I am trying to pull together the threads of notes into something coherent for my thesis. When I manage it, I shall post about it here. It’s fascinating stuff, involving war-leaders and petty kings and seventh-century nobility, but I’m trying to wrap my head around some half a dozen things. Bear with me.
Meantime, I found this poem over at Gemæcca:
Grendel’s Dog, from Beocat
Brave Beocat, brood-kit of Ecgthmeow,
Hearth-pet of Hrothgar in whose high halls
He mauled without mercy many fat mice,
Night did not find napping nor snack-feasting.
The wary war-cat, whiskered paw-wielder,
Bearer of the burnished neck-belt gold-braided collar band,
Feller of fleas fatal too to ticks,
The work of wonder-smiths, woven with witches’ charms,
Sat upon the throne-seat his ears like sword-points
Upraised, sharp-tipped, listening for peril-sounds,
When he heard from the moor-hill howls of the hell-hound,
Gruesome hunger-grunts of Grendel’s Great Dane,
Deadly doom-mutt, dread demon-dog.
Then boasted Beocat, noble battle-kitten,
Bane of barrow-bunnies, bold seeker of nest-booty:
“If hand of man unhasped the heavy hall-door
And freed me to frolic forth to fight the fang-bearing fiend,
I would lay the whelpling low with lethal claw-blows;
Fur would fly and the foe would taste death-food.
But resounding snooze-noise, stern slumber-thunder,
Nose-music of men snoring mead-hammered in the wine-hall,
Fills me with sorrow-feeling for Fate does not see fit
To send some fingered folk to lift the firm-fastened latch
That I might go grapple with the grim ghoul-pooch.”
Thus spoke the mouse-shredder, hunter of hall-pests,
Short-haired Hrodent-slayer, greatest of the pussy-Geats.
From Poetry for Cats, by Henry Beard (Villard, 1994).