Banhus Gebrocen

Later, when Beowulf’s corpse burns on the funeral pyre, it doesn’t gently disappear. He is cooked until the “banhus gebrocen—the bonehouse was broken. A great hero is reduced to a bunch of bones snapping in a bonfire. A solitary woman sings over his burning body, her lament mixing with the smoke (just as Grendel’s screams had drifted up on the air, “sweg up astag”) as it is swallowed by heaven—“heofon rece swealg.”

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