Kirtlan Chapter 11

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XI

Then came Grendel,

stalking from the moors among the misty hill-slopes,

and he bore God’s anger.

And the wicked scather of human kind fully intended to ensnare a certain one in the high hall.

So he wended his way under the welkin to where he knew that the best of wine-halls,

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the gold-hall of man,

was adorned with gold plating.

Nor was that the first time that he sought out the home of Hrothgar.

Nor ever in former or later days did he find a harder welcome from hall-thanes.

Then the creature bereft of all joy came to the great hall,

and the door,

strongly bound with fire-bands,

soon sprang open at his touch.

And the evil-minded one in his fury burst open the door of the palace.

And soon after this the enemy,

angry in mind,

was treading o’er the doom?floor.

And a fearsome light streamed forth from his eyes likest to a flame.

And he could see many a warrior in that palace,

a troop of peace-lovers asleep together,

a company of kinsmen,

and he laughed aloud.

Then the terrible monster fully intended to cut off from life every one of them there,

when he was expecting abundance of meat.

But that fate was not yet,

that he should lay hold of any more of human kind after that night.

Then did Beowulf,

kinsman of Hygelac,

see the dire distress,

how the

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wicked scather would fare with sudden grip.

Nor did the monster think to delay,

but at the first he quickly laid hold of a sleeping warrior,

and tore him to pieces all unawares,

and bit at the flesh and drank the streaming blood,

and devoured huge pieces of flesh.

And soon he had eaten up both feet and hands of the man he had killed.

Then he stepped up to the great-hearted warrior16 where he lay on the bed,

and took him in his hands.

He reached out his hand against the enemy,

and quickly received him with hostile intent,

and sat upon his arm.

The Keeper of crimes soon was finding that he never had met in all the quarters of the earth amongst other men a greater hand-grip.

And in mind and heart he was fearful,

and eager to be gone and to flee away into darkness to seek the troop of devils.

But that was not his fate,

as it had been in days of yore.

Then the good kinsman of Hygelac remembered the evening talk,

and stood upright and laid hold upon him.

His fingers burst.

The

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giant was going forth,

but the earl stepped after.

The famous one intended to escape more widely,

howsoever he might,

and to flee on his way thence to the sloping hollows of the fens.

That journey was sorrowful,

which the harmful scather took to Hart.

The lordly hall resounded.

And great terror there was to all the Danes,

the castle-dwellers,

to each of the brave.

And both the mighty guardians were fiercely angry.

The hall resounded.

Then was it great wonder that the wine-hall withstood the bold fighters,

and that it fell not to the earth,

that fair earth-dwelling.

But very firm it was standing,

cunningly shaped by craft of the smith,

within and without.

Then on the floor was many a mead-bench,

as I have heard tell,

decked out with gold,

where the fierce ones were striving.

Nor did the wise Danes formerly suppose that any man could break down a hall so noble and decorated with antlers,

or cunningly destroy it,

unless the bosom of flame swallowed it up in smoke.

The roaring went up now

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enough.

And an awful terror came to the North Danes,

to each one of those who heard weeping from the ramparts,

the enemy of God singing a fierce song,

a song that was empty of victory,

and the captive of hell lamenting his sorrow.

For he that was strongest of men in strength held him fast on the day of his life.

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