Beowulf: an Anglo-Saxon poem

Translated by James Mercer,Garnett, the younger

1882 by Ginn, Heath, & Co. Boston, USA

Return to



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,

50      Mourning their mood. Men indeed cannot

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

685    War without weapons; and then the wise God,

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,

910    That the son of their prince was to grow up,

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,

1305  That they on both sides payment should make

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.

2115  So we therein the live-long day

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

2575  Triumph in battle. His hand he uplifted,

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.