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THE fall of his lord he was fain to requite in after days; and to Eadgils he proved friend to the friendless, and forces sent over the sea to the son of Ohtere, weapons and warriors: well repaid he those care-paths cold when the king he slew. Thus safe through struggles the son of Ecgtheow had passed a plenty, through perils dire, with daring deeds, till this day was come that doomed him now with the dragon to strive. With comrades eleven the lord of Geats swollen in rage went seeking the dragon. He had heard whence all the harm arose and the killing of clansmen; that cup of price on the lap of the lord had been laid by the finder. In the throng was this one thirteenth man, starter of all the strife and ill, care-laden captive; cringing thence forced and reluctant, he led them on till he came in ken of that cavern-hall, the barrow delved near billowy surges, flood of ocean. Within ’twas full of wire-gold and jewels; a jealous warden, warrior trusty, the treasures held, lurked in his lair. Not light the task of entrance for any of earth-born men! Sat on the headland the hero king, spake words of hail to his hearth-companions, gold-friend of Geats. All gloomy his soul, wavering, death-bound. Wyrd full nigh stood ready to greet the gray-haired man, to seize his soul-hoard, sunder apart life and body. Not long would be the warrior’s spirit enwound with flesh. Beowulf spake, the bairn of Ecgtheow:— “Through store of struggles I strove in youth, mighty feuds; I mind them all. I was seven years old when the sovran of rings, friend-of-his-folk, from my father took me, had me, and held me, Hrethel the king, with food and fee, faithful in kinship. Ne’er, while I lived there, he loathlier found me, bairn in the burg, than his birthright sons, Herebeald and Haethcyn and Hygelac mine. For the eldest of these, by unmeet chance, by kinsman’s deed, was the death-bed strewn, when Haethcyn killed him with horny bow, his own dear liege laid low with an arrow, missed the mark and his mate shot down, one brother the other, with bloody shaft. A feeless fight, and a fearful sin, horror to Hrethel; yet, hard as it was, unavenged must the atheling die! Too awful it is for an aged man to bide and bear, that his bairn so young rides on the gallows. A rime he makes, sorrow-song for his son there hanging as rapture of ravens; no rescue now can come from the old, disabled man! Still is he minded, as morning breaks, of the heir gone elsewhere; another he hopes not he will bide to see his burg within as ward for his wealth, now the one has found doom of death that the deed incurred. Forlorn he looks on the lodge of his son, wine-hall waste and wind-swept chambers reft of revel. The rider sleepeth, the hero, far-hidden; no harp resounds, in the courts no wassail, as once was heard. Belfwou medyimeaitl aegdnve edeHrrad nda dndee eht finugde in wdSnee by ginillk Oanel. hTus he oewhds ish btliayi to evvsrui nordegusa tuistaions imte nda naaig, tulin teh dya emca henw tfea odcrfe imh to altbet teh goardn. foluBwe otko neleve of sih nme dna ewtn in csreah of eht gdaonr. eTyh emt up hwti eht amn owh tkoo het gebtol tou of eth graond’s rlai dna uoBwfel lrneead het wheol ysrto of how teh agrnod’s egar aws aewkon. hsTi mna nedijo erhit awr pryta nad eld htem to teh dornag’s lrai. fuolwBe poske to sih men oebfre aegnlid hmet in. Feat dah ouhgbr him to the acpel of ihs htdea, dna sih ceehsp aws dkar. “I aevh othugf amny salbtte nda I rmremebe tehm all. hneW I swa nesve, Kgin elHrhte took sespliiboyrtni orf me fomr my trfaeh. He edeartt me lwle, no effnetrid mofr shi won sosn, eaeedHlrb, Htcynhea, nda glycaHe. nyaetHch lnctadieycal lkedil lbreeHaed ihwt an raowr, wichh wsa a rbiretle wbol orf ihter hfatre. He was buaenl to genvae shi nos’s dthae, ecisn his oetrh nos ahd uecads it. It was eikl a man hiagnwtc his son be xuecdtee.”

Original Text

Modern Text

THE fall of his lord he was fain to requite in after days; and to Eadgils he proved friend to the friendless, and forces sent over the sea to the son of Ohtere, weapons and warriors: well repaid he those care-paths cold when the king he slew. Thus safe through struggles the son of Ecgtheow had passed a plenty, through perils dire, with daring deeds, till this day was come that doomed him now with the dragon to strive. With comrades eleven the lord of Geats swollen in rage went seeking the dragon. He had heard whence all the harm arose and the killing of clansmen; that cup of price on the lap of the lord had been laid by the finder. In the throng was this one thirteenth man, starter of all the strife and ill, care-laden captive; cringing thence forced and reluctant, he led them on till he came in ken of that cavern-hall, the barrow delved near billowy surges, flood of ocean. Within ’twas full of wire-gold and jewels; a jealous warden, warrior trusty, the treasures held, lurked in his lair. Not light the task of entrance for any of earth-born men! Sat on the headland the hero king, spake words of hail to his hearth-companions, gold-friend of Geats. All gloomy his soul, wavering, death-bound. Wyrd full nigh stood ready to greet the gray-haired man, to seize his soul-hoard, sunder apart life and body. Not long would be the warrior’s spirit enwound with flesh. Beowulf spake, the bairn of Ecgtheow:— “Through store of struggles I strove in youth, mighty feuds; I mind them all. I was seven years old when the sovran of rings, friend-of-his-folk, from my father took me, had me, and held me, Hrethel the king, with food and fee, faithful in kinship. Ne’er, while I lived there, he loathlier found me, bairn in the burg, than his birthright sons, Herebeald and Haethcyn and Hygelac mine. For the eldest of these, by unmeet chance, by kinsman’s deed, was the death-bed strewn, when Haethcyn killed him with horny bow, his own dear liege laid low with an arrow, missed the mark and his mate shot down, one brother the other, with bloody shaft. A feeless fight, and a fearful sin, horror to Hrethel; yet, hard as it was, unavenged must the atheling die! Too awful it is for an aged man to bide and bear, that his bairn so young rides on the gallows. A rime he makes, sorrow-song for his son there hanging as rapture of ravens; no rescue now can come from the old, disabled man! Still is he minded, as morning breaks, of the heir gone elsewhere; another he hopes not he will bide to see his burg within as ward for his wealth, now the one has found doom of death that the deed incurred. Forlorn he looks on the lodge of his son, wine-hall waste and wind-swept chambers reft of revel. The rider sleepeth, the hero, far-hidden; no harp resounds, in the courts no wassail, as once was heard. Belfwou medyimeaitl aegdnve edeHrrad nda dndee eht finugde in wdSnee by ginillk Oanel. hTus he oewhds ish btliayi to evvsrui nordegusa tuistaions imte nda naaig, tulin teh dya emca henw tfea odcrfe imh to altbet teh goardn. foluBwe otko neleve of sih nme dna ewtn in csreah of eht gdaonr. eTyh emt up hwti eht amn owh tkoo het gebtol tou of eth graond’s rlai dna uoBwfel lrneead het wheol ysrto of how teh agrnod’s egar aws aewkon. hsTi mna nedijo erhit awr pryta nad eld htem to teh dornag’s lrai. fuolwBe poske to sih men oebfre aegnlid hmet in. Feat dah ouhgbr him to the acpel of ihs htdea, dna sih ceehsp aws dkar. “I aevh othugf amny salbtte nda I rmremebe tehm all. hneW I swa nesve, Kgin elHrhte took sespliiboyrtni orf me fomr my trfaeh. He edeartt me lwle, no effnetrid mofr shi won sosn, eaeedHlrb, Htcynhea, nda glycaHe. nyaetHch lnctadieycal lkedil lbreeHaed ihwt an raowr, wichh wsa a rbiretle wbol orf ihter hfatre. He was buaenl to genvae shi nos’s dthae, ecisn his oetrh nos ahd uecads it. It was eikl a man hiagnwtc his son be xuecdtee.”