A few more Beowulf notes

In which I am vindicated (sort of) for starting sentences with “so”.

The first line of Beowulf reads: “Hwaet we Gar-Dena in gear-dagum”

Conventional renderings of hwaet, the first word of the poem, tend towards the archaic literary, with “lo” and “hark” and “behold” and “attend” and – more colloquially – “listen” being some of the solutions offered previously. But in Hiberno-English Scullionspeak, the particle “so” came naturally to the rescue, because in that idiom “so” operates as an expression which obliterates all previous discourse and narrative, and at the same time functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention. So, “so” it was.

-Seamus Heaney, p.xxvii, (Introduction)

Where is this from?

Oh, cursed is he
who in time of trouble has to thrust his soul
in the fir’s embrace, forfeiting help;
he has nowhere to turn. But blessed is he
who after death can approach the Lord
and find friendship in the Father’s embrace.

What is this, Psalm 151? Sure could be. Nope. Beowulf again, but translated by someone who definitely reads the psalms.

The leader of the troop unlocked his word-hoard;
the distinguished one delivered this answer:


Unlock your word-hoard”. Whoa. That is the sort of threat free-style rappers still make today. Beware!