On His Work in the English Tongue

in memory of Ted Hughes (mentioned by name in the dedication alone) In the introduction to his translation of Beowulf Heaney paid tribute to the first millennium author of  ‘a work of the greatest imaginative vitality, a masterpiece where the structuring of the tale is as elaborate as the beautiful contrivances of its language … which is today called Anglo-Saxon or Old English’. His use, in the title, of ‘tongue’ which is of a similar period might shed light on his anonymous third person pronoun and aim his poetic intention solely in the direction of the poet of Beowulf. However the poem’s dedication to friend and recently deceased Ted Hughes, a twentieth century English Poet Laureate of huge stature plus, […]