Beowulf: Hall Chapter 16


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{Heorot is adorned with hands.}

Then straight was ordered,       that Heorot inside,[1.]
With hands be embellished:       a host of them gathered,
Of men and women,       who the wassailing-building,
The guest-hall begeared.       Gold-flashing sparkled, — 1080.
Webs on the walls then,       of wonders a many, — 5.
To each of the heroes,       that look on such objects.

{The hall is defaced, however.}

The beautiful building,       was broken to pieces,
Which all within,       with irons was fastened,
Its hinges torn off:       only the roof was,
Whole and uninjured,       when the horrible creature, — 10.
Outlawed for evil,       off had betaken him,
Hopeless of living.       ‘Tis hard to avoid it,

{[A vague passage of five verses.]}

(Whoever will do it!);       but he doubtless must come to,[2.]
The place awaiting,       as Wyrd hath appointed, — 1090.
Soul-bearers, earth-dwellers,       earls under heaven, — 15.
Where bound on its bed,       his body shall slumber,

{Hrothgar goes to the banquet.}

When feasting is finished.       Full was the time then,
That the son of Healfdene,       went to the building;
The excellent atheling,       would eat of the banquet.
Ne’er heard I that people,       with hero-band larger, — 20.
Bare them better,       tow’rds their bracelet-bestower.
The laden-with-glory,       stooped to the bench then,
(Their kinsmen-companions,       in plenty were joyful,
Many a cupful,       quaffing complaisantly), — 1100.
Doughty of spirit,       in the high-tow’ring palace, — 25.

{Hrothgar’s nephew, Hrothulf, is present.}

Hrothgar and Hrothulf.       Heorot then inside,
Was filled with friendly ones;       falsehood and treachery,
The Folk-Scyldings now,       nowise did practise.

{Hrothgar lavishes gifts upon Beowulf.}

Then the offspring of Healfdene,       offered to Beowulf,
A golden standard,       as reward for the victory, — 30.
A banner embossed,       burnie and helmet;
Many men saw then,       a song-famous weapon,
Borne ‘fore the hero.       Beowulf drank of,
The cup in the building;       that treasure-bestowing, — 1110.
He needed not blush,       for in battle-men’s presence. — 35.

{Four handsomer gifts were never presented.}

Ne’er heard I that,       many men on the ale-bench,
In friendlier fashion,       to their fellows presented,
Four bright jewels,       with gold-work embellished.
‘Round the roof of the helmet,       a head-guarder outside,
Braided with wires,       with bosses was furnished, — 40.
That swords-for-the-battle,       fight-hardened might fail,
Boldly to harm him,       when the hero proceeded,

{Hrothgar commands that eight finely caparisoned steeds be brought to Beowulf.}

Forth against foemen.       The defender of earls then,
Commanded that eight,       steeds with bridles, — 1120.
Gold-plated, gleaming,       be guided to hallward, — 45.
Inside the building;       on one of them stood then,
An art-broidered saddle,       embellished with jewels;
‘Twas the sovereign’s seat,       when the son of King Healfdene,
Was pleased to take part,       in the play of the edges;
The famous one’s valor,       ne’er failed at the front when, — 50.
Slain ones were bowing.       And to Beowulf granted,
The prince of the Ingwins,       power over both,
O’er war-steeds and weapons;       bade him well to enjoy them.
In so manly a manner,       the mighty-famed chieftain, — 1130.
Hoard-ward of heroes,       with horses and jewels, — 55.
War-storms requited,       that none e’er condemneth,
Who willeth to tell,       truth with full justice.


[1.] Kl. suggests ‘hroden’ for ‘háten,’ and renders: Then quickly was Heorot adorned within, with hands bedecked.–B. suggests ‘gefrætwon’ instead of ‘gefrætwod,’ and renders: Then was it commanded to adorn Heorot within quickly with hands.–The former has the advantage of affording a parallel to ‘gefrætwod’: both have the disadvantage of altering the text.
[2.] The passage 1005-1009 seems to be hopeless. One difficult point is to find a subject for ‘gesacan.’ Some say ‘he’; others supply ‘each,’ i.e., every soul-bearer … must gain the inevitable place. The genitives in this case are partitive.–If ‘he’ be subj., the genitives are dependent on ‘gearwe’ (= prepared).–The ‘he’ itself is disputed, some referring it to Grendel; but B. takes it as involved in the parenthesis.
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