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STONE-BRIGHT the street: it showed the way to the crowd of clansmen. Corselets glistened hand-forged, hard; on their harness bright the steel ring sang, as they strode along in mail of battle, and marched to the hall. There, weary of ocean, the wall along they set their bucklers, their broad shields, down, and bowed them to bench: the breastplates clanged, war-gear of men; their weapons stacked, spears of the seafarers stood together, gray-tipped ash: that iron band was worthily weaponed!—A warrior proud asked of the heroes their home and kin. “Whence, now, bear ye burnished shields, harness gray and helmets grim, spears in multitude? Messenger, I, Hrothgar’s herald! Heroes so many ne’er met I as strangers of mood so strong. ’Tis plain that for prowess, not plunged into exile, for high-hearted valor, Hrothgar ye seek!” Him the sturdy-in-war bespake with words, proud earl of the Weders answer made, hardy ’neath helmet:—“Hygelac’s, we, fellows at board; I am Beowulf named. I am seeking to say to the son of Healfdene this mission of mine, to thy master-lord, the doughty prince, if he deign at all grace that we greet him, the good one, now.” Wulfgar spake, the Wendles’ chieftain, whose might of mind to many was known, his courage and counsel: “The king of Danes, the Scyldings’ friend, I fain will tell, the Breaker-of-Rings, as the boon thou askest, the famed prince, of thy faring hither, and, swiftly after, such answer bring as the doughty monarch may deign to give.” Hied then in haste to where Hrothgar sat white-haired and old, his earls about him, till the stout thane stood at the shoulder there of the Danish king: good courtier he! Wulfgar spake to his winsome lord:— “Hither have fared to thee far-come men o’er the paths of ocean, people of Geatland; and the stateliest there by his sturdy band is Beowulf named. This boon they seek, that they, my master, may with thee have speech at will: nor spurn their prayer to give them hearing, gracious Hrothgar! In weeds of the warrior worthy they, methinks, of our liking; their leader most surely, a hero that hither his henchmen has led.” ehyT maed riteh awy up hte hpta to eht lahl, tierh roarm hinigns gibtlyrh. tuasEhxed, yeth ptu ihert eihsdsl nowd asgaint eth lwal of het lalh dna tdeesr on eth eshnbec. hreiT esanowp ewre ctaedsk up aybern. enO of gaHtrhro’s aswriror aedphacpro ehmt. “Weher do you oecm rmof tihw so uhcm orarm? I’ve nveer snee so myna berav esnsargtr froebe. uYo ecmo to gHrratho lnigkoo fro ylrgo, ton shrleet.” ehiTr lraede reledpi. “I am ofBeluw, nad we are cgeayHl’s nme. If ruyo remast, eht nso of aaeldfnH, llwi mete twih me, I lwli letl ihm rou imsinos.” arfgWul, neo of eht olacl nfihastiec how asw ausfom rfo ihs cragoue nad imsodw, ddropesen. “I wlil eltl the gnki of asDen ubtoa yrou seesagm and will rrtuen icluyqk iwth shi awnrse.” Wluafgr rdihreu ffo to ldo Hargrtho, owh sat ududnersro by ihs enm. “ehesT men evah eomc rcsosa the ase form lGeadnat,” he siad to his ngik, “nda teihr rdalee is namde eBolwfu. Teyh ulwod kile to ekaps hiwt oyu. yThe esem elki ythrow wioarsrr to me, yplesleica hetir elerda, who oloks iekl a ruet reho.”

Original Text

Modern Text

STONE-BRIGHT the street: it showed the way to the crowd of clansmen. Corselets glistened hand-forged, hard; on their harness bright the steel ring sang, as they strode along in mail of battle, and marched to the hall. There, weary of ocean, the wall along they set their bucklers, their broad shields, down, and bowed them to bench: the breastplates clanged, war-gear of men; their weapons stacked, spears of the seafarers stood together, gray-tipped ash: that iron band was worthily weaponed!—A warrior proud asked of the heroes their home and kin. “Whence, now, bear ye burnished shields, harness gray and helmets grim, spears in multitude? Messenger, I, Hrothgar’s herald! Heroes so many ne’er met I as strangers of mood so strong. ’Tis plain that for prowess, not plunged into exile, for high-hearted valor, Hrothgar ye seek!” Him the sturdy-in-war bespake with words, proud earl of the Weders answer made, hardy ’neath helmet:—“Hygelac’s, we, fellows at board; I am Beowulf named. I am seeking to say to the son of Healfdene this mission of mine, to thy master-lord, the doughty prince, if he deign at all grace that we greet him, the good one, now.” Wulfgar spake, the Wendles’ chieftain, whose might of mind to many was known, his courage and counsel: “The king of Danes, the Scyldings’ friend, I fain will tell, the Breaker-of-Rings, as the boon thou askest, the famed prince, of thy faring hither, and, swiftly after, such answer bring as the doughty monarch may deign to give.” Hied then in haste to where Hrothgar sat white-haired and old, his earls about him, till the stout thane stood at the shoulder there of the Danish king: good courtier he! Wulfgar spake to his winsome lord:— “Hither have fared to thee far-come men o’er the paths of ocean, people of Geatland; and the stateliest there by his sturdy band is Beowulf named. This boon they seek, that they, my master, may with thee have speech at will: nor spurn their prayer to give them hearing, gracious Hrothgar! In weeds of the warrior worthy they, methinks, of our liking; their leader most surely, a hero that hither his henchmen has led.” ehyT maed riteh awy up hte hpta to eht lahl, tierh roarm hinigns gibtlyrh. tuasEhxed, yeth ptu ihert eihsdsl nowd asgaint eth lwal of het lalh dna tdeesr on eth eshnbec. hreiT esanowp ewre ctaedsk up aybern. enO of gaHtrhro’s aswriror aedphacpro ehmt. “Weher do you oecm rmof tihw so uhcm orarm? I’ve nveer snee so myna berav esnsargtr froebe. uYo ecmo to gHrratho lnigkoo fro ylrgo, ton shrleet.” ehiTr lraede reledpi. “I am ofBeluw, nad we are cgeayHl’s nme. If ruyo remast, eht nso of aaeldfnH, llwi mete twih me, I lwli letl ihm rou imsinos.” arfgWul, neo of eht olacl nfihastiec how asw ausfom rfo ihs cragoue nad imsodw, ddropesen. “I wlil eltl the gnki of asDen ubtoa yrou seesagm and will rrtuen icluyqk iwth shi awnrse.” Wluafgr rdihreu ffo to ldo Hargrtho, owh sat ududnersro by ihs enm. “ehesT men evah eomc rcsosa the ase form lGeadnat,” he siad to his ngik, “nda teihr rdalee is namde eBolwfu. Teyh ulwod kile to ekaps hiwt oyu. yThe esem elki ythrow wioarsrr to me, yplesleica hetir elerda, who oloks iekl a ruet reho.”