jueves, 1 de abril de 2010


Most of us have been fortunate enough to have heard about the Spanish hero 'el Cid Campeador'. Some have even had the good luck to be acquainted with the French one by means of 'La Chanson de Ronald,

El Cantar de Roldán (La Chanson de Roland, en francés) es un poema épico de varios cientos de versos, escrito a finales del siglo XI en francés antiguo, atribuido a un monje normando, Turoldo, cuyo nombre aparece en el último y enigmático verso: «Ci falt la geste que Turoldus declinet». Sin embargo, no queda claro el significado del verbo «declinar» en este verso: puede querer decir 'entonar', 'componer' o quizás 'transcribir', 'copiar'. Es el cantar de gesta más antiguo escrito en lengua romance en Europa. El texto del llamado Manuscrito de Oxford escrito en anglo-normando (de alrededor de 1170) consta de 4.002 versos decasílabos, distribuidos en 291 estrofas de desigual longitud llamadas tiradas -(en francés, laisses). .

Ocho escenas de
La Chanson de Roland

en un manuscrito iluminado

But do you know who the English equivalent would be ???
It is an undeserved pleasure for me to introduce you to 'Beowulf'. Next is some useful and helpful information concerning this Saxon hero.

Beowulf (pr. /beɪəwʊlf/ o también [be:o̯wʊɫf]) es un poema épico anglosajón anónimo que fue escrito en inglés antiguo en verso aliterativo. Cuenta con 3.182 versos, y por lo tanto contiene mucho más texto que cualquier obra similar en su mismo idioma, representando alrededor del 10% del corpus existente del verso anglosajón.

Tanto el autor como la fecha de composición del poema se desconocen, aunque las discusiones académicas suelen proponer fechas que van desde el siglo VIII al XII d. C. La obra se conserva en el códice Nowel o Cotton Vitellius A. xv y dada la fama del poema, a pesar de que convive con otras obras en el mismo manuscrito, este se ha dado en llamar «manuscrito Beowulf». Aunque el poema no tiene título en el manuscrito, se le ha llamado Beowulf desde principios del siglo XIX y se conserva en la Biblioteca Británica.

Beowulf , written in Old English sometime before the tenth century A.D., describes the adventures of a great Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century.

A rich fabric of fact and fancy, Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic in British literature.

Beowulf exists in only one manuscript. This copy survived both the wholesale destruction of religious artefacts during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and a disastrous fire which destroyed the library of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1571-1631).

The poem still bears the scars of the fire, visible at the upper left corner of the photograph. The Beowulf manuscript is now housed in the British Library, London.

Gewat ða neosian, syþðan niht becom,
hean huses, hu hit Hringdene
æfter beorþege gebun hæfdon.
Fand þa ðær inne æþelinga gedriht
swefan æfter symble; sorge ne cuðon,


wonsceaft wera. Wiht unhælo,
grim ond grædig, gearo sona wæs,
reoc ond reþe, ond on ræste genam
þritig þegna, þanon eft gewat
huðe hremig to ham faran,


mid þære wælfylle wica neosan.
ða wæs on uhtan mid ærdæge
Grendles guðcræft gumum undyrne;
þa wæs æfter wiste wop up ahafen,
micel morgensweg. Mære þeoden,


æþeling ærgod, unbliðe sæt,
þolode ðryðswyð, þegnsorge dreah,
syðþan hie þæs laðan last sceawedon,
wergan gastes; wæs þæt gewin to strang,
lað ond longsum. Næs hit lengra fyrst,


ac ymb ane niht eft gefremede
morðbeala mare ond no mearn fore,
fæhðe ond fyrene; wæs to fæst on þam.
þa wæs eaðfynde þe him elles hwær
gerumlicor ræste sohte,


bed æfter burum, ða him gebeacnod wæs,
gesægd soðlice sweotolan tacne
healðegnes hete; heold hyne syðþan
fyr ond fæstor se þæm feonde ætwand.
Swa rixode ond wið rihte wan,


ana wið eallum, oðþæt idel stod
husa selest. Wæs seo hwil micel;
XII wintra tid torn geþolode
wine Scyldinga, weana gehwelcne,
sidra sorga. Forðam secgum wearð,


ylda bearnum, undyrne cuð,
gyddum geomore, þætte Grendel wan
hwile wið Hroþgar, heteniðas wæg,
fyrene ond fæhðe fela missera,
singale sæce, sibbe ne wolde


wið manna hwone mægenes Deniga,
feorhbealo feorran, fea þingian,
ne þær nænig witena wenan þorfte
beorhtre bote to banan folmum,
ac se æglæca ehtende wæs,


deorc deaþscua, duguþe ond geogoþe,
seomade ond syrede, sinnihte heold
mistige moras; men ne cunnon
hwyder helrunan hwyrftum scriþað.
Swa fela fyrena feond mancynnes,


atol angengea, oft gefremede,
heardra hynða. Heorot eardode,
sincfage sel sweartum nihtum;
no he þone gifstol gretan moste,
maþðum for metode, ne his myne wisse.


þæt wæs wræc micel wine Scyldinga,
modes brecða. Monig oft gesæt
rice to rune; ræd eahtedon
hwæt swiðferhðum selest wære
wið færgryrum to gefremmanne.


Hwilum hie geheton æt hærgtrafum
wigweorþunga, wordum bædon
þæt him gastbona geoce gefremede
wið þeodþreaum. Swylc wæs þeaw hyra,
hæþenra hyht; helle gemundon


in modsefan, metod hie ne cuþon,
dæda demend, ne wiston hie drihten god,
ne hie huru heofena helm herian ne cuþon,
wuldres waldend. Wa bið þæm ðe sceal
þurh sliðne nið sawle bescufan


in fyres fæþm, frofre ne wenan,
wihte gewendan; wel bið þæm þe mot
æfter deaðdæge drihten secean
ond to fæder fæþmum freoðo wilnian.

Modern Text - Chapter II


WENT he forth to find at fall of night
that haughty house, and heed wherever
the Ring-Danes, outrevelled, to rest had gone.
Found within it the atheling band
asleep after feasting and fearless of sorrow,
of human hardship. Unhallowed wight,
grim and greedy, he grasped betimes,
wrathful, reckless, from resting-places,
thirty of the thanes, and thence he rushed
fain of his fell spoil, faring homeward,
laden with slaughter, his lair to seek.
Then at the dawning, as day was breaking,
the might of Grendel to men was known;
then after wassail was wail uplifted,
loud moan in the morn. The mighty chief,
atheling excellent, unblithe sat,
labored in woe for the loss of his thanes,
when once had been traced the trail of the fiend,
spirit accurst: too cruel that sorrow,
too long, too loathsome. Not late the respite;
with night returning, anew began
ruthless murder; he recked no whit,
firm in his guilt, of the feud and crime.
They were easy to find who elsewhere sought
in room remote their rest at night,
bed in the bowers,
1 when that bale was shown,
was seen in sooth, with surest token, --
the hall-thane's
2 hate. Such held themselves
far and fast who the fiend outran!
Thus ruled unrighteous and raged his fill
one against all; until empty stood
that lordly building, and long it bode so.
Twelve years' tide the trouble he bore,
sovran of Scyldings, sorrows in plenty,
boundless cares. There came unhidden
tidings true to the tribes of men,
in sorrowful songs, how ceaselessly Grendel
harassed Hrothgar, what hate he bore him,
what murder and massacre, many a year,
feud unfading, -- refused consent
to deal with any of Daneland's earls,
make pact of peace, or compound for gold:
still less did the wise men ween to get
great fee for the feud from his fiendish hands.
But the evil one ambushed old and young
death-shadow dark, and dogged them still,
lured, or lurked in the livelong night
of misty moorlands: men may say not
where the haunts of these Hell-Runes
3 be.
Such heaping of horrors the hater of men,
lonely roamer, wrought unceasing,
harassings heavy. O'er Heorot he lorded,
gold-bright hall, in gloomy nights;
and ne'er could the prince
4 approach his throne,
-- 'twas judgment of God, -- or have joy in his hall.
Sore was the sorrow to Scyldings'-friend,
heart-rending misery. Many nobles
sat assembled, and searched out counsel
how it were best for bold-hearted men
against harassing terror to try their hand.
Whiles they vowed in their heathen fanes
altar-offerings, asked with words
that the slayer-of-souls would succor give them
for the pain of their people. Their practice this,
their heathen hope; 'twas Hell they thought of
in mood of their mind. Almighty they knew not,
Doomsman of Deeds and dreadful Lord,
nor Heaven's-Helmet heeded they ever,
Wielder-of-Wonder. -- Woe for that man
who in harm and hatred hales his soul
to fiery embraces; -- nor favor nor change
awaits he ever. But well for him
that after death-day may draw to his Lord,
and friendship find in the Father's arms!

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