Beowulf: An Epic Poem

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William Pickering, 1849 - 159 pages

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I encountered this early translation of Beowulf--the first translation into Modern English verse--during my dissertation research. It's not a great translation in any conventional sense--neither accuracy nor poetics are above blame--but I can hardly fault Wackerbarth for that. Anglo-Saxon studies hadn't advanced enough for it to be up to modern standards of accuracy, and the poetic quality is also very dated. Ballad meter seemed right to Wackerbarth at the time. But the very datedness and weirdness of the translation makes it unintentionally pretty entertaining for the bored and lonely scholar, and that's why I gave it 4 stars. I wish I'd kept a copy for myself. The names of the more successful translators have faded from my consciousness in the years since I left academia, but I will never forget Wackerbarth and his ballad Beowulf. 

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Page xvii - Iste, ut ferunt, in quandam insulam Germaniae Scandzam, de qua Jordanes historiographus Gothorum loquitur, appulsus, navi sine remige, puerulus, posito ad caput frumenti manipulo, dormiens, ideoque Sceaf nuncupatus, ab hominibus regionis illius pro miraculo exceptus, et sedulo nutritus, adulta aetate regnavit in oppido quod tune Slasvic, nunc vero Haithebi appellatur.
Page 139 - Roxolanorum gens infida, quae tunc inter alias (ei) famulatum exhibebat, tali eum nanciscitur occasione decipere. dum enim quandam mulierem Sanielh nomine ex gente memorata pro mariti fraudulento discessu rex furore commotus equis ferocibus illigatam, incitatisque cursibus per diversa divelli praecepisset, fratres ejus Sarus et Ammius germanae obitum vindicantes Hermanrici latus ferro petierunt.
Page xiii - Beowulf, dasz šlteste deutsche in ags. mundart erhaltene heldengedicht nach seinem inhalte und nach seinen historischen und mythologischen beziehungen betrachtet. Ein beitrag zur geschichte alter deutscher geisteszustšnde von H.
Page iii - Beowulf. An Epic Poem, translated from the Anglo-Saxon into English Verse by A. Diedrich Wackerbarth. London 1849.
Page xxv - Theuderico nunciatum fuisset, quod scil. regio ejus fuerit ab extraneis devastata, Theudebertum, filium suum, in illas partes cum magno exercitu ac magno armorum apparatu direxit. Qui interfecto rege, hostes navali proelio superatos opprimit, omnemque rapinam teme restituit.
Page x - ... some interesting remarks from his Preface which discuss the possibility of non-syllabic metre for Beowulf translation. He writes: 'Some may ask why I have not preserved the Anglo-Saxon alliterative Metre. My Reason is that I do not think the Taste of the English People would at present bear it ... Still, if the literary Bent of this Country should continue for some few Years longer the Course it has of late Years pursued, it will be time to give this Poem to the English People in English alliterative...
Page 149 - It is not improbable that the whole of this denunciation of Wiglaf is a judicial formulary: such we know early existed and in regular rhythmical measure.
Page xii - The Anglo-Saxon Poems of Beowulf, the Traveller's Song, and the Battle of Finnesburh, edited together with a Glossary of the more difficult words, and an Historical preface. By John M. Kemble, Esq. MA of Trinity College, Cambridge. London, 1833.
Page xi - Thorkelin, De Danorum rebus gestis secul. III. et IV. poema Danicum dialecto Anglosaxonica.

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