Beowulf http://www. heorot. dk/beowulf-rede-text. html Prologue Listen! We –of the Spear-Danes in the days of yore, of those clan-kings– heard of their glory. how those nobles performed courageous deeds. Often Scyld, Scef’s son, from enemy hosts 5 from many peoples seized mead-benches; and terrorised the fearsome Heruli after first he was found helpless and destitute, he then knew recompense for that:- he waxed under the clouds, throve in honours, until to him each of the bordering tribes 10 beyond the whale-road had to submit, nd yield tribute:- that was a good king! To him an heir was born then young in the yards, God sent him to comfort the people; He had seen the dire distress 15 that they suffered before, leader-less a long while; them for that the Life-Lord, Ruler of Glory, granted honour on earth: Beowulf (Beaw) was famed –his renown spread wide– Scyld’s heir, in Northern lands. 20 So ought a young man by good deeds deserve, (and) by fine treasure-gifts, while in his father’s keeping, that him in old age shall again stand by, illing companions, when war comes, people serve him: by glorious deeds must, 25 amongst his people, everywhere, one prosper. Then Scyld departed at the destined time, still in his full-strength, to fare in the protection of the Lord Frea; he they carried to the sea’s surf, his dear comrades, as he himself had bid, 30 when he yet wielded words, that friend of the Scyldings, beloved ruler of the land, had ruled for a long time; there at the harbour stood with a ringed-prow, icy and keen to sail, a hero’s vessel; they then laid down the beloved prince, 5 the giver of rings and treasure, in the bosom of the boat, the mighty by the mast; many riches were there, from far-off lands ornate armour and baubles were brought; I have not heard of a comelier keel adorned with weapons of battle and war-dress, 40 bill-blades and byrnies; there lay on his breast many treasures, which with him must, in the power of the waves, drift far off; in no way had they upon him fewer gifts bestowed with the wealth of a nation, than those did 45 who him in the beginning had sent forth alone upon the waves being but a child; et then they set up the standard of gold, high over head; they let the sea bear, gave to the ocean, in them were troubled hearts, 50 mourning minds; men cannot say for certain, (neither) court-counsellors (nor) heroes under heaven, who received that cargo. Then was in boroughs, Beowulf the Scylding (Beaw), beloved king of the people a long age 55 famed among the folk –his father having gone elsewhere, elder on earth– until unto him in turn was born high Half-Dane, he ruled so long as he lived old and battle-fierce, the glad Scyldings; o him four sons in succession 60 woke in the world, the leader of the legions: Heorogar and Hrothgar and good Halga; I heard that Yrse was Onela’s queen, the War-Scylfing’s beloved embraced in bed. Then was to Hrothgar success in warcraft given, 65 honour in war, so that his retainers eagerly served him until the young war-band grew into a mighty battalion; it came into his mind that a hall-house, he wished to command, a grand mead-hall, be built by men 70 which the sons of men should hear of forever, and there within share out all o young and old, such as God gave him, except the common land and the lives of men; Then, I heard, widely was the work commissioned 75 from many peoples throughout this middle-earth, to furnish this hall of the folk. For him in time it came to pass, early, through the men, that it was fully finished, the best of royal halls; he named it Heorot, he whose words weight had everywhere; 80 he did not lie when he boasted; rings he dealt out, riches at his feasts. The hall towered, high and horn-gabled; it awaited the cruel surges of hateful flames; nor was the time yet nigh hat the furious edge-malice of son-in-law and father-in-law, 85 arising from deadly enmity would inevitably awaken. Part One: Beowulf versus Grendel [Attack on Heorot] Then the bold spirit, impatiently endured dreary time, he who dwelt in darkness, he that every day heard noise of revelry loud in the hall; there was the harmony of the harp, 90 the sweet song of the poet; he spoke who knew how the origin of men to narrate from afar; said he that the almighty one wrought the earth, (that) fair, sublime field bounded by water; et up triumphant the sun and moon, 95 luminaries as lamps for the land-dwellers and adorned the corners of the earth with limbs and leaves; life too He formed for each of the species which lives and moves. So the lord’s men lived in joys, 100 happily, until one began to execute atrocities, a fiend in hell; this ghastly demon was named Grendel, infamous stalker in the marches, he who held the moors, fen and desolate strong-hold; the land of marsh-monsters, 105 the wretched creature ruled for a time since him the Creator had condemned ith the kin of Cain; that killing avenged the eternal Lord, in which he slew Abel; this feud he did not enjoy, for He drove him far away, 110 the Ruler, for this crime, from mankind; thence unspeakable offspring all awoke: ogres and elves and spirits from the underworld; also giants, who strove with God for an interminable season; He gave them their reward for that. 115He then went to visit and see –when night came– the high house how it, the Ring-Danes after the beer-feast, had occupied; he found then therein the nobles’ company lumbering after the feast; they did not know sorrow, 120misery of men; that damned creature, grim and greedy, soon was ready, savage and cruel and from their rest seized thirty thanes; thence back he went proud in plunder to his home, faring 125with the banquet of bodies to seek his shelter. Then was in the dark of dawn before the day Grendle’s war-might revealed to the men; then it was after their feasting they raised up lament in a great morning-cry. The mighty chieftain, 130the prince, old and good, sat in sorrow,
The great mighty one suffered, anguish of thane-loss oppressed him when they the foe’s tracks beheld, of the wicked ghoul; that strife was too strong, loathsome and lingering. Nor was it a longer time 135but after a single night again he perpetuated more brutal slaughter, and it grieved him not, violence and viciousness, he was too entrenched in these. Then was it easily found, one who would somewhere else, further away, seek rest: 140a bed among the bowers, when it was made clear to him, truly told, by an unmistakable token he enmity of the hall’s occupier; he held himself then further and safer, he who shunned that fiend. Thus he ruled and challenged justice, 145one against all, until empty stood that finest of houses; the time was long –the space of twelve winters– that bitter anguish endured the friend, the shielder, –every woe, immense miseries; therefore to men became 150to sons of men, clearly known in mournful ballads, that Grendle had contended long against Hrothgar, sustained fierce enmity, felony and feud, for many seasons ontinual strife; he did not want peace 155with any man of the Danish contingent, to desist in life-destruction, to settle it with payment, none of the counsellors had any need to hope for noble recompense from the slayer’s hands, but the wretch was persecuting 160–the dark death-shade– warriors old and young; he lay in wait and set snares, in the endless night he held the misty moors; men do not know where such hellish enigmas slink in their haunts. Thus many offences that foe of mankind, 65that terrible lone traveller, often committed, hard humiliations; he dwelt in Heorot, the richly-adorned hall, in the black nights –by no means he the gift-throne was compelled to approach respectfully, the treasure, by the Maker, nor did he feel love for it– 170That was great misery for the Friend of the Scyldings, a breaking of his spirit. Many often sat the mighty at counsel; pondered a plan, what by strong-minded men would be best, against the sudden horror, to do; 175sometimes they pledged at holy temples sacred honouring, in words bid hat them the demon-slayer would offer succour from the plight of the people; such was their habit: the hope of heathens; on hell they pondered 180 in the depths of their hearts; the Creator they did not know, the Judge of deeds, they were not aware of the Lord God, nor yet they the Helm of the Heavens were able to honour, Glory’s Wielder. Woe be to him who must, through dire terror, thrust his soul 185into fire’s embrace; hope not for relief, or to change at all; well be he who may after death-day seek the Lord nd in his Father’s arms yearn towards Nirvana. [Beowulf Comes to Heorot] So then over the sorrow of the time the son of Half-Dane 190 continually brooded; the wise hero could not turn away woe; that strife was too strong, hateful and enduring, that on the people came fearfully cruel, violent trouble, the greatest night-evil. That from home heard Hygelac’s thane, 195 a good man of the Geats, of Grendel’s deeds; he was of mankind of the greatest strength, on that day in this life, noble and mighty; he ordered them a wave-crosser –a good one– prepare; he said: the war-king 00 over swan-road he wished to seek, that mighty clan-chief, since he was in need of men; that adventure him, the clear-headed chaps, very little begrudged though he was dear to them, they urged on the valiant-hearted one, and observed the omens. 205 The worthy one had, from the Geatish peoples, chosen champions, those who were the boldest he could find; fifteen together, they sought the sea-wood, he led the warriors, that sea-skilled man, to the boundary of the shore. 210 Time passed by; the ship was on the waves, the boat under the cliffs; the ready warriors tepped up into the prow –the currents curled round, sea against sand– the men bore into the bosom of boat bright arms and armour, 215 noble war-gear; the fellows shoved off, men on a welcome voyage, in a well-braced ship. Then they went over the water-waves urged by the wind, the foamy-necked floater, remarkably bird-like until in due time, on the second day, 220 the curved-prow had made the journey, so that the sailors sighted land, bright sea-cliffs, towering shores, wide headlands; then was the sea traversed, heir sea-voyage at an end. Thence up quickly 225 the Wederas-warriors stepped onto land; moored their vessel; their mail-shirts clanked those war-garments; they thanked God that for them the wave-paths had been smooth. Then from the wall saw the ward of the Scyldings, 230 he who the sea-cliffs had the duty to guard, borne over the gang-plank, bright bossed-shields, eager war-devices; in him curiosity broke the thoughts of his heart: what these men were; then he went to the shore riding his horse, 235 the thane of Hrothgar; he forcefully shook is mighty wooden shaft, and with formal words asked: ‘What are you armour-wearers bound in byrnies, who thus your tall keel over the sea-street leading came, 240 hither over the waters? ‘ He was the coast-guardian, he held the sea-watch, so that on Danish land no enemies at all with a navy would not be able to ravage. ‘Not here more openly began to come 245 lindenwood shield-bearers, nor you the leave-word of our war-makers certainly don’t know our kinsmen’s consent; never have I seen greater noble on earth than the one that you are, arrior in armour; this is no a mere retainer 250 made worthy by weapons; unless he is belied by his looks, a unique appearance! Now I must your lineage learn, ere you far hence, deceiving spies in the land of the Danes further fare; now you far-dwellers 255 you sea-sailors, hear my one-fold thought: speed is best for reporting, whence your comings are. ‘ He the eldest answered, the crew’s captain, he unlocked his word-hoard: 260 ‘We are of the tribe of the Geat people and Hygelac’s hearth-companions; y father was known to the folk, a noble vanguard-warrior, called Edgetheow, who saw many winters ere he passed away, 265 old, from our courtyards; he is readily recalled by each one of the wise widely throughout the world. We, by resolute resolve, your lord, the son of Half-Dane have come to seek, that protector of the people; be you a good guide to us; 270 we have, to that grand one, a great errand to the Danish lord; there shouldn’t some secret be of this, I think. You know if it is as we truly have heard said, hat amongst the Scyldings, some enemy, I know not what, 275 a furtive despoiler, in dark nights, sickeningly reveals unknown enmity, suffering and slaughter. I can on this matter, to Hrothgar, from a spacious spirit, give counsel, how he, wise and good, overcome the fiend– 280 if for him a change ever should, from this suffering of miseries to remedy, come after– and his hot wellings of melancholic care grow cooler; or else ever after, a time of torment, horrible hardship he will endure, so long as there remains, 285 in its high place, that best of houses.
The guard made a speech, sitting there on his horse, –the unhesistating officer: ‘He will –every sharp shield-warrior– know the distinction between words and works, he who reasons rightly. 290 I hear it, that this is a legion loyal to the lord of the Scyldings; go forth bearing weapons and armour; I shall guide you; likewise, I the kin-thanes of mine will order, against any foes your vessel, 295 –newly tarred, ship on the sand– to guard in honour, until it bears back, over the sea-streams, the dear man, –the swoop-necked wood — to Wedermark; hose who perform noble deeds– to such as these it shall be granted 300 that the battle-rush he survive in one piece. ‘ Then they went faring –the boat at rest awaited, it rode on the sand the broad-bosomed ship, on anchor fast– boar-figures shone atop cheekguards adorned with gold; 305 glittering and fire-hard; life-guard they held; war-spirits raised; the men hastened, marched forward together, until they the timbered hall, glorious and gold-trimmed, were able to glimpse; that was the foremost –for earth-dwellers– 10 of halls under the heavens, in it the ruler dwelt; its light glimmered over many lands. Then to them the fierce fellow –to that court of great men glorious– he lead, that they to it could go directly; the worthy warrior 315 turned his horse, thereupon spoke words: ‘Time it is for me to go. The Father all-ruling, with grace may He hold you sound on your sojourns! I will to the sea, against brutal dacoits keep watch. ‘ 320 The street was paved with stones, the path guided the men together; war-byrnie shone arsh, linked by hand, ring-iron glittering, they sang in their arms, as they to the hall straight in their grim gear came marching; 325 they set down, sea-weary, their wide shields, the rims wondrous-hard against the wall of the hall, and bent down then to a bench; corslets rang– the war-clothes of warriors; spears stood, seamen’s weapons, all together, 330 silvery above a grove of ash; the iron-clad troop was honoured in weapons; then a proud noble the elite soldiers asked about the heroes: ‘Whence ferry you plated shields, teel-hued shirts of mail and masked-helms, 335 this host of army-shafts? I am Hrothgar’s herald and officer; I have not seen from a foreign land this many men looking braver in spirit; I expect that you from valour, not from exile, but from greatness of heart have sought out Hrothgar. ‘ 340 Then him the renowned one answered –that proud prince of the Wedera nation– spoke thereafter words, severe beneath his helmet: ‘We are Hygelac’s companions at table; Beowulf is my name; I wish to proclaim to the son of Half-Dane, 45 –that famed sovereign– my errand to your lord, if he wishes to grant us that we him, the virtuous one, might greet. ‘ Wulfgar began to speak –he was the Wendels’ leader, his courage was well-known to many, 350 war-skill and wisdom–: ‘I this from friend of the Danes, lord of the Scyldings, will inquire, from the giver of rings, –as you are petitioners– from that famed sovereign about your quest, and to you the answer promptly make known 355 which to me the virtuous one sees fit to give. ‘ He turned then quickly to where Hrothgar sat, ld and very grey, amid his company of earls; he strode grandly so that he stood by the shoulders of the Danes’ lord: he knew the custom of veteran-warriors; 360 Wulfgar made this speech to his friend and lord: ‘Here have ventured, come from far away, over the expanse of the sea, men of the Geats; the eldest one of these elite warriors is called Beowulf; they are asking 365 that they, my lord, with you might exchange words; give them not refusal from your answers, gracious Hrothgar; they by their war-gear seem worthy f the esteem of nobles; indeed, the prince is powerful, 370 who the warriors led hither. ‘ Hrothgar spoke, –the Helm of the Scyldings–: ‘I knew him when he was a youth; his old father was called Ecgtheow, to whom gave into his home Hrethel of the Geats 375 his only daughter; now his heir is come here bravely, seeking a steadfast friend. Further, it has been said by sea-farers, they who our gifts of coins ferried for the Geats thither in thanks, that he thirty 380 men’s strength in the grip of his hand, enowned in war, has; him holy God, in benevolence, has sent to us, to the West-Danes, of this I have hope, against Grendel’s terror; I the good man must 385 for his great daring offer precious treasures. Be you in haste, order to come in to see me the noble band of kinsmen all together; Say to them also in words, that they are welcome to the Danish land. ‘ A word from within announced: 391 ‘To you I am commanded to say by my valorous lord, the leader of the East Danes, that he knows your noble history, and you are to him, over sea-swells, -bold in thought– welcome hither; now you may enter in your war-gear, 396 under visored-helmets, to see Hrothgar; let battle-boards here await, and wooden slaughter-shafts, the result of words. ‘ Then the mighty one arose, about him many warriors, the glorious troop of thanes; some waited there, 401 guarding the gear of war as the hardy leader bade; they hurried together; the hero led the way for them under Heorot’s roof, severe under his helmet, until he stood in the hall. Beowulf spoke –on him a mail-coat gleamed, 06 a net of armour woven by smith’s skilful art–: ‘Be you, Hrothgar, whole. I am Hygelace’s kinsman and retainer; I have many great labours undertaken in my youth; Grendel’s enterprises have to me become, on my native soil, clearly known: 411 it is said by sea-farers that in this hall stands, –the best of buildings– for each and every man, idle and useless, after evening-light under the firmament of heaven goes to hide. Then I was advised that, by my people, 416 the best ones, the clever chaps, overeign Hrothgar, that it were thee I should seek, for that they the force of the strength of mine knew; themselves had looked on, when I returned from battle, stained with the blood of foes, where I bound five, 421 destroyed ogrish kin, and amid the waves slew nicors by night; I weathered distress in many a tight corner, avenged injury done the Wederas –they sought woe– the foes I crushed, and now against Grendel I am bound, with that terrible creature, alone, to settle 426 the affair with the troll. I now then you, rince of the Bright-Danes, want to request, O protector of the Scyldings, one boon: that you not refuse me, O shield of warriors, liege and comrade of the folk, now that I have come thus far; 431 that I might alone, with my company of nobles and this hardy horde of warriors, clense Heorot; I have also heard that the evil creature in his recklessness heeds not weapons; then I it scorn –so that for me Hygelac may be 436 my liege-lord blithe in his heart– that I bear a sword or broad shield, yellow-rim to war, but I with my grip shall ight with this fiend and over life strive, enemy against enemy; there must trust in 441 the judgement of the Lord, whichever one that Death takes; I expect that he will wish, if he can compass it, in the war-hall, the Geatish people to devour fearlessly, as he often did, the force of glorious warriors. You will have no need for my 446 head to shroud, but rather he will have me fiercely stained with gore, if me Death takes, he will bear my bloody corpse; he aims to bite, the lone prowler eats unmournfully, arking the limits of his moor enclosures; nor will you for the needs of my 451 body’s funeral-provisions have any further concern. Send to Hygelac, if I am taken by battle, the best of battle-shrouds, the one that protects my breast, choicest of garments; that is Hrethel’s relic, Wayland’s work. Fate goes always as She must. ‘ 456 Hrothgar spoke, the helm of the Scyldings: ‘Fit to fight, you, my friend Beowulf, and for honour us have sought. Your father by striking began the greatest feud: he was Heatholaf’s slayer by his own hand 61 of the Wylfings; then him his spear-kin for dread of troops could not shelter; thence he sought the South-Danes’ folk over the welling of the waves, the Honour-Scyldings; at that time I had just begun to rule the Danish folk 466 and in my youth held the precious kingdom, the treasure-keep of heroes; then was Heregar dead, my elder brother unliving, the son of Half-Dane; he was better than I. Then the feud I settled with fees; 471 I sent the Wylfings across the water’s ridge ancient treasures; he swore oaths to me.
It sorrows me to say in my heart to any man Grendel has caused me what humiliations in Heorot with his thoughts of hatred, 476 carried out lightning-quick attacks; my hall-troop is waned, that war-band; they have been swept aside by Fate in Grendel’s horrid violence; God can easily the rash ravager’s deeds put an end to. Full oft have vowed, having drunk beer, 481 over ale-flagons, battle-men, that they in the beer-hall would await Grendel’s onslaught with vicious edges. Then, this mead-hall was in the morning his noble hall stained with gore when the day lightened, 486 all of the benches smeared with blood the hall battle-gory; I had friends the fewer, cherished old battle-retinue, for these Death took them away. Sit now to feast and untie your thoughts of your glorious victories to the soldiers, as your heart urges. ‘ [Feast at Heorot] 491 Then the Geatish men were gathered together in the beer-hall, room was made on a bench, there the strong-souled went to sit down, proud in prowess a thane performed his office, he who in his hands bore an ornate ale-cup, 96 decanted pure sweet mead; a bard sang from time to time clear in Heorot; there was joy of heroes, no small host of Danes and Wederas. Unferth spoke, the son of Edgelaf, who sat at the feet of the lord of the Scyldings; 501 he unbound battle-runes –for him was the venture of Beowulf, brave seafarer’s, a source of great displeasure, because he did not grant that any other man ever glorious deeds the more on middle-earth heeded under the heavens than he himself–: 506 ‘Are you the Beowulf, who contested against Breca on the broad sea, contended around the ocean-sound?
Where you for bravado tempted the waters and for a foolish boast in deep sea risked your lives, you no man 511 –neither friend nor foe– could dissuade from that sorrowful jaunt, when you rowed into the strait; there you sea-currents in your arms embraced, traversed the ocean-roads, with hands wove, gliding over the sea; the ocean in waves 516 welled, in winter’s swells; you in the water’s grasp toiled for seven nights; he got the better of you on the sea, he had more might. Then he in the morning on Heatho-Reams’ shore was cast up by the sea; hence he sought his own homeland, 521 dear to his people, the land of the Brondings, the fair citadel, he had folk there, boroughs and rings; the entire boast with you the son of Beanstan truly fulfilled. I expect then for you worse results, 526 though you in war-assaults everywhere prevailed, grim combat, if you for Grendel dare the space of a night nearby wait. ‘ Beowulf spoke, the son of Edgetheow: ‘Listen, you a great deal –Unferth, my friend, 531 drunk on beer– have spoken about Breca, told of his journey.
Truth I claim that I sea-strength greater had, hardship on the waves, than any other man; we had it agreed, being lads, 536 and vowed –being both then still in the years of youth– that we out on the ocean our lives would risk, and thus that we did. We had naked swords when we rowed on the ocean-sound, hard in our hands: we ourselves against whales 541 planned to defend; not a whit from me was he on the sea-waves far able to float, swifter on water, nor did I wish to part from him; then we together were on the sea, or the space of five nights, until the sea-waves drove us apart, 546 the water welling, the coldest of weathers, the darkening night and the north wind fierce turned against us; wild were the waves; then was the sea-fishes’ wrath roused; there me against foes my body-shirt 551 strong and hand-linked, did me help, my battle-garment braided lay on my breast, adorned with gold; to the bottom of the sea I was drawn by the hostile foe-scather, it held me fast, cruel in grip; however, to it was granted 556 that I the monster reached with my point, ith battle-bill; in the battle-rush I destroyed the mighty sea-beast with my hand. Thus me often hateful attackers pressed sorely; I served them 561 with my dear sword, as it was fitting; they the feast did not have rejoicing, those perpetrators of crime, that they partook of me, sitting round a banquet near the sea-bed but in the morning by maiche-swords wounded, 566 along what is left by the waves up they lay put to sleep by swords, so that never since on the high waterway sea-travellers way did not hinder. Light came from the east, right beacon of God, the sea became still, 571 so that I the headlands was able to see, windswept walls. Fate often spares the hero not fated to die when his courage endures. However it was my good fortune that I with my sword slew nine of the nicors; I have not heard by night 576 under heaven’s vault of a more grievous fight, nor on the water-streams of a more wretched man; yet I the foes’ grasp survived with my life, weary from my venture; then the sea bore me off flood following current onto the land of the Lapps, 581 the tossing boat.
Not a whit of thee in such strife of conflict have I heard told, of bill-blade terror; Breca never yet at battle-play, nor either of you, so boldly performed a deed 586 with bright swords –I do not boast of this– nevertheless, you your brothers’ killer were, near relatives; for that you must with Hel suffer torment, though your mind is strong; I say to you in truth, son of Edgelaf, 591 that Grendel would have never so many atrocities committed, –that terrible demon– to your leader, humiliation on Heorot, if your heart were, nd your spirit so battle-fierce as you yourself tell but he has found that the fight he needs not, 596 that terrible storm of sword-edges of your nation, greatly to dread, of the Victory-Scyldings; he takes a forced toll, spares none of the Danish people, but he carries on his delight, slaying and despatching, he does not expect contest 601 from the Spear-Danes. But I shall him the Geats’ might and courage, before long now, offer in war; a man will be able to go back, to mead bravely, when the morning-light over the sons of men of another day, 06 the sun clad in radiance, shines from the south. ‘ Then was joyful the dispenser of treasures, with wizened hair and brave in battle for support he trusted the lord of the Bright-Danes heard in Beowulf the guardian of the folk, firmly-resolved intent; 611 There was the laughter of heroes, the noise made melody, words were joyful. Wealhtheow came forth, Hrothgar’s queen, mindful of etiquette, greeted, gold-adorned, the men in the hall and then the noble lady gave out full cups, 616 first to the East-Danes homeland-guardian, ade him be blithe at the partaking of beer, beloved by the people; he took in delight feast-food and hall-cup, the victorious king; then she went among them, the lady of the Helmings, 621 to veteran and youth a portion to each, gave rich cups, until the time came that she to Beowulf, the ring-adorned queen, blossoming in spirit, carried a mead-cup; she greeted the Geatish prince, thanked God, 626 wise in her words, for that her wish was to be fulfilled, that she in any noble man could count on relief from wickedness. He took that full-cup, he slaughter-fierce warrior from Wealhtheow, and then spoke solemnly, made eager for war; 631 Beowulf spoke, the son of Edgetheow: ‘I resolved that, when I mounted the water, sat down in the sea-boat amid my company of warriors, that I forthwith your people’s will would work, or fall in slaughter, 636 fast in the fiend’s grasp; I must perform this daring act of courage or the last day in this mead-hall of mine await. ‘ The woman these words liked well, the vow-speech of the Geat; went gold-adorned, 641 the noble queen of the folk, to sit by her lord.
Then were again, as before, in the hall, bold words spoken, the people full of joy, –victory-folk’s clamour– until presently the son of Half-Dane wished to seek 646 evening-rest; he knew that the ogre for the high hall had plotted an attack, ever since when they the sun’s light could see; and darkening night all over, shadow-helm’s shapes came slithering, 651 black beneath the skies. The troop all arose; greeted then the man the other man, Hrothgar Beowulf, and bid him health, the wine-hall’s ruler, and spoke these words: ‘I never to any man before entrusted, 56 since I hand and shield was able to raise, this strong-hall of the Danes, save to thee now; have now and hold this best of houses, focus on glory, show great valour, keep watch against the enemy; there shall be no dearth of your desires 661 if this courage-work you survive with your life. ‘ [The Fight with Grendel] Then Hrothgar went with his band of heroes, the protector of the Scyldings, out of the hall; he wished to seek Wealhtheow, the queen as companion in bed; the glory of kings had, 666 against Grendel, –so men heard– he hall-guard posted: special duty he held for the chief of the Danes, ogre-watch he kept. Indeed the prince of the Geats keenly trusted in his prodigious power, his Maker’s favour, 671 then he from himself took iron-byrnie, helm from head, gave his adorned sword, the choicest of irons, to his retainer, and commanded him ward his battle-gear; the good man spoke then some promise-words, 676 Beowulf of the Geats, before he stepped into bed: ‘I myself in martial-stature do not tally poorer in works of war then Grendel himself; herefore him with my sword I shall not slay, deprive of life, though I fully am able; 681 he knows not the finer skills that he may strike me back, hew my rimmed-shield, although he is renowned for malicious works but we at night must relinquish short sword if he dares to seek war without weapons, and then wise God, 686 on whichever hand, the holy Lord will allot glory, as seems fitting to Him. ‘ The war-bold one then bent himself down –the cheek-bolster received the earl’s face– and round him many rave seaman sank down in hall-slumber; 691 none of them thought that he thence would his dear home again ever visit, his folk or his noble citadel, where he was nurtured for they had heard that far too many of them already in that wine-hall slaughtering Death had carried off 696 of the Danish people. But to them the Lord granted the woven-destiny of war-luck to the Wederas’ men, solace and support, that they their foe, through the strength of one, all overcame, by his own might; truth is known 701 that mighty God mankind as ruled forever. In the colourless night came slinking the shadow-wanderer; the shooters slept, they that the horned-house were obliged to guard, all but one –it was known to men 706 that they could not, when the Maker did not wish it, by the malefactor be drawn under the shadows– but he watching in angry indignation bided in rising rage for the result of battle. Then came from the moor under the misty cliffs 711 Grendel walking, God’s wrath he bore; the vile ravager meant from mankind a sample to snare in the high hall; e waded under the clouds until he the wine-hall, –the gold-hall of men– mostly-certainly saw, 716 shining gold; it was not the first time that he Hrothgar’s home had sought; he never in the days of his life, ere nor after, harder luck or hall-thanes found. He came then to the hall the fighter journeying, 721 cut-off from merriment; the door soon rushed open, firm with fire-forged bands, when he tapped it with his hands plotting evil then he tore open, now that he was enraged, the mouth of the building; straight after that n the tessellated floor the fiend treaded, 726 advanced angrily; from his eyes issued, most like a flame, a distorted light; he saw in the hall many warriors a sleeping company of kinsmen gathered together a great host of warriors. Then his heart laughed: 731 he intended to deprive, ere the day came, the cruel beast, from each one life from body, now had befallen him a hope of a full feast. It was not his fate again that he might more of mankind 736 partake of after that night; the mighty man beheld, the kinsman of Hygelac, how the cruel killer y means of a sudden attack wished to proceed. That the monster did not think to delay, but he quickly grasped, at the first occasion, 741 a sleeping warrior, rended without restraint, bit into the bone-locks, from the veins drank blood, swallowed great chunks; soon he had the unliving one all devoured, feet and hands; nearer he stepped forth, 746 taking then with his hands a stout-hearted warrior from his rest, reached towards him the foe with his palm; quickly he grasped the malice thoughts and clamped down on the arm.
At once he found, the shepherd of atrocities, 751 that he had not met in middle-earth, in the expanse of the world, in another man a greater hand-grip; he in his heart grew fearing for life; none the sooner could he away; eager-to-go-hence was the thought in him, he wanted to flee into the darkness, 756 to seek the devils’ concourse; his situation there was not like he in the days of his life ever had met. The good man then recalled, the kinsman of Hygelac, his evening-speech; upright he stood and laid hold of him tight; fingers burst; 61 the troll was striving to move outward, the earl stepped forward. The infamous one meant, anywhere he so was able, farther escape and away thence flee to his secret places in the fen; he knew his fingers’ control in his enemy’s grip, that was a bitter journey he 766 that the harm-warrior had taken to Heorot. The noble hall broke into a din; the Danes all were, –the citadel-dwellers– each of the bold, earls in the flood of bitter drink; enraged were both fierce hall-wards; the hall resounded. 71 Then it was a great wonder that the wine-hall withstood the war-fighters, that it did not fall to the ground, the fair mansion but it so firm was inside and out with iron-bands skilfully smithed; there from the floor broke away 776 many mead-benches, I heard, adorned with gold, where the enemies struggled; it was not thought before, by the sages of the Scyldings, that it ever by means any men splendid and bone-adorned, could break it up, 781 cleverly cleave asunder, not unless fire’s embrace swallowed it in inferno. Sound ascended up, ew, nearby: the North-Danes stood in ghastly horror, in each one of them who from the wall weeping heard, 786 terrible screaming, God’s adversary, a victoryless song, bewailing his wound, Hel’s prisoner; he held him fast, he who was of men in might strongest on that day in this life. 791 The protector of earls had no wish for any reason the murderous guest to release alive, nor his life-days to any people counted as advantage. There many brandished warriors of Beowulf, old heirlooms, 796 they wished prince-lord’s life defend, he legendary leader’s, if they could do so; they did not know that, when they joined the fray, the bold-minded battle-men, and on each side thought to heaw, 801 to seek the soul: that the sin-scather any on earth, of the choicest of irons, of war-bills, none, could not at all greet him but he victory-weapons had forsworn, every blade-edge. His life-severing was bound to 806 on that day in this life be wretched, and the alien-spirit into the administration of fiends would journey far away; then he found, he who before many, iseries in his mind, on mankind 811 atrocities committed –he, who fought with God– that him his body-shell would not obey, but him the daring kinsman of Hygelac had by the hand; each was by the other loathed while living; body-pain he felt, 816 the awful ogre; on his shoulder was a great wound apparent, sinows sprang asunder, bone-locks burst; to Beowulf was war-glory given; thence Grendel had to flee sick unto death under the hills of the fen, 821 to seek his joyless abode; he knew it more surely that was his life’s end arrived, he day-count of his days. For the Danes were all, after that slaughter-storm, wishes come to pass: he had then cleansed, he who had before come from afar, 826 shrewd and strong-minded, the hall of Hrothgar, rescued from ruin; in his night’s work he rejoiced, in valour from great deeds; to the East-Danes had the Geatmen’s leader, his oath fulfilled; so too anguish all remedied, 831 grievous sorrow, that they had ere endured, and in hard distress had to suffer, no small misery; that was a clear sign, when the battle-bold one the hand placed, rm and shoulder –there was all together 836 the grip of Grendel– under the gaping roof. [Celebration at Heorot] Then was in the morning, as I heard tell, about the gift-hall many warriors, folk-chiefs arrived from far and near across wide regions to behold the wonder, 841 the foe’s foot-prints; his parting from life did not seem mournful to any man of those who the gloryless foe’s track observed, how he weary away thence, vanquished by violence, to the nicors’ mere 846 doomed and driven back left behind life-trails.
There with blood was the water seething, terrible swirling of swells all mingled with boiling gore, with sword-blood it welled, doomed to die he hid himself, then, bereft of pleasure, 851 in his fen-refuge he laid down his life, his heathen soul; there Hel embraced him. Thence returned old companions, also many young, from the sport-chase, from the mere full-spirited, riding horses, 856 warriors on fair steeds, there was Beowulf’s glory proclaimed; many often said that neither south nor north between the seas ver the whole vast earth, no other under the sky’s expanse was ne’re better 861 shield-bearer, of a worthier kingdom; nor, however, the friend and lord, did they blame at all, gracious Hrothgar, for he was a good king. At times the brave warriors let leap, in a contest raced fallow horses, 866 where to them the earth-roads seemed suitable, and known to be the best. At times the king’s thane, a man laden with fine speech, remembering songs, he who very many of ancient traditions recalled scores, found new words 71 bound in truth; the man then began Beowulf’s exploit skilfully to recite, and artfully utter an adept tale, varying his words; he spoke of almost everything that he of Sigmund had heard said, 876 of his deeds of glory: many uncanny things, the striving of Wael’s son, his great journeys; those things of which the childen of men by no means knew, feuds and feats of arms, only Fitela with him, then he of such matters was wont to speak of, 881 uncle to his nephew, as they always were in every conflict comrades in need; hey had a great many of the giantkind laid low with swords; [Sigmund’s Story] for Sigmund arose, after the day of his death, no little fame, 886 since the fierce warrior had quelled the great serpent, the keeper of a hoard; beneath the hoary grey stone he, the prince’s son, alone ventured a dangerous deed, Fitela was not with him; however it was granted him that the sword pierced 891 the wondrous wyrm, so that it stood fixed in the wall, the noble iron; the dragon perished in the slaughter; the fearsome one had ensured by courage hat he the ring-hoard might possess at his own chosing; he loaded the sea-boat, 896 bore in the bosom of his ship the gleaming treasures, Wael’s son –the wyrm in its heat melted– he was of adventurers the most widely famed among nations, the warriors’ protector, for deeds of valour –he had prospered by this– 901 since Heremod’s skirmishing had abated, affliction and spirit; he among the Etins was into enemy hands given up, quickly despatched; the surgings of sorrow him hindered too long; he to his people became, 06 to all of the nobels, a great mortal sorrow; moreover they often mourned, for in earlier times, the departure of the stouted-hearted king, many learned sages who to him for miseries’ remedy had trusted and believed that that prince’s son must prosper, 911 take up his father’s rank, rule the folk, their treasury and citadel, the heroes’ kingdom, homeland of the Scyldings; he by all became, the kinsman of Hygelac, by mankind, more esteemed; wickedness undid him. 916 Now and then racing, dusky streets n their mounts they traversed. Then was the morning light hurried and hastened; many retainers went determined to the high hall to see the strange wonder; the king himself too 921 from his wife’s bower, the ward of the ring-hoard, stepped out splendid with his great troop, famed for his excellence, and his queen with him, passed down the meadhall-path, accompanied by maidens. Hrothgar spoke –he went to the hall, 926 stood on the steps, observed the steep roof adorned with gold and Grendel’s hand–: For this sight Thanks to the All-Ruler be swiftly forthcoming! I have suffered many injuries, griefs from Grendel; God can always work 931 wonder after wonder, glory’s Keeper. It was not long past that I for me any for woes not hoped for the bredth of my life, to experience remedy when adorned with blood the most splendid house stood battle-gory: 936 woe widespread for each of the sages those who did not hope that in the span of their lives the nation’s fortress from foes they could protect, from shucks and shines; now a warrior has, hrough the Lord’s power, performed a deed 941 which we all before could not with schemes contrive; listen, that may say even so whichever woman as that begot this man, among mankind, if she yet lives, that to her the Old Measurer of Fate was gracious 946 in child-bearing. Now, I, Beowulf, you, the best of men, for me like a son would love in life; keep well henceforth this new kinship; there will not be any want of worldly wishes while I have power; 951 full oft I for less rewards have bestowed, honouring with treasure a humbler man, esser at fighting; you for yourself have by deeds ensured, that your fame lives for ever and ever; may the All-Ruler you 956 reward with good, as He has now yet done! ‘ Beowulf spoke, the son of Edgetheow: ‘We the courage-works with great pleasure, endeavoured to fight, boldly risked the strength of an unknown foe. I would rather 961 that you him himself might have seen, the fiend in his full gear wearied by death; I him quickly in hard clasp on the bed of slaughter thought to fetter, that he because of the hand-grip of mine must 66 lie struggling for life, lest his body slip away; I him could not, when the Measurer of Fate did not wish it, hinder departing; nor I so readily kept him close, that mortal foe; he was too overpowering, the fiend in departing; however, he left his hand 971 to save his life, remaining behind, arm and shoulder; not with it though any the worthless creature, relief purchased; not the longer does he live, the hateful spoiler, struck down by sins but him the wound has 976 with violent grip narrowly enclosed in baleful bonds, there he must await, he creature stained with crimes, the great judgement, how him the glorious Measure of Fate wishes to decree. ‘ Then the man was more silent, the son of Edgelaf, 981 in boast-speech of war-works when the noble men, by the strength of the prince over the high roof saw the hand, the fiend’s fingers; on the front of each was, in the place of each nail very much like steel 986 heathenish hand-spurs, the war-creature’s ungentle talon; everyone said that him no hard weapon would strike, pre-eminent iron, that of them (none) the demon’s bloody battle-hand would injure. 91 Then the order was promptly given the interior of Heorot to furnish by hands; many there were, of men and women, who the wine-hall, the guest-hall prepared; gold-glittering shone woven tapestries along the walls, many wondrous sights 996 for each of the men, who on such stared; that bright building was badly broken up all inside secure with iron-bands, hinges sprung open; the roof alone remained entirely sound, when the ogre, 1001 guilty of wicked deeds turned in flight, despairing of life. That is not easy to flee from –try he who will– ut he must gain by strife, those who have souls, compelled by necessity, the mens’ sons’, 1006 the ground-dwellers’ ready place, there his body, fast in his death-bed, sleeps after feasting. Then it was the time and occasion that to the hall went Half-Dane’s son; the king himself wished to partake of the feast; 1011 I have not heard when a tribe in a greater force around their treasure-giver comported themselves better; they then sank down on the bench, the fame-bearers, rejoicing at the feast; they graciously received many full goblets of mead, their kinsmen, 016 stout-hearted, in the high hall Hrothgar and Hrothulf the interior of Heorot was filled with friends; no treacherous-strokes the Folk-Scyldings made as yet. Then Beowulf was given the brand of Half-Dane, 1021 the golden banner in reward of victory, the adorned standard, helm and byrnie; the renowned treasure-sword many saw brought before the hero; Beowulf took the full flagon from the floor; of the reward-gift he did not, 1026 as payment, need to be ashamed; I have not heard that more graciously four treasures, adorned with gold, many men n ale-bench have given to others; around the helmet’s roof –the head-guard– 1031 was wound with wires the re-inforced crest guarded from without, that him what the files have left could not savagely, (could not) harm the wondrously-tempered (helm), when the shield-fighter against enemies had to go. The defender of earls then ordered eight horses, 1036 with decorated head-gear, led onto the hall-floor in under the ramparts; one of them stood, saddle skilfully adorned, ennobled with jewels; that was the battle-seat of the high king, hen in sword-play the son of Half-Dane 1041 wished to engage; in the vanguard it never failed his warskill well-known, when the slain were falling; and then to Beowulf both of the treasures the protector of the Friends of Ing bestowed possession, horses and weapons; he ordered him to make good use of (them); 1046 so in a manly manner the famed chieftain, the hoard-ward of heroes, paid for war-clashes in horses and treasures; thus, one can never find fault in them he who wishes to tell the truth according to what is right.
Then, furthermore, to each one of the earl’s company 1051 those with Beowulf travelled the sea-path, on the mead-bench he gave treasures, inherited relics, and the one man decreed to requite in gold whom Grendel first in wickedness quelled, as he would have more of them 1056 except for them wise God that fate had prevented, and this man’s courage. The Measure of Fate controlled all for mankind, as he now still does; therefore understanding is best everywhere, the forethought of mind; he must abide much 061 love and much hate he who long here in these days of strife would enjoy the world. There was song and sound at the same time all together before Half-Dane’s battle-plotter, the glee-wood plucked, a lay often recited 1066 when a hall-performance Hrothgar’s bard before the mead-bench was obliged to utter: concerning Finn’s heirs, with whom, when disaster struck them, the hero of Half-Danes, Hnaef the Scylding, on the Frisian battle-field was fated to fall. [The Finnsburg Episode] 071 Truly, Hildeburh did not have need to praise the good faith of the Eotens; she was guiltless, bereft of her dear ones: –in the war-play– her son and brother; they fell, in accorance with Fate, wounded by spear; that was a mournful woman. 1076 Not without reason did Hoc’s daughter grieve over Fate’s decree, when the morning came, then she under the sky could see the baleful slaughter of kinsmen, where before he had held the most joy in the world, war took all 1081 of Finn’s thanes, except a few alone, o that he could not in that meeting-place the clash with Hengest conclude at all, nor the woeful remnant by battle dislodge from their position, the prince’s thane, so they offered them settlement: 1086 that they for them the other dwelling would completely clear, hall and high seat, that they would half of it control with the Eotens’ sons might have, and at the giving of treasure Folcwalden’s son each day the Danes would honour, 1091 Hengest’s company would revere with rings, with even as much precious possesions f ornate gold exactly as he the Frisian kind in the beer-hall would wish to embolden. Then they pledged on both sides 1096 firm compact of peace; Finn to Hengest with incontestable earnestness proclaimed an oath that he the woeful remnant, by sages’ judgement, would hold in honour, that there any man by word nor by deed would not break the treaty, 1101 nor in malicious artifice ever complain, though they their ring-giver’s killer followed, leaderless, and were thus forced by necessity; f then any Frisian by audacious speech the murderous feud were to remind (them), 1106 then it by sword’s edge must be thereafter. The funeral fire was prepared, and Ingui’s gold, raised from the hoard; the War-Scyldings’ best battle-man was ready on the bier; at the funeral-pyre was easily seen 1111 the blood-stained mail-shirt, the swine all-golden, the boar hard as iron, the prince had many destroyed by wounds; great men had fallen in slaughter; then Hildeburh ordered at Hnaef’s pier er own sun committed to the fire, 1116 the body-vessel burned, and put on the bier, the wretched woman at his shoulder, the lady lamented, sorrowed with songs; the warrior was laid out, spiralled into the clouds the greatest fire of the slain roared before the mound; heads melted, 1121 the wound-gates burst open, then blood sprang out, from the hate-bites of the body; the blaze swallowed all up, –the greediest guest– those who there were taken by battle from both peoples; their vigour was dispersed.
The warriors returned then to seek their houses, 1126 bereft of friends, to see Frisia, their homes and high fort; yet Hengest the death-stained winter spent with Finn, in a place with no fellowship at all; he remembered his land, though he could not drive on the sea 1131 the ring-prowed ship: the sea welled in storm, fought against the wind; the winter locked the waves in icy bonds, until came another year to the courtyards, as it still does now, those which continuously carry out their seasons, 1136 gloriously bright weathers.
Then winter was gone, fair was the Earth’s breast; the exile was anxious to go, the guest of the dwellings; he of vengeance for grief sooner thought than of sea-path, and whether he a bitter encounter could bring about, 1141 for that he of the Eotens’ sons inwardly remembered; so he did not refuse the worldly practice, when to him Hunlafing the battle-light, the finest blade he placed on (Hnaef’s) lap; among the Eotens its edges were known. 1146 So too his mortal enemy’s –Finn in turn received– dire sword-onslaught in his own home, hen concerning the fierce attack Guthlaf and Oslaf, following their sea-journey, declared their grief, blamed for their share of woes; he could not his restless spirit 1151 contain in his breast; then the hall were decorated with the foes’ lives, so too Finn was slain, the king amid his troop, and the queen was seized; Scylding shooters ferried to the ships all of the house-goods of the nation’s king, 1156 which they at Finn’s estate could find: shining jewels and well-cut gems; they on the sea-path the noble lady ferried to the Danes, led to the people.
The lay was sung, the gleeman’s tale; joy again sprang up, 1161 music rang out from the bench, cup-bearers served wine from wondrous vessels. Then Wealhtheow came forth, walking in a golden neck-ring to where the good pair sat, uncle and nephew; then their kinship was still together, each to the other true; Unferth the talker was also there 1166 sitting at the feet of the Scylding lord; each of them trusted his spirit, and that he had great courage, though he to his kin was not honourable in clash of blades; the Scylding lady then spoke: ‘Receive this full cup, my noble lord, ispenser of treasure; you–be joyful, gold-friend of men, and to the Geats speak with gentle words so ought a man to do; 1173 be gracious with the Geats, mindful of gifts which from near and far you now have; it has been said to me that you wish for a son, to have this leader of armies; Heorot is cleansed, the bright ring-hall; enjoy, while you may, 1178 many rewards, and leave to your kinsmen folk and kingdom when you must go forth to meet what is fated; I know my racious Hrothulf, that he the youths wishes to hold in honour, if you earlier than he, 1183 friend of the Scyldings, leave behind the world, I think that he with good will repay our children, if he that at all remembers, what we for his sake and for his worldly renown, before, in his youth, bestowed our favours. ‘ 1188 She turned then by the bench, where her boys were, Hrethric and Hrothmund, and heroes’ sons, the young company all together; there sat the good Beowulf of the Geats by the two brothers.
The full cup was brought to him, and a friendly invitation 1193 proffered in words, and twisted gold kindly offered: two arm-ornaments, robe and rings, the largest necklace of those whic