Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 04

 

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IV. NOW COMES BEOWULF ECGTHEOW’S SON TO THE LAND OF THE DANES, AND THE WALL-WARDEN SPEAKETH WITH HIM.

So care that was time-long,     the kinsman of Healfdene,

190 Still seeth’d without ceasing,     nor might the wise warrior,

Wend otherwhere woe,     for o’er strong was the strife,

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All loathly so longsome,     late laid on the people,

Need-wrack and grim nithing,     of night-bales the greatest.

Now that from his home heard,     the Hygelac’s thane,

Good midst of the Geat-folk;     of Grendel’s deeds heard he.

But he was of mankind,     of might and main mightiest,

In the day that we tell of,     the day of this life,

All noble, strong-waxen.     He bade a wave-wearer,

Right good to be gear’d him,     and quoth he that the war-king,

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Over the swan-road,     he would be seeking,

The folk-lord far-famed,     since lack of men had he.

Forsooth of that faring,     the carles wiser-fashion’d,

Laid little blame on him,     though lief to them was he;

The heart-hardy whetted they,     heeded the omen.

There had the good one,     e’en he of the Geat-folk,

Champions out-chosen,     of them that he keenest,

Might find for his needs;     and he then the fifteenth,

Sought to the sound-wood.     A swain thereon show’d him,

A sea-crafty man,     all the make of the land-marks.

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Wore then a while,     on the waves was the floater,

The boat under the berg,     and yare then the warriors,

Strode up on the stem;     the streams were a-winding,

The sea ‘gainst the sands.     Upbore the swains then,

Up into the bark’s barm,     the bright-fretted weapons,

The war-array stately;     then out the lads shov’d her,

The folk on the welcome way,     shov’d out the wood-bound.

Then by the wind driven,     out o’er the wave-holm,

Far’d the foamy-neck’d floater,     most like to a fowl,

Till when was the same tide,     of the second day’s wearing,

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The wound-about-stemm’d one,     had waded her way,

So that then they that sail’d her,     had sight of the land,

Bleak shine of the sea-cliffs,     bergs steep up above,

Sea-nesses wide reaching;     the sound was won over,

The sea-way was ended:     then up ashore swiftly,

The band of the Weder-folk,     up on earth wended;

They bound up the sea-wood,     their sarks on them rattled,

Their weed of the battle,     and God there they thanked,

For that easy the wave-ways,     were waxen unto them.

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But now from the wall saw,     the Scylding-folks’ warder,

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E’en he whom the holm-cliffs,     should ever be holding,

Men bear o’er the gangway,     the bright shields a-shining,

Folk-host gear all ready.     Then mind-longing wore him,

And stirr’d up his mood to wot who were the men-folk.

So shoreward down far’d he his fair steed a-riding,

Hrothgar’s Thane, and full strongly,     then set he a-quaking,

The stark wood in his hands,     and in council-speech speer’d he:

What men be ye then of them that have war-gear,

With byrnies bewarded,     who the keel high up-builded,

Over the Lake-street,     thus have come leading.

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Hither o’er holm-ways,     hieing in ring-stem?,

End-sitter was I,     a-holding the sea-ward,

That the land of the Dane-folk,     none of the loathly,

Faring with ship-horde,     ever might scathe it.

None yet have been seeking,     more openly hither,

Of shield-havers than ye,     and ye of the leave-word,

Of the framers of war,     naught at all wotting,

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Or the manners of kinsmen.     But no man of earls greater,

Saw I ever on earth,     than one of you yonder,

The warrior in war-gear,     no hall-man, so ween I,

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Is that weapon-beworthy’d,     but his visage belie him,

The sight seen once only.     Now I must be wotting,

The spring of your kindred,     ere further ye cast ye,

And let loose your false spies,     in the Dane-land a-faring,

Yet further afield.     So now, ye far-dwellers,

Ye wenders o’er sea-flood,     this word do ye hearken,

Of my one-folded thought:     and haste is the handiest,

To do me to wit,     of whence is your coming.

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