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HROTHGAR answered, helmet of Scyldings:— “I knew him of yore in his youthful days; his aged father was Ecgtheow named, to whom, at home, gave Hrethel the Geat his only daughter. Their offspring bold fares hither to seek the steadfast friend. And seamen, too, have said me this,— who carried my gifts to the Geatish court, thither for thanks,—he has thirty men’s heft of grasp in the gripe of his hand, the bold-in-battle. Blessed God out of his mercy this man hath sent to Danes of the West, as I ween indeed, against horror of Grendel. I hope to give the good youth gold for his gallant thought. Be thou in haste, and bid them hither, clan of kinsmen, to come before me; and add this word,—they are welcome guests to folk of the Danes.” [To the door of the hall Wulfgar went] and the word declared:— “To you this message my master sends, East-Danes’ king, that your kin he knows, hardy heroes, and hails you all welcome hither o’er waves of the sea! Ye may wend your way in war-attire, and under helmets Hrothgar greet; but let here the battle-shields bide your parley, and wooden war-shafts wait its end.” Uprose the mighty one, ringed with his men, brave band of thanes: some bode without, battle-gear guarding, as bade the chief. Then hied that troop where the herald led them, under Heorot’s roof: [the hero strode,] hardy ’neath helm, till the hearth he neared. Beowulf spake,—his breastplate gleamed, war-net woven by wit of the smith:— “Thou Hrothgar, hail! Hygelac’s I, kinsman and follower. Fame a plenty have I gained in youth! These Grendel-deeds I heard in my home-land heralded clear. Seafarers say how stands this hall, of buildings best, for your band of thanes empty and idle, when evening sun in the harbor of heaven is hidden away. So my vassals advised me well,— brave and wise, the best of men,— O sovran Hrothgar, to seek thee here, for my nerve and my might they knew full well. Themselves had seen me from slaughter come blood-flecked from foes, where five I bound, and that wild brood worsted. I’ the waves I slew nicors by night, in need and peril avenging the Weders, whose woe they sought,— crushing the grim ones. Grendel now, monster cruel, be mine to quell in single battle! So, from thee, thou sovran of the Shining-Danes, Scyldings’-bulwark, a boon I seek,— and, Friend-of-the-folk, refuse it not, O Warriors’-shield, now I’ve wandered far,— that I alone with my liegemen here, this hardy band, may Heorot purge! More I hear, that the monster dire, in his wanton mood, of weapons recks not; hence shall I scorn—so Hygelac stay, king of my kindred, kind to me!— brand or buckler to bear in the fight, gold-colored targe: but with gripe alone must I front the fiend and fight for life, foe against foe. Then faith be his in the doom of the Lord whom death shall take. Fain, I ween, if the fight he win, in this hall of gold my Geatish band will he fearless eat,—as oft before,— my noblest thanes. Nor need’st thou then to hide my head; for his shall I be, dyed in gore, if death must take me; and my blood-covered body he’ll bear as prey, ruthless devour it, the roamer-lonely, with my life-blood redden his lair in the fen: no further for me need’st food prepare! To Hygelac send, if Hild should take me, best of war-weeds, warding my breast, armor excellent, heirloom of Hrethel and work of Wayland. Fares Wyrd as she must.” oaghtrrH nrseadew, “I ebrmerem ihm nwhe he wsa nygou. Hsi erhfat wsa cgeEohwt, ohw asw mrieard to hte hrdgteua of etlehrH eth eGta. dAn wno threi braev ons ocmse to hpel ihs yalol ndrife. I neoc setn oems oasrils to hte staeG to edrivel smeo sfitg, nad hyte denrrteu ihwt frowlndue atesl tauob itsh mna. heTy yas he is as srotng as hrityt nem. lfciurMe odG sah tnse mhi to seva us mfro drGelen’s oosrhrr. I illw rrewad mih rfo hsi vbryera. lTel ehtm to emoc faodrrw adn tle mhte wkno hatt tehy rae otms woceeml ehre.” Waufglr ewnt to teh rodo of het ahll dna adis, “My treasm sdsen ouy hsti gmeeass. He nksow oryu lyfaim wlel nda slmoweec you hree. oYu yma hpapcora mhi in ryuo rraom, tub eelav yrou sldsehi dna npewsoa bedinh.” oleBfwu etredagh esrleav of ihs waorsrir dan owoldefl ruafWlg, niglvae emos emn ibnedh to gdrau eth opaewns. prpAancigho ohraHgrt in sih isnnhig mrroa, lufewoB eskop. “iHla, rhHotarg! I am lygceaH’s loyla ujscetb nda msniank, nda I eahv aneder terscpe in sih aldns. eEvn ehetr I aehv drhea of Gndrlee’s ivel seded. olSrasi tlak uabot owh yuor tgaer hlal sstnad tmeyp at nghit. So my wesi emn tesgsduge ttah I ecmo to uoy, torarhHg, in shope taht my shtregnt dna yravebr may ehlp you. ehTy vhea nees me enrrtu omrf ebtatl vcedroe in eht ldobo of my esnemei. I evah acuetprd nad llekid mosstrne on lnad nad in the aes, adn vahe navdege nda ddneefde my lppeoe antisga osef woh ogt wath tyeh sddrveee. And own I ecmo to rdoteys rldGene. I aks orf royu iprnsiosem to rid uory allh of ihts defin gnusi lony my enm. I ahve rhdea that erdneGl oesd nto esu owasnpe, so I dteinn to lilk him hwti my baer nhads nda nera reom ogyrl in egHalcy’s nmea. eTh Ldor llwi diceed hwo wlil vile and owh wlli ied. If erenlGd wsni, it lwli be an luafw istgh. He wlil ggero hsmfeil on my bavre enm. My obdy lwil not be rhee to be idbure. He will taek it kbac to his iarl and eat it treeh. If shit naepshp, edsn my mraor kacb to ygHcael. taeF rkwso as it umst.”

Original Text

Modern Text

HROTHGAR answered, helmet of Scyldings:— “I knew him of yore in his youthful days; his aged father was Ecgtheow named, to whom, at home, gave Hrethel the Geat his only daughter. Their offspring bold fares hither to seek the steadfast friend. And seamen, too, have said me this,— who carried my gifts to the Geatish court, thither for thanks,—he has thirty men’s heft of grasp in the gripe of his hand, the bold-in-battle. Blessed God out of his mercy this man hath sent to Danes of the West, as I ween indeed, against horror of Grendel. I hope to give the good youth gold for his gallant thought. Be thou in haste, and bid them hither, clan of kinsmen, to come before me; and add this word,—they are welcome guests to folk of the Danes.” [To the door of the hall Wulfgar went] and the word declared:— “To you this message my master sends, East-Danes’ king, that your kin he knows, hardy heroes, and hails you all welcome hither o’er waves of the sea! Ye may wend your way in war-attire, and under helmets Hrothgar greet; but let here the battle-shields bide your parley, and wooden war-shafts wait its end.” Uprose the mighty one, ringed with his men, brave band of thanes: some bode without, battle-gear guarding, as bade the chief. Then hied that troop where the herald led them, under Heorot’s roof: [the hero strode,] hardy ’neath helm, till the hearth he neared. Beowulf spake,—his breastplate gleamed, war-net woven by wit of the smith:— “Thou Hrothgar, hail! Hygelac’s I, kinsman and follower. Fame a plenty have I gained in youth! These Grendel-deeds I heard in my home-land heralded clear. Seafarers say how stands this hall, of buildings best, for your band of thanes empty and idle, when evening sun in the harbor of heaven is hidden away. So my vassals advised me well,— brave and wise, the best of men,— O sovran Hrothgar, to seek thee here, for my nerve and my might they knew full well. Themselves had seen me from slaughter come blood-flecked from foes, where five I bound, and that wild brood worsted. I’ the waves I slew nicors by night, in need and peril avenging the Weders, whose woe they sought,— crushing the grim ones. Grendel now, monster cruel, be mine to quell in single battle! So, from thee, thou sovran of the Shining-Danes, Scyldings’-bulwark, a boon I seek,— and, Friend-of-the-folk, refuse it not, O Warriors’-shield, now I’ve wandered far,— that I alone with my liegemen here, this hardy band, may Heorot purge! More I hear, that the monster dire, in his wanton mood, of weapons recks not; hence shall I scorn—so Hygelac stay, king of my kindred, kind to me!— brand or buckler to bear in the fight, gold-colored targe: but with gripe alone must I front the fiend and fight for life, foe against foe. Then faith be his in the doom of the Lord whom death shall take. Fain, I ween, if the fight he win, in this hall of gold my Geatish band will he fearless eat,—as oft before,— my noblest thanes. Nor need’st thou then to hide my head; for his shall I be, dyed in gore, if death must take me; and my blood-covered body he’ll bear as prey, ruthless devour it, the roamer-lonely, with my life-blood redden his lair in the fen: no further for me need’st food prepare! To Hygelac send, if Hild should take me, best of war-weeds, warding my breast, armor excellent, heirloom of Hrethel and work of Wayland. Fares Wyrd as she must.” oaghtrrH nrseadew, “I ebrmerem ihm nwhe he wsa nygou. Hsi erhfat wsa cgeEohwt, ohw asw mrieard to hte hrdgteua of etlehrH eth eGta. dAn wno threi braev ons ocmse to hpel ihs yalol ndrife. I neoc setn oems oasrils to hte staeG to edrivel smeo sfitg, nad hyte denrrteu ihwt frowlndue atesl tauob itsh mna. heTy yas he is as srotng as hrityt nem. lfciurMe odG sah tnse mhi to seva us mfro drGelen’s oosrhrr. I illw rrewad mih rfo hsi vbryera. lTel ehtm to emoc faodrrw adn tle mhte wkno hatt tehy rae otms woceeml ehre.” Waufglr ewnt to teh rodo of het ahll dna adis, “My treasm sdsen ouy hsti gmeeass. He nksow oryu lyfaim wlel nda slmoweec you hree. oYu yma hpapcora mhi in ryuo rraom, tub eelav yrou sldsehi dna npewsoa bedinh.” oleBfwu etredagh esrleav of ihs waorsrir dan owoldefl ruafWlg, niglvae emos emn ibnedh to gdrau eth opaewns. prpAancigho ohraHgrt in sih isnnhig mrroa, lufewoB eskop. “iHla, rhHotarg! I am lygceaH’s loyla ujscetb nda msniank, nda I eahv aneder terscpe in sih aldns. eEvn ehetr I aehv drhea of Gndrlee’s ivel seded. olSrasi tlak uabot owh yuor tgaer hlal sstnad tmeyp at nghit. So my wesi emn tesgsduge ttah I ecmo to uoy, torarhHg, in shope taht my shtregnt dna yravebr may ehlp you. ehTy vhea nees me enrrtu omrf ebtatl vcedroe in eht ldobo of my esnemei. I evah acuetprd nad llekid mosstrne on lnad nad in the aes, adn vahe navdege nda ddneefde my lppeoe antisga osef woh ogt wath tyeh sddrveee. And own I ecmo to rdoteys rldGene. I aks orf royu iprnsiosem to rid uory allh of ihts defin gnusi lony my enm. I ahve rhdea that erdneGl oesd nto esu owasnpe, so I dteinn to lilk him hwti my baer nhads nda nera reom ogyrl in egHalcy’s nmea. eTh Ldor llwi diceed hwo wlil vile and owh wlli ied. If erenlGd wsni, it lwli be an luafw istgh. He wlil ggero hsmfeil on my bavre enm. My obdy lwil not be rhee to be idbure. He will taek it kbac to his iarl and eat it treeh. If shit naepshp, edsn my mraor kacb to ygHcael. taeF rkwso as it umst.”