Beowulf: Hall Chapter 13


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{Beowulf has no idea of letting Grendel live.}

For no cause whatever,       would the earlmen’s defender,
Leave in life-joys,       the loathsome newcomer, — 790.
He deemed his existence,       utterly useless,
To men under heaven.       Many a noble,
Of Beowulf brandished,       his battle-sword old, — 5.
Would guard the life,       of his lord and protector,
The far-famous chieftain,       if able to do so;
While waging the warfare,       this wist they but little,
Brave battle-thanes,       while his body intending,

{No weapon would harm Grendel; he bore a charmed life.}

To slit into slivers,       and seeking his spirit: — 10.
That the relentless foeman,       nor finest of weapons,
Of all on the earth,       nor any of war-bills, — 800.
Was willing to injure;       but weapons of victory,
Swords and suchlike,       he had sworn to dispense with.
His death at that time,       must prove to be wretched, — 15.
And the far-away spirit,       widely should journey,
Into enemies’ power.       This plainly he saw then,
Who with mirth,[1.]       of mood malice no little,
Had wrought in the past,       on the race of the earthmen,
(To God he was hostile),       that his body would fail him, — 20.
But Higelac’s hardy,       henchman and kinsman,
Held him by the hand;       hateful to other, — 810.

{Grendel is sorely wounded.}

Was each one if living.       A body-wound suffered,
The direful demon,       damage incurable,

{His body bursts.}

Was seen on his shoulder,       his sinews were shivered, — 25.
His body did burst.       To Beowulf was given,
Glory in battle;       Grendel from thenceward,
Must flee and hide him,       in the fen-cliffs and marshes,
Sick unto death,       his dwelling must look for,
Unwinsome and woful;       he wist the more fully, — 30.

{The monster flees away to hide in the moors.}

The end of his earthly,       existence was nearing,
His life-days’ limits.       At last for the Danemen, — 820.
When the slaughter was over,       their wish was accomplished.
The comer-from-far-land,       had cleansed then of evil,
Wise and valiant,       the war-hall of Hrothgar, — 35.
Saved it from violence.       He joyed in the night-work,
In repute for prowess;       the prince of the Geatmen,
For the East-Danish people,       his boast had accomplished,
Bettered their burdensome,       bale-sorrows fully,
The craft-begot evil they,       erstwhile had suffered, — 40.
And were forced to endure,       from crushing oppression,
Their manifold misery.       ‘Twas a manifest token, — 830.

{Beowulf suspends Grendel’s hand and arm in Heorot.}

When the hero-in-battle,       the hand suspended,
The arm and the shoulder,       (there was all of the claw,
Of Grendel together)       ‘neath great-stretching hall-roof. — 45.


[1.] It has been proposed to translate ‘myrðe’ by with sorrow; but there seems no authority for such a rendering. To the present translator, the phrase ‘módes myrðe’ seems a mere padding for gladly; i.e., he who gladly harassed mankind.