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Beowulf Lies Dead Beside the Dragon

With heavy heart the young hero
looked on his beloved lord and found him
lying prone, his life pouring out.
He saw this and sorrowed. But the savage monster,
the dread dragon, lay draggled on the earth
fallen, defeated defending its treasure.
For iron's hard edge had ended its days --
The battle-sharp blade had bit till the blood flowed
and the flying beast fell flat on the ground.
No longer would it lurk below beside its hoard,
or lift whirling aloft to hunt
at midnight to make merry sport
pursuing the prey. It too lay prone,
haughtiness humbled by the king's hand.
I have heard of heroes holding their own,
heard stories of strong and sturdy men.
But none come near the name that Beowulf
can claim for courage. When he came the dragon's
poisoned breath made him pay its price for gold.
Both foes lay limp and would fight no more.

      (adaptation by Paul Deane. Copyright © Paul Deane, 1999. All rights reserved.