LINES 1,071 – 1,159 : The Lay of Finn
Hrothgar’s scop (singer of songs/storyteller) heaps even more honor onto
Beowulf with a song concerning another Danish victory ‘The Lay of Finn’.
This is a story within a story and it is cleverly woven into the main poem,
but it may have derived from a different source.
The Lay of Finn stands on its own as a small literary masterpiece, and just
as this story appears in Beowulf’s celebration, so would Beowulf’s story appear in subsequent celebrations throughout Northern Europe and Great Britain as well.
The Lay of Finn is concerned with battles between Hnaef and Finn, and then
later Hengest and Finn, and centered on revenge and tribal loyalty.
Arguably the central figure of this saga was a woman Hildeburh who made many
personal sacrifices, far in excess of any of the other characters in the story, so perhaps in more enlightened times, the story would have been called The Lay of Hildeburh, but this is very much a masculine world.