Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 04


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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,

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,

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,

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.

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

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.

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,

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,

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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