Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 02


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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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