Hwæt!, or why I haven’t taught Old English in a decade, in a nutshell.

Beowulf, 739:

Né þæt se áglaéca yldan þóhte
ac hé geféng hraðe forman síðe  
slaépendne rinc slát unwearnum
bát bánlocan blód édrum dranc
synsnaédum swealh sóna hæfde
unlyfigendes ealgefeormod
fét ond folma

“Not that the troll felt like delaying all the fun, no, he grabbed a sleeping warrior (who should have KEPT WATCH, THE IDIOT!) and rent him to pieces (SERVES YOU RIGHT, IDIOT!), bit into his bones and drank his sleeping-idiot blood from his veins (IDIOT!), swallowed his sleeping-idiot flesh in great chunks (GUESS YOU’D RATHER HAVE KEPT WATCH AFTER ALL, EH?), and soon after had all of him gobbled up, feet and hands included. Idiot.”

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2 thoughts on “Hwæt!, or why I haven’t taught Old English in a decade, in a nutshell.

  1. Sascha Post author

    I must admit my random bouts of exasperation at mediaeval plot structure were quite popular with some students. Some.

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