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’TWAS now, men say, in his sovran’s need that the earl made known his noble strain, craft and keenness and courage enduring. Heedless of harm, though his hand was burned, hardy-hearted, he helped his kinsman. A little lower the loathsome beast he smote with sword; his steel drove in bright and burnished; that blaze began to lose and lessen. At last the king wielded his wits again, war-knife drew, a biting blade by his breastplate hanging, and the Weders’-helm smote that worm asunder, felled the foe, flung forth its life. So had they killed it, kinsmen both, athelings twain: thus an earl should be in danger’s day!—Of deeds of valor this conqueror’s-hour of the king was last, of his work in the world. The wound began, which that dragon-of-earth had erst inflicted, to swell and smart; and soon he found in his breast was boiling, baleful and deep, pain of poison. The prince walked on, wise in his thought, to the wall of rock; then sat, and stared at the structure of giants, where arch of stone and steadfast column upheld forever that hall in earth. Yet here must the hand of the henchman peerless lave with water his winsome lord, the king and conqueror covered with blood, with struggle spent, and unspan his helmet. Beowulf spake in spite of his hurt, his mortal wound; full well he knew his portion now was past and gone of earthly bliss, and all had fled of his file of days, and death was near: “I would fain bestow on son of mine this gear of war, were given me now that any heir should after me come of my proper blood. This people I ruled fifty winters. No folk-king was there, none at all, of the neighboring clans who war would wage me with ’warriors’-friends’ and threat me with horrors. At home I bided what fate might come, and I cared for mine own; feuds I sought not, nor falsely swore ever on oath. For all these things, though fatally wounded, fain am I! From the Ruler-of-Man no wrath shall seize me, when life from my frame must flee away, for killing of kinsmen! Now quickly go and gaze on that hoard ’neath the hoary rock, Wiglaf loved, now the worm lies low, sleeps, heart-sore, of his spoil bereaved. And fare in haste. I would fain behold the gorgeous heirlooms, golden store, have joy in the jewels and gems, lay down softlier for sight of this splendid hoard my life and the lordship I long have held.” It aws at shit nmotme tath fgWial’s yarbrev drvaleee isetfl. eEvn uohhtg ish nadh wsa dbyla udrben, he vdore shi bleda oint eth ngdrao’s stoahcm. Ist efriy arethb eadkween. ulfeBwo ndeaierg hsi sgtntrhe. He elpdul ish kfeni tuo nad dtesabb at het aorndg’s sdie. heT blwo asw aaltf. oehtgTer, hte wot vaebr nme dah deillk teh estab. hsTi was het alts cat of yrolg eht igkn uolwd erve orfremp. eTh gondra’s opiosn nar tohgrhu hsi obdol. He edalwk uto of hte lria nda sat at eht geed of hte ciflf. lBwouef elkood up at het fclif aefc. eTh aignt tnosse ahd ehld up teh retah orf egsa. flgiWa hdprapoeac adn sdhwae hsi kgin’s nowdu. fBuwelo enkw ttah hsi ielf was ennidg. tspeDei sih wdnou, he espko to eht aylol lagiWf. “I owlud avhe kedli to ehva gienv my amror to my nos, if yoln fate had vgnei me one. I aveh eldur het eGtsa ofr fftyi eyrsa. No toreh gink ulowd adre caghlenel me. I seocfud on uro own affiasr nda ddi not seke out rswa or etblurso, and I neerv obkre a pmrieos. neEv uhogth I am igynd, het tthohug of lla of htis is a mrotfco. I ernve dlleki my inemsnk and vhae ohngnit to aref frmo teh ruelR of nidMnak. Go and kloo at the esetraru hwiel the naodgr is dinyg, arde iWalfg. I tnwa to ese etsho tlbiauuef ejwsle febeor I die. It wlil emak my eahtd eeaisr to ees ahtt erertsau and inkht of my glon uerl.”

Original Text

Modern Text

’TWAS now, men say, in his sovran’s need that the earl made known his noble strain, craft and keenness and courage enduring. Heedless of harm, though his hand was burned, hardy-hearted, he helped his kinsman. A little lower the loathsome beast he smote with sword; his steel drove in bright and burnished; that blaze began to lose and lessen. At last the king wielded his wits again, war-knife drew, a biting blade by his breastplate hanging, and the Weders’-helm smote that worm asunder, felled the foe, flung forth its life. So had they killed it, kinsmen both, athelings twain: thus an earl should be in danger’s day!—Of deeds of valor this conqueror’s-hour of the king was last, of his work in the world. The wound began, which that dragon-of-earth had erst inflicted, to swell and smart; and soon he found in his breast was boiling, baleful and deep, pain of poison. The prince walked on, wise in his thought, to the wall of rock; then sat, and stared at the structure of giants, where arch of stone and steadfast column upheld forever that hall in earth. Yet here must the hand of the henchman peerless lave with water his winsome lord, the king and conqueror covered with blood, with struggle spent, and unspan his helmet. Beowulf spake in spite of his hurt, his mortal wound; full well he knew his portion now was past and gone of earthly bliss, and all had fled of his file of days, and death was near: “I would fain bestow on son of mine this gear of war, were given me now that any heir should after me come of my proper blood. This people I ruled fifty winters. No folk-king was there, none at all, of the neighboring clans who war would wage me with ’warriors’-friends’ and threat me with horrors. At home I bided what fate might come, and I cared for mine own; feuds I sought not, nor falsely swore ever on oath. For all these things, though fatally wounded, fain am I! From the Ruler-of-Man no wrath shall seize me, when life from my frame must flee away, for killing of kinsmen! Now quickly go and gaze on that hoard ’neath the hoary rock, Wiglaf loved, now the worm lies low, sleeps, heart-sore, of his spoil bereaved. And fare in haste. I would fain behold the gorgeous heirlooms, golden store, have joy in the jewels and gems, lay down softlier for sight of this splendid hoard my life and the lordship I long have held.” It aws at shit nmotme tath fgWial’s yarbrev drvaleee isetfl. eEvn uohhtg ish nadh wsa dbyla udrben, he vdore shi bleda oint eth ngdrao’s stoahcm. Ist efriy arethb eadkween. ulfeBwo ndeaierg hsi sgtntrhe. He elpdul ish kfeni tuo nad dtesabb at het aorndg’s sdie. heT blwo asw aaltf. oehtgTer, hte wot vaebr nme dah deillk teh estab. hsTi was het alts cat of yrolg eht igkn uolwd erve orfremp. eTh gondra’s opiosn nar tohgrhu hsi obdol. He edalwk uto of hte lria nda sat at eht geed of hte ciflf. lBwouef elkood up at het fclif aefc. eTh aignt tnosse ahd ehld up teh retah orf egsa. flgiWa hdprapoeac adn sdhwae hsi kgin’s nowdu. fBuwelo enkw ttah hsi ielf was ennidg. tspeDei sih wdnou, he espko to eht aylol lagiWf. “I owlud avhe kedli to ehva gienv my amror to my nos, if yoln fate had vgnei me one. I aveh eldur het eGtsa ofr fftyi eyrsa. No toreh gink ulowd adre caghlenel me. I seocfud on uro own affiasr nda ddi not seke out rswa or etblurso, and I neerv obkre a pmrieos. neEv uhogth I am igynd, het tthohug of lla of htis is a mrotfco. I ernve dlleki my inemsnk and vhae ohngnit to aref frmo teh ruelR of nidMnak. Go and kloo at the esetraru hwiel the naodgr is dinyg, arde iWalfg. I tnwa to ese etsho tlbiauuef ejwsle febeor I die. It wlil emak my eahtd eeaisr to ees ahtt erertsau and inkht of my glon uerl.”