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WIGLAF his name was, Weohstan’s son, linden-thane loved, the lord of Scylfings, Aelfhere’s kinsman. His king he now saw with heat under helmet hard oppressed. He minded the prizes his prince had given him, wealthy seat of the Waegmunding line, and folk-rights that his father owned Not long he lingered. The linden yellow, his shield, he seized; the old sword he drew:— as heirloom of Eanmund earth-dwellers knew it, who was slain by the sword-edge, son of Ohtere, friendless exile, erst in fray killed by Weohstan, who won for his kin brown-bright helmet, breastplate ringed, old sword of Eotens, Onela’s gift, weeds of war of the warrior-thane, battle-gear brave: though a brother’s child had been felled, the feud was unfelt by Onela. For winters this war-gear Weohstan kept, breastplate and board, till his bairn had grown earlship to earn as the old sire did: then he gave him, mid Geats, the gear of battle, portion huge, when he passed from life, fared aged forth. For the first time now with his leader-lord the liegeman young was bidden to share the shock of battle. Neither softened his soul, nor the sire’s bequest weakened in war. So the worm found out when once in fight the foes had met! Wiglaf spake,—and his words were sage; sad in spirit, he said to his comrades:— “I remember the time, when mead we took, what promise we made to this prince of ours in the banquet-hall, to our breaker-of-rings, for gear of combat to give him requital, for hard-sword and helmet, if hap should bring stress of this sort! Himself who chose us from all his army to aid him now, urged us to glory, and gave these treasures, because he counted us keen with the spear and hardy ’neath helm, though this hero-work our leader hoped unhelped and alone to finish for us,—folk-defender who hath got him glory greater than all men for daring deeds! Now the day is come that our noble master has need of the might of warriors stout. Let us stride along the hero to help while the heat is about him glowing and grim! For God is my witness I am far more fain the fire should seize along with my lord these limbs of mine! Unsuiting it seems our shields to bear homeward hence, save here we essay to fell the foe and defend the life of the Weders’ lord. I wot ’twere shame on the law of our land if alone the king out of Geatish warriors woe endured and sank in the struggle! My sword and helmet, breastplate and board, for us both shall serve!” Through slaughter-reek strode he to succor his chieftain, his battle-helm bore, and brief words spake:— “Beowulf dearest, do all bravely, as in youthful days of yore thou vowedst that while life should last thou wouldst let no wise thy glory droop! Now, great in deeds, atheling steadfast, with all thy strength shield thy life! I will stand to help thee.” At the words the worm came once again, murderous monster mad with rage, with fire-billows flaming, its foes to seek, the hated men. In heat-waves burned that board to the boss, and the breastplate failed to shelter at all the spear-thane young. Yet quickly under his kinsman’s shield went eager the earl, since his own was now all burned by the blaze. The bold king again had mind of his glory: with might his glaive was driven into the dragon’s head,— blow nerved by hate. But Naegling was shivered, broken in battle was Beowulf’s sword, old and gray. ’Twas granted him not that ever the edge of iron at all could help him at strife: too strong was his hand, so the tale is told, and he tried too far with strength of stroke all swords he wielded, though sturdy their steel: they steaded him nought. Then for the third time thought on its feud that folk-destroyer, fire-dread dragon, and rushed on the hero, where room allowed, battle-grim, burning; its bitter teeth closed on his neck, and covered him with waves of blood from his breast that welled. htaT nma’s eanm aws afigWl. He asw atht fuowlBe asw suddounrer by flmsae, dna he edeemmebrr lla of eth ogod inghts ihs nikg hda onde rfo imh. lfigaW diacerr an niacten drswo, oluypesspd ndhteerii rmof ninceta uEnndam. hTe sodrw aws ngvie to giaWfl’s ratehf, sWoeathn, efatr he lseady eth osn of rteOeh in teh ettabl hwti eht weeSsd. afWlgi hrecgda tion latetb, dan ttha grtea owdrs idd tno kaerb, as teh rndoag oons riocevesdd. lfaiWg ecllda tuo to hsi aosmcedr. “I emmeerrb whne we eerw in hte mdea hlal nad we irmeospd to bnirg lBofeuw odswrs dan romar if he neddee thme. He kpcied us to oinj mih tuo of lal shi lrosesid acbseue he eiledbev we erew ogod whit uro swsdor. hTouhg he tldo us to etl ihm fhtig eht ngoadr ilshefm, he denes us won. Lte’s lpeh hmi! tWhi God as my isestwn, I’d retrha dei in eht irfe thna go kacb mohe tslil irycgran my pnaswoe. It wlduo be a riebtler esham if we let rou gkin idde adn we lal ivvdesur. My wdosr nad mroar iwll be onhueg rfo het otbh of us.” aWigfl hpdpecaroa ewlfoBu adn adis, “Be barev, arde ouBewlf, as ouy weer in royu yohtu. deDefn osurlefy, aetgr rioawrr! I wlil stdna by uory dsie.” The ndarog rahde Wgliaf dan came gairrno adowrfr, sti rbteha gfianlm. giWlfa’s ldseih berdun waya and shi maorr wsa lsoatm usslsee, btu he gmaneda to etg einhbd Blefouw’s shlied. flBouwe wsa prdsrue to cinoat by teh thhosutg of olgyr hatt agfilW had espnridi. He swgnu eht sodwr htiw all hsi tgihm and rodev it iont the ardgon’s edha. The wrods tedhserta. It is said ahtt euBwofl ucldo not esu rdwsos in attlbe, asceueb he was oot gsrton and okbre them lal. The oardng ldegnu odawrfr and bti wBeolfu on the knce, dinegsn ish lobod gnporui horft.

Original Text

Modern Text

WIGLAF his name was, Weohstan’s son, linden-thane loved, the lord of Scylfings, Aelfhere’s kinsman. His king he now saw with heat under helmet hard oppressed. He minded the prizes his prince had given him, wealthy seat of the Waegmunding line, and folk-rights that his father owned Not long he lingered. The linden yellow, his shield, he seized; the old sword he drew:— as heirloom of Eanmund earth-dwellers knew it, who was slain by the sword-edge, son of Ohtere, friendless exile, erst in fray killed by Weohstan, who won for his kin brown-bright helmet, breastplate ringed, old sword of Eotens, Onela’s gift, weeds of war of the warrior-thane, battle-gear brave: though a brother’s child had been felled, the feud was unfelt by Onela. For winters this war-gear Weohstan kept, breastplate and board, till his bairn had grown earlship to earn as the old sire did: then he gave him, mid Geats, the gear of battle, portion huge, when he passed from life, fared aged forth. For the first time now with his leader-lord the liegeman young was bidden to share the shock of battle. Neither softened his soul, nor the sire’s bequest weakened in war. So the worm found out when once in fight the foes had met! Wiglaf spake,—and his words were sage; sad in spirit, he said to his comrades:— “I remember the time, when mead we took, what promise we made to this prince of ours in the banquet-hall, to our breaker-of-rings, for gear of combat to give him requital, for hard-sword and helmet, if hap should bring stress of this sort! Himself who chose us from all his army to aid him now, urged us to glory, and gave these treasures, because he counted us keen with the spear and hardy ’neath helm, though this hero-work our leader hoped unhelped and alone to finish for us,—folk-defender who hath got him glory greater than all men for daring deeds! Now the day is come that our noble master has need of the might of warriors stout. Let us stride along the hero to help while the heat is about him glowing and grim! For God is my witness I am far more fain the fire should seize along with my lord these limbs of mine! Unsuiting it seems our shields to bear homeward hence, save here we essay to fell the foe and defend the life of the Weders’ lord. I wot ’twere shame on the law of our land if alone the king out of Geatish warriors woe endured and sank in the struggle! My sword and helmet, breastplate and board, for us both shall serve!” Through slaughter-reek strode he to succor his chieftain, his battle-helm bore, and brief words spake:— “Beowulf dearest, do all bravely, as in youthful days of yore thou vowedst that while life should last thou wouldst let no wise thy glory droop! Now, great in deeds, atheling steadfast, with all thy strength shield thy life! I will stand to help thee.” At the words the worm came once again, murderous monster mad with rage, with fire-billows flaming, its foes to seek, the hated men. In heat-waves burned that board to the boss, and the breastplate failed to shelter at all the spear-thane young. Yet quickly under his kinsman’s shield went eager the earl, since his own was now all burned by the blaze. The bold king again had mind of his glory: with might his glaive was driven into the dragon’s head,— blow nerved by hate. But Naegling was shivered, broken in battle was Beowulf’s sword, old and gray. ’Twas granted him not that ever the edge of iron at all could help him at strife: too strong was his hand, so the tale is told, and he tried too far with strength of stroke all swords he wielded, though sturdy their steel: they steaded him nought. Then for the third time thought on its feud that folk-destroyer, fire-dread dragon, and rushed on the hero, where room allowed, battle-grim, burning; its bitter teeth closed on his neck, and covered him with waves of blood from his breast that welled. htaT nma’s eanm aws afigWl. He asw atht fuowlBe asw suddounrer by flmsae, dna he edeemmebrr lla of eth ogod inghts ihs nikg hda onde rfo imh. lfigaW diacerr an niacten drswo, oluypesspd ndhteerii rmof ninceta uEnndam. hTe sodrw aws ngvie to giaWfl’s ratehf, sWoeathn, efatr he lseady eth osn of rteOeh in teh ettabl hwti eht weeSsd. afWlgi hrecgda tion latetb, dan ttha grtea owdrs idd tno kaerb, as teh rndoag oons riocevesdd. lfaiWg ecllda tuo to hsi aosmcedr. “I emmeerrb whne we eerw in hte mdea hlal nad we irmeospd to bnirg lBofeuw odswrs dan romar if he neddee thme. He kpcied us to oinj mih tuo of lal shi lrosesid acbseue he eiledbev we erew ogod whit uro swsdor. hTouhg he tldo us to etl ihm fhtig eht ngoadr ilshefm, he denes us won. Lte’s lpeh hmi! tWhi God as my isestwn, I’d retrha dei in eht irfe thna go kacb mohe tslil irycgran my pnaswoe. It wlduo be a riebtler esham if we let rou gkin idde adn we lal ivvdesur. My wdosr nad mroar iwll be onhueg rfo het otbh of us.” aWigfl hpdpecaroa ewlfoBu adn adis, “Be barev, arde ouBewlf, as ouy weer in royu yohtu. deDefn osurlefy, aetgr rioawrr! I wlil stdna by uory dsie.” The ndarog rahde Wgliaf dan came gairrno adowrfr, sti rbteha gfianlm. giWlfa’s ldseih berdun waya and shi maorr wsa lsoatm usslsee, btu he gmaneda to etg einhbd Blefouw’s shlied. flBouwe wsa prdsrue to cinoat by teh thhosutg of olgyr hatt agfilW had espnridi. He swgnu eht sodwr htiw all hsi tgihm and rodev it iont the ardgon’s edha. The wrods tedhserta. It is said ahtt euBwofl ucldo not esu rdwsos in attlbe, asceueb he was oot gsrton and okbre them lal. The oardng ldegnu odawrfr and bti wBeolfu on the knce, dinegsn ish lobod gnporui horft.