’ (= many), ‘seldom’ (= never), ‘long’ (= forever), and ‘often’ (= always).
The hero early confides about his heroism: ‘I don't brag about it much’ (586). (Imagine dating someone who talks like this.) There is an inherent fuzziness or imprecision in such evaluations, foreshadowing the basic fact of modernphysics that ‘nothing can ever be measured with perfect accuracy’.
Peter Ackroyd, searching in Anglo-Saxon England for the origins of the English imagination, speaks