Kirtlan Chapter 17

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XVII

‘Then the warriors went forth to visit the dwellings which were bereft of friends,

and to look upon the land of the Frisians,

the homesteads and the high town.

And Hengest was still dwelling with Finn,

that slaughter-stained winter,

all bravely without strife.

And he thought on the homeland,

though he could not be sailing his ringed ship over the waters.

The sea boiled with storm and waged war with the wind.

And winter locked up the ice-bound waves till yet another year came in the court,

as still it doth,

which ever guards the seasons,

and the glory-bright weather.

Then winter was scattered,

and fair was the bosom of the earth.

25 And the

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wanderer strove to go,

the guest from the court.

And much more he thought of vengeance for the feud than of the sea-voyage,

as to how he could bring about an angry encounter,

for he bore in mind the children of the Jutes.

And so he escaped not the lot of mortals when Hunlafing did on his arm the best of swords,

the flashing light of the battle,

whose edge was well known to the Jutes.

And dire sword-bale after befel the fierce-minded Finn,

even in his very own home,

when Guthlaf and Oslaf lamented the grim grip of war and the sorrow after sea-journeys,

and were charging him with his share in the woes.

Nor could he hold back in his own breast his fluttering soul.

Then again was the hall adorned with the bodies of foemen,

and Finn was also slain,

the King with his troop,

and the Queen was taken.

And the warriors of the Danes carried to the ships all the belongings of the earth-king,

such as they could find in the homestead of Finn,

of ornaments and jewels.

They bore away also the noble wife Hildeburh down to the sea away

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to the Danes,

and led her to her people.

’

So a song was sung,

a lay of the gleemen,

and much mirth there was and great noise from the benches.

And cup-bearers offered wine from wondrous vessels.

Then came forth Queen Wealtheow in her golden circlet,

where the two good men were sitting,

the uncle and his nephew.

And still were they in peace together,

and each true to the other.

Likewise Unferth the Spokesman sat there at the foot of the Lord of the Danes.

And each of them trusted Unferth’s good heart and that he had a great soul,

though he was not loyal to his kinsmen at the sword-play.

Then spake the Queen of the Danes:

‘Take this cup,

O my liege lord,

thou giver of rings.

Be thou right joyful,

thou gold-friend to men;

do thou speak mild words to the Geats,

as a man should be doing.

Be glad of thy Geats and mindful of gifts.

Now thou hast peace both near and far.

There is one who told me that thou wouldst have

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the battle-hero for thy son.

Now Hart is all cleansed,

the bright hall of rings.

Enjoy whilst thou mayest many rewards,

and leave to thy kinsmen both folk and a kingdom when thou shalt go forth to look on eternity.

I know my glad Hrothulf26 will hold in honour this youth if thou,

O Hrothgar the friend of the Danes,

dost leave the world earlier than he.

I ween that he will yield good to our children if he remembers all that has passed—how we two worshipfully showed kindness to him in former days when he was but a child.

’ Then she turned to the bench where were her sons Hrothric and Hrothmund and the children of heroes,

the youths all together.

There sat the good man Beowulf of the Geats,

by the two brothers.

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