Beowulf: Gummere Chapter 12

Table of Contents

XII

Download  Listen as you read along.

NOT in any wise would,     the earls’-defence,[1]

suffer that slaughterous,     stranger to live,

useless deeming,     his days and years,

to men on earth.     Now many an earl,

of Beowulf brandished,     blade ancestral,

fain the life,     of their lord to shield,

their praised prince,     if power were theirs;

never they knew,     as they neared the foe,

hardy-hearted,     heroes of war,

aiming their swords,     on every side,

the accursed to kill,     no keenest blade,

no fairest of falchions,     fashioned on earth,

could harm or hurt,     that hideous fiend!

He was safe by his spells,     from sword of battle,

from edge of iron.     Yet his end and parting,

on that same day,     of this our life,

woeful should be,     and his wandering soul,

far off flit,     to the fiends’ domain.

Soon he found,     who in former days,

harmful in heart,     and hated of God,

on many a man,     such murder wrought,

that the frame of his body,     failed him now.

For him the keen-souled,     kinsman of Hygelac,

held in hand;      hateful alive,

was each to other.     The outlaw dire,

took mortal hurt;      a mighty wound,

showed on his shoulder,     and sinews cracked,

and the bone-frame burst.     To Beowulf now,

the glory was given,     and Grendel thence,

death-sick his den,     in the dark moor sought,

noisome abode:      he knew too well,

that here was the last,     of life, an end,

of his days on earth.     To all the Danes,

by that bloody battle,     the boon had come.

From ravage had rescued,     the roving stranger,

Hrothgar’s hall;      the hardy and wise one,

had purged it anew.     His night-work pleased him,

his deed and its honor.     To Eastern Danes,

had the valiant Geat,     his vaunt made good,

all their sorrow,     and ills assuaged,

their evil of battle,     borne so long,

and all the sorrow,     they before endured,

pain a-plenty,     it was proof of this,

when the hardy-in-fight,     a hand laid down,

arm and shoulder,     all, indeed,

of Grendel’s grip,     beneath the gabled roof.”

[1] Kenning for Beowulf.

Table of Contents