Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 03

 

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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,

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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,

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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,

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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,

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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,

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That death-shadow darksome,     the doughty and youthful,

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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.

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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,

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‘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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