Kirtlan Chapter 40


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Then he bade them announce that battle-work at the entrenchment up over the sea-cliff where that troop of earls sat sorrowful in soul through the morning-long day,

holding their shields and in expectation


of the end of the day and the return of the dear man.

And he who rode to and fro o’er the headland was little sparing of fresh tidings,

but said to all who were sitting there,

‘Now is the joy-giver of the people of the Geats fast on his death-bed,

and by the deed of the dragon he inhabits the place of rest gained by a violent death.

And by his side lieth the enemy of his life,

sick of his dagger-wounds.

Nor could he inflict with the sword any wound on that monster.

Wiglaf sits over Beowulf,

he the son of Weohstan,

the earl over the other one who is dead,

and reverently keeps ward over the loath?and the belov? But there is an expectation of a time of war to the people,

since to Franks and Frisians the fall of the King has become widely known.

The hard strife was shapen against the Hugs,

when Hygelac came with a fleet into the Frisian lands76 where the Hetware overcame him in battle,

and by their great strength and courage brought it to pass


that the shield-warrior should stoop.

He fell in the troop.

Nor did the Prince give jewelled armour to the doughty ones.

The mercy of the Merewing77 was not always shown to us.

Nor do I expect aught of peace or good faith from the Swedish People.

But it was well known that Ongentheow78 bereft H?cyn the son of Hrethel79 of life over against Ravenswood,

when because of pride the warlike Swedes first sought out the people of the Geats.

Soon Ongentheow the wise father of Ohthere,

the ancient and terrible,

gave him (H?cyn) a return blow,

destroyed the sea-kings,

and rescued his bride (Queen Elan) he the old man rescued his wife bereft of gold,

the mother of Onela and of Ohthere,

and then followed up the deadly foe until with difficulty they retreated all lord-less to Ravenswood.

And he attacked the remnant80


with a great army,

weary though he was with his wounds.

And the live-long night he vowed woe upon the wretched troop,

and said that on the morrow he would by the edge of the sword slay some and hang them up on the gallows-tree for a sport of the birds.

But help came to the sorrowful in soul at the dawn of day,

when they heard the horn of Hygelac and the blast of his trumpet when the good man came on the track faring with the doughty warriors of the people.


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