Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 05


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He then that was chiefest,     in thus wise he answer’d,

The war-fellows’ leader,     unlock’d he the word-hoard:

We be a people,     of the Weder-Geats’ man-kin,

And of Hygelac be we,     the hearth-fellows soothly.

My father before me,     of folks was well-famed,

Van-leader and atheling,     Ecgtheow he hight.

Many winters abode he,     and on the way wended,

An old man from the garths,     and him well remembers,

Every wise man well nigh,     wide yond o’er the earth.

Through our lief mood and friendly,     the lord that is thine,

Even Healfdene’s son,     are we now come a-seeking,

Thy warder of folk.     Learn us well with thy leading,

For we have to the mighty,     an errand full mickle,

To the lord of the Dane-folk:     naught dark shall it be,

That ween I full surely.     If it be so thou wottest,

As soothly for our parts,     we now have heard say,

That one midst of the Scyldings,     who of scathers I wot not,

A deed-hater secret,     in the dark of the night-tide,

Setteth forth through the terror,     the malice untold of,

The shame-wrong and slaughter.     I therefore to Hrothgar,

Through my mind fashion’d roomsome,     the rede may now learn him,

How he, old-wise and good,     may get the fiend under,

If once more from him,     awayward may turn,

The business of bales,     and the boot come again,

And the weltering of care,     wax cooler once more;

Or for ever sithence time,     of stress he shall thole,

The need and the wronging,     the while yet there abideth,

On the high stead aloft,     the best of all houses.

Then spake out the warden,     on steed there a-sitting,

The servant all un-fear’d:     It shall be of either,

That the shield-warrior sharp,     the sundering wotteth,

Of words and of works,     if he think thereof well.

I hear it thus said that,     this host here is friendly,

To the lord of the Scyldings;     forth fare ye then, bearing,

Your weed and your weapons,     of the way will I wise you;

Likewise mine own kinsmen,     I will now be bidding,

Against every foeman,     your floater before us,

Your craft but new-tarred,     the keel on the sand,

With honour to hold,     until back shall be bearing,

Over the lake-streams,     this one, the lief man,

The wood of the wounden-neck,     back unto Wedermark.

Unto such shall be granted,     amongst the good-doers,

To win the way out,     all whole from the war-race.

Then boun they to faring,     the bark biding quiet;

Hung upon hawser,     the wide-fathom’d ship,

Fast at her anchor.     Forth shone the boar-shapes,

Over the check-guards,     golden adorned,

Fair-shifting, fire-hard;     ward held the farrow.

Snorted the war-moody,     hasten’d the warriors,

And trod down together,     until the hall timbered,

Stately and gold-bestain’d,     gat they to look on,

That was the all-mightiest,     unto earth’s dwellers,

Of halls ‘neath the heavens,     wherein bode the mighty;

Glisten’d the gleam thereof,     o’er lands a many.

Unto them then the war-deer,     the court of the proud one,

Full clearly betaught it,     that they therewithal,

Might wend their ways thither.     Then he of the warriors,

Round wended his steed,     and spake a word backward:

Time now for my faring;     but the Father All-wielder,

May He with all helping,     henceforward so hold you,

All whole in your wayfaring.     Will I to sea-side,

Against the wroth folk,     to hold warding ever.

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