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or driving to the west and north the Celts who had previously occupied the country. The Angles were one of the strongest Teutonic tribes, and gradually the island became known as the land of the Angles, then Angleland, then England.

However rough the Teutons might be, there was one person whom they never forgot to treat with special honor, and that was the "scop," the maker, The scop. or former. It was his noble office to chant the achievements of heroes at the feasts of which the Teutons were so fond. Imagine a rude hall with a raised platform at one end. A line of stone hearths with blazing fires runs down the room from door to door. Between the hearths and the side walls are places for the sleeping-benches of the warriors. In the fires great joints of meat are roasting, and on either side of the hearths are long, rude tables. On the walls are shields and breastplates and helmets, and coats of mail made of rings curiously fastened together. Here and there are clusters of spears standing against the wall. The burnished mail flashes back the blazing of the fires, and trembles with the heavy tread of the thegns, with their merriment and their laughter, for the battle or the voyage is over, and the time of feasting has come. On the platform is the table of the chief, and with him sit the women of his family, and any warriors to whom he wishes to show special honor. After the feasting and the drinking of mighty cups of "mead," gifts are presented to those who have been bravest, sometimes by the chief, and sometimes- an even greater honor — by the wife of the chief herself. These gifts are horses, jewelled chains for the neck or golden bracelets for the arms, brightly polished swords, and coats of mail and helmets. The scop sits on the platform by the side

of the chief. When the feasting is ended, he strikes a heavy chord on his harp and begins his song with "Hwæt!" that is, "Lo!" or "Listen!"

These songs

2. Growth of the epic. - Beowulf. chanted by the scops were composed many years before they were written, and probably no two singers ever sang them exactly alike. One scop would sing some exploit of a hero; another would sing it differently, and perhaps add a second exploit greater than the first. Little by little the poem grew longer. Little by little it became more united. The heroic deeds grew more and more marvellous, they became achievements that affected the welfare of a whole people; the poem had a hero, a beginning, and an end. The simple tale of a single adventure had become an epic. After a while it was written; and the manuscript of one of these epics has come down to us, though after passing through the perils of fire, and is now in the British Museum. It is called Beowulf because it is the story of the exploits of a hero by that name. ently laid in Denmark and southern Sweden, and it is probable that bits of the poem were chanted at feasts long before the Teutons set sail for the shores of England. The story of the poem is as follows:


The scene is appar

Hrothgar, king of the Danes, built a more beautiful hall than men had ever heard of before. There he and his thegns enjoyed music and feasting, and divided the treasures that they had won in many a hard-fought battle. They were very happy together; but down in the marshes by the ocean was a monster named Grendel, who envied them and hated them. One night, when the thegns were sleeping, he came up stealthily through the mists and the darkness and dragged away thirty of the men and devoured them.

Night after night the slaughter went on, for Hrothgar was

feeble with age and none of his thegns were strong enough to take vengeance. At length the young hero, Beowulf, heard of the monster, and offered to attack it. When night came, Grendel stalked up through the darkness, seized a warrior, and devoured him. He grasped another, but that other was Beowulf; and then came a struggle, for the monster felt such a clutch as he had never known. No sword could harm Grendel. Whoever overcame him must win by the strength of his own right arm. Benches were torn from their places, and the very hall trembled with the contest. At last Grendel tore himself away and fled to the marshes, but he left his arm in the unyielding grasp of the hero.

Then was there great rejoicing with Hrothgar and his thegns. A lordly feast was given to the champion; horses and jewels and armor and weapons were presented to him, while scops sang of his glory. The joy was soon turned into sorrow, however, for on the following night, another monster, as horrible as the first, came into the hall. It was the mother of Grendel come to avenge her son, and she carried away one of Hrothgar's favorite liegemen.

When Beowulf was told of this, he set out to punish the murderer. He followed the footprints of the fiend through the wood-paths, over the swamps, the cliffs, and the fens, and at last he came to a precipice overhanging water that was swarming with dragons and sea serpents. Deep down among them was the den of Grendel and his mother. Beowulf put on his best armor and dived down among the horrible creatures, while his men kept an almost hopeless watch on the cliff above him. All day long he sank, down, down, until he came to the bottom of the sea. There was Grendel's mother, and she dragged him into her den. Then there was another terrible struggle, and as the blood burst up through the water, the companions of Beowulf were sad indeed, for they felt sure that they should never again see the face of their beloved leader. While they were gazing sorrowfully at the water, the hero appeared, bearing through the waves the

head of Grendel. He-had killed the mother and cut off the head from Grendel's body, which lay in the cavern.

Beowulf's third exploit took place many years later, after he had ruled his people for fifty years. He heard of a vast treasure of gold and jewels hidden away in the earth, and although it was guarded by a fire-breathing dragon, he determined to win it for his followers. There was a fearful encounter, and his thegns, all save one, proved to be cowards and deserted him. He won the victory, but the dragon had wounded him, and the poison of the wound soon ended his life. Then the thegns built up a pyre, hung with helmets and coats of mail; and on it they burned the body of their dead leader. After this, they raised a mighty mound in his honor, and placed in it a store of rings and of jewels. Slowly the greatest among them rode around it, mourning for their leader and speaking words of love and praise,

Said he was mightiest of all the great world-kings,
Mildest of rulers, most gentle in manner,

Most kind to his liegemen, most eager for honor.

This is the story of Beowulf as it has come down to us in a single ragged and smoke-stained manuscript. This


na ingear dagum. þeod cyninga brym ge fruinon huða æþelingas elles Fremedon. Oft reyld reeping reeaper


manuscript was probably written in the eighth or ninth century, and the poem must differ greatly from the original version, especially in its religious allusions. In earlier times, the Celts had learned the Christian faith

Effect of Christianity on the poem.


from the Irish; but it was not preached to the Teutons in southern England until 597, when missionaries from Rome made their way to Kent. first they were allowed to preach on the little island of Thanet only and in the open air; for the wary Teutons had no idea of hearing strange teachings under roofs where magic might easily overpower them. Soon, however, large numbers became earnest converts. Bits of the teachings of the missionaries were dropped into Beowulf. Instead of "Fate," the poets said "God;" Grendel is declared to be a descendant of Cain; and the scop interrupts his story of Grendel's envious hatred by singing of the days when God made the heavens and the earth; the ceremonies at the burning of Beowulf are heathen, but the poem says that it was God, the true King of Victory, who led him to the fire-dragon's treasures.

3. Form of early English poetry. Many words in Old English are like words in present use, but Old English poetry was different in several respects from the poetry of to-day. The following lines from Beowulf are a good illustration :

Tha com of more under mist-hleothum
Then came from the moor under the misty-hillside

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To-day we like to hear rhyme at the end of our lines; our ancestors enjoyed not rhyme, but alliteration. In every line there were four accented syllables. The third,

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