Kirtlan Chapter 28

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XXVIII

Then the hardy one himself,

with his troop set forth to tread the seashore,

going along the sands,

the wide sea-beaches.

The candle of the world shone,

the sun that was shining from the South.

And joyfully they journeyed,

and with courage they marched along,

to where they heard by inquiring,

that the good Prince of earls,

the banesman of Ongentheow48 the young war-king,

was giving out rings within the city.

And quickly was made known to Hygelac the coming of Beowulf,

that he the Prince of warriors,

the comrade in arms,

was returning alive and hale from the battle-play,

was coming to the palace.

And straightway

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was there room made for the foot-guests on the floor of the hall by command of the King.

And he that had escaped scot-free from the contest sat with the King,

kinsman with kinsman,

and the lord with courteous speech saluted the brave man with high-swelling words.

And the daughter of H?th49 poured forth from the mead-cups throughout that great hall,

for she loved well the people,

and carried round the drinking-stoups to each of the warriors.

And Hygelac began to question his comrade as curiosity prompted him as to the journey of the Sea-Geats.

‘How went it with thee,

dear Beowulf,

in thy faring,

when thou didst bethink thee suddenly to be seeking a contest o’er the salt waters,

in battle at Hart?

And thou didst requite the widely known woe which Hrothgar was suffering,

that famous lord.

And I brooded o’er that mind-care with sorrow-whelmings,

for I trusted not in the journey of the dear man.

And for a long time I bade thee not a whit to be greeting the murderous

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stranger,

but to let the South Danes themselves wage war against Grendel.

And I now give God thanks that I see thee safe and sound.

’

Beowulf answered,

the son of Ecgtheow:

‘O Lord Hygelac,

it is well known to many a man,

our famous meeting,

and the battle we fought,

Grendel and I,

on the wide plain,

when he was working great sorrow to the Danes and misery for ever.

All that I avenged,

so that no kinsman of Grendel anywhere on earth needed to boast of that uproar by twilight,

no not he of that kindred who liveth the longest,

encircled by the fen.

And first,

to greet Hrothgar,

I went to the Ring-hall.

And straightway the famous kinsman of Healfdene,

when he knew my intention,

gave me a place with his own son;

and the troop was all joyful.

Nor ever have I seen greater joy amongst any hall-dwellers under the arch of heaven.

Sometimes the famous Queen,

50 the peace-bringer of the folk,

walked over the whole floor and encouraged the young

[125]

sons.

And often she gave to the man a twisted ring ere she went to the high seat.

And sometimes for the noble band the daughter of Hrothgar carried the ale-cups to the earls at the end of the high table.

And I heard those who sat in that hall calling her Freawaru as she gave the studded treasure to the heroes.

And she,

young and gold-decked,

is betrothed to the glad son of Froda.

51 The friend of the Danes and the guardian of the kingdom has brought this to pass,

and taken that counsel,

so as to set at rest by that betrothal many a slaughter-feud and ancient strife.

And often it happens that a little while after the fall of a people,

the deadly spear seldom lieth at rest though the bride be doughty.

And this may displease the lord of the Heathobards and all of his thanes of the people,

when he with his bride walketh over the floor,

that his doughty warriors should attend on a noble scion of the Danes,

and the heirloom of the ancients should glisten on him,

all hard,

and the ring-sword,

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the treasure of the Heathobards,

whilst they might be wielding weapons.

52

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