This is the transcription of a lecture (Sir Israel Gollancz Lecture) given Nov. 25, 1936. In it, Prof. Tolkien speaks on how poorly the epic poem Beowulf is treated as a poem. He tells his audience of how scholars have grown accustomed to treating it simply as "bad history," instead of the good poetry that is truly is. In all probability, it was this lecture that turned the tides on how Beowulf was treated here in the States. Now some students read it (well, it's modern translation) in High School English class -- and treat it, not as an inaccurate historical document, but as a masterly written poem. Beowulf's popularity is growing daily, thanks to the diligent heed payed by Prof. Tolkien.