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Beowulf – Just arrived on Denmark’s shores

STONE-BRIGHT the street:   it showed the way

to the crowd of clansmen. Corselets glistened

hand-forged, hard; on their harness bright

the steel ring sang, as they strode along

in mail of battle, and marched to the hall.

There, weary of ocean, the wall along

they set their bucklers, their broad shields, down,

and bowed them to bench: the breastplates clanged,

war-gear of men; their weapons stacked,

spears of the seafarers stood together,

gray-tipped ash: that iron band

was worthily weaponed!

From the translation by Seamus Heaney, 2000.

It was a paved track, a path that kept them 320 In marching order. Their mail-shirts glinted, Hard and hand-linked; the high-gloss iron Of their armour rang. So they duly arrived

In their grim war-graith and gear at the hall, And, weary from the sea, stacked wide shields Of the toughest hardwood against the wall, Then collapsed on the benches; battle-dress And weapons clashed. They collected their spears In a seafarer’s stook, a stand of grayish tapering ash. And the troops themselves Were as good as their weapons.

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