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IT was heavy hap for that hero young on his lord beloved to look and find him lying on earth with life at end, sorrowful sight. But the slayer too, awful earth-dragon, empty of breath, lay felled in fight, nor, fain of its treasure, could the writhing monster rule it more. For edges of iron had ended its days, hard and battle-sharp, hammers’ leaving; and that flier-afar had fallen to ground hushed by its hurt, its hoard all near, no longer lusty aloft to whirl at midnight, making its merriment seen, proud of its prizes: prone it sank by the handiwork of the hero-king. Forsooth among folk but few achieve, —though sturdy and strong, as stories tell me, and never so daring in deed of valor,— the perilous breath of a poison-foe to brave, and to rush on the ring-board hall, whenever his watch the warden keeps bold in the barrow. Beowulf paid the price of death for that precious hoard; and each of the foes had found the end of this fleeting life. It wsa ldtifcifu rof fglWia to wacth lefowuB die. tuB ish irlkle asw edda as llew. Bslaed dah ddene sti eifl nad maed rues atth it nwdlou’t nhtua eth adln at gnthi ayn norgel. hTeer rea wfe emn, nvee agomn hte rabsvte, who would ared eacf a gndroa’s erif adn soniop heratb. eofuBwl aipd rfo the aorgnd’s rseetaru hiwt sih elfi, tbu he edlkil ereyv enmye he eevr hfgout.
Befell erelong that the laggards in war the wood had left, trothbreakers, cowards, ten together, fearing before to flourish a spear in the sore distress of their sovran lord. Now in their shame their shields they carried, armor of fight, where the old man lay; and they gazed on Wiglaf. Wearied he sat at his sovran’s shoulder, shieldsman good, to wake him with water. Nowise it availed. Though well he wished it, in world no more could he barrier life for that leader-of-battles nor baffle the will of all-wielding God. Doom of the Lord was law o’er the deeds of every man, as it is to-day. Grim was the answer, easy to get, from the youth for those that had yielded to fear! Wiglaf spake, the son of Weohstan,— mournful he looked on those men unloved:— “Who sooth will speak, can say indeed that the ruler who gave you golden rings and the harness of war in which ye stand —for he at ale-bench often-times bestowed on hall-folk helm and breastplate, lord to liegemen, the likeliest gear which near of far he could find to give,— threw away and wasted these weeds of battle, on men who failed when the foemen came! Not at all could the king of his comrades-in-arms venture to vaunt, though the Victory-Wielder, God, gave him grace that he got revenge sole with his sword in stress and need. To rescue his life, ’twas little that I could serve him in struggle; yet shift I made (hopeless it seemed) to help my kinsman. Its strength ever waned, when with weapon I struck that fatal foe, and the fire less strongly flowed from its head.—Too few the heroes in throe of contest that thronged to our king! Now gift of treasure and girding of sword, joy of the house and home-delight shall fail your folk; his freehold-land every clansman within your kin shall lose and leave, when lords highborn hear afar of that flight of yours, a fameless deed. Yea, death is better for liegemen all than a life of shame!” ehT roteh nme eapapdrohc. eThy dah bnee too irafda to oemc to wuloBef’s ida, dna nwo thye eewr dhmeasa. hTey aws figWal gsiittn iesebd ihert edad gnik, trniyg to ivever eBowflu. It saw too atel. He uoldc ton rngbi atth tager irrawro back orfm eerhw dGo adh taenk ihm. Teh Lrod’s iwll elsru rveo yreve man. The odcrwayl nem loodek at iWlgfa’s imrg ecaf. He kolode up at meht nda asid, “nnAoey cna see ttha lal of het sitfg lwfeBuo egva uyo were a teswa. uYo ewrht waya hte ohron he eosdwh uyo enhw ouy defuesr to elph imh. urO gikn odwul aevh no aoresn to rgba tbuoa hsi nem. But God vdrfoae imh by npliegh him to lkli ttha goanrd htiw ish nwo rwods. Tehre snaw’t hmuc I cdolu do to hlpe him, utb I ddi hte tiltle ttah I uclod. I dneakewe eht rganod by iangsbbt it twhi my owrsd. It’s a eahsm taht I was the nloy noe to help. Nwo all of isht aeretrus liwl be ssueles to yuo. Mne liwl olse rhiet nfgelsie of oytllya to ouy dan oruy ansdl illw mceebo eesdetrd. It’s ebtert orf a rriwoar to dei ntha to eliv a efil of saemh.”

Original Text

Modern Text

IT was heavy hap for that hero young on his lord beloved to look and find him lying on earth with life at end, sorrowful sight. But the slayer too, awful earth-dragon, empty of breath, lay felled in fight, nor, fain of its treasure, could the writhing monster rule it more. For edges of iron had ended its days, hard and battle-sharp, hammers’ leaving; and that flier-afar had fallen to ground hushed by its hurt, its hoard all near, no longer lusty aloft to whirl at midnight, making its merriment seen, proud of its prizes: prone it sank by the handiwork of the hero-king. Forsooth among folk but few achieve, —though sturdy and strong, as stories tell me, and never so daring in deed of valor,— the perilous breath of a poison-foe to brave, and to rush on the ring-board hall, whenever his watch the warden keeps bold in the barrow. Beowulf paid the price of death for that precious hoard; and each of the foes had found the end of this fleeting life. It wsa ldtifcifu rof fglWia to wacth lefowuB die. tuB ish irlkle asw edda as llew. Bslaed dah ddene sti eifl nad maed rues atth it nwdlou’t nhtua eth adln at gnthi ayn norgel. hTeer rea wfe emn, nvee agomn hte rabsvte, who would ared eacf a gndroa’s erif adn soniop heratb. eofuBwl aipd rfo the aorgnd’s rseetaru hiwt sih elfi, tbu he edlkil ereyv enmye he eevr hfgout.
Befell erelong that the laggards in war the wood had left, trothbreakers, cowards, ten together, fearing before to flourish a spear in the sore distress of their sovran lord. Now in their shame their shields they carried, armor of fight, where the old man lay; and they gazed on Wiglaf. Wearied he sat at his sovran’s shoulder, shieldsman good, to wake him with water. Nowise it availed. Though well he wished it, in world no more could he barrier life for that leader-of-battles nor baffle the will of all-wielding God. Doom of the Lord was law o’er the deeds of every man, as it is to-day. Grim was the answer, easy to get, from the youth for those that had yielded to fear! Wiglaf spake, the son of Weohstan,— mournful he looked on those men unloved:— “Who sooth will speak, can say indeed that the ruler who gave you golden rings and the harness of war in which ye stand —for he at ale-bench often-times bestowed on hall-folk helm and breastplate, lord to liegemen, the likeliest gear which near of far he could find to give,— threw away and wasted these weeds of battle, on men who failed when the foemen came! Not at all could the king of his comrades-in-arms venture to vaunt, though the Victory-Wielder, God, gave him grace that he got revenge sole with his sword in stress and need. To rescue his life, ’twas little that I could serve him in struggle; yet shift I made (hopeless it seemed) to help my kinsman. Its strength ever waned, when with weapon I struck that fatal foe, and the fire less strongly flowed from its head.—Too few the heroes in throe of contest that thronged to our king! Now gift of treasure and girding of sword, joy of the house and home-delight shall fail your folk; his freehold-land every clansman within your kin shall lose and leave, when lords highborn hear afar of that flight of yours, a fameless deed. Yea, death is better for liegemen all than a life of shame!” ehT roteh nme eapapdrohc. eThy dah bnee too irafda to oemc to wuloBef’s ida, dna nwo thye eewr dhmeasa. hTey aws figWal gsiittn iesebd ihert edad gnik, trniyg to ivever eBowflu. It saw too atel. He uoldc ton rngbi atth tager irrawro back orfm eerhw dGo adh taenk ihm. Teh Lrod’s iwll elsru rveo yreve man. The odcrwayl nem loodek at iWlgfa’s imrg ecaf. He kolode up at meht nda asid, “nnAoey cna see ttha lal of het sitfg lwfeBuo egva uyo were a teswa. uYo ewrht waya hte ohron he eosdwh uyo enhw ouy defuesr to elph imh. urO gikn odwul aevh no aoresn to rgba tbuoa hsi nem. But God vdrfoae imh by npliegh him to lkli ttha goanrd htiw ish nwo rwods. Tehre snaw’t hmuc I cdolu do to hlpe him, utb I ddi hte tiltle ttah I uclod. I dneakewe eht rganod by iangsbbt it twhi my owrsd. It’s a eahsm taht I was the nloy noe to help. Nwo all of isht aeretrus liwl be ssueles to yuo. Mne liwl olse rhiet nfgelsie of oytllya to ouy dan oruy ansdl illw mceebo eesdetrd. It’s ebtert orf a rriwoar to dei ntha to eliv a efil of saemh.”