Kirtlan Chapter 14

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XIV

Hrothgar spake.

He went to the hall and stood on the threshold and saw the steep roof all decked out with gold and the hand of Grendel.

‘Let thanks be given quickly to God for this sight,

’ said he.

‘Often I waited for the loathsome one,

for the snares of Grendel.

May God always work wonder after wonder,

He the Guardian of glory.

It was not long ago that I expected not a bettering of any woes for ever,

when,

doomed to blood,

this best of all houses stood all stained with gore.

Now has this Hero done a deed,

through the power of the Lord,

which none of us formerly could ever perform with all our wisdom.

Lo!

any woman who gave birth to such a son among human kind,

may say,

if she yet live,

that the Creator was gracious unto her in bearing of children.

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Now,

O Beowulf,

I will love thee in heart as my son.

Hold well to this new peace.

Nor shall there be any lack of joys to thee in the world,

over which I have power.

Full oft I for less have meted out rewards and worshipful gifts to a meaner warrior,

one weaker in strife.

Thou hast framed for thyself mighty deeds,

so that thy doom liveth always and for ever.

May the All-wielder ever yield thee good as He now doth.

’

Beowulf spake,

the son of Ecgtheow:

‘We framed to fight that brave work with much favour,

and hazarded a deed of daring and the might of the unknown.

I quickly gave you to see the monster himself the enemy in his fretted armour ready to fall.

I thought to twist him quickly with hard grip on a bed of slaughter so that he should lie in the throes of death,

because of my hand-grip,

unless he should escape with his body.

But I could not cut off his going when the Creator willed it not.

I cleft him not readily,

that deadly fiend.

He was too strong on his feet.

Nevertheless

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he left behind his hand as a life protection to show the track,

his arm and his shoulders.

But not by any means thus did that wretched creature get any help,

nor by that did the evil-doer,

brought low by sin,

live any longer.

But sorrow hath him in its fatal grip closely encompassed with baleful bands.

There shall a man covered with sins be biding a mickle doom as the shining Creator will prescribe.

’

Then was the man silent,

the son of Ecglaf,

in his boasting speech about deeds of battle,

when the Athelings looked at the hand high up on the roof,

by the craft of the earl,

and the fingers of the foe,

there before each one.

And each of the places of the nails was likest to steel,

the claw of the heathen,

the uncanny claw of the battle warrior.

Every one was saying that no very good iron,

of any of the brave ones,

would touch him at all,

that would bear away thence the bloody battle-hand of the monster.

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