal has also a chronological fitness and purpose.
Comparison of the quite independent English and Norse traditions shows that two things are common to both and therefore ‘original’: the egging of the old retainer, and the love motive.
How was the love of Ingeld and Freawaru brought about — in the story? — not in history (where the match may well have occurred, and have been purely ‘political’ on both sides). 68 Was the story here ‘romantic’: a chance meeting, a disguised prince spying out the enemy’s stronghold; or more realistic: an embassy, an invitation to Heorot under safe conduct, and a feast in which the beautiful princess captivated Ingeld’s heart, as eorlum on ende ealuwǽge bær? (* 2021, 1698–9). We cannot tell. The last is, I think, (for Old English) probable.
Fréawaru and Ingeld both bear names including a Frey-element (Frea and Ing); and that Frey fell hopelessly in love with the daughter of his enemies: Gerðr the daughter of the giant Gymir.
If no young man had ever fallen in love at first sight, and found old feuds to lie between him and his love, the god Frey would never have seen Gerðr. At the same time such a love is more likely really to arise in a people and family whose traditions are of Frey and the Vanir rather than of Odin the Goth.
Here we must suspect a fairy-tale element: that a man called ‘Handshoe’ should go into a ‘glove’ is remarkable enough (and has a Grimm sound!) — and not less so when we observe that Handshoe is only recorded here, and only here is glóf used apparently as a ‘bag’.
Indeed the Norse skáld was usually a man of a great house, and also a warrior.
The nature of Old English verse, such as that of Beowulf, makes it unlikely that it was ‘sung’ in the modern sense.
syllíc spell ‘a marvellous tale’. Not that spell means a ‘fairy story’— it means just an ‘account’, report, story.
The most successful and moving lines of Beowulf itself, *3143, 2639, to the end, are a lament. And parts of The Wanderer and The Seafarer naturally come to mind.
But the special situation of the English — a people amid the ruins, cut off from the old lands, the lands of the heroes of their ancient songs, and gradually as their knowledge grew feeling themselves indeed to be in the Dark Ages after the departure of the glory of Rome — gave a special poignancy to this feeling, and special pictorial vividness to it.
Nobody would have better understood or been better able to play Hrothgar’s part than Alfred — who won his mother’s praise for poemata saxonica — the lays of his northern heroic fathers — and yet felt himself almost alone in the Dark Age, attempting to save from the wreck of time some sparks surviving from the Golden Age, from Rome and the mighty Cáseras and builders of the fallen world.
The whole thing is sombre, tragic, sinister, curiously real. The ‘treasure’ is not just some lucky wealth that will enable the finder to have a good time, or marry the princess. It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

5. Sellic Spell

这部分是老头基于贝奥武甫的传奇改编出来的民间传说故事,不得不说,他编得相当传神,那种囧感几可乱真=v=

Title taken from the enumeration of the ‘kinds’ of stories to be recited at a feast (Beowulf *2108 ff.): gyd heroic lay ‘historical and tragic’; syllíc spell ‘strange tales’; and ‘elegiac lament’.

Once upon a time there was a King in the North of the world who had an only daughter

——已经没法严肃对待“only daughter”这回事了……

‘and I am looking for the King of the Golden Hall.’

——好眼熟……

My father was uncertain how best to render the Old English word nicor, plural niceras, commonly translated ‘water-demon’ (the word he himself used in his translation of Beowulf).

until they could see the golden roof of the king’s house shining before them in a green dale.

——这一幕也格外眼熟……

6. The Lay of Beowulf

这部分是老头改写的适合吟唱的诗歌版。

On this cover page there is also a pencilled note ‘Intended to be sung’. As mentioned in the Preface I remember his singing this ballad to me when I was seven or eight years old, in the early 1930s (but of course it may have been in existence years before that). I think it very probable that it was the first version, Beowulf and Grendel, that he sang.

“封面上还用铅笔写了一句说明——‘用于吟唱’。我在前言里已经提到,我记得他在我七八岁的时候吟唱过这首歌谣,那是上世纪三十年代的事(但在此之前它显然可能已经存在若干年了)。我认为,他唱的很可能就是第一个版本——《贝奥武甫与葛婪代 》。”——……小托爷爷,我们也很怀念他。

Far over the misty moorlands cold

——十分眼熟orz

...recently I came upon a forgotten map of The Silmarillion, very carefully drawn and coloured, signed with my initials and the date 1940, though I have no recollection now of its making.

“我最近发现了一张已被遗忘的‘精灵宝钻’地图,描绘上色都十分仔细,上面还签了我的姓名缩写和‘1940年’这个日期,然而我现在不记得画过它了。”——遗忘很正常,但不知道是不是选择性的=v=

To learn by heart from other and older members of his craft was part of the occupation of the scop or minstrel, and the þyle, ‘recorder’ of genealogies, and stories in prose.
Concerning Haldanus he wrote that the most remarkable thing about him was that ‘though he had made use of every opportunity that the times afforded for the display of his ferocity, his life was ended by old age and not by the sword.’
[In my father’s own edition of Exodus, published by Joan Turville-Petre in 1981, p. 57, he noted: ‘Lyft-edoras is probably “borders of the sky”, i.e. the horizon; eodor means both “fence (protection)” and “fenced enclosure, a court”. The phrase should therefore mean “broke through the fences of the sky”.’]
(i) harp-playing, (ii) recitation of lays, historical and tragic, (iii) telling wonder-stories [syllíc spell *2109] correctly (that is, according to received form), (iv) making an elegiac lament on the passing of youth to old age.
There is a tinge of irony here: ‘You have come feorran? [* 430; ‘from so far away’ 348] ‘Not too far for your father when he needed help. Not too far, then, to come and pay the debt.’
Flood traditions are spread all over the world. Old Norse does not preserve any — the very beautiful reference to the earth rising newly green out of the sea, and the waterfalls pouring off it, while the eagle that fishes on the mountain sides flies over it, is not quite in point: in the Völuspá, at any rate as we have it, that scene seems to refer to the future after the destruction at the end of the world.

And one ring she added. ‘This may be of service at need, my friend Beewolf,’ said she. ‘If ever hope seems to have departed, turn it on your finger and your call for help will be answered; for the ring was made by the fair folk of old.’

——又是眼熟的一幕……

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