Kirtlan Chapter 5

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V

The way was paved with many coloured stones,

and by it they knew the path they should take.

The coat of mail shone brightly,

which was firmly hand-locked.

The bright iron ring sang in the armour as they came on their way in their warlike

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trappings at the first to the great hall.

Then the sea-weary men set down their broad shields,

their shields that were wondrous hard ’gainst the wall of the great house,

and bowed towards the bench.

And byrnies were rattling,

the war-weapons of men.

And the spears were standing in a row together,

the weapons of the sea-men and the spear grey above.

And the troop of armed men was made glorious with weapons.

Then the proud chieftain asked the warriors of their kindred:

‘From whence are ye bringing such gold-plated shields,

grey sarks and helmets with visors,

and such a heap of spears?

I am the servant and messenger of Hrothgar.

Never saw I so many men prouder.

I trow it was for pride and not at all for banishment,

but for greatness of mind that Hrothgar ye are seeking.

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Then answered the brave man,

the chief of the Geats,

and spake these words,

hard under helmet:

‘We are the comrades at table of Hygelac.

Beowulf is my name.

I will say fully this my errand to the son of Healfdene the famous

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chieftain,

unto thy lord and master,

if he will grant us that we may salute him who is so good.

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Then spake Wulfgar (he was Prince of the Wendels9).

His courage was known to all,

his valour and wisdom.

‘I will make known to the Prince of the Danes,

the Lord of the Scyldings10 the giver of rings the famous chieftain as thou art pleading,

about thy journey,

and will make known to thee quickly the answer which he the good man thinks fit to give me.

Quickly he turned then to where Hrothgar was sitting,

old and very grey with his troop of earls.

The brave man then went and stood before the shoulders of the Lord of the Danes.

Well he knew the custom of the doughty ones.

Wulfgar then spoke to his lord and friend:

‘Here are come faring from a far country over the wide sea,

a people of the Geats,

and the eldest the warriors call Beowulf.

And they are asking that they may exchange words

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with thee,

my lord.

O gladman Hrothgar,

do not refuse to be talking with them.

For worthy they seem all in their war-weeds,

in the judgement of earls.

At least he is a daring Prince who hither hath led this band of warriors.

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