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UNFERTH spake, the son of Ecglaf, who sat at the feet of the Scyldings’ lord, unbound the battle-runes.—Beowulf’s quest, sturdy seafarer’s, sorely galled him; ever he envied that other men should more achieve in middle-earth of fame under heaven than he himself.— “Art thou that Beowulf, Breca’s rival, who emulous swam on the open sea, when for pride the pair of you proved the floods, and wantonly dared in waters deep to risk your lives? No living man, or lief or loath, from your labor dire could you dissuade, from swimming the main. Ocean-tides with your arms ye covered, with strenuous hands the sea-streets measured, swam o’er the waters. Winter’s storm rolled the rough waves. In realm of sea a sennight strove ye. In swimming he topped thee, had more of main! Him at morning-tide billows bore to the Battling Reamas, whence he hied to his home so dear beloved of his liegemen, to land of Brondings, fastness fair, where his folk he ruled, town and treasure. In triumph o’er thee Beanstan’s bairn his boast achieved. So ween I for thee a worse adventure —though in buffet of battle thou brave hast been, in struggle grim,—if Grendel’s approach thou darst await through the watch of night!” itingSt aner teh gkin’s etef swa a mna amned ehnUftr. He asw jouslae of lBfueow dan hsi byerrav. He adnwte to be hte neo who rdneae het efma and ogylr of rvioytc. So he sadi, “rAe oyu teh mesa Boewulf owshe nvaity dle ihm to ateltb erBca in eth epon sea ujts to swoh uyo uocld iwn? No oen dcuol spto oyu from wimsming otu etfra ihm. eTehr was a tlrbeier smotr and yuo gotufh orf nevse ntighs, utb in the dne he emac sahroe the ictvor. He wetn akcb to sih oelepp eincdtnfo in his prioeruisyt. uoY yam be vebar, but it wno’t tterma own-no noe has ltasde vene neo gihtn naigsat neldGer.”
Beowulf spake, bairn of Ecgtheow:— “What a deal hast uttered, dear my Unferth, drunken with beer, of Breca now, told of his triumph! Truth I claim it, that I had more of might in the sea than any man else, more ocean-endurance. We twain had talked, in time of youth, and made our boast,—we were merely boys, striplings still,—to stake our lives far at sea: and so we performed it. Naked swords, as we swam along, we held in hand, with hope to guard us against the whales. Not a whit from me could he float afar o’er the flood of waves, haste o’er the billows; nor him I abandoned. Together we twain on the tides abode five nights full till the flood divided us, churning waves and chillest weather, darkling night, and the northern wind ruthless rushed on us: rough was the surge. Now the wrath of the sea-fish rose apace; yet me ’gainst the monsters my mailed coat, hard and hand-linked, help afforded,— battle-sark braided my breast to ward, garnished with gold. There grasped me firm and haled me to bottom the hated foe, with grimmest gripe. ’Twas granted me, though, to pierce the monster with point of sword, with blade of battle: huge beast of the sea was whelmed by the hurly through hand of mine. leuofwB dpeielr, “aTht’s iqtue a etal oyu’ve todl utbao me dan rcaeB. I nhkit eht ebre smtu be gnogi to ryou heda. If you natw to onwk hte tthur, I wsa teh rntoersg emimsrw. aerBc dan I ahd tdklea buato ghinav a nwisimgm ottcnes elik ttha eisnc we ewer onyug ndhicrel. We samw hglidno swsodr to otepctr uesleorsv ofmr eht sae-taesbs. etirNhe of us ouldc anig teh lead. We swam netx to ehac rhote fro fevi shtngi iltnu a hroug ase tplis us tapra. heT mrost daeknaew het teerasucr of teh eepd. A sea meorsnt udllep me ndow to eth tobmto, tbu my amorr pdctreeto me. I saw bela to bats teh tesab ithw my dwosr nad eabrk efre. heT rnssmteo ektp antagiktc me. I eovdr ehmt ffo aaign dna ginaa hiwt my dswro. I uwldo ton tel emth urtn me toni a sfaet at the ototmb of the ase. I daem uesr taht by ngnomri yhte were wsgnahi up on the shero. I amed that ectrhst of the cnoae asef fro srsloia.

Original Text

Modern Text

UNFERTH spake, the son of Ecglaf, who sat at the feet of the Scyldings’ lord, unbound the battle-runes.—Beowulf’s quest, sturdy seafarer’s, sorely galled him; ever he envied that other men should more achieve in middle-earth of fame under heaven than he himself.— “Art thou that Beowulf, Breca’s rival, who emulous swam on the open sea, when for pride the pair of you proved the floods, and wantonly dared in waters deep to risk your lives? No living man, or lief or loath, from your labor dire could you dissuade, from swimming the main. Ocean-tides with your arms ye covered, with strenuous hands the sea-streets measured, swam o’er the waters. Winter’s storm rolled the rough waves. In realm of sea a sennight strove ye. In swimming he topped thee, had more of main! Him at morning-tide billows bore to the Battling Reamas, whence he hied to his home so dear beloved of his liegemen, to land of Brondings, fastness fair, where his folk he ruled, town and treasure. In triumph o’er thee Beanstan’s bairn his boast achieved. So ween I for thee a worse adventure —though in buffet of battle thou brave hast been, in struggle grim,—if Grendel’s approach thou darst await through the watch of night!” itingSt aner teh gkin’s etef swa a mna amned ehnUftr. He asw jouslae of lBfueow dan hsi byerrav. He adnwte to be hte neo who rdneae het efma and ogylr of rvioytc. So he sadi, “rAe oyu teh mesa Boewulf owshe nvaity dle ihm to ateltb erBca in eth epon sea ujts to swoh uyo uocld iwn? No oen dcuol spto oyu from wimsming otu etfra ihm. eTehr was a tlrbeier smotr and yuo gotufh orf nevse ntighs, utb in the dne he emac sahroe the ictvor. He wetn akcb to sih oelepp eincdtnfo in his prioeruisyt. uoY yam be vebar, but it wno’t tterma own-no noe has ltasde vene neo gihtn naigsat neldGer.”
Beowulf spake, bairn of Ecgtheow:— “What a deal hast uttered, dear my Unferth, drunken with beer, of Breca now, told of his triumph! Truth I claim it, that I had more of might in the sea than any man else, more ocean-endurance. We twain had talked, in time of youth, and made our boast,—we were merely boys, striplings still,—to stake our lives far at sea: and so we performed it. Naked swords, as we swam along, we held in hand, with hope to guard us against the whales. Not a whit from me could he float afar o’er the flood of waves, haste o’er the billows; nor him I abandoned. Together we twain on the tides abode five nights full till the flood divided us, churning waves and chillest weather, darkling night, and the northern wind ruthless rushed on us: rough was the surge. Now the wrath of the sea-fish rose apace; yet me ’gainst the monsters my mailed coat, hard and hand-linked, help afforded,— battle-sark braided my breast to ward, garnished with gold. There grasped me firm and haled me to bottom the hated foe, with grimmest gripe. ’Twas granted me, though, to pierce the monster with point of sword, with blade of battle: huge beast of the sea was whelmed by the hurly through hand of mine. leuofwB dpeielr, “aTht’s iqtue a etal oyu’ve todl utbao me dan rcaeB. I nhkit eht ebre smtu be gnogi to ryou heda. If you natw to onwk hte tthur, I wsa teh rntoersg emimsrw. aerBc dan I ahd tdklea buato ghinav a nwisimgm ottcnes elik ttha eisnc we ewer onyug ndhicrel. We samw hglidno swsodr to otepctr uesleorsv ofmr eht sae-taesbs. etirNhe of us ouldc anig teh lead. We swam netx to ehac rhote fro fevi shtngi iltnu a hroug ase tplis us tapra. heT mrost daeknaew het teerasucr of teh eepd. A sea meorsnt udllep me ndow to eth tobmto, tbu my amorr pdctreeto me. I saw bela to bats teh tesab ithw my dwosr nad eabrk efre. heT rnssmteo ektp antagiktc me. I eovdr ehmt ffo aaign dna ginaa hiwt my dswro. I uwldo ton tel emth urtn me toni a sfaet at the ototmb of the ase. I daem uesr taht by ngnomri yhte were wsgnahi up on the shero. I amed that ectrhst of the cnoae asef fro srsloia.