Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 35

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XXXV. BEOWULF TELLS OF PAST FEUDS, AND BIDS FAREWELL TO HIS FELLOWS: HE FALLS ON THE WORM, AND THE BATTLE OF THEM BEGINS.

Then to sleeping-stead wendeth he,     singeth he sorrow,

2460 The one for the other;     o’er-roomy all seem’d him,

The meads and the wick-stead.     So the helm of the Weders,

For Herebeald’s sake,     the sorrow of heart,

All welling yet bore,     and in nowise might he,

On the banesman of that life,     the feud be a-booting;

Nor ever the sooner,     that warrior might hate,

With deeds loathly,     though he to him nothing was lief.

He then with the sorrow,     wherewith that sore beset him,

Man’s joy-tide gave up,     and chose him God’s light.

To his offspring he left,     e’en as wealthy man doeth,

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His land and his folk-burgs,     when he from life wended.

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Then sin was and striving,     of Swedes and of Geats,

Over the wide water,     war-tide in common,

The hard horde-hate to wit,     sithence Hrethel perish’d;

And to them ever were,     the Ongentheow’s sons,

Doughty and host-whetting,     nowise then would friendship,

Hold over the waters;     but round about Hreosnaburgh,

The fierce fray of foeman,     was oftentimes fram’d.

Kin of friends that mine were,     there they awreaked,

The feud and the evil deed,     e’en as was famed;

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Although he, the other,     with his own life he bought it,

A cheaping full hard:     unto H’cyn it was,

To the lord of the Geat-folk,     a life-fateful war.

Learned I that the morrow one,     brother the other,

With the bills’ edges wreaked,     the death on the banesman,

Whereas Ongentheow,     is a-seeking of Eofor:

Glode the war-helm asunder,     the aged of Scylfings,

Fell, sword-bleak; e’en so,     remember’d the hand,

Feud enough; nor e’en then,     did the life-stroke withhold.

I to him for the treasure,     which erewhile he gave me,

143 2490
Repaid it in warring,     as was to me granted,

With my light-gleaming sword.     To me gave he land,

The hearth and the home-bliss:     unto him was no need,

That unto the Gifthas,     or unto the Spear-Danes,

Or into the Swede-realm,     he needs must go seeking,

A worse wolf of war,     for a worth to be cheaping;

For in the host ever,     would I be before him,

Alone in the fore-front,     and so life-long shall I,

Be a-framing of strife,     whileas tholeth the sword,

Which early and late,     hath bestead me full often,

2500
Sithence was I by doughtiness,     unto Day-raven,

The hand-bane erst waxen,     to the champion of Hug-folk;

He nowise the fretwork,     to the king of the Frisians,

The breast-worship to wit,     might bring any more,

But cringed in battle,     that herd of the banner,

The Atheling in might:     the edge naught was his bane,

But for him did the war-grip,     the heart-wellings of him,

Break, the house of the bones.     Now shall the bill’s edge,

The hand and hard sword,     about the hoard battle.

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So word uttered Beowulf,     spake out the boast word,

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For the last while as now:     Many wars dared I,

In the days of my youth,     and now will I yet,

The old warder of folk,     seek to the feud,

Full gloriously frame,     if the scather of foul-deed,

From the hall of the earth,     me out shall be seeking.

Greeted he then,     each one of the grooms,

The keen wearers of helms,     for the last while of whiles,

His own fellows the dear:     No sword would I fare with,

No weapon against the Worm,     wist I but how,

‘Gainst the monster of evil,     in otherwise might I,

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Uphold me my boast, as erst,     did I with Grendel;

But there fire of the war-tide,     full hot do I ween me,

And the breath, and the venom;     I shall bear on me therefore,

Both the board and the byrny;     nor the burg’s warden shall I,

Overflee for a foot’s-breadth,     but unto us twain,

It shall be at the wall as,     to us twain Weird willeth,

The Maker of each man.     Of mood am I eager;

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So that ‘gainst that war-flier,     from boast I withhold me.

Abide ye upon burg,     with your byrnies bewarded,

Ye men in your battle-gear,     which may the better,

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After the slaughter-race,     save us from wounding,

Of the twain of us. Naught,     is it yours to take over,

Nor the measure of any man,     save alone me,

That he on the monster,     should mete out his might,

Or work out the earlship:     but I with my main might,

Shall gain me the gold,     or else gets me the battle,

The perilous life-bale,     e’en me your own lord.

Arose then by war-round,     the warrior renowned,

Hard under helm,     and the sword-sark he bare,

Under the stone-cliffs:     in the strength then he trowed,

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Of one man alone;     no dastard’s way such is.

Then he saw by the wall,     (e’en he, who so many,

The good of man-bounties,     of battles had out-liv’d,

Of crashes of battle,     whenas hosts were blended),

A stone-bow a-standing,     and from out thence a stream,

Breaking forth from the burg;     was that burn’s outwelling,

All hot with the war-fire;     and none nigh to the hoard then,

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Might ever unburning,     any while bide,

Live out through the deep,     for the flame of the drake.

Out then from his breast,     for as bollen as was he,

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Let the Weder-Geats’ chief,     the words be out faring;

The stout-hearted storm’d,     and the stave of him enter’d,

Battle-bright sounding,     in under the hoar stone.

Then uproused was hate,     and the hoard-warden wotted,

The speech of man’s word,     and no more while there was,

Friendship to fetch.     Then forth came there first,

The breath of the evil beast,     out from the stone,

The hot sweat of battle,     and dinn’d then the earth.

The warrior beneath the burg,     swung up his war-round,

Against that grisly guest,     the lord of the Geats;

2560
Then the heart of the ring-bow’d,     grew eager therewith,

To seek to the strife.     His sword ere had he drawn,

That good lord of the battle,     the leaving of old,

The undull of edges:     there was unto either,

Of the bale-minded ones,     the fear of the other.

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All steadfast of mind stood,     against his steep shield,

The lord of the friends,     when the Worm was a-bowing,

Together all swiftly,     in war-gear he bided;

Then boune was the burning one,     bow’d in his going,

To the fate of him faring.     The shield was well warding,

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The life and the lyke,     of the mighty lord king,

For a lesser of whiles than,     his will would have had it,

If he at that frist on,     the first of the day,

Was to wield him, as weird,     for him never will’d it,

The high-day of battle.     His hand he up braided,

The lord of the Geats,     and the grisly-fleck’d smote he,

With the leaving of Ing,     in such wise that the edge fail’d,

The brown blade on the bone,     and less mightily bit,

Than the king of the nation,     had need in that stour,

With troubles beset.     But then the burg-warden,

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After the war-swing,     all wood of his mood,

Cast forth the slaughter-flame,     sprung thereon widely,

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The battle-gleams: nowise,     of victory he boasted,

The gold-friend of the Geats;     his war-bill had falter’d,

All naked in war,     in such wise as it should not,

The iron exceeding good.     Naught was it easy,

For him there, the mighty-great,     offspring of Ecgtheow,

That he now that earth-plain,     should give up for ever;

But against his will needs must,     he dwell in the wick,

Of the otherwhere country;     as ever must each man,

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Let go of his loan-days.     Not long was it thenceforth,

Ere the fell ones of fight,     fell together again.

The hoard-warden up-hearten’d him,     welled his breast,

With breathing anew.     Then narrow need bore he,

Encompass’d with fire,     who erst the folk wielded;

Nowise in a heap,     his hand-fellows there,

The bairns of the athelings,     stood all about him,

In valour of battle;     but they to holt bow’d them;

Their dear life they warded;     but in one of them welled,

His soul with all sorrow.     So sib-ship may never,

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Turn aside any whit,     to the one that well thinketh.

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