Another re-read prompted by the desert island books conversation. this is just fabulous. I know the original derives from a oral tradition, and I feel that this is designed to be read aloud, not to oneself. the meter is unlike the iambic rhythm we're so used to now, but the alliteration works and the lines sort of trip of the tongue. It's never a dull "te tum te tum te tum" thing - the words almost have a life of their own. Add to that it's a swashbuckling story from the heroic to the unbearably sad and it just sweeps you away. Takes a bit of concentration, but that's no bad thing in a book.