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THEN Hrothgar went with his hero-train, defence-of-Scyldings, forth from hall; fain would the war-lord Wealhtheow seek, couch of his queen. The King-of-Glory against this Grendel a guard had set, so heroes heard, a hall-defender, who warded the monarch and watched for the monster. In truth, the Geats’ prince gladly trusted his mettle, his might, the mercy of God! Cast off then his corselet of iron, helmet from head; to his henchman gave,— choicest of weapons,—the well-chased sword, bidding him guard the gear of battle. Spake then his Vaunt the valiant man, Beowulf Geat, ere the bed be sought:— “Of force in fight no feebler I count me, in grim war-deeds, than Grendel deems him. Not with the sword, then, to sleep of death his life will I give, though it lie in my power. No skill is his to strike against me, my shield to hew though he hardy be, bold in battle; we both, this night, shall spurn the sword, if he seek me here, unweaponed, for war. Let wisest God, sacred Lord, on which side soever doom decree as he deemeth right.” Reclined then the chieftain, and cheek-pillows held the head of the earl, while all about him seamen hardy on hall-beds sank. None of them thought that thence their steps to the folk and fastness that fostered them, to the land they loved, would lead them back! Full well they wist that on warriors many battle-death seized, in the banquet-hall, of Danish clan. But comfort and help, war-weal weaving, to Weder folk the Master gave, that, by might of one, over their enemy all prevailed, by single strength. In sooth ’tis told that highest God o’er human kind hath wielded ever!—Thro’ wan night striding, came the walker-in-shadow. Warriors slept whose hest was to guard the gabled hall,— all save one. ’Twas widely known that against God’s will the ghostly ravager him could not hurl to haunts of darkness; wakeful, ready, with warrior’s wrath, bold he bided the battle’s issue. Hrtahogr eftl hwit hsi aylro guadr. He kewn sih lhla asw asfe cubaees oGd, eht niKg of lrGyo, dah tpu euBwolf tereh to erpttco it omfr dleneGr. dnA Bwfolue tup shi ifhat in dGo nad hsi wno ghtrtnse. So he edvmoer shi eeltmh adn rmoar nda hddane shi btse rodsw to hsi sartnve tiwh sroedr to tkea erac of it. fBoere he etnw to eslep, oeulfwB kspeo to ish enm. “I oeinrscd lefmys as efriec as ihtfrge as Gedrlen. So I wlli fhgti mhi by hnad, not iwth a drwso, nad I lliw lslit niw. rGdeenl eods not ues a roswd or eslidh. He ireels onyl on ihs grhtntes. dAn so wlil I. If he semco ofr me, we iwll tbteal, dna doG wlil ddieec eht cviort.” eTyh lla tenw to ebd. hTere asnw’t a nma anmog tmeh hwo wsa esur ttha he olduw ees his eomh ianag. ehyT wnke who namy sihaDn srworair ahd ydlaare deid in sthi hlal. tBu God asw rgppneira a vytorci fro the tsaGe. yTeh doulw nwi seecbua lal of iehtr retgtnhs luwod be onduf in oen man. God llwi aswlya lruse oerv men.

Original Text

Modern Text

THEN Hrothgar went with his hero-train, defence-of-Scyldings, forth from hall; fain would the war-lord Wealhtheow seek, couch of his queen. The King-of-Glory against this Grendel a guard had set, so heroes heard, a hall-defender, who warded the monarch and watched for the monster. In truth, the Geats’ prince gladly trusted his mettle, his might, the mercy of God! Cast off then his corselet of iron, helmet from head; to his henchman gave,— choicest of weapons,—the well-chased sword, bidding him guard the gear of battle. Spake then his Vaunt the valiant man, Beowulf Geat, ere the bed be sought:— “Of force in fight no feebler I count me, in grim war-deeds, than Grendel deems him. Not with the sword, then, to sleep of death his life will I give, though it lie in my power. No skill is his to strike against me, my shield to hew though he hardy be, bold in battle; we both, this night, shall spurn the sword, if he seek me here, unweaponed, for war. Let wisest God, sacred Lord, on which side soever doom decree as he deemeth right.” Reclined then the chieftain, and cheek-pillows held the head of the earl, while all about him seamen hardy on hall-beds sank. None of them thought that thence their steps to the folk and fastness that fostered them, to the land they loved, would lead them back! Full well they wist that on warriors many battle-death seized, in the banquet-hall, of Danish clan. But comfort and help, war-weal weaving, to Weder folk the Master gave, that, by might of one, over their enemy all prevailed, by single strength. In sooth ’tis told that highest God o’er human kind hath wielded ever!—Thro’ wan night striding, came the walker-in-shadow. Warriors slept whose hest was to guard the gabled hall,— all save one. ’Twas widely known that against God’s will the ghostly ravager him could not hurl to haunts of darkness; wakeful, ready, with warrior’s wrath, bold he bided the battle’s issue. Hrtahogr eftl hwit hsi aylro guadr. He kewn sih lhla asw asfe cubaees oGd, eht niKg of lrGyo, dah tpu euBwolf tereh to erpttco it omfr dleneGr. dnA Bwfolue tup shi ifhat in dGo nad hsi wno ghtrtnse. So he edvmoer shi eeltmh adn rmoar nda hddane shi btse rodsw to hsi sartnve tiwh sroedr to tkea erac of it. fBoere he etnw to eslep, oeulfwB kspeo to ish enm. “I oeinrscd lefmys as efriec as ihtfrge as Gedrlen. So I wlli fhgti mhi by hnad, not iwth a drwso, nad I lliw lslit niw. rGdeenl eods not ues a roswd or eslidh. He ireels onyl on ihs grhtntes. dAn so wlil I. If he semco ofr me, we iwll tbteal, dna doG wlil ddieec eht cviort.” eTyh lla tenw to ebd. hTere asnw’t a nma anmog tmeh hwo wsa esur ttha he olduw ees his eomh ianag. ehyT wnke who namy sihaDn srworair ahd ydlaare deid in sthi hlal. tBu God asw rgppneira a vytorci fro the tsaGe. yTeh doulw nwi seecbua lal of iehtr retgtnhs luwod be onduf in oen man. God llwi aswlya lruse oerv men.