Beowulf: Morris and Wyatt Chapter 37

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XXXVII. THEY TWO SLAY THE WORM. BEOWULF IS WOUNDED DEADLY: HE BIDDETH WIGLAF BEAR OUT THE TREASURE.

Then heard I that at need,     of the high king of folk,

The upright earl made,     well manifest might,

His craft and his keenness,     as kind was to him;

The head there he heeded not,     (but the hand burned,

Of that man of high mood,     when he helped his kinsman),

Whereas he now the hate-guest,     smote yet a deal nether,

That warrior in war-gear,     whereby the sword dived,

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The plated, of fair hue,     and thereby fell the flame,

To minish thereafter,     and once more the king’s self,

Wielded his wit, and,     his slaying-sax drew out,

The bitter and battle-sharp,     borne on his byrny;

Asunder the Weder’s helm,     smote the Worm midmost;

They felled the fiend,     and force drave the life out,

And they twain together,     had gotten him ending,

Those athelings sib. E’en,     such should a man be,

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A thane good at need.     Now that to the king was,

The last victory-while,     by the deeds of himself,

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Of his work of the world.     Sithence fell the wound,

That the earth-drake to him,     had wrought but erewhile.

To swell and to sweal;     and this soon he found out,

That down in the breast of him,     bale-evil welled,

The venom withinward;     then the Atheling wended,

So that he by the wall,     bethinking him wisdom.

Sat on seat there and saw,     on the works of the giants,

How that the stone-bows,     fast stood on pillars,

The earth-house everlasting,     upheld withinward.

Then with his hand,     him the sword-gory,

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That great king his thane,     the good beyond measure,

His friend-lord with water,     washed full well,

The sated of battle,     and unspanned his war-helm.

Forth then spake Beowulf,     and over his wound said,

His wound piteous deadly;     wist he full well,

That now of his day-whiles,     all had he dreed,

Of the joy of the earth;     all was shaken asunder,

The tale of his days;     death without measure nigh:

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Unto my son,     now should I be giving,

My gear of the battle,     if to me it were granted,

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Any ward of the heritage,     after my days,

To my body belonging.     This folk have I holden,

Fifty winters; forsooth,     was never a folk-king,

Of the sitters around,     no one of them soothly,

Who me with the war-friends,     durst wend him to greet,

And bear down with the terror.     In home have I abided,

The shapings of whiles,     and held mine own well.

No wily hates sought I;     for myself swore not many,

Of oaths in unright.     For all this may I,

Sick with the life-wounds,     soothly have joy.

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Therefore naught need wyte me,     the Wielder of men,

With kin murder-bale,     when breaketh asunder,

My life from my lyke.     And now lightly go thou,

To look on the hoard,     under the hoar stone,

Wiglaf mine lief, now,     that lieth the Worm,

And sleepeth sore wounded,     beshorn of his treasure;

And be hasty that I now,     the wealth of old time,

The gold-having may look on,     and yarely behold,

The bright cunning gems,     that the softlier may I,

After the treasure-weal,     let go away,

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My life, and the folk-ship,     that long I have held.

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