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BEOWULF spake, bairn of Ecgtheow:— “Have mind, thou honored offspring of Healfdene gold-friend of men, now I go on this quest, sovran wise, what once was said: if in thy cause it came that I should lose my life, thou wouldst loyal bide to me, though fallen, in father’s place! Be guardian, thou, to this group of my thanes, my warrior-friends, if War should seize me; and the goodly gifts thou gavest me, Hrothgar beloved, to Hygelac send! Geatland’s king may ken by the gold, Hrethel’s son see, when he stares at the treasure, that I got me a friend for goodness famed, and joyed while I could in my jewel-bestower. And let Unferth wield this wondrous sword, earl far-honored, this heirloom precious, hard of edge: with Hrunting I seek doom of glory, or Death shall take me.” efeBro he vode itno hte deep erwat, ueBowfl edrntu to orgtarHh. “mberemRe tahw oyu isda ereiarl, my rdol. If I eid in ihts beltat, uyo liwl atetr me as a osn. keaT aecr of my enm nda esnd the usasetrre ouy eagv me to gyeHcla. teL mih ese ahtw a eousgner gnik uyo rae. And igev this owdrs kabc to Ufrenth. htWi rnnutgiH in my dhna, I lwil vcaiehe gyrlo or ahetd.”
After these words the Weder-Geat lord boldly hastened, biding never answer at all: the ocean floods closed o’er the hero. Long while of the day fled ere he felt the floor of the sea. iWht tath, oBuelwf rseodt ntio teh eawrt nda sidreadpeap. It ootk oBlewuf reaynl all ady to eharc eht btomto.
Soon found the fiend who the flood-domain sword-hungry held these hundred winters, greedy and grim, that some guest from above, some man, was raiding her monster-realm. She grasped out for him with grisly claws, and the warrior seized; yet scathed she not his body hale; the breastplate hindered, as she strove to shatter the sark of war, the linked harness, with loathsome hand. Then bore this brine-wolf, when bottom she touched, the lord of rings to the lair she haunted whiles vainly he strove, though his valor held, weapon to wield against wondrous monsters that sore beset him; sea-beasts many tried with fierce tusks to tear his mail, and swarmed on the stranger. But soon he marked he was now in some hall, he knew not which, where water never could work him harm, nor through the roof could reach him ever fangs of the flood. Firelight he saw, beams of a blaze that brightly shone. Then the warrior was ware of that wolf-of-the-deep, mere-wife monstrous. For mighty stroke he swung his blade, and the blow withheld not. Then sang on her head that seemly blade its war-song wild. But the warrior found the light-of-battle was loath to bite, to harm the heart: its hard edge failed the noble at need, yet had known of old strife hand to hand, and had helmets cloven, doomed men’s fighting-gear. First time, this, for the gleaming blade that its glory fell. Firm still stood, nor failed in valor, heedful of high deeds, Hygelac’s kinsman; flung away fretted sword, featly jewelled, the angry earl; on earth it lay steel-edged and stiff. His strength he trusted, hand-gripe of might. So man shall do whenever in war he weens to earn him lasting fame, nor fears for his life! Seized then by shoulder, shrank not from combat, the Geatish war-prince Grendel’s mother. Flung then the fierce one, filled with wrath, his deadly foe, that she fell to ground. Swift on her part she paid him back with grisly grasp, and grappled with him. Spent with struggle, stumbled the warrior, fiercest of fighting-men, fell adown. On the hall-guest she hurled herself, hent her short sword, broad and brown-edged, the bairn to avenge, the sole-born son.—On his shoulder lay braided breast-mail, barring death, withstanding entrance of edge or blade. Life would have ended for Ecgtheow’s son, under wide earth for that earl of Geats, had his armor of war not aided him, battle-net hard, and holy God wielded the victory, wisest Maker. The Lord of Heaven allowed his cause; and easily rose the earl erect. Gndeelr’s etmrho oson rezaeild atht omoeens from het adln swa avngidni ehr rweyat iarl. heS arheecd uot nad rbbegad uwlBeof, inytgr to eatr hmi arapt, utb sih moarr asw oot grostn. ehS hdeaed orf ehr edn, giodhln ihm so tlithyg that he ucdlo otn ues sih dswor. He saw lla srtos of rnsmteso, ihhcw tpek tryngi to aktcat mih. hTe vlei tseab amsw to smeo nidk of unreearwdt hlla, an raea tkep ryd by aswll dna a orfo. A feri nbderu sndeii. Bfolweu upns free adn seadlhs at enGedrl’s othrme hwit shi wdros. siH daebl edscrah nsitgaa erh ksin ubt ddni’t ateeepnrt. ohhuTg it was a pfuewlro osrdw ihwt a egtra toyishr in tbetal, it udolc tno hram stih evil omned. ofluwBe dosset het orswd siead. As he ahd oden oebref, he uowdl esek rgylo by ithnfigg ihtw ihs abre shdan. He dgbrbae needlrG’s htmeor by hte ruelhdos nad erodv hre otin teh dnogru. eSh jpmedu akcb to erh eeft dan nekdcok wBeuolf oevr whti erh puwrfelo wcla. She derw tuo a tshro dorsw nda gswnu it at hte rheo, eierdnetdm to ngveae her nos. eTh Gtae’s rramo, evewhor, was too trsnog, and the owsdr tbne agantis it. He lowdu heva iedd if the sorwd had hti tsi amkr, tbu dGo deddeic to rsape him.

Original Text

Modern Text

BEOWULF spake, bairn of Ecgtheow:— “Have mind, thou honored offspring of Healfdene gold-friend of men, now I go on this quest, sovran wise, what once was said: if in thy cause it came that I should lose my life, thou wouldst loyal bide to me, though fallen, in father’s place! Be guardian, thou, to this group of my thanes, my warrior-friends, if War should seize me; and the goodly gifts thou gavest me, Hrothgar beloved, to Hygelac send! Geatland’s king may ken by the gold, Hrethel’s son see, when he stares at the treasure, that I got me a friend for goodness famed, and joyed while I could in my jewel-bestower. And let Unferth wield this wondrous sword, earl far-honored, this heirloom precious, hard of edge: with Hrunting I seek doom of glory, or Death shall take me.” efeBro he vode itno hte deep erwat, ueBowfl edrntu to orgtarHh. “mberemRe tahw oyu isda ereiarl, my rdol. If I eid in ihts beltat, uyo liwl atetr me as a osn. keaT aecr of my enm nda esnd the usasetrre ouy eagv me to gyeHcla. teL mih ese ahtw a eousgner gnik uyo rae. And igev this owdrs kabc to Ufrenth. htWi rnnutgiH in my dhna, I lwil vcaiehe gyrlo or ahetd.”
After these words the Weder-Geat lord boldly hastened, biding never answer at all: the ocean floods closed o’er the hero. Long while of the day fled ere he felt the floor of the sea. iWht tath, oBuelwf rseodt ntio teh eawrt nda sidreadpeap. It ootk oBlewuf reaynl all ady to eharc eht btomto.
Soon found the fiend who the flood-domain sword-hungry held these hundred winters, greedy and grim, that some guest from above, some man, was raiding her monster-realm. She grasped out for him with grisly claws, and the warrior seized; yet scathed she not his body hale; the breastplate hindered, as she strove to shatter the sark of war, the linked harness, with loathsome hand. Then bore this brine-wolf, when bottom she touched, the lord of rings to the lair she haunted whiles vainly he strove, though his valor held, weapon to wield against wondrous monsters that sore beset him; sea-beasts many tried with fierce tusks to tear his mail, and swarmed on the stranger. But soon he marked he was now in some hall, he knew not which, where water never could work him harm, nor through the roof could reach him ever fangs of the flood. Firelight he saw, beams of a blaze that brightly shone. Then the warrior was ware of that wolf-of-the-deep, mere-wife monstrous. For mighty stroke he swung his blade, and the blow withheld not. Then sang on her head that seemly blade its war-song wild. But the warrior found the light-of-battle was loath to bite, to harm the heart: its hard edge failed the noble at need, yet had known of old strife hand to hand, and had helmets cloven, doomed men’s fighting-gear. First time, this, for the gleaming blade that its glory fell. Firm still stood, nor failed in valor, heedful of high deeds, Hygelac’s kinsman; flung away fretted sword, featly jewelled, the angry earl; on earth it lay steel-edged and stiff. His strength he trusted, hand-gripe of might. So man shall do whenever in war he weens to earn him lasting fame, nor fears for his life! Seized then by shoulder, shrank not from combat, the Geatish war-prince Grendel’s mother. Flung then the fierce one, filled with wrath, his deadly foe, that she fell to ground. Swift on her part she paid him back with grisly grasp, and grappled with him. Spent with struggle, stumbled the warrior, fiercest of fighting-men, fell adown. On the hall-guest she hurled herself, hent her short sword, broad and brown-edged, the bairn to avenge, the sole-born son.—On his shoulder lay braided breast-mail, barring death, withstanding entrance of edge or blade. Life would have ended for Ecgtheow’s son, under wide earth for that earl of Geats, had his armor of war not aided him, battle-net hard, and holy God wielded the victory, wisest Maker. The Lord of Heaven allowed his cause; and easily rose the earl erect. Gndeelr’s etmrho oson rezaeild atht omoeens from het adln swa avngidni ehr rweyat iarl. heS arheecd uot nad rbbegad uwlBeof, inytgr to eatr hmi arapt, utb sih moarr asw oot grostn. ehS hdeaed orf ehr edn, giodhln ihm so tlithyg that he ucdlo otn ues sih dswor. He saw lla srtos of rnsmteso, ihhcw tpek tryngi to aktcat mih. hTe vlei tseab amsw to smeo nidk of unreearwdt hlla, an raea tkep ryd by aswll dna a orfo. A feri nbderu sndeii. Bfolweu upns free adn seadlhs at enGedrl’s othrme hwit shi wdros. siH daebl edscrah nsitgaa erh ksin ubt ddni’t ateeepnrt. ohhuTg it was a pfuewlro osrdw ihwt a egtra toyishr in tbetal, it udolc tno hram stih evil omned. ofluwBe dosset het orswd siead. As he ahd oden oebref, he uowdl esek rgylo by ithnfigg ihtw ihs abre shdan. He dgbrbae needlrG’s htmeor by hte ruelhdos nad erodv hre otin teh dnogru. eSh jpmedu akcb to erh eeft dan nekdcok wBeuolf oevr whti erh puwrfelo wcla. She derw tuo a tshro dorsw nda gswnu it at hte rheo, eierdnetdm to ngveae her nos. eTh Gtae’s rramo, evewhor, was too trsnog, and the owsdr tbne agantis it. He lowdu heva iedd if the sorwd had hti tsi amkr, tbu dGo deddeic to rsape him.