I do not know if this lives up to the billing of an epic, but it is, at least, long. While the epic of Beowulf goes on well past the battle with Grendel, that particular battle is the one that most people remember from that long-ago day they
were forced got to read this Old English epic. As much as I wish I could bring you this epic in its original Old English form...well, see for yourselves. This is an excerpt of Beowulf in Old English:
HWÆT, WE GAR-DEna in geardagum,
þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon!
oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas, syððanærest wearð
feasceaft funden; he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum weorðmyndum þah,
oð þæt him æghwylc ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan; þæt wæs god cyning!
I think the first line roughly translates to, "I like driving in my truck," if that helps. As much as I like a good challenge, I don't think I'm up to Old English. So I have used snippets and excerpts from the Seamus Heaney translation to cobble together the epic of Beodawg. As you're reading this, you might wonder
why you're wasting your time reading this garbage about the specific identity of Beodawg. Is he a player? A walk-on? The whole team? A symbol? Beowulf itself is not a historical narrative; the purpose of epics is general is to entertain and instruct, so don't think about Beodawg's identity too hard because I don't really know myself what we can learn from Beodawg's example is more important than his identity. Tomorrow will be the epic battle with Grendel Gator, but first, we have the first part of "The Epic of Beodawg."
So. The Bulldogs in days gone by
and the coaches over them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those Bulldogs' heroic campaigns.
There was Herschel Walker, scourge of many teams,
a stalker of goal-lines, rampaging over guys.
There also were Ward and Champ and Hoage,
and Sapp, the Breaker of the Drought.
As their powers waxed and their worth was proved,
in the end, each Bulldog left an undying mark
beyond the end-zone or the field, and fans
did begin to pay tribute. Those were Damn Good Dawgs.
But a powerful ball-club, a prowler through the East,
nursed a hard grievance. It harrowed him
to hear the din of the loud Bulldogs
every year at the game, their fans' raucous cheers
and the pure song of the skilled Redcoats
playing with mastery of team's traditions,
and the team making misery and woe for all.
Gator was the name of this grim demon
haunting the marshes, marauding round the swamp
and desperate for wins; he had dwelt for a time
in misery amongst the vanquished ball-clubs
until the Dark One, whom the decent did despise,
did rise him up from the depths. For the killing of Bulldogs,
from Gator was exacted a price:
he gained rank and resource as the fruits of his winning,
but his arrogance made him anathema
to all those who embrace goodness and light.
So Gator ruled in defiance of right,
Lizards ‘gainst Dawgs, always winning
for eighteen autumns, seasons of woe;
the fans of the Bulldogs suffered under
this load of sorrow and so, before long,
their failure was known over football's world.
Sad songs were sung about the beset Dawgs,
their misery mitigated only rarely by a solitary win
every once in a rare, precious autumn.
When Beodawg remembered Gator's torment, this big Dawg's frame
shook with fury and firmed with resolve
to trek to Jackson's Ville and seek out that beast
and lead the Bulldogs' stalwart defenders.
Arriving on the Day of Frigg, Beodawg spoke:
"Greetings to Dawg fans. I am last year's kinsman,
and remember that victory. Earlier this year,
I was absent due to softness, but memories of Gator
and my hatred of him reached down to my heart.
My one request is that you, who have come so far,
will stand behind me as I purify this place
with my own men to help me, and nobody else.
I have heard moreover that the Gator scorns
in his brutish way to often use the pass;
therefore, due to Sandy's influence,
hand-to-hand is how it will be, a life-and-death
fight with the fiend. Whichever one loss fells
must deem it a just loss of the East.
If Gator wins, it will be a gruesome day;
he will glut himself on the Dawgs in the arena,
run without fear to the promise of end-zone
as in other games before. He will run, gloating,
to his foul jort-nest, savoring his victory over the East."
From where he cowered in the corner,
Uncouth, a son of Gaine's Ville, spoke
contrary words. Beodawg's coming,
his studliness, made him sick with envy:
he could not brook or abide the fact
that anyone else alive under heaven
might enjoy greater regard than he did:
"Are you the Beodawg who folded in Cola
and got beaten by the Gamecocks,
those same fowl that were destroyed by Gator
in a fight they thought for sure they could win?
It was sheer vanity made you think to win
the East; no matter how you tried, you
could neither stop nor score on them:
this East-test obsessed you.
You did not show, embraced failure,
failed to measure, and mastered nothing.
At the end of sixty minutes, they outplayed you,
and emerged the stronger contender-
until they got cut up and carved by Gator."
Beodawg, Athens' son, replied:
"Well, friend Uncouth, you have had your say
about Cocky and me. But it was mostly beer
that was doing the talking. The truth is this:
we faltered early and had a bad night
like the Cocks did against Gator.
Now I cannot recall any fight you entered, Uncouth,
that bears comparison. The fact is, Uncouth,
if you were truly as keen and courageous as you claim,
you would never inflict on those around you the atrocity
of jorts, mullets, and unseemly arm gestures.
But Gator will find me different. I will show him
how Bulldogs play in the heat of battle.
Then whoever wants to may go bravely to beer
when the crisp night air settles over the South
and brings the second Bulldog victory in a row."
Today's Princess Bride Hate Week picture reminds us to never rush our kicker during the miraculous process of kicking the extra point.