THE ARTS OF MEN

MANY new gifts are ever seen on earth which living beings hold in their minds, according as the God of hosts, the Lord mighty in strength, deals unto men, bestows special gifts, sends them far and wide by His own power, and of them each among the people may receive a part. There is no man in the world so hapless, nor so needy, so weak in thought, nor so dull-minded, that the beneficent Giver strips him of all skill of mind or of mighty deeds, wisdom in thought or in speech, lest he should despair of all things he did in life, of every benefit. God never decrees that anyone shall become so wretched. No one by wise skill shall rise to glory among the people so mightily in this life that the Protector of peoples by His holy grace will send hither to him, let come under his sole sway, all wise thoughts and worldly wisdom, lest he in pride, full of glorious favours, should lose fit restraint of mind and then despise the less fortunate. But He who has power of judgment scatters variously to dwellers throughout this world the bodily powers of men. To one on earth here He grants goods, worldly treasures. One is poor, an unfortunate man; yet he is wise in arts of the mind. One receives more bodily strength. One is beautiful, fair in form. One is a poet skilled in songs. One is eloquent in words. One is a pursuer in hunting of glorious beasts. One is prized by men of power. One is bold in war, a man skilled in battle where shields clash together. One can in the council of sages devise a decree for the people, where many wise men are gathered together. One can marvellously plan the making of all high buildings; his hand is trained, skilful and deft, as fits the workman, to set up a hall; he knows how to join firmly the spacious building against sudden downfall. One can play the harp with his hands; he has the cunning of quick movements on the instrument. One is a swift runner; one a straight shooter; one skilled in songs; one swift on the land, fleet of foot. One guides the prow on the yellow wave; the leader of the host knows the watery path over the vast sea, when mighty mariners with nimble strength wield the oars by the ship. One is skilled in swimming; one an artful workman in gold and gems when a protector of men bids him set a jewel with splendour. One, a

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Anglo-Saxon Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents xiii
  • Beowulf 1
  • Finnesburh 63
  • Waldhere 65
  • Widsith 67
  • Deor 71
  • The Wanderer 73
  • The Seafarer 76
  • The Wife's Lament 79
  • The Husband's Message 81
  • Wulf and Eadwacer 83
  • The Ruin 84
  • Charms 85
  • Genesis 95
  • Exodus 112
  • Daniel 121
  • Christ and Satan 127
  • Juliana 165
  • The Fates of the Apostles 178
  • Andreas 181
  • Elene 211
  • The Dream of the Rood 235
  • The Phoenix 239
  • Physiologus 252
  • Guthlac 256
  • The Soul's Address to the Body 280
  • Doomsday 284
  • Riddles 289
  • Gnomic Poetry 309
  • The Arts of Men 316
  • The Fates of Men 318
  • Judith 320
  • The Battle of Brunanburh 327
  • The Battle of Maldon 329
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