February 15, 2011

On the (swan's) road

The theme here lately, with some interruptions, has been the old Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. This may or may not be due to the fact that the WV legislature is in session and I've been kind of busy lately. You will find links and comments about current events below.

To recap, Hrothgar, king of the Spear Danes, had a pretty good string of luck and celebrated by building Heorot, the greatest of all mead halls, which were places where between raids lords and thanes and various other people would hang out, feast, and drink themselves to oblivion.

Things were going peachy until the monster Grendel started eating people who stayed there and generally preying on the population. As the poem goes,

There was panic after dark, people endured
raids in the night, riven by terror.

This was not only a major inconvenience for Hrothgar, but kind of a humiliation too. Here this mighty king who conquered others couldn't even keep his home turf safe. The situation lasted for some years, until at last the story came to the ears of Beowulf, a thane of the Geats who lived in southern Sweden, about whom this was said:

There was no one else like him alive.
In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth,
high born and powerful.

Beowulf's name means "bee wolf" or bear. He is the son of Ecgtheow and nephew of Hygelac, the king of the Geats. As a young man, Ecgtheow received shelter from Hrothgar and Beowulf intends to return a favor as well as win glory. He received no discouragement from the Geats, who checked the omens and found them favorable. He recruited a posse of fourteen warriors and set off by ship on "the swan's road" in search of glory.

He obviously found it, or there wouldn't be a poem, huh? More tomorrow.

THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET. Here's Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on President Obama's budget proposal.

DIFFERENT GALAXIES. E.J. Dionne evokes Star Wars in this column about the brewing federal budget fight.

HOW ON EARTH DID WEST VIRGINIA NOT MAKE THIS LIST of states with the worst eating habits?



1 comment:

Hollowdweller said...

"HOW ON EARTH DID WEST VIRGINIA NOT MAKE THIS LIST of states with the worst eating habits?"

Because they factored in the health benefits of venison and ramps. ;)