Did you know you can highlight text to take a note? x

Continue reading with a SparkNotes PLUS trial

Original Text

Modern Text

“THEN he goes to his chamber, a grief-song chants alone for his lost. Too large all seems, homestead and house. So the helmet-of-Weders hid in his heart for Herebeald waves of woe. No way could he take to avenge on the slayer slaughter so foul; nor e’en could he harass that hero at all with loathing deed, though he loved him not. And so for the sorrow his soul endured, men’s gladness he gave up and God’s light chose. Lands and cities he left his sons (as the wealthy do) when he went from earth. There was strife and struggle ’twixt Swede and Geat o’er the width of waters; war arose, hard battle-horror, when Hrethel died, and Ongentheow’s offspring grew strife-keen, bold, nor brooked o’er the seas pact of peace, but pushed their hosts to harass in hatred by Hreosnabeorh. Men of my folk for that feud had vengeance, for woful war (’tis widely known), though one of them bought it with blood of his heart, a bargain hard: for Haethcyn proved fatal that fray, for the first-of-Geats. At morn, I heard, was the murderer killed by kinsman for kinsman, with clash of sword, when Ongentheow met Eofor there. Wide split the war-helm: wan he fell, hoary Scylfing; the hand that smote him of feud was mindful, nor flinched from the death-blow. —“For all that he gave me, my gleaming sword repaid him at war,—such power I wielded,— for lordly treasure: with land he entrusted me, homestead and house. He had no need from Swedish realm, or from Spear-Dane folk, or from men of the Gifths, to get him help,— some warrior worse for wage to buy! Ever I fought in the front of all, sole to the fore; and so shall I fight while I bide in life and this blade shall last that early and late hath loyal proved since for my doughtiness Daeghrefn fell, slain by my hand, the Hugas’ champion. Nor fared he thence to the Frisian king with the booty back, and breast-adornments; but, slain in struggle, that standard-bearer fell, atheling brave. Not with blade was he slain, but his bones were broken by brawny gripe, his heart-waves stilled.—The sword-edge now, hard blade and my hand, for the hoard shall strive.” Beowulf spake, and a battle-vow made his last of all: “I have lived through many wars in my youth; now once again, old folk-defender, feud will I seek, do doughty deeds, if the dark destroyer forth from his cavern come to fight me!” Then hailed he the helmeted heroes all, for the last time greeting his liegemen dear, comrades of war: “I should carry no weapon, no sword to the serpent, if sure I knew how, with such enemy, else my vows I could gain as I did in Grendel’s day. But fire in this fight I must fear me now, and poisonous breath; so I bring with me breastplate and board. From the barrow’s keeper no footbreadth flee I. One fight shall end our war by the wall, as Wyrd allots, all mankind’s master. My mood is bold but forbears to boast o’er this battling-flyer. —Now abide by the barrow, ye breastplate-mailed, ye heroes in harness, which of us twain better from battle-rush bear his wounds. Wait ye the finish. The fight is not yours, nor meet for any but me alone to measure might with this monster here and play the hero. Hardily I shall win that wealth, or war shall seize, cruel killing, your king and lord!” Up stood then with shield the sturdy champion, stayed by the strength of his single manhood, and hardy ’neath helmet his harness bore under cleft of the cliffs: no coward’s path! Soon spied by the wall that warrior chief, survivor of many a victory-field where foemen fought with furious clashings, an arch of stone; and within, a stream that broke from the barrow. The brooklet’s wave was hot with fire. The hoard that way he never could hope unharmed to near, or endure those deeps, for the dragon’s flame. Then let from his breast, for he burst with rage, the Weder-Geat prince a word outgo; stormed the stark-heart; stern went ringing and clear his cry ’neath the cliff-rocks gray. The hoard-guard heard a human voice; his rage was enkindled. No respite now for pact of peace! The poison-breath of that foul worm first came forth from the cave, hot reek-of-fight: the rocks resounded. Stout by the stone-way his shield he raised, lord of the Geats, against the loathed-one; while with courage keen that coiled foe came seeking strife. The sturdy king had drawn his sword, not dull of edge, heirloom old; and each of the two felt fear of his foe, though fierce their mood. Stoutly stood with his shield high-raised the warrior king, as the worm now coiled together amain: the mailed-one waited. Now, spire by spire, fast sped and glided that blazing serpent. The shield protected, soul and body a shorter while for the hero-king than his heart desired, could his will have wielded the welcome respite but once in his life! But Wyrd denied it, and victory’s honors.—His arm he lifted lord of the Geats, the grim foe smote with atheling’s heirloom. Its edge was turned brown blade, on the bone, and bit more feebly than its noble master had need of then in his baleful stress.—Then the barrow’s keeper waxed full wild for that weighty blow, cast deadly flames; wide drove and far those vicious fires. No victor’s glory the Geats’ lord boasted; his brand had failed, naked in battle, as never it should, excellent iron!—’Twas no easy path that Ecgtheow’s honored heir must tread over the plain to the place of the foe; for against his will he must win a home elsewhere far, as must all men, leaving this lapsing life!—Not long it was ere those champions grimly closed again. The hoard-guard was heartened; high heaved hisbreast once more; and by peril was pressed again, enfolded in flames, the folk-commander! Nor yet about him his band of comrades, sons of athelings, armed stood with warlike front: to the woods they bent them, their lives to save. But the soul of one with care was cumbered. Kinship true can never be marred in a noble mind! “Htlehre slot shi mdni,” lfuBowe ecdnniotu. “He wsa nelbau to noejy naynitgh trefa ttha, inokwgn ttah shi risft-rbno sno aws ygnli in hte nrugdo dan atht he lcdou nto aekt ervegne on teh kerlli. He ynteluavle ddafe ywaa tion tahed. fterA tHheelr ddie, reteh eewr amny wsar weetebn eth Seswed dan eth sGaet. My won yflima tofugh yelabrv in ehset bsttela, as rneeyevo ksnwo. nacHhyet saw lldeik in eon of eshte btoscam, dna Hcagyel netw to arw isngtaa sih etbrohr’s rkeill. oEorf, neo of celaHgy’s nme, ielldk het Sedwihs ikng heotnwOnge. I gotufh rvelyba hiwt geyacHl adn wsa deearwdr ihwt estauerr nda danl. He dndi’t ahev to kool ehweyarn lees fro pleh or eirh yna ncarserieme. I lsaayw otughf in hte nfrot, nad I ylswaa iwll. I lidkel mhiytg rwsiarro hwit my rbea ndhsa. woN I illw labtet hits dgoran twih ethso sema ndahs dan my rwdso.” uewfBlo dame eon satl tlaetb wvo. “I have vrsuidve aymn rasw, dna I wlli ihfgt neo reom now if teh dorgan daesr to efca me. I udlow raterh ton crrya a waeopn, tub shi rief adn ouopinsso rethab era repoluwf, so I wlli ekep my omarr adn my deislh. I lwil tnads my grdnuo enhw I aecf ihm nad dGo liwl idedec eht ivroct. ySta tou rhee, mne. tWia to see woh gemrese mrof teh usetgrlg. shTi is no one’s fgthi tbu mnie. eihtEr I lwil naer oyrgl nad aelhwt, or ouy will lseo ryuo nikg.” uBfwloe reso dna deblicm up het faec of eth fcifl wtdaor het doagrn’s arli. He did ton try to ksean in kiel a racowd. He oons saw a tneso achr htiw a atsemr of fire nilaged tou of it. It duowl be gernduaos entre taht ywa eeasbcu of hte feslma. He decir tou hitw reag, a tuohs thta kwoe hte grdona tnihiw. Any nacceh at cepae was rvoe onw. ehT oangrd’s uoopsoisn btehra meca piuognr otu of eth rali. leuwofB eadisr ish hseidl dan shi dsorw. otBh he and teh ragndo rwee uriesoofc, tbu chea was iarafd of eht rohet. wBfeuol tosod shi grdonu as teh oanrgd ecdrahg. sHi ishdle was tno as tsogrn as he ewdhis. taTh was eht istrf eimt he hda etldatb and eatf hda eidden mhi roylg. uwlfeoB gsunw his ordws. ehT anodgr remsaced atehneb het gnki’s lwob, but teh belda was not as otsngr as wofBleu hda ophde. The rowds ahd not uct uogthhr the garond. orF the tifsr imte, it had faldie. lefouBw had to eigv up his ndrugo and voem, stuj as all emn sutm evgi up ierth livse. eyTh slecadh ngaai. The agdorn lyolbd surtck out at the nigk and nduoerrusd him in flema. eBlfuwo’s men had dtreraete to the dowos to svea ehrti vlies. nlyO one anm rneimade to gfiht wtih elfBuwo, a nma shewo inlgeef of nsiphik aemc tghuhro ltgnyosr, as it ayslaw seod in boeln mne.