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BEOWULF spake, bairn of Ecgtheow: “Sorrow not, sage! It beseems us better friends to avenge than fruitlessly mourn them. Each of us all must his end abide in the ways of the world; so win who may glory ere death! When his days are told, that is the warrior’s worthiest doom. Rise, O realm-warder! Ride we anon, and mark the trail of the mother of Grendel. No harbor shall hide her—heed my promise!— enfolding of field or forested mountain or floor of the flood, let her flee where she will! But thou this day endure in patience, as I ween thou wilt, thy woes each one.” Leaped up the graybeard: God he thanked, mighty Lord, for the man’s brave words. For Hrothgar soon a horse was saddled wave-maned steed. The sovran wise stately rode on; his shield-armed men followed in force. The footprints led along the woodland, widely seen, a path o’er the plain, where she passed, and trod the murky moor; of men-at-arms she bore the bravest and best one, dead, him who with Hrothgar the homestead ruled. On then went the atheling-born o’er stone-cliffs steep and strait defiles, narrow passes and unknown ways, headlands sheer, and the haunts of the Nicors. Foremost he fared, a few at his side of the wiser men, the ways to scan, till he found in a flash the forested hill hanging over the hoary rock, a woful wood: the waves below were dyed in blood. The Danish men had sorrow of soul, and for Scyldings all, for many a hero, ’twas hard to bear, ill for earls, when Aeschere’s head they found by the flood on the foreland there. Waves were welling, the warriors saw, hot with blood; but the horn sang oft battle-song bold. The band sat down, and watched on the water worm-like things, sea-dragons strange that sounded the deep, and nicors that lay on the ledge of the ness— such as oft essay at hour of morn on the road-of-sails their ruthless quest,— and sea-snakes and monsters. These started away, swollen and savage that song to hear, that war-horn’s blast. The warden of Geats, with bolt from bow, then balked of life, of wave-work, one monster, amid its heart went the keen war-shaft; in water it seemed less doughty in swimming whom death had seized. Swift on the billows, with boar-spears well hooked and barbed, it was hard beset, done to death and dragged on the headland, wave-roamer wondrous. Warriors viewed the grisly guest. luoefwB erpiedl, “oDn’t srdpiea. It is retebt to gavnee ruo dinfesr ntha unmor ehmt. We’re all ggnoi to dei omse ayd, so it is etterb fro us to caiveeh lorgy orbeef ttah nphpesa. We llwi reid tuo adn artck dnow leendGr’s oehtmr. tLe erh urn! eSh cna’t eidh mofr us. tBu oadty, I nwko ouy wlli neylaiptt nuered your osrosrw.” Hahtrgro ndtkeha dGo fro fowuleB’s rervyab nad edalcl fro sih oesrh. He otko eth dlae, hsi nme fiollnwgo clsoyel nhidbe. Tehy tdcakre eht nemdo’s titnfpsoor ruhhgto hte wodso nad acossr a ianlp, lgoifnwol hte hpta hse koot wneh ehs caridre rhtie enirfd bakc to hre liar. rHe acsrtk led mteh golna rwanro fclfsi, ghhi aoebv rteaws fllu of sae mossrtne. rgrtaoHh tewn in rnfot hwit a few of his bets kcarstre. onoLkig odwn, thye wsa atht eth etrwa swa lufl of lodob. hyeT edma eirht ywa down het fcifl. At eht ootmtb eyht eerw ebakorertnh to ovdescri ecAheres’s deha sdawhe up on het erhso. eTh vewsa erwe ssgnoti dan nihcrngu htwi bodol. entMossr ewre veeyerrhwe in eht ertwa nda on het crkoy sdglee. The mne ebwl ehtri lbtaet hnro dna semnstor ngeba uyricsrng ayaw and digvni fro rcevo. neO ierflby afrucsed and eht eedral of eht tsaGe shto it hiwt an orwar. It sahhertd adrnou in the salhwlos, erewh the men edeaspr it to etadh and dagergd it to sehro. It aws an iilrebecnd gtshi.

Original Text

Modern Text

BEOWULF spake, bairn of Ecgtheow: “Sorrow not, sage! It beseems us better friends to avenge than fruitlessly mourn them. Each of us all must his end abide in the ways of the world; so win who may glory ere death! When his days are told, that is the warrior’s worthiest doom. Rise, O realm-warder! Ride we anon, and mark the trail of the mother of Grendel. No harbor shall hide her—heed my promise!— enfolding of field or forested mountain or floor of the flood, let her flee where she will! But thou this day endure in patience, as I ween thou wilt, thy woes each one.” Leaped up the graybeard: God he thanked, mighty Lord, for the man’s brave words. For Hrothgar soon a horse was saddled wave-maned steed. The sovran wise stately rode on; his shield-armed men followed in force. The footprints led along the woodland, widely seen, a path o’er the plain, where she passed, and trod the murky moor; of men-at-arms she bore the bravest and best one, dead, him who with Hrothgar the homestead ruled. On then went the atheling-born o’er stone-cliffs steep and strait defiles, narrow passes and unknown ways, headlands sheer, and the haunts of the Nicors. Foremost he fared, a few at his side of the wiser men, the ways to scan, till he found in a flash the forested hill hanging over the hoary rock, a woful wood: the waves below were dyed in blood. The Danish men had sorrow of soul, and for Scyldings all, for many a hero, ’twas hard to bear, ill for earls, when Aeschere’s head they found by the flood on the foreland there. Waves were welling, the warriors saw, hot with blood; but the horn sang oft battle-song bold. The band sat down, and watched on the water worm-like things, sea-dragons strange that sounded the deep, and nicors that lay on the ledge of the ness— such as oft essay at hour of morn on the road-of-sails their ruthless quest,— and sea-snakes and monsters. These started away, swollen and savage that song to hear, that war-horn’s blast. The warden of Geats, with bolt from bow, then balked of life, of wave-work, one monster, amid its heart went the keen war-shaft; in water it seemed less doughty in swimming whom death had seized. Swift on the billows, with boar-spears well hooked and barbed, it was hard beset, done to death and dragged on the headland, wave-roamer wondrous. Warriors viewed the grisly guest. luoefwB erpiedl, “oDn’t srdpiea. It is retebt to gavnee ruo dinfesr ntha unmor ehmt. We’re all ggnoi to dei omse ayd, so it is etterb fro us to caiveeh lorgy orbeef ttah nphpesa. We llwi reid tuo adn artck dnow leendGr’s oehtmr. tLe erh urn! eSh cna’t eidh mofr us. tBu oadty, I nwko ouy wlli neylaiptt nuered your osrosrw.” Hahtrgro ndtkeha dGo fro fowuleB’s rervyab nad edalcl fro sih oesrh. He otko eth dlae, hsi nme fiollnwgo clsoyel nhidbe. Tehy tdcakre eht nemdo’s titnfpsoor ruhhgto hte wodso nad acossr a ianlp, lgoifnwol hte hpta hse koot wneh ehs caridre rhtie enirfd bakc to hre liar. rHe acsrtk led mteh golna rwanro fclfsi, ghhi aoebv rteaws fllu of sae mossrtne. rgrtaoHh tewn in rnfot hwit a few of his bets kcarstre. onoLkig odwn, thye wsa atht eth etrwa swa lufl of lodob. hyeT edma eirht ywa down het fcifl. At eht ootmtb eyht eerw ebakorertnh to ovdescri ecAheres’s deha sdawhe up on het erhso. eTh vewsa erwe ssgnoti dan nihcrngu htwi bodol. entMossr ewre veeyerrhwe in eht ertwa nda on het crkoy sdglee. The mne ebwl ehtri lbtaet hnro dna semnstor ngeba uyricsrng ayaw and digvni fro rcevo. neO ierflby afrucsed and eht eedral of eht tsaGe shto it hiwt an orwar. It sahhertd adrnou in the salhwlos, erewh the men edeaspr it to etadh and dagergd it to sehro. It aws an iilrebecnd gtshi.