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264
A BOOK OF MYTHS

that he might please his dying eyes by looking on the riches that he had won for his people. And Wiglaf hastened into the cave, for he knew that he raced with Death, and brought forth armfuls of weapons, of magnificent ornaments, of goblets and of cups, of bars of red gold. Handfuls of sparkling jewels, too, he brought, and each time he came and went, seizing without choosing, whatever lay nearest, it seemed as though the Fire-drake's hoard were endless. A magical golden standard and armour and swords that the dwarfs had made brought a smile of joy into the dying King's eyes. And when the ten shamed warriors, seeing that the fight was at an end, came to where their mighty ruler lay, they found him lying near the vile carcase of the monster he had slain, and surrounded by a dazzlement of treasure uncountable. To them, and to Wiglaf, Beowulf spoke his valediction, urging on them to maintain the honour of the land of the Goths, and then he said:

"I thank God eternal, the great King of Glory,
"For the vast treasures which I here gaze upon.
"That I ere my death-day might for my people
"Win so great wealth— Since I have given my life.
"Thou must now look to the needs of the nation;
"Here dwell I no longer, for Destiny calleth me!
"Bid thou my warriors after my funeral pyre
"Build me a burial-cairn high on the sea-cliff's head;
"It shall for memory tower up to Hronesness,
"So that the sea-farers Beowulfs Barrow
"Henceforth shall name it, they who drive far and wide
"Over the mighty flood their foaming Reels,
"Thou art the last of all the kindred of Wagmund!
"Wyrd[1] has swept all my kin, all the brave chiefs away!
"Now must I follow them!"

  1. Goddess of Fate.