Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 14

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XIV. THE DANES REJOICE; THEY GO TO LOOK ON THE SLOT OF GRENDEL, AND COME BACK TO HART, AND ON THE WAY MAKE MERRY WITH RACING AND THE TELLING OF TALES.

There was then on the morning,     as I have heard tell it,

Round the gift-hall a many,     of men of the warriors:

Were faring folk-leaders,     from far and from near,

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O’er the wide-away roads,     the wonder to look on,

The track of the loathly:     his life-sundering nowise,

Was deem’d for a sorrow,     to any of men there,

Who gaz’d on the track,     of the gloryless wight;

How he all a-weary,     of mood thence awayward,

Brought to naught in the battle,     to the mere of the nicors,

Now fey and forth-fleeing,     his life-steps had flitted.

There all in the blood,     was the sea-brim a-welling,

The dread swing of the waves,     was washing all mingled,

With hot blood;     with the gore of the sword was it welling;

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The death-doom’d had dyed it,     sithence he unmerry,

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In his fen-hold had laid down,     the last of his life,

His soul of the heathen,     and hell gat hold on him.

Thence back again far’d they,     those fellows of old,

With many a young one,     from their wayfaring merry,

Full proud from the mere-side,     on mares there a-riding,

The warriors on white steeds.     There then was of Beowulf,

Set forth the might mighty;     oft quoth it a many,

That nor northward nor southward,     beside the twin sea-floods,

Over all the huge earth’s face,     now never another,

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Never under the heaven’s breadth,     was there a better,

Nor of wielders of war-shields,     a worthier of kingship;

But neither their friendly lord,     blam’d they one whit,

Hrothgar the glad,     for good of kings was he.

There whiles the warriors,     far-famed let leap,

Their fair fallow horses,     and fare into flyting,

Where unto them the earth-ways,     for fair-fashion’d seemed,

Through their choiceness well kenned;     and whiles a king’s thane,

A warrior vaunt-laden,     of lays grown bemindful,

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E’en he who all many,     of tales of the old days,

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A multitude minded,     found other words also,

Sooth-bounden,     and boldly the man thus began,

E’en Beowulf’s wayfare,     well wisely to stir,

With good speed to set forth,     the spells well areded,

And to shift about words.     And well of all told he,

That he of Sigemund,     erst had heard say,

Of the deeds of his might;     and many things uncouth:

Of the strife of the W’ing,     and his wide wayfarings,

Of those that men’s children,     not well yet they wist,

The feud and the crimes,     save Fitela with him;

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Somewhat of such things,     yet would he say,

The eme to the nephew;     e’en as they aye were,

In all strife soever,     fellows full needful;

And full many had they,     of the kin of the eotens,

Laid low with the sword.     And to Sigemund upsprang,

After his death-day,     fair doom unlittle,

Sithence that the war-hard,     the Worm there had quelled,

The herd of the hoard;     he under the hoar stone,

The bairn of the Atheling,     all alone dar’d it,

That wight deed of deeds;     with him Fitela was not.

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But howe’er,     his hap was that the sword so through-waded,

The Worm the all-wondrous,     that in the wall stood,

The iron dear-wrought:     and the drake died the murder.

There had the warrior,     so won by wightness,

That he of the ring-hoard,     the use might be having,

All at his own will.     The sea-boat he loaded,

And into the ship’s barm,     bore the bright fretwork,

W?’ son. In the hotness,     the Worm was to-molten.

Now he of all wanderers,     was widely the greatest,

Through the peoples of man-kind,     the warder of warriors,

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By mighty deeds; erst then,     and early he throve.

Now sithence the warfare,     of Heremod waned,

His might and his valour,     amidst of the eotens,

To the wielding of foemen straight,     was he betrayed,

And speedily sent forth:     by the surges of sorrow,

O’er-long was he lam’d,     became he to his lieges,

To all of the athelings,     a life-care thenceforward.

Withal oft bemoaned,     in times that were older,

The ways of that stout heart,     many a carle of the wisest.

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Who trow’d in him boldly,     for booting of bales,

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And had look’d that the king’s bairn,     should ever be thriving,

His father’s own lordship should take,     hold the folk,

The hoard and the ward-burg,     and realm of the heroes,

The own land of the Scyldings.     To all men was Beowulf,

The Hygelac’s kinsman,     to the kindred of menfolk,

More fair unto friends;     but on Heremod crime fell.

So whiles the men flyting,     the fallow street there,

With their mares were they meting.     There then was the morn-light,

Thrust forth and hasten’d;     went many a warrior,

All hardy of heart,     to the high hall aloft,

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The rare wonder to see;     and the King’s self withal,

From the bride-bower wended,     the warder of ring-hoards,

All glorious he trod,     and a mickle troop had he,

He for choice ways beknown;     and his Queen therewithal,

Meted the mead-path,     with a meyny of maidens.

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