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Poetry Quotation Guidelines

Please read this handout in conjunction with the “Quotation Guidelines” handout.

1. Put the quotation within double quotation marks. Replicate the quotation exactly as it appears on the
page; you may only change the final piece of punctuation, which ought to fit the grammar and syntax
of your own sentence. If you're quoting Middle English, quote the original Middle English, not a transliteration or translation. End the sentence with the line numbers in parentheses; the period goes
OUTSIDE the parentheses.


Grendel's role as a social outcast manifests as well in his physical deformity. Hrothgar relates
that he is “misshapen” and has only “the form of a man,” his sub-human shape reinforcing his
inability to participate in a masculine, comitatus society (lines 1351, 1352).


2. If you are quoting between TWO and THREE lines of poetry, place a slash (/) at the line breaks.
Keep all capitalization and punctuation as they appear for each line.


The fact that Grendel's lair lies outside normal warrior experience, not only outside the
cultivated land that surrounds Heorot, becomes clear when Hrothgar tells Beowulf that “There
lives none so wise / or bold that he can fathom its abyss” (lines 1366-67); that is, that even the most experienced of warriors can neither understand nor dive to the bottom (“fathom”) the

3. If you are quoting MORE THAN THREE lines of poetry, indent the entire quotation one tab stop, do
not put quotation marks around it, and quote it line-by-line, exactly as it appears on the page. The
parenthetical citation will go OUTSIDE the final piece of punctuation.


The interplay of enumeration and alliteration in the passage describing the landscape
surrounding Grendel's mere underscore both its physical distance from Heorot and the desolate
wilderness surrounding it:
                  That murky land
     they hold, wolf-haunted slopes, windy headlands,
     awful fenpaths, where the upland torrents
     plunge downward under the dark crags,
     the flood underground. (lines 1357-61)
Adjectives like “murky,” “awful,” and “dark” emphasize the obscurity of Grendel's habitat to
the warrior society, while the alliteration of “hold” with “headlands” in line 1358 serves to
confirm the Grendel-kin's possession of the “wolf-haunted” and “windy” -- animalistic and
inhospitable – outskirts of normal human communities.