Kirtlan Chapter 10


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Then Hrothgar departed with his troop of heroes,

he the Prince of the Scyldings;

out of Hall went he,

for the battle-chieftain would be seeking out Wealtheow his Queen,

that they might go to rest.

The glory of kings had appointed a hall-ward,

as men say,

against Grendel.

A thane was in waiting on the Prince of the Danes,

and his watch was keeping against the giant.

The Lord of the Geats readily trusted the proud strength,

the favour of God.

Then doffed he the iron coat of mail and his helmet from his head,

and gave his sword bedecked,

the choicest of weapons,

to a thane that was serving,

and bade him to hold ready his armour.

Then the good man spoke some words of boasting:

‘I reck not myself meaner in war-powers and works of battle than Grendel doth



For I will not with sword put him to sleep and be taking his life away,

though well I might do it.

He knows not of good things,

that he may strike me,

or hew my shield,

though brave he may be in hostile working—but we two by right will forbear the sword if he dare be seeking warfare without weapon,

and then God all-knowing,

the holy Lord,

shall adjudge the glory on whichever side He may think meet.

’ Then the bold in fight got him to rest,

and the pillow received the head of the earl,

and many a keen sea-warrior lay down on his bed in the hall about him.

None of them thought that he thence would ever seek another dear home,

folk or free city where he was a child;

for they had heard that fell death had taken,

ere this too many,

in that wine-hall,

of the people of the Danes.

But the Lord gave weavings of war-speed to the people of the Geats,

both comfort and help.

So that they all overcame their enemies through the craft of one man and by his might only.

And truly it is said that God Almighty doth


wield for ever the race of men.

Then came in the wan night the shadow-goer gliding.

Warriors were sleeping when they should have been keeping guard over that palace;

all save one only.

It was well known to men that their constant foe could not draw them into shadowy places when the Creator was unwilling.

But he,

ever wakeful,

in angry mood,

and fiercely indignant against the foe,

was waiting the issue.


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