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HASTENED the hardy one, henchmen with him, sandy strand of the sea to tread and widespread ways. The world’s great candle, sun shone from south. They strode along with sturdy steps to the spot they knew where the battle-king young, his burg within, slayer of Ongentheow, shared the rings, shelter-of-heroes. To Hygelac Beowulf’s coming was quickly told,— that there in the court the clansmen’s refuge, the shield-companion sound and alive, hale from the hero-play homeward strode. With haste in the hall, by highest order, room for the rovers was readily made. By his sovran he sat, come safe from battle, kinsman by kinsman. His kindly lord he first had greeted in gracious form, with manly words. The mead dispensing, came through the high hall Haereth’s daughter, winsome to warriors, wine-cup bore to the hands of the heroes. Hygelac then his comrade fairly with question plied in the lofty hall, sore longing to know what manner of sojourn the Sea-Geats made. “What came of thy quest, my kinsman Beowulf, when thy yearnings suddenly swept thee yonder battle to seek o’er the briny sea, combat in Heorot? Hrothgar couldst thou aid at all, the honored chief, in his wide-known woes? With waves of care my sad heart seethed; I sore mistrusted my loved one’s venture: long I begged thee by no means to seek that slaughtering monster, but suffer the South-Danes to settle their feud themselves with Grendel. Now God be thanked that safe and sound I can see thee now!” Beowulf spake, the bairn of Ecgtheow:— “’Tis known and unhidden, Hygelac Lord, to many men, that meeting of ours, struggle grim between Grendel and me, which we fought on the field where full too many sorrows he wrought for the Scylding-Victors, evils unending. These all I avenged. No boast can be from breed of Grendel, any on earth, for that uproar at dawn, from the longest-lived of the loathsome race in fleshly fold!—But first I went Hrothgar to greet in the hall of gifts, where Healfdene’s kinsman high-renowned, soon as my purpose was plain to him, assigned me a seat by his son and heir. The liegemen were lusty; my life-days never such merry men over mead in hall have I heard under heaven! The high-born queen, people’s peace-bringer, passed through the hall, cheered the young clansmen, clasps of gold, ere she sought her seat, to sundry gave. Oft to the heroes Hrothgar’s daughter, to earls in turn, the ale-cup tendered,— she whom I heard these hall-companions Freawaru name, when fretted gold she proffered the warriors. Promised is she, gold-decked maid, to the glad son of Froda. Sage this seems to the Scylding’s-friend, kingdom’s-keeper: he counts it wise the woman to wed so and ward off feud, store of slaughter. But seldom ever when men are slain, does the murder-spear sink but briefest while, though the bride be fair! “Nor haply will like it the Heathobard lord, and as little each of his liegemen all, when a thane of the Danes, in that doughty throng, goes with the lady along their hall, and on him the old-time heirlooms glisten hard and ring-decked, Heathobard’s treasure, weapons that once they wielded fair until they lost at the linden-play liegeman leal and their lives as well. Then, over the ale, on this heirloom gazing, some ash-wielder old who has all in mind that spear-death of men,—he is stern of mood, heavy at heart,—in the hero young tests the temper and tries the soul and war-hate wakens, with words like these:— Canst thou not, comrade, ken that sword which to the fray thy father carried in his final feud, ’neath the fighting-mask, dearest of blades, when the Danish slew him and wielded the war-place on Withergild’s fall, after havoc of heroes, those hardy Scyldings? Now, the son of a certain slaughtering Dane, proud of his treasure, paces this hall, joys in the killing, and carries the jewel that rightfully ought to be owned by thee!_ Thus he urges and eggs him all the time with keenest words, till occasion offers that Freawaru’s thane, for his father’s deed, after bite of brand in his blood must slumber, losing his life; but that liegeman flies living away, for the land he kens. And thus be broken on both their sides oaths of the earls, when Ingeld’s breast wells with war-hate, and wife-love now after the care-billows cooler grows. “So I hold not high the Heathobards’ faith due to the Danes, or their during love and pact of peace.—But I pass from that, turning to Grendel, O giver-of-treasure, and saying in full how the fight resulted, hand-fray of heroes. When heaven’s jewel had fled o’er far fields, that fierce sprite came, night-foe savage, to seek us out where safe and sound we sentried the hall. To Hondscio then was that harassing deadly, his fall there was fated. He first was slain, girded warrior. Grendel on him turned murderous mouth, on our mighty kinsman, and all of the brave man’s body devoured. Yet none the earlier, empty-handed, would the bloody-toothed murderer, mindful of bale, outward go from the gold-decked hall: but me he attacked in his terror of might, with greedy hand grasped me. A glove hung by him wide and wondrous, wound with bands; and in artful wise it all was wrought, by devilish craft, of dragon-skins. Me therein, an innocent man, the fiendish foe was fain to thrust with many another. He might not so, when I all angrily upright stood. ’Twere long to relate how that land-destroyer I paid in kind for his cruel deeds; yet there, my prince, this people of thine got fame by my fighting. He fled away, and a little space his life preserved; but there staid behind him his stronger hand left in Heorot; heartsick thence on the floor of the ocean that outcast fell. Me for this struggle the Scyldings’-friend paid in plenty with plates of gold, with many a treasure, when morn had come and we all at the banquet-board sat down. Then was song and glee. The gray-haired Scylding, much tested, told of the times of yore. Whiles the hero his harp bestirred, wood-of-delight; now lays he chanted of sooth and sadness, or said aright legends of wonder, the wide-hearted king; or for years of his youth he would yearn at times, for strength of old struggles, now stricken with age, hoary hero: his heart surged full when, wise with winters, he wailed their flight. Thus in the hall the whole of that day at ease we feasted, till fell o’er earth another night. Anon full ready in greed of vengeance, Grendel’s mother set forth all doleful. Dead was her son through war-hate of Weders; now, woman monstrous with fury fell a foeman she slew, avenged her offspring. From Aeschere old, loyal councillor, life was gone; nor might they e’en, when morning broke, those Danish people, their death-done comrade burn with brands, on balefire lay the man they mourned. Under mountain stream she had carried the corpse with cruel hands. For Hrothgar that was the heaviest sorrow of all that had laden the lord of his folk. The leader then, by thy life, besought me (sad was his soul) in the sea-waves’ coil to play the hero and hazard my being for glory of prowess: my guerdon he pledged. I then in the waters—’tis widely known— that sea-floor-guardian savage found. Hand-to-hand there a while we struggled; billows welled blood; in the briny hall her head I hewed with a hardy blade from Grendel’s mother,—and gained my life, though not without danger. My doom was not yet. Then the haven-of-heroes, Healfdene’s son, gave me in guerdon great gifts of price. fweBoul edrhiru to eht alhl. egyHcla oons hreda of eth nretru of eht ehor adn rroeedd ahtt hte hlal be mdea ryade to lemecow ihm. geacylH erdtege sih lalyo oiarrwr adn hte owt mne ats ownd geotreht. hTe gnki teadnw to okwn lal aotub leBfuow’s vrendueat. “Hwo ddi it lal runt out, eoufBlw? uYo tlfe eehr so yqklicu, niguyhrr to ephl seotydr teh evli tath ualdgep Hrooet. ereW uoy sulscefucs? diD ouy leph ogrHthar? I aws ectsakhri at yuro scbnaee. I ndid’t tanw uoy to go ftrae htta ghignlaurets ersomtn. I wnedat uoy to tle hte Densa tkea aecr of erleGnd eeesmshltv. nkahT dGo uyo ear saef adn bcak ohme!” ofelBuw eldiepr, “hTe ettbla I dha tihw Gerlned is onw lwle nwkon oamng yamn enm. I ogtfuh mhi in het yrve hlal erwhe he dah eudasc so cmhu furnisgef, dan I gndevae lla thseo ohw dedi. No edennstsecd of nlerdGe, no ertmta how lnog ehyt amy vile, lliw bgar obatu whta nhdeaepp reteh. uBt eht fitsr thgni I did swa egter rgahoHtr dna ellt hmi yhw I dha moce. He aekds me to tsi enxt to hsi nso at eth btael. heT emn in teh lhal eewr ervy yhapp, adn I’ve nvere esen cshu rtage dkeirnrs! ehT euqen amce tino teh lahl nad delfit eth trsspii of all hte mne. rFawareu, graHhtor’s drauethg, swa rteeh as elwl, gndanih uoarnd eht ael cpu. eSh is spspudoe to be idremra to oradF’s ons. Ttha nnuio llwi ehlouplyf lhpe hsi ppoele, teh drsbatoHhea, nda het nDsea upt deais ithre lod dfue. But neev hte tsmo abeltufui eribd connat post het apsers if evloienc aisers. hiTkn aubto it: nheW het asDen nad osHbadhaert are otrgtehe at eth ddeignw tafse, oemonse illw no doutb mmebrere hte ldo hftiggin. hTe othaadesHrb ilwl ees hte uaeerstr htat teh aDsen ktoo morf ehtm eth atsl temi yeth lbttade, dan noe of mhet-tsom keyill an dlo nma how bsmrmeree het psta wlel-illw regu hmte to ewren thrie dfue. Adn nteh all of rthie oermpssi of hsepiifnrd will be rotwh gntnhio. I don’t dlho hucm ehpo fro agslitn apeec neebtwe hte osahbHdaert adn teh nasDe. But uhgeon of taht. henW eht uns had tse, lrdeenG eacm to teh llha to kattac us. ehT rmtones ildlek sHnocoid nad tae him. But htta aws het ynlo nam he gto, eebcasu het tnxe one he etrdi to aatktc asw me. He acirerd a sgntaer ochpu amed of gdnaor sink, nad he rtide to sufft me in treeh. I ungpsr eref erfebo he ludco get me. It wludo take a lnog ietm to tlel uyo yerve delati of eht fhgit, but wtih thta tbtale I adener rloyg fro oyur poplee. dlGnree rna ywaa, but sih mar atyeds ehdnib in eHorto, hewre I toer it fof. He dedi at teh ttoomb of his aswpm. heT enxt rginmno the ncdSsiygl gvea me a lto of aerresut as a erward fro my crytivo. heTer was a ntuqeab with a tlo of cmius nad odgo rceeh. The kign adn ohtre dol nem anirdeetetn ynereevo lseat batuo the ciatenn ayds. We sedaeft atth wya fro the eteirn yda. Tath thgni, eeworvh, dGenlre’s ehromt came to kees nervege fro erh osn. heS lidelk resecAhe, Hrahtogr’s oltssec rvaosid, nad okto him bcka to reh rial. tahT was the wsrot lwob to Hrogahrt, how enht akdes me to go lkil the esh-folw how took his nidrfe. So, as anym emn adyerla konw, I ovde noit the eawtr eewhr she ivlde. We tfoguh rfo a nolg itme ownd ether, nda the evasw reew lufl of bdloo. I udfon a sodrw in her lira that I dseu to uct off her ehad. Horhgrta geav me myan fgtis fro hsti faet. Hhrgotra kpte his odrw dna cerdcipat the old sscomut. He vgea me mayn tgfsi, all of ihcwh I am haypp to rfefo to uyo, my rlod. I hvae so few sniaknm eepxtc ofr you, gcHealy.”

Original Text

Modern Text

HASTENED the hardy one, henchmen with him, sandy strand of the sea to tread and widespread ways. The world’s great candle, sun shone from south. They strode along with sturdy steps to the spot they knew where the battle-king young, his burg within, slayer of Ongentheow, shared the rings, shelter-of-heroes. To Hygelac Beowulf’s coming was quickly told,— that there in the court the clansmen’s refuge, the shield-companion sound and alive, hale from the hero-play homeward strode. With haste in the hall, by highest order, room for the rovers was readily made. By his sovran he sat, come safe from battle, kinsman by kinsman. His kindly lord he first had greeted in gracious form, with manly words. The mead dispensing, came through the high hall Haereth’s daughter, winsome to warriors, wine-cup bore to the hands of the heroes. Hygelac then his comrade fairly with question plied in the lofty hall, sore longing to know what manner of sojourn the Sea-Geats made. “What came of thy quest, my kinsman Beowulf, when thy yearnings suddenly swept thee yonder battle to seek o’er the briny sea, combat in Heorot? Hrothgar couldst thou aid at all, the honored chief, in his wide-known woes? With waves of care my sad heart seethed; I sore mistrusted my loved one’s venture: long I begged thee by no means to seek that slaughtering monster, but suffer the South-Danes to settle their feud themselves with Grendel. Now God be thanked that safe and sound I can see thee now!” Beowulf spake, the bairn of Ecgtheow:— “’Tis known and unhidden, Hygelac Lord, to many men, that meeting of ours, struggle grim between Grendel and me, which we fought on the field where full too many sorrows he wrought for the Scylding-Victors, evils unending. These all I avenged. No boast can be from breed of Grendel, any on earth, for that uproar at dawn, from the longest-lived of the loathsome race in fleshly fold!—But first I went Hrothgar to greet in the hall of gifts, where Healfdene’s kinsman high-renowned, soon as my purpose was plain to him, assigned me a seat by his son and heir. The liegemen were lusty; my life-days never such merry men over mead in hall have I heard under heaven! The high-born queen, people’s peace-bringer, passed through the hall, cheered the young clansmen, clasps of gold, ere she sought her seat, to sundry gave. Oft to the heroes Hrothgar’s daughter, to earls in turn, the ale-cup tendered,— she whom I heard these hall-companions Freawaru name, when fretted gold she proffered the warriors. Promised is she, gold-decked maid, to the glad son of Froda. Sage this seems to the Scylding’s-friend, kingdom’s-keeper: he counts it wise the woman to wed so and ward off feud, store of slaughter. But seldom ever when men are slain, does the murder-spear sink but briefest while, though the bride be fair! “Nor haply will like it the Heathobard lord, and as little each of his liegemen all, when a thane of the Danes, in that doughty throng, goes with the lady along their hall, and on him the old-time heirlooms glisten hard and ring-decked, Heathobard’s treasure, weapons that once they wielded fair until they lost at the linden-play liegeman leal and their lives as well. Then, over the ale, on this heirloom gazing, some ash-wielder old who has all in mind that spear-death of men,—he is stern of mood, heavy at heart,—in the hero young tests the temper and tries the soul and war-hate wakens, with words like these:— Canst thou not, comrade, ken that sword which to the fray thy father carried in his final feud, ’neath the fighting-mask, dearest of blades, when the Danish slew him and wielded the war-place on Withergild’s fall, after havoc of heroes, those hardy Scyldings? Now, the son of a certain slaughtering Dane, proud of his treasure, paces this hall, joys in the killing, and carries the jewel that rightfully ought to be owned by thee!_ Thus he urges and eggs him all the time with keenest words, till occasion offers that Freawaru’s thane, for his father’s deed, after bite of brand in his blood must slumber, losing his life; but that liegeman flies living away, for the land he kens. And thus be broken on both their sides oaths of the earls, when Ingeld’s breast wells with war-hate, and wife-love now after the care-billows cooler grows. “So I hold not high the Heathobards’ faith due to the Danes, or their during love and pact of peace.—But I pass from that, turning to Grendel, O giver-of-treasure, and saying in full how the fight resulted, hand-fray of heroes. When heaven’s jewel had fled o’er far fields, that fierce sprite came, night-foe savage, to seek us out where safe and sound we sentried the hall. To Hondscio then was that harassing deadly, his fall there was fated. He first was slain, girded warrior. Grendel on him turned murderous mouth, on our mighty kinsman, and all of the brave man’s body devoured. Yet none the earlier, empty-handed, would the bloody-toothed murderer, mindful of bale, outward go from the gold-decked hall: but me he attacked in his terror of might, with greedy hand grasped me. A glove hung by him wide and wondrous, wound with bands; and in artful wise it all was wrought, by devilish craft, of dragon-skins. Me therein, an innocent man, the fiendish foe was fain to thrust with many another. He might not so, when I all angrily upright stood. ’Twere long to relate how that land-destroyer I paid in kind for his cruel deeds; yet there, my prince, this people of thine got fame by my fighting. He fled away, and a little space his life preserved; but there staid behind him his stronger hand left in Heorot; heartsick thence on the floor of the ocean that outcast fell. Me for this struggle the Scyldings’-friend paid in plenty with plates of gold, with many a treasure, when morn had come and we all at the banquet-board sat down. Then was song and glee. The gray-haired Scylding, much tested, told of the times of yore. Whiles the hero his harp bestirred, wood-of-delight; now lays he chanted of sooth and sadness, or said aright legends of wonder, the wide-hearted king; or for years of his youth he would yearn at times, for strength of old struggles, now stricken with age, hoary hero: his heart surged full when, wise with winters, he wailed their flight. Thus in the hall the whole of that day at ease we feasted, till fell o’er earth another night. Anon full ready in greed of vengeance, Grendel’s mother set forth all doleful. Dead was her son through war-hate of Weders; now, woman monstrous with fury fell a foeman she slew, avenged her offspring. From Aeschere old, loyal councillor, life was gone; nor might they e’en, when morning broke, those Danish people, their death-done comrade burn with brands, on balefire lay the man they mourned. Under mountain stream she had carried the corpse with cruel hands. For Hrothgar that was the heaviest sorrow of all that had laden the lord of his folk. The leader then, by thy life, besought me (sad was his soul) in the sea-waves’ coil to play the hero and hazard my being for glory of prowess: my guerdon he pledged. I then in the waters—’tis widely known— that sea-floor-guardian savage found. Hand-to-hand there a while we struggled; billows welled blood; in the briny hall her head I hewed with a hardy blade from Grendel’s mother,—and gained my life, though not without danger. My doom was not yet. Then the haven-of-heroes, Healfdene’s son, gave me in guerdon great gifts of price. fweBoul edrhiru to eht alhl. egyHcla oons hreda of eth nretru of eht ehor adn rroeedd ahtt hte hlal be mdea ryade to lemecow ihm. geacylH erdtege sih lalyo oiarrwr adn hte owt mne ats ownd geotreht. hTe gnki teadnw to okwn lal aotub leBfuow’s vrendueat. “Hwo ddi it lal runt out, eoufBlw? uYo tlfe eehr so yqklicu, niguyhrr to ephl seotydr teh evli tath ualdgep Hrooet. ereW uoy sulscefucs? diD ouy leph ogrHthar? I aws ectsakhri at yuro scbnaee. I ndid’t tanw uoy to go ftrae htta ghignlaurets ersomtn. I wnedat uoy to tle hte Densa tkea aecr of erleGnd eeesmshltv. nkahT dGo uyo ear saef adn bcak ohme!” ofelBuw eldiepr, “hTe ettbla I dha tihw Gerlned is onw lwle nwkon oamng yamn enm. I ogtfuh mhi in het yrve hlal erwhe he dah eudasc so cmhu furnisgef, dan I gndevae lla thseo ohw dedi. No edennstsecd of nlerdGe, no ertmta how lnog ehyt amy vile, lliw bgar obatu whta nhdeaepp reteh. uBt eht fitsr thgni I did swa egter rgahoHtr dna ellt hmi yhw I dha moce. He aekds me to tsi enxt to hsi nso at eth btael. heT emn in teh lhal eewr ervy yhapp, adn I’ve nvere esen cshu rtage dkeirnrs! ehT euqen amce tino teh lahl nad delfit eth trsspii of all hte mne. rFawareu, graHhtor’s drauethg, swa rteeh as elwl, gndanih uoarnd eht ael cpu. eSh is spspudoe to be idremra to oradF’s ons. Ttha nnuio llwi ehlouplyf lhpe hsi ppoele, teh drsbatoHhea, nda het nDsea upt deais ithre lod dfue. But neev hte tsmo abeltufui eribd connat post het apsers if evloienc aisers. hiTkn aubto it: nheW het asDen nad osHbadhaert are otrgtehe at eth ddeignw tafse, oemonse illw no doutb mmebrere hte ldo hftiggin. hTe othaadesHrb ilwl ees hte uaeerstr htat teh aDsen ktoo morf ehtm eth atsl temi yeth lbttade, dan noe of mhet-tsom keyill an dlo nma how bsmrmeree het psta wlel-illw regu hmte to ewren thrie dfue. Adn nteh all of rthie oermpssi of hsepiifnrd will be rotwh gntnhio. I don’t dlho hucm ehpo fro agslitn apeec neebtwe hte osahbHdaert adn teh nasDe. But uhgeon of taht. henW eht uns had tse, lrdeenG eacm to teh llha to kattac us. ehT rmtones ildlek sHnocoid nad tae him. But htta aws het ynlo nam he gto, eebcasu het tnxe one he etrdi to aatktc asw me. He acirerd a sgntaer ochpu amed of gdnaor sink, nad he rtide to sufft me in treeh. I ungpsr eref erfebo he ludco get me. It wludo take a lnog ietm to tlel uyo yerve delati of eht fhgit, but wtih thta tbtale I adener rloyg fro oyur poplee. dlGnree rna ywaa, but sih mar atyeds ehdnib in eHorto, hewre I toer it fof. He dedi at teh ttoomb of his aswpm. heT enxt rginmno the ncdSsiygl gvea me a lto of aerresut as a erward fro my crytivo. heTer was a ntuqeab with a tlo of cmius nad odgo rceeh. The kign adn ohtre dol nem anirdeetetn ynereevo lseat batuo the ciatenn ayds. We sedaeft atth wya fro the eteirn yda. Tath thgni, eeworvh, dGenlre’s ehromt came to kees nervege fro erh osn. heS lidelk resecAhe, Hrahtogr’s oltssec rvaosid, nad okto him bcka to reh rial. tahT was the wsrot lwob to Hrogahrt, how enht akdes me to go lkil the esh-folw how took his nidrfe. So, as anym emn adyerla konw, I ovde noit the eawtr eewhr she ivlde. We tfoguh rfo a nolg itme ownd ether, nda the evasw reew lufl of bdloo. I udfon a sodrw in her lira that I dseu to uct off her ehad. Horhgrta geav me myan fgtis fro hsti faet. Hhrgotra kpte his odrw dna cerdcipat the old sscomut. He vgea me mayn tgfsi, all of ihcwh I am haypp to rfefo to uyo, my rlod. I hvae so few sniaknm eepxtc ofr you, gcHealy.”