The Poetry Thread

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Jul 8, 2020
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The poem is completely different in different translations, mentions totally different mathematical objects and mathematicians. The omission that makes the biggest difference in the English version is Brouwer*. I think the English one is actually a translation of the Italian version.
Interesting. I've only ever seen the English version.


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Jul 8, 2020
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Given my screen-name, posting this was inevitable: the first 50 lines or so of Beowulf, which takes us through Scyld's 'viking funeral.' It's certainly gaming-related--there's an upcoming Beowulf 5e game, and the story features in an old Pendragon supplement, and doubtless in many other gaming materials. This is Michael Alexander's translation, published by Penguin:

We have heard of the thriving of the throne of Denmark,
how the folk-kings flourished in former days,
how those royal athelings earned that glory.

Was it not Scyld Shefing that shook the halls,
took mead-benches, taught encroaching
foes to fear him—who, found in childhood,
lacked clothing? Yet he lived and prospered,
grew in strength and stature under the heavens
until the clans settled in the sea-coasts neighboring
over the whale-road all must obey him
and give tribute. He was a good king!

A boy child was afterwards born to Scyld,
a young child in hall-yard, a hope for the people,
sent them by God; the griefs long endured
were not unknown to Him, the harshness of years
without a lord. Therefore the life-bestowing
Wielder of Glory granted them this blessing.
Through the northern lands the name of Beow,
the son of Scyld, sprang widely.

For in youth an atheling should so use his virtue,
give with a free hand while in his father's house,
that in old age, when enemies gather,
established friends shall stand by him
and serve him gladly. It is by glorious action
that a man comes by honor in any people.

At the hour shaped for him Scyld departed,
the hero crossed into the keeping of his Lord.
They carried him out to the edge of the sea,
his sworn arms-fellows, as he had himself desired them
while he wielded his words, Warden of the Scyldings,
beloved folk-founder; long had he ruled.

A boat with a ringed neck rode in the haven,
icy, out-eager, the atheling's vessel,
and there they laid out their lord and master,
dealer of wound gold, in the waist of the ship,
in majesty by the mast. A mound of treasures
from far countries was fetched aboard her,
and it is said that no boat was ever more bravely fitted out
with the weapons of a warrior, war accoutrement,
swords and body-armor; on his breast were set
treasures and trappings to travel with him
on his far faring into the flood's sway.

This hoard was not less great than the gifts he had had
from those who at the outset had adventured him
over seas, alone, a small child.

High over head they hoisted and fixed
a gold signum; gave him to the flood,
let the seas take him, with sour hearts
and mourning mood. Men under heaven’s
shifting skies, though skilled in counsel,
cannot say surely who unshipped that cargo.
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