Kirtlan Chapter 25

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XXV

‘He knoweth no evil until his share of pride wasteth and groweth,

while sleepeth the guardian,

the ward of his soul.

And the sleep is too deep,

bound up in afflictions,

and the banesman draweth

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near who shooteth cruelly his arrows from the bow.

Then in his soul under helmet is he stricken with bitter shaft.

Nor can he save himself from the crooked behests of the cursed ghost.

And little doth he think of that which long he hath ruled.

And the enemy doth covet,

nor at all doth he give in boast the plated rings,

and he then forgetteth and despiseth his fate his share of honour which God before gave him,

He the Wielder of wonder.

And in the end it doth happen that the body sinks fleeting and doomed to death falleth.

And another succeeds theretowho joyfully distributeth gifts,

the old treasure of the earl,

and careth not for terrors.

Guard thee against malicious hate,

O my dear Beowulf,

thou noblest of men,

and choose for thyself that better part,

eternal wisdom.

Have no care for pride,

O glorious champion.

Now is the fame of thy strength proclaimed for a while.

Soon will it be that disease or sword-edge or grasp of fire or whelming of floods or grip of sword or flight of arrow or dire old age

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will sever thee from strength,

or the lustre of thine eyes will fail or grow dim.

Then forthwith will happen that death will o’erpower thee,

O thou noble man.

Thus have I for fifty years held sway over the Ring-Danes under the welkin and made safe by war many a tribe throughout the world with spears and swords,

so that I recked not any man my foeman under the sweep of heaven.

Lo!

then there came to me change in my homeland,

sorrow after gaming,

when Grendel,

that ancient foe became my invader.

And ever I bore much sorrow of mind through that feud.

And may God be thanked,

the eternal lord,

that I lingered in life,

till I looked with mine eyes on that head stained with sword-blood after the old strife.

Go now to thy seat and enjoy the feasting,

thou who art glorious in war.

And when morning cometh there shall be a host of treasures in common between us.

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And the Geat was glad of mind,

and soon he went up to the high seat as the proud chief had bidden him.

Then

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renewed was fair chanting as before ’mongst these brave ones who sat on the floor.

And the helmet of night grew dark over men.

And the noble warriors arose.

The venerable king wished to go to his bed,

the old prince of the Danes.

And the Geat,

the shield-warrior,

desired greatly to go to his rest.

And straightway a hall-thane guided the far-comer,

weary of his journey,

he who so carefully attended to all his needs such as that day the ocean-goers would fain be having.

And the great-hearted one rested himself.

The House towered on high that was spacious and gold-decked.

The guest slept within until the black raven heralded the joy of heaven.

Then came the sun,

hastening and shining over the earth.

Warriors were hurrying and Athelings were eager to go to their people.

The bold-hearted comer would visit the ship far away.

He the hardy one bade the son of Ecglaf carry forth Hrunting,

and commanded him to take his sword,

that lovely piece of steel.

And he gave

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thanks for the lending,

and said he reckoned him a good war-comrade and crafty in fighting.

Not at all did he blame the edge of the sword.

He was a proud man.

When ready for the journey were all the warriors,

then Beowulf the Atheling,

of good worth to the Danes,

went up to the dais where was Hrothgar the faithful and bold,

and greeted him there.

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