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XLII. THEY GO TO LOOK ON THE FIELD OF DEED.
Then it was to be seen, that throve not the way,
To him that unrightly, had hidden within there,
The fair gear ‘neath the wall. The warder erst slew,
Some few of folk, and the feud then became,
Wrothfully wreaked. A wonder whenas,
A valour-strong earl, may reach on the ending,
Of the fashion of life, when he longer in nowise,
One man with his kinsmen, may dwell in the mead-hall!
So to Beowulf was it when, the burg’s ward he sought.
For the hate of the weapons: he himself knew not,
Wherethrough forsooth his world’s, sundering should be.
So until Doomsday, they cursed it deeply,
Those princes the dread, who erst there had done it,
That that man should be, of sins never sackless,
A-hoppled in shrines, in hell-bonds fast set,
With plague-spots be punish’d, who that plain should plunder.
But naught gold-greedy was he, more gladly had he,
The grace of the Owner, erst gotten to see.
Now spake out Wiglaf, that son was of Weohstan:
Oft shall many an earl, for the will but of one,
Dree the wrack, as to us, even now is befallen:
Nowise might we learn, the lief lord of us,
The herd of the realm, any of rede,
That he should not go greet, that warder of gold,
But let him live yet, whereas long he was lying,
And wonne in his wicks, until the world’s ending;
But he held to high weird, and the hoard hath been seen,
Grimly gotten: o’er hard, forsooth was that giving,
That the king of the folk, e’en thither enticed.
Lo! I was therein, and I look’d it all over,
The gear of the house, when for me room was gotten,
But I lightly in nowise, had leave for the passage,
In under the earth-wall; in haste I gat hold,
Forsooth with my hands, of a mickle main burden,
Of hoard-treasures, and hither, then out did I bear them,
Out unto my king, and then, quick was he yet,
Wise, and wit-holding: a many things spake he,
That aged in grief-care, and bade me to greet you,
And prayed ye would do e’en after, your friend’s deeds,
Aloft in the bale-stead, a howe builded high,
Most mickle and mighty, as he amongst men was,
The worthfullest warrior, wide over the world,
While he the burg-weal, erewhile might brook.
Then so let us hasten, this second of whiles,
To see and to seek, the throng of things strange,
The wonder ‘neath wall; I shall wise you the way,
So that ye from a-near, may look on enough,
Of rings and broad gold; and be the bier swiftly,
All yare thereunto, whenas out we shall fare.
Then let us so ferry, the lord that was ours,
The lief man of men, to where long shall he,
In the All-Wielder’s keeping, full patiently wait.
Bade then to bid, the bairn of that Weohstan,
The deer of the battle, to a many of warriors,
The house-owning wights, that the wood of the bale,
They should ferry from far, e’en the folk-owning men,
Toward the good one. And now shall the gleed fret away,
The wan flame a-waxing, the strong one of warriors,
Him who oft-times abided, the shower of iron,
When the storm of the shafts, driven on by the strings,
Shook over the shield-wall, and the shaft held its service,
And eager with feather-gear, follow’d the barb.
Now then the wise one, that son was of Weohstan,
Forth from the throng then, call’d of the king’s thanes,
A seven together, the best to be gotten,
And himself went the eighth, in under the foe-roof;
One man of the battlers, in hand there he bare,
A gleam of the fire, of the first went he inward.
It was nowise allotted, who that hoard should despoil,
Sithence without warden, some deal that there was,
The men now beheld, in the hall there a-wonning,
Lying there fleeting; little mourn’d any,
That they in all haste, outward should ferry,
The dear treasures.But forthwith, the drake did they shove,
The Worm, o’er the cliff-wall, and let the wave take him,
The flood fathom about, the fretted works’ herd.
There then was wounden gold, on the wain laden,
Untold of each kind, and the Atheling borne,
The hoary of warriors, out on to Whale-ness.