"As noble as his name. So should all men raise up words for their lords, warm with love, when their shield and protector leaves his body behind, sends his soul on high. And so Beowulf's followers....." Notice the alliteration in the phrases "words for their lords" and "warm with love." How would you describe the tone of these lines?

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Remember that you're reading this poem in translation. In the original Anglo-Saxon text, every line alliterates, as it was this alliteration that served as the primary marker of poetry, rather than, say, rhyme. It is generally thought that this alliteration could assist the scop (pronounced "shope"), or poet, in remembering his poem as he recited it aloud, and certainly it helps to create a memorable swinging rhythm. Because alliteration is consistent throughout the poem, however, we need to be cautious about any inferences we make from alliteration that has been retained in a translation. Sometimes, a translator will attempt to keep the alliteration of the original, but this is not always possible, and it depends upon whether that translator is privileging meaning, mood, or style. The translation you've used here isn't very accurate in terms of what the poem actually says—I'd translate these lines as something more like "it is good and proper for a man to honor his lord (winedryhten) with words and cherish him in his heart when the time comes for that lord to be led out of his body." But my literal translation possibly doesn't capture the tone of the original. I'm sure you can sense the difference—the more poetic translation you've used above has a tone of quiet reverence, a somberness. It uses a rhythm we associate, in modern English, with homilies and sermons; it captures the correct attitude the Anglo-Saxons would have had toward the great hero, Beowulf, and other great fallen warriors. It takes an appropriately respectful, mournful tone toward death and remembrance.

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This section of the text comes towards the end, when Beowulf has died and his followers bury him, having received both a pagan cremation and then being buried in a more Christian ceremony. The tone of these lines is one of noble mourning, as the followers of Beowulf express fitting homage to the lord and master, recognising the greatness of his character and remembering the feats he committed. Consider the lines that come straight after this quote and how they add to this tone of nobility and respect:

And so Beowulf's followers
Rode, mourning their belovèd leader,
Crying that no better king had ever 
Lived, no prince so mild, no man 
So open to his people, so deserving of praise.

This is clearly a section where grief is deeply felt, as witnessed through the repetition of "no better king" and "no prince so mild." It is clear that this section creates a tone of sombre respect and mourning that the various examples of alliteration that were identified in this question help to support and establish. The grief and serious mood is almost palpable through the words chosen, the alliteration, and the structure of the sentences, including the repetition of key phrases. 

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