In off the moors, down through the mist-bands / God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping

In off the moors, down through the mist-bands
God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.
The bane of the race of men roamed forth,
hunting for a prey in the high hall.
Under the cloud-murk he moved towards it
until it shone above him, a sheer keep
of fortified gold.

Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf – already the greatest translation of anything I’d have even the pretense of boldness to judge the quality of – is made even better by his doing a reading himself.

It’s missing here but I feel the version I first listened to years ago – BBC radio, I think – also included a quality conversation on the process of translation, specifically his creation of archaizing/exoticizing effects through inclusion of Irish regional vocabulary remembered from his youth.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s