Undaunted, sitting astride his horse,
the coast-guard answered, ‘Anyone with gumption
and a sharp mind will take the measure
of two things: what’s said and what’s done.
I believe what you have told me: that you are a troop
loyal to our king.’
– Beowulf, Seamus Heaney (trans.)
Lines 286-291: A soldier replies to Beowulf, when asked to trust what the stranger says. In medieval Scandinavian culture to boast about heroic deeds was nearly as important as the deeds themselves. Beowulf’s boasts help to identify him.