The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Tale of Beowulf, by Anonymous, Translated by William Morris and Alfred John Wyatt
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Title: The Tale of Beowulf
Sometime King of the Folk of the Weder Geats
Release Date: January 23, 2007 [eBook #20431]
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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TALE OF BEOWULF***
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The Tale Of Beowulf Sometime King Of The Folk Of The Weder Geats
Translated By William Morris And A. J. Wyatt
Longmans, Green, And Co.
39 Paternoster Row, London
New York And Bombay
First printed at the Kelmscott Press, January 1895
Ordinary Edition August 1898
Reprinted August 1904
HTML Preparation and half-line separations by Wesley Tilson.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Wesley Tilson
is one of the oldest epic poems extant in an English language. In the ancient tradition, the poems were meant to be spoken aloud and heard by an audience of tribe members. A system of memory-helpers was developed to help the Scop to remember thousands of lines of poetry. A very rhythmic pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables was developed. In the Anglo-Saxon poetic tradition, the ends of the lines did not have to rhyme. The poetic tradition relied on the separation in the middle of the line. If the last word in the first part of the line began with a consonant, the first word of the second part of the line should have begun with the same consonant sound. If the last word in the first part of the line began with a vowel sound, the first word in the second part of the line should have begun with any vowel sound. Because the spelling of words and the structure of sentences have changed since then, those rules are not strictly followed in modern translations. Alliteration, the repetition of the initial sound of the word, was developed to a high level in both assonance and consonance at that time. There is also much boasting, bragging, aggressive speech, and celebration of the warrior's spirit. Much like some modern poetic styles. It was called, “Flyting.” There is an interesting article in Wikipedia about Flyting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyting.
There is also much reference to the Christian God and religious terminology in the 3,170 lines of this edition. How can this be in an ancient pagan epic poem? In more ancient pagan times the tales were spoken in the oral tradition and not written down. The literary devices helped the Scop to remember thousands of lines during the telling before the hearth-fire. Each Scop, teller of the Epic, was free to change or embellish the story as they wished. It was later after the conversion of the tribes to Christianity that the monks brought writing. It should be remembered that Beowulf
was written down by Christian authors, and so they added their own embellishments as the ancient Scop were free to do in their own performances. For the same reason the original creators of the Epic are not known and are listed as, "Anonymous."
Table of Contents
Chapter I. And First of the Kindred of Hrothgar.
II. Concerning Hrothgar, and How He Built the House Called Hart. Also Grendel Is Told of.
III. How Grendel Fell Upon Hart and Wasted It.
IV. Now Comes Beowulf Ecgtheow's Son to the Land of the Danes, and the Wall-Warden Speaketh With Him.
V. Here Beowulf Makes Answer to the Land-Warden, Who Showeth Him the Way to the King's Abode.
VI. Beowulf and the Geats Come Into Hart.
VII. Beowulf Speaketh With Hrothgar, and Telleth How He Will Meet Grendel.
VIII. Hrothgar Answereth Beowulf and Biddeth Him Sit to the Feast.
IX. Unferth Contendeth in Words With Beowulf.
X. Beowulf Makes An End of His Tale of the Swimming. Wealhtheow, Hrothgar's Queen, Greets Him; and Hrothgar Delivers to Him the Warding of the Hall.
XI. Now Is Beowulf Left in the Hall Alone With His Men.
XII. Grendel Cometh Into Hart: of the Strife Betwixt Him and Beowulf.
XIII. Beowulf Hath the Victory: Grendel Is Hurt Deadly and Leaveth Hand and Arm in the Hall.
XIV. The Danes Rejoice; They Go to Look on the Slot of Grendel, and Come Back to Hart, and on the Way Make Merry With Racing and the Telling of Tales.
XV. King Hrothgar and His Thanes Look on the Arm of Grendel. Converse Betwixt Hrothgar and Beowulf Concerning the Battle.
XVI. Hrothgar Giveth Gifts to Beowulf.
XVII. They Feast in Hart. The Gleeman Sings of Finn and Hengest.
XVIII. The Ending of the Tale of Finn.
XIX. More Gifts Are Given to Beowulf. The Brising Collar Told of.
XX. Grendel's Dam Breaks Into Hart and Bears Off Aeschere.
XXI. Hrothgar Laments the Slaying of Aeschere, and Tells of Grendel's Mother and Her Den.
XXII. They Follow Grendel's Dam to Her Lair.
XXIII. Beowulf Reacheth the Mere-Bottom in A Day's While, and Contends With Grendel's Dam.
XXIV. Beowulf Slayeth Grendel's Dam, Smiteth Off Grendel's Head, and Cometh Back With His Thanes to Hart.
XXV. Converse of Hrothgar With Beowulf.
XXVI. More Converse of Hrothgar and Beowulf: the Geats Make Them Ready For Departure.
XXVII. Beowulf Bids Hrothgar Farewell: the Geats Fare to Ship.
XXVIII. Beowulf Comes Back to His Land. of the Tale of Thrytho.
XXIX. Beowulf Tells Hygelac of Hrothgar: Also of Freawaru His Daughter.
XXX. Beowulf Forebodes Ill From the Wedding of Freawaru: He Tells of Grendel and His Dam.
XXXI. Beowulf Gives Hrothgar's Gifts to Hygelac, and By Him Is Rewarded. of the Death of Hygelac and of Heardred His Son, and How Beowulf Is King of the Geats: the Worm Is First Told of.
XXXII. How the Worm Came to the Howe, and How He Was Robbed of A Cup; and How He Fell on the Folk.
XXXIII. The Worm Burns Beowulf's House, and Beowulf Gets Ready to Go Against Him. Beowulf's Early Deeds in Battle With the Hetware Told of.
XXXIV. Beowulf Goes Against the Worm. He Tells of Herebeald and H峨cyn.
XXXV. Beowulf Tells of Past Feuds, and Bids Farewell to His Fellows: He Falls on the Worm, and the Battle of Them Begins.
XXXVI. Wiglaf Son of Weohstan Goes to the Help of Beowulf: N妬ing, Beowulf's Sword, Is Broken on the Worm.
XXXVII. They Two Slay the Worm. Beowulf Is Wounded Deadly: He Biddeth Wiglaf Bear Out the Treasure.
XXXVIII. Beowulf Beholdeth the Treasure and Passeth Away.
XXXIX. Wiglaf Casteth Shame on Those Fleers.
XL. Wiglaf Sendeth Tiding to the Host: the Words of the Messenger.
XLI. More Words of the Messenger. How He Fears the Swedes When They Wot of Beowulf Dead.
XLII. They Go to Look on the Field of Deed.
XLIII. Of the Burial of Beowulf.
PERSONS AND PLACES
THE MEANING OF SOME WORDS NOT COMMONLY USED NOW
Table of Contents
Hrothgar, king of the Danes, lives happily and peacefully, and bethinks him to build a glorious hall called Hart. But a little after, one Grendel, of the kindred of the evil wights that are come of Cain, hears the merry noise of Hart and cannot abide it; so he enters thereinto by night, and slays and carries off and devours thirty of Hrothgar's thanes. Thereby he makes Hart waste for twelve years, and the tidings of this mishap are borne wide about lands. Then comes to the helping of Hrothgar Beowulf, the son of Ecgtheow, a thane of King Hygelac of the Geats, with fourteen fellows. They are met on the shore by the land-warder, and by him shown to Hart and the stead of Hrothgar, who receives them gladly, and to whom Beowulf tells his errand, that he will help him against Grendel. They feast in the hall, and one Unferth, son of Ecglaf, taunts Beowulf through jealousy that he was outdone vi by Breca in swimming. Beowulf tells the true tale thereof. And a little after, at nightfall, Hrothgar and his folk leave the hall Hart, and it is given in charge to Beowulf, who with his Geats abides there the coming of Grendel.
Soon comes Grendel to the hall, and slays a man of the Geats, hight Handshoe, and then grapples with Beowulf, who will use no weapon against him: Grendel feels himself over-mastered and makes for the door, and gets out, but leaves his hand and arm behind him with Beowulf: men on the wall hear the great noise of this battle and the wailing of Grendel. In the morning the Danes rejoice, and follow the bloody slot of Grendel, and return to Hart racing and telling old tales, as of Sigemund and the Worm. Then come the king and his thanes to look on the token of victory, Grendel's hand and arm, which Beowulf has let fasten: to the hall-gable.
The king praises Beowulf and rewards him, and they feast in Hart, and the tale of Finn and Hengest is told. Then Hrothgar leaves Hart, and so does Beowulf also with his Geats, but the Danes keep guard there.
In the night comes in Grendel's Mother, and catches up Aeschere, a thane of Hrothgar, and carries him off to her lair. In the morning is vii Beowulf fetched to Hrothgar, who tells him of this new grief and craves his help.
Then they follow up the slot and come to a great water-side, and find thereby Aeschere's head, and the place is known for the lair of those two: monsters are playing in the deep, and Beowulf shoots one of them to death. Then Beowulf dights him and leaps into the water, and is a day's while reaching the bottom. There he is straightway caught hold of by Grendel's Mother, who bears him into her hall. When he gets free he falls on her, but the edge of the sword Hrunting (lent to him by Unferth) fails him, and she casts him to the ground and draws her sax to slay him; but he rises up, and sees an old sword of the giants hanging on the wall; he takes it and smites off her head therewith. He sees Grendel lying dead, and his head also he strikes off; but the blade of the sword is molten in his venomous blood. Then Beowulf strikes upward, taking with him the head of Grendel and the hilts of the sword. When he comes to the shore he finds his Geats there alone; for the Danes fled when they saw the blood floating in the water.
They go up to Hrothgar's stead, and four men must needs bear the head. They come to Hrothgar, and Beowulf gives him the hilts and viii tells him what he has done. Much praise is given to Beowulf; and they feast together.
On the morrow Beowulf bids farewell to Hrothgar, more gifts are given, and messages are sent to Hygelac: Beowulf departs with the full love of Hrothgar. The Geats come to their ship and reward the ship-warder, and put off and sail to their own land. Beowulf comes to Hygelac's house. Hygelac is told of, and his wife Hygd, and her good conditions, against whom is set as a warning the evil Queen Thrytho.
Beowulf tells all the tale of his doings in full to Hygelac, and gives him his gifts, and the precious-gemmed collar to Hygd. Here is told of Beowulf, and how he was contemned in his youth, and is now grown so renowned.
Time wears; Hygelac is slain in battle; Heardred, his son, reigns in his stead, he is slain by the Swedes, and Beowulf is made king. When he is grown old, and has been king for fifty years, come new tidings. A great dragon finds on the sea-shore a mound wherein is stored the treasure of ancient folk departed. The said dragon abides there, and broods the gold for 300 years.
Now a certain thrall, who had misdone against his lord and was fleeing from his wrath, haps on the said treasure and takes a cup thence, which ix he brings to his lord to appease his wrath. The Worm waketh, and findeth his treasure lessened, but can find no man who hath done the deed. Therefore he turns on the folk, and wars on them, and burns Beowulf's house.
Now Beowulf will go and meet the Worm. He has an iron shield made, and sets forth with eleven men and the thrall the thirteenth. He comes to the ness, and speaks to his men, telling them of his past days, and gives them his last greeting: then he cries out a challenge to the Worm, who comes forth, and the battle begins: Beowulf's sword will not bite on the Worm. Wiglaf eggs on the others to come to Beowulf's help, and goes himself straightway, and offers himself to Beowulf; the Worm comes on again, and Beowulf breaks his sword N妬ing on him, and the Worm wounds Beowulf. Wiglaf smites the Worm in the belly; Beowulf draws his ax, and between them they slay the Worm.
Beowulf now feels his wounds, and knows that he is hurt deadly; he sits down by the wall, and Wiglaf bathes his wounds. Beowulf speaks, tells how he would give his armour to his son if he had one; thanks God that he has not sworn falsely or done guilefully; and prays Wiglaf to bear out the treasure that he may see it before he dies.
x Wiglaf fetches out the treasure, and again bathes Beowulf's wounds; Beowulf speaks again, rejoices over the sight of the treasure; gives to Wiglaf his ring and his armour, and bids the manner of his bale-fire. With that he passes away. Now the dastards come thereto and find Wiglaf vainly bathing his dead lord. He casteth shame upon them with great wrath. Thence he sends a messenger to the barriers of the town, who comes to the host, and tells them of the death of Beowulf. He tells withal of the old feud betwixt the Geats and the Swedes, and how these, when they hear of the death of the king, will be upon them. The warriors go to look on Beowulf, and find him and the Worm lying dead together. Wiglaf chooses out seven of them to go void the treasure-house, after having bidden them gather wood for the bale-fire. They shove the Worm over the cliff into the sea, and bear off the treasure in wains. Then they bring Beowulf's corpse to bale, and they kindle it; a woman called the wife of aforetime, it may be Hygd, widow of Hygelac, bemoans him: and twelve children of the athelings ride round the bale, and bemoan Beowulf and praise him: and thus ends the poem.
Table of Contents
THE STORY OF BEOWULF,
I. AND FIRST OF THE KINDRED OF HROTHGAR.
What! we of the Spear-Danes, of yore days, so was it,
That we learn'd of the fair fame, of kings of the folks,
And the athelings a-faring, in framing of valour.
Oft then Scyld the Sheaf-son, from the hosts of the scathers,
From kindreds a many, the mead-settles tore;
It was then the earl fear'd them, sithence was he first,
Found bare and all-lacking; so solace he bided,
Wax'd under the welkin, in worship to thrive,
Until it was so, that the round-about sitters,
All over the whale-road, must hearken his will,
And yield him the tribute. A good king was that,
By whom then thereafter, a son was begotten,
A youngling in garth, whom the great God sent thither,
To foster the folk; and their crime-need he felt,
The load that lay on them, while lordless they lived,
For a long while and long. He therefore, the Life-lord,
The Wielder of glory, world's worship he gave him:
Brim Beowulf waxed, and wide the weal upsprang,
Of the offspring of Scyld, in the parts of the Scede-lands.
Such wise shall a youngling, with wealth be a-working,
With goodly fee-gifts, toward the friends of his father,
That after in eld-days, shall ever bide with him,
Fair fellows well-willing, when wendeth the war-tide,
Their lief lord a-serving. By praise-deeds it shall be,
That in each and all kindreds, a man shall have thriving.
Then went his ways Scyld, when the shapen while was,
All hardy to wend him, to the lord and his warding:
Out then did they bear him, to the side of the sea-flood,
The dear fellows of him, as he himself pray'd them,
While yet his word wielded, the friend of the Scyldings,
The dear lord of the land; a long while had he own'd it.
With stem all be-ringed, at the hythe stood the ship,
All icy and out-fain, the Atheling's ferry.
There then did they lay him, the lord well beloved,
The gold-rings' bestower, within the ship's barm,
The mighty by mast. Much there was the treasure,
From far ways forsooth, had the fret-work been led:
Never heard I of keel, that was comelier dighted,
With weapons of war, and with weed of the battle,
With bills and with byrnies. There lay in his barm,
Much wealth of the treasure, that with him should be,
And he into the flood's might, afar to depart.
No lesser a whit, were the wealth-goods they dight him,
Of the goods of the folk, than did they who aforetime,
When was the beginning, first sent him away,
Alone o'er the billows, and he but a youngling.
Moreover they set him, up there a sign golden,
High up overhead, and let the holm bear him,
Gave all to the Spearman. Sad mind they had in them,
And mourning their mood was. Now never knew men,
For sooth how to say it, rede-masters in hall,
Or heroes 'neath heaven, to whose hands came the lading.
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II. CONCERNING HROTHGAR, AND HOW HE BUILT THE HOUSE CALLED HART. ALSO GRENDEL IS TOLD OF.
In the burgs then was biding, Beowulf the Scylding,
Dear King of the people, for long was he dwelling,
Far-famed of folks, (his father turn'd elsewhere,
From his stead the Chief wended), till awoke to him after,
Healfdene the high, and long while he held it,
Ancient and war-eager, o'er the glad Scyldings:
Of his body four bairns, are forth to him rimed;
Into the world woke, the leader of war-hosts,
Heorogar; eke Hrothgar, and Halga the good;
Heard I that Elan queen, was she of Ongentheow,
That Scylding of battle, the bed-mate behalsed.
Then was unto Hrothgar, the war-speed given,
Such worship of war, that his kin and well-willers,
Well hearken'd his will, till the younglings were waxen,
A kin-host a many. Then into his mind ran,
That he would be building, for him now a hall-house,
That men should be making, a mead-hall more mighty,
Than the children of ages, had ever heard tell of:
And there within eke, should he be out-dealing,
To young and to old, all things God had given,
Save the share of the folk, and the life-days of men.
Then heard I that widely, the work was a-banning,
To kindreds a many, the Middle-garth over,
To fret o'er that folk-stead. So befell to him timely,
Right soon among men, that made was it yarely,
The most of hall-houses, and Hart its name shap'd he,
Who wielded his word, full widely around.
His behest he belied not; it was he dealt the rings,
The wealth at the high-tide. Then up rose the hall-house,
High up and horn-gabled. Hot surges it bided,
Of fire-flame the loathly, nor long was it thenceforth,
Ere sorely the edge-hate, 'twixt Son and Wife's Father,
After the slaughter-strife, there should awaken.
Then the ghost heavy-strong, bore with it hardly,
E'en for a while of time, bider in darkness,
That there on each day of days, heard he the mirth-tide,
Loud in the hall-house. There was the harp's voice,
And clear song of shaper. Said he who could it,
To tell the first fashion, of men from aforetime;
Quoth how the Almighty One, made the Earth's fashion,
The fair field and bright midst, the bow of the Waters,
And with victory beglory'd, set Sun and Moon,
Bright beams to enlighten, the biders on land:
And how he adorned, all parts of the earth,
With limbs and with leaves; and life withal shaped,
For the kindred of each thing, that quick on earth wendeth.
So liv'd on all happy, the host of the kinsmen,
In game and in glee, until one wight began,
A fiend out of hell-pit, the framing of evil,
And Grendel forsooth, the grim guest was hight,
The mighty mark-strider, the holder of moorland,
The fen and the fastness. The stead of the fifel,
That wight all unhappy, a while of time warded,
Sithence that the Shaper, him had for-written.
On the kindred of Cain, the Lord living ever,
Awreaked the murder, of the slaying of Abel.
In that feud he rejoic'd not, but afar him He banish'd,
The Maker,from mankind, for the crime he had wrought.
But offspring uncouth, thence were they awoken,
Eotens and elf-wights, and ogres of ocean,
And therewith the Giants, who won war against God,
A long while; but He gave them their wages therefor.
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III. HOW GRENDEL FELL UPON HART AND WASTED IT.
Now went he a-spying, when come was the night-tide,
The house on high builded, and how there the Ring-Danes,
Their beer-drinking over, had boune them to bed;
And therein he found them, the atheling fellows,
Asleep after feasting. Then sorrow they knew not,
Nor the woe of mankind: but the wight of wealth's waning,
The grim and the greedy, soon yare was he gotten,
All furious and fierce, and he raught up from resting,
A thirty of thanes, and thence aback got him,
Right fain of his gettings, and homeward to fare,
Fulfilled of slaughter, his stead to go look on.
at dawning, when day was yet early,
The war-craft of Grendel, to men grew unhidden,
And after his meal, was the weeping uphoven,
Mickle voice of the morning-tide: there the Prince mighty,
The Atheling exceeding good, unblithe he sat,
Tholing the heavy woe; thane-sorrow dreed he,
Since the slot of the loathly wight, there they had look'd on,
The ghost all accursed. O'er grisly the strife was,
So loathly and longsome. No longer the frist was,
But after the wearing of one night; then fram'd he,
Murder-bales more yet, and nowise he mourned,
The feud and the crime; over fast therein was he.
Then easy to find was, the man who would elsewhere,
Seek out for himself, a rest was more roomsome,
Beds 140 end-long the bowers, when beacon'd to him was,
And soothly out told, by manifest token,
The hate of the hell-thane. He held himself sithence,
Further and faster, who from the fiend gat him.
In such wise he rul'd it, and wrought against right,
But one against all, until idle was standing,
The best of hall-houses; and mickle the while was,
Twelve winter-tides' wearing; and trouble he tholed,
That friend of the Scyldings, of woes every one,
And wide-spreading sorrows: for sithence it fell,
That unto men's children, unbidden 'twas known,
Full sadly in singing, that Grendel won war,
'Gainst Hrothgar a while of time, hate-envy waging,
And crime-guilts and feud, for seasons no few,
And strife without stinting. For the sake of no kindness,
Unto any of men, of the main-host of Dane-folk,
Would he thrust off the life-bale, or by fee-gild allay it,
Nor was there a wise man, that needed to ween,
The bright boot to have, at the hand of the slayer.
The monster the fell one, afflicted them sorely,
That death-shadow darksome, the doughty and youthful,
Enfettered, ensnared; night by night was he faring,
The moorlands the misty. But never know men,
Of spell-workers of Hell, to and fro where they wander.
So crime-guilts a many, the foeman of mankind,
The fell alone-farer, fram'd oft and full often,
Cruel hard shames and wrongful, and Hart he abode in,
The treasure-stain'd hall, in the dark of the night-tide;
But never the gift-stool, therein might he greet,
The treasure before, the Creator he trow'd not.
Mickle wrack was it soothly, for the friend of the Scyldings,
Yea heart and mood breaking. Now sat there a many,
Of the mighty in rune, and won them the rede,
Of what thing for the strong-soul'd, were best of all things,
Which yet they might frame, 'gainst the fear and the horror.
And whiles they behight them, at the shrines of the heathen,
To worship the idols; and pray'd they in words,
That he, the ghost-slayer, would frame for them helping,
'Gainst the folk-threats and evil, So far'd they their wont,
The hope of the heathen; nor hell they remember'd,
In 180 mood and in mind. And the Maker they knew not,
The Doomer of deeds: nor of God the Lord wist they,
Nor the Helm of the Heavens, knew aught how to hery,
The Wielder of Glory. Woe worth unto that man,
Who through hatred the baneful, his soul shall shove into,
The fire's embrace; nought of fostering weens he,
Nor of changing one whit. But well is he soothly,
That after the death-day, shall seek to the Lord,
In the breast of the Father, all peace ever craving.
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IV. NOW COMES BEOWULF ECGTHEOW'S SON TO THE LAND OF THE DANES, AND THE WALL-WARDEN SPEAKETH WITH HIM.
So care that was time-long, the kinsman of Healfdene,
190 Still seeth'd without ceasing, nor might the wise warrior,
Wend otherwhere woe, for o'er strong was the strife,
All loathly so longsome, late laid on the people,
Need-wrack and grim nithing, of night-bales the greatest.
Now that from his home heard, the Hygelac's thane,
Good midst of the Geat-folk; of Grendel's deeds heard he.
But he was of mankind, of might and main mightiest,
In the day that we tell of, the day of this life,
All noble, strong-waxen. He bade a wave-wearer,
Right good to be gear'd him, and quoth he that the war-king,
Over the swan-road, he would be seeking,
The folk-lord far-famed, since lack of men had he.
Forsooth of that faring, the carles wiser-fashion'd,
Laid little blame on him, though lief to them was he;
The heart-hardy whetted they, heeded the omen.
There had the good one, e'en he of the Geat-folk,
Champions out-chosen, of them that he keenest,
Might find for his needs; and he then the fifteenth,
Sought to the sound-wood. A swain thereon show'd him,
A sea-crafty man, all the make of the land-marks.
Wore then a while, on the waves was the floater,
The boat under the berg, and yare then the warriors,
Strode up on the stem; the streams were a-winding,
The sea 'gainst the sands. Upbore the swains then,
Up into the bark's barm, the bright-fretted weapons,
The war-array stately; then out the lads shov'd her,
The folk on the welcome way, shov'd out the wood-bound.
Then by the wind driven, out o'er the wave-holm,
Far'd the foamy-neck'd floater, most like to a fowl,
Till when was the same tide, of the second day's wearing,
The wound-about-stemm'd one, had waded her way,
So that then they that sail'd her, had sight of the land,
Bleak shine of the sea-cliffs, bergs steep up above,
Sea-nesses wide reaching; the sound was won over,
The sea-way was ended: then up ashore swiftly,
The band of the Weder-folk, up on earth wended;
They bound up the sea-wood, their sarks on them rattled,
Their weed of the battle, and God there they thanked,
For that easy the wave-ways, were waxen unto them.
But now from the wall saw, the Scylding-folks' warder,
E'en he whom the holm-cliffs, should ever be holding,
Men bear o'er the gangway, the bright shields a-shining,
Folk-host gear all ready. Then mind-longing wore him,
And stirr'd up his mood to wot who were the men-folk.
So shoreward down far'd he his fair steed a-riding,
Hrothgar's Thane, and full strongly, then set he a-quaking,
The stark wood in his hands, and in council-speech speer'd he:
What men be ye then of them that have war-gear,
With byrnies bewarded, who the keel high up-builded,
Over the Lake-street, thus have come leading.
Hither o'er holm-ways, hieing in ring-stem?,
End-sitter was I, a-holding the sea-ward,
That the land of the Dane-folk, none of the loathly,
Faring with ship-horde, ever might scathe it.
None yet have been seeking, more openly hither,
Of shield-havers than ye, and ye of the leave-word,
Of the framers of war, naught at all wotting,
Or the manners of kinsmen. But no man of earls greater,
Saw I ever on earth, than one of you yonder,
The warrior in war-gear, no hall-man, so ween I,
Is that weapon-beworthy'd, but his visage belie him,
The sight seen once only. Now I must be wotting,
The spring of your kindred, ere further ye cast ye,
And let loose your false spies, in the Dane-land a-faring,
Yet further afield. So now, ye far-dwellers,
Ye wenders o'er sea-flood, this word do ye hearken,
Of my one-folded thought: and haste is the handiest,
To do me to wit, of whence is your coming.
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V. HERE BEOWULF MAKES ANSWER TO THE LAND-WARDEN, WHO SHOWETH HIM THE WAY TO THE KING?S ABODE.
He then that was chiefest, in thus wise he answer'd,
The war-fellows' leader, unlock'd he the word-hoard:
We be a people, of the Weder-Geats' man-kin,
And of Hygelac be we, the hearth-fellows soothly.
My father before me, of folks was well-famed,
Van-leader and atheling, Ecgtheow he hight.
Many winters abode he, and on the way wended,
An old man from the garths, and him well remembers,
Every wise man well nigh, wide yond o'er the earth.
Through our lief mood and friendly, the lord that is thine,
Even Healfdene's son, are we now come a-seeking,
Thy warder of folk. Learn us well with thy leading,
For we have to the mighty, an errand full mickle,
To the lord of the Dane-folk: naught dark shall it be,
That ween I full surely. If it be so thou wottest,
As soothly for our parts, we now have heard say,
That one midst of the Scyldings, who of scathers I wot not,
A deed-hater secret, in the dark of the night-tide,
Setteth forth through the terror, the malice untold of,
The shame-wrong and slaughter. I therefore to Hrothgar,
Through my mind fashion'd roomsome, the rede may now learn him,
How he, old-wise and good, may get the fiend under,
If once more from him, awayward may turn,
The business of bales, and the boot come again,
And the weltering of care, wax cooler once more;
Or for ever sithence time, of stress he shall thole,
The need and the wronging, the while yet there abideth,
On the high stead aloft, the best of all houses.
Then spake out the warden, on steed there a-sitting,
The servant all un-fear'd: It shall be of either,
That the shield-warrior sharp, the sundering wotteth,
Of words and of works, if he think thereof well.
I hear it thus said that, this host here is friendly,
To the lord of the Scyldings; forth fare ye then, bearing,
Your weed and your weapons, of the way will I wise you;
Likewise mine own kinsmen, I will now be bidding,
Against every foeman, your floater before us,
Your craft but new-tarred, the keel on the sand,
With honour to hold, until back shall be bearing,
Over the lake-streams, this one, the lief man,
The wood of the wounden-neck, back unto Wedermark.
Unto such shall be granted, amongst the good-doers,
To win the way out, all whole from the war-race.
Then boun they to faring, the bark biding quiet;
Hung upon hawser, the wide-fathom'd ship,
Fast at her anchor. Forth shone the boar-shapes,
Over the check-guards, golden adorned,
Fair-shifting, fire-hard; ward held the farrow.
Snorted the war-moody, hasten'd the warriors,
And trod down together, until the hall timbered,
Stately and gold-bestain'd, gat they to look on,
That was the all-mightiest, unto earth's dwellers,
Of halls 'neath the heavens, wherein bode the mighty;
Glisten'd the gleam thereof, o'er lands a many.
Unto them then the war-deer, the court of the proud one,
Full clearly betaught it, that they therewithal,
Might wend their ways thither. Then he of the warriors,
Round wended his steed, and spake a word backward:
Time now for my faring; but the Father All-wielder,
May He with all helping, henceforward so hold you,
All whole in your wayfaring. Will I to sea-side,
Against the wroth folk, to hold warding ever.
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VI. BEOWULF AND THE GEATS COME INTO HART.
Stone-diverse the street was, straight uplong the path led,
The warriors together. There shone the war-byrny,
The hard and the hand-lock'd; the ring-iron sheer,
Sang over their war-gear, when they to the hall first,
In their gear the all-fearful, had gat them to ganging.
So then the sea-weary, their wide shields set down,
Their war-rounds the mighty, against the hall's wall.
Then bow'd they to bench, and rang there the byrnies,
The war-weed of warriors, and up-stood the spears,
The war-gear of the sea-folk, all gather'd together.
The ash-holt grey-headed; that host of the iron,
With weapons was worshipful. There then a proud chief,
Of those lads of the battle, speer'd after their line:
Whence ferry ye then, the shields golden-faced,
The grey sarks therewith, and the helms all bevisor'd,
And a heap of the war-shafts? Now am I of Hrothgar,
The man and the messenger: ne'er saw I of aliens,
So many of men, more might-like of mood.
I ween that for pride-sake, no wise for wrack-wending,
But for high might of mind, ye to Hrothgar have sought.
Unto him then the heart-hardy, answer'd and spake,
The proud earl of the Weders, the word gave aback,
The hardy neath helm: Now of Hygelac are we,
The board-fellows; Beowulf e'en is my name,
And word will I say, unto Healfdene's son,
To the mighty, the folk-lord, what errand is mine,
Yea unto thy lord, if to us he will grant it,
That him, who so good is, anon we may greet.
Spake Wulfgar the word, a lord of the Wendels,
And the mood of his heart, of a many was kenned,
His war and his wisdom: I therefore the Danes' friend,
Will lightly be asking, of the lord of the Scyldings,
The dealer of rings, since the boon thou art bidding,
The mighty folk-lord, concerning thine errand,
And swiftly the answer, shall do thee to wit,
Which the good one to give thee, aback may deem meetest.
Then turn'd he in haste, to where Hrothgar was sitting,
Right old and all hoary, mid the host of his earl-folk:
Went the valour-stark; stood he the shoulders before,
Of the Dane-lord: well could he the doughty ones' custom.
So Wulfgar spake forth, to his lord the well-friendly:
Hither are ferry'd now, come from afar off,
O'er the field of the ocean, a folk of the Geats;
These men of the battle, e'en Beowulf name they,
Their elder and chiefest, and to thee are they bidding,
That they, O dear lord, with thee may be dealing,
In word against word. Now win them no naysay,
Of thy speech again-given, O Hrothgar the glad-man:
For they in their war-gear, methinketh, be worthy,
Of good deeming of earls; and forsooth naught but doughty,
Is he who hath led o'er, the warriors hither.
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VII. BEOWULF SPEAKETH WITH HROTHGAR, AND TELLETH HOW HE WILL MEET GRENDEL.
Word then gave out Hrothgar, the helm of the Scyldings:
I knew him in sooth when, he was but a youngling,
And his father, the old man, was Ecgtheow hight;
Unto whom at his home, gave Hrethel the Geat-lord,
His one only daughter; and now hath his offspring,
All hardy come hither, a lief lord to seek him.
For that word they spake then, the sea-faring men,
E'en they who the gift-seat, for the Geat-folk had ferry'd,
Brought thither for thanks, that of thirty of menfolk,
The craft of might hath he, within his own handgrip,
That war-strong of men. Now him holy God,
For kind help hath sent off, here even to us,
We men of the West Danes, as now I have weening,
'Gainst the terror of Grendel. So I to that good one,
For his mighty mood-daring, shall the dear treasure bid.
Haste now and be speedy, and bid them in straightway,
The kindred-band gather'd together, to see us,
And in words say thou eke, that they be well comen,
To the folk of the Danes. To the door of the hall then,
Went Wulfgar, and words withinward he flitted:
He bade me to say you, my lord of fair battle,
The elder of East-Danes, that he your blood knoweth,
And that unto him are ye, the sea-surges over,
Ye lads hardy-hearted, well come to land hither;
And now may ye wend you, all in war-raiment,
Under the battle-mask, Hrothgar to see.
But here let your battle-boards, yet be abiding,
With your war-weed and slaughter-shafts, issue of words.
Then rose up the rich one, much warriors around him,
Chosen heap of the thanes, but there some abided,
The war-gear to hold, as the wight one was bidding.
Swift went they together, as the warrior there led them,
Under Hart's roof: went the stout-hearted,
The hardy neath helm, till he stood by the high-seat.
Then Beowulf spake out, on him shone the byrny,
His war-net besown by, the wiles of the smith:
Hail to thee, Hrothgar! I am of Hygelac,
Kinsman and folk-thane; fair deeds have I many,
Begun in my youth-tide, and this matter of Grendel,
On the turf of mine own land, undarkly I knew.
'Tis the seafarers' say, that standeth this hall,
The best house forsooth, for each one of warriors,
All idle and useless, after the even-light,
Under the heaven-loft, hidden becometh.
Then lightly they learn'd me, my people, this lore,
E'en the best that there be of, the wise of the churls,
O Hrothgar the kingly, that thee should I seek to,
Whereas of the might of, my craft were they cunning;
For they saw me when came I, from out of my wargear,
Blood-stain'd from the foe, whenas five had I bounden,
Quell'd the kin of the eotens, and in the wave slain,
The nicors by night-tide: strait need then I bore,
Wreak'd the grief of the Weders, the woe they had gotten;
I ground down the wrathful; and now against Grendel,
I here with the dread one, alone shall be dooming,
In Thing with the giant. I now then with thee,
O lord of the bright Danes, will fall to my bidding,
O berg of Scyldings, and bid thee one boon,
Which, O refuge of warriors, gainsay me not now,
Since, O free friend of folks, from afar have I come,
That I alone, I and my band of the earls,
This hard heap of men, may cleanse Hart of ill.
This eke have I heard say, that he, the fell monster,
In his wan-heed recks nothing, of weapons of war;
Forgo I this therefore, (if so be that Hygelac,
Will still be my man-lord, and he blithe of mood),
To bear the sword with me, or bear the broad shield,
Yellow-round to the battle; but with naught save the hand-grip,
With the foe shall I grapple, and grope for the life,
The loathly with loathly. There he shall believe,
In the doom of the Lord, whom death then shall take.
Now ween I that he, if he may wield matters,
E'en there in the war-hall, the folk of the Geats,
Shall eat up unafear'd, as oft he hath done it,
With the might of the Hrethmen: no need for thee therefore,
My head to be hiding; for me will he have,
With gore all bestain'd, if the death of men get me;
He will bear off my bloody corpse, minded to taste it;
Unmournfully then will, the Lone-goer eat it,
Will blood-mark the moor-ways; for the meat of my body,
Naught needest thou henceforth, in any wise grieve thee.
But send thou to Hygelac, if the war have me,
The best of all war-shrouds, that now my breast wardeth,
The goodliest of railings, the good gift of Hrethel,
The hand-work of Weland. Weird wends as she willeth.
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VIII. HROTHGAR ANSWERETH BEOWULF AND BIDDETH HIM SIT TO THE FEAST.
Spake out then Hrothgar, the helm of the Scyldings:
Thou Beowulf, friend mine, for battle that wardeth,
And for help that is kindly, hast sought to us hither.
Fought down thy father, the most of all feuds;
To Heatholaf was he, forsooth for a hand-bane,
Amidst of the Wylfings. The folk of the Weders,
Him for the war-dread, that while might not hold.
So thence did he seek, to the folk of the South-Danes,
O'er the waves' wallow, to the Scyldings be-worshipped.
Then first was I wielding, the weal of the Dane-folk,
That time was I holding, in youth-tide the gem-rich,
Hoard-burg of the heroes. Dead then was Heorogar,
Mine elder of brethren; unliving was he,
The Healfdene's bairn that, was better than I.
That feud then thereafter, with fee did I settle;
I sent to the Wylfing folk, over the waters' back,
Treasures of old time; he swore the oaths to me.
Sorrow is in my mind, that needs must I say it,
To any of grooms, of Grendel what hath he,
Of shaming in Hart, and he with his hate-wiles,
Of sudden harms framed; the host of my hall-floor,
The war-heap, is waned; Weird swept them away,
Into horror of Grendel. It is God now that may lightly,
The scather the doltish, from deeds thrust aside.
Full oft have they boasted, with beer well bedrunken,
My men of the battle, all over the ale-stoup,
That they in the beer-hall, would yet be abiding,
The onset of Grendel, with the terror of edges.
But then was this mead-hall, in the tide of the morning,
This warrior-hall, gore-stain'd when day at last gleamed,
All the boards of the benches, with blood besteam'd over,
The hall laid with sword-gore: of lieges less had I,
Of dear and of doughty, for them death had gotten.
Now sit thou to feast, and unbind thy mood freely,
Thy war-fame unto men as, the mind of thee whetteth.
Then was for the Geat-folk, and them all together,
There in the beer-hall, a bench bedight roomsome,
There the stout-hearted, hied them to sitting,
Proud in their might: a thane minded the service,
Who in hand upbare, an ale-stoup adorned,
Skinked the sheer mead; whiles sang the shaper,
Clear out in Hart-hall; joy was of warriors,
Men doughty no little, of Danes and of Weders.
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IX. UNFERTH CONTENDETH IN WORDS WITH BEOWULF.
Spake out then Unferth, that bairn was of Ecglaf,
500 And he sat at the feet of, the lord of the Scyldings,
He unbound the battle-rune; was Beowulf's faring,
Of him the proud mere-farer, mickle unliking,
Whereas he begrudg'd it, of any man other,
That he glories more mighty, the middle-garth over,
Should hold under heaven, than he himself held:
Art thou that Beowulf, who won strife with Breca,
On the wide sea, contending in swimming,
When ye two for pride's sake, search'd out the floods,
And for a dolt's cry, into deep water,
Thrust both your life-days? No man the twain of you,
Lief or loth were he, might lay wyte to stay you,
Your sorrowful journey, when on the sea row'd ye;
Then when the ocean-stream, ye with your arms deck'd,
Meted the mere-streets, there your hands brandish'd!
O'er the Spearman ye glided; the sea with waves welter'd,
The surge of the winter. Ye twain in the waves' might,
For a seven nights swink'd. He outdid thee in swimming,
And the more was his might; but him in the morn-tide,
To the Heatho-Remes' land, the holm bore ashore.
And thence away sought he, to his dear land and lovely,
The lief to his people sought, the land of the Brondings,
The fair burg peace-warding, where he the folk owned,
The burg and the gold rings. What to theeward he boasted,
Beanstan's son, for thee soothly he brought it about.
Now ween I for thee things, worser than erewhile,
Though thou in the war-race, wert everywhere doughty,
In the grim war, if thou herein Grendel darest,
Night-long for a while, of time nigh to abide.
Then Beowulf spake out, the Ecgtheow's bairn:
What! thou no few of things, O Unferth my friend,
And thou drunken with beer, about Breca hast spoken,
Saidest out of his journey; so the sooth now I tell:
To wit, that the more might ever I owned,
Hard wearing on wave, more than any man else.
We twain then, we quoth it, while yet we were younglings,
And we boasted between us, the twain of us being yet,
In our youth-days, that we out onto the Spearman,
Our lives would adventure; and e'en so we wrought It.
We had a sword naked, when on the sound row'd we,
Hard in hand, as we twain against the whale-fishes,
Had mind to be warding us. No whit from me,
In the waves of the sea-flood, afar might he float,
The hastier in holm, nor would I from him hie me.
Then we two together, we were in the sea,
For a five nights, till us twain the flood drave asunder,
The weltering of waves. Then the coldest of weathers,
In the dusking of night, and the wind from the northward,
Battle-grim turn'd against us, rough grown were the billows.
Of the mere-fishes then was, the mood all up-stirred;
There me 'gainst the loathly, the body-sark mine,
The hard and the hand-lock'd, was framing me help,
My battle-rail braided, it lay on my breast,
Gear'd graithly with gold. But me to the ground tugg'd,
A foe and fiend-scather; fast he had me In hold,
That grim one in grip: yet to me was it given.
That the wretch there, the monster, with point might I reach,
With my bill of the battle, and the war-race off bore,
The mighty mere-beast through, the hand that was mine.
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X. BEOWULF MAKES AN END OF HIS TALE OF THE SWIMMING. WEALHTHEOW, HROTHGAR?S QUEEN, GREETS HIM; AND HROTHGAR DELIVERS TO HIM THE WARDING OF THE HALL.
Thus oft and oft over, the doers of evil,
560 They threatened me hard; thane-service I did them,
With the dear sword of mine, as forsooth it was meet,
That nowise of their fill, did they win them the joy,
The evil fordoers, in swallowing me down,
Sitting round at the feast, nigh the ground of the sea.
Yea rather, a morning-tide, mangled by sword-edge,
Along the waves' leaving, up there did they lie,
Lull'd asleep with the sword, so that never sithence,
About the deep floods for, the farers o'er ocean,
The way have they letted. Came the light from the eastward,
The bright beacon of God, and grew the seas calm,
So that the sea-nesses, now might I look on,
The windy walls. Thuswise Weird oft will be saving,
The earl that is unfey, when his valour availeth.
Whatever, it happ'd me that I with the sword slew,
Nicors nine. Never heard I of fighting a night-tide,
'Neath the vault of the heavens, was harder than that,
Nor yet on the sea-streams, of woefuller wight.
Whatever, forth won I with life from the foes' clutch,
All of wayfaring weary. But me the sea upbore,
The flood downlong the tide, with the weltering of waters,
All onto the Finnland. No whit of thee ever,
Mid such strife of the battle-gear, have I heard say,
Such terrors of bills. Nor never yet Breca,
In the play of the battle, nor both you, nor either,
So dearly the deeds, have framed forsooth,
With the bright flashing swords; though of this naught I boast me.
But thou of thy brethren, the banesman becamest,
Yea thine head-kin forsooth, for which in hell shalt thou,
Dree weird of damnation, though doughty thy wit be;
For unto thee say I forsooth, son of Ecglaf,
That so many deeds, never Grendel had done,
That monster the loathly, against thine own lord,
The shaming in Hart-hall, if suchwise thy mind were,
And thy soul e'en as battle-fierce, such as thou sayest.
But he, he hath fram'd it, that the feud he may heed not,
The fearful edge-onset, that is of thy folk,
Nor sore need be fearful, of the Victory-Scyldings.
The need-pledges taketh he, no man he spareth,
Of the folk of the Danes, driveth war as he lusteth,
Slayeth and feasteth, unweening of strife,
With them of the Spear-Danes. But I, I shall show it,
The Geats' wightness and might, ere the time weareth old,
Shall bide him in war-tide. Then let him go who may go,
High-hearted to mead, sithence when the morn-light,
O'er the children of men, of the second day hence,
The sun clad in heaven's air, shines from the southward.
Then merry of heart, was the meter of treasures,
The hoary-man'd war-renown'd, help now he trow'd in;
The lord of the Bright-Danes, on Beowulf hearken'd,
The folk-shepherd knew him, his fast-ready mind.
There was laughter of heroes, and high the din rang,
And winsome the words were. Went Wealhtheow forth,
The Queen she of Hrothgar, of courtesies mindful,
The gold-array'd greeted, the grooms in the hall,
The free and frank woman, the beaker there wended,
And first to the East-Dane-folk's, fatherland's warder,
And bade him be blithe, at the drinking of beer,
To his people beloved, and lustily took he,
The feast and the hall-cup, that victory-fam'd King.
Then round about went she, the Dame of the Helmings,
And to doughty and youngsome, each deal of the folk there,
Gave cups of the treasure, till now it betid,
That to Beowulf duly, the Queen the ring-dighted,
Of mind high uplifted, the mead-beaker bare.
Then she greeted the Geat-lord, and gave God the thank,
She, the wisefast In words, that the will had wax'd in her,
In one man of the earls, to have trusting and troth,
For comfort from crimes. But the cup then he took,
The slaughter-fierce warrior, from Wealhtheow the Queen.
And then rim'd he the word, making ready for war,
And Beowulf spake forth, the Ecgtheow's bairn:
E'en that in mind had I when, up on holm strode I,
And in sea-boat sat down, with a band of my men,
That for once and for all, the will of your people,
Would I set me to work, or on slaughter-field cringe,
Fast in grip of the fiend; yea and now shall I frame,
The valour of earl-folk, or else be abiding,
The day of mine end, here down in the mead-hall.
To the wife those his words, well liking they were,
The big word of the Geat; and the gold-adorn'd wended,
The frank and free Queen, to sit by her lord.
And thereafter within, the high hall was as erst,
The proud word outspoken, and bliss on the people,
Was the sound of the victory-folk, till on a sudden,
The Healfdene's son, would now be a-seeking,
His rest of the even: wotted he for the Evil,
Within the high hall, was the Hild-play bedight,
Sithence that the sun-light, no more should they see,
When night should be darkening, and down over all,
The shapes of the shadow-helms, should be a-striding,
Wan under the welkin. Uprose then all war-folk;
Then greeted the glad-minded, one man the other,
Hrothgar to Beowulf, bidding him hail,
And the wine-hall to wield, and withal quoth the word:
Never to any man, erst have I given,
Since the hand and the shield's round, aloft might I heave,
This high hall of the Dane-folk, save now unto thee.
Have now and hold, the best of all houses,
Mind thee of fame, show the might of thy valour!
Wake the wroth one: no lack shall there be to thy willing,
If that wight work thou win, and life therewithal.
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XI. NOW IS BEOWULF LEFT IN THE HALL ALONE WITH HIS MEN.
Then wended him Hrothgar, with the band of his warriors,
The high-ward of the Scyldings, from out of the hall,
For then would the war-lord, go seek unto Wealhtheow,
The Queen for a bed-mate. The glory of king-folk,
Against Grendel had set, as men have heard say,
A hall-ward who held him, a service apart,
In the house of the Dane-lord, for eoten-ward held he.
Forsooth he, the Geat-lord, full gladly he trowed,
In the might of his mood, and the grace of the Maker.
Therewith he did off him, his byrny of iron,
And the helm from his head, and his dighted sword gave,
The best of all irons, to the thane that abode him,
And bade him to hold, that harness of battle.
Bespake then the good one, a big word he gave out,
Beowulf the Geat, ere on the bed strode he:
Nowise in war, I deem me more lowly,
In the works of the battle than Grendel, I ween;
So not with the sword shall, I lull him to slumber,
Or take his life thuswise, though to me were it easy;
Of that good wise he wots not, to get the stroke on me,
To hew on my shield, for as stark as he shall be,
In the works of the foeman. So we twain a night-tide,
Shall forgo the sword, if he dare yet to seek,
The war without weapons. Sithence the wise God,
The Lord that is holy, on which hand soever,
The glory may doom, as due to him seemeth.
Bowed down then the war-deer, the cheek-bolster took,
The face of the earl; and about him a many,
Of sea-warriors bold, to their hall-slumber bow'd them;
No one of them thought that, thence away should he,
Seek ever again, to his home the beloved,
His folk or his free burg, where erst he was fed;
For of men had they learn'd, that o'er mickle a many,
In that wine-hall aforetime, the fell death had gotten,
Of the folk of the Danes; but the Lord to them gave it,
To the folk of the Weders, the web of war-speeding,
Help fair and good comfort, e'en so that their foeman,
Through the craft of one man, all they overcame,
By the self-might of one. So is manifest truth,
That God the Almighty, the kindred of men,
Hath wielded wide ever. Now by wan night there came,
There strode in the shade-goer; slept there the shooters,
They who that horn-house, should be a-holding,
All men but one man: to men was that known,
That them indeed might not, since will'd not the Maker,
The scather unceasing, drag off 'neath the shadow;
But he ever watching in wrath, 'gainst the wroth one,
Mood-swollen abided, the battle-mote ever.
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XII. COMETH INTO HART: OF THE STRIFE BETWIXT HIM AND BEOWULF.
Came then from the moor-land, all under the mist-bents,
Grendel a-going there, bearing God's anger.
The scather the ill one, was minded of mankind,
To have one in his toils, from the high hall aloft.
'Neath the welkin he waded, to the place whence the wine-house,
The gold-hall of men, most yarely he wist,
With gold-plates fair coloured; nor was it the first time,
That he unto Hrothgar's high home, had betook him.
Never he in his life-days, either erst or thereafter,
Of warriors more hardy, or hall-thanes had found.
Came then to the house, the wight on his ways,
Of all joys bereft; and soon sprang the door open,
With fire-bands made fast, when with hand he had touch'd it;
Brake the bale-heedy, he with wrath bollen,
The mouth of the house there, and early thereafter,
On the shiny-fleck'd floor thereof, trod forth the fiend;
On went he then mood-wroth, and out from his eyes stood,
Likest to fire-flame, light full unfair.
In the high house beheld, he a many of warriors,
A host of men sib, all sleeping together,
Of man-warriors a heap; then laugh'd out his mood;
In mind deem'd he to sunder, or ever came day,
The monster, the fell one, from each of the men there,
The life from the body; for befell him a boding,
Of fulfilment of feeding: but weird now it was not,
That he any more, of mankind thenceforward,
Should eat, that night over. Huge evil beheld then,
The Hygelac's kinsman, and how the foul scather,
All with his fear-grips, would fare there before him;
How never the monster, was minded to tarry,
For speedily gat he, and at the first stour,
A warrior a-sleeping, and unaware slit him,
Bit his bone-coffer, drank blood a-streaming,
Great gobbets swallow'd in; thenceforth soon had he,
Of the unliving one, every whit eaten,
To hands and feet even: then forth strode he nigher,
And took hold with his hand, upon him the highhearted.
The warrior a-resting; reach'd out to himwards,
The fiend with his hand, gat fast on him rathely,
With thought of all evil, and besat him his arm.
Then swiftly was finding, the herdsman of fouldeeds,
That forsooth he had met not, in Middle-garth ever,
In the parts of the earth, in any man else,
A hand-grip more mighty; then wax'd he of mood,
Heart-fearful, but none the more outward might he;
Hence-eager his heart was, to the darkness to hie him,
And the devil-dray seek: not there was his service,
E'en such as he found in, his life-days before.
Then to heart laid the good one, the Hygelac's kinsman,
His speech of the even-tide; uplong he stood,
And fast with him grappled, till bursted his fingers.
The eoten was out-fain, but on strode the earl.
The mighty fiend minded was, whereso he might,
To wind him about, more widely away thence,
And flee fenwards; he found then the might of his fingers,
In the grip of the fierce one; sorry faring was that,
Which he, the harm-scather, had taken to Hart.
The warrior-hall dinn'd now; unto all Danes there waxed,
To the castle-abiders, to each of the keen ones,
To all earls, as an ale-dearth. Now angry were both,
Of the fierce mighty warriors, far rang out the hall-house;
Then mickle the wonder, it was that the wine-hall,
Withstood the two war-deer, nor welter'd to earth,
The fair earthly dwelling; but all fast was it builded,
Within and without, with the banding of iron,
By crafty thought smithy'd. But there from the sill bow'd,
Fell many a mead-bench, by hearsay of mine,
With gold well adorned, where strove they the wrothful.
Hereof never ween'd they, the wise of the Scyldings,
That ever with might, should any of men,
The excellent, bone-dight, break into pieces,
Or unlock with cunning, save the light fire's embracing,
In smoke should it swallow. So uprose the roar,
New and enough; now fell on the North-Danes,
Ill fear and the terror, on each and on all men,
Of them who from wall-top, hearken'd the weeping,
Even God's foeman, singing the fear-lay,
The triumphless song, and the wound-bewailing,
Of the thrall of the Hell; for there now fast held him,
He who of men of main, was the mightiest,
In that day which is told of, the day of this life.
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XIII. BEOWULF HATH THE VICTORY: GRENDEL IS HURT DEADLY AND LEAVETH HAND AND ARM IN THE HALL.
Naught would the earls' help, for anything thenceforth,
That murder-comer, yet quick let loose of,
Nor his life-days forsooth, to any of folk,
Told he for useful. Out then drew full many,
Of Beowult's earls, the heir-loom of old days,
For their lord and their master's, fair life would hey ward,
That mighty of princes, if so might they do it.
For this did they know not, when they the strife dreed,
Those hardy-minded, men of the battle,
And on every half there, thought to be hewing,
And search out his soul, that the ceaseless scather,
Not any on earth, of the choice of all irons,
Not one of the war-bills, would greet home for ever.
For he had forsworn him, from victory-weapons,
And each one of edges. But his sundering of soul,
In the days that we tell of, the day of this life,
Should be weary and woeful, the ghost wending elsewhere,
To the wielding of fiends, to wend him afar.
Then found he out this, he who mickle erst made,
Out of mirth of his mood, unto children of men,
And had fram'd many crimes, he the foeman of God,
That the body of him, would not bide to avail him,
But the hardy of mood, even Hygelac's kinsman,
Had him fast by the hand: now was each to the other,
All loathly while living: his body-sore bided,
The monster: was manifest now on his shoulder,
The unceasing wound, sprang the sinews asunder,
The bone-lockers bursted. To Beowulf now,
Was the battle-fame given; should Grendel thenceforth,
Flee life-sick awayward, and under the fen-bents,
Seek his unmerry stead: now wist he more surely,
That ended his life was, and gone over for ever,
His day-tale told out. But was for all Dane-folk,
After that slaughter-race, all their will done.
Then had he cleans'd for them, he the far-comer,
Wise and stout-hearted, the high hall of Hrothgar,
And say'd it from war. So the night-work he joy'd in,
And his doughty deed done. Yea, but he for the East-Danes,
That lord of the Geat-folk, his boast's end had gotten,
Withal their woes bygone, all had he booted,
And the sorrow hate-fashion'd, that afore they had dreed,
And the hard need and bitter, that erst they must bear,
The sorrow unlittle. Sithence was clear token,
When the deer of the battle, laid down there the hand,
The arm and the shoulder, and all there together,
Of the grip of that Grendel, 'neath the great roof upbuilded.
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XIV. THE DANES REJOICE; THEY GO TO LOOK ON THE SLOT OF GRENDEL, AND COME BACK TO HART, AND ON THE WAY MAKE MERRY WITH RACING AND THE TELLING OF TALES.
There was then on the morning, as I have heard tell it,
Round the gift-hall a many, of men of the warriors:
Were faring folk-leaders, from far and from near,
O'er the wide-away roads, the wonder to look on,
The track of the loathly: his life-sundering nowise,
Was deem'd for a sorrow, to any of men there,
Who gaz'd on the track, of the gloryless wight;
How he all a-weary, of mood thence awayward,
Brought to naught in the battle, to the mere of the nicors,
Now fey and forth-fleeing, his life-steps had flitted.
There all in the blood, was the sea-brim a-welling,
The dread swing of the waves, was washing all mingled,
With hot blood; with the gore of the sword was it welling;
The death-doom'd had dyed it, sithence he unmerry,
In his fen-hold had laid down, the last of his life,
His soul of the heathen, and hell gat hold on him.
Thence back again far'd they, those fellows of old,
With many a young one, from their wayfaring merry,
Full proud from the mere-side, on mares there a-riding,
The warriors on white steeds. There then was of Beowulf,
Set forth the might mighty; oft quoth it a many,
That nor northward nor southward, beside the twin sea-floods,
Over all the huge earth's face, now never another,
Never under the heaven's breadth, was there a better,
Nor of wielders of war-shields, a worthier of kingship;
But neither their friendly lord, blam'd they one whit,
Hrothgar the glad, for good of kings was he.
There whiles the warriors, far-famed let leap,
Their fair fallow horses, and fare into flyting,
Where unto them the earth-ways, for fair-fashion'd seemed,
Through their choiceness well kenned; and whiles a king's thane,
A warrior vaunt-laden, of lays grown bemindful,
E'en he who all many, of tales of the old days,
A multitude minded, found other words also,
Sooth-bounden, and boldly the man thus began,
E'en Beowulf's wayfare, well wisely to stir,
With good speed to set forth, the spells well areded,
And to shift about words. And well of all told he,
That he of Sigemund, erst had heard say,
Of the deeds of his might; and many things uncouth:
Of the strife of the W'ing, and his wide wayfarings,
Of those that men's children, not well yet they wist,
The feud and the crimes, save Fitela with him;
Somewhat of such things, yet would he say,
The eme to the nephew; e'en as they aye were,
In all strife soever, fellows full needful;
And full many had they, of the kin of the eotens,
Laid low with the sword. And to Sigemund upsprang,
After his death-day, fair doom unlittle,
Sithence that the war-hard, the Worm there had quelled,
The herd of the hoard; he under the hoar stone,
The bairn of the Atheling, all alone dar'd it,
That wight deed of deeds; with him Fitela was not.
But howe'er, his hap was that the sword so through-waded,
The Worm the all-wondrous, that in the wall stood,
The iron dear-wrought: and the drake died the murder.
There had the warrior, so won by wightness,
That he of the ring-hoard, the use might be having,
All at his own will. The sea-boat he loaded,
And into the ship's barm, bore the bright fretwork,
W?' son. In the hotness, the Worm was to-molten.
Now he of all wanderers, was widely the greatest,
Through the peoples of man-kind, the warder of warriors,
By mighty deeds; erst then, and early he throve.
Now sithence the warfare, of Heremod waned,
His might and his valour, amidst of the eotens,
To the wielding of foemen straight, was he betrayed,
And speedily sent forth: by the surges of sorrow,
O'er-long was he lam'd, became he to his lieges,
To all of the athelings, a life-care thenceforward.
Withal oft bemoaned, in times that were older,
The ways of that stout heart, many a carle of the wisest.
Who trow'd in him boldly, for booting of bales,
And had look'd that the king's bairn, should ever be thriving,
His father's own lordship should take, hold the folk,
The hoard and the ward-burg, and realm of the heroes,
The own land of the Scyldings. To all men was Beowulf,
The Hygelac's kinsman, to the kindred of menfolk,
More fair unto friends; but on Heremod crime fell.
So whiles the men flyting, the fallow street there,
With their mares were they meting. There then was the morn-light,
Thrust forth and hasten'd; went many a warrior,
All hardy of heart, to the high hall aloft,
The rare wonder to see; and the King's self withal,
From the bride-bower wended, the warder of ring-hoards,
All glorious he trod, and a mickle troop had he,
He for choice ways beknown; and his Queen therewithal,
Meted the mead-path, with a meyny of maidens.
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XV. KING HROTHGAR AND HIS THANES LOOK ON THE ARM OF GRENDEL. CONVERSE BETWIXT HROTHGAR AND BEOWULF CONCERNING THE BATTLE.
Out then spake Hrothgar; for he to the hall went,
By the staple a-standing, the steep roof he saw,
Shining fair with the gold, and the hand there of Grendel:
For this sight that I see, to the All-wielder thanks,
Befall now forthwith, for foul evil I bided,
All griefs from this Grendel; but God, glory's Herder,
Wonder on wonder, ever can work.
Unyore was it then, when I for myself,
Might ween never more, wide all through my life-days,
Of the booting of woes; when all blood-besprinkled,
The best of all houses, stood sword-gory here;
Wide then had the woe thrust off, each of the wise,
Of them that were looking, that never life-long,
That land-work of the folk, they might ward from the loathly,
From ill wights and devils. But now hath a warrior,
Through the might of the Lord a deed, made thereunto,
Which we, and all we, together, in nowise,
By wisdom might work. What! well might be saying,
That maid whosoever, this son brought to birth,
According to man's kind, if yet she be living,
That the Maker of old time, to her was all-gracious,
In the bearing of bairns. O Beowulf, I now,
Thee best of all men, as a son unto me,
Will love in my heart, and hold thou henceforward,
Our kinship new-made now; nor to thee shall be lacking,
As to longings of world-goods, whereof I have wielding;
Full oft I for lesser things, guerdon have given,
The worship of hoards, to a warrior was weaker,
A worser in strife. Now thyself for thyself,
By deeds hast thou fram'd it, that liveth thy fair fame,
For ever and ever. So may the All-wielder,
With good pay thee ever, as erst he hath done it.
Then Beowulf spake out, the Ecgtheow's bairn:
That work of much might, with mickle of love,
We framed with fighting, and frowardly ventur'd,
The might of the uncouth; now I would that rather,
Thou mightest have look'd on, the very man there,
The foe in his fret-gear, all worn unto falling.
There him in all haste, with hard griping did I,
On the slaughter-bed deem it, to bind him indeed,
That he for my hand-grip, should have to be lying,
All busy for life: but his body fled off.
Him then, I might not, (since would not the Maker),
From his wayfaring sunder, nor naught so well sought I,
The life-foe; o'er-mickle, of might was he yet,
The foeman afoot: but his hand has he left us,
A life-ward, a-warding, the ways of his wending,
His arm and his shoulder therewith. Yet in nowise,
That wretch of the grooms, any solace hath got him,
Nor longer will live, the loathly deed-doer,
Beswinked with sins; for the sore hath him now,
In the grip of need grievous, in strait hold togather'd,
With bonds that be baleful: there shall he abide,
That wight dyed with all, evil-deeds, the doom mickle,
For what wise to him, the bright Maker will write it.
Then a silenter man, was the son there of Ecglaf,
In the speech of the boasting, of works of the battle,
After when every atheling, by craft of the earl,
Over the high roof had look'd, on the hand there,
Yea, the fiend's fingers, before his own eyen,
Each one of the nail-steads, most like unto steel,
Hand-spur of the heathen one; yea, the own claw,
Uncouth of the war-wight. But each one there quoth it,
That no iron of the best, of the hardy of folk,
Would touch him at all, which e'er of the monster,
The battle-hand bloody, might bear away thence.
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XVI. HROTHGAR GIVETH GIFTS TO BEOWULF.
Then was speedily bidden, that Hart be withinward,
By hand of man well adorn'd; was there a many,
Of warriors and wives, who, straightway that wine-house,
The guest-house, bedight them: there gold-shotten shone,
The webs over the walls, many wonders to look on,
For men every one who, on such things will stare.
Was that building the bright, all broken about,
All withinward, though fast, in the bands of the iron;
Asunder the hinges rent, only the roof there,
Was saved all sound, when the monster of evil,
The guilty of crime-deeds, had gat him to flight,
Never hoping for life. Nay, lightly now may not,
That matter be fled from, frame it whoso may frame it.
But by strife man shall win, of the bearers of souls,
Of the children of men, compelled by need,
The abiders on earth, the place made all ready,
The stead where his body, laid fast on his death-bed,
Shall sleep after feast. Now time and place was it,
When unto the hall, went that Healfdene's son,
And the King himself therein, the feast should be sharing;
Never heard I of men-folk, in fellowship more,
About their wealth-giver, so well themselves bearing.
Then bow'd unto bench there, the abounders in riches,
And were fain of their fill. Full fairly there took,
A many of mead-cups, the kin of those men,
The sturdy of heart, in the hall high aloft,
Hrothgar and Hrothulf. Hart there withinward,
Of friends was fulfilled; naught there that was guilesome,
The folk of the Scyldings, for yet awhile framed.
Gave then to Beowulf, Healfdene's bairn,
A golden war-ensign, the victory's guerdon,
A staff-banner fair-dight, a helm and a byrny:
The great jewel-sword, a many men saw them,
Bear forth to the hero. Then Beowulf took,
The cup on the floor, and nowise of that fee-gift,
Before the shaft-shooters, the shame need he have.
Never heard I how friendlier, four of the treasures,
All gear'd with the gold about, many men erewhile,
On the ale-bench have given, to others of men.
Round the roof of the helm, the burg of the head,
A wale wound with wires, held ward from without-ward,
So that the file-leavings, might not over fiercely,
Were they never so shower-hard, scathe the shield-bold,
When he 'gainst the angry, in anger should get him.
Therewith bade the earls' burg, that eight of the horses,
With cheek-plates adorned, be led down the floor,
In under the fences; on one thereof stood,
A saddle all craft-bedeck'd, seemly with treasure.
That same was the war-seat, of the high King full surely,
Whenas that the sword-play, that Healfdene's son,
Would work; never failed, in front of the war,
The wide-kenn'd one's war-might, whereas fell the slain.
So to Beowulf thereon, of either of both,
The Ingwines' high warder, gave wielding to have,
Both the war-steeds and weapons, and bade him well brook them.
Thuswise and so manly, the mighty of princes,
Hoard-warden of heroes, the battle-race paid,
With mares and with gems, so as no man shall blame them,
E'en he who will say sooth, aright as it is.
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XVII. THEY FEAST IN HART. THE GLEEMAN SINGS OF FINN AND HENGEST.
Then the lord of the earl-folk, to every and each one,
Of them who with Beowulf, the sea-ways had worn,
Then and there on the mead-bench, did handsel them treasure,
An heir-loom to wit; for him also he bade it,
That a were-gild be paid, whom Grendel aforetime,
By wickedness quell'd, as far more of them would he,
Save from them God all-witting, the weird away wended,
And that man's mood withal. But the Maker all wielded,
Of the kindred of mankind, as yet now he doeth.
Therefore through-witting, will be the best everywhere,
And the forethought of mind. Many things must abide,
Of lief and of loth, he who here a long while,
In these days of the strife, with the world shall be dealing.
There song was and sound, all gather'd together,
Of that Healfdene's warrior, and wielder of battle,
The wood of glee greeted, the lay wreaked often,
Whenas the hall-game, the minstrel of Hrothgar,
All down by the mead-bench, tale must be making:
By Finn's sons aforetime, when the fear gat them,
The hero of Half-Danes, Hn?of the Scyldings,
On the slaughter-field Frisian, needs must he fall.
Forsooth never Hildeburh, needed to hery,
The troth of the Eotens; she all unsinning,
Was lorne of her lief ones, in that play of the linden,
Her bairns and her brethren, by fate there they fell,
Spear-wounded. That was, the all-woeful of women.
Not unduly without cause, the daughter of Hoc,
Mourn'd the Maker's own shaping, sithence came the morn,
When she under the heavens, that tide came to see,
Murder-bale of her kinsmen, where most had she erewhile?,
Of world's bliss. The war-tide, took all men away,
Of Finn's thanes that were, save only a few;
E'en so that he might not, on the field of the meeting,
Hold Hengest a war-tide, or fight any whit,
Nor yet snatch away thence, by war the woe-leavings,
From the thane of the King; but terms now they bade him,
That for them other stead all, for all should make room,
A hall and high settle, whereof the half-wielding,
They with the Eotens' bairns, henceforth might hold,
And with fee-gifts moreover, the son of Folkwalda,
Each day of the days, the Danes should beworthy;
The war-heap of Hengest, with rings should he honour,
Even so greatly, with treasure of treasures,
Of gold all beplated, as he the kin Frisian,
Down in the beer-hall, duly should dight.
Troth then they struck there, each of the two halves,
A peace-troth full fast. There Finn unto Hengest,
Strongly, unstrifeful, with oath-swearing swore,
That he the woe-leaving by the doom of the wise ones,
Should hold in ail honour, that never man henceforth,
With word or with work, the troth should be breaking,
Nor through craft of the guileful, should undo it ever,
Though their ring-giver's bane, they must follow in rank,
All lordless, e'en so, need is it to be:
But if any of Frisians, by over-bold speaking,
The murderful hatred, should call unto mind,
Then naught but the edge, of the sword should avenge it.
Then done was the oath there, and gold of the golden,
Heav'd up from the hoard. Of the bold Here-Scyldings,
All yare on the bale was, the best battle-warrior;
On the death-howe beholden, was easily there,
The sark stain'd with war-sweat, the all-golden swine,
The iron-hard boar; there was many an atheling,
With wounds all outworn; some on slaughter-field welter'd.
But Hildeburh therewith, on Hn's bale she bade them,
The own son of herself, to set fast in the flame,
His bone-vats to burn up, and lay on the bale there:
On his shoulder all woeful, the woman lamented,
Sang songs of bewailing, as the warrior strode upward,
Wound up to the welkin, that most of death-fires,
Before the howe howled; there molten the heads were,
The wound-gates burst open, there blood was out-springing,
From foe-bites of the body; the flame swallow'd all,
The greediest of ghosts, of them that war gat him,
Of either of folks; shaken off was their life-breath.
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XVIII. THE ENDING OF THE TALE OF FINN.
Departed the warriors, their wicks to visit,
All forlorn of their friends now, Friesland to look on,
Their homes and their high burg. Hengest a while yet,
Through the slaughter-dyed winter, bode dwelling with Finn,
And all without strife: he remember'd his homeland,
Though never he might o'er, the mere be a-driving,
The high prow be-ringed: with storm the holm welter'd,
Won war 'gainst the winds; winter locked the waves,
With bondage of ice, till again came another,
Of years into the garth, as yet it is ever,
And the days which the season, to watch never cease,
The glory-bright weather; then gone was the winter,
And fair was the earth's barm. Now hastened the exile.
The guest from the garths; he on getting of vengeance,
Of harms thought more greatly, than of the sea's highway,
If he but a wrath-mote, might yet be a-wending,
Where the bairns of the Eotens, might he still remember.
The ways of the world, forwent he in nowise,
Then, whenas Hunlafing, the light of the battle,
The best of all bills, did into his breast,
Whereof mid the Eotens, were the edges well knowen.
Withal to the bold-hearted, Finn befell after,
Sword-bales the deadly, at his very own dwelling,
When the grim grip of war, Guthlaf and Oslaf,
After the sea-fare, lamented with sorrow,
And wyted him deal of their woes; nor then might he,
In his breast hold his wavering heart. Was the hall dight,
With the lives of slain foemen, and slain eke was Finn,
The King 'midst of his court-men; and there the Queen, taken,
The shooters of the Scyldings, ferry'd down to the sea-ships,
And the house-wares and chattels, the earth-king had had,
E'en such as at Finn's home, there might they find,
Of collars and cunning gems. They on the sea-path,
The all-lordly wife, to the Danes straightly wended,
Led her home to their people. So sung was the lay,
The song of the gleeman; then again arose game,
The bench-voice wax'd brighter, gave forth the birlers,
Wine of the wonder-vats. Then came forth Wealhtheow,
Under gold ring a-going to, where sat the two good ones,
The uncle and nephew, yet of kindred unsunder'd,
Each true to the other. Eke Unferth the spokesman,
Sat at feet of the Scyldings' lord; each of his heart trow'd,
That of mickle mood was he, though he to his kinsmen,
Were un-upright in edge-play. Spake the dame of the Scyldings:
Now take thou this cup, my lord of the kingly,
Bestower of treasures! Be thou in thy joyance,
Thou gold-friend of men! and speak to these Geat-folk,
In mild words, as duly behoveth to do;
Be glad toward the Geat-folk, and mindful of gifts;
From anigh and from far, peace hast thou as now.
To me one hath said it, that thou for a son wouldst,
This warrior be holding. Lo! Hart now is cleansed,
The ring-hall bright-beaming. Have joy while thou mayest,
In many a meed, and unto thy kinsmen,
Leave folk and dominion, when forth thou must fare,
To look on the Maker's, own making. I know now,
My Hrothulf the gladsome, that he this young man,
Will hold in all honour, if thou now before him,
O friend of the Scyldings, shall fare from the world;
I ween that good-will yet, this man will be yielding,
To our offspring that after us, be, if he mind him,
Of all that which we two, for good-will and for worship,
Unto him erst a child, yet have framed of kindness.
Then along by the bench did she turn, where her boys were,
Hrethric and Hrothmund, and the bairns of high warriors,
The young ones together; and there sat the good one,
Beowulf the Geat, betwixt the two brethren.
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XIX. MORE GIFTS ARE GIVEN TO BEOWULF. THE BRISING COLLAR TOLD OF.
Borne to him then the cup was, and therewith friendly bidding,
In words was put forth; and gold about wounden,
All blithely they bade him bear; arm-gearings twain,
Rail and rings, the most greatest of fashion of neck-rings,
Of them that on earth, I have ever heard tell of:
Not one under heaven, wrought better was heard of,
Midst the hoard-gems of heroes, since bore away Hama,
To the bright burg and brave, the neck-gear of the Brisings,
The gem and the gem-chest: from the foeman's guile fled he,
Of Eormenric then, and chose rede everlasting.
That ring Hygelac had, e'en he of the Geat-folk,
The grandson of Swerting, the last time of all times,
When he under the war-sign, his treasure defended,
The slaughter-prey warded. Him weird bore away,
Sithence he for pride-sake, the war-woe abided,
The feud with the Frisians; the fretwork he flitted,
The gem-stones much worthy, all over the waves' cup.
The King the full mighty, cring'd under the shield;
Into grasp of the Franks, the King's life was gotten,
With the gear of the breast, and the ring altogether;
It was worser war-wolves then, reft gear from the slain,
After the war-shearing; there the Geats' war-folk,
Held the house of the dead men. The Hall took the voices;
Spake out then Wealhtheow; before the host said she:
Brook thou this roundel, lief Beowulf, henceforth,
Dear youth, with all hail, and this rail be thou using,
These gems of folk-treasures, and thrive thou well ever;
Thy might then make manifest! Be to these lads here,
Kind of lore, and for that, will I look to thy guerdon.
Thou hast won by thy faring, that far and near henceforth,
Through wide time to come, men will give thee the worship,
As widely as ever, the sea winds about,
The windy land-walls. Be the while thou art living,
An atheling wealthy, and well do I will thee,
Of good of the treasures; be thou to my son,
In deed ever friendly, and uphold thy joyance!
Lo! each of the earls here, to the other is trusty,
And mild of his mood and, to man-lord full faithful,
Kind friends all the thanes are, the folk ever yare.
Ye well drunk of folk-grooms, now do ye my biddings.
To her settle then far'd she; was the feast of the choicest,
The men drank the wine, nothing wotting of weird,
The grim shaping of old, e'en as forth it had gone,
To a many of earls; sithence came the even,
And Hrothgar departed, to his chamber on high,
The rich to his rest; and aright the house warded,
Earls untold of number, as oft did they erewhile.
The bench-boards they bar'd them, and there they spread over,
With beds and with bolsters. Of the beer-skinkers one,
Who fain was and fey bow'd, adown to his floor-rest.
At their heads then they rested, their rounds of the battle,
Their board-woods bright-shining. There on the bench was,
Over the atheling, easy to look on,
The battle-steep war-helm, the byrny be-ringed,
The wood of the onset, all-glorious. Their wont was,
That oft and oft were they, all yare for the war-tide,
Both at home and in hosting, were it one were it either,
And for every such tide, as their liege lord unto,
The need were befallen: right good was that folk.
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XX. GRENDEL'S DAM BREAKS INTO HART AND BEARS OFF AESCHERE.
So sank they to slumber; but one paid full sorely,
For his rest of the even, as to them fell full often,
Sithence that the gold-hall, Grendel had guarded,
And won deed of unright, until that the end came,
And death after sinning: but clear was it shown now,
Wide wotted of men, that e'en yet was a wreaker,
Living after the loathly, a long while of time,
After the battle-care, Grendel's own mother;
The woman, the monster-wife, minded her woe,
She who needs must in horror, of waters be wonning,
The streams all a-cold, sithence Cain was become,
For an edge-bane forsooth, to his very own brother,
The own son of his father. Forth bann'd then he fared,
All marked by murder, from man's joy to flee,
And dwelt in the waste-land. Thence woke there a many,
Ghosts shapen of old time, of whom one was Grendel,
The fierce wolf, the hateful, who found him at Hart,
A man there a-watching, abiding the war-tide;
Where to him the fell ogre, to hand-grips befell;
Howe'er he him minded, of the strength of his might,
The great gift set fast, in him given of God,
And trowed in grace, by the All-wielder given,
His fostering, his staying; so the fiend he o'ercame,
And bow'd down the Hell's ghost, that all humble he wended,
Fordone of all mirth, death's house to go look on,
That fiend of all mankind. But yet was his mother,
The greedy, the glum-moody, fain to be going,
A sorrowful journey, her son's death to wreak.
So came she to Hart, whereas now the Ring-Danes,
Were sleeping adown the hall; soon there befell,
Change of days to the earl-folk, when in she came thrusting,
Grendel's mother: and soothly, was minish'd the terror,
By even so much, as the craft-work of maidens,
The war-terror of wife, is beside the man weapon'd,
When the sword all hard bounden, by hammers to-beaten,
The sword all sweat-stain'd, through the swine o'er the war-helm,
With edges full doughty, down rightly sheareth.
But therewith in the hall, was tugg'd out the hard edge,
The sword o'er the settles, and wide shields a many,
Heaved fast in the hand: no one the helm heeded,
Nor the byrny wide-wrought, when the wild fear fell on them.
In haste was she then, and out would she thenceforth,
For the saving her life, whenas she should be found there.
But one of the athelings &emsp she speedily handled,
And caught up full fast, and fenward so fared.
But he was unto Hrothgar &emsp the liefest of heroes,
Of the sort of the fellows; betwixt the two sea-floods,
A mighty shield-warrior, whom she at rest brake up,
A war-wight well famed. There Beowulf was not;
Another house soothly &emsp had erewhile been dighted,
After gift of that treasure &emsp to that great one of Geats.
Uprose cry then in Hart, all 'mid gore had she taken,
The hand, the well-known, and now care wrought anew,
In the wicks was arisen. Naught well was the bargain,
That on both halves they needs must &emsp be buying that tide,
With the life-days of friends. Then the lord king, the wise,
The hoary of war-folk, was harmed of mood,
When his elder of thanes &emsp and he now unliving,
The dearest of all, he knew to be dead.
To the bower full swiftly &emsp was Beowulf brought now,
The man victory-dower'd; together with day-dawn,
Went he, one of the earls, that champion beworthy'd,
Himself with his fellows, where the wise was abiding,
To wot if the All-wielder &emsp ever will to him,
After the tale of woe &emsp happy change work.
Then went down the floor &emsp he the war-worthy,
With the host of his hand, while high dinn'd the hall-wood,
Till he there the wise one &emsp with words had well greeted,
The lord of the Ingwines, and ask'd had the night been.
Since sore he was summon'd, a night of sweet easement.
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XXI. HROTHGAR LAMENTS THE SLAYING OF AESCHERE, AND TELLS OF GRENDEL?S MOTHER AND HER DEN.
Spake out then Hrothgar &emsp the helm of the Scyldings,
Ask no more after bliss; for new-made now is sorrow,
For the folk of the Danes; for Aeschere is dead,
He who was Yrmenlaf's &emsp elder of brethren,
My wise man of runes, my bearer of redes,
Mine own shoulder-fellow, when we in the war-tide,
Warded our heads, and the host on the host fell,
And the boars were a-crashing; e'en such should an earl be,
An atheling exceeding good, e'en as was Aeschere.
Now in Hart hath befallen, for a hand-bane unto him,
A slaughter-ghost wandering; naught wot I whither,
The fell one, the carrion-proud, far'd hath her back-fare,
By her fill made all famous. That feud hath she wreaked,
Wherein yesternight gone, by Grendel thou quelledst,
Through thy hardihood fierce, with grips hard enow.
For that he over-long, the lief people of me,
Made to wane and undid. In the war then he cringed,
Being forfeit of life. But now came another,
An ill-scather mighty, her son to awreak;
And further hath she now, the feud set on foot,
As may well be deemed, of many a thane,
Who after the wealth-giver, weepeth in mind,
A hard bale of heart. Now the hand lieth low,
Which well-nigh for every joy, once did avail you.
The dwellers in land here, my people indeed,
The wise-of-rede hall-folk, have I heard say e'en this:
That they have set eyes on, two such-like erewhile,
Two mickle mark-striders, the moorland a-holding,
Ghosts come from elsewhere, but of them one there was,
As full certainly might they, then know it to be,
In the likeness of woman; and the other shap'd loathly,
All after man's image trod, the tracks of the exile,
Save that more was he shapen, than any man other;
And in days gone away now, they named him Grendel,
The dwellers in fold; they wot not if a father,
Unto him was born ever, in the days of erewhile,
Of dark ghosts. They dwell, in a dim hidden land,
The wolf-bents they bide in, on the nesses the windy,
The perilous fen-paths where, the stream of the fell-side,
Midst the mists of the nesses, wends netherward ever,
The flood under earth. Naught far away hence,
But a mile-mark forsooth, there standeth the mere,
And over it ever, hang groves all berimed,
The wood fast by the roots, over-helmeth the water.
But each night may one, a dread wonder there see,
A fire in the flood. But none liveth so wise,
Of the bairns of mankind, that the bottom may know.
Although the heath-stepper, beswinked by hounds,
The hart strong of horns, that holt-wood should seek to,
Driven fleeing from far, he shall sooner leave life,
Leave life-breath on the bank, or ever will he,
Therein hide his head. No hallow'd stead is it:
Thence the blending of water-waves, ever upriseth,
Wan up to the welkin, whenso the wind stirreth,
Weather-storms loathly, until the lift darkens,
And weepeth the heavens. Now along the rede wendeth,
Of thee again only. Of that earth yet thou know'st not,
The fearful of steads, wherein thou mayst find,
That much-sinning wight; seek then if thou dare,
And thee for that feud, will I guerdon with fee,
The treasures of old time, as erst did I do,
With the gold all-bewounden, if away thence thou get thee.
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XXII. THEY FOLLOW GRENDEL'S DAM TO HER LAIR.
Spake out then Beowulf, the Ecgtheow's bairn:
O wise of men, mourn not; for to each man 'tis better,
That his friend he awreak, than weep overmuch.
Lo! each of us soothly, abideth the ending,
Of the life of the world. Then let him work who work may,
High deeds ere the death: to the doughty of war-lads,
When he is unliving, shall it best be hereafter.
Rise up, warder of kingdom! and swiftly now wend we,
The Grendel Kinswoman's, late goings to look on;
And this I behote thee, that to holm shall she flee not,
Nor into earth's fathom, nor into the fell-holt,
Nor the grounds of the ocean, go whereas she will go.
For this one of days patience, dree thou a while then,
Of each one of thy woes, as I ween it of thee.
Then leapt up the old man, and lightly gave God thank,
That mighty of Lords, for the word which the man spake.
And for Hrothgar straightway, then was bitted a horse,
A wave-maned steed: and the wise of the princes,
Went stately his ways; and stepp'd out the man-troop,
The linden-board bearers. Now lightly the tracks were,
All through the woodland ways, wide to be seen there,
Her goings o'er ground; she had gotten her forthright,
Over the mirk-moor: bore she of kindred thanes,
The best that there was, all bare of his soul,
Of them that with Hrothgar, heeded the home.
Overwent then, that bairn of the athelings,
Steep bents of the stones, and stridings full narrow,
Strait paths nothing pass'd over, ways all uncouth,
Sheer nesses to wit, many houses of nicors.
He one of the few, was going before,
Of the wise of the men, the meadow to look on,
Until suddenly there, the trees of the mountains,
Over the hoar-stone, found he a-leaning,
A wood without gladness: the water stood under,
Dreary and troubled. Unto all the Danes was it,
To the friends of the Scyldings, most grievous in mood,
To many of thanes, such a thing to be tholing,
Sore evil to each one of earls, for of Aeschere,
The head did they find, e'en there on the holm-cliff;
The flood with gore welled, (the folk looking on it),
With hot blood. But whiles then, the horn fell to singing,
A song of war eager. There sat down the band;
They saw down the water, a many of worm-kind,
Sea-drakes seldom seen, a-kenning the sound;
Likewise on the ness-bents, nicors a-lying,
Who oft on the undern-tide, wont are to hold them,
A course full of sorrow, all over the sail-road.
Now the worms and the wild-deer, away did they speed,
Bitter and wrath-swollen, all as they heard it,
The war-horn a-wailing: but one the Geats' warden,
With his bow of the shafts, from his life-days there sunder'd,
From his strife of the waves; so that stood in his life-parts,
The hard arrow of war; and he in the holm was,
The slower in swimming, as death away swept him.
So swiftly in sea-waves, with boar-spears forsooth,
Sharp-hook'd and hard-press'd, was he thereupon,
Set on with fierce battle, and on to the ness tugg'd,
The wondrous wave-bearer; and men were beholding,
The grisly guest, Beowulf therewith he gear'd him,
With weed of the earls: nowise of life reck'd he:
Needs must his war-byrny, braided by hands,
Wide, many-colour'd, by cunning, the sound seek,
E'en that which his bone-coffer, knew how to ward,
So that the war-grip, his heart ne'er a while,
The foe-snatch of the wrathful, his life ne'er should scathe;
Therewith the white war-helm, warded his head,
E'en that which should mingle, with ground of the mere,
And seek the sound-welter, with treasure beworthy'd,
All girt with the lordly chains, as in days gone by,
The weapon-smith wrought it, most wondrously done,
Beset with the swine-shapes, so that sithence,
The brand or the battle-blades, never might bite it.
Nor forsooth was that littlest, of all of his mainstays,
Which to him in his need lent, the spokesman of Hrothgar,
E'en the battle-sword hafted, that had to name Hrunting,
That in fore days was one, of the treasures of old,
The edges of iron, with the poison twigs o'er-stain'd,
With battle-sweat harden'd; in the brunt never fail'd he,
Any one of the warriors, whose hand wound about him,
Who in grisly wayfarings, durst ever to wend him,
To the folk-stead of foemen. Not the first of times was it,
That battle-work doughty, it had to be doing.
Forsooth naught remember'd, that son there of Ecglaf,
The crafty in mighty deeds, what ere he quoth,
All drunken with wine, when the weapon he lent,
To a doughtier sword-wolf: himself naught he durst it,
Under war of the waves there, his life to adventure,
And warrior-ship work. So forwent he the glory,
The fair fame of valour. Naught far'd so the other,
Syth he to the war-tide, had gear'd him to wend.
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XXIII. BEOWULF REACHETH THE MERE-BOTTOM IN A DAY'S WHILE, AND CONTENDS WITH GRENDEL'S DAM.
Out then spake Beowulf, Ecgtheow's bairn:
Forsooth be thou mindful, O great son of Healfdene,
O praise of the princes, now way-fain am I,
O gold-friend of men, what we twain spake aforetime:
If to me for thy need, it might so befall,
That I cease from my life-days, thou shouldest be ever,
To me, forth away wended, in the stead of a father.
Do thou then bear in hand, these thanes of my kindred,
My hand-fellows, if so be battle shall have me;
Those same treasures withal, which thou gavest me erst,
O Hrothgar the lief, unto Hygelac send thou;
By that gold then shall wot, the lord of the Geat-folk,
Shall Hrethel's son see, when he stares on the treasure,
That I in fair man-deeds, a good one have found me,
A ring-giver; while I might, joy made I thereof.
And let thou then Unferth, the ancient loom have,
The wave-sword adorned, that man kenned widely,
The blade of hard edges; for I now with Hrunting,
Will work me the glory, or else shall death get me.
So after these words, the Weder-Geats' chieftain,
With might of heart hasten'd; nor for answer then would he,
Aught tarry; the sea-welter, straightway took hold on,
The warrior of men: wore the while of a daytide,
Or ever the ground-plain, might he set eyes on.
Soon did she find, she who the flood-ring,
Sword-ravening had held, for an hundred of seasons,
Greedy and grim, that there one man of grooms,
The abode of the alien-wights, sought from above;
Then toward him she grasp'd, and gat hold on the warrior,
With fell clutch, but no sooner, she scathed withinward,
The hale body; rings, from without-ward it warded,
That she could in no wise, the war-skin clutch through,
The fast locked limb-sark, with fingers all loathly.
So bare then that sea-wolf, when she came unto bottom,
The king of the rings, to the court-hall adown,
In such wise that he might not, though hard-moody was he,
Be wielding of weapons. But a many of wonders,
In sea-swimming swink'd him, and many a sea-deer,
With his war-tusks was breaking, his sark of the battle;
The fell wights him follow'd. 'Twas then the earl found it,
That in foe-hall there was he, I wot not of which,
Where never the water, might scathe him a whit,
Nor because of the roof-hall, might reach to him there,
The fear-grip of the flood. Now fire-light he saw,
The bleak beam forsooth, all brightly a-shining.
Then the good one, he saw, the wolf of the ground,
The mere-wife the mighty, and main onset made he,
With his battle-bill; never, his hand withheld sword-swing,
So that there on her head sang, the ring-sword forsooth,
The song of war greedy. But then found the guest,
That the beam of the battle, would bite not therewith,
Or scathe life at all, but there failed the edge,
The king in his need. It had ere thol'd a many,
Of meetings of hand; oft it sheared the helm,
The host-rail of the fey one; and then was the first time,
For that treasure dear lov'd, that its might lay a-low.
But therewithal steadfast, naught sluggish of valour,
All mindful of high deeds, was Hygelac's kinsman.
Cast then the wounden blade, bound with the gem-stones,
The warrior all angry, that it lay on the earth there,
Stiff-wrought and steel-edged. In strength now he trusted,
The hard hand-grip of might and main; so shall a man do,
When he in the war-tide, yet looketh to winning,
The praise that is longsome, nor aught for life careth.
Then fast by the shoulder, of the feud nothing recking,
The lord of the War-Geats, clutch'd Grendel's mother,
Cast down the battle-hard, bollen with anger,
That foe of the life, till she bow'd to the floor;
But swiftly to him gave, she back the hand-guerdon,
With hand-graspings grim, and griped against him;
Then mood-weary stumbled, the strongest of warriors,
The foot-kemp, until that, adown there he fell.
Then she sat on the hall-guest, and tugg'd out her sax,
The broad and brown-edged, to wreak her her son,
Her offspring her own. But lay yet on his shoulder,
The breast-net well braided, the berg of his life,
That 'gainst point and 'gainst edge, the entrance withstood.
Gone amiss then forsooth, had been Ecgtheow's son,
Underneath the wide ground there, the kemp of the Geats,
Save to him his war-byrny, had fram'd him a help,
The hard host-net; and save that the Lord God the Holy,
Had wielded the war-gain, the Lord the All-wise;
Save that the skies' Ruler, had rightwisely doom'd it,
All easily. Sithence, he stood up again.
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XXIV. BEOWULF SLAYETH GRENDEL'S DAM, SMITETH OFF GRENDEL?S HEAD, AND COMETH BACK WITH HIS THANES TO HART.
Midst the war-gear he saw then, a bill victory-wealthy,
An old sword of eotens, full doughty of edges,
The worship of warriors. That was choice of all weapons,
Save that more was it made, than any man other,
In the battle-play ever, might bear it afield,
So goodly, all glorious, the work of the giants.
Then the girdled hilt seiz'd he, the Wolf of the Scyldings,
The rough and the sword-grim, and drew forth the ring-sword,
Naught weening of life, and wrathful he smote then,
So that there on her halse, the hard edge begripped,
And brake through the bone-rings: the bill all through-waded,
Her flesh-sheathing fey; cring'd she down on the floor;
The sword was war-sweaty, the man in his work joy'd.
The bright beam shone forth, the light stood withinward,
E'en as down from the heavens', clear high aloft shineth,
The sky's candle. He, all along the house scanned;
Then turn'd by the wall along, heav'd up his weapon,
Hard by the hilts, the Hygelac's thane there,
Ireful one-reded; naught worthless the edge was,
Unto the warrior; but rathely now would he,
To Grendel make payment, of many war-onsets,
Of them that he wrought on, the folk of the West Danes,
Oftener by mickle, than one time alone,
Whenas he the hearthfellows, of Hrothgar the King,
Slew in their slumber, and fretted them sleeping,
Men fifteen to wit of, the folk of the Danes,
And e'en such another, deal ferry'd off outward,
Loathly prey. Now he paid, him his guerdon therefor,
The fierce champion; so well, that abed there he saw,
Where Grendel war-weary, was lying adown,
Forlorn of his life, as him ere had scathed,
The battle at Hart; sprang wide the body,
Sithence after death, he suffer'd the stroke,
The hard swing of sword. Then he smote the head off him.
Now soon were they seeing, those sage of the carles,
E'en they who with Hrothgar, gaz'd down on the holm,
That the surge of the billows, was blended about,
The sea stain'd with blood. Therewith the hoar-blended,
The old men, of the good one, gat talking together,
That they of the Atheling, ween'd never eft-soon,
That he, glad in his war-gain, should wend him a-seeking,
The mighty king, since, unto many it seemed,
That him the mere-she-wolf, had sunder'd and broken.
Came then nones of the day, and the ness there they gave up,
The Scyldings the brisk; and then busk'd him home thence-ward,
The gold-friend of men. But the guests, there they sat,
All sick of their mood, and star'd on the mere;
They wist not, they ween'd not, if him their own friend-lord,
Himself they should see.
Now that sword began,
Because of the war-sweat, into icicles war-made,
The war-bill, wane: that was one of the wonders,
That it melted away, most like unto ice,
When the bond of the frost, the Father lets loosen,
Unwindeth the wave-ropes, e'en he that hath wielding,
Of times and of seasons, who is the sooth Shaper.
In those wicks there he took not, the Weder-Geats' champion,
Of treasure-wealth more, though he saw there a many,
Than the off-smitten head, and the sword-hilts together,
With treasure made shifting; for the sword-blade was molten,
The sword broider'd was burn'd up, so hot was that blood,
So poisonous the alien ghost, there that had died.
Now soon was a-swimming he who, erst in the strife bode,
The war-onset of wrath ones; he div'd up through the water;
And now were the wave-welters, cleansed full well,
Yea the dwellings full wide, where the ghost of elsewhither,
Let go of his life-days, and the waning of living.
Came then unto land, the helm of the ship-lads,
Swimming stout-hearted, glad of his sea-spoil,
The burden so mighty of, that which he bore there.
Yode then against him, and gave thanks to God,
That fair heap of thanes, and were fain of their lord,
For that hale and sound now, they might see him with eyen;
Then was from the bold one, the helm and the byrny,
All speedily loosen'd. The lake now was laid,
The water 'neath welkin, with war-gore bestained.
Forth then they far'd them, alongst of the foot-tracks,
Men fain of heart all, as they meted the earth-way,
The street the well known; then those king-bold of men,
Away from the holm-cliff, the head there they bore,
Uneasily ever, to each one that bore it,
The full stout-heart of men: it was four of them needs must,
On the stake of the slaughter, with strong toil there ferry,
Unto the gold-hall, the head of that Grendel;
Until forthright in haste, came into that hall,
Fierce, keen in the hosting, a fourteen of men,
Of the Geat-folk a-ganging; and with them their lord,
The moody amidst of the throng, trod the mead-plains;
Came then in a-wending, the foreman of thanes,
The man keen of his deeds, all beworshipp'd of doom,
The hero, the battle-deer, Hrothgar to greet.
Then was by the fell borne, in onto the floor,
Grendel's head, whereas men were, a-drinking in hall,
Aweful before the earls, yea and the woman.
The sight wondrous to see, the warriors there look'd on.
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XXV. CONVERSE OF HROTHGAR WITH BEOWULF.
Spake out then Beowulf, Ecgtheow's bairn:
What! we the sea-spoils here to thee, son of Healfdene,
High lord of the Scyldings, with lust have brought hither,
For a token of glory, e'en these thou beholdest.
Now I all unsoftly, with life I escaped,
In war under the water, dar'd I the work,
Full hard to be worked, and well-nigh there was,
The sundering of strife, save that me God had shielded.
So it is that in battle, naught might I with Hrunting,
One whit do the work, though the weapon be doughty;
But to me then he granted, the Wielder of men,
That on wall I beheld there, all beauteous hanging,
An ancient sword, might-endow'd, (often he leadeth right,
The friendless of men); so forth, drew I that weapon.
In that onset I slew there, as hap then appaid me,
The herd of the house; then that bill of the host,
The broider'd sword, burn'd up, and that blood sprang forth,
The hottest of battle-sweats; but the hilts thereof thenceforth,
From the foemen I ferry'd. I wreaked the foul deeds,
The death-quelling of Danes, e'en as duly behoved.
Now this I behote thee, that here in Hart mayst thou,
Sleep sorrowless henceforth, with the host of thy men,
And the thanes every one, that are of thy people,
Of doughty and young; that for them need thou dread not,
O high lord of Scyldings, on that behalf soothly,
Life-bale for the earls, as erst thou hast done.
Then was the hilt golden, to the ancient of warriors,
The hoary of host-leaders, into hand given,
The old work of giants; it turn'd to the owning,
After fall of the Devils, of the lord of the Danes,
That work of the wonder-smith, syth gave up the world,
The fierce-hearted groom, the foeman of God,
The murder-beguilted, and there eke his mother;
Unto the wielding, of world-kings it turned,
The best that there be, betwixt of the sea-floods,
Of them that in Scaney, dealt out the scat.
Now spake out Hrothgar, as he look'd on the hilts there,
The old heir-loom whereon, was writ the beginning,
Of the strife of the old time, whenas the flood slew,
The ocean a-gushing, that kin of the giants,
As fiercely they fared. That was a folk alien,
To the Lord everlasting; so to them a last guerdon,
Through the welling of waters, the Wielder did give.
So was on the sword-guards, all of the sheer gold,
By dint of the rune-staves, rightly bemarked,
Set down and said for whom, first was that sword wrought,
And the choice of all irons, erst had been done,
Wreath-hilted and worm-adorn'd. Then spake the wise one,
Healfdene's son, and all were gone silent:
Lo that may he say, who the right and the soothfast,
Amid the folk frameth, and far back all remembers,
The old country's warden, that as for this earl here,
Born better was he. Uprear'd is the fame-blast,
Through wide ways far yonder, O Beowulf, friend mine,
Of thee o'er all peoples. Thou hold'st all with patience,
Thy might with mood-wisdom; I shall make thee my love good,
As we twain at first spake it. For a comfort thou shalt be,
Granted long while and long, unto thy people,
For a help unto heroes. Naught such became Heremod,
To Ecgwela's offspring, the honourful Scyldings;
For their welfare naught wax'd he, but for felling in slaughter,
For the quelling of death, to the folk of the Danes.
Mood-swollen he brake there, his board-fellows soothly,
His shoulder-friends, until he sunder'd him lonely,
That mighty of princes, from the mirth of all men-folk.
Though him God the mighty, in the joyance of might,
In main strength, exalted high over all-men,
And framed him forth, yet fast in his heart grew,
A breast-hoard blood-fierce; none of fair rings he gave,
To the Danes as due doom would. Unmerry he dured,
So that yet of that strife, the trouble he suffer'd.
A folk-bale so longsome. By such do thou learn thee,
Get thee hold of man-valour: this tale for thy teaching,
Old in winters I tell thee. 'Tis wonder to say it,
How the high God almighty, to the kindred of mankind,
Through his mind the wide-fashion'd, deals wisdom about,
Home and earlship; he owneth, the wielding of all.
At whiles unto love, he letteth to turn,
The mood-thought of a man, that Is mighty of kindred,
And in his land giveth, him joyance of earth,
And to have and to hold, the high ward-burg of men,
And sets so 'neath his wielding, the deals of the world,
Dominion wide reaching, that he himself may not,
In all his unwisdom of, the ending bethink him.
He wonneth well-faring, nothing him wasteth,
Sickness nor eld, nor the foe-sorrow to him,
Dark in mind waxeth, nor strife any where,
The edge-hate, appeareth; but all the world for him,
Wends as he willeth, and the worse naught he wotteth.
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XXVI. MORE CONVERSE OF HROTHGAR AND BEOWULF: THE GEATS MAKE THEM READY FOR DEPARTURE.
Until that within him, a deal of o'erthink-ing,
Waxeth and groweth, while sleepeth the warder,
The soul's herdsman; that slumber too fast is forsooth,
Fast bounden by troubles, the banesman all nigh,
E'en he that from arrow-bow, evilly shooteth.
Then he in his heart, under helm is besmitten,
With a bitter shaft; not a whit, then may he ward him,
From the wry wonder-biddings, of the ghost the all-wicked.
Too little he deems that, which long he hath hold.
Wrath-greedy he covets; nor e'en for boast-sake gives,
The rings fair beplated; and the forth-coming doom,
Forgetteth, forheedeth, for that God gave him erewhile,
The Wielder of glory, a deal of the worship.
At the ending-stave then, it after befalleth,
That the shell of his body, sinks fleeting away,
And falleth all fey; and another one fetcheth,
E'en one that undolefully, dealeth the treasure,
The earl's gains of aforetime, and fear never heedeth.
From the bale-envy ward thee, lief Beowulf, therefore,
Thou best of all men, and choose thee the better,
The redes everlasting; to o'erthinkirig turn not,
O mighty of champions! for now thy might breatheth,
For a short while of time; but eft-soon it shall be,
That sickness or edges, from thy strength thee shall sunder,
Or the hold of the fire, or the welling of floods,
Or the grip of the sword-blade, or flight of the spear,
Or eld the all-evil: or the beaming of eyen,
Shall fail and shall dim: then shall it be forthright,
That thee, lordly man, the death over-masters.
E'en so I the Ring-Danes, for an hundred of seasons,
Did wield under the welkin, and lock'd them by war,
From many a kindred, the Middle-Garth over,
With ash-spears and edges, in such wise that not ever,
Under the sky's run of, my foemen I reckoned.
What! to me in my land came, a shifting of that,
Came grief after game, sithence Grendel befell,
My foeman of old, mine ingoer soothly.
I from that onfall, bore ever unceasing,
Mickle mood-care; herefor be thanks to the Maker,
To the Lord everlasting, that in life I abided,
Yea, that I on that head, all sword-gory there,
Now the old strife is over, with eyen should stare.
Go fare thou to settle, the feast-joyance dree thou,
O war-worshipp'd! unto us, twain yet there will be,
Mickle treasure in common, when come is the morning.
Glad of mood then the Geat was, and speedy he gat him,
To go see the settle, as the sage one commanded.
Then was after as erst, that they of the might-fame,
The floor-sitters, fairly, the feasting bedight them,
All newly. The helm, of the night loured over,
Dark over the host-men. Uprose all the doughty,
For he, the hoar-blended, would wend to his bed,
That old man of the Scyldings. The Geat without measure,
The mighty shield-warrior, now willed him rest.
And soon now the hall-thane him, of way-faring weary,
From far away come, forth show'd him the road,
E'en he who for courtesy, cared for all things,
Of the needs of the thane, e'en such as on that day,
The farers o'er ocean, would fainly have had.
Rested then the wide-hearted; high up the house tower'd,
Wide-gaping all gold-dight; within slept the guest;
Until the black raven, the blithe-hearted, boded,
The heavens' joy: then was, come thither a-hastening,
The bright sun o'er the plains, and hastened the scathers,
The athelings once more, aback to their people,
All fain to be faring; and far away thence,
Would the comer high-hearted, go visit his keel.
Bade then the hard, one Hrunting to bear,
The Ecglaf's son bade, to take him his sword,
The iron well-lov'd; gave him thanks for the lending,
Quoth he that the war-friend, for worthy he told,
Full of craft in the war; nor with word he aught,
The edge of the sword. Hah! the high-hearted warrior.
So whenas all way-forward, yare in their war-gear,
Were the warriors, the dear one, then went to the Danes,
To the high seat went the Atheling, whereas was the other;
The battle-bold warrior, gave greeting to Hrothgar.
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XXVII. BEOWULF BIDS HROTHGAR FAREWELL: THE GEATS FARE TO SHIP.
Out then spake Beowulf, Ecgtheow's bairn:
As now we sea-farers, have will to be saying,
We from afar come, that now are we fainest,
Of seeking to Hygelac. Here well erst were we,
Serv'd as our wills would, and well thine avail was.
If I on the earth then, be it e'en but a little,
Of the love of thy mood may yet, more be an-earning,
O lord of the men-folk, than heretofore might I,
Of the works of the battle yare, then soon shall I be.
If I should be learning, I over the flood's run,
That the sitters about thee, beset thee with dread,
Even thee hating, as otherwhile did they;
Then thousands to theeward, of thanes shall I bring,
For the helping of heroes. Of Hygelac wot I,
The lord of the Geat-folk, though he be but a youngling,
That shepherd of folk, that me will he further,
By words and by works, that well may I ward thee,
And unto thine helping, the spear-holt may bear,
A main-staying mighty, whenas men thou art needing.
And if therewith Hrethric, in the courts of the Geat-house,
The King's bairn, take hosting, then may he a many,
Of friends find him soothly: far countries shall be,
Better sought to by him, who for himself is doughty.
Out then spake Hrothgar, in answer to himward:
Thy word-saying soothly, the Lord of all wisdom,
Hath sent into thy mind; never heard I more sagely,
In a life that so young was, a man word be laying;
Strong of might and main art thou, and sage of thy mood,
Wise the words of thy framing. Tell I this for a weening,
If it so come to pass that, the spear yet shall take,
Or the battle all sword-grim, the son of that Hrethel,
Or sickness or iron, thine Alderman have,
Thy shepherd of folk, and thou fast to life hold thee,
Then no better than thee may, the Sea-Geats be having,
To choose for themselves, no one of the kings,
Hoard-warden of heroes, if then thou wilt hold,
Thy kinsman's own kingdom. Me liketh thy mood-heart,
The longer the better, O Beowulf the lief;
In such wise hast thou fared, that unto the folks now,
The folk of the Geats, and the Gar-Danes withal,
In common shall peace be, and strife rest appeased,
And the hatreds the doleful, which erst they have dreed;
Shall become, whiles I wield it, this wide realm of ours,
Treasures common to either, folk: many a one other,
With good things shall greet, o'er the bath of the gannet;
And the ring'd bark withal over, sea shall be bringing,
The gifts and love-tokens. The twain folks I know,
Toward foeman toward friend, fast-fashion'd together,
In every way blameless, as in the old wise.
Then the refuge of warriors, he gave him withal,
Gave Healfdene's son, of treasures yet twelve;
And he bade him with those gifts, to go his own people,
To seek in all soundness, and swiftly come back.
Then kissed the king, he of noble kin gotten,
The lord of the Scyldings, that best of the thanes,
By the halse then he took him; from him fell the tears,
From the blended of hoar hair. Of both things was there hoping,
To the old, the old wise one; yet most of the other,
To wit, that they sithence, each each might be seeing,
The high-heart in council. To him so lief was he,
That he his breast-welling, might nowise forbear,
But there in his bosom, bound fast in his heart-bonds,
After that dear man, a longing dim-hidden,
Burn'd against blood-tie. So Beowulf thenceforth,
The gold-proud of warriors, trod the mould grassy,
Exulting in gold-store. The sea-ganger bided,
Its owning-lord whereas, at anchor it rode.
Then was there in going, the gift of King Hrothgar,
Oft highly accounted; yea, that was a king,
In every wise blameless, till eld, took from him eftsoon,
The joyance of might, as it oft scathes a many.
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XXVIII. BEOWULF COMES BACK TO HIS LAND. OF THE TALE OF THRYTHO.
Came a many to flood then, all mighty of mood,
Of the bachelors were they, and ring-nets they bore,
The limb-sarks belocked. The land-warden noted,
The earls' aback-faring, as erst he beheld them;
Then nowise with harm from, the nose of the cliff,
The guests there he greeted, but rode unto themward,
And quoth that full welcome, to the folk of the Weders,
The bright-coated warriors, were wending to ship.
Then was on the sand there, the bark the wide-sided,
With war-weed beladen, the ring-stemm'd as she lay there,
With mares and with treasure; uptower'd the mast,
High over Hrothgar's, wealth of the hoards.
He then to the boat-warden, handsel'd a gold-bounden,
Sword, so that sithence, was he on mead-bench,
Worthy'd the more, for that very same wealth,
The heirloom. Sithence, in the ship he departed,
To stir the deep water; the Dane-land he left.
Then was by the mast there, one of the sea-rails,
A sail, with rope made fast; thunder'd the sound-wood.
Not there the wave-floater, did the wind o'er the billows,
Waft off from its ways; the sea-wender fared,
Floated the foamy-neck'd, forth o'er the waves,
The bounden-stemm'd over, the streams of the sea;
Till the cliffs of the Geats there, they gat them to wit,
The nesses well kenned. Throng'd up the keel then,
Driven hard by the lift, and stood on the land.
Then speedy at holm, was the hythe-warden yare,
E'en he who a long while, after the lief men,
Eager at stream's side, far off had looked.
To the sand thereon bound he, the wide-fathom'd ship,
With anchor-bands fast, lest from them the waves' might,
The wood that was winsome, should drive thence awayward.
Thereon bade he upbear, the athelings' treasures,
The fretwork and wrought gold. Not far from them thenceforth,
To seek to the giver, of treasures it was,
E'en Hygelac,& Hrethel's son, where at home wonneth,
Himself and his fellows, hard by the sea-wall.
Brave was the builded house, bold king the lord was,
High were the walls, Hygd very young,
Wise and well-thriven, though few of winters,
Under the burg-locks, had she abided,
The daughter of H'th; naught was she dastard;
Nowise niggard of gifts, to the folk of the Geats,
Of wealth of the treasures. But wrath Thrytho bore,
The folk-queen the fierce, wrought the crime-deed full fearful.
No one there durst it, the bold one, to dare,
Of the comrades beloved, save only her lord,
That on her by day, with eyen he stare,
But if to him death-bonds, predestin'd he count on,
Hand-wreathed; thereafter, all rathely it was,
After the hand-grip, the sword-blade appointed,
That the cunning-wrought sword, should show forth the deed,
Make known the murder-bale. Naught is such queenlike,
For a woman to handle, though peerless she be,
That a weaver of peace, the life should waylay,
For a shame that was lying, of a lief man of men;
But the kinsman of Hemming, he hinder'd it surely.
Yet the drinkers of ale, otherwise said they;
That folk-bales, which were lesser, she framed forsooth,
Lesser enmity-malice, since thence erst she was,
Given gold-deck'd to, the young one of champions,
She the dear of her lineage, since Offa's floor,
Over the fallow flood, by the lore of her father,
She sought in her wayfaring. Well was she sithence,
There on the man-throne, mighty with good;
Her shaping of life, well brooked she living;
High love she held, toward the lord of the heroes;
Of all kindred of men, by the hearsay of me,
The best of all was he, the twain seas beside,
Of the measureless kindred; thereof Offa was,
For gifts and for war, the spear-keen of men,
Full widely beworthy'd, with wisdom he held,
The land of his heritage. Thence awoke Eom'
For a help unto heroes, the kinsman of Hemming,
The grandson of Garmund, the crafty in war-strife.
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XXIX. BEOWULF TELLS HYGELAC OF HROTHGAR: ALSO OF FREAWARU HIS DAUGHTER.
Went his ways then the hard one, and he with his hand-shoal,
Himself over the sand, the sea-plain a-treading,
The warths wide away; shone the world's candle,
The sun slop'd from the southward; so dreed they their journey,
And went their ways stoutly, unto where the earls' refuge,
The banesman of Ongentheow, all in his burgs there,
The young king of war, the good, as they heard it.
Was dealing the rings. Aright unto Hygelac,
Was Beowulf's speeding, made knowen full swiftly,
That there into the house-place, that hedge of the warriors,
His mate of the linden-board, living was come,
Hale from the battle-play, home to him houseward.
Then rathe was beroomed, as the rich one was bidding,
For the guests a-foot going, the floor all withinward.
Then sat in the face of him, he from the fight sav'd,
Kinsman by kinsman, whenas his man-lord,
In fair-sounding speech, had greeted the faithful,
With mightyful words. With mead-skinking turned,
Through the high house adown, the daughter of H'th:
The people she loved: the wine-bucket bare she,
To the hands of the men. But now fell to Hygelac,
His very house-fellow, in that hall the high,
To question full fairly, for wit-lust to-brake him,
Of what like were the journeys, the Sea-Geats had wended:
How befell you the sea-lode, O Beowulf lief,
When thou on a sudden, bethoughtst thee afar,
Over the salt water, the strife to be seeking,
The battle in Hart? or for Hrothgar forsooth,
The wide-kenned woe, some whit didst thou mend,
For that mighty of lords? I therefore the mood-care,
In woe-wellings seethed; trow'd not in the wending,
Of thee the lief man. A long while did I pray thee,
That thou the death-guest there, should greet not a whit;
Wouldst let those same South-Danes, their own selves to settle,
The war-tide with Grendel. Now to God say I thank,
That thee, and thee sound, now may I see.
Out then spake Beowulf, Ecgtheow's bairn:
All undark it is, O Hygelac lord,
That meeting the mighty, to a many of men;
Of what like was the meeting, of Grendel and me,
On that field of the deed, where he many a deal,
For the Victory-Scyldings, of sorrow had framed,
And misery for ever; but all that I awreaked,
So that needeth not boast any, kinsman of Grendel,
Any one upon earth of, that uproar of dawn-dusk,
Nay not who lives longest, of that kindred the loathly,
Encompass'd of fenland. Thither first did I come,
Unto that ring-hall, Hrothgar to greet;
Soon unto me, the great Healfdene's son,
So soon as my heart, he was wotting forsooth.
Right against his own son, a settle there showed.
All that throng was in joy, nor life-long saw I ever,
Under vault of the heavens, amidst any hall-sitters,
More mirth of the mead. There the mighty Queen whiles,
Peace-sib of the folk, went all over the floor,
To the young sons bade heart up; oft she there the ring-wreath,
Gave unto a man ere, to settle she wended.
At whiles fore the doughty, the daughter of Hrothgar,
To the earls at the end, the ale-bucket bore;
E'en she whom Freawaru, the floor-sitters thereat,
Heard I to name; where, she the nail'd treasure,
Gave to the warriors. She was behight then,
Youngling and gold-dight, to the glad son of Froda.
This hath seemed fair to the, friend of the Scyldings,
The herd of the realm, and good rede he accounts it,
That he with that wife, of death-feuds a deal,
And of strifes should allay. Oft unseldom eachwhere,
After a lord's fall, e'en but for a little,
Bows down the bane-spear, though doughty the bride be.
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XXX. BEOWULF FOREBODES ILL FROM THE WEDDING OF FREAWARU: HE TELLS OF GRENDEL AND HIS DAM.
Ill-liking this may be, to the lord of the Heathobards,
And to each of the thanes, of that same people.
When he with fair bride on, the floor of hall wendeth,
That the Dane's noble bairn, his doughty should wait on,
As on him glisten there, the heirlooms of the aged,
Hard and with rings bedight, Heathobards' treasure,
Whileas the weapons, yet they might wield;
Till astray did they lead, there at the lind-play,
Their own fellows belov'd, and their very own lives.
For then saith at the beer, he who seeth the ring,
An ancient ash-warrior, who mindeth of all,
The spear-death of men; grim is he of mind;
Sad of mood he beginneth, to tell the young champion.
Through the thought of his, heart his mind there to try,
The war-bale to waken, and sayeth this word:
Mayest thou, friend mine, wot of the war-sword,
That which thy father, bore in the fight,
Under the war-mask, e'en on the last time,
That the dear iron, whereas the Danes slew him,
Wielded the death-field, since Withergyld lay,
After fall of the heroes, the keen-hearted Scyldings?,
Now here of those banesmen, the son, whoseso he be,
All merry in fretwork, forth on floor fareth;
Of the murder he boasteth, and that jewel he beareth,
E'en that which of right, thou shouldest arede.
Thus he mindeth and maketh, word every of times,
With sore words he telleth, until the time cometh,
That the thane of the fair bride, for the deeds of his father,
After bite of the bill, sleepeth all blood-stain'd,
All forfeit of life; but thenceforth the other,
Escapeth alive; the land well he kenneth;
Then will be broken, on both sides forsooth,
The oath-swearing of earls, whenas unto Ingeld,
Well up the death-hatreds, and the wife-loves of him,
Because of the care-wellings, cooler become.
Therefore the Heathobards', faith I account not,
Their deal of the folk-peace, unguileful to Danes,
Their fast-bounden friendship. Henceforth must I speak on,
Again about Grendel, that thou get well to know it,
O treasure-out-dealer, how sithence betided,
The hand-race of heroes: sithence heaven's gem,
All over the grounds glided, came the wroth guest,
The dire night-angry one, us to go look on,
Whereas we all sound, were warding the hall.
There then for Handshoe, was battle abiding,
Life-bale to the fey; he first lay alow,
The war-champion girded; unto him became Grendel,
To the great thane of kindreds, a banesman of mouth,
Of the man well-beloved, the body he swallow'd;
Nor the sooner therefor, out empty-handed,
The bloody-tooth'd banesman, of bales all bemindful,
Out from that gold-hall, yet would he get him;
But he, mighty of main, made trial of me,
And gripp'd ready-handed. His glove hung aloft,
Wondrous and wide, in wily bands fast,
With cunning wiles, was it begeared forsooth,
With crafts of the devils, and fells of the dragons;
He me withinwards there, me the unsinning,
The doer of big deeds, would do me to be,
As one of the many; but naught so it might be,
Sithence in mine anger, upright I stood.
'Tis over-long telling how, I to the folkscather,
For each one of evils, out paid the hand-gild.
There I, O my lord king, them thy leal people,
Worthy'd with works: but away he gat loosed,
Out thence for a little while, brooked yet life-joys;
But his right hand held ward, of his track howsoever,
High upon Hart-hall, and thence away humble,
He sad of his mood, to the mere-ground fell downward.
Me for that slaughter-race, the friend of the Scyldings,
With gold that beplated, was mickle deal paid,
With a many of treasures, sithence came the morning,
And we to the feast-tide, had sat us adown;
Song was and glee there; the elder of Scyldings,
Asking of many things, told of things o'erpast;
Whiles hath the battle-deer, there the harp's joy,
The wood of mirth greeted; whiles the lay said he,
Soothfast and sorrowful; whiles a spell seldom told,
Told he by right, the king roomy-hearted;
Whiles began afterward, he by eld bounden,
The aged hoar warrior, of his youth to bewail him,
Its might of the battle; his breast well'd within him,
When he, wont in winters, of many now minded.
So we there withinward, the livelong day's wearing,
Took pleasure amongst us, till came upon men,
Another of nights; then eftsoons again,
Was yare for the harm-wreak, the mother of Grendel:
All sorry she wended, for her son death had taken,
The war-hate of the Weders: that monster of women,
Awreaked her bairn, and quelled a warrior,
In manner all mighty. Then was there from Aeschere,
The wise man of old, life waning away;
Nor him might they even, when come was the morning,
That death-weary wight, the folk of the Danes,
Burn up with the brand, nor lade on the bale,
The man well-belov'd, for his body she bare off,
In her fathom the fiendly, all under the fell-stream.
That was unto Hrothgar, of sorrows the heaviest,
Of them which the folk-chieftain, long had befallen.
Then me did the lord king, and e'en by thy life,
Mood-heavy beseech me, that I in the holm-throng,
Should do after earlship, my life to adventure,
And frame me main-greatness, and meed he behight me.
Then I of the welling flood, which is well kenned,
The grim and the grisly, ground-herder did find.
There to us for a while, was the blending of hands;
The holm welled with gore, and the head I becarved,
In that hall of the ground, from the Mother of Grendel,
With the all-eked edges; unsoftly out thence,
My life forth I ferry'd, for not yet was I fey.
But the earls' burg to me, was giving thereafter,
Much sort of the treasures, e'en Healfdene's son.
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XXXI. BEOWULF GIVES HROTHGAR?S GIFTS TO HYGELAC, OF THE DEATH OF HYGELAC AND OF HEARDRED HIS SON, AND HOW BEOWULF IS KING OF THE GEATS: THE WORM IS FIRST TOLD OF.
So therewith the folk-king far'd, living full seemly;
By those wages forsooth, ne'er a whit had I lost,
By the meed of my main, but to me treasure gave he,
The Healfdene's son, to the doom of myself;
Which to thee, king of bold ones, will I be a-bringing,
And gladly will give thee; for of thee is all gotten,
Of favours along, and but little have I,
Of head-kinsmen forsooth, saving, Hygelac, thee.
Then he bade them bear, in the boar-shape, the head-sign,
The battle-steep war-helm, the byrny all hoary,
The sword stately-good, and spell after he said:
This raiment of war, Hrothgar gave to my hand,
The wise of the kings, and therewithal bade me,
That I first of all, of his favour should flit thee;
He quoth that first, had it King Heorogar of old,
The king of the Scyldings, a long while of time;
But no sooner would he give, it unto his son,
Heoroward the well-whet, though kind to him were he,
This weed of the breast. Do thou brook it full well.
On these fretworks, so heard I, four horses therewith,
All alike, close, followed after the track,
Steeds apple-fallow. Fair grace he gave him,
Of horses and treasures. E'en thus shall do kinsman,
And nowise a wile-net, shall weave for another,
With craft of the darkness, or do unto death,
His very hand-fellow. But now unto Hygelac,
The bold in the battle was, his nephew full faithful,
And either to other, of good deeds was mindful.
I heard that the neck-ring, to Hygd did he give,
E'en the wonder-gem well-wrought, that Wealh-theow gave him,
The king's daughter; gave he three steeds therewithal,
Slender, and saddle-bright; sithence to her was,
After the ring-gift, the breast well beworthy'd.
Thus boldly he bore him, the Ecgtheow's bairn,
The groom kenned in battle, in good deeds a-doing;
After due doom he did, and ne'er slew he the drunken,
Hearth-fellows of him: naught rough was his heart;
But of all men of mankind, with the greatest of might,
The gift fully and fast set, which had God to him given,
That war-deer did hold. Long was he contemned,
While the bairns of the Geats, naught told him for good,
Nor him on the mead-bench, worthy of mickle,
The lord of the war-hosts, would be a-making.
Weened they strongly, that he were but slack then,
An atheling unkeen; then came about change,
To the fame-happy man, for every foul harm.
Bade then the earls' burg, in to be bringing,
The king battle-famed, the leaving of Hrethel,
All geared with gold; was not 'mid the Geats then,
A treasure-gem better, of them of the sword-kind,
That which then on Beowulf's, harm there he laid;
And gave to him there, seven thousand in gift,
A built house and king-stool; to both them together,
Was in that folkship, land that was kindly,
Father-right, home; to the other one rather,
A wide realm, to him, who was there the better.
But thereafter it went, so in days later worn,
Through the din of the battle, sithence Hygelac lay low,
And unto Heardred, swords of the battle,
Under the war-board, were for a bane;
When fell on him midst, of this victory-folk,
The hard battle-wolves, the Scyldings of war,
And by war overwhelmed, the nephew of Hereric;
That sithence unto Beowulf, turned the broad realm,
All into his hand. Well then did he hold it,
For a fifty of winters; then was he an old king,
An old fatherland's warder; until one began,
Through the dark of the night-tide, a drake, to hold sway.
In a howe high aloft, watched over an hoard,
A stone-burg full steep; thereunder a path sty'd,
Unknown unto men, and therewithin wended,
Who of men do I know not; for his lust there took he,
From the hoard of the heathen, his hand took away,
A hall-bowl gem-flecked, nowise back did he give it,
Though the herd of the hoard, him sleeping beguil'd he,
With thief-craft; and this, then found out the king,
The best of folk-heroes, that wrath-bollen was he.
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XXXII. HOW THE WORM CAME TO THE HOWE, AND HOW HE WAS ROBBED OF A CUP; AND HOW HE FELL ON THE FOLK.
Not at all with self-wielding, the craft of the worm-hoards,
He sought of his own will, who sore himself harmed;
But for threat of oppression, a thrall, of I wot not,
Which bairn of mankind, from blows wrathful fled,
House-needy forsooth, and hied him therein,
A man by guilt troubled. Then soon it betided,
That therein to the guest, there stood grisly terror;
However the wretched, of every hope waning,
The ill-shapen wight, whenas the fear gat him,
The treasure-vat saw; of such there was a many,
Up in that earth-house, of treasures of old,
As them in the yore-days, though what man I know not,
The huge leavings and loom, of a kindred of high ones,
Well thinking of thoughts, there had hidden away.
Dear treasures. But all them, had death borne away,
In the times of erewhile; and the one at the last,
Of the doughty of that folk, that there longest lived,
There waxed he friend-sad, yet ween'd he to tarry,
That he for a little, those treasures the longsome,
Might brook for himself. But a burg now all ready,
Wonn'd on the plain nigh, the waves of the water,
New by a ness, by narrow-crafts fasten'd;
Within there then bare, of the treasures of earls,
That herd of the rings, a deal hard to carry,
Of gold fair beplated, and few words he quoth:
Hold thou, O earth, now, since heroes may hold not,
The owning of earls. What! it erst within thee,
Good men did get to them; now war-death hath gotten,
Life-bale the fearful, each man and every,
Of my folk; e'en of them, who forwent the life:
The hall-joy had they seen. No man to wear sword,
I own, none to brighten, the beaker beplated,
The dear drink-vat; the doughty, have sought to else-whither.
Now shall the hard war-helm, bedight with the gold,
Be bereft of its plating; its polishers sleep,
They that the battle-mask, erewhile should burnish:
Likewise the war-byrny, which abode in the battle,
O'er break of the war-boards, the bite of the irons,
Crumbles after the warrior; nor may the ring'd byrny,
After the war-leader, fare wide afield,
On behalf of the heroes: nor joy of the harp is,
No game of the glee-wood; no goodly hawk now,
Through the hall swingeth; no more the swift horse,
Beateth the burg-stead. Now hath bale-quelling,
A many of life-kin, forth away sent.
Suchwise sad-moody, moaned in sorrow,
One after all, unblithely bemoaning,
By day and by night, till the welling of death,
Touch'd at his heart. The old twilight-scather,
Found the hoard's joyance, standing all open,
E'en he that, burning, seeketh to burgs,
The evil drake, naked, that flieth a night-tide,
With fire encompass'd; of him the earth-dwellers,
Are strongly adrad; wont is he to seek to,
The hoard in the earth, where he the gold heathen,
Winter-old wardeth; nor a whit him it betters.
So then the folk-scather, for three hundred winters,
Held in the earth, a one of hoard-houses,
All-eked of craft, until him there anger'd,
A man in his mood, who bare to his man-lord,
A beaker beplated, and bade him peace-warding,
Of his lord: then was lightly, the hoard searched over,
And the ring-hoard off borne; and the boon it was granted,
To that wretched-wrought man. There then the lord saw,
That work of men foregone, the first time of times.
Then awaken'd the Worm, and anew the strife was;
Along the stone stank he, the stout-hearted found,
The foot-track of the foe; he had stept forth o'er-far,
With dark craft, over-nigh, to the head of the drake.
So may the man unfey, full easily outlive,
The woe and the wrack-journey, he whom the Wielder's,
Own grace is holding. Now sought the hoard-warden,
Eager over the ground; for the groom he would find,
Who unto him sleeping, had wrought out the sore:
Hot and rough-moody oft, he turn'd round the howe,
All on the outward; but never was any man,
On the waste; but however, in war he rejoiced,
In battle-work. Whiles, he turn'd back to his howe,
And sought to his treasure-vat; soon he found this,
That one of the grooms, had proven the gold,
The high treasures; then the hoard-warden abided,
But hardly forsooth, until come was the even,
And all anger-bollen, was then the burg-warden,
And full much would the loath one, with the fire-flame pay back,
For his drink-vat the dear. Then day was departed,
E'en at will to the Worm, and within wall no longer,
Would he bide, but awayward with burning he fared,
All dight with the fire: it was fearful beginning,
To the folk in the land, and all swiftly it fell,
On their giver of treasure, full grievously ended.
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XXXIII. THE WORM BURNS BEOWULF'S HOUSE, AND BEOWULF GETS READY TO GO AGAINST HIM. BEOWULF?S EARLY DEEDS IN BATTLE WITH THE HETWARE TOLD OF.
Began then the guest; to spew forth of gleeds,
The bright dwellings to burn; stood the beam of the burning,
For a mischief to menfolk; now nothing that quick was,
The loathly lift-flier; would leave there forsooth;
The war of the Worm; was wide to be seen there,
The narrowing foe's hatred; anigh and afar,
How he,& the fight-scather, the folk of the Geats,
Hated and harm'd; shot he back to the hoard,
His dark lordly hall, ere yet was the day's while;
The land-dwellers had he; in the light low encompass'd,
With bale and with brand; in his burg yet he trusted,
His war-might and his wall: but his weening bewray'd him.
Then Beowulf was done; to wit of the terror,
Full swiftly forsooth, that the house of himself,
Best of buildings, was molten in wellings of fire,
The gift-stool of the Geats. To the good one was that,
A grief unto heart; of mind-sorrows the greatest.
Weened the wise one, that Him, e'en the Wielder,
The Lord everlasting, against the old rights,
He had bitterly anger'd; the breast boil'd within him,
With dark thoughts, that to him were naught duly wonted.
Now had the fire-drake; the own fastness of folk,
The water-land outward, that ward of the earth,
With gleeds to ground wasted; so therefore the war-king,
The lord of the Weder-folk, learned him vengeance.
Then he bade be work'd for him, that fence of the warriors,
And that all of iron, the lord of the earls,
A war-board all glorious, for wissed he yarely,
That the holt-wood hereto might; help him no whit,
The linden 'gainst fire-flame. Of fleeting days now,
The Atheling exceeding good, end should abide,
The end of the world's life, and the Worm with him also,
Though long he had holden, the weal of the hoard.
Forsooth scorned then, the lord of the rings,
That he that wide-flier with, war-band should seek,
With a wide host; he fear'd not that war for himself,
Nor for himself the Worm's war, accounted one whit,
His might and his valour, for that he erst a many,
Strait-daring of battles, had bided, and liv'd,
Clashings huge of the battle, sithence he of Hrothgar,
He, the man victory-happy, had cleansed the hall,
And in war-tide had gripped, the kindred of Grendel,
The loathly of kindreds; nor was that the least,
Of hand-meetings, wherein, erst was Hygelac slain,
Sithence the Geats' king, in the onrush of battle,
The lord-friend of the folks, down away in the Frieslands,
The offspring of Hrethel, died, drunken of sword-drinks,
All beaten of bill. Thence Beowulf came forth,
By his own craft forsooth, dreed the work of the swimming;
He had on his arm, he all alone, thirty,
Of war-gears, when he, to the holm went adown.
Then nowise the Hetware, needed to joy them,
Over the foot-war, wherein forth against him,
They bore the war-linden: few went back again,
From that wolf of the battle, to wend to their homes.
O'erswam then the waters', round Ecgtheow's son,
Came all wretched and byrd-alone, back to his people,
Whereas offer'd him Hygd, then the kingdom and hoard,
The rings and the king-stool: trowed naught in the child,
That he 'gainst folks outland, the fatherland-seats,
Might can how to hold, now was Hygelac dead:
Yet no sooner therefor, might the poor folk prevail,
To gain from the Atheling, in any of ways,
That he unto Heardred, would be for a lord,
Or eke that that kingdom, henceforward should choose;
Yet him midst of the folk, with friend-lore he held,
All kindly with honour, till older he waxed,
And wielded the Weder-Geats. To him men-waifs thereafter,
Sought from over the sea, the sons they of Ohthere,
For they erst had withstood, the helm of the Scylfings,
E'en him that was best, of the kings of the sea,
Of them that in Swede-realm, dealt out the treasure,
The mighty of princes. Unto him 'twas a life-mark;
To him without food, there was fated the life-wound,
That Hygelac's son, by the swinging of swords;
And him back departed, Ongentheow's bairn,
To go seek to his house, sithence Heardred lay dead,
And let Beowulf hold, the high seat of the king,
And wield there the Geats. Yea, good was that king.
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XXXIV. BEOWULF GOES AGAINST THE WORM. HE TELLS OF HEREBEALD AND HRHCYN.
Of that fall of the folk-king, he minded the payment,
In days that came after: unto Eadgils he was,
A friend to him wretched; with folk he upheld him,
Over the wide sea, that same son of Ohthere,
With warriors and weapons. Sithence had he wreaking,
With cold journeys of care: from the king took he life.
Now each one of hates, thus had he outlived,
And of perilous slaughters, that Ecgtheow's son,
All works that be doughty, until that one day,
When he with the Worm, should wend him to deal.
So twelvesome he set forth, all swollen with anger,
The lord of the Geats, the drake to go look on.
Aright had he learnt then, whence risen the feud was,
The bale-hate against men-folk: to his barm then had come,
The treasure-vat famous, by the hand of the finder;
He was in that troop, of men the thirteenth,
Who the first of that battle, had set upon foot,
The thrall, the sad-minded; in shame must he thenceforth,
Wise the way to the plain; and against his will went he,
Thereunto, where the earth-hall, the one there he wist,
The howe under earth, anigh the holm's welling,
The wave-strife: there was it, now full all within,
With gems and with wires; the monster, the warden,
The yare war-wolf, he held him therein the hoard golden,
The old under the earth: it was no easy cheaping,
To go and to gain, for any of grooms.
Sat then on the ness there, the strife-hardy king,
While farewell he bade, to his fellows of hearth,
The gold-friend of the Geats; sad was gotten his soul,
Wavering, death-minded; weird nigh beyond measure,
Which him old of years gotten, now needs must be greeting,
Must seek his soul's hoard, and asunder must deal,
His life from his body: no long while now was,
The life of the Atheling, in flesh all bewounden.
Now spake out Beowulf, Ecgtheow's bairn:
Many a one in my youth, of war-onsets I outliv'd,
And the whiles of the battle: all that I remember.
Seven winters had I, when the wielder of treasures,
The lord-friend of folk, from my father me took,
Held me and had me, Hrethel the king,
Gave me treasure and feast, and remember'd the friendship.
For life thence I was not, to him a whit loather,
A berne in his burgs than his bairns were, or each one,
Herebeald, or H'cyn, or Hygelac mine.
For the eldest there was, in unseemly wise,
By the mere deed of kinsman, a murder-bed strawen,
Whenas him did H'cyn, from out of his horn-bow,
His lord and his friend, with shaft lay alow:
His mark he miss'd shooting, and shot down his kinsman,
One brother another, with shaft all bebloody'd;
That was fight feeless, by fearful crime sinned,
Soul-weary to heart, yet natheless then had,
The atheling from life, all unwreak'd to be ceasing.
So sad-like it is, for a carle that is aged,
To be biding the while, that his boy shall be riding,
Yet young on the gallows; then a lay should he utter,
A sorrowful song, whenas hangeth his son,
A gain unto ravens, and naught good of avail,
May he, old and exceeding, old, anywise frame.
Ever will he be minded, on every each morning,
Of his son's faring otherwhere; nothing he heedeth,
Of abiding another, withinward his burgs,
An heritage-warder, then whenas the one,
By the very death's need, hath found out the ill.
Sorrow-careful he seeth, within his son's bower,
The waste wine-hall, the resting-place now of the winds,
All bereft of the revel; the riders are sleeping,
The heroes in grave, and no voice of the harp is,
No game in the garths, such as erewhile was gotten.
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XXXV. BEOWULF TELLS OF PAST FEUDS, AND BIDS FAREWELL TO HIS FELLOWS: HE FALLS ON THE WORM, AND THE BATTLE OF THEM BEGINS.
Then to sleeping-stead wendeth he, singeth he sorrow,
2460 The one for the other; o'er-roomy all seem'd him,
The meads and the wick-stead. So the helm of the Weders,
For Herebeald's sake, the sorrow of heart,
All welling yet bore, and in nowise might he,
On the banesman of that life, the feud be a-booting;
Nor ever the sooner, that warrior might hate,
With deeds loathly, though he to him nothing was lief.
He then with the sorrow, wherewith that sore beset him,
Man's joy-tide gave up, and chose him God's light.
To his offspring he left, e'en as wealthy man doeth,
His land and his folk-burgs, when he from life wended.
Then sin was and striving, of Swedes and of Geats,
Over the wide water, war-tide in common,
The hard horde-hate to wit, sithence Hrethel perish'd;
And to them ever were, the Ongentheow's sons,
Doughty and host-whetting, nowise then would friendship,
Hold over the waters; but round about Hreosnaburgh,
The fierce fray of foeman, was oftentimes fram'd.
Kin of friends that mine were, there they awreaked,
The feud and the evil deed, e'en as was famed;
Although he, the other, with his own life he bought it,
A cheaping full hard: unto H'cyn it was,
To the lord of the Geat-folk, a life-fateful war.
Learned I that the morrow one, brother the other,
With the bills' edges wreaked, the death on the banesman,
Whereas Ongentheow, is a-seeking of Eofor:
Glode the war-helm asunder, the aged of Scylfings,
Fell, sword-bleak; e'en so, remember'd the hand,
Feud enough; nor e'en then, did the life-stroke withhold.
I to him for the treasure, which erewhile he gave me,
Repaid it in warring, as was to me granted,
With my light-gleaming sword. To me gave he land,
The hearth and the home-bliss: unto him was no need,
That unto the Gifthas, or unto the Spear-Danes,
Or into the Swede-realm, he needs must go seeking,
A worse wolf of war, for a worth to be cheaping;
For in the host ever, would I be before him,
Alone in the fore-front, and so life-long shall I,
Be a-framing of strife, whileas tholeth the sword,
Which early and late, hath bestead me full often,
Sithence was I by doughtiness, unto Day-raven,
The hand-bane erst waxen, to the champion of Hug-folk;
He nowise the fretwork, to the king of the Frisians,
The breast-worship to wit, might bring any more,
But cringed in battle, that herd of the banner,
The Atheling in might: the edge naught was his bane,
But for him did the war-grip, the heart-wellings of him,
Break, the house of the bones. Now shall the bill's edge,
The hand and hard sword, about the hoard battle.
So word uttered Beowulf, spake out the boast word,
For the last while as now: Many wars dared I,
In the days of my youth, and now will I yet,
The old warder of folk, seek to the feud,
Full gloriously frame, if the scather of foul-deed,
From the hall of the earth, me out shall be seeking.
Greeted he then, each one of the grooms,
The keen wearers of helms, for the last while of whiles,
His own fellows the dear: No sword would I fare with,
No weapon against the Worm, wist I but how,
'Gainst the monster of evil, in otherwise might I,
Uphold me my boast, as erst, did I with Grendel;
But there fire of the war-tide, full hot do I ween me,
And the breath, and the venom; I shall bear on me therefore,
Both the board and the byrny; nor the burg's warden shall I,
Overflee for a foot's-breadth, but unto us twain,
It shall be at the wall as, to us twain Weird willeth,
The Maker of each man. Of mood am I eager;
So that 'gainst that war-flier, from boast I withhold me.
Abide ye upon burg, with your byrnies bewarded,
Ye men in your battle-gear, which may the better,
After the slaughter-race, save us from wounding,
Of the twain of us. Naught, is it yours to take over,
Nor the measure of any man, save alone me,
That he on the monster, should mete out his might,
Or work out the earlship: but I with my main might,
Shall gain me the gold, or else gets me the battle,
The perilous life-bale, e'en me your own lord.
Arose then by war-round, the warrior renowned,
Hard under helm, and the sword-sark he bare,
Under the stone-cliffs: in the strength then he trowed,
Of one man alone; no dastard's way such is.
Then he saw by the wall, (e'en he, who so many,
The good of man-bounties, of battles had out-liv'd,
Of crashes of battle, whenas hosts were blended),
A stone-bow a-standing, and from out thence a stream,
Breaking forth from the burg; was that burn's outwelling,
All hot with the war-fire; and none nigh to the hoard then,
Might ever unburning, any while bide,
Live out through the deep, for the flame of the drake.
Out then from his breast, for as bollen as was he,
Let the Weder-Geats' chief, the words be out faring;
The stout-hearted storm'd, and the stave of him enter'd,
Battle-bright sounding, in under the hoar stone.
Then uproused was hate, and the hoard-warden wotted,
The speech of man's word, and no more while there was,
Friendship to fetch. Then forth came there first,
The breath of the evil beast, out from the stone,
The hot sweat of battle, and dinn'd then the earth.
The warrior beneath the burg, swung up his war-round,
Against that grisly guest, the lord of the Geats;
Then the heart of the ring-bow'd, grew eager therewith,
To seek to the strife. His sword ere had he drawn,
That good lord of the battle, the leaving of old,
The undull of edges: there was unto either,
Of the bale-minded ones, the fear of the other.
All steadfast of mind stood, against his steep shield,
The lord of the friends, when the Worm was a-bowing,
Together all swiftly, in war-gear he bided;
Then boune was the burning one, bow'd in his going,
To the fate of him faring. The shield was well warding,
The life and the lyke, of the mighty lord king,
For a lesser of whiles than, his will would have had it,
If he at that frist on, the first of the day,
Was to wield him, as weird, for him never will'd it,
The high-day of battle. His hand he up braided,
The lord of the Geats, and the grisly-fleck'd smote he,
With the leaving of Ing, in such wise that the edge fail'd,
The brown blade on the bone, and less mightily bit,
Than the king of the nation, had need in that stour,
With troubles beset. But then the burg-warden,
After the war-swing, all wood of his mood,
Cast forth the slaughter-flame, sprung thereon widely,
The battle-gleams: nowise, of victory he boasted,
The gold-friend of the Geats; his war-bill had falter'd,
All naked in war, in such wise as it should not,
The iron exceeding good. Naught was it easy,
For him there, the mighty-great, offspring of Ecgtheow,
That he now that earth-plain, should give up for ever;
But against his will needs must, he dwell in the wick,
Of the otherwhere country; as ever must each man,
Let go of his loan-days. Not long was it thenceforth,
Ere the fell ones of fight, fell together again.
The hoard-warden up-hearten'd him, welled his breast,
With breathing anew. Then narrow need bore he,
Encompass'd with fire, who erst the folk wielded;
Nowise in a heap, his hand-fellows there,
The bairns of the athelings, stood all about him,
In valour of battle; but they to holt bow'd them;
Their dear life they warded; but in one of them welled,
His soul with all sorrow. So sib-ship may never,
Turn aside any whit, to the one that well thinketh.
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XXXVI. WIGLAF SON OF WEOHSTAN GOES TO THE HELP OF BEOWULF: NNLING, BEOWULF?S SWORD, IS BROKEN ON THE WORM.
Wiglaf so hight he, the son of Weohstan,
Lief linden-warrior, and lord of Scylfings,
The kinsman of Aelfhere: and he saw his man-lord,
Under his host-mask, tholing the heat;
He had mind of the honour, that to him gave he erewhile.
The wick-stead the wealthy, of them, the W'undings,
And the folk-rights each one, which his father had owned.
Then he might not withhold him, his hand gripp'd the round,
Yellow linden; he tugg'd out, withal the old sword,
That was known among, men for the heirloom of Eanmund,
Ohthere's son, unto whom, in the strife did become,
To the exile unfriended, Weohstan for the bane,
With the sword-edge, and unto, his kinsmen bare off,
The helm the brown-brindled, the byrny beringed,
And the old eoten-sword, that erst Onela gave him;
Were they his kinsman's, weed of the war,
Host-fight-gear all ready. Of the feud nothing spake he.
Though he of his brother, the bairn had o'er-thrown.
But the host-gear befretted, he held many seasons,
The bill and the byrny, until his own boy might,
Do him the earlship, as did his ere-father.
Amidst of the Geats then, he gave him the war-weed,
Of all kinds unnumber'd, whenas he from life wended,
Old on the forth-way. Then was the first time,
For that champion the young, that he the war-race,
With his high lord the famed, e'er he should frame:
Naught melted his mood, naught the loom of his kinsman,
Weaken'd in war-tide; that found out the Worm,
When they two together, had gotten to come.
Now spake out Wiglaf, many words rightwise,
And said to his fellows: all sad was his soul:
I remember that while, when we gat us the mead,
And whenas we behight, to the high lord of us,
In the beer-hall, e'en he, who gave us these rings,
That we for the war-gear, one while would pay,
If unto him thislike, need e'er should befall,
For these helms and hard swords. So he chose us from host,
To this faring of war, by his very own will,
Of glories he minded us, and gave me these gems here,
Whereas us of gar-warriors, he counted for good,
And bold bearers of helms. Though our lord e'en for us,
This work of all might, was of mind all alone,
Himself to be framing, the herd of the folk,
Whereas most of all men, he hath mightiness framed.
Of deeds of all daring, yet now is the day come,
Whereon to our man-lord behoveth the main,
Of good battle-warriors; so thereunto wend we,
And help we the host-chief, whiles that the heat be,
The gleed-terror grim. Now of me wotteth God,
That to me is much liefer, that that, my lyke-body,
With my giver of gold, the gleed should engrip.
Unmeet it methinketh, that we shields should bear,
Back unto our own home, unless we may erst,
The foe fell adown, and the life-days defend,
Of the king of the Weders. Well wot I hereof,
That his old deserts naught, such were, that he only,
Of all doughty of Geats, the grief should be bearing.
Sink at strife. Unto us shall, one sword be, one helm,
One byrny and shield, to both of us common.
Through the slaughter-reek waded he then, bare his war-helm,
To the finding his lord, and few words he quoth:
O Beowulf the dear, now do thee all well,
As thou in thy youthful life, quothest of yore,
That naught wouldst thou let, while still thou wert living,
Thy glory fade out. Now shalt thou of deeds famed,
The atheling of single heart, with all thy main deal,
For the warding thy life, and to stay thee I will.
Then after these words, all wroth came the Worm,
The dire guest foesome, that second of whiles,
With fire-wellings flecked, his foes to go look on,
The loath men. With flame, was lightly then burnt up,
The board to the boss, and might not the byrny,
To the warrior the young, frame any help yet.
But so the young man, under shield of his kinsman,
Went onward with valour, whenas his own was,
All undone with gleeds; then again the war-king,
Remember'd his glories, and smote with mainmight,
With his battle-bill, so, that it stood in the head,
Need-driven by war-hate. Then asunder burst N'ing,
Waxed weak in the war-tide, e'en Beowulf's sword,
The old and grey-marked; to him was not given,
That to him any whit, might the edges of irons,
Be helpful in battle; over-strong was the hand,
Which every of swords, by the hearsay of me,
With its swing over-wrought, when he bare unto strife,
A wondrous hard weapon; naught it was to him better.
Then was the folk-scather, for the third of times yet,
The fierce fire-drake, all mindful of feud;
He rac'd on that strong one, when was room to him given,
Hot and battle-grim; he all the halse of him gripped,
With bitter-keen bones; all bebloody'd he waxed,
With the gore of his soul. Well'd in waves then the war-sweat.
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XXXVII. THEY TWO SLAY THE WORM. BEOWULF IS WOUNDED DEADLY: HE BIDDETH WIGLAF BEAR OUT THE TREASURE.
Then heard I that at need, of the high king of folk,
The upright earl made, well manifest might,
His craft and his keenness, as kind was to him;
The head there he heeded not, (but the hand burned,
Of that man of high mood, when he helped his kinsman),
Whereas he now the hate-guest, smote yet a deal nether,
That warrior in war-gear, whereby the sword dived,
The plated, of fair hue, and thereby fell the flame,
To minish thereafter, and once more the king's self,
Wielded his wit, and, his slaying-sax drew out,
The bitter and battle-sharp, borne on his byrny;
Asunder the Weder's helm, smote the Worm midmost;
They felled the fiend, and force drave the life out,
And they twain together, had gotten him ending,
Those athelings sib. E'en, such should a man be,
A thane good at need. Now that to the king was,
The last victory-while, by the deeds of himself,
Of his work of the world. Sithence fell the wound,
That the earth-drake to him, had wrought but erewhile.
To swell and to sweal; and this soon he found out,
That down in the breast of him, bale-evil welled,
The venom withinward; then the Atheling wended,
So that he by the wall, bethinking him wisdom.
Sat on seat there and saw, on the works of the giants,
How that the stone-bows, fast stood on pillars,
The earth-house everlasting, upheld withinward.
Then with his hand, him the sword-gory,
That great king his thane, the good beyond measure,
His friend-lord with water, washed full well,
The sated of battle, and unspanned his war-helm.
Forth then spake Beowulf, and over his wound said,
His wound piteous deadly; wist he full well,
That now of his day-whiles, all had he dreed,
Of the joy of the earth; all was shaken asunder,
The tale of his days; death without measure nigh:
Unto my son, now should I be giving,
My gear of the battle, if to me it were granted,
Any ward of the heritage, after my days,
To my body belonging. This folk have I holden,
Fifty winters; forsooth, was never a folk-king,
Of the sitters around, no one of them soothly,
Who me with the war-friends, durst wend him to greet,
And bear down with the terror. In home have I abided,
The shapings of whiles, and held mine own well.
No wily hates sought I; for myself swore not many,
Of oaths in unright. For all this may I,
Sick with the life-wounds, soothly have joy.
Therefore naught need wyte me, the Wielder of men,
With kin murder-bale, when breaketh asunder,
My life from my lyke. And now lightly go thou,
To look on the hoard, under the hoar stone,
Wiglaf mine lief, now, that lieth the Worm,
And sleepeth sore wounded, beshorn of his treasure;
And be hasty that I now, the wealth of old time,
The gold-having may look on, and yarely behold,
The bright cunning gems, that the softlier may I,
After the treasure-weal, let go away,
My life, and the folk-ship, that long I have held.
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XXXVIII. BEOWULF BEHOLDETH THE TREASURE AND PASSETH AWAY.
Then heard I that swiftly, the son of that Weohstan,
After this word-say, his lord the sore wounded,
Battle-sick, there obeyed, and bare forth his ring-net,
His battle-sark woven, in under the burg-roof;
Saw then victory-glad, as by the seat went he,
The kindred-thane moody, sun-jewels a many,
Much glistering gold, lying down on the ground,
Many wonders on wall, and the den of the Worm,
The old twilight-flier; there were flagons a-standing,
The vats of men bygone, of brighteners bereft,
And maim'd of adornment; was many an helm,
Rusty and old, and of arm-rings a many,
Full cunningly twined. All lightly may treasure,
The gold in the ground, every one of mankind,
Befool with o'erweening, hide it who will.
Likewise he saw standing, a sign there all-golden,
High over the hoard, the most of hand-wonders,
With limb-craft belocked, whence light a ray gleamed.
Whereby the den's ground-plain, gat he to look on,
The fair works scan throughly. Not of the Worm there,
Was aught to be seen now, but the edge had undone him.
Heard I then that in howe, of the hoard was bereaving,
The old work of the giants, but one man alone,
Into his barm laded, beakers and dishes,
At his very own doom; and the sign eke he took,
The brightest of beacons. But the bill of the old lord,
(The edge was of iron), erewhile it scathed,
Him who of that treasure, hand-bearer was,
A long while, and fared, a-bearing the flame-dread,
Before the hoard hot, and welling of fierceness,
In the midnights, until that by murder he died.
In haste was the messenger, eager of back-fare,
Further'd with fretted gems. Him longing fordid,
To wot whether the bold man, he quick there shall meet,
In that mead-stead, e'en he, the king of the Weders,
All sick of his might, whereas he erst Itft him.
He fetching the treasure then, found the king mighty,
His own lord, yet there, and him ever all gory,
At end of his life; and he yet once again,
Fell the water to warp o'er him, till the word's point,
Brake through the breast-hoard, and Beowulf spake out.
The aged, in grief, as he gaz'd on the gold:
Now I for these fretworks, to the Lord of all thanking,
To the King of all glory, in words am yet saying,
To the Lord ever living, for that which I look on;
Whereas such I might, for the people of mine,
Ere ever my death-day, get me to own.
Now that for the treasure-hoard, here have I sold,
My life and laid down the same, frame still then ever,
The folk-need, for here, never longer I may be.
So bid ye the war-mighty, work me a howe,
Bright after the bale-fire, at the sea's nose,
Which for a remembrance, to the people of me,
Aloft shall uplift him, at Whale-ness for ever,
That it the sea-goers, sithence may hote,
Beowulf's Howe, e'en, they that the high-ships,
Over the flood-mists, drive from afar.
Did off from his halse then, a ring was all golden,
The king the great-hearted, and gave to his thane,
To the spear-warrior young, his war-helm gold-brindled,
The ring and the byrny, and bade him well brook them:
Thou art the end-leaving, of all of our kindred,
The W'undings; Weird now, hath swept all away,
Of my kinsmen, and unto, the doom of the Maker,
The earls in their might; now after them shall I.
That was to the aged lord, youngest of words,
Of his breast-thoughts, ere ever, he chose him the bale,
The hot battle-wellings; from his heart now departed,
His soul, to seek out, the doom of the soothfast.
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XXXIX. WIGLAF CASTETH SHAME ON THOSE FLEERS.
But gone was it then, with the unaged man,
Full hard that there, he beheld on the earth,
The liefest of friends, at the ending of life,
Of bearing most piteous. And likewise lay his bane,
The Earth-drake, the loathly fear, reft of his life,
By bale laid undone: the ring-hoards no longer,
The Worm, the crook-bowed, ever might wield;
For soothly the edges, of the irons him bare off,
The hard battle-sharded, leavings of hammers,
So that the wide-flier, stilled with wounding,
Fell onto earth, anigh to his hoard-hall,
Nor along the lift ever more, playing he turned,
At middle-nights, proud, of the owning of treasure,
Show'd the face of him forth, but to earth there he fell,
Because of the host-leader's, work of the hand.
This forsooth on the land, hath thriven to few,
Of men might and main bearing, by hearsay of mine,
Though in each of all deeds, full daring he were,
That against venom-scather's, fell breathing he set on,
Or the hall of his rings, with hand be a-stirring,
If so be that he waking, the warder had found,
Abiding in burg. By Beowulf was,
His deal of the king-treasure, paid for by death;
There either had they, fared on to the end,
Of this loaned life. Long it was not until,
Those laggards of battle, the holt were a-leaving,
Unwarlike troth-liars, the ten there together,
Who durst not e'en now, with darts to be playing,
E'en in their man-lord's, most mickle need.
But shamefully now, their shields were they bearing,
Their weed of the battle, there where lay the aged;
They gazed on Wiglaf, where weary'd he sat,
The foot-champion, hard by, his very lord's shoulder,
And wak'd him with water: but no whit it sped him;
Never might he on earth, howsoe'er well he will'd it,
In that leader of spears hold, the life any more,
Nor the will of the Wielder, change ever a whit;
But still should God's doom, of deeds rule the rede,
For each man of men, as yet ever it doth.
Then from out of the youngling, an answer full grim,
Easy got was for him, who had lost heart erewhile,
And word gave out Wiglaf, Weohstan's son,
The sorrowful-soul'd man: on those unlief he saw:
Lo that may he say, who sooth would be saying,
That the man-lord who dealt you, the gift of those dear things,
The gear of the war-host, wherein there ye stand,
Whereas he on the ale-bench, full oft was a-giving,
Unto the hall-sitters, war-helm and byrny,
The king to his thanes, e'en such as he choicest,
Anywhere, far or near, ever might find:
That he utterly wrongsome, those weeds of the war,
Had cast away, then, when the war overtook him.
Surely never the folk-king, of his fellows in battle,
Had need to be boastful; howsoever God gave him,
The Victory-wielder, that he himself wreaked him,
Alone with the edge, when to him need of might was.
Unto him of life-warding, but little might I,
Give there in the war-tide; and yet I began,
Above measure of my might, my kinsman to help;
Ever worse was the Worm, then when I with sword,
Smote the life-foe,and ever, the fire less strongly,
Welled out from his wit. Of warders o'er little,
Throng'd about the king, when him the battle befell.
Now shall taking of treasures, and giving of swords,
And all joy of your country-home, fail from your kindred,
All hope wane away; of the land-right moreover,
May each of the men, of that kinsman's burg ever,
Roam lacking; sithence, that the athelings eft-soons,
From afar shall have heard, of your faring in flight,
Your gloryless deed. Yea, death shall be better,
For each of the earls, than a life ever ill-fam'd.
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XL. WIGLAF SENDETH TIDING TO THE HOST: THE WORDS OF THE MESSENGER.
Then he bade them that war-work, give out at the barriers,
Up over the sea-cliff, whereas then the earl-host,
The morning-long day, sat sad of their mood,
The bearers of war-boards, in weening of both things,
Either the end-day, or else the back-coming,
Of the lief man. Forsooth, he little was silent,
Of the new-fallen tidings, who over the ness rode,
But soothly he said, over all there a-sitting:
Now is the will-giver, of the folk of the Weders,
The lord of the Geats, fast laid in the death-bed,
In the slaughter-rest wonneth, he by the Worm's doings.
And beside him yet lieth, his very life-winner,
All sick with the sax-wounds; with sword might he never,
On the monster, the fell one, in any of manners,
Work wounding at all. There yet sitteth Wiglaf,
Weohstan's own boy, over Beowulf king,
One earl over the other, over him the unliving;
With heart-honours holdeth, he head-ward withal,
Over lief, over loath. But to folk is a weening,
Of war-tide as now, so soon as unhidden,
To Franks and to Frisians, the fall of the king,
Is become over widely. Once was the strife shapen,
Hard 'gainst the Hugs, sithence Hygelac came,
Faring with float-host, to Frisian land,
Whereas him the Hetware, vanquish'd in war,
With might gat the gain, with o'er-mickle main;
The warrior bebyrny'd, he needs must bow down:
He fell in the host, and no fretted war-gear,
Gave that lord to the doughty, but to us was aye sithence,
The mercy ungranted that, was of the Merwing.
Nor do I from the Swede folk, of peace or good faith,
Ween ever a whit. For widely 'twas wotted,
That Ongentheow erst, had undone the life,
Of H'cyn the Hrethel's son, hard by the Raven-wood,
Then when in their pride, the Scylfings of war,
Erst gat them to seek, to the folk of the Geats.
Unto him soon the old one, the father of Ohthere,
The ancient and fearful, gave back the hand-stroke,
Brake up the sea-wise one, rescued his bride.
The aged his spouse erst, bereft of the gold,
Mother of Onela, yea and of Ohthere;
And follow'd up thereon, his foemen the deadly,
Until they betook them, and sorrowfully therewith,
Unto the Raven-holt, reft of their lord.
With huge host then beset, he the leaving of swords,
All weary with wounds, and woe he behight them,
That lot of the wretched, the livelong night through;
Quoth he that the morrow's morn, with the swords' edges,
He would do them to death, hang some on the gallows,
For a game unto fowl. But again befell comfort,
To the sorry of mood, with the morrow-day early;
Whereas they of Hygelac's, war-horn and trumpet,
The voice wotted, whenas, the good king his ways came,
Faring on in the track, of his folk's doughty men.
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XLI. MORE WORDS OF THE MESSENGER. HOW HE FEARS THE SWEDES WHEN THEY WOT OF BEOWULF DEAD.
Was the track of the war-sweat, of Swedes and of Geats,
The men's slaughter-race, right wide to be seen,
How those folks amongst them, were waking the feud.
Departed that good one, and went with his fellows,
Old and exceeding sad, fastness to seek;
The earl Ongentheow, upward returned;
Of Hygelac's battle-might, oft had he heard,
The war-craft of the proud one; in withstanding he trow'd not,
That he to the sea-folk, in fight might debate,
Or against the sea-farers, defend him his hoard,
His bairns and his bride. He bow'd him aback thence,
The old under the earth-wall. Then was the chase bidden,
To the Swede-folk, and Hygelac's, sign was upreared,
And the plain of the peace forth, on o'er-pass'd they,
After the Hrethlings, onto the hedge throng'd.
There then was Ongentheow, by the swords' edges,
The blent-hair'd, the hoary one, driven to biding,
So that the folk-king, fain must he take,
Sole doom of Eofor. Him in his wrath then,
Wulf the Wonreding, reach'd with his weapon,
So that from the stroke sprang, the war-sweat in streams,
Forth from under his hair; yet naught fearsome was he,
The aged, the Scylfing, but paid aback rathely,
With chaffer that worse was that, war-crash of slaughter,
Sithence the folk-king, turned him thither;
And nowise might the brisk one, that son was of Wonred,
Unto the old carle, give back the hand-slaying,
For that he on Wulf's head, the helm erst had sheared,
So that all with the blood, stained needs must he bow,
And fell on the field; but not yet was he fey,
But he warp'd himself up, though the wound had touch'd nigh.
But thereon the hard, Hygelac's thane there,
Whenas down lay his brother, let the broad blade,
The old sword of eotens, that helm giant-fashion'd,
Break over the board-wall, and down the king bowed,
The herd of the folk, unto fair life was smitten.
There were many about there, who bound up his kinsman,
Upraised him swiftly, when room there was made them,
That the slaughter-stead there, at the stour they might wield,
That while when was reaving, one warrior the other:
From Ongentheow took he, the iron-wrought byrny,
The hard-hilted sword, with his helm all together:
The hoary one's harness, to Hygelac bare he;
The fret war-gear then took he, and fairly behight him,
Before the folk due gifts, and even so did it;
Gild he gave for that war-race, the lord of the Geats,
The own son of Hrethel, when home was he come,
To Eofor and Wulf, gave he over-much treasure,
To them either he gave, an hundred of thousands,
Land and lock'd rings. Of the gift none needed to wyte him,
Of mid earth, since the glory, they gained by battle.
Then to Eofor he gave, his one only daughter,
An home-worship soothly, for pledge of his good will.
That is the feud, and the foeship full soothly,
The dead-hate of men, e'en as I have a weening,
Wherefor the Swede people, against us shall seek,
Sithence they have learned, that lieth our lord,
All lifeless; e'en he, that erewhile hath held,
Against all the haters, the hoard and the realm;
Who after the heroes' fall, held the fierce Scylfings,
Framed the folk-rede, and further thereto,
Did earlship-deeds. Now is haste best of all,
That we now the folk-king, should fare to be seeing,
And then that we bring him, who gave us the rings,
On his way to the bale: nor shall somewhat alone,
With the moody be molten; but manifold hoard is,
Gold untold of by tale, that grimly is cheapened,
And now at the last, by this one's own life,
Are rings bought, and all these, the brand now shall fret,
The flame thatch them over: no earl shall bear off,
One gem in remembrance; nor any fair maiden,
Shall have on her halse, a ring-honour thereof,
But in grief of mood henceforth, bereaved of gold,
Shall oft, and not once alone, alien earth tread,
Now that the host-learn'd, hath laid aside laughter,
The game and the glee-joy. Therefore shall the spear,
Full many a morn-cold, of hands be bewounden,
Uphoven in hand; and no swough of the harp,
Shall waken the warriors; but the wan raven rather,
Fain over the fey, many tales shall tell forth,
And say to the erne, how it sped him at eating,
While he with the wolf was, a-spoiling the slain.
So was the keen-whetted, a-saying this while,
Spells of speech loathly; he lied not much,
Of weirds or of words. Then uprose all the war-band,
And unblithe they wended, under the Ernes-ness,
All welling of tears, the wonder to look on.
Found they then on the sand, now lacking of soul,
Holding his bed, him that gave them the rings,
In time erewhile gone by. But then was the end-day,
Gone for the good one; since the king of the battle,
The lord of the Weders, in wonder-death died.
But erst there they saw, a more seldom-seen sight,
The Worm on the lea-land, over against him,
Down lying there loathly; there was the fire-drake,
The grim of the terrors, with gleeds all beswealed.
He was of fifty, feet of his measure,
Long of his lying. Lift-joyance held he,
In the whiles of the night, but down again wended,
To visit his den. Now, fast was he in death,
He had of the earth-dens, the last end enjoyed.
There by him now stood, the beakers and bowls,
There lay the dishes, and dearly-wrought swords,
Rusty, through-eaten they, as in earth's bosom,
A thousand of winters, there they had wonned.
For that heritage there was, all craftily eked,
Gold of the yore men, in wizardry wounden;
So that that ring-hall, might none reach thereto,
Not any of mankind, but if God his own self,
Sooth king of victories, gave unto whom he would,
(He is holder of men), to open that hoard,
E'en to whichso of mankind, should seem to him meet.
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XLII. THEY GO TO LOOK ON THE FIELD OF DEED.
Then it was to be seen, that throve not the way,
To him that unrightly, had hidden within there,
The fair gear 'neath the wall. The warder erst slew,
Some few of folk, and the feud then became,
Wrothfully wreaked. A wonder whenas,
A valour-strong earl, may reach on the ending,
Of the fashion of life, when he longer in nowise,
One man with his kinsmen, may dwell in the mead-hall!
So to Beowulf was it when, the burg's ward he sought.
For the hate of the weapons: he himself knew not,
Wherethrough forsooth his world's, sundering should be.
So until Doomsday, they cursed it deeply,
Those princes the dread, who erst there had done it,
That that man should be, of sins never sackless,
A-hoppled in shrines, in hell-bonds fast set,
With plague-spots be punish'd, who that plain should plunder.
But naught gold-greedy was he, more gladly had he,
The grace of the Owner, erst gotten to see.
Now spake out Wiglaf, that son was of Weohstan:
Oft shall many an earl, for the will but of one,
Dree the wrack, as to us, even now is befallen:
Nowise might we learn, the lief lord of us,
The herd of the realm, any of rede,
That he should not go greet, that warder of gold,
But let him live yet, whereas long he was lying,
And wonne in his wicks, until the world's ending;
But he held to high weird, and the hoard hath been seen,
Grimly gotten: o'er hard, forsooth was that giving,
That the king of the folk, e'en thither enticed.
Lo! I was therein, and I look'd it all over,
The gear of the house, when for me room was gotten,
But I lightly in nowise, had leave for the passage,
In under the earth-wall; in haste I gat hold,
Forsooth with my hands, of a mickle main burden,
Of hoard-treasures, and hither, then out did I bear them,
Out unto my king, and then, quick was he yet,
Wise, and wit-holding: a many things spake he,
That aged in grief-care, and bade me to greet you,
And prayed ye would do e'en after, your friend's deeds,
Aloft in the bale-stead, a howe builded high,
Most mickle and mighty, as he amongst men was,
The worthfullest warrior, wide over the world,
While he the burg-weal, erewhile might brook.
Then so let us hasten, this second of whiles,
To see and to seek, the throng of things strange,
The wonder 'neath wall; I shall wise you the way,
So that ye from a-near, may look on enough,
Of rings and broad gold; and be the bier swiftly,
All yare thereunto, whenas out we shall fare.
Then let us so ferry, the lord that was ours,
The lief man of men, to where long shall he,
In the All-Wielder's keeping, full patiently wait.
Bade then to bid, the bairn of that Weohstan,
The deer of the battle, to a many of warriors,
The house-owning wights, that the wood of the bale,
They should ferry from far, e'en the folk-owning men,
Toward the good one. And now shall the gleed fret away,
The wan flame a-waxing, the strong one of warriors,
Him who oft-times abided, the shower of iron,
When the storm of the shafts, driven on by the strings,
Shook over the shield-wall, and the shaft held its service,
And eager with feather-gear, follow'd the barb.
Now then the wise one, that son was of Weohstan,
Forth from the throng then, call'd of the king's thanes,
A seven together, the best to be gotten,
And himself went the eighth, in under the foe-roof;
One man of the battlers, in hand there he bare,
A gleam of the fire, of the first went he inward.
It was nowise allotted, who that hoard should despoil,
Sithence without warden, some deal that there was,
The men now beheld, in the hall there a-wonning,
Lying there fleeting; little mourn'd any,
That they in all haste, outward should ferry,
The dear treasures.But forthwith, the drake did they shove,
The Worm, o'er the cliff-wall, and let the wave take him,
The flood fathom about, the fretted works' herd.
There then was wounden gold, on the wain laden,
Untold of each kind, and the Atheling borne,
The hoary of warriors, out on to Whale-ness.
Table of Contents
XLIII. OF THE BURIAL OF BEOWULF.
For him then they geared, the folk of the Geats,
A pile on the earth, all unweaklike that was,
With war-helms behung, and with boards of the battle,
And bright byrnies,e'en after, the boon that he bade.
Laid down then amidmost, their king mighty-famous,
The warriors lamenting, the lief lord of them.
Began on the burg, of bale-fires the biggest,
The warriors to waken: the wood-reek went up,
Swart over the smoky glow, sound of the flame,
Bewound with the weeping, (the wind-blending stilled),
Until it at last, the bone-house had broken,
Hot at the heart. All unglad of mind,
With mood-care they mourned, their own liege lord's quelling.
Likewise a sad lay, the wife of aforetime,
For Beowulf the king, with her hair all upbounden,
Sang sorrow-careful; said oft and over,
That harm-days for herself, in hard wise she dreaded,
The slaughter-falls many, much fear of the warrior,
The shaming and bondage. Heaven swallow'd the reek.
Wrought there and fashion'd, the folk of the Weders,
A howe on the lithe, that high was and broad.
Unto the wave-farers, wide to be seen:
Then it they betimber'd, in time of ten days,
The battle-strong's beacon; the brands' very-leavings,
They bewrought with a wall, in the worthiest of ways,
That men of all wisdom, might find how to work.
Into burg then they did, the rings and bright sun-gems,
And all such adornments, as in the hoard there,
The war-minded men, had taken e'en now;
The earls' treasures let they, the earth to be holding,
Gold in the grit, wherein yet it liveth,
As useless to men-folk, as ever it erst was.
Then round the howe rode, the deer of the battle,
The bairns of the athelings, twelve were they in all.
Their care would they mourn, and bemoan them their king,
The word-lay would they utter, and over the man speak:
They accounted his earlship, and mighty deeds done,
And doughtily deem'd them; as due as it is,
That each one his friend-lord, with words should belaud,
And love in his heart, whenas forth shall he,
Away from the body, be fleeting at last.
In such wise they grieved, the folk of the Geats,
For the fall of their lord, e'en they his hearth-fellows;
Quoth they that he was, a world-king forsooth,
The mildest of all men, unto men kindest,
To his folk the most gentlest, most yearning of fame.
Table of Contents
PERSONS AND PLACES
Numbers refer to Pages in this and the following section. Series of pages were printed in the form "167-9"; they have been expanded here to "167-169". The names "Dayraven" and "Ravenwood" are hyphenated in the body text.
Beanstan, father of Breca (31).
Beowulf the Dane (not Beowulf the Geat, the hero of the poem) was the grandfather of Hrothgar (2, 4).
Beowulf the Geat. See the Argument.
Breca (30), who contended with Beowulf in swimming, was a chief of the Brondings (31).
Brisings' neck-gear (70). "This necklace is the Brisinga-men, the costly necklace of Freyja, which she won from the dwarfs and which was stolen from her by Loki, as is told in the Edda" (Kemble). In our poem, it is said that Hama carried off this necklace when he fled from Eormenric, king of the Ostrogoths.
Dayraven (143), a brave warrior of the Hugs, and probably the slayer of Hygelac, whom, in that case, Beowulf avenged.
Eadgils, Eanmund (136, 137), "sons of Ohthere," and nephews of the Swedish King Onela, by whom they were banished from their native land for rebellion. They took refuge at the court of the Geat King Heardred, and Onela, "Ongentheow's bairn," enraged at their finding an asylum with his hereditary foes, invaded Geatland, and slew Heardred. At a later time Beowulf, when king of the 182 Geats, balanced the feud by supporting Eadgils in an invasion of Sweden, in which King Onela was slain.
Eanmund (149), while in exile at the court of the Geats, was slain by Weohstan, father of Wiglaf, and stripped of the armour given him by his uncle, the Swedish King Onela. Weohstan "spake not about the feud, although he had slain Onela's brother's son," probably because he was not proud of having slain an "exile unfriended" in a private quarrel.
Ecglaf, father of Unferth, Hrothgar's spokesman (29).
Ecgtheow (22), father of Beowulf the Geat, by the only daughter of Hrethel, king of the Geats. Having slain Heatholaf, a warrior of the Wylfings, Ecgtheow sought protection at the court of the Danish King Hrothgar, who accepted his fealty and settled the feud by a money-payment (27). Hence the heartiness of Beowulf's welcome at Hrothgar's hands.
Ecgwela. The Scyldings or Danes are once called "Ecgwela's offspring" (99). He may have been the founder of the older dynasty of Danish kings which ended with Heremod.
Eofor (142, 167-169), a Geat warrior, brother of Wulf. He came to the aid of his brother in his single combat with the Swedish King Ongentheow, and slew the king, being rewarded by Hygelac with the hand of his only daughter.
Eotens (61, 62, 66) are the people of Finn, king of Friesland. In other passages, it is merely a name for a race of monsters.
Finn (61-67). The somewhat obscure Finn episode in Beowulf appears to be part of a Finn epic, of which only the merest fragment, called the Fight at Finnsburg, is extant. The following conjectured outline of the whole 183 story is based on this fragment and on the Beowulf episode; Finn, king of the Frisians, had carried off Hildeburh, daughter of Hoc, probably with her consent. Her father, Hoc, seems to have pursued the fugitives, and to have been slain in the fight which ensued on his overtaking them. After the lapse of some twenty years Hoc's sons, Hnå¤ and Hengest, are old enough to undertake the duty of avenging their father's death. They make an inroad into Finn's country, and a battle takes place in which many warriors, among them Hnå¤ and a son of Finn, are killed. Peace is then solemnly concluded, and the slain warriors are burnt. As the year is too far advanced for Hengest to return home, he and those of his men who survive remain for the winter in the Frisian country with Finn. But Hengest's thoughts dwell constantly on the death of his brother Hnå¤¬ and he would gladly welcome any excuse to break the peace which had been sworn by both parties. His ill-concealed desire for revenge is noticed by the Frisians, who anticipate it by themselves attacking Hengest and his men whilst they are sleeping in the hall. This is the night attack described in the Fight at Finnsburg. It would seem that after a brave and desperate resistance Hengest himself falls in this fight at the hands of the son of Hunlaf (66), but two of his retainers, Guthlaf and Oslaf, succeed in cutting their way through their enemies and in escaping to their own land. They return with fresh troops, attack and slay Finn, and carry his queen Hildeburh back to the Daneland.
Folkwalda (62), father of Finn.
Franks (70, 165). Hygelac, king of the Geats, was defeated and slain early in the sixth century, in his historical invasion of the Netherlands, by a combined army of Frisians, Franks, and Hugs.
Freawaru (116), daughter of Hrothgar and Wealhtheow. Beowulf tells Hygelac that her father has betrothed her to Ingeld, prince of the Heathobards, in the hope of settling the feud between the two peoples. But he prophesies that the hope will prove vain: for an old Heathobard warrior, seeing a Danish chieftain accompany Freawaru to their court laden with Heathobard spoils, will incite the son of the former owner of the plundered treasure to revenge, until blood is shed, and the feud is renewed. That this was what afterwards befell, we learn from the Old English poem Widsith. See also ll. 83-85.
Friesland (65), the land of the North Frisians.
Frieslands (135), Frisian land (165), the home of the West Frisians.
Frisians. Two tribes are to be distinguished: 1. The North Frisians (61, 63), the people of Finn. 2. The West Frisians (143, 165), who combined with the Franks and Hugs and defeated Hygelac, between 512 and 520 A.D.
Froda (117), father of Ingeld. See Freawaru.
Guthlaf and Oslaf (66). See Finn.
Hå±¥th (112, 114), father of Hygd, wife of Hygelac.
Hå³¨cyn (139, 142, 165), second son of Hrethel, king of the Geats, and thus elder brother of Hygelac. He accidentally killed his elder brother Herebeald with a bow-shot, to the inconsolable grief of Hrethel. He succeeded to the throne at his father's death, but fell in battle at Ravenwood (165) by the hand of the Swedish King Ongentheow.
Half-Danes (61), the tribe to which Hnå¤ belongs. See Finn.
Hama (69). See Brisings.
Healfdene (4), king of the Danes, son of Beowulf the Scylding, and father of Hrothgar, "Healfdene's son" (16).
Heardred (126, 136-137), son of Hygelac and Hygd. While still under age he succeeds his father as king of the Geats, Beowulf, who has refused the throne himself, being his counsellor and protector. He is slain by "Ongentheow's bairn" (137), Onela, king of the Swedes.
Heathobards, Lombards, the tribe of Ingeld, the betrothed of Freawaru, Hrothgar's daughter (117).
Heatholaf (27). See Ecgtheow.
Helmings. "The Dame of the Helmings" (36) is Hrothgar's queen, Wealhtheow.
Hemming. "The Kinsman of Hemming" is a name for Offa (112) and for his son Eomå° (113).
Hengest (62-65). See Finn.
Heorogar (5), elder brother of Hrothgar (27), did not leave his armour to his son Heoroward (124); but Hrothgar gives it to Beowulf, and Beowulf gives it to Hygelac.
Herebeald (139, 141), eldest son of the Geat King Hrethel, was accidentally shot dead with an arrow by his brother Hå³¨cyn.
Heremod (53, 99) is twice spoken of as a bad and cruel Danish king. In the end he is betrayed into the hands of his foes.
Hereric may have been brother of Hygd, Hygelac's queen, for their son Heardred is spoken of as "the nephew of Hereric" (126).
Here-Scyldings (64), Army-Scyldings, a name of the Danes.
Hetware (135, 165), the Hattuarii of the Historia Francorum of Gregory of Tours and of the Gesta Regum Francorum, were the tribe against which Hygelac was raiding when he was defeated and slain by an army of Frisians, Franks, and Hugs.
Hildeburh (61, 64). See Finn.
Hnå¤ (61, 64). See Finn.
Hoc (62). See Finn.
Hrethel, a former king of the Geats; son of Swerting (70), father of Hygelac and grandfather of Beowulf (22), to whom he left his coat of mail (26). He died of grief at the loss of his eldest son Herebeald (139-142), who was accidentally slain by his brother Hå³¨cyn.
Page 70 text (line 1202) reads "Hygelac ... grandson of Swerting." Hrethel is not named.
Hrethlings (167), the people of Hrethel, the Geats.
Hrethmen (26), Triumph-men, the Danes.
Hrethric (69, 106), elder son of Hrothgar and Wealhtheow.
Hrothgar. See the Argument.
Hrothulf (59, 68), probably the son of Hrothgar's younger brother Halga (5). He lives at the Danish court. Wealhtheow hopes that, if he survives Hrothgar, he will be good to their children in return for their kindness to him. It would seem that this hope was not to be fulfilled ("yet of kindred unsunder'd," 67).
Hygd, daughter of Hå±¥th, wife of Hygelac, the king of the Geats, and mother of Heardred. She may well be "the wife of aforetime" (177).
Hygelac, third son of Hrethel (139) and uncle to Beowulf, is the reigning king of the Geats during the greater part of the action of the poem. When his brother Hå³¨cyn was defeated and slain by Ongentheow at Ravenwood (165), Hygelac quickly went in pursuit and put Ongentheow to flight; but although, as leader of the attack, he is called "the banesman of Ongentheow" (114), the actual slayer was Eofor (142, 167), whom Hygelac rewarded with the hand of his only daughter (169). Hygelac came by his death between 512 and 520 A.D. in his historical invasion of the Netherlands, which is referred to in the poem four times (70, 135, 143, 165).
Ing (147). See Ingwines.
Ingeld (119). See Freawaru.
Ingwines (60, 77), "friends of Ing," the Danes. Ing, according to the Old English Rune-Poem, "was first seen by men amid the East Danes"; he has been identified with Frea.
Merwing, The (165), the Merovingian king of the Franks.
Offa (113). See Thrytho.
Ohthere (136-137, 165), son of the Swedish King Ongentheow, and father of Eanmund and Eadgils (q.v.).
Onela, "Ongentheow's bairn" (137) and elder brother of Ohthere, is king of Sweden ("the helm of the Scylfings," 136) at the time of the rebellion of Eanmund and Eadgils. He invades the land of the Geats, which has harboured the rebels, slays Heardred, son of Hygelac, and then retreats before Beowulf. At a later time Beowulf avenges the death of Heardred by supporting Eadgils, "son of Ohthere" (137), in an invasion of Sweden, in which Onela is slain. See also Eadgils; and compare the slaying of Ali by Athils on the ice of Lake Wener in the Icelandic "Heimskringla."
Ongentheow, father of Onela and Ohthere, was a former king of the Swedes. The earlier strife between the Swedes and the Geats, in which he is the chief figure, is fully related by the messenger (164) who brings the tidings of Beowulf's death. In retaliation for the marauding invasions of Onela and Ohthere (142), Hå³¨cyn invaded Sweden, and took Ongentheow's queen prisoner. Ongentheow in return invaded the land of her captor, whom he slew, and rescued his wife (165); but in his hour of triumph he was attacked in his turn by Hygelac near Ravenwood, and fell by the hand of Eofor (168).
Scaney (97), Scede-lands (2), the most southern portion of the Scandinavian peninsula, belonging to the Danes; used in our poem for the whole Danish kingdom.
Scyld (1), son of Sheaf, was the mythical founder of the royal Danish dynasty of Scyldings.
Scyldings, descendants of Scyld, properly the name of the reigning Danish dynasty, is commonly extended to include the Danish people (3).
Scylfing: "the Scylfing" (167), "the aged of Scylfings" (142), is Ongentheow.
Scylfings (136), the name of the reigning Swedish dynasty, was extended to the Swedish people in the same way as "Scyldings" to the Danes. Beowulf's kinsman Wiglaf is called "lord of Scylfings" (149), and in another passage the name is apparently applied to the Geats (170); this seems to point to a common ancestry of Swedes and Geats, or it may be that Beowulf's father Ecgtheow was a "Scylfing."
Thrytho (112), wife of the Angle King Offa and mother of Eomå°¬ is mentioned in contrast to Hygd, just as Heremod is a foil to Beowulf. She is at first the type of a cruel, unwomanly queen. But by her marriage with Offa, who seems to be her second husband, she is subdued and changed until her fame even adds glory to his.
Unferth, son of Ecglaf, is the spokesman of Hrothgar, at whose feet he sits. He is of a jealous disposition, and is twice spoken of as the murderer of his own brothers (34, 67). Taunting Beowulf with defeat in his swimming-match with Breca, he is silenced by the hero's reply, and more effectually still by the issue of the struggle with Grendel (57). Afterwards, however, he lends his sword Hrunting for Beowulf's encounter with Grendel's mother (85, 104).
Wå¦undings (149, 160), the family to which both Beowulf and Wiglaf belong. Their fathers, Ecgtheow and Weohstan, may have been sons of Wå¦und.
Wedermark (17), the land of the Weder-Geats, i.e. the Geats.
Weders, Weder-Geats (13, 86, 122), Geats.
Weland (26), the Vï¿½d of the Edda, the famous smith of Teutonic legend, was the maker of Beowulf's coat of mail. See the figured casket in the British Museum; and compare "Wayland Smith's Cave" near the White Horse, in Berkshire.
Weohstan was the father of Beowulf's kinsman and faithful henchman Wiglaf, and the slayer of Eanmund (149).
Wonred, father of "Wulf the Wonreding" (167), and of Eofor.
Wulf (167). See Eofor.
Wulfgar, "a lord of the Wendels" (20), is an official of Hrothgar's court, where he is the first to greet Beowulf and his Geats, and introduces them to Hrothgar.
Wythergyld (118) is a warrior of the Heathobards.
Table of Contents
THE MEANING OF SOME WORDS NOT COMMONLY USED NOW
Numbers refer to Pages in this and the preceding section.
A-banning, the work was (5), orders for the work were given.
Arede (119), possess.
Atheling, prince, noble, noble warrior.
Barm, lap, bosom.
Behalsed (5), embraced by the neck.
Berne, man, warrior, hero.
Bestead (143), served.
Beswealed, scorched, burnt.
Bollen, swollen, angry.
Boot (9), compensation.
Boun (18), made ready.
Braided (147), drew, lifted.
Brook, use, enjoy.
Burg, fortified place, stronghold, mount, barrow; protection; protector; family (163).
Byrny, coat of mail.
Devil-dray, nest of devils. Cf. squirrel's-dray, common in Berks; used by Cowper.
Dree, do, accomplish, suffer, enjoy, spend (155).
Ealdor, chief, lord.
Eoten, giant, monster, enemy.
Feeless, not to be atoned for with money.
Ferry, bring, carry.
Flyting, contending, scolding.
Fold, the earth.
Forwritten, 191 proscribed.
Frist, space of time, delay.
Graithly, readily, well.
Hand-shoal, band of warriors.
Holm, ocean, sea.
Holm-throng, eddy of the sea.
Howe, mound, burial-mound.
Hythe, ferry, haven.
Kemp, champion, fighter.
Low (133), flame.
Moody, brave, proud.
Nithing (12), spite, malice.
O'erthinking, overweening, arrogance.
Rail, railings, coat, armour.
Rimed, counted, reckoned.
Sin, malice, hatred, hostility.
Skinked, poured out.
Stone-bow, arch of stone.
Sty, stride, ascend, descend.
Undern, from 9 o'clock till 12 o'clock; "at undren and at middai," O.E. Miscellany.
Warths, shores, still in use at Wick St. Lawrence, in Somerset.
Wise, direct, show.
Worth, shall be.
Wyte, blame, charge with.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
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