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[1260] sē þe, instead of sēo þe, applied to Grendel's mother just as in 1497, or hē, instead of hēo, in 1392, 1394. (See also 1344, 1887, 2421, 2685.) That it was the author, not a scribe, who at times lost sight of her sex, is to be referred from the equally inaccurate appellation sinnigne secg 1379 (mihtig mānscaða 1339, gryrelīcne grundhyrde 2136). We are reminded of Par. Lost i 423 f.: 'For spirits when they please Can either sex assume, or both.' (On the use of helrūne, see note on 163. Cp. the Go. transl., Mat. 9.33: usdribans warþ unhulþō.) Certainly, we cannot regard such masc. designations as evidence of an earlier version in which the hero killed Grendel himself in the cave, or of an old variant of the contest with Grendel which was subsequently worked into a story of the encounter with the mother. [Cf. Schneider L 4.135; ten Brink 92 ff., 110; Boer 66 ff.; Berendsohn L 4.141.1. 14ff.]

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