Seamus Heaney reads
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Weland the blade-winder suffered woe, That steadfast man knew misery. Sorrow and longing walked beside him, wintered in him, kept wearing him down after Nithad hampered and restrained him, lithe sinew-bonds on the better man. That passed over, this can too. For Beadohilde her brother’s death weighed less heavily than her own heartsoreness once it was clearly understood she was bearing a child. Her ability to think and decide deserted her then. That passed over, this can too. We have heard tell of Mathilde’s laments, the grief that afflicted Geat’s wife. Her love was her bane, it banished sleep. That passed over, this can too. For thirty winters— it was common knowledge— Theodric held the Maerings’ fort. That passed over, this can too. Earmonric had the mind of a wolf, by all accounts a cruel king, lord of the far flung Gothic outlands. Everywhere men sat shackled in sorrow, expecting the worst, wishing often he and his kingdom would be conquered. That passed over, this can too. A man sits mournful, his mind in darkness, so daunted in spirit he deems himself ever after fated to endure. He may think then how throughout this world the Lord in his wisdom often works change— meting out honor, ongoing fame to many, to others only their distress. Of myself, this much I have to say: for a time I was poet of the Heoden people, dear to my lord. Deor was my name. For years I enjoyed my duties as minstrel and that lord’s favor, but now the freehold and land titles he bestowed upon me once he has vested in Heorrenda, master of verse-craft. That passed over, this can too. Listen to more readings from The Word Exchange »