Excerpt from Beowulf, and the Finnesburh Fragment: Translated From the Old English, With an Introductory Sketch and Notes
Great indeed would have been our loss, if the most precious monument of Teutonic antiquity, the only remaining folk-epic of the Germanic peoples, had per ... ished in doing menial service to grocer or soap-seller, or been cut to strips by the book-binder. It was to run a further risk. More than a hundred of the Cotton manuscripts were destroyed or lost, and ninety-eight, among them the Beowulf, injured, by the fire in 1731 in Little Dean's Yard, Westminster, where they were housed. The edges of the Beowulf were charred, but, fortunately, parchment resists ¿ame to a remarkable degree, as appeared also recently in the de plorable disaster to the library at Turin. The charred edges, however, crumbled easily, and many words and letters have disappeared between 1786, when Thorkelin used the manuscript, and the present time. The manu script was not carefully bound and safeguarded for merly, as it is now.
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