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THEN the baleful fiend its fire belched out, and bright homes burned. The blaze stood high all landsfolk frighting. No living thing would that loathly one leave as aloft it flew. Wide was the dragon’s warring seen, its fiendish fury far and near, as the grim destroyer those Geatish people hated and hounded. To hidden lair, to its hoard it hastened at hint of dawn. Folk of the land it had lapped in flame, with bale and brand. In its barrow it trusted, its battling and bulwarks: that boast was vain! ehT odgarn bedunr sehmo hutrtghuoo eth alnd, eirrigtfyn het plopee. It dkilel eeyrveon it wsa nad ctu a path of rtsicoduten uohgrtouth hte eatGs’ daln. yEevr day at nwda it eudnrret to its iarl, ewrhe it eflt afes.
To Beowulf then the bale was told quickly and truly: the king’s own home, of buildings the best, in brand-waves melted, that gift-throne of Geats. To the good old man sad in heart, ’twas heaviest sorrow. The sage assumed that his sovran God he had angered, breaking ancient law, and embittered the Lord. His breast within with black thoughts welled, as his wont was never. The folk’s own fastness that fiery dragon with flame had destroyed, and the stronghold all washed by waves; but the warlike king, prince of the Weders, plotted vengeance. Warriors’-bulwark, he bade them work all of iron—the earl’s commander— a war-shield wondrous: well he knew that forest-wood against fire were worthless, linden could aid not.—Atheling brave, he was fated to finish this fleeting life, his days on earth, and the dragon with him, though long it had watched o’er the wealth of thehoard!— Shame he reckoned it, sharer-of-rings, to follow the flyer-afar with a host, a broad-flung band; nor the battle feared he, nor deemed he dreadful the dragon’s warring, its vigor and valor: ventures desperate he had passed a-plenty, and perils of war, contest-crash, since, conqueror proud, Hrothgar’s hall he had wholly purged, and in grapple had killed the kin of Grendel, loathsome breed! Not least was that of hand-to-hand fights where Hygelac fell, when the ruler of Geats in rush of battle, lord of his folk, in the Frisian land, son of Hrethel, by sword-draughts died, by brands down-beaten. Thence Beowulf fled through strength of himself and his swimming power, though alone, and his arms were laden with thirty coats of mail, when he came to the sea! Nor yet might Hetwaras haughtily boast their craft of contest, who carried against him shields to the fight: but few escaped from strife with the hero to seek their homes! Then swam over ocean Ecgtheow’s son lonely and sorrowful, seeking his land, where Hygd made him offer of hoard and realm, rings and royal-seat, reckoning naught the strength of her son to save their kingdom from hostile hordes, after Hygelac’s death. No sooner for this could the stricken ones in any wise move that atheling’s mind over young Heardred’s head as lord and ruler of all the realm to be: yet the hero upheld him with helpful words, aided in honor, till, older grown, he wielded the Weder-Geats.—Wandering exiles sought him o’er seas, the sons of Ohtere, who had spurned the sway of the Scylfings’-helmet, the bravest and best that broke the rings, in Swedish land, of the sea-kings’ line, haughty hero. Hence Heardred’s end. For shelter he gave them, sword-death came, the blade’s fell blow, to bairn of Hygelac; but the son of Ongentheow sought again house and home when Heardred fell, leaving Beowulf lord of Geats and gift-seat’s master.—A good king he! hnTe hte donrag beurdn dwon ufBlewo’s moeh, eht oentrh-room of eth tseGa. It wsa a evayh blwo to eht ldo nam. Blfuweo sdasume hatt dGo swa hugsninip hmi orf ithnmosge. He lddewel on sih rusgfienfs, hchiw he aws enerv nwnok to do. ehT anogdr sdderetoy eth teaGs’ sotfr dan fssdenee lgano het tasoc, but ofueBlw nagbe to lpna shi gvneeer. fueBowl rederdo his bsmclihskta to ekma a mtyghi lheisd. He nda eht nagdro eewr sidenedt to end reiht vilse grteehto. lweofBu hgtthou it owldu be elmushfa to go retaf teh dnroag hitw a hoelw ymra. He ahd fguoth eynltp of futcfildi stbtael on his own iencs hte emti taht he kliled dlreeGn dan his rthmoe. He dha eelsdrtw hiwt tmseosrn dna won. eOn of stoeh atelbts saw eth one atth koot teh fiel of Haclegy, het forrem ingk. eAtfr ttah atletb aws rvoe, weBluof wmas tgouhrh hte sae igwnrae tirthy sste of mrroa, ichwh swa eht ludnpre he okto rmfo het wra. eNno of his esemnie luwdo arde to afec imh faetr tath. nehW he eernutrd frmo thta awr, eueQn dygH refdfoe loBwfeu eht nmodigk. ehS nidd’t lvieeeb ehr sno adeHderr oucld be a oogd kngi nda eekp eht eGtsa afse. tuB wfeuBlo dcunol’t be nccdenivo to aket revo. natsedI, he tdissaes nda dasidve daHreerd ltniu eycgHal’s sno gwer up nad was blea to cpreott eth Geast. Aoutb htat itme, osem islexe rofm hte wsra in nedSew amec dan Hrerdade geav thme estlrhe. Btu teh esewdS cema likgono for teh lisexe, adn in the baettl eHearddr was ldklie. neOla took the thrnoe in weedSn, gaeilnv uolfBwe to mbeceo a etarg knig for the sGate. He was a dogo gkin!