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XXIX. BEOWULF TELLS HYGELAC OF HROTHGAR: ALSO OF FREAWARU HIS DAUGHTER.
Went his ways then the hard one, and he with his hand-shoal,
Himself over the sand, the sea-plain a-treading,
The warths wide away; shone the world’s candle,
The sun slop’d from the southward; so dreed they their journey,
And went their ways stoutly, unto where the earls’ refuge,
The banesman of Ongentheow, all in his burgs there,
The young king of war, the good, as they heard it.
Was dealing the rings. Aright unto Hygelac,
Was Beowulf’s speeding, made knowen full swiftly,
That there into the house-place, that hedge of the warriors,
His mate of the linden-board, living was come,
Hale from the battle-play, home to him houseward.
Then rathe was beroomed, as the rich one was bidding,
For the guests a-foot going, the floor all withinward.
Then sat in the face of him, he from the fight sav’d,
Kinsman by kinsman, whenas his man-lord,
In fair-sounding speech, had greeted the faithful,
With mightyful words. With mead-skinking turned,
Through the high house adown, the daughter of H’th:
The people she loved: the wine-bucket bare she,
To the hands of the men. But now fell to Hygelac,
His very house-fellow, in that hall the high,
To question full fairly, for wit-lust to-brake him,
Of what like were the journeys, the Sea-Geats had wended:
How befell you the sea-lode, O Beowulf lief,
When thou on a sudden, bethoughtst thee afar,
Over the salt water, the strife to be seeking,
The battle in Hart? or for Hrothgar forsooth,
The wide-kenned woe, some whit didst thou mend,
For that mighty of lords? I therefore the mood-care,
In woe-wellings seethed; trow’d not in the wending,
Of thee the lief man. A long while did I pray thee,
That thou the death-guest there, should greet not a whit;
Wouldst let those same South-Danes, their own selves to settle,
The war-tide with Grendel. Now to God say I thank,
That thee, and thee sound, now may I see.
Out then spake Beowulf, Ecgtheow’s bairn:
All undark it is, O Hygelac lord,
That meeting the mighty, to a many of men;
Of what like was the meeting, of Grendel and me,
On that field of the deed, where he many a deal,
For the Victory-Scyldings, of sorrow had framed,
And misery for ever; but all that I awreaked,
So that needeth not boast any, kinsman of Grendel,
Any one upon earth of, that uproar of dawn-dusk,
Nay not who lives longest, of that kindred the loathly,
Encompass’d of fenland. Thither first did I come,
Unto that ring-hall, Hrothgar to greet;
Soon unto me, the great Healfdene’s son,
So soon as my heart, he was wotting forsooth.
Right against his own son, a settle there showed.
All that throng was in joy, nor life-long saw I ever,
Under vault of the heavens, amidst any hall-sitters,
More mirth of the mead. There the mighty Queen whiles,
Peace-sib of the folk, went all over the floor,
To the young sons bade heart up; oft she there the ring-wreath,
Gave unto a man ere, to settle she wended.
At whiles fore the doughty, the daughter of Hrothgar,
To the earls at the end, the ale-bucket bore;
E’en she whom Freawaru, the floor-sitters thereat,
Heard I to name; where, she the nail’d treasure,
Gave to the warriors. She was behight then,
Youngling and gold-dight, to the glad son of Froda.
This hath seemed fair to the, friend of the Scyldings,
The herd of the realm, and good rede he accounts it,
That he with that wife, of death-feuds a deal,
And of strifes should allay. Oft unseldom eachwhere,
After a lord’s fall, e’en but for a little,
Bows down the bane-spear, though doughty the bride be.