Kirtlan Chapter 12


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The Prince of earls would not at all let go alive the murderous comer,

nor did he count his life as of use to any of the peoples.

And many an earl of Beowulf’s brandished the old heirloom,

and were wishful to defend the life of their far-famed liege-lord,

if they might do so.

And they knew not,

when they entered the battle,

they the hard-thinking ones,

the battle-men,

and they thought to hew on all sides


seeking out his spirit,

that not any choice iron over the earth nor any battle weapon could be greeting the foe,

but that he had forsworn all victorious weapons and swords.

And miserable should be his passing on the day of this life,

and the hostile sprite should journey far into the power of devils.

Then he found out that,

he who did crimes long before this with mirthful mind to human kind,

he who was a foe to God,

that his body would not last out;

but the proud kinsman of Hygelac had him in his hands.

And each was loathsome to the other while he lived.

The terrible monster,

sore with wounds was waiting.

The gaping wound was seen on his shoulder.

His sinews sprang open;

and the bone-lockers burst.

And great victory was given to Beowulf.

Thence would Grendel,

mortally wounded,

flee under the fen-slopes to seek out a joyless dwelling.

The more surely he knew he had reached the end of his life,

the number of his days.

Joy befell all the Danes after the slaughter-rush.

So he had cleansed the hall of Hrothgar—he who


had come from far,

the proud and stout-hearted one,

and saved them from strife.

He rejoiced in the night-work and in the glorious deeds.

His boast he had fulfilled,

this leader of the Geats,

which he made to the East Danes,

and likewise made good all the distresses and the sorrows which they suffered of yore from the foe,

and which through dire need they had to endure,

of distresses not a few.

And when the battle-brave man laid down the hand,

the arm and shoulder under the wide roof,

that was the manifest token.


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