Treasure Island

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

Beowulf's Expedition To Heort


Thus then, much care-worn,
The son of Healfden
Sorrowed evermore,
Nor might the prudent hero
His woes avert.
The war was too hard,
Too loath and longsome,
That on the people came,
Dire wrath and grim,
Of night-woes the worst.
This from home heard
Higelac's Thane,
Good among the Goths,
Grendel's deeds.
He was of mankind
In might the strongest,
At that day
Of this life,
Noble and stalwart.
He bade him a sea-ship,
A goodly one, prepare.
Quoth he, the war-king,
Over the swan's road,
Seek he would
The mighty monarch,
Since he wanted men.
For him that journey
His prudent fellows
Straight made ready,
Those that loved him.
They excited their souls,
The omen they beheld.
Had the good-man
Of the Gothic people
Champions chosen,
Of those that keenest
He might find,
Some fifteen men.
The sea-wood sought he.
The warrior showed,
Sea-crafty man!
The land-marks,
And first went forth.
The ship was on the waves,
Boat under the cliffs.
The barons ready
To the prow mounted.
The streams they whirled
The sea against the sands.
The chieftains bore
On the naked breast
Bright ornaments,
War-gear, Goth-like.
The men shoved off,
Men on their willing way,
The bounden wood.
Then went over the sea-waves,
Hurried by the wind,
The ship with foamy neck,
Most like a sea-fowl,
Till about one hour
Of the second day
The curved prow
Had passed onward
So that the sailors
The land saw,
The shore-cliffs shining,
Mountains steep,
And broad sea-noses.
Then was the sea-sailing
Of the Earl at an end.
Then up speedily
The Weather people
On the land went,
The sea-bark moored,
Their mail-sarks shook,
Their war-weeds.
God thanked they,
That to them the sea-journey
Easy had been.
Then from the wall beheld
The warden of the Scyldings,
He who the sea-cliffs
Had in his keeping,
Bear o'er the balks
The bright shields,
The war-weapons speedily.
Him the doubt disturbed
In his mind's thought,
What these men might be.
Went then to the shore,
On his steed riding,
The Thane of Hrothgar.
Before the host he shook
His warden's-staff in hand,
In measured words demanded:
'What men are ye
War-gear wearing,
Host in harness,
Who thus the brown keel
Over the water-street
Leading come
Hither over the sea?
I these boundaries
As shore-warden hold,
That in the Land of the Danes
Nothing loathsome
With a ship-crew
Scathe us might. . . .
Ne'er saw I mightier
Earl upon earth
Than is your own,
Hero in harness.
Not seldom this warrior
Is in weapons distinguished;
Never his beauty belies him,
His peerless countenance!
Now would I fain
Your origin know,
Ere ye forth
As false spies
Into the Land of the Danes
Farther fare.
Now, ye dwellers afar-off!
Ye sailors of the sea!
Listen to my
One-fold thought.
Quickest is best
To make known
Whence your coming may be.'

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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