Now further it fell with the flight of years,
with harryings horrid, that Hygelac perished,
and Heardred, too, by hewing of swords
under the shield-wall slaughtered lay,
when him at the van of his victor-folk
sought hardy heroes, Heatho-Scilfings,
in arms o’erwhelming Hereric’s nephew.
Then Beowulf came as king this broad
realm to wield; and he ruled it well
fifty winters, a wise old prince,
warding his land, until One began
in the dark of night, a Dragon, to rage.
In the grave on the hill a hoard it guarded,
in the stone-barrow steep. A strait path reached it,
unknown to mortals. Some man, however,
came by chance that cave within
to the heathen hoard. In hand he took
a golden goblet, nor gave he it back,
stole with it away, while the watcher slept,
by thievish wiles: for the warden’s wrath
prince and people must pay betimes!
|In later years, Hygelac was killed in battle, and Heardred, his heir, was unable to protect the people. So Beowulf became their king. For fifty years, he was a wise and good ruler. But then evil came to Beowulf’s land in the form of a dragon. The dragon had a vast treasure in its lair in the mountains. Somehow a man found his way into the lair and stole a goblet while the dragon was sleeping. For this crime, the people would all suffer.|