His protest, it is needless to say, was unavailing, and all who respect his memory must regret that the sunset of life failed to give him that insight into the future which is poetically ascribed to it.
The poets, and the poetically minded authors of the sagas, who are the only authorities, have told the story with many circumstances of romance.
And if some of the incidents (those of the third book in particular) seem to belong to the beginning of the war, it must be considered that poetically, and to the hearers of the Iliad, the war opens in the third book, and the incidents are of the kind that is required in such a place.
The Christian passages, which are poetically of no value, are evidently of literary origin, and may be of any date down to that of the extant MS. The curious passage which says that the subjects of Hrothgar sought deliverance from Grendel in prayer at the temple of the Devil, " because they knew not the true God," must surely have been substituted for a passage referring sympathetically to the worship of the ancient gods.
The coarse myth told by Ovid, in which Anna plays a trick on Mars when in love with Minerva, is probably an old Italian folk-tale, poetically applied to the persons of these deities when they became partially anthropomorphized under Greek influence.