Hrothgar expresses the ephemeral quality of human life in beautiful terms. Calling Beowulf the “flower of warriors,” he employs an image that doesn’t evoke Beowulf’s strength and fortitude but instead emphasizes the fragility of his life and the fact that his youth—his “bloom”—will “fad[e] quickly.” This choice of imagery encapsulates the idea, implicit in this passage, that there are two “death[s]” that threaten the warrior. He must be prepared not only for a “jabbing blade or javelin from the air,” which will wound him, but also for “repellent age,” which will eat away at his youthful audacity and force him to think in terms of honor, nobility, and leadership that aren’t dependent on mere physical prowess.
I believe that there is a distinct turning among many young men and women toward this simple acceptance of Christ's message. They resent the [page 124] assumption that Christianity is a set of ideas which belong to the religious consciousness, whatever that may be. They insist that it cannot be proclaimed and instituted apart from the social life of the community and that it must seek a simple and natural expression in the social organism itself. The Settlement movement is only one manifestation of that wider humanitarian movement which throughout Christendom, but pre-eminently in England, is endeavoring to embody itself, not in a sect, but in society itself.