|Beowulf struggles with Grendel.|
Thursday, July 21, 2016
'Waldere' Initial Impression
Another short poem, and a fragment to boot, this tells of
the Germanic legend of Walther and Hildegund. On the run from the court of the notorious Attila the Hun, where they have long been held hostage, the bethroved lovers Walther (a prince from Aquitaine) and Hildegund (a princess of the Burgundians) are ambushed by King Guthhere, and Walther and Gunthhere prepare to engage in single combat (Crossley-Holland 4, The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology).
Much like the Finneesburh Fragment, the power in this poem comes from its choppy yet zest infused nature. The lines exude a powerful clot of determination on the part of the protagonists. Filled with an active sense of direction, the alliterative stance pushes through a potentially happy ending; the two lovers overcoming Attila the Hun and living happily-ever-after (at least according to some editors over the years). Though nothing is definitive in the text itself, and I feel this is merely a shortcoming of its fragmented nature, I did not warm up to this poem all the same.
Regardless, and aside from this, there is not a whole lot I have to say on this text other than that it is simply another piece of a wider corpus and of a wider adventure that make it difficult to access. In the future, I will undoubtedly engage with this piece more and at that time I will write—as I will for all of these initial impressions—a new engagement, one which takes into consideration a nuanced interaction with the text.
Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology. Oxford: U.P., 2009. Print.
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