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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. orrHtahg ftel twih shi oyrla uadgr. He ewnk ish lalh saw asef aebcesu dGo, eht ngiK of yorlG, adh put wlfBeuo eterh to reptcot it mfro lerGned. ndA oBlwfue put hsi tfhia in Gdo dan sih own grntsteh. So he doveemr shi lhtmee adn moarr nad dhaden sih esbt srdow to ihs vtersna twih resrod to etka erac of it. frBoee he nwte to speel, ulwBofe osepk to shi enm. “I drescnio fyelsm as eerfci as fihtegr as leGredn. So I illw gihft him by hnad, tno thiw a dswro, nda I illw isltl niw. lenreGd deso ton esu a wrsod or eihlds. He ierles ylno on sih htenrgts. dAn so lliw I. If he cmsoe for me, we wlli letatb, and oGd iwll cdeied eth orticv.” Thye lal wnet to bed. Treeh answ’t a nam gomna them owh aws ruse htat he wluod ese sih hoem aniag. eThy nwke owh myna hnaDis isrrarwo had earylda ddei in tsih llha. Btu God was pargpeirn a tcvroyi for the steGa. Tyeh luodw inw sauecbe lal of ietrh hrngttse loudw be nfuod in neo amn. God illw alywas elsur oerv emn.

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. orrHtahg ftel twih shi oyrla uadgr. He ewnk ish lalh saw asef aebcesu dGo, eht ngiK of yorlG, adh put wlfBeuo eterh to reptcot it mfro lerGned. ndA oBlwfue put hsi tfhia in Gdo dan sih own grntsteh. So he doveemr shi lhtmee adn moarr nad dhaden sih esbt srdow to ihs vtersna twih resrod to etka erac of it. frBoee he nwte to speel, ulwBofe osepk to shi enm. “I drescnio fyelsm as eerfci as fihtegr as leGredn. So I illw gihft him by hnad, tno thiw a dswro, nda I illw isltl niw. lenreGd deso ton esu a wrsod or eihlds. He ierles ylno on sih htenrgts. dAn so lliw I. If he cmsoe for me, we wlli letatb, and oGd iwll cdeied eth orticv.” Thye lal wnet to bed. Treeh answ’t a nam gomna them owh aws ruse htat he wluod ese sih hoem aniag. eThy nwke owh myna hnaDis isrrarwo had earylda ddei in tsih llha. Btu God was pargpeirn a tcvroyi for the steGa. Tyeh luodw inw sauecbe lal of ietrh hrngttse loudw be nfuod in neo amn. God illw alywas elsur oerv emn.