This poet is so superbly in command that he can risk threadbare, throwaway, matter-of-fact phrases like 'of no small importance' or 'the best part of a day'. He has a casual way with the alliterative pattern of the original, which helps to strip its craft of portentous self-consciousness and frees up its syntax to move more nimbly. Lines like "He is hasped and hooped and hirpling with pain, limping and looped with it", which the young Heaney might well have written in earnest, are really an ironic postmodern quotation, a self-parodic hint of the racket the whole poem might make if you bound yourself too grimly to its form.
-Terry Eagleton, The Gaurdian's review of Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, 3 November, 1999
You don’t need to wait for Angelina Jolie to rise from the vaporous depths naked and dripping liquid gold to know that this “Beowulf” isn’t your high school teacher’s Old English epic poem. You don’t even have to wait for the flying spears and airborne bodies that — if you watch the movie in one of the hundreds of theaters equipped with 3-D projection — will look as if they’re hurtling directly at your head. You could poke your eye out with one of those things! Which is precisely what I thought when I first saw Ms. Jolie’s jutting breasts too.
-Manohla Darghis, New York Times review of Beowulf (dir. Robert Zemeckis, 2007)
The bloodshot water wallowed & surged,
there were loathsome upthrows & overturnings
of waves & gore & wound-slurry.
-Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, pg. 57
...We are retainers
from Hygelac's band. Beowulf is my name.
If your lord & master, the most renowned
son of Halfdane, will hear me out
and graciously allow me to greet him in person,
I am ready & willing to report my errand.
-Beowulf announces himself in Heaney's translation, pg. 25
I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger. I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night. Mine is Strength... & Lust... & Power! I AM BEOWULF!
-Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf