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LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped, we have heard, and what honor the athelings won! Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes, from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore, awing the earls. Since erst he lay friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him: for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve, till before him the folk, both far and near, who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate, gave him gifts: a good king he! To him an heir was afterward born, a son in his halls, whom heaven sent to favor the folk, feeling their woe that erst they had lacked an earl for leader so long a while; the Lord endowed him, the Wielder of Wonder, with world’s renown. Famed was this Beowulf: far flew the boast of him, son of Scyld, in the Scandian lands. So becomes it a youth to quit him well with his father’s friends, by fee and gift, that to aid him, aged, in after days, come warriors willing, should war draw nigh, liegemen loyal: by lauded deeds shall an earl have honor in every clan. Forth he fared at the fated moment, sturdy Scyld to the shelter of God. Then they bore him over to ocean’s billow, loving clansmen, as late he charged them, while wielded words the winsome Scyld, the leader beloved who long had ruled.... In the roadstead rocked a ring-dight vessel, ice-flecked, outbound, atheling’s barge: there laid they down their darling lord
Long ago, the Spear-Danes and their kings were a mighty people. We have all heard about their power and glory. We have heard of Scyld Scefing, who destroyed his enemies and their drinking halls. Though he was an orphan, he rose to become king, and his people showered him with gifts. He was a great king. The lord of all life knew how much the people had suffered without a leader, so he sent the king a gift from heaven, a son called Beow. This boy was famous throughout the northern lands, and he behaved well in his youth, handing out gifts and earning the friendship and favor of many men that he would have to call on later in battle. In any kingdom, actions like this are a sure path to greatness and power.
Scyld died in the prime of life. He had ordered his men to send his body out to sea. They put their beloved king in his boat and filled it with more treasure, swords, and armor than I’ve ever seen. They covered him with the treasure, which was sent to sea with his body. He was sent upon the sea just like he had been sent upon the sea
on the breast of the boat, the breaker-ofrings, by the mast the mighty one. Many a treasure fetched from far was freighted with him. No ship have I known so nobly dight with weapons of war and weeds of battle, with breastplate and blade: on his bosom lay a heaped hoard that hence should go far o’er the flood with him floating away. No less these loaded the lordly gifts, thanes’ huge treasure, than those had done who in former time forth had sent him sole on the seas, a suckling child. High o’er his head they hoist the standard, a gold-wove banner; let billows take him, gave him to ocean. Grave were their spirits, mournful their mood. No man is able to say in sooth, no son of the halls, no hero ’neath heaven,—who harbored that freight!
of life in his youth. There was a gold banner flying from the mast of the ship, and it flapped with the breeze that carried him away. He and his treasure sailed into the unknown. His people mourned deeply.
Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings, leader beloved, and long he ruled in fame with all folk, since his father had gone away from the world, till awoke an heir, haughty Healfdene, who held through life, sage and sturdy, the Scyldings glad. Then, one after one, there woke to him, to the chieftain of clansmen, children four: Heorogar, then Hrothgar, then Halga
Beowulf became the ruler of the Spear-Danes and was beloved by all. He had an heir, the great Halfdane, whose wisdom and sturdiness guided and protected the people. Halfdane had three sons-Heorogar, Hrothgar, and Halga-and a daughter, who married Onela and became queen of the Swedes. Hrothgar was such a great warrior that men were eager to fight alongside him. His army grew large.
brave; and I heard that—was—’s queen, the Heathoscylfing’s helpmate dear. To Hrothgar was given such glory of war, such honor of combat, that all his kin obeyed him gladly till great grew his band of youthful comrades. It came in his mind to bid his henchmen a hall uprear, ia master mead-house, mightier far than ever was seen by the sons of earth, and within it, then, to old and young he would all allot that the Lord had sent him, save only the land and the lives of his men. Wide, I heard, was the work commanded, for many a tribe this mid-earth round, to fashion the folkstead. It fell, as he ordered, in rapid achievement that ready it stood there, of halls the noblest: Heorot he named it whose message had might in many a land. Not reckless of promise, the rings he dealt, treasure at banquet: there towered the hall, high, gabled wide, the hot surge waiting of furious flame. Nor far was that day when father and son-in-law stood in feud for warfare and hatred that woke again. With envy and anger an evil spirit endured the dole in his dark abode, that he heard each day the din of revel high in the hall: there harps rang out, clear song of the singer. He sang who knew tales of the early time of man, how the Almighty made the earth, fairest fields enfolded by water, set, triumphant, sun and moon for a light to lighten the land-dwellers, and braided bright the breast of earth with limbs and leaves, made life for all of mortal beings that breathe and move. So lived the clansmen in cheer and revel a winsome life, till one began to fashion evils, that field of hell. Grendel this monster grim was called,
He decided to build an enormous hall, the largest anyone had ever seen. From there, he would rule and give everything he could to his people, except for land and his men’s lives. He brought in workmen from all over the world, and his immense and noble hall was soon completed. He named it Heorot. Once inside, he kept his promise to give gifts and treasure to his people. But outside the towering walls of Heorot, death and destruction waited. The day was coming when hatred and murder would return to tear men apart. A demon stalked outside, and he could hardly stand the sounds of music and singing that came from Heorot. The Spear Danes sang about the origin of the world and the glory of the Almighty, who made them and everything they saw. The people lived in happiness until the demon began his evil work. The demon was named Grendel. He lived in the swamps nearby. His Creator had banished him to live among the monsters of Cain’s family. God had driven Cain out of the company of men after he murdered his brother Abel. From Cain sprang a race of giants and elves and evil spirits. They fought against God, though they had no chance of winning.
march-riever mighty, in moorland living, in fen and fastness; fief of the giants the hapless wight a while had kept since the Creator his exile doomed. On kin of Cain was the killing avenged by sovran God for slaughtered Abel. Ill fared his feud, and far was he driven, for the slaughter’s sake, from sight of men. Of Cain awoke all that woful breed, Etins and elves and evil-spirits, as well as the giants that warred with God weary while: but their wage was paid them!
WENT he forth to find at fall of night that haughty house, and heed wherever the Ring-Danes, outrevelled, to rest had gone. Found within it the atheling band asleep after feasting and fearless of sorrow, of human hardship. Unhallowed wight, grim and greedy, he grasped betimes, wrathful, reckless, from resting-places, thirty of the thanes, and thence he rushed fain of his fell spoil, faring homeward, laden with slaughter, his lair to seek. Then at the dawning, as day was breaking, the might of Grendel to men was known; then after wassail was wail uplifted, loud moan in the morn. The mighty chief, atheling excellent, unblithe sat, labored in woe for the loss of his thanes, when once had been traced the trail of the fiend, spirit accurst: too cruel that sorrow, too long, too loathsome. Not late the
So in the nighttime Grendel went to the hall to watch the men, who had been drinking. He came upon them asleep, completely oblivious to the sorrow and pain that awaited them. Full of wrath, Grendel grabbed thirty of the men and took them back to his lair. When dawn broke, the men saw what Grendel had done. They were beside themselves with grief. Even their fearless leader sat paralyzed, completely overwhelmed by the destruction Grendel had caused. But they couldn’t grieve for long, as Grendel returned the next night to claim more victims. Men could be seen fleeing the hall for safety, running to escape Grendel’s hatred. The great hall soon stood empty. For twelve years Hrothgar suffered as a result of Grendel’s attacks. The whole world heard of Grendel’s rage and the murders he carried out on Hrothgar’s
Twelve years’ tide the trouble he bore. until empty stood that lordly building. They even made offerings to pagan gods and asked devils to come to their aid. Old and young alike were terrified. and no man would dare try to negotiate with the foul monster. he recked no whit. even for huge sums of gold.respite. His advisors all offered ideas of how best to deal with Grendel. May he be blessed to turn to the Lord after death. O’er Heorot he lorded. sovran of Scyldings. with surest token. of the feud and crime. boundless cares.— the hall-thane’s hate. he was the ruler of Heorot. and searched out counsel how it were best for bold-hearted men people. bed in the bowers. never stopping his lonely war. gold-bright hall. feud unfading. and ne’er could the prince approach his throne. or lurked in the livelong night of misty moorlands: men may say not where the haunts of these Hell-Runes be. Such heaping of horrors the hater of men. or compound for gold: still less did the wise men ween to get great fee for the feud from his fiendish hands. sorrows in plenty. heart-rending misery. Many nobles sat assembled. Sore was the sorrow to Scyldings’-friend. in gloomy nights. and dogged them still. as Grendel hunted them at night in the misty swamps. harassings heavy.—or have joy in his hall. firm in his guilt. . what hate he bore him. There came unhidden tidings true to the tribes of men. lonely roamer. Once night fell. with night returning. make pact of peace. Hrothgar was heartbroken. Grendel refused to stop.—refused consent to deal with any of Daneland’s earls. in sorrowful songs. what murder and massacre. how ceaselessly Grendel harassed Hrothgar. They were heathens and they did not know that they could turn to Almighty God. —’twas judgment of God. was seen in sooth. and long it bode so. Lord of the Heavens. lured. wrought unceasing. Such held themselves far and fast who the fiend outran! Thus ruled unrighteous and raged his fill one against all. They were easy to find who elsewhere sought in room remote their rest at night. when that bale was shown. Pity the man who turns to hell for help. That was how little hope they had left. But the evil one ambushed old and young death-shadow dark. anew began ruthless murder. many a year.
not wisest men assuaged his sorrow. that lay on his folk. far o’er the swan-road he fain would seek. But well for him that after death-day may draw to his Lord. He announced that he would sail to the aid of Hrothgar. asked with words that the slayer-of-souls would succor give them for the pain of their people. a nobleman who was the bravest man alive.—nor favor nor change awaits he ever. had a great warrior in his command. the noble monarch who needed men! The prince’s journey by prudent folk Modern Text The wisest men could offer no real help to Hrothgar. Wielder-of-Wonder. ’twas Hell they thought of in mood of their mind. Doomsman of Deeds and dreadful Lord. of Grendel’s doings.—Woe for that man who in harm and hatred hales his soul to fiery embraces. most baneful of burdens and bales of the night. loathly and long. this man ordered that his warship be made ready to sail. Whiles they vowed in their heathen fanes altar-offerings. and friendship find in the Father’s arms! Chapter 3 Original Text THUS seethed unceasing the son of Healfdene with the woe of these days. Grendel’s attacks were talked about in the nearby kingdom of the Geats. He was the mightiest man of valor in that same day of this our life. nor Heaven’s-Helmet heeded they ever. Almighty they knew not. His people struggled to endure the horrors of the night. great among Geats. who suffered unimaginable sorrow. their heathen hope. Yon battle-king. the ruler of the Geats. No one compared to him. A stout wave-walker he bade make ready. Hygelac. When he heard of Grendel’s deeds.against harassing terror to try their hand. too sore the anguish. Their practice this. stalwart and stately. said he. This heard in his home Hygelac’s thane. .
afloat was the ship. the keenest of warriors e’er he could find. sailor proved. and spake in parley. that yon mighty vessel have urged thus over the ocean ways. warriors ready. the curved prow such course had run that sailors now could see the land. Hrothgar’s henchman. steep high hills. The sooner you tell me. They praised him and looked for good omens that fortold success. their weapons and armor clanging. Now saw from the cliff a Scylding clansman. waves were churning sea with sand. with hand of might he shook his spear. how they bore o’er the gangway glittering shields. unless you want people to think you are spies. on its willing way. Time had now flown. and hailed good omens. their journey ended. mailed folk. headlands broad. The boat was ready in the harbor. boat under bluff. Then moved o’er the waters by might of the wind that bark like a bird with breast of foam. the sailors bore on the breast of the bark their bright array. one of Hrothgar’s guards saw the men unloading their shields and weapons. I’ve never seen anything like this in all my days as a guard. anchored their sea-wood. they saw tall cliffs ahead and knew their journey was over. The boat was like a bird skimming the surface of the sea. And now the bold one from bands of Geats comrades chose. Up on the cliff. shaking his spear while he spoke: “Who are you? Why have you sailed here fully armed? You don’t have permission from my people to land here with weapons out. Though the Geats loved him greatly. Their haven was found. On board they climbed. But you better tell me where you’re from and what you’re doing here. . then. though they loved him dear. till in season due. ye armed men. They thanked God for a safe voyage. a warden that watched the water-side.was little blamed. Straight to the strand his steed he rode. they did not stop him from going. Up then quickly the Weders’ clansmen climbed ashore. They anchored their boat and lept ashore. “Who are ye. their mail and weapons: the men pushed off. On the second day. wonder seized him to know what manner of men they were. with armor clashing and gear of battle: God they thanked or passing in peace o’er the paths of the sea. they whetted the hero. the well-braced craft. and. And what a mighty warrior your leader is! An honest-to-goodness hero. He raced down to the shore on his horse and confronted the men. led them on to the land’s confines. The men carried their shining weapons and armor on board. And the brave man gathered the fourteen best warriors of the Geats and prepared to sail. sea-cliffs shining. with fourteen men the sea-wood he sought. They pushed off and caught the wind. war-gear in readiness. while the waves slapped the side of the ship. on the second day.
sentinel set o’er the sea-march here. No aliens ever at ease thus bore them. We have nothing to hide. his peerless presence! I pray you.” From his horse. he fared away aged from earth. my folk’s agreement. he is honored still through width of the world by wise men all. lest any foe to the folk of Danes with harrying fleet should harm the land. “We are Geats and Hygelac is our ruler back home. We are on our way to your lord. He lived many years and wise men still honor him. To folk afar was my father known.” Chapter 4 Original Text To him the stateliest spake in answer. if such a thing is possible. a noble warrior. Full of winters. though. people-protector: be pleased to advise us! To that mighty-one come we on mickle errand. to the lord of the Danes. Please help us in our errand. Hrothgar. noble atheling. the guard answered. Now. Otherwise he will suffer for the rest of his days while his hall sits empty.—A greater ne’er saw I of warriors in world than is one of you. to Healfdene’s son. dwellers afar. the warriors’ leader his word-hoard unlocked:— “We are by kin of the clan of Geats. Halfdane’s son.— yon hero in harness! No henchman he worthied by weapons. To thy lord and liege in loyal mood we hasten hither.here o’er the waters? A warden I. We have come to help the lord of the Danes. My father was Ecgtheow. We want to help Hrothgar defeat this awful enemy and restore peace to the land and to his soul. ocean-travellers. take from me simple advice: the sooner the better I hear of the country whence ye came. linden-wielders: yet word-of-leave clearly ye lack from clansmen here. Ecgtheow named. nor deem I right Modern Text The leader spoke. if witness his features. We have heard of the evil monster that murders your people in the night. lest hence ye fare suspect to wander your way as spies in Danish land. tell your folk and home. and Hygelac’s own hearth-fellows we. .
“I have to go back to my post at the shore. hatred and murder. else ever afterward anguish-days he shall suffer in sorrow while stands in place high on its hill that house unpeered!” Astride his steed. heroes such as the hest of fate shall succor and save from the shock of war. broad-bosomed ship.—to Weders’ bounds. if cure shall follow.—the boat lay still. They’ll keep it safe until it’s time for you to sail back home.” They bent them to march. and the boiling care-waves cooler grow. —winding-neck’d wood. chased with gold. We hear—thou knowest if sooth it is—the saying of men. that amid the Scyldings a scathing monster. The warriors marched quickly and soon saw the hall. May fate keep you heroes safe. I’ll leave some guards with your boat. To Hrothgar I in greatness of soul would succor bring.” They set out. May Almighty God protect y . so the Wise-and-Brave may worst his foes. then. this band is graciously bent to the Scyldings’ master. the strand-ward answered. Hrothgar’s hall was the most beautiful house on earth and its glory extended to distant lands.that aught be hidden. if he well intends. enormous and shining with gold.— your new-tarred ship by shore of ocean faithfully watching till once again it waft o’er the waters those well-loved thanes. March. in dusky nights shows terrific his rage unmatched.—Then shone the boars over the cheek-guard. I believe you when you say that you want to help us. of cruel contest. guard it kept “A smart man knows the difference between words and actions. The guard showed them to the house and then turned back. So get your weapons and let’s go-I’ll show you the way. clansman unquailing: “The keen-souled thane must be skilled to sever and sunder duly words and works. bearing weapons and weeds the way I show you. dark ill-doer. I gather. — if ever the end of ills is fated. saying. keen and gleaming. leaving their ship anchored in the sea. fettered by cable and fast at anchor. I will bid my men your boat meanwhile to guard for fear lest foemen come.
and hailed them thus:— “Tis time that I fare from you.” Wulfgar. Seaward I go. and we are Hygelac’s men. and the gleam of it lightened o’er lands afar. war-gear of men. the wall along they set their bucklers. “I am Beowulf. ’gainst hostile warriors hold my watch. one of the local chieftains who was famous for his courage and wisdom. “I will tell the king of Danes about your . Modern Text They made their way up the path to the hall. bear ye burnished shields. Their weapons were stacked up nearby. his steed then turned. There. You come to Hrothgar looking for glory. they put their shields down against the wall of the hall and rested on the benches.o’er the man of war.” Their leader replied. and marched to the hall. Father Almighty in grace and mercy guard you well. Corselets glistened hand-forged. weary of ocean. Exhausted. hard. and bowed them to bench: the breastplates clanged. hardy hero. now. “Where do you come from with so much armor? I’ve never seen so many brave strangers before. bade them go straightway thither. broad of gable and bright with gold: that was the fairest. their broad shields. as they strode along in mail of battle. safe in your seekings. as marched along heroes in haste. If your master. ’mid folk of earth. “Whence. I will tell him our mission. not shelter. harness gray and helmets grim. down. where Hrothgar lived. will meet with me.” Chapter 5 Original Text STONE-BRIGHT the street: it showed the way to the crowd of clansmen. of houses ’neath heaven. their weapons stacked. on their harness bright the steel ring sang. One of Hrothgar’s warriors approached them. till the hall they saw. gray-tipped ash: that iron band was worthily weaponed!—A warrior proud asked of the heroes their home and kin. responded. spears of the seafarers stood together. The sturdy shieldsman showed that bright burg-of-the-boldest. the son of Halfdane. their armor shining brightly.
” Wulfgar spake. Hrothgar ye seek!” Him the sturdy-in-war bespake with words. of thy faring hither. his earls about him. I am seeking to say to the son of Healfdene this mission of mine. “and their leader is named Beowulf.” message and will return quickly with his answer. whose might of mind to many was known. I am Beowulf named.” he said to his king. Hrothgar’s herald! Heroes so many ne’er met I as strangers of mood so strong.spears in multitude? Messenger. the Scyldings’ friend. the doughty prince. their leader most surely. that they. who sat surrounded by his men. They seem like worthy warriors to me. swiftly after.” Wulfgar hurried off to old Hrothgar. to thy master-lord. ’Tis plain that for prowess. may with thee have speech at will: nor spurn their prayer to give them hearing. fellows at board. not plunged into exile. the Wendles’ chieftain. now. we. “These men have come across the sea from Geatland. methinks. as the boon thou askest. the good one. the Breaker-of-Rings. especially their leader. gracious Hrothgar! In weeds of the warrior worthy they. a hero that hither his henchmen has led. the famed prince. I. people of Geatland. and. his courage and counsel: “The king of Danes. who looks like a . till the stout thane stood at the shoulder there of the Danish king: good courtier he! Wulfgar spake to his winsome lord:— “Hither have fared to thee far-come men o’er the paths of ocean. and the stateliest there by his sturdy band is Beowulf named. if he deign at all grace that we greet him. This boon they seek. my master. such answer bring as the doughty monarch may deign to give. for high-hearted valor. proud earl of the Weders answer made. hardy ’neath helmet:—“Hygelac’s.” Hied then in haste to where Hrothgar sat white-haired and old. They would like to speak with you. of our liking. I fain will tell.
] hardy ’neath helm. ringed with his men. too. Hrothgar! I am Hygelac’s loyal subject and kinsman. have said me this. “I remember him when he was young. East-Danes’ king. hardy heroes.” Uprose the mighty one.—they are welcome guests to folk of the Danes. at home.Chapter 6 Original Text HROTHGAR answered. I have captured and killed monsters on land and in the sea. brave band of thanes: some bode without. and bid them hither.— who carried my gifts to the Geatish court. Sailors talk about how your great hall stands empty at night. Merciful God has sent him to save us from Grendel’s horrors. So my wise men suggested that I come to you. helmet of Scyldings:— “I knew him of yore in his youthful days. and wooden war-shafts wait its end. Then hied that troop where the herald led them. “Hail. under Heorot’s roof: [the hero strode. to whom. in hopes that my strength and bravery may help you. Their offspring bold fares hither to seek the steadfast friend. Blessed God out of his mercy this man hath sent to Danes of the West. You may approach him in your armor. I ask for your permission to rid your hall of this . to come before me. his aged father was Ecgtheow named. I hope to give the good youth gold for his gallant thought. His father was Ecgtheow. And now their brave son comes to help his loyal friend. gave Hrethel the Geat his only daughter. and under helmets Hrothgar greet. clan of kinsmen. and I have earned respect in his lands. as I ween indeed. that your kin he knows.” Beowulf gathered several of his warriors and followed Wulfgar. thither for thanks. Be thou in haste. And now I come to destroy Grendel. Hrothgar.—he has thirty men’s heft of grasp in the gripe of his hand. Tell them to come forward and let them know that they are most welcome here. And seamen. I once sent some sailors to the Geats to deliver some gifts. and hails you all welcome hither o’er waves of the sea! Ye may wend your way in war-attire. who was married to the daughter of Hrethel the Geat. I will reward him for his bravery. leaving some men behind to guard the weapons. against horror of Grendel. “My master sends you this message. and have avenged and defended my people against foes who got what they deserved. Modern Text Hrothgar answered. Approaching Hrothgar in his shining armor. till the hearth he neared. battle-gear guarding. but let here the battle-shields bide your parley. the bold-in-battle. and add this word. Beowulf spoke. and they returned with wonderful tales about this man. He knows your family well and welcomes you here.” [To the door of the hall Wulfgar went] and the word declared:— “To you this message my master sends. Even there I have heard of Grendel’s evil deeds. They say he is as strong as thirty men.” Wulfgar went to the door of the hall and said. but leave your shields and weapons behind. as bade the chief. They have seen me return from battle covered in the blood of my enemies.
whose woe they sought. gold-colored targe: but with gripe alone must I front the fiend and fight for life. kinsman and follower. be mine to quell in single battle! So. king of my kindred. may Heorot purge! More I hear. I’ the waves I slew nicors by night. in his wanton mood. The Lord will decide who will live and who will die. thou sovran of the Shining-Danes.Beowulf spake. of weapons recks not.—his breastplate gleamed. now I’ve wandered far. O Warriors’-shield.— crushing the grim ones. a boon I seek. hail! Hygelac’s I. so I intend to kill him with my bare hands and earn more glory in Hygelac’s name. for your band of thanes empty and idle. I ween. Fain. to seek thee here. Fate works as it mu . war-net woven by wit of the smith:— “Thou Hrothgar. fiend using only my men.— and. kind to me!— brand or buckler to bear in the fight. I have heard that Grendel does not use weapons. foe against foe. Themselves had seen me from slaughter come blood-flecked from foes. of buildings best. My body will not be here to be buried. when evening sun in the harbor of heaven is hidden away. Seafarers say how stands this hall. for my nerve and my might they knew full well.— brave and wise. in need and peril avenging the Weders.— that I alone with my liegemen here. it will be an awful sight. Scyldings’-bulwark. Then faith be his in the doom of the Lord whom death shall take. from thee. the best of men. this hardy band. where five I bound. If this happens. refuse it not.— O sovran Hrothgar. send my armor back to Hygelac. monster cruel. Grendel now. if the fight he win. that the monster dire. hence shall I scorn—so Hygelac stay. He will take it back to his lair and eat it there. and that wild brood worsted. Fame a plenty have I gained in youth! These Grendeldeeds I heard in my home-land heralded clear. He will gorge himself on my brave men. So my vassals advised me well. Friend-of-the-folk. If Grendel wins.
” Original Text HROTHGAR spake. over surge of ocean the Honor-Scyldings. a better man than I. ruthless devour it.— my noblest thanes.” Hrothgar replied. treasures olden: oaths he swore me.—as oft before. youthful. if Hild should take me. heirloom of Hrethel and work of Wayland. He sailed here. armor excellent. for his shall I be. My older brother Heorogar. Heorogar was dead. Fleeing. and every time my hall has wound up covered in their blood. and claimed that they would stop Grendel.” . to the Wylfings sent. if death must take me. I settled the feud by sending treasure to the Wylfings. dyed in gore. It is painful to me to trouble other people with the sufferings that Grendel has caused here in Heorot. what sudden harryings. warding my breast. with my life-blood redden his lair in the fen: no further for me need’st food prepare! To Hygelac send. my elder brother. wielded. and your father swore to be loyal to me. Thy father’s combat a feud enkindled when Heatholaf with hand he slew among the Wylfings. Hall-folk fail me. had breathed his last. o’er watery ridges. “Long ago your father started a feud when he killed Heatholaf of the Wylfings. I had only recently become ruler of the Danes. the Scyldings’helmet:— “For fight defensive. and only God can stop these evil deeds. sat at my banquet table. drank my ale. Modern Text “You have come here to defend us. Nor need’st thou then to hide my head. Your father’s people were afraid he would be killed in retaliation. Sore is my soul to say to any of the race of man what ruth for me in Heorot Grendel with hate hath wrought. to succor and save. Healfdene’s bairn: he was better than I! Straightway the feud with fee I settled. when first I was ruling the folk of Danes. so they sent him away.in this hall of gold my Geatish band will he fearless eat. thou hast sought us here. Fares Wyrd as she must. But fate sweeps my men into Grendel’s grasp. this widespread realm. Friend my Beowulf. he sought our South-Dane folk. his Weder kin for horror of fighting feared to hold him. Many times men have come here. best of war-weeds. the roamer-lonely. had just died. and my blood-covered body he’ll bear as prey. Now it is your turn to sit at my table. this hoard-hold of heroes.
carried the carven cup in hand. served the clear mead. hardy hero. Breca’s rival. Original Text UNFERTH spake. who emulous swam on the open sea. —But sit to the banquet. the son of Ecglaf. when the daylight broke. unbind thy words. but in the end he came ashore the victor. earls o’er the ale-cup.” Gathered together. Heroes revelled. for Wyrd hath swept them into Grendel’s grasp. “Are you the same Beowulf whose vanity led him to battle Breca in the open sea just to show you could win? No one could stop you from swimming out after him. A minstrel sang and raised everyone’s spirits. when for pride the pair of you proved the floods. He went back to his people confident in his superiority. A servant brought them beer. A henchman attended. all the boards of the benches bloodbesprinkled. Beowulf and his strong-hearted men sat down in the banquet hall. but it won’t matter now-no one has lasted . He was jealous of Beowulf and his bravery. or lief or loath. He wanted to be the one who earned the fame and glory of victory. You may be brave.— “Art thou that Beowulf. Oft minstrels sang blithe in Heorot.my warriors wane. Grendel’s attack with terror of blades. sat them down. unbound the battle-runes. as my beer they drank. the Geatish men in the banquet-hall on bench assigned. gory the hall: I had heroes the less. Weder and Dane.—Beowulf’s quest. hardy-hearted. from your labor dire Modern Text Sitting near the king’s feet was a man named Unferth. sturdy-spirited. sorely galled him. So he said. doughty dear-ones that death had reft. no dearth of warriors. Then was this mead-house at morning tide dyed with gore. But God is able this deadly foe from his deeds to turn! Boasted full oft. that they would bide in the beer-hall here. armed men. ever he envied that other men should more achieve in middle-earth of fame under heaven than he himself. who sat at the feet of the Scyldings’ lord. and wantonly dared in waters deep to risk your lives? No living man. as heart shall prompt thee. There was a terrible storm and you fought for seven nights. sturdy seafarer’s.
The storm awakened the creatures of the deep. swam o’er the waters. as we swam along.—if Grendel’s approach thou darst await through the watch of night!” Beowulf spake. I was the stronger swimmer. in time of youth. I would not let them turn me into a feast at the bottom of the sea. fastness fair. from swimming the main. had more of main! Him at morning-tide billows bore to the Battling Reamas. Neither of us could gain the lead.” Beowulf replied. in struggle grim. of Breca now. whence he hied to his home so dear beloved of his liegemen. The monsters kept attacking me. Together we twain on the tides abode five nights full till the flood divided us. We swam holding swords to protect ourselves from the sea-beasts. that I had more of might in the sea than any man else. haste o’er the billows. striplings still. bairn of Ecgtheow:— “What a deal hast uttered. nor him I abandoned. In triumph o’er thee Beanstan’s bairn his boast achieved. but my armor protected me. with hope to guard us against the whales. to land of Brondings. We twain had talked. We swam next to each other for five nights until a rough sea split us apart. drunken with beer. and the northern wind even one night against Grendel. In realm of sea a sennight strove ye. with strenuous hands the sea-streets measured. Winter’s storm rolled the rough waves. I made sure that by morning they were . So ween I for thee a worse adventure —though in buffet of battle thou brave hast been. I drove them off again and again with my sword. In swimming he topped thee. If you want to know the truth. dear my Unferth. where his folk he ruled. churning waves and chillest weather. “That’s quite a tale you’ve told about me and Breca. more ocean-endurance. I think the beer must be going to your head. I was able to stab the beast with my sword and break free.could you dissuade. Breca and I had talked about having a swimming contest like that since we were young children. and made our boast. we held in hand. Not a whit from me could he float afar o’er the flood of waves.—to stake our lives far at sea: and so we performed it. Ocean-tides with your arms ye covered. told of his triumph! Truth I claim it.—we were merely boys. town and treasure. darkling night. A sea monster pulled me down to the bottom. Naked swords.
garnished with gold. Modern Text “Soon it was morning and God’s light was shining from the east. For Wyrd oft saveth earl undoomed if he doughty be! And so it came that I killed with my sword nine of the nicors. on the edge of ocean up they lay. I was exhausted. Grendel wouldn’t still be killing everyone in Heorot. Chapter 9 Original Text ME thus often the evil monsters thronging threatened. You are responsible for the deaths of your family and will pay for it in hell. But I will show him the power of the Geats. with blade of battle: huge beast of the sea was whelmed by the hurly through hand of mine. And then no one will be afraid to enter the . by my brand sore hurt. Unferth. Fate saves those who are brave. help afforded.—Light from east. And since. I made that stretch of the ocean safe for sailors. It’s not bragging on my part to say that neither you nor Breca can match up to me with a sword. I dealt them due return! Nowise had they bliss from their booty then to devour their victim. to pierce the monster with point of sword. seated to banquet at bottom of sea. There grasped me firm and haled me to bottom the hated foe. so that I saw the sea-cliffs high. with grimmest gripe. The Danes are no match for him. the billows sank. I was swept ashore on a beach in Finland. yet me ’gainst the monsters my mailed coat.— battle-sark braided my breast to ward. but at break of day. He just goes on killing and feasting. I’ve never heard of another man who fought such a battle. Unferth. If you were really so brave and fierce. put to sleep by the sword. vengeful creatures.ruthless rushed on us: rough was the surge. by them on the fathomless sea-ways sailor-folk are never molested. washing up on the shore. Now the wrath of the sea-fish rose apace. came bright God’s beacon. I’ve never heard of you fighting such a battle. hard and hand-linked. windy walls. I saw high cliffs nearby. With thrust of my sword. ’Twas granted me. He knows he has nothing to fear from your sword. that you aren’t brave enough to fight him. Of night-fought battles ne’er heard I a harder ’neath heaven’s dome. I had killed nine sea monsters. though. but I was alive. the darling.
nor adrift on the deep a more desolate man! Yet I came unharmed from that hostile clutch. Blithe to mead go he that listeth. when light of dawn this morrow morning o’er men of earth. Hrothgar’s wife. nor feud he dreads from Spear-Dane men. war-brave. hoar-haired. in Heorot such havoc. from Beowulf hearing. such firm resolve. since he was dear to his people. though spent with swimming. Then was laughter of liegemen loud mead hall in the morning. Breca ne’er yet. the welling waters. fights and feasts. from sword-clash dread of your Danish clan he vaunts him safe. He gulped it down. thy closest kin. favors none of the land of Danes. in the play of war such daring deed has done at all with bloody brand. on Finnish land. not one of you pair. No wise of thee have I heard men tell such terror of falchions. well as thy wit may serve! For I say in sooth. came into the hall to greet the guests. The sea upbore me.—I boast not of it!— though thou wast the bane of thy brethren dear. if heart of thine were as battle-bold as thy boast is loud! But he has found no feud will happen. She was dressed in gold. Everyone grew happy afterwards. She handed her husband the ale cup and told him to drink first. . ether-robed sun from the south shall beam!” Joyous then was the Jewel-giver. But speedily now shall I prove him the prowess and pride of the Geats. He forces pledges. He knew help had truly arrived. whence curse of hell awaits thee. folk’s good shepherd. from the VictorScyldings. bitter battle. and their talk and laughter filled the hall. Queen Wealtheow. monster dire.” Hrothgar was overjoyed at this speech. thou son of Ecglaf. flood of the tide. never had Grendel these grim deeds wrought. help awaited the Bright-Danes’ prince. on thy master dear. but lustily murders. shall bid him battle.
—Bright with gold Modern Text Then she took the cup from man to man so that each could drink. Protect this great hall. “but I believe in you. The cup he took. from Wealhtheow’s hand. I told myself that I would do my best for you and your people or die trying. or fighting fall in death. bade him be blithe at the beer-carouse.” Hrothgar said. till come the moment when the ring-graced queen. Lustily took he banquet and beaker. The joyful atmosphere lasted until Hrothgar got up and prepared to leave for the night. God she thanked. Chapter 9: Page 2 Original Text Through the hall then went the Helmings’ Lady. The foul monster had waited all day to return for his nightly horror. when my thanes and I bent to the ocean and entered our boat. in fiend’s gripe fast. At last she arrived at Beowulf. but tonight he would have a fight waiting for him. A festive mood returned to the hall. the royalhearted. Beowulf spake.” Beowulf’s speech pleased Wealtheow. to younger and older everywhere carried the cup. Beowulf’s battle-boast. in wisdom’s words. queen of Hrothgar.resounding with winsome words. and answer uttered the eager-for-combat. She welcomed him and thanked God that her prayers were answered. battle-famed king. and the high-born lady handed the cup first to the East-Danes’ heir and warden. I am determined to prove my bravery or end my life here in this hall. the land’s beloved one. or end the days of this life of mine in the mead-hall here. Grendel would be coming soon. bairn of Ecgtheow:— “This was my thought. The warriors stood up as Beowulf and Hrothgar said goodnight. I am firm to do an earl’s brave deed. watch for your . She greeted the Geats’ lord. who went and sat down next to her husband.” Well these words to the woman seemed. gold-decked. to Beowulf bore the beaker of mead. greeting the guests in hall. heedful of courtesy. that at last on a hero her hope could lean for comfort in terrors. “I have never entrusted my hall to anyone else before tonight. Came Wealhtheow forth. hardy-in-war. that her will was granted. that I would work the will of your people fully. Beowulf took the cup and spoke to everyone. “When my men and I set out for this place.
had put Beowulf there to protect it from Grendel. Man to man. Again. he made harangue. this noble Dane-Hall. So I will fight him by hand. In truth. and remember that you fight for eternal glory. Hrothgar to Beowulf. till now to thee. remember thy glory. so heroes heard. watch for the foe! No wish shall fail thee if thou bidest the battle with bold-won life. thy might declare. helmet from head. not with a . Before he went to sleep. Chapter 10 Original Text THEN Hrothgar went with his hero-train. Modern Text Hrothgar left with his royal guard. and shadowy shapes came striding on. till presently the son of Healfdene hastened to seek rest for the night. If you are victorious. the mercy of God! Cast off then his corselet of iron. since I could heave up hand and shield.the stately dame by her spouse sat down. the proud-band’s revel. who warded the monarch and watched for the monster. a hall-defender. began in hall warriors’ wassail and words of power. wan under welkin. He knew his hall was safe because God. when the sheen of the sun they saw no more. couch of his queen. the Geats’ prince gladly trusted his mettle. The King-of-Glory against this Grendel a guard had set. bade him hail. “I consider myself as fierce as fighter as Grendel. let him wield the wine hall: a word he added:— “Never to any man erst I trusted. The warriors rose. you will have everything that you want. And Beowulf put his faith in God and his own strength. Beowulf spoke to his men. So he removed his helmet and armor and handed his best sword to his servant with orders to take care of it.” enemy. forth from hall. the King of Glory. and dusk of night sank darkling nigh. he knew there waited fight for the fiend in that festal hall. his might. as erst. fain would the war-lord Wealhtheow seek. to his henchman gave. defence-of-Scyldings. Have now and hold this house unpeered.
by might of one.” Reclined then the chieftain. war-weal weaving. Grendel does not use a sword or shield. ’Twas widely known that against God’s will the ghostly ravager him could not hurl to haunts of darkness. in the banquet-hall. In sooth ’tis told that highest God o’er human kind hath wielded ever!—Thro’ wan night striding. and I will still win. for war. would lead them back! Full well they wist that on warriors many battle-death seized. Not with the sword. But God was preparing a victory for the Geats. unweaponed. ere the bed be sought:— “Of force in fight no feebler I count me. came the walker-in-shadow. God will always rules over men. of Danish clan. then.—the well-chased sword. that. There wasn’t a man among them who was sure that he would see his home again.— choicest of weapons. He relies only on his strength. wakeful. we will battle. this night. They knew how many Danish warriors had already died in this hall. bold he bided the battle’s issue. to sleep of death his life will I give. to Weder folk the Master gave. None of them thought that thence their steps to the folk and fastness that fostered them. than Grendel deems him.— all save one. . Beowulf Geat. bold in battle. over their enemy all prevailed. ready. and God will decide the victor. Spake then his Vaunt the valiant man. And so will I. If he comes for me. Warriors slept whose hest was to guard the gabled hall. They would win because all of their strength would be found in one man. No skill is his to strike against me. with warrior’s wrath. on which side soever doom decree as he deemeth right. to the land they loved. while all about him seamen hardy on hall-beds sank. Let wisest God. and cheekpillows held the head of the earl. bidding him guard the gear of battle. if he seek me here. by single strength. though it lie in my power. we both.” They all went to bed. sword. sacred Lord. in grim war-deeds. shall spurn the sword. my shield to hew though he hardy be. But comfort and help.
this. life from body. ere morn should dawn. Fate. savage. such hardy heroes. The one who was awake was ready for the fiend. he gladly discerned. then. till the winepalace there. Before morning he planned to kill and eat them all. Grendel came. He didn’t have to wait long. The one who walks in shadows was coming to them. Under welkin he walked. He had come here many times. gold-hall of men. flashing with fretwork. Modern Text Night fell. like flame to see. but never had he faced such powerful enemies. with God’s wrath laden. how he would fare in fell attack. his eyes aflame with rage. He crushed the man’s bones and drank his blood. Eagerly watched Hygelac’s kinsman his cursed foe. that he the home of Hrothgar sought. he turned towards Beowulf and raised his . making his way to the great hall. the house’s mouth. waiting for him to attack. by misty crags. for the monster was minded. All of the hall guards were asleep except for one. Grendel grabbed a sleeping man and broke him open. kin and clansmen clustered asleep. Beowulf was carefully watching the monster. however. The monster was minded of mankind now sundry to seize in the stately house. He spied in hall the hero-band. there streamed from his eyes fearful flashes. He walked in the shadows until at last he arrived. parted from peace. though with forged bolts fast. Then laughed his heart. When he was finished.— yet ne’er in his life-day. late or early. Not first time. to sever the soul of each. such hall-thanes. had other plans for Grendel. and baleful he burst in his blatant rage.Chapter 11 Original Text THEN from the moorland. hardy liegemen. All hastily. when his fists had struck it. He tore open the door and strode in. found! To the house the warrior walked apace. since lusty banquet waited his will! But Wyrd forbade him to seize any more of men on earth after that evening. Grendel stalked through the misty swamps. the portal opended. o’er fair-paved floor the fiend trod on. He saw the Geats asleep on the floor and he laughed to himself. ireful he strode.
too fast it was within and without by its iron bands craftily clamped. at heart he feared.Not that the monster was minded to pause! Straightway he seized a sleeping warrior for the first. The Danes could feel the scream in their bones. of their ale. Gruesome march to Heorot this monster of harm had made! Din filled the room. The monster meant—if he might at all— to fling himself free. The hall shook. another wight with heavier hand-gripe. castle-dwellers and clansmen all. Soon then saw that shepherd-of-evils that never he met in this middle-world. Then farther he hied. Grendel pulled free and tried to run. e’en feet and hands. the den of devils: no doings now such as oft he had done in days of old! Then bethought him the hardy Hygelacthane of his boast at evening: up he bounded. but it stood. felt for the foe with fiendish claw. propped on his arm. Everyone was awake now and the hall was in chaos. grasped firm his foe. The fiend made off. grabbing the monster’s claw in his powerful hand. Beowulf remembered the promise he had made. to earth the fair house fell not. earls. but Beowulf followed. the Danes were bereft. whose fingers cracked. the bone-frame bit. A terrifying wail echoed through the hall. breaking the beast’s fingers. though there crashed from sill many a mead-bench—men have told me— terrible claw to strike. Grendel and Beowulf crashed around the room. He was wounded and Beowulf had him firmly in his grip. The Danes could hardly believe their eyes-they thought only fire could cause this much damage to their hall. but the earl close followed. Grendel had never felt such strength in a man before. his fastness seek. swallowed him piecemeal: swiftly thus the lifeless corse was clear devoured. For the first time.—none the sooner escaped! Fain would he flee. He wanted to return to his foul den and hide there. and far away fly to the fens. in the ways of earth. turning over benches and smashing into the walls. for the hardy hero with hand he grasped. he was afraid. But Beowulf struck first. . Wonder it was the wine-hall firm in the strain of their struggle stood. prompt to answer. Angry were both those savage hall-guards: the house resounded. drank blood in streams. and tore him fiercely asunder.—knew his fingers’ power in the gripe of the grim one. for the hero reclining. so he lept up and grabbed Grendel tighter. It was Grendel’s cry.—who clutched it boldly. sorrowed in soul.
hardy-hearted heroes of war.—no keenest blade. could harm or hurt that hideous fiend! He was safe. aiming their swords on every side the accursed to kill.—as they neared the foe. useless deeming his days and years to men on earth. So well had weened the wisest Scyldings that not ever at all might any man that bone-decked. if power were theirs. brave house break asunder.gay with gold. Grendel’s whole body shook with pain as his shoulder began to come apart.—Again uprose din redoubled. their praised prince. Beowulf wouldn’t release his powerful grasp. Beowulf had cleansed their hall of evil and saved . They were locked in the grip of hatred. Yet his end and parting on that same day of this our life woful should be. who in former days. and his wandering soul far off flit to the fiends’ domain. who from the wall that wailing heard. His men kept trying to help him. from edge of iron. Chapter 12 Original Text NOT in any wise would the earls’-defence suffer that slaughterous stranger to live. clamorous pain from captive of hell. Danes of the North with fear and frenzy were filled. never they knew. cry of the conquered. where the grim foes wrestled. no farest of falchions fashioned on earth. His bones and muscles broke and tore and Beowulf wrenched off his arm. Yet he was nearing the end of his life. from sword of battle. The monster was protected by demonic spells that repelled any weapon. Too closely held him he who of men in might was strongest in that same day of this our life. and Beowulf drove the monster out of the hall and back into the swamps. striking out at the foul fiend with their swords. harmful in heart and hated of God. by his spells. each one. They did not know that even the sharpest blade could not pierce Grendel’s skin. Now many an earl of Beowulf brandished blade ancestral. The wishes of the Danes had come true. Soon he found. fain the life of their lord to shield. Modern Text Beowulf was determind not to let Grendel live. Grendel’s strength was failing him. on many a man such murder wrought. crush by craft. Grendel went to his foul den to die.—unless clasp of fire in smoke engulfed it. It was a fatal wound. God’s foe sounding his grisly song.
—’neath the gabled roof. sending his soul to hell. As a display of Beowulf’s victory. He had made good on his promise and earned glory for his bravery. them from death. noisome abode: he knew too well that here was the last of life. people . The outlaw dire took mortal hurt. His night-work pleased him.—’Twas proof of this. he dove into the water and drowned himself. his deed and its honor. when the hardy-in-fight a hand laid down. a mighty wound showed on his shoulder. They were happy to see the tracks Grendel left behind as he fled to his den. indeed. To Eastern Danes had the valiant Geat his vaunt made good. folk-leaders faring from far and near. Not troublous seemed the enemy’s end to any man who saw by the gait of the graceless foe Modern Text As daylight broke. From ravage had rescued the roving stranger Hrothgar’s hall. Chapter 13 Original Text MANY at morning. Grendel’s arm was mounted on the wall of the great hall. hateful alive was each to other. and all the dole they erst endured pain a-plenty. trace of the traitor. The swamp was filled with his blood. and Grendel thence death-sick his den in the dark moor sought.that the frame of his body failed him now. To Beowulf now the glory was given. the hardy and wise one had purged it anew. all their sorrow and ills assuaged. the wonder to view. their bale of battle borne so long. As he neared death. For him the keen-souled kinsman of Hygelac held in hand. arm and shoulder. warriors gathered the gift-hall round. o’er wide-stretched ways. an end of his days on earth. and the bone-frame burst. and sinews cracked. as men have told me. men from all over the country came to the hall. Throughout the land.—To all the Danes by that bloody battle the boon had come. of Grendel’s gripe.—all.
how the weary-hearted. this warrior soon of Beowulf’s quest right cleverly sang. including the great king himself and his queen. when of these doings he deigned to speak. gracious Hrothgar: a good king he!) From time to time. his steps death-marked dragged to the devils’ mere. He combined the story of Beowulf’s deeds with those of the mythic hero Sigmund and his offspring. uncle to nephew. his struggles. under vault of heaven. there was no other in earth’s domain. Like Beowulf. From time to time. welded his lay. or south or north. stored with sagas and songs of old. one praising Beowulf’s triumph. more valiant found. bound word to word in well-knit rime. Fitela. and ran a race when the road seemed fair. on horses white. Bloody the billows were boiling there. a thane of the king. Then Beowulf’s glory eager they echoed. with sword-blood hot. and many a youth. Although people stayed loyal to their good king Hrothgar. baffled in battle and banned. by that doomed one dyed. Strange the story: he said it all. the tried-in-battle their gray steeds set to gallop amain. which never were told to tribes of men. of the warlike deeds he had heard in saga of Sigemund. in well-ranged words. Home then rode the hoary clansmen from that merry journey. it was said that no man deserved to rule more than the glorious Beowulf. save to Fitela only. the feuds and the frauds.— the Waelsing’s wanderings wide. Heremod. who had made many vaunts. Heremod did not protect his people like Beowulf had. Sigmund’s fortunes grew after his king. was overthrown and killed. of warriors none more worthy to rule! (On their lord beloved they laid no slight. and hell received it. away from thence. and was mindful of verses. Sigmund was considered a great hero and his name was known throughout the land. Hrothgar’s minstrel came up with a new song. and all averred that from sea to sea. and multitude of the monster kind they had felled with their swords. Those two heroes of long ago killed many giants and other monsters. and artfully added an excellent tale. who in den of the moor laid forlorn his life adown. turbid the tide of tumbling waves horribly seething. So all of the noble clansmen. . The minstrel told of how Sigmund killed a dragon all by himself and took the dragon’s treasure. rode to the great hall to witness Beowulf’s great deed. Of repeated the story of Beowulf’s strength and bravery. back from the mere. the hardy warriors. as ever the twain stood side by side in stress of war. his heathen soul.
the fallow roads by swift steeds measured! The morning sun was climbing higher. those hardy-minded. Thus had the dread-one by daring achieved over the ring-hoard to rule at will. nor was Fitela there. and bore on its bosom the beaming gold. for torrents of sorrow had lamed him too long. a load of care to earls and athelings all he proved. He. this refuge-ofwarriors. thanes said. the worm was consumed. crowned with glory. who had hoped of him help from harm and bale. in earlier days. himself to pleasure. for the doughty-in-combat a dragon killed that herded the hoard: under hoary rock the atheling dared the deed alone fearful quest.—on the wall it struck. for deeds of daring that decked his name since the hand and heart of Heremod grew slack in battle. heroes’ land.Sigemund grew. Oft indeed. the king himself. his folk protect. home of Scyldings. for the warrior’s wayfaring wise men mourned. follow his father. Clansmen hastened to the high-built hall. his falchion pierced that wondrous worm. the hoard and the stronghold. Warden of treasure. when he passed from life. best blade. swiftly banished to mingle with monsters at mercy of foes. son of Waels. no little praise. with stately band from the bride-bower . Yet so it befell. the wonder to witness.—But here. a sea-boat he loaded. the dragon died in its blood. the kinsman of Hygelac kinder seemed to all: the other was urged to crime! And afresh to the race. to death was betrayed. and had thought their sovran’s son would thrive. He had of all heroes the highest renown among races of men.
But now one man. Modern Text More and more men rode their horses to the great hall to see what Beowulf had done. but God has delivered us from that monster’s grasp. by the Wielder’s might. thee. stood sword-gore-stained this stateliest house. and with him the queen and her crowd of maidens measured the path to the mead-house fair. well can she say whoso of women this warrior bore among sons of men.— widespread woe for wise men all. that the God of the ages was good to her in the birth of her bairn. It was but now that I never more for woes that weighed on me waited help long as I lived. preserve thou ever this kinship new: thou shalt never lack wealth of the world that I wield as mine! Full oft for less have I largess showered. I wish that his whole body was still here so you could see the fiend where he fell. on a punier man. the steep roof saw. of heroes best. That was my plan. “We fought this battle willingly and were blessed with victory. But your honor will live forever. the Warden-of-Glory. a work has done that not all of us erst could ever do by wile and wisdom. Chapter 14 Original Text HROTHGAR spake.” Beowulf replied. my precious hoard. stood by the steps. There. I have long suffered at the hands of Grendel. but God still works wonder on wonder. let us thank Almighty God for this sight. You will have everything that wealth can provide. Beowulf. This hero now. . she can thank God for the great gift he gave her. has done what all of us together could not do.strode. laved in blood. Now. May God protect and bless you. but he broke free and died in his den. if still she liveth. Hrothgar looked up at Grendel’s arm mounted on the wall. my son. I will love you as my own son. In the past I have given honor and riches to men who have achieved much less than you have. “First. This glorious hall was filled with blood night after night. and gave a speech. Take this bond seriously. garnished with gold. Beowulf. The king and his queen left their private quarters and came into the hall. I shall heartily love as mine own.—to the hall he went. Now. when. and Grendel’s hand: — “For the sight I see to the Sovran Ruler be speedy thanks! A throng of sorrows I have borne from Grendel. who had no hope to hinder ever foes infernal and fiendish sprites from havoc in hall. with God’s help. If his mother is still alive. Lo. I thought I would never be rid of that foul beast and the sorrows he caused.
beheld that hand. were I hadst thou but seen himself.” More silent seemed the son of Ecglaf in boastful speech of his battle-deeds. where bide he must. he left behind him his hand in pledge. . since athelings all. on the high roof gazing. too. in baleful bonds. God willed it this way.— heathen’s “hand-spear. now sat silently. evil outlaw. and firm enough hold the life-destroyer: too sturdy was he. or cut away that battle-hand bloody from baneful foe. sunk in his sins. Everyone could see the proof of Beowulf’s power hanging on the wall. that he in the hent of this hand of mine should breathe his last: but he broke away. through the earl’s great prowess. this fight. ’Twas clear. but sorrow holds him tightly grasped in gripe of anguish. well may the Wielder reward thee still!” Beowulf spake. I thought. But the beast left behind his arm and cannot live long. they said.” hostile warrior’s claw uncanny. loathsome fiend. Fain. None the longer liveth he. how keen soever. He must suffer the punishment God has planned for him. that him no blade of the brave could touch. the ruthless. Him I might not—the Maker willed not— hinder from flight. in running! For rescue.less stout in struggle. arm and shoulder. Grendel’s claw was as hard as steel. however.—the forepart of each of the sturdy nails to steel was likest. Thyself hast now fulfilled such deeds. and it was obvious that no sword could have severed his arm from his body. foeman’s fingers. who had been so boastful the day before. and fearlessly dared force of the foe. such awful doom as the Mighty Maker shall mete him out. As ever he did. bairn of Ecgtheow:— “This work of war most willingly we have fought. in strongest gripe on his bed of death to bind him down. that thy fame shall endure through all the ages. nor aught of help could the cursed one thus procure at all.” Unferth. what time the fiend in his trappings tottered to fall! Swiftly.
Featly received many a mead-cup the mighty-in-spirit. To Beowulf gave the bairn of Healfdene a gold-wove banner. No one.Chapter 15 Original Text THERE was hurry and hest in Heorot now for hands to bedeck it. Everyone in Heorot was filled with the spirit of friendship. kinsmen who sat in the sumptuous hall. It was the saddle Hrothgar used when he rode bravely into battle. It was time for Hrothgar to arrive at the banquet. when. The king behaved very nobly. and dense was the throng of men and women the wine-hall to cleanse. he shall find his way to the refuge ready for race of man. the roof alone held safe and sound. rent were its hinges. of life despairing. breastplate and Modern Text Everyone began to pitch in to help repair the damage done to Heorot and to prepare it for a feast. It is rare that treasures like those would be handed over in so friendly a way. Though the building still stood. Ne’er heard I of host in haughtier throng more graciously gathered round giver-ofrings! Bowed then to bench those bearers-ofglory. seared with crime. Arrived was the hour when to hall proceeded Healfdene’s son: the king himself would sit to banquet.—essay it who will! Forced of fate. that building bright was broken sorely. Gold-gay shone the hangings that were wove on the wall. The people had not yet learned to betray one another. and sons of earth. Never before did such a large and noble group gather around their king. drinking endless rounds of mead. the flight for safety. Beowulf drank to his host. can escape death-it awaits us all. He was not ashamed to receive such expensive gifts in front of his men. guerdon of triumph. Wonderful new decorations were to be hung from the walls. for soul-possessors. broidered battle-flag. Hrothgar gave Beowulf a splendid new sword and set of armor. and wonders many to delight each mortal that looks upon them. along with a golden battle flag and a helmet with a ridge to protect its wearer. it was badly damaged by the battle. Heorot now was filled with friends. the fiendish foe his flight essayed. Though braced within by iron bands. however. Then Hrothgar had eight horses brought into the hall. fain of the feasting. Famous men from across the land sat at the tables.—No light thing that. The roof was the only part that wasn’t scarred by Grendel’s attack and his attempt to escape. He gave this all to Beowulf. . the folk of Scyldings ne’er yet had tried the traitor’s deed. One was wearing a saddle covered in gold and jewels. the guest-room to garnish. and there his body on bed of death shall rest after revel. for he had earned them. Hrothgar and Hrothulf.
a ridge. Manfully thus the mighty prince. To Beowulf over them both then gave the refuge-of-Ingwines right and power. o’er war-steeds and weapons: wished him joy of them. hoard-guard for heroes. when to play of swords the son of Healfdene was fain to fare. Chapter 16 Original Text AND the lord of earls. kept ward o’er the head. sharp in the strife. with four such gifts. in heartier mood.helmet. adown the hall: one horse was decked with a saddle all shining and set in jewels. on the ale-bench honoring others thus! O’er the roof of the helmet high. Ne’er failed his valor in the crush of combat when corpses fell. Then the earls’-defence on the floor bade lead coursers eight. to each that came Modern Text Hrothgar also gave treasures to all of . and a splendid sword was seen of many borne to the brave one. that hard fight repaid with steeds and treasures contemned by none who is willing to say the sooth aright. lest the relict-of-files should fierce invade. For I heard of few heroes. when that shielded hero should go to grapple against his foes. Beowulf took cup in hall: for such costly gifts he suffered no shame in that soldier throng. so fashioned with gold. with carven head-gear. wound with wires. ’twas the battle-seat of the best of kings.
Therefore is insight always best. and rescue his remnant by right of arms the men who had sailed with Beowulf and compensated them for the loss of the man Grendel killed. Hildeburh insisted that the body of Hnaef and her son be burned on the same pyre. who ruled the Frisians. stricken by spears. There is so much that a person who lives a long life must endure. Hildeburh needed not hold in value her enemies’ honor! Innocent both were the loved ones she lost at the lindenplay. The terms of the truce meant that Finn had to give Hengest and the other Scyldings the same treasures he gave his own people. was fated to fall in the Frisian slaughter. as was Hildeburh’s son. making his song of that sudden raid on the sons of Finn. ruler of the Scyldings of Denmark. Hnaef was killed during a battle with the Frisians. too. through days of warfare this world endures! Then song and music mingled sounds in the presence of Healfdene’s head-ofarmies and harping was heard with the hero-lay as Hrothgar’s singer the hall-joy woke along the mead-seats. as here and now. ’twas a sorrowful woman! None doubted why the daughter of Hoc bewailed her doom when dawning came. Finn. had not wisest God their Wyrd averted. There was much singing and harpplaying in the hall. How much awaits him of lief and of loath. The Maker then ruled human kind. as they could not return to Denmark in the winter. The king’s minstrel sang a song about the legendary ruler Finn and his sons.—and fain of them more had killed. where most she had kenned of the sweets of the world! By war were swept. an heirloom there at the ale-bench gave. they bowed to fate. in the parleying-place he could ply no longer weapon. Finn’s own liegemen. The monster would have killed more if it had not been for Beowulf’s bravery and God’s will. agreed to a truce with the Frisians. Healfdene’s hero. and few were left. the sister of Hnaef. Because God’s will always triumphs. the best thing anyone can do is seek understanding. who long time here. nor war could he wage on Hengest. and the price bade pay in gold for him whom Grendel erst murdered. was married to Hildeburh.with Beowulf over the briny ways. bairn and brother. and under the sky she saw them lying. Hnaef the Scylding. and he had to house them for a time. Hengest. and forethought of mind. precious gift. and she wept over them as the fire consumed their bodies. and the man’s brave mood. Hnaef’s second-in-command. kinsmen murdered. .
those spared not by war out of either folk: their flower was gone.from the prince’s thane. with wise-men’s aid. with fretted gold. and ancient gold heaped from hoard. even as truly. Folcwald’s son day by day the Danes should honor. boar of hard iron. then edge of the sword must seal his doom. that murderous hatred to mind recall. battle-thane best. as his Frisian kin he meant to honor in ale-hall there. as their lot ordained. Then wound up to welkin the wildest of death-fires. the folk of Hengest favor with rings. on the balefire placed. lordless men. the gilded swine-crest. Balefire devoured. . roared o’er the hillock: heads all were melted. greediest spirit. and blood gushed out from bites of the body.—The hardy Scylding. and at the fee-gifts. Should Frisian. openly promised that woful remnant. hall and high-seat. A pact he offered: another dwelling the Danes should have. at Hnaef’s own pyre the bairn of her body on brands to lay. Finn to Hengest with oath. All on the pyre were plain to see the gory sark. or with malice of mind bemoan themselves as forced to follow their fee-giver’s slayer. with foeman’s taunt. at his uncle’s side. Oaths were given. upon honor. It was Hildeburh’s hest. so none of the guests by word or work should warp the treaty. Pact of peace they plighted further on both sides firmly. gashes burst. with treasure and jewels. nobly to govern. and athelings many slain by the sword: at the slaughter they fell. moreover. on his balefire lay. his bones to burn. In sorrowful dirges bewept them the woman: great wailing ascended. and half the power should fall to them in Frisian land.
friendless. houses and high burg. the queen was taken. and how to hasten the hot encounter where sons of the Frisians were sure to be. Spring approached and Hengest prepared his men for their departure. and Finn was slain. holding pact. on himself at home. best of blades. The Danes grew restless and eventually they killed Finn and took Hildeburh back to Denmark. now waves rolled fierce lashed by the winds. when Hun with “Lafing. yet of home he minded. Then fared another year to men’s dwellings. for Guthlaf and Oslaf of grim attack had sorrowing told. the sunbright skies. So he escaped not the common doom. to depart. mourning their woes. king amid clansmen. though powerless his ring-decked prow to drive over the waters. to find the Frisian land. his bosom pierced: its edge was famed with the Frisian earls.” the light-ofbattle. as yet they do. fair lay earth’s breast. Far off winter was driven. the guest. but he still harbored vengeful thoughts. Finn’s wavering spirit bode not in breast. the horrid sworddeath. On fierce-heart Finn there fell likewise. Hengest kept the pact with Finn through the fierce winter. or winter locked them in icy fetters. To their ship the Scylding warriors bore all the chattels the chieftain owned. The burg was reddened with blood of foemen. though more gladly he pondered on wreaking his vengeance than roaming the deep.Chapter 17 Original Text THEN hastened those heroes their home to see. Hengest still through the death-dyed winter dwelt with Finn. . and fain was the rover. from sea-ways landed. that their season ever duly await. Modern Text And so the Danish heroes went to live among the Frisian. since he was unable to sail back home.
Unferth was also nearby. The lay was finished. Treat the Geats well and enjoy your time with them. Comes Wealhtheow forth. under gold-crown goes where the good pair sit. Hrethric and Hrothmund. many people still respected Unferth for his mind and his courage.whatever they found in Finn’s domain of gems and jewels. Wealtheow said to Hrothgar. true each to the other one. Heorot has been saved and cleansed of evil. willing to hold and rule nobly our youths. He will take care of our sons. Be grateful for the gifts you have. Though he had a stain on his reputation. or near or far. Then glad rose the revel. jewel-hall brightest.” She looked over at her sons. as son thou wishest yon hero to hold. his keenness of courage. Thy Heorot purged. “Drink up. though kinsmen had found him unsure at the sword-play. I ween with good he will well requite offspring of ours. breaker of rings. Be glad with thy Geats. kindred in amity. I have heard that you want to adopt Beowulf as your son. and saw Beowulf sitting between them. and blithe be thou. Bearers draw from their “wonder-vats” wine. bench-joy brightened. led to her land. to the Geats here speak such words of mildness as man should use. Queen Wealhtheow came out and sat near her husband and Hrothulf. uncle and nephew. my king and lord. and leave to thy kin folk and realm when forth thou goest to greet thy doom. which now thou hast. The Scylding queen spoke: “Quaff of this cup. my lord. he will be good to them. Unferth the spokesman at the Scylding lord’s feet sat: men had faith in his spirit. gold-friend of men. I have faith in your nephew Hrothulf. You are free to do so. He will remember everything that you have done for him. the gleeman’s song. The sounds of talking and laughter returned to the hall. The gentle wife o’er paths of the deep to the Danes they bore. if thou yield up first. . thy part in the world. You should give your kingdom to your family when you die. For gracious I deem my Hrothulf. and be happy. If you die before he does. Men say to me. prince of Scyldings. when all he minds that for him we did in his helpless days of gift and grace to gain him honor!” Then she turned to the seat where her sons The minstrel finished his song. his nephew and advisor. with many a largess. enjoy while thou canst. of those gifts be mindful.
dangers he sought. She also gave him a gift of gold jewelry and a suit of chainmail. under his banner the booty defending. sovran strong: under shield he died. the war-spoil warding. In later years. gear of the breast. corselet and rings. Ne’er heard I so mighty. feud with Frisians. Of wounden gold. she offered. Modern Text Wealhtheow sent a cup of mead to Beowulf. Hygelac Geat. grandson of Swerting. the brothers between. too. in his daring. Chapter 18 Original Text A CUP she gave him. Hrethric and Hrothmund. with heroes’ bairns. to honor him. but Wyrd o’erwhelmed him what time. Fell the corpse of the king into keeping of Franks. arm-jewels twain. Beowulf gave the necklace to his uncle Hygelac. and of collars the noblest that ever I knew the earth around. sat there. Beowulf brave. young men together: the Geat. Eormenric’s hate: chose help eternal. There was much applause at Wealhtheow’s gift.wereplaced. on the last of his raids this ring bore with him. weaker warriors won the spoil. who was wearing it when he died in battle against the Frisians. . Fairest of gems he bore with him over the beaker-ofwaves. jewel and gem casket.—Jealousy fled he. since Hama bore to his bright-built burg the Brisings’ necklace. ’neath heaven’s dome. with kindly greeting and winsome words. and that gorgeous ring. a hoard-gem of heroes.
Through the ways of life prosper. to rest. . the throng obedient.—That was proudest of feasts. dear prince. and loyal to our king. no knowing that danger waited for him. They are friendly and they know their duty. ’Twas their custom so ever to be for battle prepared. Your deeds have ensured that you will be remembered forever. easy to see. and richly thrive! Preserve thy strength. Din rose in hall. so that they could be ready for battle whenever it came. the corselet of rings. Hast done such deeds. They slept with their shields and weapons nearby. The men gathered there did not know that fate was preparing another grim threat for them. They bared the bench-boards. We are all good to each other here. I pray for your continued success. from Geatland’s lord. destiny dire. and the doom to be seen by many an earl when eve should come. flowed wine for the warriors. at home. O prince! I pray for thee rich possessions. The room was guarded as usual. mild of mood.— At their heads they set their shields of war.after gripe of battle. our beloved Beowulf. and held the death-field. The benches were pushed back and men made their beds on the floor. The feast was a grand one. and Hrothgar homeward hasten away. so wide as washeth the wave of Ocean his windy walls. liegemen are revelling: list and obey!” Went then to her place. One reveler slept. a royal treasure.—One beer-carouser in danger of doom lay down in the hall. abroad they spread beds and bolsters. “Enjoy these gifts. Beowulf lov’d. The room was guarded by an army of earls. even as oft as evil threatened Wealhtheow then spoke to Beowulf. Wealhtheow spake amid warriors.” The queen went back to her seat. or harrying. on the bench were there over each atheling. and these striplings here counsel in kindness: requital be mine. which it were. these battle-weeds wear. and may they keep you safe. the high battle-helmet. bucklers bright. royal. Treat my sons well. that for days to come thou art famed among folk both far and near. Be strong and be a good guide to my sons. the haughty spear. and said:— “This jewel enjoy in thy jocund youth. Evening fell and Hrothgar headed home to sleep. Wyrd they knew not. To son of mine be helpful in deed and uphold his joys! Here every earl to the other is true. as erst was done. to the master loyal! Thanes are friendly.
she tried to escape. Heorot was in chaos. Someone was seeking revenge for Grendel’s death. But the man remembered his mighty power. who. his father’s offspring: outlawed he fled. where helmeted Modern Text They went to sleep. marked with murder. the death of her son to avenge. at Heorot found a warrior watching and waiting the fray. in his Maker’s mercy put his trust for comfort and help: so he conquered the foe.their sovran king. Beowulf was summoned to the king’s side. driven by sorrow and rage. to the realms of death. was coming for them.—They were clansmen good. from men’s delights warded the wilds. mankind’s foe. Cain was the father of many evil beasts. Grendel’s mother had taken back her son’s severed arm. ’Twas seen and told how an avenger survived the fiend. She burst in with a woman’s terrifying strength. With sorrow one bought his rest of the evening. And now Grendel’s mother. Grendel’s mother. The livelong time after that grim fight. And his mother now. till his end drew nigh. Deep within the swamp.—as ofttime had happened when Grendel guarded that golden hall. Hrothgar had been wondering alound whether God would ever stop this string of misfortunes. To Heorot came she. where the Danes were sleeping. felled the fiend. including Grendel. cold sea-courses. in addition to the man she had grabbed. only slightly less than Grendel’s.—There woke from him such fate-sent ghosts as Grendel. Grendel’s mother had been mourning her son and waiting for vengeance. monster of women. since Cain cut down with edge of the sword his only brother. mourned her woe. She had been doomed to live in the swamp ever since Cain killed Abel and was banished by God. She came to Heorot. though one of them would not wake. slaughter for sins. She was doomed to dwell in the dreary waters. the glorious gift that God had sent him. Men lept to their feet and grabbed their shields and swords. reft of joy. Beowulf wasn’t in the hall. and rushed back to the swamp. She grabbed one of the men. As soon as she realized she had been discovered. as was learned afar. who fled abject. with whom the grisly one grappled amain. whom brave Beowulf had killed with the help of God. Chapter 19 Original Text THEN sank they to sleep. evil wrought. war-wolf horrid. would go that quest of sorrow. Hrothgar was devastated by the news. gloomy and grim. Beowulf strode in with . He had been given a bed elsewhere. one of Hrothgar’s closest friends.
with keen blade carves amain.— Uproar filled Heorot. bale was returned. along with his earls the atheling lord. hammer-forged. for the Geat renowned. with his clansmen. another house had been held apart. though. crested. asked if Hrothgar had slept well.—Nor was Beowulf there.Danes slept in the hall. came where the king abode his men and. and dead indeed was his dearest thane. whom that horror seized. Less grim. than of men in arms when. as she fled to the moor. Then was in hall the hard-edge drawn. whom she killed on his couch. Long-tried king. a clansman famous. Haste was hers. e’en as terror of woman in war is less. Too soon came back old ills of the earls. To his bower was Beowulf brought in haste. dole in the dwellings: ’twas dire exchange where Dane and Geat were doomed to give the lives of loved ones. through swine of the helm. and shields amany firm held in hand: nor helmet minded nor harness of mail. she would hie afar and save her life when the liegemen saw her. not knowing what had happened. after giving of gold. He was for Hrothgar of heroes the dearest. sword gore-stained. the hand all had viewed. the falchion hard. the swords on the settles. . that terror. blood-flecked. might of maid. the hoary hero. at heart was sad when he knew his noble no more lived. Yet a single atheling up she seized fast and firm. the mother of Grendel. in battle brave. dauntless victor. when in she burst. As daylight broke. she bore with her. of trusty vassals betwixt the seas.
Strode o’er floor the famed-in-strife. Beowulf.—the hall resounded. keen and cruel. No man has ever managed to explore those foul waters. of Yrmenlaf the elder brother. eating his flesh. with his hand-companions. fain of her fill. unyieldingly.” . The feud she avenged that yesternight. A wandering demon has taken him.” Hrothgar replied. shoulder-comrade in stress of fight when warriors clashed and we warded our heads. in arms he fell. he asked if the night had passed in peace to the prince’s mind. helmet-of-Scyldings: — “Ask not of pleasure! Pain is renewed to Danish folk. Now another comes. They say that there are are two monsters who stalk this land. If you dare to seek out this fiend. my sage adviser and stay in council.waiting to see if the Wielder-of-All would turn this tale of trouble and woe. I will reward you tremendously. Supposedly the two live in a swamp near here. and now only you. this is hardest of heart-bales. hewed the helm-boars. Dead is Aeschere.— seeing how long these liegemen mine he ruined and ravaged. Land-dwellers here and liegemen mine. I wot not whither. Chapter 20 Original Text HROTHGAR spake. Evil dwells there. I have heard Modern Text “Don’t ask me that. She has come to avenge Grendel. Reft of life.— wishing to greet the wise old king. I have heard tales from people who live near here. a swamp where the water burns at night. proud of the prey. one male and one female. My trusted advisor Aeschere is dead. and who knows where she is now. Ingwines’ lord. The hand lies low that once was willing each wish to please. hero famed should be every earl as Aeschere was! But here in Heorot a hand hath slain him of wandering death-sprite. her path she took. can end it. who e’er sorrows in soul for that sharer of rings. faring far in feud of blood: so that many a thane shall think. One of them was Grendel. who house by those parts. Even animals would rather turn to face their hunters than go there. “More sorrows have come to us Danes. Grendel in grimmest grasp thou killedst. her kin to avenge.
relate that such a pair they have sometimes seen. where thou findest out that sin-flecked being. in man’s guise trod the misery-track of exile. so far as my folk could fairly judge. fenways fearful. of womankind.” . fire on the waters. as erst I did. to search those depths! Nay. if thou winnest back. where flows the stream from mountains gliding to gloom of the rocks. his dear life first on the brink he yields ere he brave the plunge to hide his head: ’tis no happy place! Thence the welter of waters washes up wan to welkin when winds bestir evil storms. Untrod is their home. his father they knew not. Not far is it hence in measure of miles that the mere expands. harried by dogs. and air grows dusk. folk of the land. though the heath-rover. and o’er it the frost-bound forest hanging. this holt should seek. By night is a wonder weird to see. though huger than human bulk. march-stalkers mighty the moorland haunting. the horn-proud hart. with winding gold. accursed. Grendel in days long gone they named him. for waging this fight. So wise lived none of the sons of men. nor any brood that was born to him of treacherous spirits. sturdily rooted. and the heavens weep. shadows the wave. wandering spirits: one of them seemed. place of fear. long distance driven. Seek if thou dare! I will reward thee. underground flood. with ancient treasure. Now is help once more with thee alone! The land thou knowst not. by wolf-cliffs haunt they and windy headlands. and one.
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