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Anonymous



BEOWULF

Translated by Gummere

 

 

 

 

BEOWULFPRELUDE OFTHE FOUNDER OF THE DANISH HOUSE

LOpraiseof the prowess of people-kingsofspear-armed Danesin days long spedwe haveheardand what honor the athelings won!Oft Scyldthe Scefing from squadroned foesfrom manya tribethe mead-bench toreawing theearls. Since erst he layfriendlessa foundlingfate repaid him:for hewaxed under welkinin wealth he throvetillbefore him the folkboth far and nearwho houseby the whale-pathheard his mandategave himgifts: a good king he!To him anheir was afterward borna son inhis hallswhom heaven sentto favorthe folkfeeling their woethat erstthey had lacked an earl for leaderso long awhile; the Lord endowed himtheWielder of Wonderwith world's renown.Famedwas this Beowulf: far flew the boast of himson ofScyldin the Scandian lands.So becomesit a youth to quit him wellwith hisfather's friendsby fee and giftthat toaid himagedin after dayscomewarriors willingshould war draw nighliegemenloyal: by lauded deedsshall anearl have honor in every clan.

Forth hefared at the fated momentsturdyScyld to the shelter of God.Then theybore him over to ocean's billowlovingclansmenas late he charged themwhilewielded words the winsome Scyldthe leaderbeloved who long had ruled....In theroadstead rocked a ring-dight vesselice-fleckedoutboundatheling's barge:there laidthey down their darling lordon thebreast of the boatthe breaker-of-ringsby themast the mighty one. Many a treasurefetchedfrom far was freighted with him.No shiphave I known so nobly dightwithweapons of war and weeds of battlewithbreastplate and blade: on his bosom laya heapedhoard that hence should gofar o'erthe flood with him floating away.No lessthese loaded the lordly giftsthanes'huge treasurethan those had donewho informer time forth had sent himsole onthe seasa suckling child.High o'erhis head they hoist the standardagold-wove banner; let billows take himgave himto ocean. Grave were their spiritsmournfultheir mood. No man is ableto say insoothno son of the hallsno hero'neath heaven  who harbored that freight!

 

 

I

NowBeowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldingsleaderbelovedand long he ruledin famewith all folksince his father had goneaway fromthe worldtill awoke an heirhaughtyHealfdenewho held through lifesage andsturdythe Scyldings glad.Thenoneafter onethere woke to himto thechieftain of clansmenchildren four:Heorogarthen Hrothgarthen Halga brave;and Iheard that  was  's queentheHeathoscylfing's helpmate dear.ToHrothgar was given such glory of warsuch honorof combatthat all his kinobeyed himgladly till great grew his bandofyouthful comrades. It came in his mindto bid hishenchmen a hall uprearia mastermead-housemightier farthan everwas seen by the sons of earthand withinitthento old and younghe wouldall allot that the Lord had sent himsave onlythe land and the lives of his men.WideIheardwas the work commandedfor many atribe this mid-earth roundto fashionthe folkstead. It fellas he orderedin rapidachievement that ready it stood thereof hallsthe noblest: Heorot he named itwhosemessage had might in many a land.Notreckless of promisethe rings he dealttreasureat banquet: there towered the hallhighgabled widethe hot surge waitingof furiousflame. Nor far was that daywhenfather and son-in-law stood in feudforwarfare and hatred that woke again.With envyand anger an evil spiritenduredthe dole in his dark abodethat heheard each day the din of revelhigh inthe hall: there harps rang outclear songof the singer. He sang who knewtales ofthe early time of manhow theAlmighty made the earthfairestfields enfolded by watersettriumphantsun and moonfor alight to lighten the land-dwellersandbraided bright the breast of earthwith limbsand leavesmade life for allof mortalbeings that breathe and move.So livedthe clansmen in cheer and revela winsomelifetill one beganto fashionevilsthat field of hell.Grendelthis monster grim was calledmarch-rievermightyin moorland livingin fen andfastness; fief of the giantsthehapless wight a while had keptsince theCreator his exile doomed.On kin ofCain was the killing avengedby sovranGod for slaughtered Abel.Ill faredhis feudand far was he drivenfor theslaughter's sakefrom sight of men.Of Cainawoke all that woful breedEtinsand elves and evil-spiritsas well asthe giants that warred with Godwearywhile: but their wage was paid them!

 

 

II

WENT heforth to find at fall of nightthathaughty houseand heed wherevertheRing-Danesoutrevelledto rest had gone.Foundwithin it the atheling bandasleepafter feasting and fearless of sorrowof humanhardship. Unhallowed wightgrim andgreedyhe grasped betimeswrathfulrecklessfrom resting-placesthirty ofthe thanesand thence he rushedfain ofhis fell spoilfaring homewardladen withslaughterhis lair to seek.Then atthe dawningas day was breakingthe mightof Grendel to men was known;then afterwassail was wail upliftedloud moanin the morn. The mighty chiefathelingexcellentunblithe satlabored inwoe for the loss of his thaneswhen oncehad been traced the trail of the fiendspiritaccurst: too cruel that sorrowtoo longtoo loathsome. Not late the respite;with nightreturninganew beganruthlessmurder; he recked no whitfirm inhis guiltof the feud and crime.They wereeasy to find who elsewhere soughtin roomremote their rest at nightbed in thebowerswhen that bale was shownwas seenin soothwith surest tokenthehall-thane's hate. Such held themselvesfar andfast who the fiend outran!Thus ruledunrighteous and raged his filloneagainst all; until empty stoodthatlordly buildingand long it bode so.Twelveyears' tide the trouble he boresovran ofScyldingssorrows in plentyboundlesscares. There came unhiddentidingstrue to the tribes of meninsorrowful songshow ceaselessly GrendelharassedHrothgarwhat hate he bore himwhatmurder and massacremany a yearfeudunfading  refused consentto dealwith any of Daneland's earlsmake pactof peaceor compound for gold:still lessdid the wise men ween to getgreat feefor the feud from his fiendish hands.But theevil one ambushed old and youngdeath-shadowdarkand dogged them stillluredorlurked in the livelong nightof mistymoorlands: men may say notwhere thehaunts of these Hell-Runes be.Suchheaping of horrors the hater of menlonelyroamerwrought unceasingharassingsheavy. O'er Heorot he lordedgold-brighthallin gloomy nights;and ne'ercould the prince approach his throne 'twasjudgment of God  or have joy in his hall.Sore wasthe sorrow to Scyldings'-friendheart-rendingmisery. Many noblessatassembledand searched out counselhow itwere best for bold-hearted menagainstharassing terror to try their hand.Whilesthey vowed in their heathen fanesaltar-offeringsasked with wordsthat theslayer-of-souls would succor give themfor thepain of their people. Their practice thistheirheathen hope; 'twas Hell they thought ofin mood oftheir mind. Almighty they knew notDoomsmanof Deeds and dreadful LordnorHeaven's-Helmet heeded they everWielder-of-Wonder. Woe for that manwho inharm and hatred hales his soulto fieryembraces;  nor favor nor changeawaits heever. But well for himthat afterdeath-day may draw to his Lordandfriendship find in the Father's arms!

 

 

III

THUSseethed unceasing the son of Healfdenewith thewoe of these days; not wisest menassuagedhis sorrow; too sore the anguishloathlyand longthat lay on his folkmostbaneful of burdens and bales of the night.

This heardin his home Hygelac's thanegreatamong Geatsof Grendel's doings.He was themightiest man of valorin thatsame day of this our lifestalwartand stately. A stout wave-walkerhe bademake ready. Yon battle-kingsaid hefar o'erthe swan-road he fain would seekthe noblemonarch who needed men!Theprince's journey by prudent folkwas littleblamedthough they loved him dear;theywhetted the heroand hailed good omens.And nowthe bold one from bands of Geatscomradeschosethe keenest of warriorse'er hecould find; with fourteen menthesea-wood he soughtandsailor provedled themon to the land's confines.Time hadnow flown; afloat was the shipboat underbluff. On board they climbedwarriorsready; waves were churningsea withsand; the sailors boreon thebreast of the bark their bright arraytheir mailand weapons: the men pushed offon itswilling waythe well-braced craft.Then movedo'er the waters by might of the windthat barklike a bird with breast of foamtill inseason dueon the second daythe curvedprow such course had runthatsailors now could see the landsea-cliffsshiningsteep high hillsheadlandsbroad. Their haven was foundtheirjourney ended. Up then quicklytheWeders' clansmen climbed ashoreanchoredtheir sea-woodwith armor clashingand gearof battle: God they thankedor passingin peace o'er the paths of the sea.Now sawfrom the cliff a Scylding clansmana wardenthat watched the water-sidehow theybore o'er the gangway glittering shieldswar-gearin readiness; wonder seized himto knowwhat manner of men they were.Straightto the strand his steed he rodeHrothgar'shenchman; with hand of mighthe shookhis spearand spake in parley."Whoare yethenye armed menmailedfolkthat yon mighty vesselhave urgedthus over the ocean wayshere o'erthe waters? A warden Isentinelset o'er the sea-march herelest anyfoe to the folk of Daneswithharrying fleet should harm the land.No aliensever at ease thus bore themlinden-wielders:yet word-of-leaveclearly yelack from clansmen heremy folk'sagreement.  A greater ne'er saw Iofwarriors in world than is one of youyon heroin harness! No henchman heworthiedby weaponsif witness his featureshispeerless presence! I pray youthoughtellyour folkand homelest hence ye faresuspect towander your way as spiesin Danishland. Nowdwellers afarocean-travellerstake from mesimpleadvice: the sooner the betterI hear ofthe country whence ye came."

 

 

IV

To him thestateliest spake in answer;thewarriors' leader his word-hoard unlocked:"Weare by kin of the clan of GeatsandHygelac's own hearth-fellows we.To folkafar was my father knownnobleathelingEcgtheow named.Full ofwintershe fared awayaged fromearth; he is honored stillthroughwidth of the world by wise men all.To thylord and liege in loyal moodwe hastenhitherto Healfdene's sonpeople-protector:be pleased to advise us!To thatmighty-one come we on mickle errandto thelord of the Danes; nor deem I rightthat aughtbe hidden. We hear  thou knowestif soothit is  the saying of menthat amidthe Scyldings a scathing monsterdarkill-doerin dusky nightsshowsterrific his rage unmatchedhatred andmurder. To Hrothgar Iingreatness of soul would succor bringso theWise-and-Brave may worst his foesif everthe end of ills is fatedof cruelcontestif cure shall followand theboiling care-waves cooler grow;else everafterward anguish-dayshe shallsuffer in sorrow while stands in placehigh onits hill that house unpeered!"Astridehis steedthe strand-ward answeredclansmanunquailing: "The keen-souled thanemust beskilled to sever and sunder dulywords andworksif he well intends.I gatherthis band is graciously bentto theScyldings' master. Marchthenbearingweaponsand weeds the way I show you.I will bidmy men your boat meanwhileto guardfor fear lest foemen comeyournew-tarred ship by shore of oceanfaithfullywatching till once againit wafto'er the waters those well-loved thanes winding-neck'dwood  to Weders' boundsheroessuch as the hest of fateshallsuccor and save from the shock of war."They bentthem to march  the boat lay stillfetteredby cable and fast at anchorbroad-bosomedship.  Then shone the boarsover thecheek-guard; chased with goldkeen andgleamingguard it kepto'er theman of waras marched alongheroes inhastetill the hall they sawbroad ofgable and bright with gold:that wasthe fairest'mid folk of earthof houses'neath heavenwhere Hrothgar livedand thegleam of it lightened o'er lands afar.The sturdyshieldsman showed that brightburg-of-the-boldest;bade them gostraightwaythither; his steed then turnedhardyheroand hailed them thus:"Tistime that I fare from you. Father Almightyin graceand mercy guard you wellsafe inyour seekings. Seaward I go'gainsthostile warriors hold my watch."

 

 

V

STONE-BRIGHTthe street: it showed the wayto thecrowd of clansmen. Corselets glistenedhand-forgedhard; on their harness brightthe steelring sangas they strode alongin mail ofbattleand marched to the hall.Thereweary of oceanthe wall alongthey settheir bucklerstheir broad shieldsdownand bowedthem to bench: the breastplates clangedwar-gearof men; their weapons stackedspears ofthe seafarers stood togethergray-tippedash: that iron bandwasworthily weaponed!  A warrior proudasked ofthe heroes their home and kin."Whencenowbear ye burnished shieldsharnessgray and helmets grimspears inmultitude? MessengerIHrothgar'sherald! Heroes so manyne'er metI as strangers of mood so strong.'Tis plainthat for prowessnot plunged into exileforhigh-hearted valorHrothgar ye seek!"Him thesturdy-in-war bespake with wordsproud earlof the Weders answer madehardy'neath helmet:  "Hygelac'swefellows atboard; I am Beowulf named.I amseeking to say to the son of Healfdenethismission of mineto thy master-lordthedoughty princeif he deign at allgrace thatwe greet himthe good onenow."Wulfgarspakethe Wendles' chieftainwhosemight of mind to many was knownhiscourage and counsel: "The king of DanestheScyldings' friendI fain will telltheBreaker-of-Ringsas the boon thou askestthe famedprinceof thy faring hitherandswiftly aftersuch answer bringas thedoughty monarch may deign to give."Hied thenin haste to where Hrothgar satwhite-hairedand oldhis earls about himtill thestout thane stood at the shoulder thereof theDanish king: good courtier he!Wulfgarspake to his winsome lord:"Hitherhave fared to thee far-come meno'er thepaths of oceanpeople of Geatland;and thestateliest there by his sturdy bandis Beowulfnamed. This boon they seekthat theymy mastermay with theehavespeech at will: nor spurn their prayerto givethem hearinggracious Hrothgar!In weedsof the warrior worthy theymethinksof our liking; their leader most surelya herothat hither his henchmen has led."

 

 

VI

HROTHGARansweredhelmet of Scyldings:"Iknew him of yore in his youthful days;his agedfather was Ecgtheow namedto whomat homegave Hrethel the Geathis onlydaughter. Their offspring boldfareshither to seek the steadfast friend.Andseamentoohave said me thiswhocarried my gifts to the Geatish courtthitherfor thanks  he has thirty men'sheft ofgrasp in the gripe of his handthebold-in-battle. Blessed Godout of hismercy this man hath sentto Danesof the Westas I ween indeedagainsthorror of Grendel. I hope to givethe goodyouth gold for his gallant thought.Be thou inhasteand bid them hitherclan ofkinsmento come before me;and addthis word  they are welcome gueststo folk ofthe Danes."[To thedoor of the hallWulfgarwent] and the word declared:"Toyou this message my master sendsEast-Danes'kingthat your kin he knowshardyheroesand hails you allwelcomehither o'er waves of the sea!Ye maywend your way in war-attireand underhelmets Hrothgar greet;but lethere the battle-shields bide your parleyand woodenwar-shafts wait its end."Uprose themighty oneringed with his menbrave bandof thanes: some bode withoutbattle-gearguardingas bade the chief.Then hiedthat troop where the herald led themunderHeorot's roof: [the hero strode]hardy'neath helmtill the hearth he neared.Beowulfspake  his breastplate gleamedwar-netwoven by wit of the smith:"ThouHrothgarhail! Hygelac's Ikinsmanand follower. Fame a plentyhave Igained in youth! These Grendel-deedsI heard inmy home-land heralded clear.Seafarerssay how stands this hallofbuildings bestfor your band of thanesempty andidlewhen evening sunin theharbor of heaven is hidden away.So myvassals advised me wellbrave andwisethe best of menO sovranHrothgarto seek thee herefor mynerve and my might they knew full well.Themselveshad seen me from slaughter comeblood-fleckedfrom foeswhere five I boundand thatwild brood worsted. I' the waves I slewnicorsby nightin need and perilavengingthe Wederswhose woe they soughtcrushingthe grim ones. Grendel nowmonstercruelbe mine to quellin singlebattle! Sofrom theethousovran of the Shining-DanesScyldings'-bulwarka boon I seekandFriend-of-the-folkrefuse it notOWarriors'-shieldnow I've wandered farthat Ialone with my liegemen herethis hardybandmay Heorot purge!More Ihearthat the monster direin hiswanton moodof weapons recks not;henceshall I scorn  so Hygelac stayking of mykindredkind to me!brand orbuckler to bear in the fightgold-coloredtarge: but with gripe alonemust Ifront the fiend and fight for lifefoeagainst foe. Then faith be hisin thedoom of the Lord whom death shall take.FainIweenif the fight he winin thishall of gold my Geatish bandwill hefearless eat  as oft beforemy noblestthanes. Nor need'st thou thento hide myhead; for his shall I bedyed ingoreif death must take me;and myblood-covered body he'll bear as preyruthlessdevour itthe roamer-lonelywith mylife-blood redden his lair in the fen:no furtherfor me need'st food prepare!To Hygelacsendif Hild should take mebest ofwar-weedswarding my breastarmorexcellentheirloom of Hretheland workof Wayland. Fares Wyrd asshe must."

 

 

VII

HROTHGARspakethe Scyldings'-helmet:"Forfight defensiveFriend my Beowulfto succorand savethou hast sought us here.Thyfather's combat a feud enkindledwhenHeatholaf with hand he slewamong theWylfings; his Weder kinfor horrorof fighting feared to hold him.Fleeinghe sought our South-Dane folkover surgeof ocean the Honor-Scyldingswhen firstI was ruling the folk of Daneswieldedyouthfulthis widespread realmthishoard-hold of heroes. Heorogar was deadmy elderbrotherhad breathed his lastHealfdene'sbairn: he was better than I!Straightwaythe feud with fee I settledto theWylfings sento'er watery ridgestreasuresolden: oaths he swore me.Sore is mysoul to say to anyof therace of man what ruth for mein HeorotGrendel with hate hath wroughtwhatsudden harryings. Hall-folk fail memywarriors wane; for Wyrd hath swept themintoGrendel's grasp. But God is ablethisdeadly foe from his deeds to turn!Boastedfull oftas my beer they drankearls o'erthe ale-cuparmed menthat theywould bide in the beer-hall hereGrendel'sattack with terror of blades.Then wasthis mead-house at morning tidedyed withgorewhen the daylight brokeall theboards of the benches blood-besprinkledgory thehall: I had heroes the lessdoughtydear-ones that death had reft. Butsit to the banquetunbind thy wordshardyheroas heart shall prompt thee."

Gatheredtogetherthe Geatish menin thebanquet-hall on bench assignedsturdy-spiritedsat them downhardy-hearted.A henchman attendedcarriedthe carven cup in handserved theclear mead. Oft minstrels sangblithe inHeorot. Heroes revelledno dearthof warriorsWeder and Dane.

 

 

VIII

UNFERTHspakethe son of Ecglafwho sat atthe feet of the Scyldings' lordunboundthe battle-runes. Beowulf's queststurdyseafarer'ssorely galled him;ever heenvied that other menshouldmore achieve in middle-earthof fameunder heaven than he himself."Artthou that BeowulfBreca's rivalwhoemulous swam on the open seawhen forpride the pair of you proved the floodsandwantonly dared in waters deepto riskyour lives? No living manor lief orloathfrom your labor direcould youdissuadefrom swimming the main.Ocean-tideswith your arms ye coveredwithstrenuous hands the sea-streets measuredswam o'erthe waters. Winter's stormrolled therough waves. In realm of seaa sennightstrove ye. In swimming he topped theehad moreof main! Him at morning-tidebillowsbore to the Battling Reamaswhence hehied to his home so dearbeloved ofhis liegemento land of Brondingsfastnessfairwhere his folk he ruledtown andtreasure. In triumph o'er theeBeanstan'sbairn his boast achieved.So ween Ifor thee a worse adventure thoughin buffet of battle thou brave hast beeninstruggle grim  if Grendel's approachthou darstawait through the watch of night!"

Beowulfspakebairn of Ecgtheow:"Whata deal hast uttereddear my Unferthdrunkenwith beerof Breca nowtold ofhis triumph! Truth I claim itthat I hadmore of might in the seathan anyman elsemore ocean-endurance.We twainhad talkedin time of youthand madeour boast  we were merely boysstriplingsstill  to stake our livesfar atsea: and so we performed it.Nakedswordsas we swam alongwe held inhandwith hope to guard usagainstthe whales. Not a whit from mecould hefloat afar o'er the flood of waveshaste o'erthe billows; nor him I abandoned.Togetherwe twain on the tides abodefivenights full till the flood divided uschurningwaves and chillest weatherdarklingnightand the northern windruthlessrushed on us: rough was the surge.Now thewrath of the sea-fish rose apace;yet me'gainst the monsters my mailed coathard andhand-linkedhelp affordedbattle-sarkbraided my breast to wardgarnishedwith gold. There grasped me firmand haledme to bottom the hated foewithgrimmest gripe. 'Twas granted methoughto piercethe monster with point of swordwith bladeof battle: huge beast of the seawaswhelmed by the hurly through hand of mine.

 

 

IX

ME thusoften the evil monstersthrongingthreatened. With thrust of my swordthedarlingI dealt them due return!Nowise hadthey bliss from their booty thento devourtheir victimvengeful creaturesseated tobanquet at bottom of sea;but atbreak of dayby my brand sore hurton theedge of ocean up they layput tosleep by the sword. And sinceby themon thefathomless sea-ways sailor-folkare nevermolested.  Light from eastcamebright God's beacon; the billows sankso that Isaw the sea-cliffs highwindywalls. For Wyrd oft savethearlundoomed if he doughty be!And so itcame that I killed with my swordnine ofthe nicors. Of night-fought battlesne'erheard I a harder 'neath heaven's domenor adrifton the deep a more desolate man!Yet I cameunharmed from that hostile clutchthoughspent with swimming. The sea upbore meflood ofthe tideon Finnish landthewelling waters. No wise of theehave Iheard men tell such terror of falchionsbitterbattle. Breca ne'er yetnot one ofyou pairin the play of warsuchdaring deed has done at allwithbloody brand  I boast not of it!thoughthou wast the bane of thy brethren dearthyclosest kinwhence curse of hellawaitstheewell as thy wit may serve!For I sayin sooththou son of Ecglafnever hadGrendel these grim deeds wroughtmonsterdireon thy master dearin Heorotsuch havocif heart of thinewere asbattle-bold as thy boast is loud!But he hasfound no feud will happen;fromsword-clash dread of your Danish clanhe vauntshim safefrom the Victor-Scyldings.He forcespledgesfavors noneof theland of Danesbut lustily murdersfights andfeastsnor feud he dreadsfromSpear-Dane men. But speedily nowshall Iprove him the prowess and pride of the Geatsshall bidhim battle. Blithe to meadgo he thatlistethwhen light of dawnthismorrow morning o'er men of earthether-robedsun from the south shall beam!"Joyousthen was the Jewel-giverhoar-hairedwar-brave; help awaitedtheBright-Danes' princefrom Beowulf hearingfolk'sgood shepherdsuch firm resolve.Then waslaughter of liegemen loud resoundingwithwinsome words. Came Wealhtheow forthqueen ofHrothgarheedful of courtesygold-deckedgreeting the guests in hall;and thehigh-born lady handed the cupfirst tothe East-Danes' heir and wardenbade himbe blithe at the beer-carousethe land'sbeloved one. Lustily took hebanquetand beakerbattle-famed king.

Throughthe hall then went the Helmings' Ladyto youngerand older everywherecarriedthe cuptill come the momentwhen thering-graced queenthe royal-heartedto Beowulfbore the beaker of mead.Shegreeted the Geats' lordGod she thankedinwisdom's wordsthat her will was grantedthat atlast on a hero her hope could leanforcomfort in terrors. The cup he tookhardy-in-warfrom Wealhtheow's handand answeruttered the eager-for-combat.Beowulfspakebairn of Ecgtheow:"Thiswas my thoughtwhen my thanes and Ibent tothe ocean and entered our boatthat Iwould work the will of your peoplefullyorfighting fall in deathin fiend'sgripe fast. I am firm to doan earl'sbrave deedor end the daysof thislife of mine in the mead-hall here."Well thesewords to the woman seemedBeowulf'sbattle-boast.  Bright with goldthestately dame by her spouse sat down.Againaserstbegan in hallwarriors'wassail and words of powertheproud-band's reveltill presentlythe son ofHealfdene hastened to seekrest forthe night; he knew there waitedfight forthe fiend in that festal hallwhen thesheen of the sun they saw no moreand duskof night sank darkling nighandshadowy shapes came striding onwan underwelkin. The warriors rose.Man tomanhe made harangueHrothgarto Beowulfbade him haillet himwield the wine hall: a word he added:"Neverto any man erst I trustedsince Icould heave up hand and shieldthis nobleDane-Halltill now to thee.Have nowand hold this house unpeered;rememberthy glory; thy might declare;watch forthe foe! No wish shall fail theeif thoubidest the battle with bold-won life."

 

 

X

THENHrothgar went with his hero-traindefence-of-Scyldingsforth from hall;fain wouldthe war-lord Wealhtheow seekcouch ofhis queen. The King-of-Gloryagainstthis Grendel a guard had setso heroeshearda hall-defenderwho wardedthe monarch and watched for the monster.In truththe Geats' prince gladly trustedhismettlehis mightthe mercy of God!Cast offthen his corselet of ironhelmetfrom head; to his henchman gavechoicestof weapons  the well-chased swordbiddinghim guard the gear of battle.Spake thenhis Vaunt the valiant manBeowulfGeatere the bed be sought:"Offorce in fight no feebler I count mein grimwar-deedsthan Grendel deems him.Not withthe swordthento sleep of deathhis lifewill I givethough it lie in my power.No skillis his to strike against memy shieldto hew though he hardy bebold inbattle; we boththis nightshallspurn the swordif he seek me hereunweaponedfor war. Let wisest GodsacredLordon which side soeverdoomdecree as he deemeth right."Reclinedthen the chieftainand cheek-pillows heldthe headof the earlwhile all about himseamenhardy on hall-beds sank.None ofthem thought that thence their stepsto thefolk and fastness that fostered themto theland they lovedwould lead them back!Full wellthey wist that on warriors manybattle-deathseizedin the banquet-hallof Danishclan. But comfort and helpwar-wealweavingto Weder folkthe Mastergavethatby might of oneover theirenemy all prevailedby singlestrength. In sooth 'tis toldthathighest God o'er human kindhathwielded ever!  Thro' wan night stridingcame thewalker-in-shadow. Warriors sleptwhose hestwas to guard the gabled hallall saveone. 'Twas widely knownthatagainst God's will the ghostly ravagerhimcould not hurl to haunts of darkness;wakefulreadywith warrior's wrathbold hebided the battle's issue.

 

 

XI

THEN fromthe moorlandby misty cragswith God'swrath ladenGrendel came.Themonster was minded of mankind nowsundry toseize in the stately house.Underwelkin he walkedtill the wine-palace theregold-hallof menhe gladly discernedflashingwith fretwork. Not first timethisthat hethe home of Hrothgar soughtyet ne'erin his life-daylate or earlysuch hardyheroessuch hall-thanesfound!To thehouse the warrior walked apacepartedfrom peace; the portal opendedthoughwith forged bolts fastwhen his fists hadstruck itandbaleful he burst in his blatant ragethehouse's mouth. All hastilytheno'erfair-paved floor the fiend trod onireful hestrode; there streamed from his eyesfearfulflasheslike flame to see.

He spiedin hall the hero-bandkin andclansmen clustered asleephardyliegemen. Then laughed his heart;for themonster was mindedere morn should dawnsavagetosever the soul of eachlife frombodysince lusty banquetwaited hiswill! But Wyrd forbade himto seizeany more of men on earthafter thatevening. Eagerly watchedHygelac'skinsman his cursed foehow hewould fare in fell attack.Not thatthe monster was minded to pause!Straightwayhe seized a sleeping warriorfor thefirstand tore him fiercely asunderthebone-frame bitdrank blood in streamsswallowedhim piecemeal: swiftly thusthelifeless corse was clear devourede'en feetand hands. Then farther he hied;for thehardy hero with hand he graspedfelt forthe foe with fiendish clawfor thehero reclining  who clutched it boldlyprompt toanswerpropped on his arm.Soon thensaw that shepherd-of-evilsthat neverhe met in this middle-worldin theways of earthanother wightwithheavier hand-gripe; at heart he fearedsorrowedin soul  none the sooner escaped!Fain wouldhe fleehis fastness seekthe den ofdevils: no doings nowsuch asoft he had done in days of old!Thenbethought him the hardy Hygelac-thaneof hisboast at evening: up he boundedgraspedfirm his foewhose fingers cracked.The fiendmade offbut the earl close followed.Themonster meant  if he might at allto flinghimself freeand far awayfly to thefens  knew his fingers' powerin thegripe of the grim one. Gruesome marchto Heorotthis monster of harm had made!Din filledthe room; the Danes were bereftcastle-dwellersand clansmen allearlsoftheir ale. Angry were boththosesavage hall-guards: the house resounded.Wonder itwas the wine-hall firmin thestrain of their struggle stoodto earththe fairhouse fell not; too fast it waswithin andwithout by its iron bandscraftilyclamped; though there crashed from sillmany amead-bench  men have told megay withgoldwhere the grim foes wrestled.So wellhad weened the wisest Scyldingsthat notever at all might any manthatbone-deckedbrave house break asundercrush bycraft  unless clasp of firein smokeengulfed it.  Again uprosedinredoubled. Danes of the Northwith fearand frenzy were filledeach onewho fromthe wall that wailing heardGod's foesounding his grisly songcry of theconqueredclamorous painfromcaptive of hell. Too closely held himhe who ofmen in might was strongestin thatsame day of this our life.

 

 

XII

NOT in anywise would the earls'-defencesufferthat slaughterous stranger to liveuselessdeeming his days and yearsto men onearth. Now many an earlof Beowulfbrandished blade ancestralfain thelife of their lord to shieldtheirpraised princeif power were theirs;never theyknew  as they neared the foehardy-heartedheroes of waraimingtheir swords on every sidetheaccursed to kill  no keenest bladeno farestof falchions fashioned on earthcould harmor hurt that hideous fiend!He wassafeby his spellsfrom sword of battlefrom edgeof iron. Yet his end and partingon thatsame day of this our lifewofulshould beand his wandering soulfar offflit to the fiends' domain.Soon hefoundwho in former daysharmful inheart and hated of Godon many aman such murder wroughtthat theframe of his body failed him now.For himthe keen-souled kinsman of Hygelacheld inhand; hateful alivewas eachto other. The outlaw diretookmortal hurt; a mighty woundshowed onhis shoulderand sinews crackedand thebone-frame burst. To Beowulf nowthe glorywas givenand Grendel thencedeath-sickhis den in the dark moor soughtnoisomeabode: he knew too wellthat herewas the last of lifean endof hisdays on earth.  To all the Danesby thatbloody battle the boon had come.Fromravage had rescued the roving strangerHrothgar'shall; the hardy and wise onehad purgedit anew. His night-work pleased himhis deedand its honor. To Eastern Daneshad thevaliant Geat his vaunt made goodall theirsorrow and ills assuagedtheir baleof battle borne so longand allthe dole they erst enduredpaina-plenty.  'Twas proof of thiswhen thehardy-in-fight a hand laid downarm andshoulder  allindeedofGrendel's gripe  'neath the gabled roof.

 

 

XIII

MANY atmorningas men have told mewarriorsgathered the gift-hall roundfolk-leadersfaring from far and nearo'erwide-stretched waysthe wonder to viewtrace ofthe traitor. Not troublous seemedtheenemy's end to any manwho saw bythe gait of the graceless foehow theweary-heartedaway from thencebaffled inbattle and bannedhis stepsdeath-markeddragged to the devils' mere.Bloody thebillows were boiling thereturbid thetide of tumbling waveshorriblyseethingwith sword-blood hotby thatdoomed one dyedwho in den of the moorlaidforlorn his life adownhisheathen souland hell received it.Home thenrode the hoary clansmenfrom thatmerry journeyand many a youthon horseswhitethe hardy warriorsback fromthe mere. Then Beowulf's gloryeager theyechoedand all averredthat fromsea to seaor south or norththere wasno other in earth's domainundervault of heavenmore valiant foundofwarriors none more worthy to rule!(On theirlord beloved they laid no slightgraciousHrothgar: a good king he!)From timeto timethe tried-in-battletheir graysteeds set to gallop amainand ran arace when the road seemed fair.From timeto timea thane of the kingwho hadmade many vauntsand was mindful of versesstoredwith sagas and songs of oldbound wordto word in well-knit rimewelded hislay; this warrior soonofBeowulf's quest right cleverly sangandartfully added an excellent taleinwell-ranged wordsof the warlike deedshe hadheard in saga of Sigemund.Strangethe story: he said it alltheWaelsing's wanderings widehis struggleswhichnever were told to tribes of menthe feudsand the fraudssave to Fitela onlywhen ofthese doings he deigned to speakuncle tonephew; as ever the twainstood sideby side in stress of warandmultitude of the monster kindthey hadfelled with their swords. Of Sigemund grewwhen hepassed from lifeno little praise;for thedoughty-in-combat a dragon killedthatherded the hoard: under hoary rocktheatheling dared the deed alonefearfulquestnor was Fitela there.Yet so itbefellhis falchion piercedthatwondrous worm  on the wall it struckbestblade; the dragon died in its blood.Thus hadthe dread-one by daring achievedover thering-hoard to rule at willhimself topleasure; a sea-boat he loadedand boreon its bosom the beaming goldson ofWaels; the worm was consumed.He had ofall heroes the highest renownamongraces of menthis refuge-of-warriorsfor deedsof daring that decked his namesince thehand and heart of Heremodgrew slackin battle. Heswiftly banishedto minglewith monsters at mercy of foesto deathwas betrayed; for torrents of sorrowhad lamedhim too long; a load of careto earlsand athelings all he proved.Oftindeedin earlier daysfor thewarrior's wayfaring wise men mournedwho hadhoped of him help from harm and baleand hadthought their sovran's son would thrivefollow hisfatherhis folk protectthe hoardand the strongholdheroes' landhome ofScyldings.  But herethanes saidthekinsman of Hygelac kinder seemedto all:the other was urged to crime!And afreshto the racethe fallow roadsby swiftsteeds measured! The morning sunwasclimbing higher. Clansmen hastenedto thehigh-built hallthose hardy-mindedthe wonderto witness. Warden of treasurecrownedwith glorythe king himselfwithstately band from the bride-bower strode;and withhim the queen and her crowd of maidensmeasuredthe path to the mead-house fair.

 

 

XIV

HROTHGARspake  to the hall he wentstood bythe stepsthe steep roof sawgarnishedwith goldand Grendel's hand:"Forthe sight I see to the Sovran Rulerbe speedythanks! A throng of sorrowsI haveborne from Grendel; but God still workswonder onwonderthe Warden-of-Glory.It was butnow that I never morefor woesthat weighed on me waited helplong as Ilivedwhenlaved in bloodstoodsword-gore-stained this stateliest housewidespreadwoe for wise men allwho had nohope to hinder everfoesinfernal and fiendish spritesfrom havocin hall. This hero nowby theWielder's mighta work has donethat notall of us erst could ever doby wileand wisdom. Lowell can she saywhoso ofwomen this warrior boreamong sonsof menif still she liveththat theGod of the ages was good to herin thebirth of her bairn. NowBeowulftheeof heroesbestI shall heartily loveas mineownmy son; preserve thou everthiskinship new: thou shalt never lackwealth ofthe world that I wield as mine!Full oftfor less have I largess showeredmyprecious hoardon a punier manless stoutin struggle. Thyself hast nowfulfilledsuch deedsthat thy fame shall endurethroughall the ages. As ever he didwell maythe Wielder reward thee still!"Beowulfspakebairn of Ecgtheow:"Thiswork of war most willinglywe havefoughtthis fightand fearlessly daredforce ofthe foe. Faintoowere Ihadst thoubut seen himselfwhat timethe fiendin his trappings tottered to fall!SwiftlyIthoughtin strongest gripeon his bedof death to bind him downthat he inthe hent of this hand of mineshouldbreathe his last: but he broke away.Him Imight not  the Maker willed nothinderfrom flightand firm enough holdthelife-destroyer: too sturdy was hetheruthlessin running! For rescuehoweverhe leftbehind him his hand in pledgearm andshoulder; nor aught of helpcould thecursed one thus procure at all.None thelonger liveth heloathsome fiendsunk inhis sinsbut sorrow holds himtightlygrasped in gripe of anguishin balefulbondswhere bide he musteviloutlawsuch awful doomas theMighty Maker shall mete him out."

Moresilent seemed the son of Ecglafinboastful speech of his battle-deedssinceathelings allthrough the earl's great prowessbeheldthat handon the high roof gazingfoeman'sfingers  the forepart of eachof thesturdy nails to steel was likestheathen's"hand-spear" hostile warrior'sclawuncanny. 'Twas clearthey saidthat himno blade of the brave could touchhow keensoeveror cut awaythatbattle-hand bloody from baneful foe.

 

 

XV

THERE washurry and hest in Heorot nowfor handsto bedeck itand dense was the throngof men andwomen the wine-hall to cleansetheguest-room to garnish. Gold-gay shone the hangingsthat werewove on the walland wonders manyto delighteach mortal that looks upon them.Thoughbraced within by iron bandsthatbuilding bright was broken sorely;rent wereits hinges; the roof aloneheld safeand soundwhenseared with crimethefiendish foe his flight essayedof lifedespairing.  No light thing thatthe flightfor safety  essay it who will!Forced offatehe shall find his wayto therefuge ready for race of manforsoul-possessorsand sons of earth;and therehis body on bed of deathshall restafter revel.Arrivedwas the hourwhen tohall proceeded Healfdene's son:the kinghimself would sit to banquet.Ne'erheard I of host in haughtier throngmoregraciously gathered round giver-of-rings!Bowed thento bench those bearers-of-gloryfain ofthe feasting. Featly receivedmany amead-cup the mighty-in-spiritkinsmenwho sat in the sumptuous hallHrothgarand Hrothulf. Heorot nowwas filledwith friends; the folk of Scyldingsne'er yethad tried the traitor's deed.To Beowulfgave the bairn of Healfdeneagold-wove bannerguerdon of triumphbroideredbattle-flagbreastplate and helmet;and asplendid sword was seen of manyborne tothe brave one. Beowulf tookcupin hall: for such costly giftshesuffered no shame in that soldier throng.For Iheard of few heroesin heartier moodwith foursuch giftsso fashioned with goldon theale-bench honoring others thus!O'er theroof of the helmet higha ridgewound withwireskept ward o'er the headlest therelict-of-files should fierce invadesharp inthe strifewhen that shielded heroshould goto grapple against his foes.Then theearls'-defence on the floorbade leadcourserseightwith carven head-gearadown thehall: one horse was deckedwith asaddle all shining and set in jewels;'twas thebattle-seat of the best of kingswhen toplay of swords the son of Healfdenewas fainto fare. Ne'er failed his valorin thecrush of combat when corpses fell.To Beowulfover them both then gavetherefuge-of-Ingwines right and powero'erwar-steeds and weapons: wished him joy of them.Manfullythus the mighty princehoard-guardfor heroesthat hard fight repaidwithsteeds and treasures contemned by nonewho iswilling to say the sooth aright.

 

 

XVI

AND thelord of earlsto each that camewithBeowulf over the briny waysanheirloom there at the ale-bench gavepreciousgift; and the price bade payin goldfor him whom Grendel erstmurdered and fain of them more had killedhad notwisest God their Wyrd avertedand theman's brave mood. The Maker thenruledhuman kindas here and now.Thereforeis insight always bestandforethought of mind. How much awaits himof liefand of loathwho long time herethroughdays of warfare this world endures!

Then songand music mingled soundsin thepresence of Healfdene's head-of-armiesandharping was heard with the hero-layasHrothgar's singer the hall-joy wokealong themead-seatsmaking his songof thatsudden raid on the sons of Finn.Healfdene'sheroHnaef the Scyldingwas fatedto fall in the Frisian slaughter.Hildeburhneeded not hold in valueherenemies' honor! Innocent bothwere theloved ones she lost at the linden-playbairn andbrotherthey bowed to fatestrickenby spears; 'twas a sorrowful woman!Nonedoubted why the daughter of Hocbewailedher doom when dawning cameand underthe sky she saw them lyingkinsmenmurderedwhere most she had kennedof thesweets of the world! By war were swepttooFinn's ownliegemenand few were left;in theparleying-place he could ply no longerweaponnor war could he wage on Hengestand rescuehis remnant by right of armsfrom theprince's thane. A pact he offered:anotherdwelling the Danes should havehall andhigh-seatand half the powershouldfall to them in Frisian land;and at thefee-giftsFolcwald's sonday by daythe Danes should honorthe folkof Hengest favor with ringseven astrulywith treasure and jewelswithfretted goldas his Frisian kinhe meantto honor in ale-hall there.Pact ofpeace they plighted furtheron bothsides firmly. Finn to Hengestwith oathupon honoropenly promisedthat wofulremnantwith wise-men's aidnobly togovernso none of the guestsby word orwork should warp the treatyor withmalice of mind bemoan themselvesas forcedto follow their fee-giver's slayerlordlessmenas their lot ordained.ShouldFrisianmoreoverwith foeman's tauntthatmurderous hatred to mind recallthen edgeof the sword must seal his doom.

Oaths weregivenand ancient goldheapedfrom hoard.  The hardy Scyldingbattle-thanebest on his balefire lay.All on thepyre were plain to seethe gorysarkthe gilded swine-crestboar ofhard ironand athelings manyslain bythe sword: at the slaughter they fell.It wasHildeburh's hestat Hnaef's own pyrethe bairnof her body on brands to layhis bonesto burnon the balefire placedat hisuncle's side. In sorrowful dirgesbeweptthem the woman: great wailing ascended.Then woundup to welkin the wildest of death-firesroaredo'er the hillock: heads all were meltedgashesburstand blood gushed outfrom bitesof the body. Balefire devouredgreediestspiritthose spared not by warout ofeither folk: their flower was gone.

 

 

XVII

THENhastened those heroes their home to seefriendlessto find the Frisian landhouses andhigh burg. Hengest stillthroughthe death-dyed winter dwelt with Finnholdingpactyet of home he mindedthoughpowerless his ring-decked prow to driveover thewatersnow waves rolled fiercelashed bythe windsor winter locked themin icyfetters. Then fared anotheryear tomen's dwellingsas yet they dothesunbright skiesthat their season everdulyawait. Far off winter was driven;fair layearth's breast; and fain was the roverthe guestto departthough more gladly he ponderedonwreaking his vengeance than roaming the deepand how tohasten the hot encounterwhere sonsof the Frisians were sure to be.So heescaped not the common doomwhen Hunwith "Lafing" the light-of-battlebest ofbladeshis bosom pierced:its edgewas famed with the Frisian earls.Onfierce-heart Finn there fell likewiseon himselfat homethe horrid sword-death;forGuthlaf and Oslaf of grim attackhadsorrowing toldfrom sea-ways landedmourningtheir woes. Finn's wavering spiritbode notin breast. The burg was reddenedwith bloodof foemenand Finn was slainking amidclansmen; the queen was taken.To theirship the Scylding warriors boreall thechattels the chieftain ownedwhateverthey found in Finn's domainof gemsand jewels. The gentle wifeo'er pathsof the deep to the Danes they boreled to herland.The laywas finishedthegleeman's song. Then glad rose the revel;bench-joybrightened. Bearers drawfrom their"wonder-vats" wine. Comes Wealhtheow forthundergold-crown goes where the good pair situncle andnephewtrue each to the other onekindred inamity. Unferth the spokesmanat theScylding lord's feet sat: men had faith in his spirithiskeenness of couragethough kinsmen had found himunsure atthe sword-play. The Scylding queen spoke:"Quaffof this cupmy king and lordbreaker ofringsand blithe be thougold-friendof men; to the Geats here speaksuch wordsof mildness as man should use.Be gladwith thy Geats; of those gifts be mindfulor near orfarwhich now thou hast.

Men say tomeas son thou wishestyon heroto hold. Thy Heorot purgedjewel-hallbrightestenjoy while thou canstwith manya largess; and leave to thy kinfolk andrealm when forth thou goestto greetthy doom. For gracious I deemmyHrothulfwilling to hold and rulenobly ouryouthsif thou yield up firstprince ofScyldingsthy part in the world.I weenwith good he will well requiteoffspringof ourswhen all he mindsthat forhim we did in his helpless daysof giftand grace to gain him honor!"Then sheturned to the seat where her sons wereplacedHrethricand Hrothmundwith heroes' bairnsyoung mentogether: the Geattoosat thereBeowulfbravethe brothers between.

 

 

XVIII

A CUP shegave himwith kindly greetingandwinsome words. Of wounden goldsheofferedto honor himarm-jewels twaincorseletand ringsand of collars the noblestthat everI knew the earth around.Ne'erheard I so mighty'neath heaven's domeahoard-gem of heroessince Hama boreto hisbright-built burg the Brisings' necklacejewel andgem casket.  Jealousy fled heEormenric'shate: chose help eternal.HygelacGeatgrandson of Swertingon thelast of his raids this ring bore with himunder hisbanner the booty defendingthewar-spoil warding; but Wyrd o'erwhelmed himwhat timein his daringdangers he soughtfeud withFrisians. Fairest of gemshe borewith him over the beaker-of-wavessovranstrong: under shield he died.Fell thecorpse of the king into keeping of Franksgear ofthe breastand that gorgeous ring;weakerwarriors won the spoilaftergripe of battlefrom Geatland's lordand heldthe death-field.Din rosein hall.Wealhtheowspake amid warriorsand said:"Thisjewel enjoy in thy jocund youthBeowulflov'dthese battle-weeds weara royaltreasureand richly thrive!Preservethy strengthand these striplings herecounsel inkindness: requital be mine.Hast donesuch deedsthat for days to comethou artfamed among folk both far and nearso wide aswasheth the wave of Oceanhis windywalls. Through the ways of lifeprosperOprince! I pray for theerichpossessions. To son of minebe helpfulin deed and uphold his joys!Here everyearl to the other is truemild ofmoodto the master loyal!Thanes arefriendlythe throng obedientliegemenare revelling: list and obey!"Went thento her place.  That was proudest of feasts;flowedwine for the warriors. Wyrd they knew notdestinydireand the doom to be seenby many anearl when eve should comeandHrothgar homeward hasten awayroyaltorest. The room was guardedby an armyof earlsas erst was done.They baredthe bench-boards; abroad they spreadbeds andbolsters.  One beer-carouserin dangerof doom lay down in the hall.

At theirheads they set their shields of warbucklersbright; on the bench were thereover eachathelingeasy to seethe highbattle-helmetthe haughty spearthecorselet of rings. 'Twas their custom soever to befor battle preparedat homeor harryingwhich it wereeven asoft as evil threatenedtheirsovran king.  They were clansmen good.

 

 

XIX

THEN sankthey to sleep. With sorrow one boughthis restof the evening  as ofttime had happenedwhenGrendel guarded that golden hallevilwroughttill his end drew nighslaughterfor sins. 'Twas seen and toldhow anavenger survived the fiendas waslearned afar. The livelong timeafter thatgrim fightGrendel's mothermonster ofwomenmourned her woe.She wasdoomed to dwell in the dreary waterscoldsea-coursessince Cain cut downwith edgeof the sword his only brotherhisfather's offspring: outlawed he fledmarkedwith murderfrom men's delightswarded thewilds.  There woke from himsuchfate-sent ghosts as Grendelwhowar-wolfhorridat Heorot founda warriorwatching and waiting the fraywith whomthe grisly one grappled amain.But theman remembered his mighty powertheglorious gift that God had sent himin hisMaker's mercy put his trustforcomfort and help: so he conquered the foefelled thefiendwho fled abjectreft ofjoyto the realms of deathmankind'sfoe. And his mother nowgloomy andgrimwould go that questof sorrowthe death of her son to avenge.To Heorotcame shewhere helmeted Danesslept inthe hall. Too soon came backold illsof the earlswhen in she burstthe motherof Grendel. Less grimthoughthat terrore'en asterror of woman in war is lessmight ofmaidthan of men in armswhenhammer-forgedthe falchion hardswordgore-stainedthrough swine of the helmcrestedwith keen blade carves amain.Then wasin hall the hard-edge drawnthe swordson the settlesand shields a-manyfirm heldin hand: nor helmet mindednorharness of mailwhom that horror seized.Haste washers; she would hie afarand saveher life when the liegemen saw her.Yet asingle atheling up she seizedfast andfirmas she fled to the moor.He was forHrothgar of heroes the dearestof trustyvassals betwixt the seaswhom shekilled on his coucha clansman famousin battlebrave.  Nor was Beowulf there;anotherhouse had been held apartaftergiving of goldfor the Geat renowned.Uproarfilled Heorot; the hand all had viewedblood-fleckedshe bore with her; bale was returneddole inthe dwellings: 'twas dire exchangewhere Daneand Geat were doomed to givethe livesof loved ones. Long-tried kingthe hoaryheroat heart was sadwhen heknew his noble no more livedand deadindeed was his dearest thane.To hisbower was Beowulf brought in hastedauntlessvictor. As daylight brokealong withhis earls the atheling lordwith hisclansmencame where the king abodewaiting tosee if the Wielder-of-Allwould turnthis tale of trouble and woe.Strodeo'er floor the famed-in-strifewith hishand-companions  the hall resoundedwishing togreet the wise old kingIngwines'lord; he asked if the nighthad passedin peace to the prince's mind.

 

 

XX

HROTHGARspakehelmet-of-Scyldings:"Asknot of pleasure! Pain is renewedto Danishfolk. Dead is AeschereofYrmenlaf the elder brothermy sageadviser and stay in councilshoulder-comradein stress of fightwhenwarriors clashed and we warded our headshewed thehelm-boars; hero famedshould beevery earl as Aeschere was!But herein Heorot a hand hath slain himofwandering death-sprite. I wot not whitherproud ofthe preyher path she tookfain ofher fill. The feud she avengedthatyesternightunyieldinglyGrendel ingrimmest grasp thou killedstseeing howlong these liegemen minehe ruinedand ravaged. Reft of lifein arms hefell. Now another comeskeen andcruelher kin to avengefaring farin feud of blood:so thatmany a thane shall thinkwho e'ersorrows insoul for that sharer of ringsthis ishardest of heart-bales. The hand lies lowthat oncewas willing each wish to please.Land-dwellershere and liegemen minewho houseby those partsI have heard relatethat sucha pair they have sometimes seenmarch-stalkersmighty the moorland hauntingwanderingspirits: one of them seemedso far asmy folk could fairly judgeofwomankind; and oneaccursedin man'sguise trod the misery-trackof exilethough huger than human bulk.Grendel indays long gone they named himfolk ofthe land; his father they knew notnor anybrood that was born to himoftreacherous spirits. Untrod is their home;bywolf-cliffs haunt they and windy headlandsfenwaysfearfulwhere flows the streamfrommountains gliding to gloom of the rocksundergroundflood. Not far is it hencein measureof miles that the mere expandsand o'erit the frost-bound forest hangingsturdilyrootedshadows the wave.By nightis a wonder weird to seefire onthe waters. So wise lived noneof thesons of mento search those depths!Naythough the heath-roverharried by dogsthehorn-proud hartthis holt should seeklongdistance drivenhis dear life firston thebrink he yields ere he brave the plungeto hidehis head: 'tis no happy place!Thence thewelter of waters washes upwan towelkin when winds bestirevilstormsand air grows duskand theheavens weep. Now is help once morewith theealone! The land thou knowst notplace offearwhere thou findest outthatsin-flecked being. Seek if thou dare!I willreward theefor waging this fightwithancient treasureas erst I didwithwinding goldif thou winnest back."

 

 

XXI

BEOWULFspakebairn of Ecgtheow:"Sorrownotsage! It beseems us betterfriends toavenge than fruitlessly mourn them.Each of usall must his end abidein theways of the world; so win who mayglory eredeath! When his days are toldthat isthe warrior's worthiest doom.RiseOrealm-warder! Ride we anonand markthe trail of the mother of Grendel.No harborshall hide her  heed my promise!enfoldingof field or forested mountainor floorof the floodlet her flee where she will!But thouthis day endure in patienceas I weenthou wiltthy woes each one."Leaped upthe graybeard: God he thankedmightyLordfor the man's brave words.ForHrothgar soon a horse was saddledwave-manedsteed. The sovran wisestatelyrode on; his shield-armed menfollowedin force. The footprints ledalong thewoodlandwidely seena patho'er the plainwhere she passedand trodthe murkymoor; of men-at-armsshe borethe bravest and best onedeadhim whowith Hrothgar the homestead ruled.On thenwent the atheling-borno'erstone-cliffs steep and strait defilesnarrowpasses and unknown waysheadlandssheerand the haunts of the Nicors.Foremosthe fareda few at his sideof thewiser menthe ways to scantill hefound in a flash the forested hillhangingover the hoary rocka wofulwood: the waves belowwere dyedin blood. The Danish menhad sorrowof souland for Scyldings allfor many ahero'twas hard to bearill forearlswhen Aeschere's headthey foundby the flood on the foreland there.Waves werewellingthe warriors sawhot withblood; but the horn sang oftbattle-songbold. The band sat downandwatched on the water worm-like thingssea-dragonsstrange that sounded the deepand nicorsthat lay on the ledge of the nesssuch asoft essay at hour of mornon theroad-of-sails their ruthless questandsea-snakes and monsters. These started awayswollenand savage that song to hearthatwar-horn's blast. The warden of Geatswith boltfrom bowthen balked of lifeofwave-workone monsteramid its heartwent thekeen war-shaft; in water it seemedlessdoughty in swimming whom death had seized.Swift onthe billowswith boar-spears wellhooked andbarbedit was hard besetdone todeath and dragged on the headlandwave-roamerwondrous. Warriors viewedthe grislyguest.Then girthim Beowulfin martialmailnor mourned for his life.Hisbreastplate broad and bright of hueswoven byhandshould the waters try;well couldit ward the warrior's bodythatbattle should break on his breast in vainnor harmhis heart by the hand of a foe.And thehelmet white that his head protectedwasdestined to dare the deeps of the floodthroughwave-whirl win: 'twas wound with chainsdeckedwith goldas in days of yoretheweapon-smith worked it wondrouslywithswine-forms set itthat swords nowisebrandishedin battlecould bite that helm.Nor wasthat the meanest of mighty helpswhichHrothgar's orator offered at need:"Hrunting"they named the hilted swordofold-time heirlooms easily first;iron wasits edgeall etched with poisonwithbattle-blood hardenednor blenched it at fightin hero'shand who held it everon pathsof peril prepared to gotofolkstead of foes. Not first time thisit wasdestined to do a daring task.For hebore not in mindthe bairn of Ecglafsturdy andstrongthat speech he had madedrunk withwinenow this weapon he lentto astouter swordsman. Himselfthoughdurst notunderwelter of waters wager his lifeas loyalliegeman. So lost he his gloryhonor ofearls. With the other not sowho girdedhim now for the grim encounter.

 

 

XXI

BEOWULFspakebairn of Ecgtheow:"Havemindthou honored offspring of Healfdenegold-friendof mennow I go on this questsovranwisewhat once was said:if in thycause it came that Ishouldlose my lifethou wouldst loyal bideto methough fallenin father's place!Beguardianthouto this group of my thanesmywarrior-friendsif War should seize me;and thegoodly gifts thou gavest meHrothgarbelovedto Hygelac send!Geatland'sking may ken by the goldHrethel'sson seewhen he stares at the treasurethat I gotme a friend for goodness famedand joyedwhile I could in my jewel-bestower.And letUnferth wield this wondrous swordearlfar-honoredthis heirloom precioushard ofedge: with Hrunting Iseek doomof gloryor Death shall take me."

Afterthese words the Weder-Geat lordboldlyhastenedbiding neveranswer atall: the ocean floodsclosedo'er the hero. Long while of the dayfled erehe felt the floor of the sea.

Soon foundthe fiend who the flood-domainsword-hungryheld these hundred wintersgreedy andgrimthat some guest from abovesome manwas raiding her monster-realm.Shegrasped out for him with grisly clawsand thewarrior seized; yet scathed she nothis bodyhale; the breastplate hinderedas shestrove to shatter the sark of warthe linkedharnesswith loathsome hand.Then borethis brine-wolfwhen bottom she touchedthe lordof rings to the lair she hauntedwhilesvainly he strovethough his valor heldweapon towield against wondrous monstersthat sorebeset him; sea-beasts manytried withfierce tusks to tear his mailandswarmed on the stranger. But soon he markedhe was nowin some hallhe knew not whichwherewater never could work him harmnorthrough the roof could reach him everfangs ofthe flood. Firelight he sawbeams of ablaze that brightly shone.Then thewarrior was ware of that wolf-of-the-deepmere-wifemonstrous. For mighty strokehe swunghis bladeand the blow withheld not.Then sangon her head that seemly bladeitswar-song wild. But the warrior foundthelight-of-battle was loath to biteto harmthe heart: its hard edge failedthe nobleat needyet had known of oldstrifehand to handand had helmets clovendoomedmen's fighting-gear. First timethisfor thegleaming blade that its glory fell.Firm stillstoodnor failed in valorheedful ofhigh deedsHygelac's kinsman;flung awayfretted swordfeatly jewelledthe angryearl; on earth it laysteel-edgedand stiff. His strength he trustedhand-gripeof might. So man shall dowheneverin war he weens to earn himlastingfamenor fears for his life!Seizedthen by shouldershrank not from combattheGeatish war-prince Grendel's mother.Flung thenthe fierce onefilled with wrathhis deadlyfoethat she fell to ground.Swift onher part she paid him backwithgrisly graspand grappled with him.Spent withstrugglestumbled the warriorfiercestof fighting-menfell adown.On thehall-guest she hurled herselfhent her short swordbroad andbrown-edgedthe bairn to avengethesole-born son.  On his shoulder laybraidedbreast-mailbarring deathwithstandingentrance of edge or blade.Life wouldhave ended for Ecgtheow's sonunder wideearth for that earl of Geatshad hisarmor of war not aided himbattle-nethardand holy Godwieldedthe victorywisest Maker.The Lordof Heaven allowed his cause;and easilyrose the earl erect.

 

 

XXIII

'MID thebattle-gear saw he a blade triumphantold-swordof Eotenswith edge of proofwarriors'heirloomweapon unmatched saveonly 'twas more than other mentobandy-of-battle could bear at allas thegiants had wrought itready and keen.Seizedthen its chain-hilt the Scyldings' chieftainbold andbattle-grimbrandished the swordrecklessof lifeand so wrathfully smotethat itgripped her neck and grasped her hardherbone-rings breaking: the blade pierced throughthatfated-one's flesh: to floor she sank.Bloody theblade: he was blithe of his deed.Thenblazed forth light. 'Twas bright withinas whenfrom the sky there shines uncloudedheaven'scandle. The hall he scanned.By thewall then went he; his weapon raisedhigh byits hilts the Hygelac-thaneangry andeager. That edge was not uselessto thewarrior now. He wished with speedGrendel toguerdon for grim raids manyfor thewar he waged on Western-Danesoftenerfar than an only timewhen ofHrothgar's hearth-companionshe slew inslumberin sleep devouredfifteenmen of the folk of Danesand asmany others outward borehishorrible prey. Well paid for thatthewrathful prince! For now prone he sawGrendelstretched therespent with warspoiled oflifeso scathed had left himHeorot'sbattle. The body sprang farwhen afterdeath it endured the blowsword-strokesavagethat severed its head.Soonthensaw the sage companionswho waitedwith Hrothgarwatching the floodthat thetossing waters turbid grewblood-stainedthe mere. Old men togetherhoary-hairedof the hero spake;thewarrior would notthey weenedagainproud ofconquestcome to seektheirmighty master. To many it seemedthewolf-of-the-waves had won his life.The ninthhour came. The noble Scyldingsleft theheadland; homeward wentthegold-friend of men. But the guests satonstared atthe surgessick in heartandwishedyet weened nottheir winsome lordagain tosee.

Now thatsword beganfrom bloodof the fightin battle-droppingswar-bladeto wane: 'twas a wondrous thingthat allof it melted as ice is wontwhenfrosty fetters the Father loosensunwindsthe wave-bondswielding allseasonsand times: the true God he!Nor tookfrom that dwelling the duke of the Geatssave onlythe head and that hilt withalblazonedwith jewels: the blade had meltedburned wasthe bright swordher blood was so hotsopoisoned the hell-sprite who perished within there.Soon hewas swimming who safe saw in combatdownfallof demons; up-dove through the flood.Theclashing waters were cleansed nowwaste ofwaveswhere the wandering fiendherlife-days left and this lapsing world.Swam thento strand the sailors'-refugesturdy-in-spiritof sea-booty gladof burdenbrave he bore with him.Went thento greet himand God they thankedthethane-band choice of their chieftain blithethat safeand sound they could see him again.Soon fromthe hardy one helmet and armordeftlythey doffed: now drowsed the merewater'neath welkinwith war-blood stained.Forth theyfared by the footpaths thencemerry atheart the highways measuredwell-knownroads. Courageous mencarriedthe head from the cliff by the seaan arduoustask for all the bandthe firmin fightsince four were neededon theshaft-of-slaughter strenuouslyto bear tothe gold-hall Grendel's head.Sopresently to the palace therefoemenfearlessfourteen Geatsmarchingcame. Their master-of-clanmightyamid them the meadow-ways trod.Strodethen within the sovran thanefearlessin fightof fame renownedhardyheroHrothgar to greet.And nextby the hair into hall was borneGrendel'sheadwhere the henchmen were drinkingan awe toclan and queen alikea monsterof marvel: the men looked on.

 

 

XXIV

BEOWULFspakebairn of Ecgtheow:"Lonowthis sea-bootyson of HealfdeneLord ofScyldingswe've lustily brought theesign ofglory; thou seest it here.Notlightly did I with my life escape!In warunder water this work I essayedwithendless effort; and even somystrength had been lost had the Lord not shielded me.Not a whitcould I with Hrunting doin work ofwarthough the weapon is good;yet asword the Sovran of Men vouchsafed meto spy onthe wall therein splendor hangingoldgigantic  how oft He guidesthefriendless wight!  and I fought with that brandfelling infightsince fate was with methehouse's wardens. That war-sword thenallburnedbright bladewhen the blood gushed o'er itbattle-sweathot; but the hilt I brought backfrom myfoes. So avenged I their fiendish deedsdeath-fallof Danesas was due and right.And thisis my hestthat in Heorot nowsafe thoucanst sleep with thy soldier bandand everythane of all thy folkboth oldand young; no evil fearScyldings'lordfrom that side againaught illfor thy earlsas erst thou must!"Then thegolden hiltfor that gray-haired leaderhoaryheroin hand was laidgiant-wroughtold. So owned and enjoyed itafterdownfall of devilsthe Danish lordwonder-smiths'worksince the world was ridof thatgrim-souled fiendthe foe of Godmurder-markedand his mother as well.Now itpassed into power of the people's kingbest ofall that the oceans boundwho havescattered their gold o'er Scandia's isle.Hrothgarspake  the hilt he viewedheirloomoldwhere was etched the riseof thatfar-off fight when the floods o'erwhelmedragingwavesthe race of giants(fearfultheir fate!)a folk estrangedfrom GodEternal: whence guerdon duein thatwaste of waters the Wielder paid them.So on theguard of shining goldin runicstaves it was rightly saidfor whomthe serpent-traced sword was wroughtbest ofbladesin bygone daysand thehilt well wound.  The wise-one spakeson ofHealfdene; silent were all:"Loso may he say who sooth and rightfollows'mid folkof far times mindfulaland-warden oldthat this earl belongsto thebetter breed! Soborne aloftthy famemust flyO friend my Beowulffar andwide o'er folksteads many. Firmly thoushalt allmaintainmightystrength with mood of wisdom. Love ofmine willI assure theeasawhileagoI promised; thou shalt prove a stayin futurein far-offyearsto folk of thineto theheroes a help. Was not Heremod thustooffspring of EcgwelaHonor-Scyldingsnor grewfor their gracebut for grisly slaughterfor doomof death to the Danishmen.

He slewwrath-swollenhis shoulder-comradescompanionsat board! So he passed alonechieftainhaughtyfrom human cheer.Though himthe Maker with might endoweddelightsof powerand uplifted highabove allmenyet blood-fierce his mindhisbreast-hoardgrewno bracelets gave heto Danesas was due; he endured all joylessstrain ofstruggle and stress of woelong feudwith his folk. Here find thy lesson!Of virtueadvise thee! This verse I have said for theewise fromlapsed winters. Wondrous seemshow tosons of men Almighty Godin thestrength of His spirit sendeth wisdomestatehigh station: He swayeth all things.Whiles Heletteth right lustily farethe heartof the hero of high-born racein seatancestral assigns him blisshis folk'ssure fortress in fee to holdputs inhis power great parts of the earthempire soamplethat end of itthiswanter-of-wisdom weeneth none.So hewaxes in wealthnowise can harm himillness orage; no evil caresshadow hisspirit; no sword-hate threatensfrom everan enemy: all the worldwends athis willno worse he knowethtill allwithin him obstinate pridewaxes andwakes while the warden slumbersthespirit's sentry; sleep is too fastwhichmasters his mightand the murderer nearsstealthilyshooting the shafts from his bow!

 

 

XXV

"UNDERharness his heart then is hit indeedbysharpest shafts; and no shelter availsfrom foulbehest of the hellish fiend.Him seemstoo little what long he possessed.Greedy andgrimno golden ringshe givesfor his pride; the promised futureforgets heand spurnswith all God has sent himWonder-Wielderof wealth and fame.Yet in theend it ever comesthat theframe of the body fragile yieldsfatedfalls; and there follows anotherwhojoyously the jewels dividesthe royalrichesnor recks of his forebear.Banthensuch baleful thoughtsBeowulf dearestbest ofmenand the better part chooseprofiteternal; and temper thy pridewarriorfamous! The flower of thy mightlasts nowa while: but erelong it shall bethatsickness or sword thy strength shall minishor fang offireor flooding billowor bite ofbladeor brandished spearor odiousage; or the eyes' clear beamwax dulland darken: Death even theein hasteshall o'erwhelmthou hero of war!So theRing-Danes these half-years a hundred I ruledwielded'neath welkinand warded them bravelyfrommighty-ones many o'er middle-earthfrom spearand swordtill it seemed for meno foecould be found under fold of the sky.Losuddenthe shift! To me seated securecame grieffor joy when Grendel beganto harrymy homethe hellish foe;for thoseruthless raidsunresting I sufferedheart-sorrowheavy. Heaven be thankedLordEternalfor life extendedthat I onthis head all hewn and bloodyafter longevilwith eyes may gaze! Goto the bench now! Be glad at banquetwarriorworthy! A wealth of treasureat dawn ofdaybe dealt between us!"Glad wasthe Geats' lordgoing betimesto seekhis seatas the Sage commanded.Afreshasbeforefor the famed-in-battlefor theband of the hallwas a banquet dightnoblyanew. The Night-Helm darkeneddusk o'erthe drinkers.Thedoughty ones rose:for thehoary-headed would hasten to restagedScylding; and eager the Geatshield-fightersturdyfor sleeping yearned.Himwander-wearywarrior-guestfrom fara hall-thane heralded forthwho bycustom courtly cared for allneeds of athane as in those old dayswarrior-wandererswont to have.Soslumbered the stout-heart. Stately the hallrosegabled and gilt where the guest slept ontill araven black the rapture-of-heavenblithe-heartboded. Bright came flyingshineafter shadow. The swordsmen hastenedathelingsall were eager homewardforth tofare; and far from thencethegreat-hearted guest would guide his keel.Bade thenthe hardy-one Hrunting be broughtto the sonof Ecglafthe sword bade him takeexcellentironand uttered his thanks for itquoth thathe counted it keen in battle"war-friend"winsome: with words he slandered notedge ofthe blade: 'twas a big-hearted man!Now eagerfor parting and armed at pointwarriorswaitedwhile went to his hostthatDarling of Danes. The doughty athelingtohigh-seat hastened and Hrothgar greeted.

 

 

XXVI

BEOWULFspakebairn of Ecgtheow:"Lowe seafarers say our willfar-comementhat we fain would seekHygelacnow. We here have foundhosts toour heart: thou hast harbored us well.If ever onearth I am able to win memore ofthy loveO lord of menaughtanewthan I now have donefor workof war I am willing still!If it cometo me ever across the seasthatneighbor foemen annoy and fright theeas theythat hate thee erewhile have usedthousandsthen of thanes I shall bringheroes tohelp thee. Of Hygelac I knowward ofhis folkthatthough few his yearsthe lordof the Geats will give me aidby wordand by workthat well I may serve theewieldingthe war-wood to win thy triumphandlending thee might when thou lackest men.If thyHrethric should come to court of Geatsa sovran'ssonhe will surely therefind hisfriends. A far-off landeach manshould visit who vaunts him brave."Him thenansweringHrothgar spake:"Thesewords of thine the wisest Godsent tothy soul! No sager counselfrom soyoung in years e'er yet have I heard.Thou artstrong of main and in mind art waryart wisein words! I ween indeedif ever ithap that Hrethel's heirby spearbe seizedby sword-grim battleby illnessor ironthine elder and lordpeople'sleader  and life be thinenoseemlier man will the Sea-Geats findat all tochoose for their chief and kingforhoard-guard of heroesif hold thou wiltthykinsman's kingdom! Thy keen mind pleases methe longerthe betterBeowulf loved!

Thou hastbrought it about that both our peoplessons ofthe Geat and Spear-Dane folkshall havemutual peaceand from murderous strifesuch asonce they wagedfrom war refrain.Long as Irule this realm so widelet ourhoards be commonlet heroes with goldeach othergreet o'er the gannet's-bathand theringed-prow bear o'er rolling wavestokens oflove. I trow my landfolktowardsfriend and foe are firmly joinedand honorthey keep in the olden way."To him inthe hallthenHealfdene's songavetreasures twelveand the trust-of-earlsbade himfare with the gifts to his folk belovedhale tohis homeand in haste return.Thenkissed the king of kin renownedScyldings'chieftainthat choicest thaneand fellon his neck. Fast flowed the tearsof thehoary-headed. Heavy with wintershe hadchances twainbut he clung to thisthat eachshould look on the other againand hearhim in hall. Was this hero so dear to him.hisbreast's wild billows he banned in vain;safe inhis soul a secret longinglocked inhis mindfor that loved manburned inhis blood. Then Beowulf strodeglad ofhis gold-giftsthe grass-plot o'erwarriorblithe. The wave-roamer boderiding atanchorits owner awaiting.As theyhastened onwardHrothgar's gifttheylauded at length.  'Twas a lord unpeeredevery wayblamelesstill age had broken itspareth no mortal  his splendid might.

 

 

XXVII

CAME nowto ocean the ever-courageoushardyhenchmentheir harness bearingwovenwar-sarks. The warden markedtrusty aseverthe earl's return.From theheight of the hill no hostile wordsreachedthe guests as he rode to greet them;but"Welcome!" he called to that Weder clanas thesheen-mailed spoilers to ship marched on.Then onthe strandwith steeds and treasureand armortheir roomy and ring-dight shipwasheavily laden: high its mastrose overHrothgar's hoarded gems.A sword tothe boat-guard Beowulf gavemountedwith gold; on the mead-bench sincehe wasbetter esteemedthat blade possessingheirloomold.  Their ocean-keel boardingthey drovethrough the deepand Daneland left.Asea-cloth was seta sail with ropesfirm tothe mast; the flood-timbers moaned;nor didwind over billows that wave-swimmer blowacrossfrom her course. The craft sped onfoam-neckedit floated forth o'er the waveskeelfirm-bound over briny currentstill theygot them sight of the Geatish cliffshome-knownheadlands. High the boatstirred bywindson the strand updrove.Helpful athaven the harbor-guard stoodwho longalready for loved companionsby thewater had waited and watched afar.He boundto the beach the broad-bosomed shipwithanchor-bandslest ocean-billowsthattrusty timber should tear away.ThenBeowulf bade them bear the treasuregold andjewels; no journey farwas itthence to go to the giver of ringsHygelacHrethling: at home he dweltby thesea-wall closehimself and clan.Haughtythat housea hero the kinghigh thehalland Hygd right youngwise andwarythough winters fewin thosefortress walls she had found a homeHaereth'sdaughter. Nor humble her waysnorgrudged she gifts to the Geatish menofprecious treasure. Not Thryth's pride showed shefolk-queenfamedor that fell deceit.Was noneso daring that durst make bold(save herlord alone) of the liegemen dearthat ladyfull in the face to lookbut forgedfetters he found his lotbonds ofdeath! And brief the respite;soon asthey seized himhis sword-doom was spokenand theburnished blade a baleful murderproclaimedand closed. No queenly wayfor womanto practisethough peerless shethat theweaver-of-peace from warrior dearby wrathand lying his life should reave!ButHemming's kinsman hindered this.For overtheir ale men also toldthat ofthese folk-horrors fewer she wroughtonslaughtsof evilafter she wentgold-deckedbrideto the brave young princeathelinghaughtyand Offa's hallo'er thefallow flood at her father's biddingsafelysoughtwhere since she prosperedroyalthronedrich in goodsfain ofthe fair life fate had sent herand lealin love to the lord of warriors.Heof allheroes I heard of everfrom seato seaof the sons of earthmostexcellent seemed. Hence Offa was praisedfor hisfighting and feeing by far-off menthespear-bold warrior; wisely he ruledover hisempire. Eomer woke to himhelp ofheroesHemming's kinsmanGrandsonof Garmundgrim in war.

 

 

XXVIII

HASTENEDthe hardy onehenchmen with himsandystrand of the sea to treadandwidespread ways. The world's great candlesun shonefrom south. They strode alongwithsturdy steps to the spot they knewwhere thebattle-king younghis burg withinslayer ofOngentheowshared the ringsshelter-of-heroes.To HygelacBeowulf'scoming was quickly toldthat therein the court the clansmen's refugetheshield-companion sound and alivehale fromthe hero-play homeward strode.With hastein the hallby highest orderroom forthe rovers was readily made.By hissovran he satcome safe from battlekinsman bykinsman. His kindly lordhe firsthad greeted in gracious formwith manlywords. The mead dispensingcamethrough the high hall Haereth's daughterwinsome towarriorswine-cup boreto thehands of the heroes. Hygelac thenhiscomrade fairly with question pliedin thelofty hallsore longing to knowwhatmanner of sojourn the Sea-Geats made."Whatcame of thy questmy kinsman Beowulfwhen thyyearnings suddenly swept thee yonderbattle toseek o'er the briny seacombat inHeorot? Hrothgar couldst thouaid atallthe honored chiefin hiswide-known woes? With waves of caremy sadheart seethed; I sore mistrustedmy lovedone's venture: long I begged theeby nomeans to seek that slaughtering monsterbut sufferthe South-Danes to settle their feudthemselveswith Grendel. Now God be thankedthat safeand sound I can see thee now!"Beowulfspakethe bairn of Ecgtheow:"'Tisknown and unhiddenHygelac Lordto manymenthat meeting of oursstrugglegrim between Grendel and mewhich wefought on the field where full too manysorrows hewrought for the Scylding-Victorsevilsunending. These all I avenged.No boastcan be from breed of Grendelany onearthfor that uproar at dawnfrom thelongest-lived of the loathsome racein fleshlyfold!  But first I wentHrothgarto greet in the hall of giftswhereHealfdene's kinsman high-renownedsoon as mypurpose was plain to himassignedme a seat by his son and heir.Theliegemen were lusty; my life-days neversuch merrymen over mead in hallhave Iheard under heaven! The high-born queenpeople'speace-bringerpassed through the hallcheeredthe young clansmenclasps of goldere shesought her seatto sundry gave.Oft to theheroes Hrothgar's daughterto earlsin turnthe ale-cup tenderedshe whom Iheard these hall-companionsFreawarunamewhen fretted goldsheproffered the warriors. Promised is shegold-deckedmaidto the glad son of Froda.Sage thisseems to the Scylding's-friendkingdom's-keeper:he counts it wisethe womanto wed so and ward off feudstore ofslaughter. But seldom everwhen menare slaindoes the murder-spear sinkbutbriefest whilethough the bride be fair!"Norhaply will like it the Heathobard lordand aslittle each of his liegemen allwhen athane of the Danesin that doughty thronggoes withthe lady along their halland on himthe old-time heirlooms glistenhard andring-deckedHeathobard's treasureweaponsthat once they wielded fairuntil theylost at the linden-playliegemanleal and their lives as well.Thenoverthe aleon this heirloom gazingsomeash-wielder old who has all in mindthatspear-death of men  he is stern of moodheavy atheart  in the hero youngtests thetemper and tries the soulandwar-hate wakenswith words like these:Canst thounotcomradeken that swordwhich tothe fray thy father carriedin hisfinal feud'neath the fighting-maskdearest ofbladeswhen the Danish slew himandwielded the war-place on Withergild's fallafterhavoc of heroesthose hardy Scyldings?Nowtheson of a certain slaughtering Daneproud ofhis treasurepaces this halljoys inthe killingand carries the jewelthatrightfully ought to be owned by thee!_Thus heurges and eggs him all the timewithkeenest wordstill occasion offersthatFreawaru's thanefor his father's deedafter biteof brand in his blood must slumberlosing hislife; but that liegeman flieslivingawayfor the land he kens.And thusbe broken on both their sidesoaths ofthe earlswhen Ingeld's breastwells withwar-hateand wife-love nowafter thecare-billows cooler grows."SoI hold not high the Heathobards' faithdue to theDanesor their during loveand pactof peace.  But I pass from thatturning toGrendelO giver-of-treasureand sayingin full how the fight resultedhand-frayof heroes. When heaven's jewelhad fledo'er far fieldsthat fierce sprite camenight-foesavageto seek us outwhere safeand sound we sentried the hall.ToHondscio then was that harassing deadlyhis fallthere was fated. He first was slaingirdedwarrior. Grendel on himturnedmurderous mouthon our mighty kinsmanand all ofthe brave man's body devoured.Yet nonethe earlierempty-handedwould thebloody-toothed murderermindful of baleoutward gofrom the gold-decked hall:but me heattacked in his terror of mightwithgreedy hand grasped me. A glove hung by himwide andwondrouswound with bands;and inartful wise it all was wroughtbydevilish craftof dragon-skins.Methereinan innocent manthefiendish foe was fain to thrustwith manyanother. He might not sowhen I allangrily upright stood.'Twerelong to relate how that land-destroyerI paid inkind for his cruel deeds;yet theremy princethis people of thinegot fameby my fighting. He fled awayand alittle space his life preserved;but therestaid behind him his stronger handleft inHeorot; heartsick thenceon thefloor of the ocean that outcast fell.Me forthis struggle the Scyldings'-friendpaid inplenty with plates of goldwith manya treasurewhen morn had comeand we allat the banquet-board sat down.Then wassong and glee. The gray-haired Scyldingmuchtestedtold of the times of yore.Whiles thehero his harp bestirredwood-of-delight;now lays he chantedof soothand sadnessor said arightlegends ofwonderthe wide-hearted king;or foryears of his youth he would yearn at timesforstrength of old strugglesnow stricken with agehoaryhero: his heart surged fullwhenwisewith wintershe wailed their flight.Thus inthe hall the whole of that dayat ease wefeastedtill fell o'er earthanothernight. Anon full readyin greedof vengeanceGrendel's motherset forthall doleful. Dead was her sonthroughwar-hate of Weders; nowwoman monstrouswith furyfell a foeman she slewavengedher offspring. From Aeschere oldloyalcouncillorlife was gone;nor mightthey e'enwhen morning brokethoseDanish peopletheir death-done comradeburn withbrandson balefire laythe manthey mourned. Under mountain streamshe hadcarried the corpse with cruel hands.ForHrothgar that was the heaviest sorrowof allthat had laden the lord of his folk.The leaderthenby thy lifebesought me(sad washis soul) in the sea-waves' coilto playthe hero and hazard my beingfor gloryof prowess: my guerdon he pledged.I then inthe waters  'tis widely knownthatsea-floor-guardian savage found.Hand-to-handthere a while we struggled;billowswelled blood; in the briny hallher head Ihewed with a hardy bladefromGrendel's mother  and gained my lifethough notwithout danger. My doom was not yet.Then thehaven-of-heroesHealfdene's songave me inguerdon great gifts of price.

 

 

XXXI

"Soheld this king to the customs oldthat Iwanted for nought in the wage I gainedthe meedof my might; he made me giftsHealfdene'sheirfor my own disposal.Now totheemy princeI proffer them allgladlygive them. Thy grace alonecan findme favor. Few indeedhave I ofkinsmensaveHygelacthee!"Then hebade them bear him the boar-head standardthebattle-helm highand breastplate graythesplendid sword; then spake in form:"Methis war-gear the wise old princeHrothgargaveand his hest he addedthat itsstory be straightway said to thee.A while itwas held by Heorogar kingfor longtime lord of the land of Scyldings;yet not tohis son the sovran left itto daringHeoroweard  dear as he was to himhisharness of battle.  Well hold thou it all!"And Iheard that soon passed o'er the path of this treasureallapple-fallowfour good steedseach likethe othersarms and horseshe gave tothe king. So should kinsmen benot weaveone another the net of wilesor withdeep-hid treachery death contriveforneighbor and comrade. His nephew was everby hardyHygelac held full dearand eachkept watch o'er the other's weal.I heardtoothe necklace to Hygd he presentedwonder-wroughttreasurewhich Wealhtheow gave himsovran'sdaughter: three steeds he addedslenderand saddle-gay. Since such giftthe gemgleamed bright on the breast of the queen.Thusshowed his strain the son of Ecgtheowas a manremarked for mighty deedsand actsof honor. At ale he slew notcomrade orkin; nor cruel his moodthough ofsons of earth his strength was greatesta gloriousgift that God had sentthesplendid leader. Long was he spurnedandworthless by Geatish warriors held;him atmead the master-of-clansfailedfull oft to favor at all.Slack andshiftless the strong men deemed himprofitlessprince; but payment cameto thewarrior honoredfor all his woes.Then thebulwark-of-earls bade bring withinhardychieftainHrethel's heirloomgarnishedwith gold: no Geat e'er knewin shapeof a sword a statelier prize.The brandhe laid in Beowulf's lap;and ofhides assigned him seven thousandwith houseand high-seat. They held in commonland alikeby their line of birthinheritancehome: but higher the kingbecause ofhis rule o'er the realm itself.

Nowfurther it fell with the flight of yearswithharryings horridthat Hygelac perishedandHeardredtooby hewing of swordsunder theshield-wall slaughtered laywhen himat the van of his victor-folksoughthardy heroesHeatho-Scilfingsin armso'erwhelming Hereric's nephew.ThenBeowulf came as king this broadrealm towield; and he ruled it wellfiftywintersa wise old princewardinghis landuntil One beganin thedark of nighta Dragonto rage.In thegrave on the hill a hoard it guardedin thestone-barrow steep. A strait path reached itunknown tomortals. Some manhowevercame bychance that cave withinto theheathen hoard. In hand he tooka goldengobletnor gave he it backstole withit awaywhile the watcher sleptbythievish wiles: for the warden's wrathprince andpeople must pay betimes!

 

 

XXXII

THAT wayhe went with no will of his ownin dangerof lifeto the dragon's hoardbut forpressure of perilsome prince's thane.He fled infear the fatal scourgeseekingsheltera sinful manandentered in. At the awful sighttotteredthat guestand terror seized him;yet thewretched fugitive rallied anonfromfright and fear ere he fled awayand tookthe cup from that treasure-hoard.Of suchbesides there was store enoughheirloomsoldthe earth belowwhich someearl forgottenin ancient yearsleft thelast of his lofty raceheedfullythere had hidden awaydearesttreasure. For death of yorehadhurried all hence; and he aloneleft tolivethe last of the clanweepinghis friendsyet wished to bidewardingthe treasurehis one delightthoughbrief his respite. The barrownew-readyto strandand sea-waves stood anearhard bythe headlandhidden and closed;there laidwithin it his lordly heirloomsand heapedhoard of heavy goldthatwarden of rings. Few words he spake:"Nowhold thouearthsince heroes may notwhat earlshave owned! Loerst from theebrave menbrought it! But battle-death seizedand cruelkilling my clansmen allrobbedthem of life and a liegeman's joys.None haveI left to lift the swordor tocleanse the carven cup of pricebeakerbright. My brave are gone.And thehelmet hardall haughty with goldshall partfrom its plating. Polishers sleepwho couldbrighten and burnish the battle-mask;and thoseweeds of war that were wont to braveoverbicker of shields the bite of steelrust withtheir bearer. The ringed mailfares notfar with famous chieftainat side ofhero! No harp's delightnoglee-wood's gladness! No good hawk nowfliesthrough the hall! Nor horses fleetstamp inthe burgstead! Battle and deaththe flowerof my race have reft away."Mournfulof moodthus he moaned his woealoneforthem alland unblithe weptby day andby nighttill death's fell waveo'erwhelmedhis heart. His hoard-of-blissthat oldill-doer open foundwhoblazing at twilight the barrows hauntethnakedfoe-dragon flying by nightfolded infire: the folk of earthdread himsore. 'Tis his doom to seekhoard inthe gravesand heathen goldto watchmany-wintered: nor wins he thereby!Powerfulthis plague-of-the-people thusheld thehouse of the hoard in earththreehundred winters; till One arousedwrath inhis breastto the ruler bearingthatcostly cupand the king imploredfor bondof peace. So the barrow was plunderedborne offwas booty. His boon was grantedthatwretched man; and his ruler sawfirst timewhat was fashioned in far-off days.When thedragon awokenew woe was kindled.O'er thestone he snuffed. The stark-heart foundfootprintof foe who so far had gonein hishidden craft by the creature's head.So may theundoomed easily fleeevils andexileif only he gainthe graceof The Wielder!  That warden of goldo'er theground went seekinggreedy to findthe manwho wrought him such wrong in sleep.Savage andburningthe barrow he circledallwithout; nor was any therenone inthe waste.... Yet war he desiredwas eagerfor battle. The barrow he enteredsought thecupand discovered soonthat someone of mortals had searched his treasurehis lordlygold. The guardian waitedill-enduringtill evening came;boilingwith wrath was the barrow's keeperand fainwith flame the foe to payfor thedear cup's loss.  Now day was fledas theworm had wished. By its wall no morewas itglad to bidebut burning flewfolded inflame: a fearful beginningfor sonsof the soil; and soon it camein thedoom of their lordto a dreadful end.

 

 

XXXIII

THEN thebaleful fiend its fire belched outand brighthomes burned. The blaze stood highalllandsfolk frighting. No living thingwould thatloathly one leave as aloft it flew.Wide wasthe dragon's warring seenitsfiendish fury far and nearas thegrim destroyer those Geatish peoplehated andhounded. To hidden lairto itshoard it hastened at hint of dawn.Folk ofthe land it had lapped in flamewith baleand brand. In its barrow it trusteditsbattling and bulwarks: that boast was vain!

To Beowulfthen the bale was toldquicklyand truly: the king's own homeofbuildings the bestin brand-waves meltedthatgift-throne of Geats. To the good old mansad inheart'twas heaviest sorrow.The sageassumed that his sovran Godhe hadangeredbreaking ancient lawandembittered the Lord. His breast withinwith blackthoughts welledas his wont was never.The folk'sown fastness that fiery dragonwith flamehad destroyedand the stronghold allwashed bywaves; but the warlike kingprince ofthe Wedersplotted vengeance.Warriors'-bulwarkhe bade them workall ofiron  the earl's commanderawar-shield wondrous: well he knewthatforest-wood against fire were worthlesslindencould aid not.  Atheling bravehe wasfated to finish this fleeting lifehis dayson earthand the dragon with himthoughlong it had watched o'er the wealth of thehoard!Shame hereckoned itsharer-of-ringsto followthe flyer-afar with a hostabroad-flung band; nor the battle feared henor deemedhe dreadful the dragon's warringits vigorand valor: ventures desperatehe hadpassed a-plentyand perils of warcontest-crashsinceconqueror proudHrothgar'shall he had wholly purgedand ingrapple had killed the kin of Grendelloathsomebreed! Not least was thatofhand-to-hand fights where Hygelac fellwhen theruler of Geats in rush of battlelord ofhis folkin the Frisian landson ofHrethelby sword-draughts diedby brandsdown-beaten. Thence Beowulf fledthroughstrength of himself and his swimming powerthoughaloneand his arms were laden with thirtycoats ofmailwhen he came to the sea!Nor yetmight Hetwaras haughtily boasttheircraft of contestwho carried against himshields tothe fight: but few escapedfromstrife with the hero to seek their homes!Then swamover ocean Ecgtheow's sonlonely andsorrowfulseeking his landwhere Hygdmade him offer of hoard and realmrings androyal-seatreckoning naughtthestrength of her son to save their kingdomfromhostile hordesafter Hygelac's death.No soonerfor this could the stricken onesin anywise move that atheling's mindover youngHeardred's head as lordand rulerof all the realm to be:yet thehero upheld him with helpful wordsaided inhonortillolder grownhe wieldedthe Weder-Geats.  Wandering exilessought himo'er seasthe sons of Ohterewho hadspurned the sway of the Scylfings'-helmetthebravest and best that broke the ringsin Swedishlandof the sea-kings' linehaughtyhero. Hence Heardred's end.Forshelter he gave themsword-death cametheblade's fell blowto bairn of Hygelac;but theson of Ongentheow sought againhouse andhome when Heardred fellleavingBeowulf lord of Geatsandgift-seat's master.  A good king he!

 

 

XXXIV

THE fallof his lord he was fain to requitein afterdays; and to Eadgils he provedfriend tothe friendlessand forces sentover thesea to the son of Ohtereweaponsand warriors: well repaid hethosecare-paths cold when the king he slew.Thus safethrough struggles the son of Ecgtheowhad passeda plentythrough perils direwithdaring deedstill this day was comethatdoomed him now with the dragon to strive.Withcomrades eleven the lord of Geatsswollen inrage went seeking the dragon.He hadheard whence all the harm aroseand thekilling of clansmen; that cup of priceon the lapof the lord had been laid by the finder.In thethrong was this one thirteenth manstarter ofall the strife and illcare-ladencaptive; cringing thenceforced andreluctanthe led them ontill hecame in ken of that cavern-hallthe barrowdelved near billowy surgesflood ofocean. Within 'twas fullofwire-gold and jewels; a jealous wardenwarriortrustythe treasures heldlurked inhis lair. Not light the taskofentrance for any of earth-born men!Sat on theheadland the hero kingspakewords of hail to his hearth-companionsgold-friendof Geats. All gloomy his soulwaveringdeath-bound. Wyrd full nighstoodready to greet the gray-haired manto seizehis soul-hoardsunder apartlife andbody. Not long would bethewarrior's spirit enwound with flesh.Beowulfspakethe bairn of Ecgtheow:"Throughstore of struggles I strove in youthmightyfeuds; I mind them all.I wasseven years old when the sovran of ringsfriend-of-his-folkfrom my father took mehad meand held meHrethel the kingwith foodand feefaithful in kinship.Ne'erwhile I lived therehe loathlier found mebairn inthe burgthan his birthright sonsHerebealdand Haethcyn and Hygelac mine.For theeldest of theseby unmeet chancebykinsman's deedwas the death-bed strewnwhenHaethcyn killed him with horny bowhis owndear liege laid low with an arrowmissed themark and his mate shot downonebrother the otherwith bloody shaft.Afeeless fightand a fearful sinhorror toHrethel; yethard as it wasunavengedmust the atheling die!Too awfulit is for an aged manto bideand bearthat his bairn so youngrides onthe gallows. A rime he makessorrow-songfor his son there hangingas raptureof ravens; no rescue nowcan comefrom the olddisabled man!Still ishe mindedas morning breaksof theheir gone elsewhere;another he hopes nothe willbide to see his burg withinas wardfor his wealthnow the one has founddoom ofdeath that the deed incurred.Forlorn helooks on the lodge of his sonwine-hallwaste and wind-swept chambersreft ofrevel. The rider sleepeththe herofar-hidden; no harp resoundsin thecourts no wassailas once was heard.

 

 

XXXV

"THENhe goes to his chambera grief-song chantsalone forhis lost. Too large all seemshomesteadand house. So the helmet-of-Wedershid in hisheart for Herebealdwaves ofwoe. No way could he taketo avengeon the slayer slaughter so foul;nor e'encould he harass that hero at allwithloathing deedthough he loved him not.And so forthe sorrow his soul enduredmen'sgladness he gave up and God's light chose.Lands andcities he left his sons(as thewealthy do) when he went from earth.There wasstrife and struggle 'twixt Swede and Geato'er thewidth of waters; war arosehardbattle-horrorwhen Hrethel diedandOngentheow's offspring grewstrife-keenboldnor brooked o'er the seaspact ofpeacebut pushed their hoststo harassin hatred by Hreosnabeorh.Men of myfolk for that feud had vengeancefor wofulwar ('tis widely known)though oneof them bought it with blood of his hearta bargainhard: for Haethcyn provedfatal thatfrayfor the first-of-Geats.At mornIheardwas the murderer killedby kinsmanfor kinsmanwith clash of swordwhenOngentheow met Eofor there.Wide splitthe war-helm: wan he fellhoaryScylfing; the hand that smote himof feudwas mindfulnor flinched from the death-blow. "Forall that he gave memy gleaming swordrepaid himat war  such power I wieldedfor lordlytreasure: with land he entrusted mehomesteadand house. He had no needfromSwedish realmor from Spear-Dane folkor frommen of the Gifthsto get him helpsomewarrior worse for wage to buy!Ever Ifought in the front of allsole tothe fore; and so shall I fightwhile Ibide in life and this blade shall lastthat earlyand late hath loyal provedsince formy doughtiness Daeghrefn fellslain bymy handthe Hugas' champion.Nor faredhe thence to the Frisian kingwith thebooty backand breast-adornments;butslainin strugglethat standard-bearerfellatheling brave. Not with blade was he slainbut hisbones were broken by brawny gripehisheart-waves stilled.  The sword-edge nowhard bladeand my handfor the hoard shall strive."Beowulfspakeand a battle-vow madehis lastof all: "I have lived through manywars in myyouth; now once againoldfolk-defenderfeud will I seekdo doughtydeedsif the dark destroyerforth fromhis cavern come to fight me!"Thenhailed he the helmeted heroes allfor thelast time greeting his liegemen dearcomradesof war: "I should carry no weaponno swordto the serpentif sure I knewhowwithsuch enemyelse my vowsI couldgain as I did in Grendel's day.But firein this fight I must fear me nowandpoisonous breath; so I bring with mebreastplateand board. From the barrow's keepernofootbreadth flee I. One fight shall endour war bythe wallas Wyrd allotsallmankind's master. My mood is boldbutforbears to boast o'er this battling-flyer. Nowabide by the barrowye breastplate-mailedye heroesin harnesswhich of us twainbetterfrom battle-rush bear his wounds.Wait yethe finish. The fight is not yoursnor meetfor any but me aloneto measuremight with this monster hereand playthe hero. Hardily Ishall winthat wealthor war shall seizecruelkillingyour king and lord!"Up stoodthen with shield the sturdy championstayed bythe strength of his single manhoodand hardy'neath helmet his harness boreundercleft of the cliffs: no coward's path!Soon spiedby the wall that warrior chiefsurvivorof many a victory-fieldwherefoemen fought with furious clashingsan arch ofstone; and withina streamthat brokefrom the barrow. The brooklet's wavewas hotwith fire. The hoard that wayhe nevercould hope unharmed to nearor endurethose deepsfor the dragon's flame.Then letfrom his breastfor he burst with ragetheWeder-Geat prince a word outgo;stormedthe stark-heart; stern went ringingand clearhis cry 'neath the cliff-rocks gray.Thehoard-guard heard a human voice;his ragewas enkindled. No respite nowfor pactof peace! The poison-breathof thatfoul worm first came forth from the cavehotreek-of-fight: the rocks resounded.Stout bythe stone-way his shield he raisedlord ofthe Geatsagainst the loathed-one;while withcourage keen that coiled foecameseeking strife. The sturdy kinghad drawnhis swordnot dull of edgeheirloomold; and each of the twofelt fearof his foethough fierce their mood.Stoutlystood with his shield high-raisedthewarrior kingas the worm now coiledtogetheramain: the mailed-one waited.Nowspireby spirefast sped and glidedthatblazing serpent. The shield protectedsoul andbody a shorter whilefor thehero-king than his heart desiredcould hiswill have wielded the welcome respitebut oncein his life! But Wyrd denied itandvictory's honors.  His arm he liftedlord ofthe Geatsthe grim foe smotewithatheling's heirloom. Its edge was turnedbrownbladeon the boneand bit more feeblythan itsnoble master had need of thenin hisbaleful stress.  Then the barrow's keeperwaxed fullwild for that weighty blowcastdeadly flames; wide drove and farthosevicious fires. No victor's glorythe Geats'lord boasted; his brand had failednaked inbattleas never it shouldexcellentiron!  'Twas no easy paththatEcgtheow's honored heir must treadover theplain to the place of the foe;foragainst his will he must win a homeelsewherefaras must all menleavingthislapsing life!  Not long it wasere thosechampions grimly closed again.Thehoard-guard was heartened; high heaved hisbreastonce more;and by peril was pressed againenfoldedin flamesthe folk-commander!Nor yetabout him his band of comradessons ofathelingsarmed stoodwithwarlike front: to the woods they bent themtheirlives to save. But the soul of onewith carewas cumbered. Kinship truecan neverbe marred in a noble mind!

 

 

XXXVI

WIGLAF hisname wasWeohstan's sonlinden-thanelovedthe lord of ScylfingsAelfhere'skinsman. His king he now sawwith heatunder helmet hard oppressed.He mindedthe prizes his prince had given himwealthyseat of the Waegmunding lineandfolk-rights that his father ownedNot longhe lingered. The linden yellowhisshieldhe seized; the old sword he drew:asheirloom of Eanmund earth-dwellers knew itwho wasslain by the sword-edgeson of Ohterefriendlessexileerst in fraykilled byWeohstanwho won for his kinbrown-brighthelmetbreastplate ringedold swordof EotensOnela's giftweeds ofwar of the warrior-thanebattle-gearbrave: though a brother's childhad beenfelledthe feud was unfelt by Onela.Forwinters this war-gear Weohstan keptbreastplateand boardtill his bairn had grownearlshipto earn as the old sire did:then hegave himmid Geatsthe gear of battleportionhugewhen he passed from lifefared agedforth. For the first time nowwith hisleader-lord the liegeman youngwas biddento share the shock of battle.Neithersoftened his soulnor the sire's bequestweakenedin war. So the worm found outwhen oncein fight the foes had met!Wiglafspake  and his words were sage;sad inspirithe said to his comrades:"Iremember the timewhen mead we tookwhatpromise we made to this prince of oursin thebanquet-hallto our breaker-of-ringsfor gearof combat to give him requitalforhard-sword and helmetif hap should bringstress ofthis sort! Himself who chose usfrom allhis army to aid him nowurged usto gloryand gave these treasuresbecause hecounted us keen with the spearand hardy'neath helmthough this hero-workour leaderhoped unhelped and aloneto finishfor us  folk-defenderwho hathgot him glory greater than all menfor daringdeeds! Now the day is comethat ournoble master has need of the mightofwarriors stout. Let us stride alongthe heroto help while the heat is about himglowingand grim! For God is my witnessI am farmore fain the fire should seizealong withmy lord these limbs of mine!Unsuitingit seems our shields to bearhomewardhencesave here we essayto fellthe foe and defend the lifeof theWeders' lord. I wot 'twere shameon the lawof our land if alone the kingout ofGeatish warriors woe enduredand sankin the struggle! My sword and helmetbreastplateand boardfor us both shall serve!"Throughslaughter-reek strode he to succor his chieftainhisbattle-helm boreand brief words spake:"Beowulfdearestdo all bravelyas inyouthful days of yore thou vowedstthat whilelife should last thou wouldst let no wisethy glorydroop! Nowgreat in deedsathelingsteadfastwith all thy strengthshield thylife! I will stand to help thee."At thewords the worm came once againmurderousmonster mad with ragewithfire-billows flamingits foes to seekthe hatedmen. In heat-waves burnedthat boardto the bossand the breastplate failedto shelterat all the spear-thane young.Yetquickly under his kinsman's shieldwent eagerthe earlsince his own was nowall burnedby the blaze. The bold king againhad mindof his glory: with might his glaivewas driveninto the dragon's headblownerved by hate. But Naegling was shiveredbroken inbattle was Beowulf's swordold andgray. 'Twas granted him notthat everthe edge of iron at allcould helphim at strife: too strong was his handso thetale is toldand he tried too farwithstrength of stroke all swords he wieldedthoughsturdy their steel: they steaded him nought.Then forthe third time thought on its feudthatfolk-destroyerfire-dread dragonand rushedon the herowhere room allowedbattle-grimburning; its bitter teethclosed onhis neckand covered himwith wavesof blood from his breast that welled.

 

 

XXXVII

'TWAS nowmen sayin his sovran's needthat theearl made known his noble straincraft andkeenness and courage enduring.Heedlessof harmthough his hand was burnedhardy-heartedhe helped his kinsman.A littlelower the loathsome beasthe smotewith sword; his steel drove inbright andburnished; that blaze beganto loseand lessen. At last the kingwieldedhis wits againwar-knife drewa bitingblade by his breastplate hangingand theWeders'-helm smote that worm asunderfelled thefoeflung forth its life.So hadthey killed itkinsmen bothathelingstwain: thus an earl should beindanger's day!  Of deeds of valorthisconqueror's-hour of the king was lastof hiswork in the world. The wound beganwhich thatdragon-of-earth had erst inflictedto swelland smart; and soon he foundin hisbreast was boilingbaleful and deeppain ofpoison. The prince walked onwise inhis thoughtto the wall of rock;then satand stared at the structure of giantswhere archof stone and steadfast columnupheldforever that hall in earth.Yet heremust the hand of the henchman peerlesslave withwater his winsome lordthe kingand conqueror covered with bloodwithstruggle spentand unspan his helmet.Beowulfspake in spite of his hurthis mortalwound; full well he knewhisportion now was past and goneof earthlyblissand all had fledof hisfile of daysand death was near:"Iwould fain bestow on son of minethis gearof warwere given me nowthat anyheir should after me comeof myproper blood. This people I ruledfiftywinters. No folk-king was therenone atallof the neighboring clanswho warwould wage me with 'warriors'-friends'and threatme with horrors. At home I bidedwhat fatemight comeand I cared for mine own;feuds Isought notnor falsely sworeever onoath. For all these thingsthoughfatally woundedfain am I!From theRuler-of-Man no wrath shall seize mewhen lifefrom my frame must flee awayforkilling of kinsmen! Now quickly goand gazeon that hoard 'neath the hoary rockWiglaflovednow the worm lies lowsleepsheart-soreof his spoil bereaved.And farein haste. I would fain beholdthegorgeous heirloomsgolden storehave joyin the jewels and gemslay downsoftlierfor sight of this splendid hoardmy lifeand the lordship I long have held."

 

 

XXXVIII

I HAVEheard that swiftly the son of Weohstanat wishand word of his wounded kingwar-sickwarrior  woven mail-coatbattle-sarkbore 'neath the barrow's roof.Then theclansman keenof conquest proudpassingthe seatsaw store of jewelsandglistening gold the ground along;by thewall were marvelsand many a vesselin the denof the dragonthe dawn-flier old:unburnishedbowls of bygone menreft ofrichness; rusty helmsof theolden age; and arm-rings manywondrouslywoven.  Such wealth of goldbooty frombarrowcan burden with prideeach humanwight: let him hide it who will!His glancetoo fell on a gold-wove bannerhigh o'erthe hoardof handiwork noblestbrilliantlybroidered; so bright its gleamall theearth-floor he easily sawand viewedall these vessels. No vestige nowwas seenof the serpent: the sword had ta'en him.ThenIheardthe hill of its hoard was reftold workof giantsby one alone;heburdened his bosom with beakers and plateat his owngood willand the ensign tookbrightestof beacons.  The blade of his lord itsedge was iron  had injured deepone thatguarded the golden hoardmany ayear and its murder-firespread hotround the barrow in horror-billowsatmidnight hourtill it met its doom.Hasted theheraldthe hoard so spurred himhis trackto retrace; he was troubled by doubthigh-souledheroif haply he'd findalivewhere he left himthe lord of Wedersweakeningfast by the wall of the cave.So hecarried the load. His lord and kinghe foundall bleedingfamous chiefat thelapse of life. The liegeman againplashedhim with watertill point of wordbrokethrough the breast-hoard. Beowulf spakesage andsadas he stared at the gold."Forthe gold and treasureto God my thanksto theWielder-of-Wonderswith words I sayfor what Ibeholdto Heaven's Lordfor thegrace that I give such gifts to my folkor everthe day of my death be run!Now I'vebartered here for booty of treasurethe lastof my lifeso look ye wellto theneeds of my land! No longer I tarry.A barrowbid ye the battle-fanned raisefor myashes. 'Twill shine by the shore of the floodto folk ofmine memorial fairon HronesHeadland high upliftedthatocean-wanderers oft may hailBeowulf'sBarrowas back from farthey drivetheir keels o'er the darkling wave."From hisneck he unclasped the collar of goldvalorouskingto his vassal gave itwithbright-gold helmetbreastplateand ringto theyouthful thane: bade him use them in joy."Thouart end and remnant of all our racetheWaegmunding name. For Wyrd hath swept themall mylineto the land of doomearls intheir glory: I after them go."This wordwas the last which the wise old manharboredin heart ere hot death-wavesofbalefire he chose. From his bosom fledhis soulto seek the saints' reward.

 

 

XXXIX

IT washeavy hap for that hero youngon hislord beloved to look and find himlying onearth with life at endsorrowfulsight. But the slayer tooawfulearth-dragonempty of breathlay felledin fightnorfain of its treasurecould thewrithing monster rule it more.For edgesof iron had ended its dayshard andbattle-sharphammers' leaving;and thatflier-afar had fallen to groundhushed byits hurtits hoard all nearno longerlusty aloft to whirlatmidnightmaking its merriment seenproud ofits prizes: prone it sankby thehandiwork of the hero-king.Forsoothamong folk but few achieve thoughsturdy and strongas stories tell meand neverso daring in deed of valortheperilous breath of a poison-foeto braveand to rush on the ring-board hallwheneverhis watch the warden keepsbold inthe barrow. Beowulf paidthe priceof death for that precious hoard;and eachof the foes had found the endof thisfleeting life.Befellerelongthat thelaggards in war the wood had lefttrothbreakerscowardsten togetherfearingbefore to flourish a spearin thesore distress of their sovran lord.Now intheir shame their shields they carriedarmor offightwhere the old man lay;and theygazed on Wiglaf. Wearied he satat hissovran's shouldershieldsman goodto wakehim with water. Nowise it availed.Thoughwell he wished itin world no morecould hebarrier life for that leader-of-battlesnor bafflethe will of all-wielding God.Doom ofthe Lord was law o'er the deedsof everymanas it is to-day.Grim wasthe answereasy to getfrom theyouth for those that had yielded to fear!Wiglafspakethe son of Weohstanmournfulhe looked on those men unloved:"Whosooth will speakcan say indeedthat theruler who gave you golden ringsand theharness of war in which ye stand forhe at ale-bench often-timesbestowedon hall-folk helm and breastplatelord toliegementhe likeliest gearwhich nearof far he could find to givethrew awayand wasted these weeds of battleon men whofailed when the foemen came!Not at allcould the king of his comrades-in-armsventure tovauntthough the Victory-WielderGodgavehim grace that he got revengesole withhis sword in stress and need.To rescuehis life'twas little that Icouldserve him in struggle; yet shift I made(hopelessit seemed) to help my kinsman.Itsstrength ever wanedwhen with weapon I struckthat fatalfoeand the fire less stronglyflowedfrom its head.  Too few the heroesin throeof contest that thronged to our king!Now giftof treasure and girding of swordjoy of thehouse and home-delightshall failyour folk; his freehold-landeveryclansman within your kinshall loseand leavewhen lords highbornhear afarof that flight of yoursa famelessdeed. Yeadeath is betterforliegemen all than a life of shame!"

 

 

XL

THATbattle-toil bade he at burg to announceat thefort on the cliffwherefull of sorrowall themorning earls had satdaringshieldsmenin doubt of twain:would theywail as deador welcome hometheir lordbeloved? Little kept backof thetidings newbut told them allthe heraldthat up the headland rode."Nowthe willing-giver to Weder folkindeath-bed lies; the Lord of Geatson theslaughter-bed sleeps by the serpent's deed!And besidehim is stretched that slayer-of-menwithknife-wounds sick:no sword availedon theawesome thing in any wiseto work awound. There Wiglaf sittethWeohstan'sbairnby Beowulf's sidethe livingearl by the other deadand heavyof heart a head-watch keepso'erfriend and foe.  Now our folk may lookfor wagingof war when once unhiddento Frisianand Frank the fall of the kingis spreadafar.  The strife beganwhen hoton the Hugas Hygelac felland faredwith his fleet to the Frisian land.Him therethe Hetwaras humbled in warplied withsuch prowess their power o'erwhelmingthat thebold-in-battle bowed beneath itand fellin fight. To his friends no wisecould thatearl give treasure! And ever sincetheMerowings' favor has failed us wholly.Nor aughtexpect I of peace and faithfromSwedish folk. 'Twas spread afarhowOngentheow reft at RavenswoodHaethcynHrethling of hope and lifewhen thefolk of Geats for the first time soughtin wantonpride the Warlike-Scylfings.Soon thesage old sire of Ohtereancientand awfulgave answering blow;thesea-king he slewand his spouse redeemedhis goodwife rescuedthough robbed of her goldmother ofOhtere and Onela.Then hefollowed his foeswho fled before himsore besetand stole their waybereft ofa rulerto Ravenswood.

With hishost he besieged there what swords had leftthe wearyand wounded; woes he threatenedthe wholenight through to that hard-pressed throng:some withthe morrow his sword should killsomeshould go to the gallows-treeforrapture of ravens. But rescue camewith dawnof day for those desperate menwhen theyheard the horn of Hygelac soundtones ofhis trumpet; the trusty kinghadfollowed their trail with faithful band.

 

 

XLI

"THEbloody swath of Swedes and Geatsand thestorm of their strifewere seen afarhow folkagainst folk the fight had wakened.Theancient king with his atheling bandsought hiscitadelsorrowing much:Ongentheowearl went up to his burg.He hadtested Hygelac's hardihoodthe proudone's prowesswould prove it no longerdefied nomore those fighting-wanderersnor hopedfrom the seamen to save his hoardhis bairnand his bride: so he bent him againoldtohis earth-walls. Yet after him camewithslaughter for Swedes the standards of Hygelaco'erpeaceful plains in pride advancingtillHrethelings fought in the fenced town.ThenOngentheow with edge of swordthehoary-beardedwas held at bayand thefolk-king there was forced to sufferEofor'sanger. In ireat the kingWulfWonreding with weapon struck;and thechieftain's bloodfor that blowin streamsflowed'neath his hair. No fear felt hestout oldScylfingbut straightway repaidin betterbargain that bitter strokeand facedhis foe with fell intent.Nor swiftenough was the son of Wonredanswer torender the aged chief;too soonon his head the helm was cloven;blood-bedeckedhe bowed to earthand felladown; not doomed was he yetand wellhe waxedthough the wound was sore.Then thehardy Hygelac-thanewhen hisbrother fellwith broad brand smotegiants'sword crashing through giants'-helmacross theshield-wall: sank the kinghis folk'sold herdsmanfatally hurt.There weremany to bind the brother's woundsand lifthimfast as fate allowedhis peopleto wield the place-of-war.But Eofortook from Ongentheowearl fromotherthe iron-breastplatehard swordhiltedand helmet tooand thehoar-chief's harness to Hygelac carriedwho tookthe trappingsand truly promisedrich fee'mid folk  and fulfilled it so.For thatgrim strife gave the Geatish lordHrethel'soffspringwhen home he cameto Eoforand Wulf a wealth of treasureEach ofthem had a hundred thousandin landand linked rings; nor at less price reckonedmid-earthmen such mighty deeds!And toEofor he gave his only daughterin pledgeof gracethe pride of his home.

"Suchis the feudthe foeman's ragedeath-hateof men: so I deem it surethat theSwedish folk will seek us homefor thisfall of their friendsthe fighting-Scylfingswhen oncethey learn that our warrior leaderlifelesslieswho land and hoardeverdefended from all his foesfurtheredhis folk's wealfinished his coursea hardyhero.  Now haste is bestthat we goto gaze on our Geatish lordand bearthe bountiful breaker-of-ringsto thefuneral pyre. No fragments merelyshall burnwith the warrior. Wealth of jewelsgolduntold and gained in terrortreasureat last with his life obtainedall ofthat booty the brands shall takefire shalleat it. No earl must carrymemorialjewel. No maiden fairshallwreathe her neck with noble ring:naysadin spirit and shorn of her goldoft shallshe pass o'er paths of exilenow ourlord all laughter has laid asideall mirthand revel. Many a spearmorning-coldshall be clasped amainliftedaloft; nor shall lilt of harpthosewarriors wake; but the wan-hued ravenfain o'erthe fallenhis feast shall praiseand boastto the eagle how bravely he atewhen heand the wolf were wasting the slain."

So he toldhis sorrowful tidingsand littlehe liedthe loyal manof word orof work. The warriors rose;sadtheyclimbed to the Cliff-of-Eagleswentwelling with tearsthe wonder to view.Found onthe sand therestretched at resttheirlifeless lordwho had lavished ringsof oldupon them. Ending-dayhad dawnedon the doughty-one; death had seizedin wofulslaughter the Weders' king.There sawtheybesidesthe strangest beingloathsomelying their leader nearprone onthe field. The fiery dragonfearfulfiendwith flame was scorched.Reckonedby feetit was fifty measuresin lengthas it lay. Aloft erewhileit hadrevelled by nightand anon come backseekingits den; now in death's sure clutchit hadcome to the end of its earth-hall joys.By itthere stood the stoups and jars;dishes laythereand dear-decked swordseaten withrustason earth's lap restinga thousandwinters they waited there.For allthat heritage hugethat goldof bygonemenwas bound by a spellso thetreasure-hall could be touched by noneof humankind  save that Heaven's KingGodhimselfmight give whom he wouldHelper ofHeroesthe hoard to openeven sucha man as seemed to him meet.

 

 

XLII

A PERILOUSpathit provedhe trodwhoheinously hidthat hall withinwealthunder wall! Its watcher had killedone of afewand the feud was avengedin wofulfashion. Wondrous seems itwhatmanner a man of might and valoroft endshis lifewhen the earl no longerinmead-hall may live with loving friends.SoBeowulfwhen that barrow's wardenhe soughtand the struggle; himself knew notin whatwise he should wend from the world at last.Forprinces potentwho placed the goldwith acurse to doomsday covered it deepso thatmarked with sin the man should behedgedwith horrorsin hell-bonds fastrackedwith plagueswho should rob their hoard.Yet nogreed for goldbut the grace of heavenever theking had kept in view.Wiglafspakethe son of Weohstan:"Atthe mandate of oneoft warriors manysorrowmust suffer; and so must we.Thepeople's-shepherd showed not aughtof carefor our counselking beloved!Thatguardian of gold he should grapple noturged webut lethim lie where he long had beenin hisearth-hall waiting the end of the worldthe hestof heaven.  This hoard is oursbutgrievously gotten; too grim the fatewhichthither carried our king and lord.I waswithin thereand all I viewedthechambered treasurewhen chance allowed me(and mypath was made in no pleasant wise)under theearth-wall. EagerI seizedsuch heapfrom the hoard as hands could bearandhurriedly carried it hither backto myliege and lord. Alive was he stillstillwielding his wits. The wise old manspake muchin his sorrowand sent you greetingsand badethat ye buildwhen he breathed no moreon theplace of his balefire a barrow highmemorialmighty. Of men was heworthiestwarrior wide earth o'erthe whilehe had joy of his jewels and burg.Let us setout in haste nowthe second timeto see andsearch this store of treasurethesewall-hid wonders  the way I show youwheregathered nearye may gaze your fillatbroad-gold and rings. Let the biersoon madebe all inorder when out we comeour kingand captain to carry thither manbeloved  where long he shall bidesafe inthe shelter of sovran God."Then thebairn of Weohstan bade commandhardychiefto heroes manythat ownedtheir homesteadshither to bringfirewoodfrom far  o'er the folk they ruledfor thefamed-one's funeral. " Fire shall devourand wanflames feed on the fearless warriorwho oftstood stout in the iron-showerwhenspedfrom the stringa storm of arrowsshot o'erthe shield-wall: the shaft held firmfeatlyfeatheredfollowed the barb."And nowthe sage young son of Weohstansevenchose of the chieftain's thanesthe besthe found that band withinand wentwith these warriorsone of eightunderhostile roof. In hand one borea lightedtorch and led the way.No lotsthey cast for keeping the hoardwhen oncethe warriors saw it in hallaltogetherwithout a guardianlyingthere lost. And little they mournedwhen theyhad hastily haled it outdear-boughttreasure! The dragon they castthe wormo'er the wall for the wave to takeand surgesswallowed that shepherd of gems.Then thewoven gold on a wain was ladencountlessquite!  and the king was bornehoaryheroto Hrones-Ness.

 

 

XLIII

THENfashioned for him the folk of Geatsfirm onthe earth a funeral-pileand hungit with helmets and harness of warandbreastplates brightas the boon he asked;and theylaid amid it the mighty chieftainheroesmourning their master dear.Then onthe hill that hugest of balefiresthewarriors wakened. Wood-smoke roseblack overblazeand blent was the roarof flamewith weeping (the wind was still)till thefire had broken the frame of boneshot at theheart. In heavy moodtheirmisery moaned theytheir master's death.Wailingher woethe widow oldher hairupboundfor Beowulf's deathsung inher sorrowand said full oftshedreaded the doleful days to comedeathsenowand doom of battleandshame.  The smoke by the sky was devoured.The folkof the Weders fashioned thereon theheadland a barrow broad and highbyocean-farers far descried:in tendays' time their toil had raised itthebattle-brave's beacon. Round brands of the pyrea wallthey builtthe worthiest everthat witcould prompt in their wisest men.Theyplaced in the barrow that precious bootythe roundsand the rings they had reft erewhilehardyheroesfrom hoard in cavetrustingthe ground with treasure of earlsgold inthe earthwhere ever it liesuseless tomen as of yore it was.Then aboutthat barrow the battle-keen rodeatheling-borna band of twelvelament tomaketo mourn their kingchanttheir dirgeand their chieftain honor.Theypraised his earlshiphis acts of prowessworthilywitnessed: and well it isthat mentheir master-friend mightily laudheartilylovewhen hence he goesfrom lifein the body forlorn away.

Thus madetheir mourning the men of Geatlandfor theirhero's passing his hearth-companions:quoth thatof all the kings of earthof men hewas mildest and most belovedto his kinthe kindestkeenest for praise.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES

*Notof courseBeowulf the Greathero of the epic.

*Kenningfor king or chieftain of a comitatus: he breaks off goldfrom thespiral rings  often worn on the arm  and so rewardshisfollowers.

 *That is"The Hart" or "Stag" so called from decorationsinthe gablesthat resembled the antlers of a deer. This hall hasbeencarefully described in a pamphlet by Heyne. The building wasrectangularwith opposite doors  mainly west and east  and ahearth inthe middle of th single room. A row of pillars downeach sideat some distance from the wallsmade a space whichwas raiseda little above the main floorand was furnished withtwo rowsof seats. On one sideusually southwas thehigh-seatmidway between the doors. Opposite thison the otherraisedspacewas another seat of honor. At the banquet soon tobedescribedHrothgar sat in the south or chief high-seatandBeowulfopposite to him. The scene for a flyingwas thusvery effectively set. Planks on trestles  the"board"of later English literature  formed the tables just infront ofthe long rows of seatsand were taken away afterbanquetswhen the retainers were ready to stretch them- selvesout forsleep on the benches.

*Firewas the usual end of thesehalls. Onethinks of the splendid scene at theend of theNibelungenof the Nialssagaof Saxo's story ofAmlethusand many a less famous instance.

*Itis to be supposed that all hearers of this poem knew howHrothgar'shall was burnt  perhaps in the unsuccessful attackmade onhim by his son-in-law Ingeld.

*Askilled minstrel. The Danes areheathensas one is told presently; but this lay of beginnings istaken fromGenesis.

*Adisturber of the borderone whosalliesfrom his haunt in the fen and roams over the country nearby. Thisprobably pagan nuisance is now furnished with biblicalcredentialsas a fiend or devil in good standingso that allChristianEnglishmen might read about him. "Grendel" may mean onewho grindsand crushes.

*Cain's.

*Giants.

*Thesmaller buildings within the main enclosure but separatefrom thehall.

*Grendel.

*"Sorcerers-of-hell."

*Hrothgarwho is the "Scyldings'-friend". 

*That isin formal or prescribed phrase.

*Ship.

*Thatissince Beowulf selected his ship and ledhis men tothe harbor.

*Oneof the auxiliary names of theGeats.

*Or:Not thus openly ever came warriors hither; yet...

*Hrothgar.

*Beowulf'shelmet has several boar-images on it;he is the"man of war"; and the boar-helmet guards him as typicalrepresentativeof the marching party as a whole. The boar wassacred toFreyrwho was the favorite god of the Germanic tribesabout theNorth Sea and the Baltic. Rude representations ofwarriorsshow the boar on the helmet quite as large as the helmetitself.

*Eithermerely pavedthe strata via of the Romansor elsethought ofas a sort of mosaican extravagant touch like therecklesswaste of gold on the walls and roofs of a hall.

*Thenicorsays Buggeis a hippopotamus; a walrussays tenBrink. Butthat water-goblin who covers the space from Old Nickof jest tothe Neckan and Nix of poetry and taleis all oneneedsandNicor is a good name for him.

*Hisown peoplethe Geats.

*Thatiscover it as with a face-cloth. "There will beno need offuneral rites."

*Personificationof Battle.

*TheGermanic Vulcan.

*Thismighty powerwhom the Christian poetcan stillreverehas here the general force of "Destiny."

*Thereis no irrelevance here. Hrothgar sees in Beowulf'smission aheritage of dutya return of the good offices whichthe Danishking rendered to Beowulf's father in time of direneed.

*Moneyfor wergildor man-price.

*EcgtheowBeowulf's sire.

*"Beganthe fight."

*Breca.

 

*Murder.

 

*Beowulf  the "one."

 

*Thatishe was a "lost soul" doomed to hell.

*Kenningfor Beowulf.

*"Guardedthe treasure."

*Sc.Heremod.

*Thesinger has sung his laysand theepic resumes its story. The time-relationsare notaltogether good in this long passage which describes therejoicingsof "the day after"; but the present shift from theriders onthe road to the folk at the hall is not very violentand is ofa piece with the general style.

*UnferthBeowulf's sometime opponent in the flyting.

*Thereis no horrible inconsistency here such as the criticsstrive andcry about. In spite of the ruin that Grendel andBeowulfhad made within the hallthe framework and roof heldfirmandswift repairs made the interior habitable. Tapestrieswere hungon the wallsand willing hands prepared the banquet.

*Fromits formal use in other placesthis phraseto take cupin hallor "on the floor" would seem to mean that Beowulfstood upto receive his giftsdrink to the donorand saythanks.

*Kenningfor sword.

*Hrothgar.He is also the"refugeof the friends of Ing" below. Ing belongs to myth.

*Horsesare frequently led or ridden into the hall where folk sitatbanquet: so in Chaucer's Squire's talein the ballad of KingEstmereand in the romances.

*Man-pricewergild.

*Beowulf's.

*Hrothgar.

*Thereis no need to assume a gap in the Ms. As beforeaboutSigemund and Heremodso nowthough at greaterlengthabout Finn and his feuda lay is chanted or recited;and theepic poetcounting on his readers' familiaritywith thestory  a fragment of it still exists simplygives the headings.

*Theexact storyto whichthis episode refers in summary is not to be determinedbut thefollowing account of it is reasonable and has goodsupportamong scholars. Finna Frisian chieftainwhoneverthelesshas a "castle" outside the Frisian bordermarriesHildeburha Danish princess; and her brotherHnaefwith manyotherDanespays Finn a visit. Relations between the two peopleshave beenstrained before. Something starts the old feud anew;and thevisitors are attacked in their quarters. Hnaef is killed;so is ason of Hildeburh. Many fall on both sides. Peace ispatchedup; a stately funeral is held; and the surviving visitorsbecome ina way vassals or liegemen of Finngoing back with himto Frisia.So matters rest a while. Hengest is now leader of theDanes; buthe is set upon revenge for his former lordHnaef.Probablyhe is killed in feud; but his clansmenGuthlaf andOslafgather at their home a force of sturdy Danescome back toFrisiastorm Finn's strongholdkill himand carry back theirkinswomanHildeburh.

*The"enemies" must be the Frisians.

*Battlefield. Hengest is the "prince's thane" companion ofHnaef."Folcwald's son" is Finn.

*ThatisFinn would governin allhonor the few Danish warriors who were leftprovidedofcoursethat none of them tried to renew the quarrel or avengeHnaeftheir fallen lord. Ifagainone of Finn's Frisians begana quarrelhe should die by the sword.

*Hnaef.

*Thehighplacechosen for the funeral: see description of Beowulf'sfuneral-pileat the end of the poem.

*Wounds.

*Thatisthese two Danesescaping homehad told the storyof theattack on Hnaefthe slaying of Hengestand all theDanishwoes. Collecting a forcethey return to Frisia and killFinn inhis home.

*Nephewto Hrothgarwith whom hesubsequentlyquarrelsand elder cousin to the two young sons ofHrothgarand Wealhtheow  their natural guardian in the eventof theking's death. There is something finely feminine in thisspeech ofWealhtheow'sapart from its somewhat irregular andirrelevantsequence of topics. Both she and her lord probablydistrustHrothulf; but she bids the king to be of good cheerandturning to the suspectheaps affectionate assurances on hisprobity."My own Hrothulf" will surely not forget these favorsandbenefits of the pastbut will repay them to the orphanedboy.

*Theyhad laid their arms on the benches near where theyslept.

*Hesurmises presently where she is.

*Theconnection is notdifficult.The words of mourningof acute griefare said; andaccordingto Germanic sequence of thoughtinexorable herethenext andonly topic is revenge. But is it possible? Hrothgarleads upto his appeal and promise with a skillful and ofteneffectivedescription of the horrors which surround the monster'shome andawait the attempt of an avenging foe.

*Hrothgaris probably meant.

*Meetingplace.

*Kenningfor "sword." Hrunting is bewitchedlaid under aspell ofuselessnessalong with all other swords.

*Thisbrownof swordsevidently meaning burnishedbrightcontinues to be afavoriteadjective in the popular ballads.

*Afterthe killing of the monster and Grendel's decapitation.

*Hrothgar.

*Theblade slowly dissolves in blood-staineddrops likeicicles.

*Spear.

*Thatis"whoever has as wide authority as I have and canrememberso far back so many instances of heroismmay well sayas I saythat no better hero ever lived than Beowulf."

*Thatishe is now undefended by conscience from thetemptations(shafts) of the devil.

*Kenningfor the sun.This is astrange role for the raven. He is the warrior's bird ofbattleexults in slaughter and carnage; his joy here is acomplimentto the sunrise.

*Thatishe might or might not see Beowulf again. Old as hewasthelatter chance was likely; but he clung to the formerhoping tosee his young friend again "and exchange brave words inthe hall."

*Withthe speed of the boat.

*Queento Hygelac. She ispraised bycontrast with the antitypeThrythjust as Beowulfwaspraised by contrast with Heremod.

*Kenningfor "wife."

*Beowulfgives his uncle the king not mere gossip of hisjourneybut a statesmanlike forecast of the outcome of certainpoliciesat the Danish court. Talk of interpolation here isabsurd. Asboth Beowulf and Hygelac know  and the folk forwhom theBeowulf was put together also knew  Froda was king oftheHeathobards (probably the Langobardsonce near neighbors ofAngle andSaxon tribes on the continent)and had fallenin fightwith the Danes. Hrothgar will set aside this feud bygiving hisdaughter as "peace-weaver" and wife to the young kingIngeldson of the slain Froda. But Beowulfon generalprinciplesand from his observation of the particular caseforetellstrouble.

*Playof shieldsbattle. A Danishwarriorcuts down Froda in the fightand takes his sword andarmorleaving them to a son. This son is selected to accompanyhismistressthe young princess Freawaruto her new home whenshe isIngeld's queen. Heedlessly he wears the sword of Froda inhall. Anold warrior points it out to Ingeldand eggs him on tovengeance.At his instigation the Dane is killed; but themurdererafraid of resultsand knowing the landescapes. Sothe oldfeud must break out again.

*Thatistheir disastrousbattle andthe slaying of their king.

*Thesword.

*Beowulfreturns tohis forecast. Things might well go somewhat asfollowshe says; sketches a little tragic story; and with thisprophecyby illustration returns to the tale of his adventure.

*Notan actual glovebut a sort of bag.

*Hygelac.

*Thisis generally assumed to mean hidesthoughthe textsimply says "seven thousand." A hide in England meantabout 120acresthough "the size of the acre varied."

*Onthehistoricalraid into Frankish territory between 512 and 520 A.D.Thesubsequent course of eventsas gathered from hints of thisepicispartly told in Scandinavian legend.

*Thechronologyof thisepicas scholars have worked it outwould make Beowulfwell overninety years of age when he fights the dragon. But thefiftyyears of his reign need not be taken as historical fact.

*Thetext is here hopelessly illegibleand only the generaldrift ofthe meaning can be rescued. For one thingwe have theold mythof a dragon who guards hidden treasure. But with thisruns thestory of some noblelast of his racewho hides all hiswealthwithin this barrow and there chants his farewell to life'sglories.After his death the dragon takes possession of the hoardandwatches over it. A condemned or banished mandesperatehides inthe barrowdiscovers the treasureand while the dragonsleepsmakes off with a golden beaker or the likeand carriesit forpropitiation to his master. The dragon discovers the lossand exactsfearful penalty from the people round about.

 

*Literally"loan-days" days loaned to man.

*Chattuariiatribe thatdwelt along the Rhineand took part in repelling theraid of(Hygelac) Chocilaicus.

*Onlason of Ongentheowwhopursueshis two nephews Eanmund and Eadgils to Heardred's courtwhere theyhave taken refuge after their unsuccessful rebellion.In thefighting Heardred is killed.

*ThatisBeowulf supports Eadgils against Onelawho is slainby Eadgilsin revenge for the "care-paths" of exile into whichOnelaforced  him.

*Thatisthe king could claim no wergildorman-pricefrom one son for the killing of the other.

*Usualeuphemism for death.

*Sc.in the grave.

 

*Eoforfor Wulf.  The immediate provocation for Eofor inkilling"the hoary Scylfing" Ongentheowis that the latter hasjuststruck Wulf down; but the kingHaethcynis also avenged bythe blow.See the detailed description below.

*Hygelac.

*Shield.

*Thehollow passage.

*Thatisalthough Eanmund was brother's son to Onelatheslaying ofthe former by Weohstan is not felt as cause of feudand isrewarded by gift of the slain man's weapons.

*BothWiglaf andthe sword did their duty.  The following is one oftheclassic passages for illustrating the comitatus as the mostconspicuousGermanic institutionand its underlying sense ofdutybased partly on the idea of loyalty and partly on thepracticalbasis of benefits received and repaid.

*Sc."than tobidesafely here"  a common figure of incomplete comparison.

*Wiglaf'swooden shield.

*Geringwould translate "kinsmanof thenail" as both are made of iron.

*Thatisswords.

*WhereBeowulf lay.

*Whathad been left or made by the hammer; well-forged.

*Tryingto revive him.

*Nothing.

*Dead.

*Death-watchguard of honor"lyke-wake."

*Aname for the Franks.

*Ongentheow.

*Haethcyn.

*Theline may mean: till Hrethelings stormed on the hedgedshields i.e. the shield-wall or hedge of defensive warHrethelingsof courseare Geats.

*Eoforbrother to WulfWonreding.

*Sc."value in" hides and the weight of the gold.

*Notat all.

*Laidon it when it was put in the barrow.Thisspellor in our days the "curse" either preventeddiscoveryor brought dire ills on the finder and taker.

*Probablythe fugitive is meant who discovered the hoard. TenBrink andGering assume that the dragon is meant. "Hid" may wellmean here"took while in hiding."

*Thatis "one and a fewothers."But Beowulf seems to be indicated.

*TenBrink pointsout thestrongly heathen character of this part of the epic.Beowulf'send cameso the old tradition ranfrom his unwittinginterferencewith spell-bound treasure.

*Ahard sayingvariouslyinterpreted. In any caseit is the somewhat clumsyeffort ofthe Christian poet to tone down the heathenism of hismaterialby an edifying observation.

*Nothingis said of Beowulf's wife in the poembut Buggesurmisesthat Beowulf finally accepted Hygd's offer of kingdomand hoardandas was usualtook her into the bargain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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