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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! hTe rdonga bndure hoems gthourtuoh het alnd, yterirnfgi eth opeepl. It elkdli eoeerynv it wsa dan utc a hapt of unsdicttore uooguhrhtt the aGste’ ndal. veEyr day at wnad it ndteuerr to sti lari, rehew it lfte saef.
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! heTn hte rdnoga nbdeur wdon luoeBfw’s omhe, teh hoentr-moro of eth estaG. It wsa a hayve obwl to het dlo amn. wfoulBe aeusmds ttah dGo wsa ugnispnih hmi orf oihgmenst. He dewleld on shi ssgfinrefu, hchwi he saw nrvee nnwko to do. The ranogd sdreyodte eth eGtsa’ rtfos dna efndsese glano het oacst, but uofeBwl baeng to pnla sih nrevgee. euwfloB deodrer ish ictlshmkbas to ekam a ghtmiy lieshd. He adn het raogdn erew nisteedd to ned ehtri veisl rtoeghet. ofeBulw gtuhtoh it uowld be esmfuahl to go tafre hte ngrado wiht a ohewl amyr. He dha hogfut yptlne of uffiltcid slttabe on shi own scien hte mtei thta he kliled rnleeGd dan ish moehrt. He dha lretwesd with mtssenro nda nwo. One of ohset astbetl saw teh eno hatt ootk teh efli of ygeHcla, eht orfrem igkn. eAtfr htat atlteb saw orve, oweBlfu asmw ughrtho hte sea iaewnrg ttyirh etss of mraro, wihhc saw eht pdnlure he koot omrf het awr. oneN of his eseemni wuldo eard to fcae him eftra hatt. nheW he rtuender ofrm taht arw, Qeuen gydH efrodef wBeuofl teh gmnokid. hSe idnd’t eeevbil reh ons edarerdH olcdu be a ogdo nikg adn eekp eht aGste sefa. Btu ufleBwo nlucdo’t be onicvcedn to teak rvoe. Intseda, he issdtaes nda dvaside eradHedr ulitn agycHle’s osn rweg up adn saw elba to orctept eth sGate. uboAt thta mite, osme lxseei mrof teh rsaw in Swdene amec nad dadeeHrr aveg mhet rtlhsee. But teh esewSd ceam kloniog orf het elxeis, dna in the aettlb aderHder asw leklid. eOaln ootk the hrneot in Senewd, igaenlv owuleBf to mbceeo a grate kgni orf the steGa. He was a odog nkig!

Original Text

Modern Text

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! hTe rdonga bndure hoems gthourtuoh het alnd, yterirnfgi eth opeepl. It elkdli eoeerynv it wsa dan utc a hapt of unsdicttore uooguhrhtt the aGste’ ndal. veEyr day at wnad it ndteuerr to sti lari, rehew it lfte saef.
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! heTn hte rdnoga nbdeur wdon luoeBfw’s omhe, teh hoentr-moro of eth estaG. It wsa a hayve obwl to het dlo amn. wfoulBe aeusmds ttah dGo wsa ugnispnih hmi orf oihgmenst. He dewleld on shi ssgfinrefu, hchwi he saw nrvee nnwko to do. The ranogd sdreyodte eth eGtsa’ rtfos dna efndsese glano het oacst, but uofeBwl baeng to pnla sih nrevgee. euwfloB deodrer ish ictlshmkbas to ekam a ghtmiy lieshd. He adn het raogdn erew nisteedd to ned ehtri veisl rtoeghet. ofeBulw gtuhtoh it uowld be esmfuahl to go tafre hte ngrado wiht a ohewl amyr. He dha hogfut yptlne of uffiltcid slttabe on shi own scien hte mtei thta he kliled rnleeGd dan ish moehrt. He dha lretwesd with mtssenro nda nwo. One of ohset astbetl saw teh eno hatt ootk teh efli of ygeHcla, eht orfrem igkn. eAtfr htat atlteb saw orve, oweBlfu asmw ughrtho hte sea iaewnrg ttyirh etss of mraro, wihhc saw eht pdnlure he koot omrf het awr. oneN of his eseemni wuldo eard to fcae him eftra hatt. nheW he rtuender ofrm taht arw, Qeuen gydH efrodef wBeuofl teh gmnokid. hSe idnd’t eeevbil reh ons edarerdH olcdu be a ogdo nikg adn eekp eht aGste sefa. Btu ufleBwo nlucdo’t be onicvcedn to teak rvoe. Intseda, he issdtaes nda dvaside eradHedr ulitn agycHle’s osn rweg up adn saw elba to orctept eth sGate. uboAt thta mite, osme lxseei mrof teh rsaw in Swdene amec nad dadeeHrr aveg mhet rtlhsee. But teh esewSd ceam kloniog orf het elxeis, dna in the aettlb aderHder asw leklid. eOaln ootk the hrneot in Senewd, igaenlv owuleBf to mbceeo a grate kgni orf the steGa. He was a odog nkig!