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XXVII. BEOWULF BIDS HROTHGAR FAREWELL: THE GEATS FARE TO SHIP.
Out then spake Beowulf, Ecgtheow’s bairn:
As now we sea-farers, have will to be saying,
We from afar come, that now are we fainest,
Of seeking to Hygelac. Here well erst were we,
Serv’d as our wills would, and well thine avail was.
If I on the earth then, be it e’en but a little,
Of the love of thy mood may yet, more be an-earning,
O lord of the men-folk, than heretofore might I,
Of the works of the battle yare, then soon shall I be.
If I should be learning, I over the flood’s run,
That the sitters about thee, beset thee with dread,
Even thee hating, as otherwhile did they;
Then thousands to theeward, of thanes shall I bring,
For the helping of heroes. Of Hygelac wot I,
The lord of the Geat-folk, though he be but a youngling,
That shepherd of folk, that me will he further,
By words and by works, that well may I ward thee,
And unto thine helping, the spear-holt may bear,
A main-staying mighty, whenas men thou art needing.
And if therewith Hrethric, in the courts of the Geat-house,
The King’s bairn, take hosting, then may he a many,
Of friends find him soothly: far countries shall be,
Better sought to by him, who for himself is doughty.
Out then spake Hrothgar, in answer to himward:
Thy word-saying soothly, the Lord of all wisdom,
Hath sent into thy mind; never heard I more sagely,
In a life that so young was, a man word be laying;
Strong of might and main art thou, and sage of thy mood,
Wise the words of thy framing. Tell I this for a weening,
If it so come to pass that, the spear yet shall take,
Or the battle all sword-grim, the son of that Hrethel,
Or sickness or iron, thine Alderman have,
Thy shepherd of folk, and thou fast to life hold thee,
Then no better than thee may, the Sea-Geats be having,
To choose for themselves, no one of the kings,
Hoard-warden of heroes, if then thou wilt hold,
Thy kinsman’s own kingdom. Me liketh thy mood-heart,
The longer the better, O Beowulf the lief;
In such wise hast thou fared, that unto the folks now,
The folk of the Geats, and the Gar-Danes withal,
In common shall peace be, and strife rest appeased,
And the hatreds the doleful, which erst they have dreed;
Shall become, whiles I wield it, this wide realm of ours,
Treasures common to either, folk: many a one other,
With good things shall greet, o’er the bath of the gannet;
And the ring’d bark withal over, sea shall be bringing,
The gifts and love-tokens. The twain folks I know,
Toward foeman toward friend, fast-fashion’d together,
In every way blameless, as in the old wise.
Then the refuge of warriors, he gave him withal,
Gave Healfdene’s son, of treasures yet twelve;
And he bade him with those gifts, to go his own people,
To seek in all soundness, and swiftly come back.
Then kissed the king, he of noble kin gotten,
The lord of the Scyldings, that best of the thanes,
By the halse then he took him; from him fell the tears,
From the blended of hoar hair. Of both things was there hoping,
To the old, the old wise one; yet most of the other,
To wit, that they sithence, each each might be seeing,
The high-heart in council. To him so lief was he,
That he his breast-welling, might nowise forbear,
But there in his bosom, bound fast in his heart-bonds,
After that dear man, a longing dim-hidden,
Burn’d against blood-tie. So Beowulf thenceforth,
The gold-proud of warriors, trod the mould grassy,
Exulting in gold-store. The sea-ganger bided,
Its owning-lord whereas, at anchor it rode.
Then was there in going, the gift of King Hrothgar,
Oft highly accounted; yea, that was a king,
In every wise blameless, till eld, took from him eftsoon,
The joyance of might, as it oft scathes a many.