Beowulf: an Anglo-Saxon poem
Translated by James Mercer,Garnett, the younger
1882 by Ginn, Heath, & Co. Boston, USA
LO! we of the Spear-Danes', in days of yore,
Warrior-kings' glory have heard,
How the princes heroic deeds wrought.
Oft Scyld, son of Scef, from hosts of foes,
5 From many tribes, their mead-seats took;
The earl caused terror since first he was
Found thus forlorn: gained he comfort for that,
Grew under the clouds, in honors throve,
Until each one of those dwelling around
10 Over the whale-road, him should obey,
Should tribute pay: that was a good king!
To him was a son afterwards born,
Young in his palace, one whom God sent
To the people for comfort: their distress He perceived
15 That they ere suffered life-eating care
So long a while. Him therefor life's Lord,
King of glory, world-honor gave:
Beowulf was noted (wide spread his fame),
The son of Scyld in Scedelands.
20 So shall a young man with presents cause,
With rich money-gifts in his father's house.
That him in old age may after attend
Willing comrades; when war shall come,
May stand by their chief; by deeds of praise shall
25 In every tribe a hero thrive!
Then Scyld departed at the hour of fate,
The warlike to go into his Lord's keeping:
They him then bore to the ocean's wave,
His trusty comrades, as he himself bade,
30 Whilst with words ruled the friend of the Scyldings,
Beloved land-prince; long wielded he power.
There stood at haven with curved prow,
Shining and ready, the prince's ship:
The people laid their dear war-lord,
35 Giver of rings, on the deck of the ship,
The mighty by th' mast. Many treasures were there,
From distant lands, ornaments brought;
Ne'er heard I of keel more comelily filled
With warlike weapons and weeds of battle,
40 With bills and burnies ! On his bosom lay
A heap of jewels, which with him should
Into the flood's keeping afar depart:
Not at all with less gifts did they him provide,
With princely treasures, than those had done,
45 Who him at his birth had erst sent forth
Alone o'er the sea when but a child.
Then placed they yet a golden standard
High over his head, let the waves bear
Their gift to the sea; sad was their soul,
Say now in sooth, hall-possessors,
Heroes 'neath heavens, who that heap took.
Then was in the cities Beowulf, the Scyldings'
Beloved folk-king, for a long time
55 Renowned 'mid the nation (elsewhere went his father
The prince from his home), till from him after sprang
The great Healfdene: he ruled while he lived,
Agéd and warlike, kindly the Scyldings.
To him were four children, reckoned in order,
60 Born into the world, to the prince of the people,
Heorogar and Hrothgar and Halga the good.
I heard that Elan wife of Ongentheow was,
The warlike Scylfing's bed-companion.
Then was to Hrothgar war-speed given,
65 Honor in battle, that him his dear kinsmen
Gladly obeyed, until the youth grew,
A great band of men. It came into his mind
That he a great hall would then command,
A greater mead-hall his men to build
70 Than children of men ever had heard of,
And there within would he all deal out
To young and to old, as God him gave,
Except the folk-land and lives of men.
Then far and wide heard I the work was ordered
75 To many a tribe throughout this mid-earth
The folk-hall to deck. Him in time it befell
Quickly with men, that it was all ready,
The greatest of halls: Heort as name gave he it,
He who with his word power far and wide had.
80 He belied not his promise, bracelets he dealt,
Treasure at banquet. The hall arose
Lofty and pinnacled; hostile waves it awaited
Of hateful fire. Nor was it yet long
Before fierce hatred to the frightened men,
85 For deadly enmity, was to arise,
Since the fell spirit most spitefully
For a time endured, who in darkness abode,
That he on each day the sound of joy heard
Loud in the hall: there was harp's sound,
90 Clear song of the minstrel. He said, he who could
The creation of men from of old relate,
Quoth that the Almighty the earth had wrought,
The beautiful plain which water surrounds,
Victorious had set the sun and the moon
95 As lights for light to the land-dwellers,
And had adorned the regions of earth
With limbs and leaves, life also created
For every kind of living beings.
Thus were the warriors living in joys
100 Happily then, until one began
Great woes to work, a fiend of hell:
The wrathful spirit was Grendel named,
The mighty mark-stepper who the moors held,
Fen and fastness: the sea-fiend's abode
105 The joyless being a while in-dwelt,
Since the Creator him had proscribed.
(Upon Cain's kin that crime avenged
The Lord eternal, for that he slew Abel:
Joyed he not in that feud, but him afar banished
110 For that crime the Creator away from mankind:
Thence evil demons all were produced,
Eotens and elves and monsters of sea,
Such were the giants who strove against God
For a long time: He repaid them for that.)
115 Then went he to seek out, after night came,
The high-built house, how the Ring-Danes,
After their beer-feast, it had arranged.
He found then therein a band of nobles
Asleep after feasting: sorrows they knew not,
120 Misfortunes of men. The demon of death,
Grim and greedy, soon was ready,
Fierce and furious, and in rest took
Thirty of thanes; thence back he departed,
Exulting in booty, homeward to go,
125 With this fill of slaughter to seek out his dwelling
Then at early morn was with dawn of day
Grendel's war-craft made known to men:
Then after his meal was wailing upraised,
A great morning-cry: the mighty prince,
130 The honored chief, sorrowful sat,
The strong man suffered, thane-sorrow endured,
After the foeman's footsteps they beheld,
The cursed demon's: too severe was that sorrow,
Loathsome and lasting. No longer time was it,
135 But after one night he again wrought
More deeds of murder, and did not shrink from
Hatred and evil: too firm he was in them.
Then was easy to find one who elsewhere,
Farther removed, rest for himself sought,
140 A bed next the chambers, since to him was shown,
Truly was said by a manifest sign
The hall-thane's hatred: he held himself after
Further and firmer, who 'scaped from the fiend.
So then he reigned and strove against right
145 Alone against all, until empty stood
The finest of houses. Long was the time:
Twelve winters' time suffering endured
The friend of the Scyldings, each one of woes,
Of sorrows extreme: therefore was this misery
150 Openly known to the children of men,
Sadly in songs, that Grendel contended
A while against Hrothgar, hateful war waged,
Evil and enmity many half-years,
Contests continual; peacefully would not
155 From any one man of the might of the Danes
Life-bale remove, nor with money compound;
No one of the wise men need there expect
A ransom more splendid at the murderer's hands
The terrible demon harassing was,
160 Dark death-shadow, the old and the young,
Caught and entrapped them; in constant night held
The misty moors: men know not indeed
Whither hell's demons wander in crowds.
So many foul deeds the foe of mankind,
165 The terrible lone one, often enacted,
Direful afflictions; Heorot he dwelt in.
The costly-decked hall, on the dark nights;
Yet must he not the rich gift-stool approach
For the Creator, nor wish for it know.
170 That was great sorrow of the friend of the Scyldings,
Misery of mind ! Many oft sat
Mighty in council; plans they devised,
What with bold mind then would be best
'Gainst the sudden attacks for them to do.
175 Sometimes they vowed at their temples of idols
To their gods worship, with words they prayed
The destroyer of spirits would render them help
Against their folk-sorrows. Such was their custom,
Hope of the heathen: hell they remembered
180 In their minds' thoughts; the Creator they knew not,
Judge of their deeds: the good Lord they knew not,
Heaven's protector could they not praise,
The King of glory. Woe be to him who shall,
Through deadly hate, thrust down his soul
185 Into the fire-abyss; for comfort he'll hope not,
By no means return ! Well be to him who may,
After his death-day, seek for the Lord,
In the Father's bosom mercy beseech!
So then great sorrow Healfdene's son
190 Continually suffered: might not the wise chieftain
His woes remove: too great was that pain,
Loathsome and lasting, that came on the people,
Dreadful distress, greatest of night-bales.
That from home learnt Higelac's thane,
195 Good 'mong the Geats, the deeds of Grendel;
He was of mankind strongest in might
In the day then of this mortal life,
Noble and great. For him a ship bade he
A good one prepare, quoth, he the war-king
200 Over the swan-road wished to seek out,
The mighty prince, since he need had of men.
That journey to him the cunning churls
Not at all blamed, though he lear to them was.
They whetted the brave one, good omens they saw
205 The good one had of the Geats' people
Warriors chosen, of those whom he bravest
Was able to find: one of fifteen
The vessel he sought: a warrior made known,
A sea-crafty man, the neighboring landmarks.
210 Thus time went on: on the waves was the ship,
Boat under the mountain. The heroes ready
On the prow stied: the billows rolled
The sea 'gainst the sand. The warriors bore
On the deck of the ship ornaments bright,
215 Equipments ornate: the men shoved out,
Men on willing journey, the well-fitted wood.
Went then o'er the waves, by the wind hastened,
The foamy-necked float to a fowl most like,
Till at the same hour of the following day
220 The curvéd prow had traversed the water.
So that the sailors then saw the land,
The sea-cliffs shine, the mountains steep,
The broad sea-nesses. Then was the sea-goer
At the end of its voyage. Thence quickly up
225 The Weders' people on the plain stied,
The sea-wood tied, their battle-sarks rattled,
Their weeds of war: thanked they then God
That for them the sea-paths easy were found.
Then saw from the wall the guard of the Scyldings,
230 He who the sea-cliffs was set to hold,
Bear o'er the bulwarks bright-looking shields,
Weapons ready for war: wonder aroused him
In his mind's thoughts as to what these men were.
Went he then to the sea on his steed riding,
235 The thane of Hrothgar; with might he shook
The strong wood in his hands, with formal words spoke:
"What now are ye of arms-bearing men
With burnies protected, who thus a high keel
Over the sea-path bringing have come
240 O'er the waves hither, clad in helmets?
I was the coast-guard, sea-watch I kept
That no one of foes on the Danes' land
With a ship-army injury might do.
Not here more openly ever have come
245 Bearers of shields! Ye the permission
Of warlike men did not well know,
Consent of kinsmen ! Ne'er saw I a greater
Earl upon earth than is one of you,
A hero in armor: that is no home-stayer
250 With weapons adorned, unless looks belie him,
His peerless appearance. Now I of you shall
The origin learn, ere ye far hence,
Like to false spies, in the land of the Danes
Further advance. Now ye far-dwelling,
255 Sea-faring men, give willing ear
To my simple thought: haste now is best
To make plainly known whence is your coming.'
To him then the princely one quickly replied,
The war-band's leader his word-hoard unlocked:
260 "We are of the race of the Geats' people,
And are of Hygelac hearth-companions.
My own father was well-known to the folk,
A princely ruler, Ecgtheow called:
Many winters he lived ere he away went
265 Aged from his dwelling: him well remembers
Each one of the wise men wide through the earth.
With friendly mind we thine own lord,
Healfdene's son, seeking are come,
The people's protector. Be thou our informant.
270 We have to the mighty a mickle errand,
To the lord of the Danes: nor shall aught be hidden
Of this, as I think. Thou knowest, if it is,
As we indeed truly have heard it said,
That 'mong the Scyldings I know not what foe,
275 A secret enemy, on the dark nights,
Shows by his terror hatred unknown,
Oppression and slaughter. I for that Hrothgar
With kindly mind counsel may give,
How he, old and good, shall the foe overcome,
280 If yet for him ever should cease
The misery of woes, release again come,
And the care-waves cooler become;
Or ever hereafter a time of trouble,
Oppression he'll suffer, while there remains
285 In its high place the noblest of houses."
The warden spoke, where on his horse sat
The fearless warrior: "Of each of these shall
A wise shield-warrior the difference know,
Of words and works, he who well judgeth.
290 I that do hear, that this band is friendly
To the lord of the Scyldings; go then forth bearing
Your weapons and war-weeds; I shall direct you:
Likewise my war-thanes I shall command
Against any foe this vessel of yours,
295 The newly-tarred boat, on the sea-sand
With honor to hold, till back shall bear
O'er the sea-waves the friendly man
The curved-prowed craft to Wedermark.
To such a good-doer will it be granted,
300 That this battle-storm he safe shall escape."
Then journeyed they on: the boat remained still,
In the bay rested the broad-bosomed ship,
At anchor fast. The boar's likeness shone:
Over the visor, with gold adorned,
305 Bright and fire-hardened, the boar kept guard.
The fierce-minded hurried, the heroes hastened,
Together they went, till the well-built hall,
Shining and gold-adorned, they might perceive:
That was the foremost to dwellers on earth
310 Of halls under heavens, in which the king dwelt;
The light from it shone o'er many of lands.
To them then the warrior the court of the proud
Glittering showed, that they to it might
Straightway proceed, one of war-heroes:
315 Turned he his horse, his word then spoke:
"My time 'tis to go. May the Father Almighty
With His gracious favor you now preserve
Safe on your journey! I will at the sea
'Gainst hostile band keep guard of the coast."
320 The road was stone-laid, the path directed
The men together. The war-burnie shone,
Hard and hand-locked, the bright ringéd-iron
Sang in the armor, when they to the hall
In their war-weeds at first approached.
325 Sea-wearied they set their broad-shapen shields,
Their stout-made bucklers, against the hall's wall,
Went then to the benches; their burnies rang,
War-armor of men; their long spears stood,
The sea-men's weapons, all together,
330 Grey ash-shaft above; the armored band was
With weapons adorned. There then a bold warrior
Inquired of the heroes concerning their kinship:
"Whence do ye bear your gilded shields,
Gray-colored sarks and grim-looking helmets,
335 Heap of war-shafts? I am of Hrothgar
Attendant and servant. Ne'er saw I strangers,
So many men, with prouder looks.
I think ye for valor, and not in exile,
But for high-mindedness Hrothgar have sought."
340 Him then the hero famed-for-strength answered,
The brave Weders' prince, his word then spoke,
Bold under his helmet: " We are of Hygelac
Table-companions, Beowulf's my name.
I wish to tell to the son of Healfdene,
345 The illustrious prince, my errand to him,
Thy lord, and to know if he will us grant
That we him so good friendly may greet."
Wulfgar then spoke (he was Vandals' chief,
His strength of mind was to many well-known,
350 His prowess and wisdom): " I the Danes' friend,
The lord of the Scyldings, therefore will ask,
The giver of rings, as thou art a suppliant,
The illustrious prince, concerning thy errand,
And to thee the answer at once will announce,
355 Which to me the good one thinketh to give."
Went he then quickly to where Hrothgar sat,
Old and gray-headed, with his band of earls;
The warlike went, till he stood in the presence
Of the lord of the Danes; he knew the court's custom,
360 Wulfgar then spoke to his own dear lord:
" Here are arrived, come from afar
Over the sea-waves, men of the Geats;
The one most distinguished the warriors brave
Beowulf name. They are thy suppliants
365 That they, my prince, may with thee now
Greetings exchange: do not thou refuse them
Thy converse in turn, friendly Hrothgar !
They in their war-weeds seem very worthy
Contenders with earls: the chief is renowned
370 Who these war-heroes hither has led."
Hrothgar then spoke, defence of the Scyldings:
"I knew him of old when he was a child:
His agéd father was Ecgtheow named;
To him at home gave Hrethel the Geat
375 His only daughter: his son has now
Boldly come here, a trusty friend sought.
Then this was said by the sea-farers,
Those who did tribute for the Geats carry
Thither for favor, that he thirty men's
380 Great strength of might in his hand-grip,
Brave in war, has. Him holy God
For gracious help to us has sent,
To the West-Danes, as I have hope,
Against Grendel's terror: I shall to the good one
385 For his boldness of mind costly gifts offer.
Be thou in haste, bid them come in,
A friendly band see all together!
Tell them too in words that they are welcome
To the Danes' people."- [To the hall-door
390 Wulfgar then went], words within spoke:
" To you bade me say my victor-lord,
Prince of the East-Danes, that your kinship he knows,
And ye are to him over the sea-waves,
Bold-minded men, welcome hither.
395 Now ye may go in your war-armor,
Under your helmets, Hrothgar to see:
Let ye your battle-shields here then await,
Your spears, deadly shafts, the converse of words."
Then rose the mighty, many warriors around him,
400 A brave band of thanes: some there abode,
The battle-weeds kept, as them the chief bade.
They hastened together, as the guide them directed,
Under Heorot's roof: the valiant one went
Bold under his helmet, till he in the hall stood.
405 Beowulf spoke (on him shone the burnie,
The linked net-work forged by the smith's craft):
"Be thou, Hrothgar, hail! I am of Hygelac
Kinsman and war-thane: many exploits have I
Undertaken in youth. To me Grendel's deed
410 In my native land clearly was known:
The sea-farers say that this mead-hall stands,
Noblest of halls, for each one of heroes
Empty and useless, when even-light
In the brightness of heaven has been concealed.
415 Then did my people give me advice,
The noblest of men, craftiest of churls,
Princely Hrothgar, that I thee should seek;
For that they knew my own strength of might:
They themselves saw when I came from the battle,
420 Blood-stained from my foes, where sea-monsters I bound,
The eoten-race killed, and on the waves slew
The nickers by night, endured great distress,
Avenged Weders' sorrows (woes had they suffered),
Their foe-men destroyed, and now against Grendel,
425 Against the dread monster, alone shall decide
The fight 'gainst the giant. I of thee now then,
Prince of the Bright-Danes, desire to make,
Chief of the Scyldings, but one request,-
That do not thou refuse me, defender of warriors,
430 Dear friend of the people, now thus far am I come,-
That I may alone and my band of earls,
This company brave, Heorot cleanse.
Also have I heard that the dread monster
For boldness of mood recks not for weapons:
435 I that then do scorn - so be to me Hygelac,
My own people's-king, gracious in mind-
That I a sword bear or a broad shield
Yellow-rimmed to the battle; but I with grip shall
'Gainst my foe grapple and for life strive
440 Foe against foe: there shall confide
In the doom of the Lord he whom death takes.
I ween that he will, if he may prevail,
In the war-hall the folk of the Geats,
The fearless, devour, as he oft did
445 The might of the IIrethmen; thou needest not then
My head conceal, but me he will have
Stained with gore, if death me take,
My bloody corpse bear, think to devour it,
Will eat it alone, unpityingly,
450 Will mark the moor-mounds: thou needest not then
For my body's food longer take care.
Send thou to Hygelac, if battle me take,
Best one of war-weeds that covers my breast,
Noblest of burnies; 'tis Hraedla's bequest,
455 Weland's skilled work. Goes aye Weird as it will! "
Hrothgar then spoke, defence of the Scyldings:
" For fight of protection, Beowulf my friend,
And for assistance, hast thou us sought.
Thy father fought a mighty contest;
460 He was of Heatholaf the slayer by hand
Among the Wylfings, whem the kin of the Waras
'Gainst the terror of war him might not have
After that sought he the South-Danes' folk
Over the sea-waves, the Honor-Scyldings,
465 When I first ruled the folk of the Danes.
And in youth held the jewelled-rich
Hoard-city of heroes, when Heregar was dead,
My elder brother bereft of life,
The son of Healfdene; he was better than I.
470 Afterwards the feud with money I settled;
I sent to the Wylfings o'er the waters' ridge
Old-time treasures; he swore to me oaths.
Sorrow is in my mind for me to say
To any of men what to me Grendel hath
475 Of harm in Heorot with his hateful thoughts,
Of sudden woes wrought; my hall-band is,
My war-heap, vanished; Weird swept them away
Into Grendel's terror. God easily may
The mad foe restrain from his evil deeds.
480 Very often they boasted, drunken with beer,
Over the ale-cup, the warriors bold,
That they in the beer-hall would then await
Grendel's contest with their terrible swords.
Then was this mead-hall in the morning-time,
485 Lordly hall, stained with gore, when day-light shone
All the bench-rows covered with blood,
The hall with sword-gore; I had the less lieges,
Dearest companions, whom death took away.
Sit now at the feast and free from court-rules
490 The heroes victorious, as pleases thy mind."
Then was for the Geat-men all together
In the beer-hall a bench prepared,
Where the bold-minded hastened to sit,
Proud in their strength. The thane did his service,
495 Who in his hands bore a gold-adorned ale-cup.
Poured out the clear mead. Sometimes sang the minstrel
With clear voice in Heorot: there was joy of heroes,
No little band of Danes and Weders.
Hunferth then spoke, the son of Ecglaf,
500 Who at the feet sat of the lord of the Scyldings,
Unloosed his war-secret (was the coming of Beowulf,
The proud sea-farer, to him mickle grief,
For that he granted not that any man else
Ever more honor of this mid-earth
505 Should gain under heavens than he himself):
"Art thou that Beowulf who strove with Breca
On the broad sea in swimming-match,
When ye two for pride the billows tried
And for vain boasting in the deep water
510 Riskéd your lives? You two no man,
Nor friend nor foe, might then dissuade
From sorrowful venture, when ye on the sea swam,
When ye the sea-waves with your arms covered,
Measured the sea-ways, struck with your hands,
515 Glided o'er ocean; with its great billows
Welled up winter's flood. In the power of the waters
Ye seven nights strove: he in swimming thee conquered,
He had greater might. Then him in the morning
On the Heathoremes' land the ocean bore up,
520 Whence he did seek his pleasant home,
Dear to his people, the land of the Brondings
His fair strong city, where he had people,
A city and rings. All his boast against thee
The son of Beanstan truly fulfilled.
525 Then ween I for thee a worse result,
Though thou in battle wert everywhere good,
A fiercer fight, if thou Grendel darest
The space of one night nigh to abide."
Beowulf spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
530 " Lo ! thou very much, Hunferth my friend,
Drunken with beer, hast spoken of Breca,
Hast said of his journey. I say the truth,
That I did the more sea-power possess,
Endurance 'mid waves, than any man else.
535 We two said this, when we were boys,
And we of this boasted (both were then still
In the prime of youth), that we out on the sea
Our lives would risk; and that we accomplished.
A naked sword had we, when we swam on the sea,
540 Boldly in hand: ourselves 'gainst the whales
We thought to defend. Not at all from me
On the flood-waves could he afar float,
On the sea quicker; I from him would not.
Then we two together were in the sea
545 The space of five nights, till flood apart drove us,
The swelling billows, coldest of storms,
Darkening night, and the north wind
Boisterous and fierce; rough were the waves.
The sea-fishes' spirit was then aroused:
550 There 'gainst the foes my body-sark,
Hard and hand-locked, to me help afforded;
The braided war-burnie on my breast lay,
With gold adorned. To the bottom me drew
The hostile foe; he held me fast,
555 Grim in his grip; yet was it granted me,
That I the monster with sword-point reached,
With battle-brand: the struggle took off
The mighty mere-beast by my own hand.
"So often upon me the hateful foes
560 Powerfully pressed: I punished them
With my dear sword, as it behooved me.
Not at all did they have joy of their meal,
The evil-doers, that they me might devout,
'Round their banquet might sit nigh the sea-bottom,
565 But in the morning wounded with swords
Around the sea-strand and upon it they lay,
With swords put to sleep, that never thereafter
Upon the high ocean the farers-by-sea
Might they let on their journey. Light from the east came,
570 Bright beacon of God: still were the waves,
So that I the sea-nesses might now behold,
The windy walls. Weird often preserves
An unfated earl, when his might has availed !
Yet it granted to me that I with sword slew
575 Nine of the nickers. Ne'er heard I at night
Under heaven's vault of a harder fight,
Nor on the sea-billows of a more wretched man —
Yet I my foes' grip with life escaped
Weary of th' journey. Then me the sea bore,
580 The flood o'er the waves, upon the Finns' land,
The welling waters. Not at all about thee
Of such-like contests have I heard tell,
Of terror with swords. Breca ne'er yet
In battle-play, nor either of you,
585 So daring a deed ever has done,
With stained swords (not of that do I boast),
Though thou thine own brothers' murderer wast,
Thy blood-relations': for this shalt thou in hell
Curses endure, though thy wit may avail!
590 I tell thee in truth, son of Ecglaf,
That never had Grendel wrought so many horrors,
The terrible monster, to thine own prince,
Shame in Heorot, if thy mind were,
Thy temper, so fierce, as thou thyself reckonest:
595 But he hath found that he the feud need not,
The terrible contest of your own people,
Very much dread, of the Victor-Scyldings;
He taketh forced pledge, he spareth no one
Of the Danes' people, but he joy beareth,
600 Killeth and eateth, nor weeneth of contest
With the Spear-Danes. But I to him shall
The Geats' strength and might without delay now
Offer in battle. Then shall go he who may
Proudly to mead, when morning-light
605 Of the second day o'er the children of men,
The sun ether-clad, shall shine from the South."
Then was in joy the giver of treasure,
Gray-haired and war-fierce; help he expected,
The ruler of Bright-Danes; in Beowulf heard
610 The people's shepherd the firm-set purpose.
There was laughter of heroes, the harp merry sounded,
Winsome were words. Went Wealhtheow forth,
The queen of Hrothgar, mindful of courtesies,
Gold-adorned greeted the men in the hall,
615 And the high-born woman then gave the cup
First to the East-Danes' home-protector,
Bade him be blithe at the beer-drinking,
Him dear to his people. In joy he received
The food and the hall-cup, victorious king.
620 Then around went the Helmings' lady
To every division of old and of young,
Costly gifts gave, until the time came
That she to Beowulf, the ring-adorned queen,
Noble in mind, the mead-cup bore:
625 She greeted the Geats' chief, thanks gave to God,
Wise in her words, that the wish to her fell,
That on any earl she might rely
For comfort in evils. Received he the cup,
The warrior fierce, at Wealhtheow's hands.
630 And then he spoke, ready for battle;
Beowulf spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
"This thought I then, when I on the sea stied,
Boarded my sea-boat with my warrior-band,
That I throughout of your own people
635 The will would work, or in battle fall,
Fast in fiend's grip. I shall perform
Deeds of valor, or end-day mine
In this mead-hall I shall await."
To the woman these words well-pleasing were,
640 Boasts of the Geat: gold-adorned went
The high-born queen to sit by her lord.
Then was as before again in the hall
Mighty word spoken, in joy were the people,
The victor-folk's shout, until all at once
645 The son of Healfdene wished to seek out
His evening-rest; he knew for the monster
In the high hall was battle prepared,
647a [Because in this hall the Ring-Danes never
647b Dared to abide unless by day-time],
From the time that they the sun-light might see,
Till night spreading darkness over all things,
650 Night-wandering spirits, came advancing
Dark under the clouds. The crowd all arose:
Greeted then glad-minded one man another,
Hrothgar Beowulf, and offered him hail,
Power o'er the mead-hall, and this word spoke:
655 " Never to any man ere did I trust,
Since I could lift my hand and my shield,
Royal hall of the Danes except to thee now.
Have now and hold the noblest of houses,
Of glory be mindful, a hero's might show,
660 Watch 'gainst the foe. No wish shalt thou want,
If thou the great struggle escapest with life."
Then Hrothgar went with his warrior-band,
The prince of the Scyldings, out of the hall:
The war-prince would Wealhtheow seek,
665 His queen as companion. The glory of kings
Grendel against, as men heard say,
A hall-guard had set: he performed special service
For the prince of the Danes, he eoten-guard kept.
Now the prince of the Geats earnestly trusted
670 In his proud might, in the Creator's favor.
Then he laid him aside his iron burnie,
Helmet from head, his jewelled sword gave,
Choicest of weapons, to his servant-thane,
And bade him keep his armor of war.
675 Then spoke the hero some boastful words,
Beowulf the Geat, ere he on bed stied:
"I count not myself less good in war-might
For deeds of battle than Grendel himself:
Therefore with my sword I him will not kill,
680 Of life deprive, though I it all may.
He knows not these goods, so that he me may slay
Hew down my shield, although he be fierce
In hostile deeds: but we at night shall
From swords refrain, if he dare to seek
The holy Lord, on whatever hand
May the glory adjudge, as seems to Him fit."
Then lay down the warlike: the pillow received
The cheeks of the earl, and him around many
690 A valiant sea-warrior sought his hall-rest.
No one of these thought that thence he should
Again his dear home ever seek out,
Folk or free-city where he was reared;
But they had heard that too many before
695 In this wine-hall bloody death carried off
Of the folk of the Danes. But to them the Lord gave
The web of war-speed, to the folk of the Weders
Comfort and help, so that they their foes
Through the craft of one all overcame,
700 By the might of one self: the truth is made known
That the mighty God the race of man
Has always ruled. - Came in wan night
The shadow-goer stepping. The warriors slept,
Who the horned hall then were to hold,
705 All except one. That was to men known,
That them he might not, whom the Creator would not,
The hostile demon drag into darkness;
But he keeping watch for his foe in anger
Awaited enraged the result of the battle.
710 Then came from the moor 'neath the misty slopes
Grendel going, God's anger he bore.
The wicked foe thought of the race of man
Some one to entrap in that high hall:
He went 'neath the clouds whither he the wine-hall,
715 The gold-hall of men, most thoroughly knew,
Shining with gold-plates: that was not the first time
That he of Hrothgar the home had sought.
Ne'er in his life-time before nor after
Bolder warriors, hall-thanes, did he find!
720 Then came to the hall the being approaching,
Of joys deprived. The door soon sprang open
Fast in its fire-bands, when he with hands touched it;
Then burst the bale-bringer, since he was enraged,
The door of the hall. Soon after that
725 On the many-colored floor the fiendish one trod,
Mad in mind went: from his eyes stood
A loathsome light likest to flame.
He saw in the hall many of warriors.
A band in peace sleeping all together,
730 A heap of kin-warriors. Then laughed his mood
He thought that he would, ere day came, divide,
The terrible monster, of every one
The life from the body, since to him was fallen
A hope of much food. That no longer was fitted.
735 That he might more of the race of man
Devour by night. The strong-in-might saw,
The kinsman of Hygelac, how the fell foe
With his swift attacks was going to act.
That did not the monster think to delay,
740 But quickly he seized for the first time
A sleeping warrior, him tore unresisting,
Bit his bone-frame, drank blood from his veins,
In great bites him swallowed: soon then he had,
Deprived of life, him all devoured,
745 Feet even and hands. Forth nearer he stepped,
Seized then with his hands the firm-in-mind
Warrior at rest. Him reached out agaist
The fiend with his hand: quickly he seized
The cunning-in-mind and on his arm sat.
750 Soon this perceived the worker of evil,
That he never found in this mid-earth,
In the regions of earth, in another man
A greater hand-grip: in mood he became
In his soul frightened; he could not sooner forth.
755 His mind was death-ready; into darkness would flee,
The devil-band seek: his course was not there,
As he in old-days before had found.
Remembered he then, good kinsman of Hygelac,
His evening-speech; upright he stood
760 And him fast seized: his fingers cracked
The eoten would outwards: the earl further stepped;
The mighty one thought, whereso he might,
Afar to escape, and away thence
Flee into the marshes: he knew that his fingers
765 Were in his foe's grip: that was a bad journey
That the harm-bringing foe had taken to Heorot:
The royal hall sounded: for all the Danes was,
The city-dwellers, each one of the bold,
For earls the ale spilt. Angry were both
770 Furious contestants: the hall cracked aloud:
Then was it great wonder that the wine-hall
Withstood the fierce fighters, that it to ground fell not,
The fair folk-hall: but it was too fast
Within and without in its iron bands
775 By cunning skill forged. There from the sill fell
Many a mead-bench, as I have heard say,
Adorned with gold, where the foes fought.
Of this before weened not wise men of the Scyldings
That it ever with strength any of men,
780 Goodly and bone-adorned, to pieces might break,
With craft destroy, unless flame's embrace
In smoke should it swallow. The sound arose
Often repeated: to the North-Danes stood
Fearful terror, to every one
785 Of those who from the wall the weeping heard,
The terrible song sung of th' opposer of God,
The joyless song, his pain lament
The prisoner of hell. He held him too fast,
He who of men was strongest in might
790 In the day then of this mortal life.
The earl's defence would on no account
The bringer of woes let go alive,
Nor his life-days to any people
Did he count useful. There brandished many
795 An earl of Beowulf his good old sword;
His dear lord's life he would defend,
His noble chiefs, whereso they might;
They knew not indeed, when they risked the contest,
The bold-in-mind heroes of battle,
800 And on each side they thought to hew,
To seek his soul, that the fiendish demon
Not any on earth choicest of weapons,
No one of war-swords, was able to touch,
But he had forsworn victorious weapons,
805 Each one of swords. His life-leaving should,
In the day then of this mortal life,
Miserably happen, and the strange-spirit
Into his foes' power afar depart.
Then that he perceived, he who oft before
810 In mirth of mind against mankind
His crimes had wrought, hostile to God,
That his body's frame him would not sustain,
But him the proud kinsman of Ilygelac
Had by the hands: each was to other
815 Living a foe. Pain of body endured
The terrible monster: there was on his shoulder
An evident wound; apart sprang the sinews,
The bone-frame burst. To Beowulf was
Battle-fame given: Grendel should thence
820 Sick-of-life flee under the fen-slopes,
Seek his joyless abode; too surely he knew
That of his life the end was come,
The span of his days. To all of the Danes
By the bloody strife was the wish fulfilled;
825 He then had cleansed, who ere came from afar,
Wise and valiant, the hall of Hrothgar,
Saved it from sorrow, rejoiced in his night-work,
His glorious deeds. Then for the East-Danes
The prince of the Geats his boast had performed,
830 Likewise the sufferings all had removed,
Sorrows from foe, which they ere suffered,
And by compulsion had to endure,
No little distress. That was a clear proof,
After the battle-brave laid down the hand,
835 The arm and the shoulder (there all was together),
The claw of Grendel 'neath the wide roof.
Then was in the morning, as I have heard say,
Around the gift-hall many a warrior:
The people's leaders from far and near came
840 Through the wide ways the wonder to view,
The tracks of the foe. Ne'er did his life-severing
Sorrowful seem to any of men,
Of those who then viewed the track of the vanquished,
How weary in mind he away thence,
845 In fight overcome, to the mere of the nickers,
Doomed and driven, his life-tracks bore.
There was the surface welling in blood;
The frightful waves' lashing all commingled
Hot in gore boiled with the sword-blood ;
850 The doomed-to-death dyed them, when of joys deprived
In his fen-refuge he laid down his life,
His heathen soul, where hell him received.
Thence back again came the old companions,
And many a young one from their glad course,
855 From the sea proudly riding on horses,
Heroes on steeds. There then was Beowulf's
Glory proclaimed : oft many said
That south nor north by the two seas
O'er the wide earth no other one
860 'Neath heaven's expanse was better than he
Of bearers of shields, more worthy of rule.
They did not now at all their dear lord blame,
The friendly Hrothgar, but that was a good king.
Sometimes the battle-famed permitted to leap,
865 In contest to go, their yellow horses
Where the land-roads seemed to them fair,
Known for their goodness. Sometimes a king's thane,
A man renowned, mindful of songs,
He who very many of old-time sagas,
870 A great number remembered, framed other words
Rightly connected: the scope then began
Beowulf's exploit with skill to tell,
And with art to relate well-composed tales,
Words to exchange; he told everything
875 That he of Sigemund had heard men say,
His noble deeds, much of the unknown,
The Waelsing's contest, his journeys wide,
Which the children of men did not well know,
The feuds and crimes, but Fitela with him,
880 When he some such thing wished to relate,
Uncle to nephew, as they ever were
In every fight comrades in need:
They had very many of the race of the eotens
Slain with their swords. To Sigemund came
885 After his death-day no little fame
Since he, brave in war, destroyed the dragon,
The guard of the hoard: he 'neath the gray stone,
The prince's son, had risked alone
The very bold deed; not with him was Fitela;
890 Yet it happened to him that the sword pierced
The wonderful worm, that it in the wall stood,
The lordly weapon; in death lay the dragon.
The terrible one in strength had prevailed,
So that he the ring-hoard himself might enjoy
895 At his own will; he loaded his vessel,
Bore on the ship's bosom the ornaments bright,
The son of Waels; the worm's heat melted him.
He was of exiles the greatest by far
Among the nations, the warriors' defence
900 In noble deeds; for that ere had he glory.
After of IIeremod the battle-might failed.
His strength and prowess, he was 'mong the Jutes
Into his foe's power forthwith betrayed,
Sent away quickly: him waves of sorrow
905 Too long oppressed; he was to his people,
To all of his princes, a life-long distress:
Likewise oft lamented in former times
The brave one's journey many a wise churl,
Who trusted in him for help in misfortunes,
Take the place of his father, his people possess,
Hoard and head-city, kingdom of heroes,
Home of the Scyldings. He was there to all,
The kinsman of Hygelac, to the race of man,
915 To friends more beloved: him sorrow befell.-
Sometimes contending the yellow roads
With their horses they measured. Then was morning-light
Advanced and hastened: many a man went,
Brave now in mind, to the high hall
920 To see the rare wonder; the king himself also
From his bridal chamber, guardian of treasures,
Stepped strong in glory with a great crowd,
Famed for his virtues, and his queen with him
Measured the mead-path with her maiden-band.
925 Hrothgar then spoke (he went to the hall,
Stood by the column, looked at the high roof
Adorned with gold and at Grendel's hand):
" For this glad sight thanks to the Almighty
Quickly be given! Much evil I suffered,
930 Sorrows from Grendel: God may ever work
Wonder on wonder, King of glory.
Lately it was that I for myself
Of any of woes weened not my life long
Relief to obtain, since stained with blood
935 The noblest of houses drenched in gore stood;
Woe was brought down on every wise man,
Of those who weened not that they in their lives
The people's land-work from foes might defend,
From demons and devils. Now hath a hero,
940 Through the Lord's might, a deed performed,
Which we all before were not at all able
With wisdom to work. Lo! this may say
Even whatever woman brought forth this son
After man's nature, if she yet liveth,
945 That to her the eternal Creator was gracious
In her child-bearing. Now I thee, Beowulf,
Noblest of men, for myself as a son
Will love in lite : keep well henceforth
The kinship new. To thee shall no lack be
950 Of earthly wishes o'er which I have power.
Very often for less have I fixed the reward,
The share of the treasure, to warrior less brave,
One worse in the fight. Thou hast for thyself
Effected by deeds that thy fame shall live
955 For ever and ever. May thee the Almighty
With good repay, as He heretofore did !"
Beowulf then spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
"That deed of might we, with great good-will,
That fight have fought, boldly encountered
960 The strength of the unknown: I rather would wish
That thou himself now mightest see,
The foe in his battle-dress wearied to death.
I quickly him with hardest grips
Thought then to bind on the death-bed,
965 That he by hand-grip of mine should lie
Striving for life, if his body escaped not:
I might not him, since the Creator willed not,
Cut off from escape: not so firm held I him,
The life-destroyer: too powerful was he,
970 The foe in his speed. Yet his hand did he let
For life-protection remain behind,
His arm and shoulder: not there, however,
Did the helpless man gain any comfort.
Not longer shall live the evil-doer
975 Burdened with sins, but him sore pain
In his strong grip sternly has seized,
In his bonds of bale: there shall abide
The sin-stained man the mickle doom,
How the glorious Creator to him will prescribe."
980 Then was more silent the son of Ecglaf
In his boasting-speech of warlike deeds,
After the princes, by the earl's might,
Upon the high roof the hand had viewed,
The foe-man's fingers, each one before him:
985 Each place of the nails was likest to steel,
The heathen's hand-spurs, the battle-monster's
Horrible claw: each one then said
That him would touch of warlike men
No excellent weapon, so that the demon's
990 Bloody war-hand it would break off.
Then quickly was ordered Heorot within
By hands to adorn: there were many of those,
Of men and of women, who that wine-hall,
That guest-room prepared. Gold-adorned shone
995 The webs on the walls, many wondrous sights
To each one of men, who on such look.
That building bright was very much injured,
All the interior in its iron-bands fast;
The hinges were shivered; the roof alone saved
1000 Entirely sound, when had the monster,
Condemned for his crimes, in flight escaped,
Hopeless of life. It will not be easy
Fate to escape, let do it who will;
But each shall obtain of soul-bearing men,
1005 By necessity fixed for the children of men,
For dwellers on earth, the place prepared,
Where his dead body, fast in his death-bed,
Shall sleep after feast. - Then was the fit time
That to the hall went Healfdene's son,
1010 The king himself the feast would enjoy.
Ne'er heard I that folk in greater crowd
Around their ring-giver better behaved.
Went then to the benches the heroes renowned
Rejoiced at the plenty: courteously shared
1015 Many a mead-cup the kinsmen of these,
The bold-minded ones in the high hall,
Hrothgar and Hrothulf. Heorot within
Was filled with friends: not at all deeds of guile
Did the Folk-Scyldings at this time prepare.
1020 Gave then to Beowulf Healfdene's son
A golden banner as victory's reward,
A wreathed standard, helmet and burnie;
A great jewelled sword many then saw
Before the chief borne. Beowulf received
1025 The cup in the hall. Not of that treasure-giving
Before the warriors need he be ashamed:
Ne'er heard I, more courteously, that treasures four
With gold adorned, many of men
On the ale-bench to each other gave.
1030 'Round the crown of the helmet head-protection
A loss wound with wires was keeping without,
That him the battle-swords boldly might not,
By file hardened, injure, when the shield-warrior
Against his foes in battle should go.
1035 The earl's defence eight horses ordered,
With golden trappings, to lead in the hall
In under the barriers: on one of these stood
A saddle art-decked, with treasure adorned;
That was the battle-seat of the high king,
1040 When in sword-play Healfdene's son
Wished to engage; ne'er at the front failed
The famed one's valor when corpses fell.
And then to Beowulf of each of the two
The prince of the Ingwins power delivered,
1045 Of horses and weapons: bade him well use them.
So like a man the noble prince,
The hoard-keeper of heroes, contests repaid
With horses and treasures, such as never will blame
He who will speak truth according to right.
1050 Then still on each one the prince of earls,
Of those who with Beowulf the watery waves traversed,
On the mead-bench a treasure bestowed.
A sword as an heir-loom, and bade for that one
To pay with gold, whom Grendel before
1055 With evil killed, as he more of them would,
Had not the wise God weird averted,
And the man's courage: the Creator ruled all
Of the race of mankind, as He still doth:
Therefore is insight everywhere best,
1060 Forethought of mind. He shall abide much
Of good and of ill, he who long here
In these days of sorrow useth the world.
There song and music was all together
About Healfdene's battle-leader;
1065 The harp was played, the song oft rehearsed,
When joy in hall Hrothgar's minstrel
Along the mead-bench was to make known:
"He sang of Finn's sons when that danger befell
The heroes of Healfdene, when Hnaef of the Scyldings
1070 In Frisian land was fated to fall.
Then indeed Hildeburh needed not praise
The faith of the Jutes: guiltless was she
Deprived of her dear ones in the shield-play,
Of sons and of brothers: by fate they fell
1075 Wounded with spear: that was a sad woman.
Not without reason did the daughter of Hoc
Lament fate's decree, when morning came,
When she under heaven might then behold
The death-bale of kinsmen, where she before had
1080 Most worldly joy. War took away all
The thanes of Finn except a few only,
So that he could not, on that meeting-place,
In fight with Hengest at all contend,
Nor even the remnant rescue by war
1085 From the chief's thane : but they offered them terms,
That they for them other hall would provide,
Hall and high seat, that they power of half
With the Jutes' sons were to possess,
And at treasure-givings the son of Folcwalda
1090 On every day would honor the Danes,
The band of Hengest with rings would enrich,
Even as much with costly jewels
Of plated gold, as he the Frisians
In the beer-hall would encourage.
1095 Then they confirmed on either side
A firm peace-compact: Finn to Hengest,
In valor invincible, promised with oaths
That he the remnant, by the doom of his wise men,
In honor would hold, that no man there
1100 By words nor works the compact should break,
Nor ever through cunning should violate it,
Though they their ring-giver's murderer followed,
Deprived of their prince, since so 'twas appointed them:
If then of the Frisians any one with bold speech
1105 Of that bloody feud mindful should be,
Then the edge of the sword it should avenge.
The oath was confirmed and treasure of gold
From the hoard taken. Of the warlike Scyldings
The best of the warriors was at the pyre ready;
1110 At the funeral-pile was easily seen
The blood-stained sark, the all-golden swine,
The boar of hard iron, many a prince
Destroyed by wounds: some fell in slaughter.
Hildeburh bade then at Hnaef's funeral-pyre
1115 To consign to the flame her own dear son,
The body to burn and on the pyre place.
The wretched woman wept on his shoulder,
Mourned him in songs. The fierce smoke arose,
Wound to the clouds the greatest of fires,
1120 Before the mound roared: the heads were melted,
The wound-openings burst; then out sprang the blood
From the wound of the body. The flame swallowed all,
Greediest of spirits, of those whom war took
Of both of the peoples: gone was their breath.
1125 Then went the warriors to visit the dwellings,
Deprived of their friends, Friesland to see,
The homes and high city. Hengest then still
The slaughter-stained winter dwelt there with Finn,
In valor invincible; he remembered his land,
1130 Though he might not on the sea drive
The ring-prowed ship: in storm rolled the ocean,
Fought with the wind.: winter the waves locked
In its icy bond, until came another
Year in the dwellings, as now still do
1135 (For they ever observe suitable seasons)
The clear-shining days. Then winter was gone,
Fair was the earth's bosom: strove the exile to go,
The guest from the dwellings; he then on vengeance
More eagerly thought than on the sea-voyage,
1140 If he might effect a hostile meeting,
And in it remember the sons of the Jutes.
So he did not escape the fate of the world
When Hunlaf's son a battle-sword,
Best of weapons, thrust in his breast;
1145 Well-known were its edges among the Jutes.
Also, bold-minded Finn afterwards befell
Death-bringing sword-bale at his own home,
When the fierce battle Guthlaf and Oslaf
After their sea-journey in sorrow lamented,
1150 Blamed him for their woes: his flickering life might not
Keep itself in his breast. Then was the hall covered
With bodies of foes; also was Finn slain,
The king 'mong his band, and the queen taken.
The Scyldings' warriors bore to their ships
1155 All the possessions of the king of the land,
Such as they might find at Finn's home
Of bright jewels and gems. They on the sea-road
The royal woman to the Danes bore,
Led to their people."-The song was sung,
1160 The gleeman's glee: the sport then arose,
Carousing resounded: the servants out-poured
Wine from the wondrous vessels. Then came Wealhtheow forth,
Going under her golden crown, where were the good ones two
Uncle and nephew sitting: then were they still at peace,
1165 Each one true to the other. There also the orator Hunferth
Sat at the feet of the Scyldings' lord: each of them trusted his wisdom,
That he great courage had, tho' to his kinsmen he was not
Honest in play of the swords. Spoke then the queen of the Scyldings:
"Receive thou this cup, my dearest lord,
1170 Giver of treasure. Be thou in health,
Gold-friend of men, and to the Geats speak
With mildest words, as a man shall do.
Be to the Geats kind, mindful of gifts;
Near and afar hast thou now peace.
1175 One said to me thou for a son would
The warrior have. Heorot is cleansed,
The bright jewel-hall: use whilst thou mayest
Many rewards, and leave to thy kinsmen
Folk and kingdom, when thou shalt forth
1180 Fate's decree see. I know well indeed
My friendly Hrothulf, that he the youth will
In honor hold, if thou sooner than he,
Friend of the Scyldings, leavest the world:
I ween that he with good will repay
1185 Our own children, if he all remember,
What we, through good-will and also through honor,
Of kindnesses showed to him when a child."
Turned she then to the bench where were her sons,
Hrethric and Hrothmund, and the warriors' children
1190 The youth together, where sat the good
Beowulf the Geat by the two brothers.
To him was a cup borne, and friendly greeting
Offered in words, and twisted gold
Gladly presented, arm-ornaments two,
1195 A burnie and rings, the greatest of collars,
Of those which on earth I ever have heard of.
Under the heaven heard I of no better
Hoard-jewel of heroes, since Hama bore
To the bright city the Brosings' collar,
1200 Bright jewel and costly; - he fell into the wiles
Of Eormenric, eternal fate chose.
This ring then had Higelac the Geat,
The grandson of Swerting, the very last time,
When he under his banner defended the treasure,
1205 Battle-spoils guarded: Weird took him away,
When he for pride suffered great woes,
Feud from the Frisians: the jewels he bore,
The precious stones, o'er the wave-holder,
The mighty prince: he fell under his shield,
1210 The life of the king into th' Franks' keeping went,
Breast-battle-weeds and the collar together:
Warriors inferior plundered the slain
After the overthrow of the Geats' people,
The battle-field held.-The hall resounded.
1215 Wealhtheow then said, she before the crowd spoke
"Use this collar , Beowulf dear,
Young man, with joy, and make use of this burnie,
People's treasures, and thrive thou well;
Bear thee with might and be to these youths
1220 Friendly in counsel; thy reward I'll remember.
Thou hast now caused that thee far and near
All thy life long men shall honor,
Even so wide as the sea encircles,
Winds through its walls. Be, whilst thou livest,
1225 Noble prince, happy. I grant to thee well
Precious treasures. Be thou to my sons
Friendly in deeds, thou joyful one:
Here is each earl true to the other,
Mild in his mood, loyal to his liege lord;
1230 The thanes are at peace, the people all ready;
Warriors well-drunken, do as I bid."
She went to the seat. There was choicest of feasts,
The men drank the wine: weird they knew not,
Destiny stern, as it did happen
1235 To many of earls, when even came
And Hrothgar departed to go to his court,
The mighty to rest. The hall in-dwelt
A number of earls, as they oft before did;
They emptied the bench-space: it was over-spread
1240 With beds and bolsters. A certain beer-servant,
Ready and fated, lay down to his rest.
They placed at their heads the battle-shields,
The bright wooden boards: there on the bench was
Over the warrior easily seen
1245 The battle-high helmet, the ringéd burnie,
The mighty spear-shaft; their custom was
That they often were ready for combat
Both at home and in army, and in each one of them
Even at such a time as to their liege lord
1250 Need there might be: that was a good folk.
They went then to sleep: one sorely paid for
His evening-rest, as to them often happened
When the gold-hall Grendel in-dwelt,
Evil deeds wrought, until the end came,
1255 Death for his crimes. That became plain,
To men widely known, that still an avenger
Lived for his foes. For a long time
After the war-sorrow Grendel's mother,
A terrible woman, nourished her grief,
1260 Who was said to inhabit the fearful waters,
The ice-cold streams, since Cain became
The murderer by sword of his only brother,
His father's son; then outlawed he went,
With murder marked, to flee human joy,
1265 Dwelt in the waste. Thence many sprang
Of the demons of fate; of these one was Grendel,
Hateful and ravenous, who in Heorot found
A watching man awaiting the battle
Where the fell monster him was attacking:
1270 Yet he remembered the strength of his might,
The powerful gift, which God to him gave,
And on the Lord's favor relied for himself
For comfort and help: so the fiend overcame he,
Felled the demon of hell, when he humbled departed,
1275 Deprived of joy, his death-place to see,
The foe of mankind. And still his mother,
Greedy and raging, wished then to go
The sorrowful journey her son to avenge.
She came then to Heorot, where the Ring-Danes
1280 Through the hall slept: then there was soon
A change to the earls, when within entered
Grendel's-mother. The terror was less
Even by so much as is woman's strength,
A woman's war-terror, esteemed by a man,
1285 When a bound sword, forged by the hammer,
The sword stained with gore, the boar on the helmet,
Strong in its edges, opposite cleaves.
Then was in the hall the hard-edged drawn,
The sword o'er the seats, many a broad shield
1290 Raised firm in hand: of helmet one thought not,
Of burnie broad, when terror him seized.
She was in haste, would thence away,
Her life preserve, when she was discovered.
Quickly had she of one of the warriors
1295 Firmly laid hold, when she to fen went:
He was to Hrothgar, the dearest of men
In the office of comrade by the two seas,
A shield-warrior strong, whom she in rest killed,
A hero renowned. Not there was Beowulf,
1300 But other room before was assigned,
After the treasure-giving, to the great Geat.
Noise was in Heorot: she in its gore took
The well-known hand. Grief was renewed
Again in the dwellings; 'twas not a good trade,
With the lives of their friends. Then was the old king,
The hoary warrior, in sorrowful mood,
When he his chief thane, deprived of life,
The dearest one, knew to be dead.
1310 Quickly was Beowulf brought to the hall,
The victory-blest hero. At dawn of day
Went one of earls, the noble warrior,
Himself with his comrades, where the wise one
Whether for him the Almighty will ever,
1315 After this woe-spell, a change of things work.
Went then on the floor the man war-renowned
With his band of men (the hall-wood resounded),
Until he addressed the wise one in words,
The lord of the Ingwins, asked if to him were,
1320 As he had wished, the night undisturbed.
Hrothgar then spoke, the defence of the Scyldings:
"Ask not thou for health. Sorrow's renewed
To the Danes' people: dead is Aeschere,
Of Yrmenlaf the elder brother,
1325 My trusted counsellor and my adviser,
My right-hand man, when we in battle
Defended our heads, when warriors engaged,
When the boars clashed: such should an earl be,
An excellent prince, as Aeschere was.
1330 She was to him the murderer in Heorot,
The restless death-demon: I know not whither,
Proud of her prey, she frightful withdrew,
Well-known from her meal. The feud she avenged,
For that thou yester-night Grendel didst kill
1335 In a powerful way by your hard grips,
Because he too long my own people
Lessened and killed: in battle he fell,
Of his life guilty, and now came another,
A mighty fell foe, her son would avenge,
1340 And further has laid her feud upon us;
Wherefore it may seem to many a thane,
Who for his ring-giver mourns in his mind,
A bale hard to bear; now lies the hand helpless,
Which used to gratify all of your wishes.
1345 I the land-dwellers, my own people,
Counsellors-in-hall, that have heard say
That they used to see a pair of such
Mickle mark-steppers holding the moors,
Spirits of elsewhere: one of these was,
1350 As they most certainly might then perceive,
A woman's form: the other one wretched
In the likeness of man his exile trod-
Except he was greater than any man else-
Whom in yore-days Grendel they named,
1355 The dwellers-on-earth: they know not their father,
Whether any to him was before born
Of wicked spirits. They in a dark land,
Cliffs of wolves, dwell, windy nesses,
Dangerous marshes, where mountain-stream
1360 Under clouds of the nesses flows down below,
Lake under the earth. It is not far hence
In measure by miles that the mere stands,
Over which hang the rustling groves,
Wood firm in its roots; they cover the water.
1365 There one every night a strange wonder may see,
Fire on the flood: so wise a one lives not
Of the children of men that knows its bottom:
Although the heath-stepper pressed by the dogs,
The stag, strong in horns, may seek the grove,
1370 Pursued from afar, his life will he give,
His life on the shore, ere in it he will
Hide there his head. That 's no unhaunted place;
Thence the boiling of waters rises up high
Wan to the clouds, when the wind rouses,
1375 The hateful storms, while dark grows the air,
The heavens weep. Now is ready counsel
Again in thee alone. The abode yet thou knowest not,
The terrible place, where thou mayest find
The much-sinning being: seek if thou dare.
1380 I for the contest thee will repay
With old-time treasures, as I before did,
With twisted gold, if thou comest away."
Beowulf then spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
"Sorrow not, wise man! It is better for each
1385 That his friend he avenge than that he mourn much
Each of us shall the end await
Of worldly life: let him who may gain
Honor ere death. That is for a warrior,
When he is dead, afterwards best.
1390 Arise, kingdom's guardian! Let us quickly go
To view the track of Grendel's kinsman.
I promise it thee: he will not escape,
Nor in earth's bosom, nor in mountain-wood,
Nor in ocean's depths, go where he will.
1395 Throughout this day do thou patience have
Of each of thy woes, as I ween of thee !"
Up leaped the agéd one, thanked he then God,
The mighty Lord, for what the man spoke.
Then was for Hrothgar a horse provided,
1400 A steed with curled mane: the ruler wise
Well-equipped went; the band stepped forth
Of bearers of shields. The foot-tracks were
On the forest-paths widely perceived,
The course o'er the plain: she went straight ahead
1405 O'er the murky moor, of knightly thanes bore
The noblest one deprived of life,
Of those who with Hrothgar defended his home.
Went he then over, the offspring of princes,
The steep, stony slopes, the narrow ways,
1410 The strait single paths, the unknown course,
The headlands steep, many houses of nickers.
He one of few went on before,
Of the wise men, the plain to view,
Until he all at once the mountain-trees
1415 O'er the gray stone found bending down,
The joyless wood: the water stood under
Gory and restless. To all the Danes 'twas,
To the friends of the Scyldings, bitter in mood,
To many a thane sorrow to suffer,
1420 To each one of earls, after of Aeschere
On the holm-cliff the head they found.
The flood boiled with blood (the people looked on),
With the hot gore. The horn at times sang
The ready war-song. All the warriors sat down;
1425 They saw then in the water many of worm-kind,
Strange sea-dragons, seeking the sea,
Such nickers lying out on the ness-slopes,
As at mid-day often prepare
A sorrowful voyage on the sail-road,
1430 Worms and wild beasts: rushed they away
Fierce and angry; the noise they perceived
The war-horn sound. The prince of the Geats
With his arrowed bow deprived one of life,
Of strife with the sea, so that stood in his vitals
1435 The hard war-arrow: he was in the holm
The slower in swimming, whom death took away.
Quickly was in the waves with their boar-spears,
Their hooked swords, fiercely attacked,
Pressed after with struggles and to the ness drawn,
1440 The wonderful monster: the men looked upon
The terrible stranger. Beowulf girded him
With noble armor, not for life did he care:
The war-burnie should, woven with hands,
Wide and well-wrought, seek out the sea,
1445 That which his body could well protect,
So that him battle-grip might not in breast,
The mad one's assault, injure in life:
But the bright helmet protected his head,
Which was to mingle with the depths of the sea,
1450 Adorned with treasure seek the sea-waves,
Encircled with diadem, as in days of old
The weapon-smith wrought it, wondrously framed it
Set with swine-bodies, so that it never after
The flaming war-swords might be able to bite.
1455 That was not then the least of strong helps,
That to him in need Hrothgar's orator lent:
Of that hilted sword Hrunting was name;
That was a chief one of old-time treasures;
Its edge was of iron, with poison-twigs stained,
1460 Hardened with battle-gore; ne'er failed it in fight
Any of men, who it wielded with hand,
He who durst tread the terrible paths,
The folk-place of foes: that was not the first time,
That deeds of valor it should perform.
1465 The kinsman of Ecglaf remembered not now,
Mighty in strength, what he before spoke
Drunken with wine, when the weapon he lent
To a better sword-bearer; he himself durst not
Under waves' tumult venture his life,
1470 Heroic deeds work; there he lost fame,
A name for valor; not so with the other,
When he for battle himself had prepared.
Beowulf then spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
"Bethink thyself now, great kinsman of Healfdene
1475 Thou ruler wise, now I'm for the way ready,
Gold-friend of men, of what we once spoke,
If I in thy service should at any time
Of my life be deprived, that thou wouldst ever be
To me when gone hence, in stead of a father.
1480 Be thou a protector to my knightly thanes,
My trusty comrades, if war take me off:
Also the treasures, which thou gavest me,
Do thou, dear Hrothgar, to Hygelac send.
May then by the gold the Geat's lord perceive,
1485 Hrethel's son see, when he looks on the treasure,
That I did one find in man's virtues good,
A giver of rings, him enjoyed while I might.
And do thou let Hunferth the ancient relic,
The wonderful sword, the widely-known man
1490 The hard-edged have. I shall with Hrunting
Fame for me gain, or death will me take."
After these words the prince of the Weder-Geats
Hastened with valor, not for an answer
Would he await. The water-flood took
1495 The mighty warrior: then was a day's space
Ere the bottom-plain he might perceive.
Soon that discovered she who the flood's realm,
Eager for blood, for fifty years held,
Grim and greedy, that there some one of men
1500 The monster's abode sought out from above.
She grasped then against him, the warrior seized
In her terrible claws; not sooner she injured
His body sound: the burnie him shielded,
So that she might not pierce through the corslet,
1505 The locked linked sark, with fiendish fingers.
Bore then the sea-wolf, when she came to the bottom,
The giver of rings to her own abode,
So that he might not, tho' he was brave,
His weapons wield, but him many strange ones
1510 Oppressed in the sea: many a sea-beast
With battle-tusks his war-sark brake;
The monsters harassed him. The earl then perceived
That he in sea-hall, he knew not what, was,
Where him no water in aught might harm,
1515 Nor for the roofed hall might lay hold of him
Sudden grip of the flood: the fire-light he saw,
The brilliant beams brightly shining.
The good one perceived then the wolf of the bottom,
The mighty mere-woman; he gave a strong stroke
1520 With his battle-bill, withheld not the blow,
So that on her head the ringed blade sounded
A greedy war-song. Then the stranger perceived
That the war-weapon would not cleave through,
Injure her life, but the edge failed
1525 The prince in his need: before it endured
Many hand-meetings, the helmet oft clave,
The fated one's corslet: that was the first time
To the dear treasure that power had failed.
Again was determined, not lacking in prowess,
1530 Mindful of fame, the kinsman of Hygelac:
Then threw the etched brand, with jewels adorned,
The angry warrior, that it on the earth lay,
Strong and steel-edged; he trusted to strength,
The hand-grip of might: so shall a man do,
1535 When he in war thinketh to gain
Praise everlasting, nor for his life careth.
Seized then by the shoulder (cared she not for the contest)
The War-Geats' prince Grendel's mother,
Threw then battle-brave, for he was enraged,
1540 The life-destroyer, that she on the floor fell.
She him again quickly the hand-grip repaid
With her fierce claws, and seized him fast:
Then stumbled the weary one, strongest of warriors.
The fighter-on-foot, so that he fell.
1545 She sat on the hall-guest and drew her short sword.
Broad and brown-edged, her son would avenge,
Her only child. On his shoulder lay
The braided breast-net: that his life saved,
Against point and edge entrance withstood.
1550 Then had he perished, Ecgtheow's son,
'Neath the broad bottom, the chief of the Geats
Had not the war-burnie lent help to him,
The hard battle-net, and had not holy God
Directed the victory, the all-knowing Lord;
1555 The Ruler of heaven adjudged it aright;
Easily afterwards he again rose.
'Mongst the armor he saw then a victory blessed weapon,
Old sword of the eotens strong in its edges,
Honor of warriors: that was choicest of weapons,
1560 But it was greater than any man else
To the war-play was able to bear,
Good and ornate, the hand-work of giants.
He seized the chained hilt, the Scyldings' champion,
Raging and battle-fierce, the ringed sword brandished,
1565 Hopeless of life angrily struck,
So that 'gainst her neck it strongly grasped,
Broke the bone-rings; the bill pierced through
Her fated body: she on the floor fell;
The sword was bloody, in his deed he rejoiced.
1570 The blade's beam shone, the light stood within,
Just as from heaven brightly doth shine
The firmament's candle. He looked through the hall
Turned then by the wall, uplifted the weapon
Strong by its hilts Higelac's thane,
1575 Angry and firm: the edge was not useless
To the war-hero, but he quickly would
Grendel repay many warlike assaults
Of those which he wrought to the West-Danes
Oftener by far than for one time,
1580 When he of Hrothgar the hearth-companions
Slew in their sleep, whilst sleeping ate
Of the Danes' folk fifteen of men,
And such another bore he away,
A sorrowful prey: he paid him for that,
1585 The warrior fierce, as he in rest saw
Weary of war Grendel there lying
Of life deprived, as him before injured
The combat at Heorot. His body sprang far,
When he after death suffered the blow,
1590 The strong sword-stroke, that struck off his head.-
Soon that perceived the cunning churls,
Those who with Hrothgar gazed on the sea,
That the waves-stirring all was commingled,
The surge stained with blood. The hoary-haired elders
1595 Concerning the good one together thus spoke,
That they for the prince looked not again,
That he, flushed with victory, would come to seek
Their mighty chief, since it seemed to so many
That the sea-wolf him had destroyed.
1600 Then came the ninth hour; the ness forsook
The valiant Scyldings: he departed thence home,
The gold-friend of men. The strangers sat,
Sick in their mind, and stared on the sea:
They knew and weened not, that they their dear lord
1605 Himself might see. - The sword then began
On account of the battle-gore in clots of blood
The war-bill to vanish (that was a wonder),
So that it all melted likest to ice,
When the frost's fetters the Father unlooses,
1610 The ice-rope unwinds, He who has control
Of times and tides: that is true Creator.
Took he not in the dwelling, the Weder-Geats' prince,
More of rich treasures, though he many there saw,
But only the head and the hilts together,
1615 With jewels adorned: the sword ere melted,
The etched brand burnt: the blood was so hot,
The strange-spirit poisonous, who therein died.
Soon was he swimming who lived through the strife,
The foes' fierce assault, dived he up through the water:
1620 The stirrings of waves all were cleansed,
The regions wide, when the strange-spirit
Left his life-days and this fleeting creation.
Came then to the land the seamens' protector
Strong-minded swimming, joyed in his sea-booty,
1625 The mighty burden of what he had with him.
They went then to meet him, gave thanks to God
The brave band of thanes, rejoiced in their chief,
For that they him safe might again see.
Then from the strong one helmet and burnie
1630 Quickly was loosed: the lake became thick,
Water under the clouds stained with war-gore.
Forth went they thence on the foot-paths
Glad in their hearts, measured the land-ways,
The well-known roads; the very bold men
1635 From the sea-cliff were beating the head
With great exertion to each one of them:
Of the courageous four warriors should
On the spear-shaft with labor bear
To the gold-hall the head of Grendel,
1640 Until forthwith to the hall came
Fourteen brave men and fierce in war
Of the Geats going: the lord of men with them,
Brave in the crowd, trod the mead-plains.
Then entering came the prince of the thanes,
1645 The man brave in deeds, honored in fame,
The battle-fierce warrior, Hrothgar to greet.
Then was by the hair on the floor borne
The head of Grendel, where the men drank,
Frightful to earls and the lady also,
1650 A wonderful sight: the men on it gazed.
Beowulf then spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
"Lo! we thee this sea-booty, son of Healfdene,
Prince of the Scyldings, with joy have brought
As a token of fame, which thou gazest on here.
1655 I that with my life scarcely escaped;
Under water in battle risked I the work
With great exertion; almost would have been
Ended the struggle, had not me God shielded.
I might not in battle with Hrunting the sword
1660 Aught then perform, though that weapon is good:
But the Ruler of men granted to me
That I on the wall saw beautiful hanging
An old mighty sword (often has He directed
Those without friends), that I brandished the weapon.
1665 Then I slew in the contest, when time favored me,
The house's keepers. Then did the battle-bill,
The etched brand, burn, as sprang forth the blood,
The hottest of battle-gore: I the hilt thence
Bore from my foes, avenged their ill-deeds,
1670 Death-plague of the Danes, as it was right.
I promise thee then that thou mayest in Heorot,
Sorrowless sleep with thy warrior-band,
And each of the thanes of thine own people,
Of old and of young; thou needst not for them fear,
1675 Chief of the Scyldings, from this direction
Life-bale for thy earls, as thou didst before,"
Then was the golden hilt to the old warrior,
The hoary war-chief, given in hand,
The old work of giants: it went into the keeping,
1680 Since the fall of the devils, of the lord of the Danes,
The cunning smiths' work, when this world forsook
The bad-hearted being, the opposer of God.
Devoted to death, and his mother also.
It went into the power of the noblest one
1685 Of the world-kings by the two seas,
Of those who in Sceden-ig treasure divided.
Hrothgar then spoke, on the hilt looked,
The old relic on which was the origin written
Of an old contest: the flood afterwards slew,
1690 The rushing sea, the race of the giants;
Badly they fared: that people was hostile
To the Lord eternal; therefor a reward
Through waters' flood the Almighty them gave.
So was on the guard of purest gold
1695 In runic letters rightly engraved,
Was set and said, for whom that sword,
Choicest of weapons, first had been wrought
With wreathed hilt snake-adorned. Then the chief spoke,
The son of Healfdene (kept silent all):
1700 "Lo! that he may say who truth and right
Works for his people, the past all remembers,
An old home-guardian, that this earl was
One born of the best. Thy fame is wide-spread
Through distant ways, Beowulf my friend,
1705 Over each nation: with patience thou holdest it all,
Thy might with prudence of mind. I shall to thee grant
My friendship, as we before spoke: thou shalt be for comfort,
All long-assured, to thine own people,
To heroes for help. Not so was Heremod
1710 To the children of Ecgwela, the Honor-Scyldings;
He throve not for their pleasure, but for their slaughter,
And for death-plagues to the Danes' people:
Slew he enraged his table-companions,
His chosen comrades, till he went alone,
1715 The mighty prince, from human joys:
Though him mighty God in joy of strength.
In power exalted, over all men
Him had uplifted, yet in his heart grew
A bloodthirsty feeling: he did not give rings
1720 To the Danes by right: joyless abode he,
So that for this strife sorrow he suffered,
Misery lasting. By that teach thou thyself,
Practise man's virtues. This tale for thee
Have I, old in years, told. 'Tis a wonder to say
1725 How mighty God to the race of mankind,
Through His great mind, wisdom divides,
Homes and nobility: He rules over all.
Sometimes on love permits He to turn
The thoughts of the man of mighty race,
1730 Gives him in his home the joy of earth,
A sheltering city of men to possess,
Makes subject to him parts of the world,
A kingdom wide, so that he of it may not,
For his lack of wisdom, think of the end:
1735 He dwells in plenty, nor him does aught check,
Sickness nor age, nor for him does sorrow
Grow dark in his mind, nor a foe anywhere
Show him sword-hate, but for him all the world
Wends at his will. He knows not the worse,
1740 Until him within a portion of pride
Waxes and grows, when sleeps the keeper,
The guard of the soul: that sleep is too firmly
Bound up with sorrows; very nigh is the slayer,
Who from arrowed bow spitefully shoots.
1745 Then is he in his breast pierced under his helmet
With a sharp arrow: he cannot defend him
From the evil strange-orders of that cursed spirit:
Him seems it too little what he long held;
He with evil mind covets, gives not for boasting
1750 Gold-plated rings, and he future fate
Forgets and neglects, for God gave him before,
The Ruler of glory, a share of earth's honors.
It at the end afterwards happens
That the frail body fleeting doth fail,
1755 Fated doth fall: another succeeds,
He who undisturbed treasures divides,
The earl's former store, cares not for its owner.
Guard against wrong-doing, Beowulf dear,
Best one of heroes, and choose thou the better,
1760 Counsels eternal. Care not for pride,
Mighty warrior. Now is thy strength's fame
Lasting a while: soon after it shall be
That sickness or sword shall rob thee of might,
Or clutch of the fire, or swell of the flood,
1765 Or grip of the sword, or flight of the arrow,
Or fearful old age, or light of the eyes
Shall fail and grow dark: it suddenly shall be
That thee, great warrior, death shall overcome.
So I the Ring-Danes a hundred half-years
1770 Ruled under heavens, and secured them by war
Against many tribes throughout this mid-earth,
With spears and with swords, so that any foe
Under circuit of heaven reckoned I not.
Lo! to me in my home a change of this came,
1775 Sorrow for joy, after Grendel became
The foe of long years, my constant home-seeker:
I from this hostility continually suffered
Much sorrow of mind. Thanks to the Creator,
The Lord eternal, whilst in life I remained,
1780 That I on this head drenchéd with gore,
After long sorrow, look with my eyes.
Go now to thy seat, partake of feast-joy,
Thou honored in war. To us shall be many
Of treasures in common, when morning shall come."
1785 The Geat was glad-minded went he then soon
His seat to take, as the wise one bade.
Then was as before for the courageous
Sitters-in-hall fitly prepared
Another time. Night's canopy lowered
1790 Dark o'er the warriors. The band all arose;
The white-haired one his bed would seek
The aged Scylding. The Geat beyond measure,
The brave shield-warrior, it pleased to rest:
Soon the hall-thane him of his way weary,
1795 The comer-from-far, forth led to his couch,
He who through courtesy all would supply
Of the wants of the thane, as at that day
The farers-by-sea were wont to have.
The great-hearted rested: the hall arose
1800 Wide and gold-decked. the guest slept within,
Until the black raven the joy of heaven
Blithe-hearted announced, when came the bright light
Shooting o'er shadows. The warriors hastened:
The aethelings were back to their people
1805 Ready to go: he would far thence
The high-minded guest, visit his vessel.
The brave one then bade Hrunting bear
The son of Ecglaf, bade take his sword,
Precious weapon, thanked him for the loan,
1810 Said that he counted the war-friend good,
Mighty in battle, not in words blamed he
The edge of the sword: that was a brave man.
When for their march ready, in armor equipped,
The warriors were, went by the Danes honored
1815 The prince to the throne, where was the other,
The battle-brave man: Hrothgar he greeted
Beowulf spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
"Now we sea-goers desire to say,
Comers-from-far, that we intend
1820 Hygelac to seek: we were here well
Supplied in our wishes: thou served'st us well.
If I then on earth may in any manner
More of thy heart's love gain for myself,
Ruler of men, than I have yet done,
1825 For works of war I soon shall be ready.
If I that learn o'er the flood's course,
That thee thy neighbors with dread oppress,
As hating thee they sometimes have done,
To thee I shall bring thousands of thanes,
1830 Of heroes for help. Of Hygelac I know,
Lord of the Geats, though he be young
Chief of his folk, that he me will aid
By words and by deeds that I may thee honor,
And to thee for help my spear-shaft bear,
1835 The power of my might, if thou needest men.
If Hrethric then at the courts of the Geats,
The king's son, aid seeks, he may there many
Of his friends find: far countries will be
Better sought for by him who is worthy."
1840 Hrothgar then spoke to him in answer:
" These words to thee the all-wise Lord
Sent into thy mind: ne'er heard I more wisely
In so youthful age any man speak:
Thou art in might strong and in mind old,
1845 A counsellor wise. I count on the hope,
If this may happen that the spear take,
Terrible battle, the son of Hrethel,
Sickness or weapon, thine own chieftain,
People's shepherd, and thou hast thy life,
1850 That the Sea-Geats will not have a better,
To choose as their king, any one, than thee.
Hoard-keeper of heroes, if thou wilt hold
Thy kinsmen's kingdom. Me thy bold courage
Long pleases so well, Beowulf dear.
1855 Thou hast now caused that to these nations shall,
To the Geats' people and to the Spear-Danes,
Peace be in common and strife shall cease,
The hostile contests which they ere suffered:
There shall be, whilst I wield the wide realm,
1860 Treasures in common; many another
With presents shall greet o'er the swan's bath:
The ringed ship shall o'er the sea bring
Presents and love-tokens. I know that the people
Towards foe and towards friend are firmly disposed,
1865 In everything blameless after old custom."
Then still to him the defence of earls gave,
The son of Healfdene, twelve jewels besides,
Bade him with these presents his own dear people
Seek in good health and quickly return.
1870 Kissed him then the king noble in birth,
The prince of the Scyldings kissed the best thane,
And round the neck clasped; tears from him fell,
The gray-haired one: he had hope of both,
The aged man, more of the latter,
1875 That they might again each other see,
Courageous in council. The man was so dear
That he the breast-flood could not restrain,
But in his breast, fast in his mind's fetters,
For the dear man a secret longing
1880 Burned through his blood. - Beowulf thence,
The gold-adorned warrior, the grassy plain trod,
Proud of his treasure: the sea-goer awaited
Its own possessor, which at anchor rode.
Then was on the way the gift of Hrothgar
1885 Often extolled: that was a king
In everything blameless, till old age removed him
From his might's joys, which has oft oppressed many
Came then to the sea the very brave ones,
The band of attendants; their burnies they bore,
1890 Their locked body-sarks. The land-guard perceived
The return of the earls, as he before did:
He did not with harm from the cliff's head
Greet then the guests, but towards them rode,
Quoth that as welcome the Weders' people,
1895 The mail-clad warriors, went to their ship.
Then was on the shore the spacious boat,
The ring-prowed ship, with battle-weeds laden,
With horses and jewels; the mast arose
Over Hrothgar's hoard of treasures.
1900 He to the boat-guard, bound with gold-work,
A sword then gave, so that after he was
On the mead-bench from the jewel more honored,
The costly heir-loom. He went in his sea-boat
To stir the deep water, the Danes' land forsook.
1905 Then was to the mast one of sea-cloths,
Sail by rope fastened. The vessel groaned;
Not there the sea-floater did the wind o'er the waves
In its course hinder: the sea-goer went,
The foamy-necked floated forth o'er the water,
1910 The curvéd-prowed went o'er the sea-waves,
Until the Geats' cliffs they might descry,
The well-known nesses. The keel pressed up,
Urged by the wind it stood on the land.
Quickly was at the sea the harbor-guard ready,
1915 Who long time before for the dear men
Longing had gazed afar on the ocean:
He to the shore fastened the wide-bosomed ship
With anchor-chains fast, lest the waves' force
The winsome boat might carry away.
1920 He bade then bear up the nobles' treasures,
Jewels and beaten gold; not for them far thence
Was it to seek the giver of rings:
Hygelac, Hrethel's son, there at home dwelt,
Himself with his comrades near the sea-wall.
1925 The building was fine, the prince a good king,
High was the hall, Hygd very young,
Wise, well-instructed, although winters few
Under the city-locks she may have dwelt,
The daughter of Haereth: she was not, though, niggardly,
1930 Nor sparing in gifts, to the Geats' people,
In costly jewels. Modthrytho committed,
The great folk-queen, horrible crime:
No brave one durst that undertake,
Of dear companions, except her liege lord,
1935 That on her by day he should look with his eyes:
But he wrought for himself death-fetters firm,
Twisted by hand: quickly afterwards was,
After the hand-grip, the sword appointed,
So that the carved weapon must it decide,
1940 Tell the death-bale. Such is not queenly custom
For a woman to practise, though she be peerless,
That a peace-weaver of life should deprive,
On account of fierce anger, any dear man.
That indeed checked the kinsman of Heming.
1945 The drinkers of ale other word said,
That she of folk-woes less did inflict,
Of hostile deeds, after she first was
Gold-adorned given to the young warrior,
The brave young noble, after she Offa's hall,
1950 O'er the dark flood, by her father's command,
Sought in her journey, where she afterwards well,
On royal throne, by gifts renowned,
Her portion of life whilst living enjoyed,
Held her great love for the prince of heroes,
1955 Of all mankind, as I have heard say,
The very best one by the two seas,
Of human race: for that Offa was
By gifts and war-deeds, the very brave man,
Widely renowned; with wisdom he ruled
1960 His own possessions: thence Eomor sprang
For help to heroes, the kinsman of Heming,
Grandson of Garmund, crafty in contests.-
Went then the brave with his trusty band
Himself o'er the sand the sea-beach treading,
1965 The wide-stretching shores: the world-candle shone,
Sun inclined from the south. They kept on their journey,
Went in their might, till the earls' defence,
The slayer of Ongentheow within in the city,
The good young war-king they then heard say
1970 Rings was dividing. To Hygelac was
The journey of Beowulf quickly made known,
That there in the palace the warriors' defence,
His shield-companion, living was come,
Hale from the battle-play to the court going.
1975 Quick was prepared, as the mighty one bade,
For the foot-guests the hall within.
Sat he then opposite, who 'scaped from the strife,
Kinsman with kinsman, after his lord
With courtly speech the loyal one greeted,
1980 With mighty words. With mead-cups went
Through the high hall the daughter of Haereth;
The people she served, the ale-cups she bore
To the men at hand. Hygelac began
His comrade-in-arms in the high hall
1985 Kindly to ask (wish to know urged him),
What were the journeys of the Sea-Geats:
"How befell on your way, Beowulf dear,
When thou so suddenly thoughtest afar
The strife to seek o'er the salt water,
1990 Battle at Heorot? But didst thou for Hrothgar
The widely-known woe in aught remove,
For the great chief? I for that in distress,
In sorrow-waves pined: the journey I trusted not
Of the dear man. Thee long I begged
1995 That thou the death-spirit by no means wouldst seek,
Wouldst let the South-Danes themselves put an end to
Their war against Grendel. I give thanks to God,
For that I may see thee now safe and sound."
Beowulf spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
2000 "That is now plain, Hygelac lord,
Our great struggle, to many of men,
What a war-time of Grendel and me
Was in the place where he very many
Sorrows had wrought to the Victor-Scyldings,
2005 Misery perpetual: all that I avenged,
So no kinsman of Grendel need now rejoice
At the morning-sound over the earth,
He who shall live longest of that evil race,
By danger surrounded! At first I came there
2010 To the ringed hall Hrothgar to greet:
Soon for me the great son of Healfdene,
After he knew of my intention,
Near his own son a seat provided.
The crowd was in joy; ne'er saw I my life long
2015 Under heaven's vault of sitters-in-hall
Greater mead-joy! Sometimes the great queen,
Peace-bringer of nations, went through all the hall,
Urged the young sons: oft she a bracelet
Gave to a warrior, ere she went to her seat.
2020 Sometimes 'fore the court the daughter of Hrothgar
To the earls at the end the ale-cup bore,
Whom I Freaware the sitters-in-hall
Heard call by name, where she buckled treasure
Gave to the heroes. She had been promised,
2025 Young, gold-adorned, to Froda's glad son:
Therefore it has happened to the friend of the Scyldings,
The kingdom's ruler, and he counts that a gain,
That he with the woman a part of fierce feuds,
Of quarrels appeased. Often the courtiers,
2030 After folk's fall, in a little while
The deadly spear takes, though good be the bride.
It may therefore displease the prince of the Heathobards,
And each of the thanes of these peoples,
When he with the woman goes into the hall,
2035 That a son of the Danes on her should attend:
For on him there shines the bequest of the aged,
Hard and ring-decked, the Heathobards' treasure,
While they with weapons were able to rule,
Until they misled to the shield-play
2040 Their dear companions and their own lives.
Then speaks at the beer-drinking he who sees the jewel,
An old spear-warrior, who all remembers,
Spear-death of men (fierce is his mind),
Begins, sad in mood, of the young warrior
2045 The spirit to rouse by thoughts in his mind,
War-bale to excite, and this word speaks:
'Mayst thou, my friend, know now the sword,
Which thine own father bore into battle
Under his helmet for the last time,
2050 The precious weapon, where the Danes slew him,
The battle-place held, when dead lay Withergyld,
After heroes' fall, the Scyldings brave?
Now here a son of some one of these murderers,
In his weapons rejoicing, goes into the hall,
2055 Boasts of the murder and bears the jewel,
Which thou with right shouldest possess '
So he advises and each time reminds
With bitter words, until the time comes
That the woman's thane, for the deeds of his father,
2060 After the sword's stroke blood-stained sleeps,
Guilty of his life: thence will the other
Warrior escape; he knows the land well.
Then are there broken on either side
The sword-oaths of earls, after in Ingeld
2065 Are roused deadly feuds, and in him woman's love
After care-waves cooler becomes.
Therefore I count not on the faith of the Heathobards,
Folk-peace sincere, kept with the Danes,
Friendship confirmed. - I shall speak forth
2070 Yet about Grendel, that thou mayst well know,
Giver of treasure, what was the result
Of the hand-fight of men. After heaven's gem
Glided over the earth, the angry fiend came,
The terrible even-guest, to make us a visit,
2075 Where we unharmed guarded the hall.
There was Hondscio destined for fight,
Life-bale to the fated: he lay the first,
The belted warrior: to him was Grendel,
To the great war-thane, a mouth-destroyer,
2080 The dear man's body all he swallowed.
Not sooner out then yet empty-handed,
The bloody-toothed murderer mindful of woes
From the gold-hall was willing to go,
But he, strong in might, made trial of me,
2085 With ready hand grasped me. His glove was hanging,
Wide and wonderful, in cunning bands fast;
It was all wrought with curious skill
With devil's craft and dragon's skins;
He me therein, guiltless of crime,
2090 The fierce deed-doer, wished to destroy,
One of many: it might not be so,
After in anger upright I stood.
Too long is to tell how I the folk's foe
For each of his ills a hand-reward paid,
2095 Where I, my prince, thine own people
Honored by deeds. Away he escaped,
A little while life's joys enjoyed:
Yet of him a trace remained behind,
His right hand in Heorot, and he humbled thence,
2100 Sorrowing in mind, to the sea-bottom sank.
Me for this contest the friend of the Scyldings
With plated gold much rewarded,
With many treasures, when morning came,
And we at the banquet had seated ourselves.
2105 There was song and glee: the agéd Scylding,
Who much had heard, of past times related;
Sometimes the warrior the joy of the harp,
The play-wood touched; sometimes sang a song
True and sorrowful; sometimes a strange tale
2110 Truthfully told the wide-hearted king;
Sometimes then began, burdened with age,
The hoary warrior to tell of his youth's
Prowess in battle; his breast swelled within,
When he old in years their number remembered.
Partook of hall-joys, until night came on,
Another to men. Then was again quickly
Ready for vengeance the mother of Grendel.
She sorrowful went: death took off her son,
2120 War-hate of the Weders. The wondrous woman
Her son avenged, a warrior killed
Courageously; there was from Aeschere,
The aged counsellor, life departed.
Nor might they him, when morning came,
2125 Delivered to death, the folk of the Danes
With fire consume, and on the pyre place
The dearly-loved man; the body she bore
In the fiend's embrace 'neath the mountain-stream.
That was to Hrothgar the greatest of sorrows,
2130 Of those that long the prince befell.
Then the chief me by thine own life
Adjured, sad in mind, that I in the sea's flood
Should do valiant deeds, should risk my life,
Should honor gain; he promised reward.
2135 I then of the water, which is widely known,
The grim and fearful guard of the deep found.
There a while was to us a hand-to-hand fight;
The sea welled with gore, and I of the head robbed
In the ground-hall the mother of Grendel
2140 With a strong sword; I scarcely from thence
My life bore away; not yet was I fated;
But the earl's defence to me after gave
Many of treasures, the son of Healfdene.
So the folk-king lived as was right
2145 Not at all had I lost by these rewards,
This meed of might, but he gave me treasures,
The son of Healfdene, at mine own will,
Which I will to thee, warlike king, bring,
Willingly offer. Still on thee is all
2150 Of favor dependent: I have very few
Of near relations save, Hygelac, thee."
He bade then bring in the boar's-head-sign
The battle-high helmet, the hoary burnie
The war-sword ornate, his word then uttered:
2155 "This cuirass to me Hrothgar then gave,
The crafty chief, bade with some words
That I of its origin first should thee tell,
Said that it had Hiorogar king,
Prince of the Scyldings, for a long while:
2160 Not to his son sooner would he it give,
To the brave Heoroweard, though to him he were dear,
The defence of the breast. Use thou it well!"
I heard that to the armor four horses too,
Exactly alike, in their tracks followed,
2165 Yellow as apples: he to him gave possession
Of horses and jewels. So shall a friend do,
Not at all cunning snares weave for another,
With secret craft death for him prepare,
His hand-companion. To Hygelac was,
2170 In battle brave, his nephew devoted.
And each to the other mindful of kindness.
I heard that the necklace he to Hygd gave,
The curious treasure which Wealhtheow gave him,
The prince's daughter, three horses likewise,
2175 Slender and saddle-bright: to her after was,
After the ring-giving, the breast adorned.
So bravely bore him Ecgtheow's son,
The man famed in wars, by his good deeds,
He did after right, not at all slew the drunken
2180 Hearth-companions: his mind was not cruel,
But he of mankind with greatest power,
The mighty gift, which God him gave,
The warlike one kept. Long he was despised,
As him the Geats' children did not reckon good,
2185 Nor him at the mead-bench as worthy of much
The lord of the people would then esteem;
They weened very strongly that he was slothful,
An unwarlike prince; a change after came
To the glory-blessed man of each of his sorrows.
2190 The earl's defence bade then bring in,
The warlike king, Hrethel's bequest
Adorned with gold: there was not 'mong the Geats
A better treasure in the shape of a sword:
That did he place in Beowulf's keeping,
2195 And to him gave seven thousand of gold,
A house and dominion. To them both together
Among the people was inherited land,
A home and its rights, more to the other,
A wide-spread kingdom, to him who was better.
2200 That happened after in later days
By battle-contests, when Hygelac died,
And to Heardred swords of battle
Under the shields were as a murderer,
When him there sought 'mong his victor-people
2205 The warriors bold, the Battle-Scylfings,
By war oppressed the nephew of Hereric.
After to Beowulf the kingdom broad
Came into hand: he held it well
Fifty winters (then was the king aged
2210 The home-keeper old) until one began
On the dark nights, a dragon, to rule,
Who on the high heath a treasure protected,
A steep stony mountain: the path under lay,
To men unknown. There within went
2215 Some one of men, who took his desire
From the heathen hoard: a certain hand-vessel,
Adorned with gold, he there then took,
Made of red gold, so that was robbed
By the fire sleeping the treasure's guardian
2220 By a thief's craft: the prince after learnt,
The innocent warrior, that he was enraged.
Not at all of free-will the dragon-hoard's heap
Sought he of himself, who him sorely injured,
But through necessity the thane of some one
2225 Of the children of men hateful blows fled,
Through dire compulsion, and therein entered
The innocent man. Soon it was at that time
That there to the stranger dread terror stood:
Yet miserable he there within took,
2230 The frightened soul who terror suffered,
A costly-wrought vessel. There were many of such
In the earth-cave, of ancient treasures,
As them in old days some one of men,
The great bequest of a noble race,
2235 With thoughtful mind there had concealed,
The precious treasures. Death them all took away
In former times, and the only one still
Of the people's nobles who there longest lived,
The friend-mourning guardian, wished that to delay
2240 So that he a short time longer the treasures
Might there enjoy. A mountain all ready
Stood on the plain near to the waters,
Steep by the ness, firm, inaccessible:
There within bore of noble treasures
2245 The keeper of rings a part hard to carry
Of beaten gold, banning words spoke:
"Keep thou now, earth, since men may not,
The possession of earls. Lo! before it in thee
Good men obtained: war-death took away,
2250 Fearful life-bale, each one of men,
Of mine own people, who gave up this life:
They saw hall-joy. I've not one to bear sword.
Or care for the cup of beaten gold,
The dear drinking-vessel: the chiefs elsewhere are gone.
2255 The hard helmet shall, with gold adorned,
Be deprived of its jewels: the polishers sleep,
Those who the battle-mask should ever brighten;
And likewise the breast-plate, which in battle endured
O'er clash of shields the blows of weapons,
2260 Crumbles after the warrior: nor may the ringed burnie
After the battle-chief go far and wide
By the side of heroes: there 's no harp's joy,
Play of the glee-wood, nor does the good hawk
Through the hall fly, nor the swift horse
2265 The city-courts paw. Mighty death has
Many of mortals sent on their way."
So sad in mind in sorrow mourned
One over all, miserable lived he
By day and night, until death's wave
2270 Touched him at heart. The precious hoard found
The old twilight-foe open standing,
He who burning the mountains seeks,
The naked dragon, who flies by night
Surrounded by fire: him the earth-dwellers
2275 Saw from afar. He shall inhabit
The hedge on the earth, where he heathen gold
Guards old in years: he shall not be the better.
So the folk-foe three hundred winters
Held in the earth one of hoard-halls
2280 Wondrously great, until him one angered,
A man, in his mind: he bore to his lord
The jewelled cup, a peace-offering gave
To his own lord. Then was the hoard found,
Hoard of rings borne away; the prayer was granted
2285 To the miserable man: his lord beheld
Men's ancient work for the first time.
When the dragon awoke, strife was renewed:
He went 'round o'er the stone, the brave-minded found
His enemy's foot-track: he forth had stepped
2290 With secret craft near the head of the dragon.
So may one not fated easily escape
Woes and exile, who the Almighty's
Favor possesses. The hoard-keeper sought
O'er the ground eagerly, would find the man,
2295 Who to him in sleep this harm had done:
Hot and fierce-minded oft he went 'round the cave
Now all without: there was not any man
On the heath's waste. Yet in battle he joyed,
In hostile deeds: he returned to the mountain,
2300 The precious cup sought: he that soon found,
That some one of men the gold had discovered,
The costly treasures. The hoard-keeper waited,
Angry in mind, until evening came:
Was then enraged the guard of the mountain,
2305 Would many people with fire repay
For the dear drinking-cup. Then was the day gone
At the will of the dragon, nor in the cave longer
Would he abide, but with flame went he forth,
With fire provided. The beginning was fearful
2310 To the folk in the land, as it too quickly
On their ring-giver sorely was ended.
Then the demon began to vomit with fire,
To burn the bright dwellings: the flame-light stood
For terror to men: not there aught living
2315 The hateful air-flyer was willing to leave.
The worm's war-power widely was seen,
The hostile one's hate both near and far,
How the war-foe the folk of the Geats
Hated and harmed: to his hoard then he hastened,
2320 The secret rich hall, before the day-time.
He had the land-dwellers with fire o'erwhelmed,
With flame and burning: to his mountain he trusted,
His war-might and wall: that hope him deceived.
Then was to Beowulf the terror made known
2325 Quickly in truth, that of his own
The best of houses in fire-waves melted,
The gift-seat of the Geats. That was to the good one
Distress in mind, greatest of sorrows.
The wise one weened that he the Almighty
2330 Against the old laws, the eternal Lord,
Had grievously angered: his breast within swelled
With gloomy thoughts, as to him was not usual.
The fire-drake had the people's fastness,
The island without, the landed possessions,
2335 With fire destroyed: for him then the war-king,
The Weders' prince, revenge devised.
Bade then work for him the warriors' defence,
The lord of earls, all made of iron
A wonderful war-shield: he knew very well
2340 That forest-wood him could not help,
The shield against fire. He of his fleeting days,
Excellent prince, the end should await
Of his worldly life, and the worm likewise,
Although his hoard-treasure he long had held.
2345 Scorn did he then, the prince of rings,
That he the wide-flier with host should seek,
With a large army: he feared not the contest,
Nor did he for aught count the serpent's war-might,
His strength and prowess, for that he before many
2350 Conflicts survived, though dangers encountering,
Clashings of battle, since he of Hrothgar,
A victory-blessed hero, the hall had cleansed,
And in battle destroyed the kinsmen of Grendel,
The hateful race. That was not the least
2355 Of hand-encounters, where one Hygelac slew,
When the Geats' king in the contests of war,
Friendly lord of the folk, in the land of the Frisians,
The son of Hrethel, in sword-blood died,
Struck down with the brand. Thence, Beowulf came
2360 By his own might, swam through the sea:
He had on his arm thirty and one
Of battle-equipments, when he in the sea went.
The Hetwaras did not need to be boastful
Of their foot-contest, who against him before
2365 Were bearing their shields: few again came
From the war-hero to visit their home.
Ecgtheow's son swam o'er the sea's surface,
Unhappy alone back to his people,
Where to him Hygd offered treasure and kingdom,
2370 Rings and king's throne: she the child trusted not,
That 'gainst other peoples the nation's seats
He knew how to hold, when Hygelac was dead.
Not sooner might the forsaken ones find
At the hands of the prince in any respect,
2375 That he to Heardred would be a lord,
Or he the kingdom was willing to choose:
Yet he him 'mong the people with friendly lore held,
Kindly with honor, until he was older,
And the Wedergeats ruled. Him did the banished ones
2380 Seek o'er the sea, Ohthere's sons;
They had 'gainst the lord of the Scylfings rebelled,
The most excellent one of the sea-kings,
Who in the Swedes' kingdom treasure divided,
A mighty prince. That to him was life's end:
2385 He there at the banquet the death-wound received
With blows of the sword, Hygelac's son,
And then he departed, Ongentheow's son,
To visit his home, when Heardred lay dead,
Let Beowulf hold the royal throne,
2390 And rule the Geats: that was a good king!
He remembered reward for that people's loss
In later days; to Eadgils he was,
To the helpless a friend, with an army supported
O'er the wide sea Ohthere's son,
2395 With war-might and weapons: he after avenged him
For the cold care-journeys, of life the king robbed.-
So he had survived each one of struggles,
Of dangerous contests, Ecgtheow's son,
Of mighty deeds, till that very day
2400 That he 'gainst the serpent was going to fight.
He went one of twelve, swollen with rage,
The prince of the Geats, the dragon to view;
He had then learnt whence rose the feud,
Deadly hate to his warriors: into his keeping came
2405 The great treasure-cup through the hand of the finder.
He was in the band the thirteenth man,
Who the beginning of this contest caused,
Sad in mind, fettered, despised he should thence
Point out the plain: he against his will went
2410 For that he knew the earth-hall alone,
Cave under the earth near the sea-waves,
Near the rushing of waters, which was within full
Of jewels and wire-work: the monstrous guard,
The ready warrior, the gold-treasures held,
2415 Old under the earth: that was no easy purchase
To be obtained for any of men.
Sat then on the ness the warlike king
Whilst farewell he bade to his hearth-companions,
The gold-friend of the Geats: his mind was sad,
2420 Restless and death-ready, Weird very nigh,
Which should approach the agéd man,
Seek the soul's hoard, asunder divide
The life from the body; not then was long
The life of the prince in flesh enclosed.
2425 Beowulf spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
"Many war-struggles in youth I survived,
Times of battle; I remember all that.
I was seven winters, when me lord of treasures,
Dear ruler of peoples, took from my father;
2430 Supported and kept me Hrethel the king,
Gave me treasure and feast, remembered our kinship;
I was never to him at all a more hateful
Man in his palace than one of his sons,
Herebeald and Haethcyn or Hygelac mine.
2435 There was for the eldest contrary to right
By the deeds of his kinsman a death-bed prepared,
Since him did Haethcyn from his hornéd bow,
His own dear lord, with arrow pierce,
Missed he the mark and his kinsman did shoot,
2440 One brother the other, with bloody dart:
That was fee-less fight, wickedly sinned,
Sorrow-bringing to breast; should yet, however,
The lord unavenged from life depart.
So is it sorrowful to an aged churl
2445 To live to see that his son hang
Young on the gallows: then he utters a moan,
A sorrowful song, when his son hangs
For joy to the raven, and he him may not help,
Old and experienced, aught for him do.
2450 Always is remembered on each one of mornings
His son's departure; he cares not another
To hope to see born in his own palace,
An heir to his throne, when this one has,
Through might of death, suffered such deeds.
2455 He sorrowful sees in his son's dwelling
The wine-hall empty, the windy rest-place
Of merriment robbed; the warrior sleeps,
The prince in his grave; no sound of harp's there,
No sport in the courts, as there were once.
2460 Then he goes to his chamber, sings sorrowful songs,
The one for the other: too empty all seemed,
Fields and dwelling. So the Weders' defence
For Herebeald sorrow of heart
Welling up bore: he might not at all
2465 Upon that murderer the feud avenge;
Not sooner might he wreak his hate on the warrior
With evil deeds, though he was not to him dear.
He then with this sorrow, which befell him so sore,
Gave up human joy, God's light did choose,
2470 Left to his sons, as a wealthy man does,
Land and chief city, when from life he departed.
Then was feud and strife of the Swedes and the Geats,
O'er the wide water contest in common,
A hard battle-struggle, after Hrethel was dead,
2475 Whilst to them were Ongentheow's sons
Bold and warlike, friendship would not
O'er the sea keep, but around Hreosna-mount
Terrible inroads often did make.
For that mine own kinsmen vengeance did take,
2480 For the feud and the wrong, as it was known,
Although the other it bought with his life,
A heavy price: to Haethcyn was,
To the Geats' lord, the war destructive.
Then heard I that on th' morrow one kinsman the other
2485 With edge of the sword avenged on the murderer,
When Ongentheow Eofor sought out:
The war-helmet split, the aged Scylfing
Fell down sword-pale; his hand remembered
Of strife enough, the death-blow withheld not. -
2490 I to him the treasures which he me gave
Repaid in war, as it was given me,
With the shining sword; he gave to me land,
A dwelling and home. There was not to him lack,
That he 'mong the Gifths, or'mong the Spear-Danes,
2495 Or in the Swedes' kingdom, needed to seek
A warrior worse, him buy with a price:
I always would go before him on foot,
Alone in front, and so for life shall I
Enmity work, while this sword permits,
2500 Which often stood by me early and late.
Then 'fore the courtiers was I to Daeghrefn
For a hand-slayer, the Hugs' brave warrior:
Not he the jewels to the king of the Frisians,
The breast-adornment, was able to bring,
2505 But in battle he fell, the standard's keeper,
The prince in his might; sword was not his slayer,
But for him battle-grip the swellings of heart,
The bone-house broke. Now shall the bill's edge,
Hand and hard sword, fight for the hoard."
2510 Beowulf said, with boastful words spoke
For the last time: "I survived many
Wars in my youth; yet now I will,
Old people's guard, the contest seek,
With honor work, if me the fell foe
2515 From his earth-hall dare to seek out."
Greeted he then each one of men,
The brave helmet-bearers, for the last time,
His own dear comrades: " would not the sword bear,
Weapon 'gainst worm, if I knew how
2520 Upon this monster I might otherwise
My boast maintain, as once upon Grendel.
But I there expect hot battle-fire,
Breath and poison: therefore I have on me
Shield and burnie. I will not the hill's guard,
2525 The foe, flee from even part of one foot,
But at wall it shall be as for us Weird provides,
Each man's Creator: I am in mind brave,
So that 'gainst the war-flier from boast I refrain.
Await ye on mountain, clad in your burnies,
2530 Heroes in armor, which one may better,
After the contest, from wounds escape
Of both of us. That is not your work,
Nor the might of a man but of me alone,
That he 'gainst the monster his strength should try,
2535 Heroic deeds do. I shall with might
The gold obtain, or war shall take off.
Terrible life-bale, your own sovereign."
Arose then by the rock the warrior fierce
Brave under his helmet, his battle-sark bore
2540 'Neath the stone-cliffs, to the strength trusted
Of one man alone; such is no coward's work.
He saw then by the wall (he who very many,
In man's virtues good, of contests survived,
Struggles of battle, when warriors contended)
2545 A stony arch stand, a stream out thence
Break from the mountain; the burn's flood was
With battle-fire hot; might not near the hoard
One without burning any while then
Endure the deep for the flame of the dragon.
2550 Let then from his breast, since he was enraged,
The Wedergeats' prince his words go forth,
The strong-hearted stormed: his voice came in,
In battle clear-sounding, 'neath the hoar stone.
Strife was stirred up; the hoard-keeper knew
2555 The voice of a man: there was not more time
Friendship to seek. First there came forth
The breath of the monster out of the rock,
Hot battle-sweat; the earth resounded.
The man 'neath the mountain his shield upraised
2560 'Gainst the terrible demon, the lord of the Geats:
Then was the ring-bowed eager in heart
The contest to seek. The sword ere brandished
The good war-king, the ancient relic
Sharp in its edges: to each one was
2565 Of those bent on bale dread from the other.
The strong-minded stood against the steep rock,
The prince of friends, when the worm bent
Quickly together: he in armor awaited.
Went he then burning advancing in curves,
2570 To his fate hasting; the shield well protected
In life and in body a lesser while
The mighty chief than his wish sought,
If he that time, on the first day,
Was to control as Weird did not permit him
The prince of the Geats, the fearful foe struck
With the mighty relic, so that the edge softened
Brown on the bone, bit less strongly
Than the folk-king need of it had,
2580 Oppressed with the fight. Then was the hill's keeper,
After the battle-blow, fierce in his mood,
Threw with death-fire; far and wide spread
The flame of the battle. Of triumphs he boasted not,
The gold-friend of the Geats: the war-bill failed
2585 Naked in fight, as it should not,
Excellent weapon. That was no easy task,
So that the mighty kinsman of Ecgtheow
The plain of this earth was to forsake,
Must at the worm's will take up his abode
2590 Elsewhere than here; so shall every man
His fleeting life leave. It was not then long
That the fierce ones again each other met.
The hoard-keeper raged, his breast swelled with breath:
A second time he suffered distress
2595 Surrounded by fire, who before ruled his folk.
Not at all in a band did his companions,
Children of nobles, him stand around
With warlike virtues, but they to wood went,
Protected their lives. In one of them welled
2600 His mind with sorrows; friendship may never
Be at all put aside by one who thinks well.
Wiglaf was named Weohstan's son,
The worthy warrior, prince of the Scylfings,
Kinsman of Aelfhere. He saw his lord
2605 Under his helmet the heat endure;
He remembered the favor, that he once to him gave
The rich dwelling-place of the Waegmundings,
Each one of folk-rights which his father possessed.
He might not then refrain, his hand seized the shield,
2610 The yellow wood, he drew his old sword:
That was among men Eanmund's bequest,
Ohtbere's son, to whom in strife was,
To the friendless exile, Weohstan the slayer
By the edge of the sword, and he bore to his kinsmen
2615 The brown-colored helmet, the ringed burnie,
The old giant's sword that Onela gave him,
His own relation's war-equipments,
Ready war-weapons: he spoke not of the feud,
Though he had slain his brother's son.
2620 He the ornaments held many half-years,
Bill and burnie, until his son might
Heroic deeds work, as his old father:
He gave to him then war-weeds 'mong the Geats,
Countless number of each, when he from life went
2625 Old on his last journey. Then was the first time
To the young warrior that in storm of war
With his dear lord he should engage;
His courage failed not, nor his kinsman's bequest
Softened in battle: that the dragon perceived,
2680 After they two together had gone.
Wiglaf then spoke many suitable words,
Said to his comrades (sad was his mind):
"I remember that time when we received mead,
When we did promise to our dear lord
2635 In the beer-hall, who gave us these rings,
That we for the war-weeds him would repay,
If to him such need ever should happen,
For helmets and hard swords, since in host he us chose
For this expedition of his own will,
2640 Thought of honors for us, and gave me these treasures,
Us whom he deemed spear-warriors good,
Brave helmet-bearers, although our lord
This noble work intended alone
To accomplish for us, ward of his folk,
2645 Because he of men most noble deeds did,
Rashly-bold actions. Now is the day come
That our own chieftain has need of the strength
Of warriors good: let us to him go.
Help the war-prince whilst there is heat,
2650 Fierce fiery terror. God knows in me,
That to me 'tis far dearer that my own body
With my gold-giver the flame should embrace.
Not becoming, methinks, is't that we should bear shields
Again to our home, unless we may sooner
2655 Strike down the foe, the life protect
Of the Weders' chief. I know it well,
That he does not deserve that he alone shall
Of the Geats' nobles sorrow endure,
Fall in the battle: now shall sword and helmet,
2660 Burnie and battle-dress, to us both be common."
Went he then through the flame, his war-helmet bore
For help to his lord, spoke a few words:
"Beowulf dear! do thou all well,
As thou in thy youth long ago said'st,
2665 That thou would'st not let for thyself living
Honor e'er cease; now shalt thou, strong in deeds,
Firm-minded prince, with all thy might
Thy life protect; I shall assist thee."
After these words the angry worm came,
2670 The terrible demon, a second time
With fire-waves shining to seek his foes,
The hostile men. With flame-billows burned
The shield to the rim: the burnie might not
To the young spear-warrior assistance afford.
2675 But the young hero 'neath the shield of his kinsman
With courage went. when his own was
Destroyed by flames. Then still the war-king
Was mindful of fame, of his mighty strength,
Struck with his war-bill, that it stood in the head
2680 Forcibly driven: broke in two Naegling,
Failed in battle Beowulf's sword,
Old and gray-etched. 'T was not granted to him,
That him of the sword the edges were able
To help in the battle: that hand was too strong,
2685 Which any of swords, by my hearsay,
With its stroke tested, when to battle he bore
The sharp-wounding weapon: 'twas not for him better.
Then was the folk-foe for the third time,
The bold fire-dragon, mindful of feuds,
2690 Rushed on the strong one, since space him allowed,
Hot and war-fierce, clasped around all the neck
With his sharp bones: he was all bloodied
With the life-blood; gore welled in waves.
Then I heard say in the folk-king's need
2695 The earl displayed unceasing bravery,
Strength and valor, as was natural to him:
He cared not for his head, but the hand burned
Of the brave man, where he helped with his strength,
So that the fell demon he struck somewhat lower,
2700 The hero in armor, that the sword sank in,
Shining and gold-plated, that the fire began
After to lessen. Then still the king
His senses possessed, struck with his war-knife,
Cutting and battle-sharp, which he bore on his burnie:
2705 The Weders' defence cut the serpent in two.
The foe they felled, force drove out life,
And they him then both had destroyed,
Kindred princes: such should a man be,
A thane in need. That was to the prince
2710 The last of his victories by his own deeds,
Of work in the world. Then 'gan the wound,
Which on him the earth-drake before had inflicted,
To burn and to swell: that soon he perceived
That in his breast deadly ill welled,
2715 Poison within. Then the prince went,
So that he by the rock, wise in his mind,
Sat on his seat, on the giants' work looked,
How the stone-arches, fast on their columns,
The earth-hall eternal held there within.
2720 Then with his hands him bloody with gore,
The mighty prince, the excellent thane
His own dear lord with water laved,
Weary of battle, and his helmet unloosed.
Beowulf said: he spoke of his wound,
2725 His deadly-pale wound (he knew very well
That he had spent his time allotted
Of the joy of earth; then was all gone
Of his days' number, death very nigh):
" Now I to my son would wish to give
2730 These war-weeds of mine, if to me was granted
Any inheritor hereafter to be
The heir of my body. This people I ruled
Fifty of winters; there was not a folk-king,
Of those dwelling around any at all,
2735 Who me durst meet with his war-friends,
With terror oppress. I awaited at home
The appointed time, kept mine own well,
Sought not hostilities, nor for myself swore
Many oaths falsely; I for all that,
2740 With deadly wounds sick, now joy may have;
Hence the ruler of men need not to me charge
The murder of kinsmen, when shall depart
My life from my body. Now do thou quickly go
To see the hoard 'neath the hoar stone,
2745 Wiglaf my dear one, now the serpent lies dead,
Sleeps sorely wounded, robbed of his treasure.
Be now in haste that I the old riches,
The treasure may view, thoroughly scan
The bright precious gems, that I may the easier,
2750 On account of the treasure, give up mine own
Life and my people that I long held."
Then heard I that quickly Weohstan's son,
After these words, his wounded lord
Sick from battle obeyed, bore his ringed net,
2755 His battle-sark woven, 'neath the roof of the mountain
Saw then victorious, when he by the seat went,
The brave kin-thane many of treasures.
Glittering gold on the ground lying,
Wonder on wall and the den of the worm,
2760 The old air-flier, drinking-cups standing,
Vessels of old-time wanting the polisher,
Deprived of their ornaments. There was many a helmet
Old and rusty, many arm-bracelets
Curiously twisted. The treasure may easily,
2765 The gold in the ground, each hoard of mankind
In value exceed, let him hide it who will.
Likewise he saw standing an all-golden banner
High over the hoard, greatest of wonders,
Wrought with hand-craft; from it light stood,
2770 So that the ground-plain he might perceive,
Examine the treasures. There was not of the serpent
Any appearance, but sword took him off.
Then I heard say, in the cave the hoard robbed,
The old work of giants, one man alone,
2775 Bore on his bosom the cups and the plates
At his own will; the banner he took,
Brightest of beacons, a bill sheathed with brass
(Its edge was of iron) of the old lord,
Who of these treasures was the protector
2780 For a long while, bore fiery terror
Hot, deadly-rolling, on account of the hoard
In the midst of the night, till he in death perished.
In haste was the messenger for return ready,
Provided with treasures; wonder him moved,
2785 Whether he the high-minded alive would find
In that grassy spot, the prince of the Weders,
Deprived of strength, where he him before left.
He then with the treasures the mighty prince,
His own dear lord, bleeding did find
2790 At the end of his life. He began him again
With water to sprinkle, until the word's point
Brake through his breast-hoard: Beowulf spoke,
The old man in sorrow (the gold he viewed):
"I for these treasures to the Lord of all thanks,
2795 To the glorious King, in words do speak,
To the Lord eternal, - which I here look upon,
For this that I might for mine own people
Before my death-day such treasures obtain.
Now I for the hoard of jewels have paid
2800 Mine own aged life; do ye now supply
The needs of my people; I may not longer be here
Bid ye the war-famed a mound to make
Bright after the pyre at the sea's point,
Which shall for remembrance to mine own people
2805 Raise itself high on the Whale's ness,
That it the sea-farers hereafter may call
Beowulf's mound, who shall their high ships
O'er the sea's mists from afar drive."
He put from his neck the golden ring,
2810 The bold-minded prince, gave to the thane,
The young spear-warrior, his gold-adorned helm,
Collar and burnie, bade him use them well:
"Thou art the last left of our own kindred
Of the Waegmundings. Weird carried away all
2815 Of mine own kinsmen at the time appointed,
Earls in their strength: I shall go after them."
That was to the aged the very last word
In his breast-thoughts, ere the pyre he chose,
The hot fiery waves: from his breast went
2820 His soul to seek the doom of the saints.
Then it had happened to the young man,
With sorrow of mind, that he on the earth saw
The dearest one at the end of his life
Livid become. The slayer too lay,
2825 The fearful earth-drake, of life bereft,
Oppressed with bale: the ring-treasures longer
The twisted serpent might not control,
But the swords' edges took him away,
The hard battle-notched leavings of hammers,
2830 So that the wide-flier, still from his wounds,
Fell on the earth nigh the hoard-hall;
Not at all through the air did he go springing
In the midst of the night, proud of his treasures
Showed he his form: but he to earth fell
2835 On account of the handwork of this battle-prince.
Now that in the land to few of men throve
Of might-possessors, as I have heard say,
Though he were bold in every deed,
That one should meet the poison-foe's breath,
2840 Or the ring-hall disturb with his hands,
If he were to find the waking guard
On the mount watching. By Beowulf was
The portion of treasures paid for with death:
It had for each the end obtained
2845 Of fleeting life. -'Twas not then long after
That the cowardly ones the wood forsook,
The unwarlike truth-breakers, ten together,
Who durst not before fight with their spears
In their liege lord's very great need:
2850 But they ashamed bore then their shields,
Their weeds of war, where the aged one lay;
They gazed upon Wiglaf. He wearied sat,
The fighter-on-foot, near his lord's shoulders,
Refreshed him with water: it naught him availed.
2855 He might not on earth, though he well would,
In the great prince his life retain,
Nor the Almighty's will could he change;
The doom of God in deeds would dispose
For each one of men, as He now doth.
2860 Then was from the youth an answer grim
For him easy gotten, who before lost his valor.
Wiglaf then spoke, Weohstan's son,
The sorrowful man (he looked on the unloved):
"Lo! that may he say who will speak truth,
2865 That the folk-king who gave you the treasures,
The war-equipments, in which ye there stand,
When he on the ale-bench often presented
To the hall-sitters helmet and burnie,
The prince to his thanes, such as anywhere bravest
2870 From far or nigh he was able to find, -
That he without doubt the weeds of war
To no purpose wasted. When war him assailed,
Not at all did the folk-king of his comrades-in-war
Have cause to boast: yet God him granted,
2875 The Ruler of victory, that himself he avenged
Alone with his sword, when he had need of strength.
I to him little life-defence might
In battle afford, and yet I undertook
Beyond my power my kinsman to help:
2880 He was always the worse, when I with the sword struck
The life-destroyer: the fire ran stronger,
Welled from his breast. Too few defenders
Pressed round the prince, when the evil befell him.
Now taking of jewels and giving of swords.
2885 All joy of home for your own kindred,
Comfort shall cease: of rights of land
Each one of men of this kindred tribe
Must be deprived, after the princes
From afar hear of your desertion,
2890 Inglorious deed. Death shall be better
To each one of earls than a life of disgrace."
He bade then the battle-work tell at the hedge
Upon the steep cliff, where the earl-band
The morning-long day sad in mind sat,
2895 The warriors with shields, in expectance of both,
The final day and the return
Of the dear man. Little kept silent
Of the new tidings he who rode o'er the ness,
But he in truth spoke on all sides:
2900 " Now is the joy-giver of the folk of the Weders,
The lord of the Geats, fast in his death-bed,
Fills his grave-rest by the deeds of the worm.
Along side of him lies the life-winner too
Dead from knife's wounds; with sword might he not
2905 Upon the monster in any way
A wound inflict. Wiglaf sits there,
Sits over Beowulf Weohstan's son,
The earl o'er the other of life deprived,
With care attentive, keeps the death-watch
2910 Of friend and of foe. Now the people expect
A time of strife, after well-known
To the Franks and the Frisians the fall of the king
Becomes far and wide. The contest was made
Strong 'gainst the Hugs, when Higelac came
2915 With his ship-army going to the land of the Frisians,
Where the Hetwaras felled him in battle,
Bravely him conquered with their over-might,
So that the mailed-warrior was forced to bow,
Fell midst his warriors; no ornaments gave
2920 The prince to his nobles. To us ever after
The Merwings' friendship was not to be granted.
Nor do I from the Swedes peace or good faith
At all expect; but it was widely known
That Ongentheow of life deprived
2925 Haethcyn, Hrethel's son, near Ravens' wood,
When through their pride at first did seek
The warlike Scylfings the folk of the Geats.
Soon to him the agéd father of Ohthere,
Old and terrible, gave a hand-stroke,
2930 Hewed down the sea-chief, rescued his wife,
The old man his spouse, robbed of her gold,
The mother of Onela and of Ohthere,
And then he followed his deadly foes
Until they went in great distress
2935 Into Ravens' wood, deprived of their lord.
Then besieged he with host those left by the sword,
Weary with wounds, woes oft he promised
To the miserable band the livelong night:
Said, he in the morning with the edge of the sword
2940 Them would destroy, some on gallows hang
For sport to the fowls. Comfort afterwards came
To them sad in mind along with daylight,
After they Hygelac's horn and trumpets'
Sounding perceived, when the brave one came
2945 In the track going of his peoples' earls.
There was bloody track of Swedes and of Geats,
The slaughter of men widely observed,
How the folk fought the feud one with another.
The good one then went with his companions,
2950 The aged most sad, the fastness to seek,
The earl Ongentheow betook himself higher;
He had of Hygelac's prowess heard tell,
The proud one's war-craft; in resistance he trusted not,
That he the sea-men might then withstand,
2955 His hoard protect from the sea-farers,
His children and wife; he went after thence
Old 'neath the earth-wall. Then was given pursuit
To the folk of the Swedes, their banner to Hygelac.
Forth then they went o'er the Peace-plain,
2960 After the Hrethlings pressed into the hedge;
There Ongentheow was, with the edge of the sword,
The gray-haired one, forced to remain,
So that the folk-king had to submit
To Eofor's sole will; angrily him
2965 Wulf, son of Wonred, attacked with his weapon,
So that for the blow blood spurted in streams
Forth under his hair. He was not though afraid.
The agéd Scylfing, but quickly repaid
In a worse way that fatal blow,
2970 After the folk-king thither turned round:
Might not then the quick son of Wonred
To the old churl a hand-stroke give,
But he on his head his helmet first cleft,
So that, stained with blood, he had to bow,
2975 Fell on the earth: he was not yet fated,
But he himself raised, though the wound pained him
Then the brave thane of Hygelac let
With his broad sword, when his brother lay down,
The old sword of giants, the helmet of giants
2980 Break over the shield-rim: then bowed the king,
The herd of the folk; he was struck to his life.
Then were there many who bound up his brother,
Quickly him lifted, when for them it was settled
That they the battle-place were to possess,
2985 Whilst one warrior the other robbed,
From Ongentheow took his burnie of iron,
His hard hilted sword and his helmet besides,
The hoary one's armor to Hygelac bore.
The armor he took and to them fairly promised
2990 Gifts to his people, and kept his word too.
The lord of the Geats paid for the contest,
The son of Hrethel, when he came to his home,
To Eofor and Wulf with very rich jewels,
To each of them gave a hundred thousand
2995 Of land and locked rings (for the gifts him need not reproach
Any man on mid-earth, since they heroic deeds wrought),
And then to Eofor gave his sole daughter,
The home-adornment, as a pledge of his favor.
That is the feud and that the enmity,
3000 Hate deadly of men, wherefore I expect
That the Swedes' people against us will seek,
After they learn that our own lord
Is 'reft of his life, him who before held
Against his foes his hoard and kingdom
3005 After heroes' fall, the Scylfings brave,
Wrought his folk's good and further still
Heroic deeds did. - Now is haste best
That we the folk-king there should behold,
And him should bring who gave us rings
3010 To the funeral-pyre. There shall not a part only
With the brave perish, but there's hoard of treasure,
Gold without number, bitterly purchased,
And now at the last with his own life
Rings has he bought: these fire shall devour,
3015 The flame consume; no earl shall wear
A jewel in memory, nor the beautiful maid
Have on her neck a ring-adornment,
But she shall sad in mind, robbed of her gold,
Often not once tread a strange land.
3020 Now that the war-chief laughter has left,
Mirth and enjoyment. For this shall the spear be,
Many a one morning-cold, clasped with the fingers,
field in the hands; not at all shall harp's sound
Wake up the warriors, but the wan raven,
8025 Eager over the fated, often shall speak,
Say to the eagle how he joyed in the eating.
When with the wolf he robbed the slain."
So the brave warrior then was telling
Some tales of evil: he did not speak falsely
3030 His facts nor words. -The band all arose;
Sadly they went 'neath the Eagles' ness,
With flowing tears, the wonder to see.
Then they found on the sand deprived of his life,
Holding his resting-place, him who rings them gave
3035 In former times: then was the last day
Past to the good one, so that the war-king,
The prince of the Weders, a wondrous death died.
First there they saw a stranger being,
The worm on the plain opposite there,
8040 The loathsome one lying; the fiery dragon,
The terror grim, was scorched with flames;
He was fifty feet, in his full measure,
Long as he lay; the air he enjoyed
Sometimes at night, down again went
3045 To visit his den: he was then fast in death,
He had enjoyed the last of earth-caves.
By him there stood pitchers and cups,
Plates too lay there and precious swords,
Rusty and eaten-through, as in the earth's bosom
3050 A thousand of winters there they had remained,
Since that bequest exceedingly great,
The gold of the ancients, was bewitched with a spell,
So that the ringed hall might one not touch,
Any of men, unless God himself,
3055 True King of victories, to whom He would granted
To open the hoard, the charge of enchanters,
Even so to such man, as seemed to Him right.
Then was it seen that the way did not prosper
To him who with wrong had hid within
3060 The hoard 'neath the wall. The keeper ere slew
Some one of his foes: then was the feud
With battle avenged. Is it a wonder
When a warlike earl the end approaches
Of his life-fate, when may no longer
3065 A man with his kinsmen a mead-hall in-dwell?
So was it to Beowulf, when he the mount's keeper,
The contest sought: he himself knew not
How his world-severing was to take place;
How it against doom's-day deeply had cursed
3070 The mighty princes who that put there,
That that man should be guilty of sins,
Shut up in cursed places, fast in hell-bonds,
Punished with plagues, who should that plain tread
He was not gold-greedy; he rather would have
3075 The owner's favor sooner looked on.-
Wiglaf then spoke, Weohstan's son:
"Oft many an earl for the sake of one
Sorrow shall suffer, as is happened to us.
We might not give to our dear prince,
3080 The kingdom's ruler, any advice,
So that he might not that gold-keeper meet,
Might let him remain where he long was,
Dwell in his haunts until the world's end,
Fulfil his high fate. The hoard is looked on,
3085 Bitterly gotten: that fate was too mighty
Which that folk-king thither enticed.
I was therein and looked through it all,
The treasures of hall, when 'twas allowed me,
Not at all friendly a journey permitted
3090 In 'neath the earth-wall. In haste I took
A great mighty burden with my own hands
Of the hoard-treasures, bore them out hither
To mine own king: he was then still alive,
Wise and still conscious: very much spoke
3095 The agéd in sorrow and ordered to greet you,
Bade that ye should, for your friend's deeds, make
On the place of the pyre the lofty mound,
Mickle and mighty, as he of men was
The most worthy warrior through the wide earth,
3100 While he city-treasures still could enjoy.
Let us now hasten a second time
To see and to seek that heap of treasures,
Wonder 'neath wall. I shall direct you,
That ye may once more see now enough
3105 Of rings and broad gold. Be the bier ready,
Quickly prepared, when we come out,
And then let us bear our own dear lord,
The man beloved, where he shall long
In the Almighty's keeping patiently wait."
3110 Bade he then order, Weohstan's son,
The warrior brave, to many of men,
Of dwellers in houses, that they the fire-wood
Should bear from afar, the lords of the people,
To where lay the good one: "Now shall fire eat
3115 (The wan flame shall grow) the chief of warriors,
Him who oft awaited the iron-shower,
When the storm of arrows, loosed from the strings,
Leaped over the shield-wall, the shaft did its duty,
Fitted with feathers followed the barb."
3120 Now then the wise son of Weohstan
Called from the crowd of the kings thanes
Seven together, the choicest ones,
Went one of eight 'neath the hostile roof;
One warrior brave in his hands bore
3125 A lighted torch, who went in front.
It was not then allotted who should plunder that hoard,
After unguarded any portion of it
The warriors saw remain in the hall,
Lie wasting away: little one sorrowed,
3130 That they hastily carried without
The precious treasures. The dragon they shoved,
The worm, o'er the wall-cliff, let the waves take,
The flood embrace, the keeper of jewels.
There was twisted gold on a wain laden,
3135 Of each countless heap: the prince was borne,
The hoary warrior, to the Whale's ness.
For him then prepared the folk of the Geats
A funeral-pyre on the earth firm,
Hung with helmets, with shields of war,
3140 With burnies bright, as he had begged.
Laid they then in the midst the mighty prince,
The mourning warriors their lord beloved.
'Gan they then on the mountain the greatest of pyres
The warriors to kindle: the wood-smoke arose
3145 From the burning pile black, the crackling flame
Mingled with mourning (the wind-roar was still),
Until it had broken the house of bone,
Hot in the breast. Sad in their minds
With sorrow they mourned their dear lord's death;
3150 Also a sad song uttered the spouse,
Pained in her breast, grieved in her heart,
Mournful she frequently fettered her mind,
So that for her husband's most grievous blows
She wept, the grim fate of his bloody death,
3155 . . . . . terror of fire
heaven swallowed the smoke.
Wrought they there then the folk of the Weders
A mound on the steep, which high was and broad,
For the sea-goers to see from afar,
3160 And they built up within ten days,
The warlike one's beacon; the brightest of flames
They girt with a wall, as it most worthily
Very wise men might there devise.
They in the mound placed rings and bright jewels
3165 All such precious things as before in the hoard
Brave-minded men had taken away.
They let the earth hold the treasure of earls,
Gold in the ground, where it still lives
As useless to men as it before was.
3170 Then 'round the mound the battle-brave rode,
Children of nobles (they were twelve in all),
Their sorrow would tell, grieve for their king,
Their mourning utter, and about the man speak;
His earlship they praised, and his noble deeds
3175 They extolled to the courtiers, as it is right
That one his dear lord in word should praise,
With soul him love, when he shall forth
From his own body be severed by death.
So then lamented the folk of the Geats
3180 The fall of their lord, the hearth-companions,
Said that he was a mighty king,
Mildest to men and most tender-hearted,
To his folk most kind and fondest of praise.