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Valediction

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Wise was Wealhtheow, wife of King Hrothgar
That good man and gold-lord, by Grendel aggrieved.
Her compassion increased by the courage of heroes,
She slipped from her bedside and sought out the Geat.
Fearless and fearsome, she planned to farewell him
For the warrior's duty is often to die,
And memories may make amends to that pain.

In the high hall of Hrothgar was heard not a noise
Her footfalls were faint and few men did stir.
Surrounded by soldiers she found him at rest,
All armored and armed, although in repose.
Bending she beckoned and begged him to wake.
Startled from sleeping, his sword he did raise,
Then glimpsed he the gold of the good woman's hair.
"Wealhtheow, what," he wondered aloud,
"Would bring you from bed in this bitter cold night?"
The lure of her lips was her only reply,
And quickly she kissed him to quiet his fears.
Without hesitation the hero awakened,
His rising arousal responded to her.
Still silent and smiling, she swiftly began
His helm and his hauberk to help him remove;
Both corselet and cuirass she cast aside.
And when bare was the body of Beowulf the bold,
Her gown of bright gold she gravely let fall.
The faraway flames her form silhouetted
And awe of her aspect arrested his speech.
Never at need did his nerve desert him
But language was lacking to limn what he saw.

Speech not sufficing, he settled astride her
And silently spoke in a speech more succinct.
Caressing and kissing he crept down her body
Lingering to lave at the swell of her breasts,
To tease with his tongue those tightening peaks.
And Wealhtheow urged him onward below,
With amorous murmurs--no maiden was she.
Stroking and teasing she took him in hand;
Into her harbor she guided him home.
A good sailor shifts with the swell of the seas,
The white-capped whale-road of wind-swept foam
Is more of a home than his homeland to him.
So restless, rhythmic, relentless he rode her.
With strong skillful fingers he sought out her center
Smoothly he stroked as her slight body stiffened,
And keening she cried out, coming undone.

As gulls that glide high over glittering sea
So did she soar in her sudden release.
Then soon he spent of himself deep inside her
And pierced by the pleasure he peaked and was lost.

A long moment later, he lifted his head
She sated and smiling seemed somehow yet sad.
Of course he must challenge this creature of Cain
And woebegone Wealhtheow wondered, afraid,
If another encounter he ever would see.
Dew dimmed her eyes as she drew off and dressed.
"Be brave, my good Beowulf," she bade him in parting
"Recall this encounter should your courage quail."
Then quiet the queen did kiss him farewell;
Tender and tearful she turned and departed.

Even today those tales that are told
Recall the courage of the conquering Geats.
And yet seldom sung is this dulcet tale
Of bryny-clad Beowulf, bright in the darkness
And Wealhtheow, wise with her womanly ways.