Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 17

Table of Contents

Download Listen as you read along.

XVII. THEY FEAST IN HART. THE GLEEMAN SINGS OF FINN AND HENGEST.

1050
Then the lord of the earl-folk,     to every and each one,

Of them who with Beowulf,     the sea-ways had worn,

Then and there on the mead-bench,     did handsel them treasure,

61
An heir-loom to wit;     for him also he bade it,

That a were-gild be paid,     whom Grendel aforetime,

By wickedness quell’d,     as far more of them would he,

Save from them God all-witting,     the weird away wended,

And that man’s mood withal.     But the Maker all wielded,

Of the kindred of mankind,     as yet now he doeth.

Therefore through-witting,     will be the best everywhere,

1060
And the forethought of mind.     Many things must abide,

Of lief and of loth,     he who here a long while,

In these days of the strife,     with the world shall be dealing.

There song was and sound,     all gather’d together,

Of that Healfdene’s warrior,     and wielder of battle,

The wood of glee greeted,     the lay wreaked often,

Whenas the hall-game,     the minstrel of Hrothgar,

All down by the mead-bench,     tale must be making:

By Finn’s sons aforetime,     when the fear gat them,

The hero of Half-Danes,     Hn?of the Scyldings,

1070
On the slaughter-field Frisian,     needs must he fall.

Forsooth never Hildeburh,     needed to hery,

The troth of the Eotens;     she all unsinning,

62
Was lorne of her lief ones,     in that play of the linden,

Her bairns and her brethren,     by fate there they fell,

Spear-wounded. That was,     the all-woeful of women.

Not unduly without cause,     the daughter of Hoc,

Mourn’d the Maker’s own shaping,     sithence came the morn,

When she under the heavens,     that tide came to see,

Murder-bale of her kinsmen,     where most had she erewhile?,

1080
Of world’s bliss. The war-tide,     took all men away,

Of Finn’s thanes that were,     save only a few;

E’en so that he might not,     on the field of the meeting,

Hold Hengest a war-tide,     or fight any whit,

Nor yet snatch away thence,     by war the woe-leavings,

From the thane of the King;     but terms now they bade him,

That for them other stead all,     for all should make room,

A hall and high settle,     whereof the half-wielding,

They with the Eotens’ bairns,     henceforth might hold,

And with fee-gifts moreover,     the son of Folkwalda,

1090
Each day of the days,     the Danes should beworthy;

63
The war-heap of Hengest,     with rings should he honour,

Even so greatly,     with treasure of treasures,

Of gold all beplated,     as he the kin Frisian,

Down in the beer-hall,     duly should dight.

Troth then they struck there,     each of the two halves,

A peace-troth full fast.     There Finn unto Hengest,

Strongly, unstrifeful,     with oath-swearing swore,

That he the woe-leaving by the doom of the wise ones,

Should hold in ail honour,     that never man henceforth,

1100
With word or with work,     the troth should be breaking,

Nor through craft of the guileful,     should undo it ever,

Though their ring-giver’s bane,     they must follow in rank,

All lordless, e’en so,     need is it to be:

But if any of Frisians,     by over-bold speaking,

The murderful hatred,     should call unto mind,

Then naught but the edge,     of the sword should avenge it.

Then done was the oath there,     and gold of the golden,

64
Heav’d up from the hoard.     Of the bold Here-Scyldings,

All yare on the bale was,     the best battle-warrior;

1110
On the death-howe beholden,     was easily there,

The sark stain’d with war-sweat,     the all-golden swine,

The iron-hard boar;     there was many an atheling,

With wounds all outworn;     some on slaughter-field welter’d.

But Hildeburh therewith,     on Hn’s bale she bade them,

The own son of herself,     to set fast in the flame,

His bone-vats to burn up,     and lay on the bale there:

On his shoulder all woeful,     the woman lamented,

Sang songs of bewailing,     as the warrior strode upward,

Wound up to the welkin,     that most of death-fires,

1120
Before the howe howled;     there molten the heads were,

The wound-gates burst open,     there blood was out-springing,

From foe-bites of the body;     the flame swallow’d all,

The greediest of ghosts,     of them that war gat him,

Of either of folks;     shaken off was their life-breath.

Table of Contents