Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 30

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XXX. BEOWULF FOREBODES ILL FROM THE WEDDING OF FREAWARU: HE TELLS OF GRENDEL AND HIS DAM.

Ill-liking this may be,     to the lord of the Heathobards,

And to each of the thanes,     of that same people.

When he with fair bride on,     the floor of hall wendeth,

That the Dane’s noble bairn,     his doughty should wait on,

As on him glisten there,     the heirlooms of the aged,

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Hard and with rings bedight,     Heathobards’ treasure,

Whileas the weapons,     yet they might wield;

Till astray did they lead,     there at the lind-play,

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Their own fellows belov’d,     and their very own lives.

For then saith at the beer,     he who seeth the ring,

An ancient ash-warrior,     who mindeth of all,

The spear-death of men;     grim is he of mind;

Sad of mood he beginneth,     to tell the young champion.

Through the thought of his,     heart his mind there to try,

The war-bale to waken,     and sayeth this word:

Mayest thou, friend mine,     wot of the war-sword,

That which thy father,     bore in the fight,

Under the war-mask,     e’en on the last time,

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That the dear iron,     whereas the Danes slew him,

Wielded the death-field,     since Withergyld lay,

After fall of the heroes,     the keen-hearted Scyldings?,

Now here of those banesmen,     the son, whoseso he be,

All merry in fretwork,     forth on floor fareth;

Of the murder he boasteth,     and that jewel he beareth,

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E’en that which of right,     thou shouldest arede.

Thus he mindeth and maketh,     word every of times,

With sore words he telleth,     until the time cometh,

That the thane of the fair bride,     for the deeds of his father,

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After bite of the bill,     sleepeth all blood-stain’d,

All forfeit of life;     but thenceforth the other,

Escapeth alive;     the land well he kenneth;

Then will be broken,     on both sides forsooth,

The oath-swearing of earls,     whenas unto Ingeld,

Well up the death-hatreds,     and the wife-loves of him,

Because of the care-wellings,     cooler become.

Therefore the Heathobards’,     faith I account not,

Their deal of the folk-peace,     unguileful to Danes,

Their fast-bounden friendship.     Henceforth must I speak on,

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Again about Grendel,     that thou get well to know it,

O treasure-out-dealer,     how sithence betided,

The hand-race of heroes:     sithence heaven’s gem,

All over the grounds glided,     came the wroth guest,

The dire night-angry one,     us to go look on,

Whereas we all sound,     were warding the hall.

There then for Handshoe,     was battle abiding,

Life-bale to the fey;     he first lay alow,

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The war-champion girded;     unto him became Grendel,

To the great thane of kindreds,     a banesman of mouth,

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Of the man well-beloved,     the body he swallow’d;

Nor the sooner therefor,     out empty-handed,

The bloody-tooth’d banesman,     of bales all bemindful,

Out from that gold-hall,     yet would he get him;

But he, mighty of main,     made trial of me,

And gripp’d ready-handed.     His glove hung aloft,

Wondrous and wide,     in wily bands fast,

With cunning wiles,     was it begeared forsooth,

With crafts of the devils,     and fells of the dragons;

He me withinwards there,     me the unsinning,

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The doer of big deeds,     would do me to be,

As one of the many;     but naught so it might be,

Sithence in mine anger,     upright I stood.

‘Tis over-long telling how,     I to the folkscather,

For each one of evils,     out paid the hand-gild.

There I, O my lord king,     them thy leal people,

Worthy’d with works:     but away he gat loosed,

Out thence for a little while,     brooked yet life-joys;

But his right hand held ward,     of his track howsoever,

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High upon Hart-hall,     and thence away humble,

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He sad of his mood,     to the mere-ground fell downward.

Me for that slaughter-race,     the friend of the Scyldings,

With gold that beplated,     was mickle deal paid,

With a many of treasures,     sithence came the morning,

And we to the feast-tide,     had sat us adown;

Song was and glee there;     the elder of Scyldings,

Asking of many things,     told of things o’erpast;

Whiles hath the battle-deer,     there the harp’s joy,

The wood of mirth greeted;     whiles the lay said he,

Soothfast and sorrowful;     whiles a spell seldom told,

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Told he by right,     the king roomy-hearted;

Whiles began afterward,     he by eld bounden,

The aged hoar warrior,     of his youth to bewail him,

Its might of the battle;     his breast well’d within him,

When he, wont in winters,     of many now minded.

So we there withinward,     the livelong day’s wearing,

Took pleasure amongst us,     till came upon men,

Another of nights;     then eftsoons again,

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Was yare for the harm-wreak,     the mother of Grendel:

All sorry she wended,     for her son death had taken,

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The war-hate of the Weders:     that monster of women,

Awreaked her bairn,     and quelled a warrior,

In manner all mighty.     Then was there from Aeschere,

The wise man of old,     life waning away;

Nor him might they even,     when come was the morning,

That death-weary wight,     the folk of the Danes,

Burn up with the brand,     nor lade on the bale,

The man well-belov’d,     for his body she bare off,

In her fathom the fiendly,     all under the fell-stream.

That was unto Hrothgar,     of sorrows the heaviest,

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Of them which the folk-chieftain,     long had befallen.

Then me did the lord king,     and e’en by thy life,

Mood-heavy beseech me,     that I in the holm-throng,

Should do after earlship,     my life to adventure,

And frame me main-greatness,     and meed he behight me.

Then I of the welling flood,     which is well kenned,

The grim and the grisly,     ground-herder did find.

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There to us for a while,     was the blending of hands;

The holm welled with gore,     and the head I becarved,

In that hall of the ground,     from the Mother of Grendel,

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With the all-eked edges;     unsoftly out thence,

My life forth I ferry’d,     for not yet was I fey.

But the earls’ burg to me,     was giving thereafter,

Much sort of the treasures,     e’en Healfdene’s son.

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