I like this concept of an inheritance as something solidly rooted in the past, but ‘willable forward again and again and again’. Not a burden the past imposes on us, but something we can take up and use with forward momentum, if we choose.
‘And now this is ‘an inheritance’ –
Upright, rudimentary, unshiftably planked
In the long ago, yet willable forward
Again and again and again.’
See also our bestellar review of this and other versions of Beowulf, a quote-mosaic for the mind.
Source: Seamus Heaney, Beowulf, Introduction, p. ix