Download Listen as you read along.
XXXVI. WIGLAF SON OF WEOHSTAN GOES TO THE HELP OF BEOWULF: NNLING, BEOWULF?S SWORD, IS BROKEN ON THE WORM.
Wiglaf so hight he, the son of Weohstan,
Lief linden-warrior, and lord of Scylfings,
The kinsman of Aelfhere: and he saw his man-lord,
Under his host-mask, tholing the heat;
He had mind of the honour, that to him gave he erewhile.
The wick-stead the wealthy, of them, the W’undings,
And the folk-rights each one, which his father had owned.
Then he might not withhold him, his hand gripp’d the round,
Yellow linden; he tugg’d out, withal the old sword,
That was known among, men for the heirloom of Eanmund,
Ohthere’s son, unto whom, in the strife did become,
To the exile unfriended, Weohstan for the bane,
With the sword-edge, and unto, his kinsmen bare off,
The helm the brown-brindled, the byrny beringed,
And the old eoten-sword, that erst Onela gave him;
Were they his kinsman’s, weed of the war,
Host-fight-gear all ready. Of the feud nothing spake he.
Though he of his brother, the bairn had o’er-thrown.
But the host-gear befretted, he held many seasons,
The bill and the byrny, until his own boy might,
Do him the earlship, as did his ere-father.
Amidst of the Geats then, he gave him the war-weed,
Of all kinds unnumber’d, whenas he from life wended,
Old on the forth-way. Then was the first time,
For that champion the young, that he the war-race,
With his high lord the famed, e’er he should frame:
Naught melted his mood, naught the loom of his kinsman,
Weaken’d in war-tide; that found out the Worm,
When they two together, had gotten to come.
Now spake out Wiglaf, many words rightwise,
And said to his fellows: all sad was his soul:
I remember that while, when we gat us the mead,
And whenas we behight, to the high lord of us,
In the beer-hall, e’en he, who gave us these rings,
That we for the war-gear, one while would pay,
If unto him thislike, need e’er should befall,
For these helms and hard swords. So he chose us from host,
To this faring of war, by his very own will,
Of glories he minded us, and gave me these gems here,
Whereas us of gar-warriors, he counted for good,
And bold bearers of helms. Though our lord e’en for us,
This work of all might, was of mind all alone,
Himself to be framing, the herd of the folk,
Whereas most of all men, he hath mightiness framed.
Of deeds of all daring, yet now is the day come,
Whereon to our man-lord behoveth the main,
Of good battle-warriors; so thereunto wend we,
And help we the host-chief, whiles that the heat be,
The gleed-terror grim. Now of me wotteth God,
That to me is much liefer, that that, my lyke-body,
With my giver of gold, the gleed should engrip.
Unmeet it methinketh, that we shields should bear,
Back unto our own home, unless we may erst,
The foe fell adown, and the life-days defend,
Of the king of the Weders. Well wot I hereof,
That his old deserts naught, such were, that he only,
Of all doughty of Geats, the grief should be bearing.
Sink at strife. Unto us shall, one sword be, one helm,
One byrny and shield, to both of us common.
Through the slaughter-reek waded he then, bare his war-helm,
To the finding his lord, and few words he quoth:
O Beowulf the dear, now do thee all well,
As thou in thy youthful life, quothest of yore,
That naught wouldst thou let, while still thou wert living,
Thy glory fade out. Now shalt thou of deeds famed,
The atheling of single heart, with all thy main deal,
For the warding thy life, and to stay thee I will.
Then after these words, all wroth came the Worm,
The dire guest foesome, that second of whiles,
With fire-wellings flecked, his foes to go look on,
The loath men. With flame, was lightly then burnt up,
The board to the boss, and might not the byrny,
To the warrior the young, frame any help yet.
But so the young man, under shield of his kinsman,
Went onward with valour, whenas his own was,
All undone with gleeds; then again the war-king,
Remember’d his glories, and smote with mainmight,
With his battle-bill, so, that it stood in the head,
Need-driven by war-hate. Then asunder burst N’ing,
Waxed weak in the war-tide, e’en Beowulf’s sword,
The old and grey-marked; to him was not given,
That to him any whit, might the edges of irons,
Be helpful in battle; over-strong was the hand,
Which every of swords, by the hearsay of me,
With its swing over-wrought, when he bare unto strife,
A wondrous hard weapon; naught it was to him better.
Then was the folk-scather, for the third of times yet,
The fierce fire-drake, all mindful of feud;
He rac’d on that strong one, when was room to him given,
Hot and battle-grim; he all the halse of him gripped,
With bitter-keen bones; all bebloody’d he waxed,
With the gore of his soul. Well’d in waves then the war-sweat.