Re: [mythsoc] TTT - Extended DVD
- It's been suggested that some lines were actually borrowed from BEOWULF, but
at this time I don't recall BEOWULF including a dirge - does it?
From the verse translation by Alan Sullivan & Tim Murphy
Thus the terrible tidings were told,
and the teller had not mistaken the truth.
The warriors all rose and woefully went
to look on the wonder with welling tears.
They found on the sand under Earnanaesse
their lifeless lord laid there to rest,
beloved giver of gifts and gold rings,
the war-king come at the close of his days
to a marvelous death. At first the monster
commanded their gaze: grim on the ground
across from the king, the creature had crumpled,
scaly and scorched, a fearsome fire-drake
fifty feet long. He would fly no more,
free in the darkness, nor drop to his den
at the break of dawn. Death held the dragon;
he never would coil in his cavern again.
Beyond the serpent stood flagons and jars,
plated flatware and priceless swords
rotting in ruin, etched out with rust.
These riches had rested in Earth¹s embrace
for a thousand winters, the heritage held
by warders of old, spell-enwoven
and toilfully tombed that none might touch them,
unless God Himself, granter of grace,
true Lord of glory, allotted release
to one of His choosing and opened the hoard.
It little profited him who had wrongfully
hidden the hand-wrought wealth within walls.
He payment was scant for slaying the one
with courage to claim it: the kill was quickly
and harshly requited. So the kingly
may come to strange ends when their strength is spent
and time meted out. They may not remain
as men among kin, mirthful with mead.
Beowulf goaded the gold¹s guardian,
raised up the wrath, not reckoning whether
his death-day had dawned, not knowing the doom
solemnly sworn by princes who placed
their hoard in that hollow: the thief who held it
would fall before idols, forge himself hell-bonds,
waste in torment for touching the treasure.
He failed to consider more fully and sooner
who rightfully owned such awesome riches.
So spoke Wiglaf, son of Weostan:
³By the whim of one man, many warriors
sometimes may suffer, as here has happened.
No means were at hand to move my master;
no counsel could sway the kingdom¹s keeper
never to trouble the treasure¹s taker,
but leave him lying where long he had hidden,
walled with his wealth until the world¹s ending.
He kept to his course, uncovered the hoard.
Fate was too strongly forcing him hither.
I have entered that hall, beheld everything
golden within, though none too glad
for the opening offered under its archway.
In haste I heaved much from the hoard,
and a mighty burden I bore from the barrow
straight to my sovereign. He still was alive.
His wits were clear; his words came quickly.
In anguish, the Ancient asked that I say
he bade you to build a barrow for him
befitting the deeds of a fallen friend.
You shall heap it high over his ashes,
since he was the world¹s worthiest warrior,
famed far and wide for the wealth of his fortress.
³Now let us hurry hence to the hoard.
For a second time I shall see that splendor
under the cliff-wall, those wonders of craftwork.
Come, I shall take you close to the trove,
where you may behold heaps of broad gold.
Then let a bier be readied to bear
our beloved lord to his long dwelling
under the watch of the World¹s Warden.²
Then Weostan¹s heir ordered the earls,
heads of houses and fief holders,
to fetch firewood fit for the folk-leader¹s
funeral pyre. ³Flames shall now flare,
feed on the flesh and fade into darkness,
an ending for him who often endured
the iron showers shot over shield-walls
when string-driven storms of arrows arose
with feathered fins to steer them in flight
and barbed arrowheads eager to bite.²
Wisely Wiglaf, son of Weostan,
summoned the seven most steadfast thanes.
They went in together, eight earls entering
under the evil arch of the earth-house
with one man bearing a blazing torch.
No lot was cast to learn which liege-man
would plunder the loot lying unguarded,
as each searcher could see for himself;
yet none was unhappy to hurry that hoard
out into daylight. They heaved the dragon
over the sea-cliff where surges seized him:
the treasure¹s keeper was caught by the tide.
Then they filled a wain with filigreed gold
and untold treasures; and they carried the king,
their hoary-haired warlord, to Hronesnaesse.
- I'm neither a linguistics expert, nor have I seen the extended TT yet. But
I can say:
1) For most purposes, Tolkien's "Rohirric" _is_ Old English. There's
something like four words of "genuine" Rohirric hiding in the appendices;
everything you find in the text of the book itself, and in most of the
appendices, is the Mercian dialect of Old English, which is "translated"
Rohirric the same way that the default English is "translated" Common Speech.
2) _Beowulf_ ends with the death and funeral of its protagonist, including
funerary speeches. If you want to call that a dirge, go ahead.
- David Bratman
At 02:45 PM 12/2/2003 , Stolzi@... wrote:
>I have received two communique's concerning the extended DVD of TTT, with the
>statement that Eowyn is seen/heard singing a dirge for Theodred. One person
>called it "positively Beowulfian" and another said that it was "in one of
>Does anyone here know anything about this? I don't seem to recall Tolkien
>ever developing the Rohirric as he did his other languages such as Quenya or
>Dwarvish. Under his "translation of languages" scheme, doesn't Rohirric
>same relation to Westron as Old English does to Modern English? IOW, could
>this dirge actually be in Old English?
>It's been suggested that some lines were actually borrowed from BEOWULF, but
>at this time I don't recall BEOWULF including a dirge - does it?
>Can one of you linguistic types out there enlighten me?
- In a message dated 12/2/2003 10:42:24 PM Central Standard Time,
>the Mercian dialect of Old English, which is "translated"Thank you David, that's the point I was trying to make, expressed clearly by
>Rohirric the same way that the default English is "translated" Common Speech.
>2) _Beowulf_ ends with the death and funeral of its protagonist, includingCertainly there's a funeral, but hmm, I'd have to look up the speeches. I
>funerary speeches. If you want to call that a dirge, go ahead.
didn't think anyone comes on and actually says something like, e.g., the eulogy
to Lancelot in Malory (who says it? Sir Bedivere I think?)
Thanks, Susan, for your
"From watching the extras on the TTTX DVD, I believe the lyrics actually are
Old English. At one point they play a clip of the dirge with OE subtitles
a Modern English translation. My OE is far too rusty for me to be able to
tell if the lines are from Beowulf or not, though."
If you have the chance to note down some of the Modern English lines, I cd
compare them with my electronic text of BEOWULF (currently the only form in
which I own the poem).
Anyway, we've established a lot more than I knew when I started, which is
pleasing. Thanks, people.
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