Page:A book of myths.djvu/321

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265
BEOWULF

Such was the passing of Beowulf, greatest of Northern heroes, and under a mighty barrow on a cliff very high above the sea, they buried him, and with him a great fortune from the treasure he had won. Then with heavy hearts, "round about the mound rode his hearth-sharers, who sang that he was of kings, of men, the mildest, kindest, to his people sweetest, and the readiest in search of praise":

"Gentlest, most gracious, most keen to win glory,"

And if, in time, the great deeds of a mighty king of the Goths have become more like fairy-tale than solid history, this at least we know, that whether it is in Saeland or on the Yorkshire coast—where

"High on the sea-cliff ledges
"The white gulls are trooping and crying"

—the barrow of Beowulf covers a very valiant hero, a very perfect gentleman.