Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 32

Table of Contents

Download Listen as you read along.

XXXII. HOW THE WORM CAME TO THE HOWE, AND HOW HE WAS ROBBED OF A CUP; AND HOW HE FELL ON THE FOLK.

Not at all with self-wielding,     the craft of the worm-hoards,

He sought of his own will,     who sore himself harmed;

But for threat of oppression,     a thrall, of I wot not,

128
Which bairn of mankind,     from blows wrathful fled,

House-needy forsooth,     and hied him therein,

A man by guilt troubled.     Then soon it betided,

That therein to the guest,     there stood grisly terror;

However the wretched,     of every hope waning,

The ill-shapen wight,     whenas the fear gat him,

2230
The treasure-vat saw;     of such there was a many,

Up in that earth-house,     of treasures of old,

As them in the yore-days,     though what man I know not,

The huge leavings and loom,     of a kindred of high ones,

Well thinking of thoughts,     there had hidden away.

Dear treasures. But all them,     had death borne away,

In the times of erewhile;     and the one at the last,

Of the doughty of that folk,     that there longest lived,

There waxed he friend-sad,     yet ween’d he to tarry,

That he for a little,     those treasures the longsome,

2240
Might brook for himself.     But a burg now all ready,

Wonn’d on the plain nigh,     the waves of the water,

New by a ness,     by narrow-crafts fasten’d;

129
Within there then bare,     of the treasures of earls,

That herd of the rings,     a deal hard to carry,

Of gold fair beplated,     and few words he quoth:

Hold thou, O earth, now,     since heroes may hold not,

The owning of earls.     What! it erst within thee,

Good men did get to them;     now war-death hath gotten,

Life-bale the fearful,     each man and every,

2250
Of my folk; e’en of them,     who forwent the life:

The hall-joy had they seen.     No man to wear sword,

I own, none to brighten,     the beaker beplated,

The dear drink-vat; the doughty,     have sought to else-whither.

Now shall the hard war-helm,     bedight with the gold,

Be bereft of its plating;     its polishers sleep,

They that the battle-mask,     erewhile should burnish:

Likewise the war-byrny,     which abode in the battle,

O’er break of the war-boards,     the bite of the irons,

Crumbles after the warrior;     nor may the ring’d byrny,

2260
After the war-leader,     fare wide afield,

On behalf of the heroes:     nor joy of the harp is,

No game of the glee-wood;     no goodly hawk now,

130
Through the hall swingeth;     no more the swift horse,

Beateth the burg-stead.     Now hath bale-quelling,

A many of life-kin,     forth away sent.

Suchwise sad-moody,     moaned in sorrow,

One after all,     unblithely bemoaning,

By day and by night,     till the welling of death,

Touch’d at his heart.     The old twilight-scather,

2270
Found the hoard’s joyance,     standing all open,

E’en he that, burning,     seeketh to burgs,

The evil drake, naked,     that flieth a night-tide,

With fire encompass’d;     of him the earth-dwellers,

Are strongly adrad;     wont is he to seek to,

The hoard in the earth,     where he the gold heathen,

Winter-old wardeth;     nor a whit him it betters.

So then the folk-scather,     for three hundred winters,

Held in the earth,     a one of hoard-houses,

All-eked of craft,     until him there anger’d,

2280
A man in his mood,     who bare to his man-lord,

A beaker beplated,     and bade him peace-warding,

Of his lord: then was lightly,     the hoard searched over,

And the ring-hoard off borne;     and the boon it was granted,

To that wretched-wrought man.     There then the lord saw,

131
That work of men foregone,     the first time of times.

Then awaken’d the Worm,     and anew the strife was;

Along the stone stank he,     the stout-hearted found,

The foot-track of the foe;     he had stept forth o’er-far,

With dark craft, over-nigh,     to the head of the drake.

2290
So may the man unfey,     full easily outlive,

The woe and the wrack-journey,     he whom the Wielder’s,

Own grace is holding.     Now sought the hoard-warden,

Eager over the ground;     for the groom he would find,

Who unto him sleeping,     had wrought out the sore:

Hot and rough-moody oft,     he turn’d round the howe,

All on the outward;     but never was any man,

On the waste; but however,     in war he rejoiced,

In battle-work. Whiles,     he turn’d back to his howe,

And sought to his treasure-vat;     soon he found this,

2300
That one of the grooms,     had proven the gold,

132
The high treasures;     then the hoard-warden abided,

But hardly forsooth,     until come was the even,

And all anger-bollen,     was then the burg-warden,

And full much would the loath one,     with the fire-flame pay back,

For his drink-vat the dear.     Then day was departed,

E’en at will to the Worm,     and within wall no longer,

Would he bide,     but awayward with burning he fared,

All dight with the fire:     it was fearful beginning,

To the folk in the land,     and all swiftly it fell,

2310
On their giver of treasure,     full grievously ended.

Table of Contents