Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 10

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X. BEOWULF MAKES AN END OF HIS TALE OF THE SWIMMING. WEALHTHEOW, HROTHGAR?S QUEEN, GREETS HIM; AND HROTHGAR DELIVERS TO HIM THE WARDING OF THE HALL.

Thus oft and oft over,     the doers of evil,

560 They threatened me hard;     thane-service I did them,

With the dear sword of mine,     as forsooth it was meet,

That nowise of their fill,     did they win them the joy,

The evil fordoers,     in swallowing me down,

Sitting round at the feast,     nigh the ground of the sea.

Yea rather,     a morning-tide,     mangled by sword-edge,

Along the waves’ leaving,     up there did they lie,

Lull’d asleep with the sword,     so that never sithence,

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About the deep floods for,     the farers o’er ocean,

The way have they letted.     Came the light from the eastward,

570
The bright beacon of God,     and grew the seas calm,

So that the sea-nesses,     now might I look on,

The windy walls.     Thuswise Weird oft will be saving,

The earl that is unfey,     when his valour availeth.

Whatever,     it happ’d me that I with the sword slew,

Nicors nine.     Never heard I of fighting a night-tide,

‘Neath the vault of the heavens,     was harder than that,

Nor yet on the sea-streams,     of woefuller wight.

Whatever,     forth won I with life from the foes’ clutch,

All of wayfaring weary.     But me the sea upbore,

580
The flood downlong the tide,     with the weltering of waters,

All onto the Finnland.     No whit of thee ever,

Mid such strife of the battle-gear,     have I heard say,

Such terrors of bills.     Nor never yet Breca,

In the play of the battle,     nor both you,     nor either,

So dearly the deeds,     have framed forsooth,

With the bright flashing swords;     though of this naught I boast me.

But thou of thy brethren,     the banesman becamest,

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Yea thine head-kin forsooth,     for which in hell shalt thou,

Dree weird of damnation,     though doughty thy wit be;

590
For unto thee say I forsooth,     son of Ecglaf,

That so many deeds,     never Grendel had done,

That monster the loathly,     against thine own lord,

The shaming in Hart-hall,     if suchwise thy mind were,

And thy soul e’en as battle-fierce,     such as thou sayest.

But he, he hath fram’d it,     that the feud he may heed not,

The fearful edge-onset,     that is of thy folk,

Nor sore need be fearful,     of the Victory-Scyldings.

The need-pledges taketh he,     no man he spareth,

Of the folk of the Danes,     driveth war as he lusteth,

600
Slayeth and feasteth,     unweening of strife,

With them of the Spear-Danes.     But I,     I shall show it,

The Geats’ wightness and might,     ere the time weareth old,

Shall bide him in war-tide.     Then let him go who may go,

High-hearted to mead,     sithence when the morn-light,

O’er the children of men,     of the second day hence,

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The sun clad in heaven’s air,     shines from the southward.

Then merry of heart,     was the meter of treasures,

The hoary-man’d war-renown’d,     help now he trow’d in;

The lord of the Bright-Danes,     on Beowulf hearken’d,

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The folk-shepherd knew him,     his fast-ready mind.

There was laughter of heroes,     and high the din rang,

And winsome the words were.     Went Wealhtheow forth,

The Queen she of Hrothgar,     of courtesies mindful,

The gold-array’d greeted,     the grooms in the hall,

The free and frank woman,     the beaker there wended,

And first to the East-Dane-folk’s,     fatherland’s warder,

And bade him be blithe,     at the drinking of beer,

To his people beloved,     and lustily took he,

The feast and the hall-cup,     that victory-fam’d King.

620
Then round about went she,     the Dame of the Helmings,

And to doughty and youngsome,     each deal of the folk there,

Gave cups of the treasure,     till now it betid,

That to Beowulf duly,     the Queen the ring-dighted,

Of mind high uplifted,     the mead-beaker bare.

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Then she greeted the Geat-lord,     and gave God the thank,

She, the wisefast In words,     that the will had wax’d in her,

In one man of the earls,     to have trusting and troth,

For comfort from crimes.     But the cup then he took,

The slaughter-fierce warrior,     from Wealhtheow the Queen.

630
And then rim’d he the word,     making ready for war,

And Beowulf spake forth,     the Ecgtheow’s bairn:

E’en that in mind had I when,     up on holm strode I,

And in sea-boat sat down,     with a band of my men,

That for once and for all,     the will of your people,

Would I set me to work,     or on slaughter-field cringe,

Fast in grip of the fiend;     yea and now shall I frame,

The valour of earl-folk,     or else be abiding,

The day of mine end,     here down in the mead-hall.

To the wife those his words,     well liking they were,

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The big word of the Geat;     and the gold-adorn’d wended,

The frank and free Queen,     to sit by her lord.

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And thereafter within,     the high hall was as erst,

The proud word outspoken,     and bliss on the people,

Was the sound of the victory-folk,     till on a sudden,

The Healfdene’s son,     would now be a-seeking,

His rest of the even:     wotted he for the Evil,

Within the high hall,     was the Hild-play bedight,

Sithence that the sun-light,     no more should they see,

When night should be darkening,     and down over all,

650
The shapes of the shadow-helms,     should be a-striding,

Wan under the welkin.     Uprose then all war-folk;

Then greeted the glad-minded,     one man the other,

Hrothgar to Beowulf,     bidding him hail,

And the wine-hall to wield,     and withal quoth the word:

Never to any man,     erst have I given,

Since the hand and the shield’s round,     aloft might I heave,

This high hall of the Dane-folk,     save now unto thee.

Have now and hold,     the best of all houses,

Mind thee of fame,     show the might of thy valour!

660
Wake the wroth one:     no lack shall there be to thy willing,

If that wight work thou win,     and life therewithal.

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