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XXV. CONVERSE OF HROTHGAR WITH BEOWULF.
Spake out then Beowulf, Ecgtheow’s bairn:
What! we the sea-spoils here to thee, son of Healfdene,
High lord of the Scyldings, with lust have brought hither,
For a token of glory, e’en these thou beholdest.
Now I all unsoftly, with life I escaped,
In war under the water, dar’d I the work,
Full hard to be worked, and well-nigh there was,
The sundering of strife, save that me God had shielded.
So it is that in battle, naught might I with Hrunting,
One whit do the work, though the weapon be doughty;
But to me then he granted, the Wielder of men,
That on wall I beheld there, all beauteous hanging,
An ancient sword, might-endow’d, (often he leadeth right,
The friendless of men); so forth, drew I that weapon.
In that onset I slew there, as hap then appaid me,
The herd of the house; then that bill of the host,
The broider’d sword, burn’d up, and that blood sprang forth,
The hottest of battle-sweats; but the hilts thereof thenceforth,
From the foemen I ferry’d. I wreaked the foul deeds,
The death-quelling of Danes, e’en as duly behoved.
Now this I behote thee, that here in Hart mayst thou,
Sleep sorrowless henceforth, with the host of thy men,
And the thanes every one, that are of thy people,
Of doughty and young; that for them need thou dread not,
O high lord of Scyldings, on that behalf soothly,
Life-bale for the earls, as erst thou hast done.
Then was the hilt golden, to the ancient of warriors,
The hoary of host-leaders, into hand given,
The old work of giants; it turn’d to the owning,
After fall of the Devils, of the lord of the Danes,
That work of the wonder-smith, syth gave up the world,
The fierce-hearted groom, the foeman of God,
The murder-beguilted, and there eke his mother;
Unto the wielding, of world-kings it turned,
The best that there be, betwixt of the sea-floods,
Of them that in Scaney, dealt out the scat.
Now spake out Hrothgar, as he look’d on the hilts there,
The old heir-loom whereon, was writ the beginning,
Of the strife of the old time, whenas the flood slew,
The ocean a-gushing, that kin of the giants,
As fiercely they fared. That was a folk alien,
To the Lord everlasting; so to them a last guerdon,
Through the welling of waters, the Wielder did give.
So was on the sword-guards, all of the sheer gold,
By dint of the rune-staves, rightly bemarked,
Set down and said for whom, first was that sword wrought,
And the choice of all irons, erst had been done,
Wreath-hilted and worm-adorn’d. Then spake the wise one,
Healfdene’s son, and all were gone silent:
Lo that may he say, who the right and the soothfast,
Amid the folk frameth, and far back all remembers,
The old country’s warden, that as for this earl here,
Born better was he. Uprear’d is the fame-blast,
Through wide ways far yonder, O Beowulf, friend mine,
Of thee o’er all peoples. Thou hold’st all with patience,
Thy might with mood-wisdom; I shall make thee my love good,
As we twain at first spake it. For a comfort thou shalt be,
Granted long while and long, unto thy people,
For a help unto heroes. Naught such became Heremod,
To Ecgwela’s offspring, the honourful Scyldings;
For their welfare naught wax’d he, but for felling in slaughter,
For the quelling of death, to the folk of the Danes.
Mood-swollen he brake there, his board-fellows soothly,
His shoulder-friends, until he sunder’d him lonely,
That mighty of princes, from the mirth of all men-folk.
Though him God the mighty, in the joyance of might,
In main strength, exalted high over all-men,
And framed him forth, yet fast in his heart grew,
A breast-hoard blood-fierce; none of fair rings he gave,
To the Danes as due doom would. Unmerry he dured,
So that yet of that strife, the trouble he suffer’d.
A folk-bale so longsome. By such do thou learn thee,
Get thee hold of man-valour: this tale for thy teaching,
Old in winters I tell thee. ’Tis wonder to say it,
How the high God almighty, to the kindred of mankind,
Through his mind the wide-fashion’d, deals wisdom about,
Home and earlship; he owneth, the wielding of all.
At whiles unto love, he letteth to turn,
The mood-thought of a man, that Is mighty of kindred,
And in his land giveth, him joyance of earth,
And to have and to hold, the high ward-burg of men,
And sets so ‘neath his wielding, the deals of the world,
Dominion wide reaching, that he himself may not,
In all his unwisdom of, the ending bethink him.
He wonneth well-faring, nothing him wasteth,
Sickness nor eld, nor the foe-sorrow to him,
Dark in mind waxeth, nor strife any where,
The edge-hate, appeareth; but all the world for him,
Wends as he willeth, and the worse naught he wotteth.