Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
[...] Now here and there across the Middle-Earth
blown on by wind walls stand
covered with rime, the buildings storm-shaken.
Later in the poem, these buildings are called the "work of giants." The fact that wind and storms have the ability to shake them and cause them to crumble is a testament to nature's ability to destroy the creations of mankind, even the ones that seem most permanent.
[...] One a bird bore off
over the high holm; one the hoar wolf
dealt over to death.
The "beasts of battle" that benefit from the slaughter of war is an oft-repeated motif in Anglo-Saxon poetry. Here, just like the winter weather in the previous lines, nature has the ability to dismember and destroy.
Stands now behind the dear war-band
a wondrous high wall, varied with snake-shapes,
warriors foretaken by might of the ash-spears,
The "snake-shapes" carved on the wall behind the fallen men remind us of the beasts of battle mentioned a few lines earlier, making the wall seem vaguely threatening. These lines also say that "ash-spears" are "hungry" for corpses. The ash-tree was the raw material for these weapons, and the fact that it's mentioned here at all, and that the ash-spears are personified, makes the ash-tree partially responsible for these deaths. Once again, nature destroys.