Beowulf - An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem
by The Heyne-Socin
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{Beowulf suspends Grendel's hand and arm in Heorot.}

When the hero-in-battle the hand suspended, The arm and the shoulder (there was all of the claw 45 Of Grendel together) 'neath great-stretching hall-roof.

[1] It has been proposed to translate 'myrethe' by with sorrow; but there seems no authority for such a rendering. To the present translator, the phrase 'modes myrethe' seems a mere padding for gladly; i.e., he who gladly harassed mankind.




{At early dawn, warriors from far and near come together to hear of the night's adventures.}

In the mist of the morning many a warrior Stood round the gift-hall, as the story is told me: Folk-princes fared then from far and from near Through long-stretching journeys to look at the wonder, 5 The footprints of the foeman. Few of the warriors

{Few warriors lamented Grendel's destruction.}

Who gazed on the foot-tracks of the inglorious creature His parting from life pained very deeply, How, weary in spirit, off from those regions In combats conquered he carried his traces, 10 Fated and flying, to the flood of the nickers.

{Grendel's blood dyes the waters.}

There in bloody billows bubbled the currents, The angry eddy was everywhere mingled And seething with gore, welling with sword-blood;[1] He death-doomed had hid him, when reaved of his joyance 15 He laid down his life in the lair he had fled to, His heathenish spirit, where hell did receive him. Thence the friends from of old backward turned them, And many a younker from merry adventure, Striding their stallions, stout from the seaward, 20 Heroes on horses. There were heard very often

{Beowulf is the hero of the hour.}

Beowulf's praises; many often asserted That neither south nor north, in the circuit of waters,

{He is regarded as a probable successor to Hrothgar.}

O'er outstretching earth-plain, none other was better 'Mid bearers of war-shields, more worthy to govern, 25 'Neath the arch of the ether. Not any, however, 'Gainst the friend-lord muttered, mocking-words uttered

{But no word is uttered to derogate from the old king}

Of Hrothgar the gracious (a good king he). Oft the famed ones permitted their fallow-skinned horses [31] To run in rivalry, racing and chasing, 30 Where the fieldways appeared to them fair and inviting, Known for their excellence; oft a thane of the folk-lord,[2]

{The gleeman sings the deeds of heroes.}

[3]A man of celebrity, mindful of rhythms, Who ancient traditions treasured in memory, New word-groups found properly bound: 35 The bard after 'gan then Beowulf's venture

{He sings in alliterative measures of Beowulf's prowess.}

Wisely to tell of, and words that were clever To utter skilfully, earnestly speaking, Everything told he that he heard as to Sigmund's

{Also of Sigemund, who has slain a great fire-dragon.}

Mighty achievements, many things hidden, 40 The strife of the Waelsing, the wide-going ventures The children of men knew of but little, The feud and the fury, but Fitela with him, When suchlike matters he minded to speak of, Uncle to nephew, as in every contention 45 Each to other was ever devoted: A numerous host of the race of the scathers They had slain with the sword-edge. To Sigmund accrued then No little of glory, when his life-days were over, Since he sturdy in struggle had destroyed the great dragon, 50 The hoard-treasure's keeper; 'neath the hoar-grayish stone he, The son of the atheling, unaided adventured The perilous project; not present was Fitela, Yet the fortune befell him of forcing his weapon Through the marvellous dragon, that it stood in the wall, 55 Well-honored weapon; the worm was slaughtered. The great one had gained then by his glorious achievement To reap from the ring-hoard richest enjoyment, [32] As best it did please him: his vessel he loaded, Shining ornaments on the ship's bosom carried, 60 Kinsman of Waels: the drake in heat melted.

{Sigemund was widely famed.}

He was farthest famed of fugitive pilgrims, Mid wide-scattered world-folk, for works of great prowess, War-troopers' shelter: hence waxed he in honor.[4]

{Heremod, an unfortunate Danish king, is introduced by way of contrast.}

Afterward Heremod's hero-strength failed him, 65 His vigor and valor. 'Mid venomous haters To the hands of foemen he was foully delivered, Offdriven early. Agony-billows

{Unlike Sigemund and Beowulf, Heremod was a burden to his people.}

Oppressed him too long, to his people he became then, To all the athelings, an ever-great burden; 70 And the daring one's journey in days of yore Many wise men were wont to deplore, Such as hoped he would bring them help in their sorrow, That the son of their ruler should rise into power, Holding the headship held by his fathers, 75 Should govern the people, the gold-hoard and borough, The kingdom of heroes, the realm of the Scyldings.

{Beowulf is an honor to his race.}

He to all men became then far more beloved, Higelac's kinsman, to kindreds and races, To his friends much dearer; him malice assaulted.—

{The story is resumed.}

80 Oft running and racing on roadsters they measured The dun-colored highways. Then the light of the morning Was hurried and hastened. Went henchmen in numbers To the beautiful building, bold ones in spirit, To look at the wonder; the liegelord himself then 85 From his wife-bower wending, warden of treasures, Glorious trod with troopers unnumbered, Famed for his virtues, and with him the queen-wife Measured the mead-ways, with maidens attending.

[1] S. emends, suggesting 'deop' for 'deog,' and removing semicolon after 'weol.' The two half-lines 'welling ... hid him' would then read: The bloody deep welled with sword-gore. B. accepts 'deop' for 'deog,' but reads 'deaeth-faeges': The deep boiled with the sword-gore of the death-doomed one.

[2] Another and quite different rendering of this passage is as follows: Oft a liegeman of the king, a fame-covered man mindful of songs, who very many ancient traditions remembered (he found other word-groups accurately bound together) began afterward to tell of Beowulf's adventure, skilfully to narrate it, etc.

[3] Might 'guma gilp-hladen' mean 'a man laden with boasts of the deeds of others'?

[4] t.B. accepts B.'s 'he aes aron ah' as given by H.-So., but puts a comma after 'ah,' and takes 'siethethan' as introducing a dependent clause: He throve in honor since Heremod's strength ... had decreased.




Hrothgar discoursed (to the hall-building went he, He stood by the pillar,[1] saw the steep-rising hall-roof Gleaming with gold-gems, and Grendel his hand there):

{Hrothgar gives thanks for the overthrow of the monster.}

"For the sight we behold now, thanks to the Wielder 5 Early be offered! Much evil I bided, Snaring from Grendel:[2] God can e'er 'complish Wonder on wonder, Wielder of Glory!

{I had given up all hope, when this brave liegeman came to our aid.}

But lately I reckoned ne'er under heaven Comfort to gain me for any of sorrows, 10 While the handsomest of houses horrid with bloodstain Gory uptowered; grief had offfrightened[3] Each of the wise ones who weened not that ever The folk-troop's defences 'gainst foes they should strengthen, 'Gainst sprites and monsters. Through the might of the Wielder 15 A doughty retainer hath a deed now accomplished Which erstwhile we all with our excellent wisdom

{If his mother yet liveth, well may she thank God for this son.}

Failed to perform. May affirm very truly What woman soever in all of the nations Gave birth to the child, if yet she surviveth, 20 That the long-ruling Lord was lavish to herward In the birth of the bairn. Now, Beowulf dear,

{Hereafter, Beowulf, thou shalt be my son.}

Most excellent hero, I'll love thee in spirit As bairn of my body; bear well henceforward The relationship new. No lack shall befall thee 25 Of earth-joys any I ever can give thee. Full often for lesser service I've given [34] Hero less hardy hoard-treasure precious,

{Thou hast won immortal distinction.}

To a weaker in war-strife. By works of distinction Thou hast gained for thyself now that thy glory shall flourish 30 Forever and ever. The All-Ruler quite thee With good from His hand as He hitherto did thee!"

{Beowulf replies: I was most happy to render thee this service.}

Beowulf answered, Ecgtheow's offspring: "That labor of glory most gladly achieved we, The combat accomplished, unquailing we ventured 35 The enemy's grapple; I would grant it much rather Thou wert able to look at the creature in person, Faint unto falling, the foe in his trappings! On murder-bed quickly I minded to bind him, With firm-holding fetters, that forced by my grapple 40 Low he should lie in life-and-death struggle 'Less his body escape; I was wholly unable,

{I could not keep the monster from escaping, as God did not will that I should.}

Since God did not will it, to keep him from going, Not held him that firmly, hated opposer; Too swift was the foeman. Yet safety regarding 45 He suffered his hand behind him to linger, His arm and shoulder, to act as watcher;

{He left his hand and arm behind.}

No shadow of solace the woe-begone creature Found him there nathless: the hated destroyer Liveth no longer, lashed for his evils, 50 But sorrow hath seized him, in snare-meshes hath him Close in its clutches, keepeth him writhing In baleful bonds: there banished for evil The man shall wait for the mighty tribunal,

{God will give him his deserts.}

How the God of glory shall give him his earnings." 55 Then the soldier kept silent, son of old Ecglaf,

{Unferth has nothing more to say, for Beowulf's actions speak louder than words.}

From boasting and bragging of battle-achievements, Since the princes beheld there the hand that depended 'Neath the lofty hall-timbers by the might of the nobleman, Each one before him, the enemy's fingers; 60 Each finger-nail strong steel most resembled, The heathen one's hand-spur, the hero-in-battle's Claw most uncanny; quoth they agreeing,


{No sword will harm the monster.}

That not any excellent edges of brave ones Was willing to touch him, the terrible creature's 65 Battle-hand bloody to bear away from him.

[1] B. and t.B. read 'staole,' and translate stood on the floor.

[2] For 'snaring from Grendel,' 'sorrows at Grendel's hands' has been suggested. This gives a parallel to 'laethes.' 'Grynna' may well be gen. pl. of 'gyrn,' by a scribal slip.

[3] The H.-So punctuation has been followed; but B. has been followed in understanding 'gehwylcne' as object of 'wid-scofen (haefde).' Gr. construes 'wea' as nom abs.



{Heorot is adorned with hands.}

Then straight was ordered that Heorot inside[1] With hands be embellished: a host of them gathered, Of men and women, who the wassailing-building The guest-hall begeared. Gold-flashing sparkled 5 Webs on the walls then, of wonders a many To each of the heroes that look on such objects.

{The hall is defaced, however.}

The beautiful building was broken to pieces Which all within with irons was fastened, Its hinges torn off: only the roof was 10 Whole and uninjured when the horrible creature Outlawed for evil off had betaken him, Hopeless of living. 'Tis hard to avoid it

{[A vague passage of five verses.]}

(Whoever will do it!); but he doubtless must come to[2] The place awaiting, as Wyrd hath appointed, 15 Soul-bearers, earth-dwellers, earls under heaven, Where bound on its bed his body shall slumber

{Hrothgar goes to the banquet.}

When feasting is finished. Full was the time then That the son of Healfdene went to the building; [36] The excellent atheling would eat of the banquet. 20 Ne'er heard I that people with hero-band larger Bare them better tow'rds their bracelet-bestower. The laden-with-glory stooped to the bench then (Their kinsmen-companions in plenty were joyful, Many a cupful quaffing complaisantly), 25 Doughty of spirit in the high-tow'ring palace,

{Hrothgar's nephew, Hrothulf, is present.}

Hrothgar and Hrothulf. Heorot then inside Was filled with friendly ones; falsehood and treachery The Folk-Scyldings now nowise did practise.

{Hrothgar lavishes gifts upon Beowulf.}

Then the offspring of Healfdene offered to Beowulf 30 A golden standard, as reward for the victory, A banner embossed, burnie and helmet; Many men saw then a song-famous weapon Borne 'fore the hero. Beowulf drank of The cup in the building; that treasure-bestowing 35 He needed not blush for in battle-men's presence.

{Four handsomer gifts were never presented.}

Ne'er heard I that many men on the ale-bench In friendlier fashion to their fellows presented Four bright jewels with gold-work embellished. 'Round the roof of the helmet a head-guarder outside 40 Braided with wires, with bosses was furnished, That swords-for-the-battle fight-hardened might fail Boldly to harm him, when the hero proceeded

{Hrothgar commands that eight finely caparisoned steeds be brought to Beowulf.}

Forth against foemen. The defender of earls then Commanded that eight steeds with bridles 45 Gold-plated, gleaming, be guided to hallward, Inside the building; on one of them stood then An art-broidered saddle embellished with jewels; 'Twas the sovereign's seat, when the son of King Healfdene Was pleased to take part in the play of the edges; 50 The famous one's valor ne'er failed at the front when Slain ones were bowing. And to Beowulf granted The prince of the Ingwins, power over both, O'er war-steeds and weapons; bade him well to enjoy them. In so manly a manner the mighty-famed chieftain, [37] 55 Hoard-ward of heroes, with horses and jewels War-storms requited, that none e'er condemneth Who willeth to tell truth with full justice.

[1] Kl. suggests 'hroden' for 'haten,' and renders: Then quickly was Heorot adorned within, with hands bedecked.—B. suggests 'gefraetwon' instead of 'gefraetwod,' and renders: Then was it commanded to adorn Heorot within quickly with hands.—The former has the advantage of affording a parallel to 'gefraetwod': both have the disadvantage of altering the text.

[2] The passage 1005-1009 seems to be hopeless. One difficult point is to find a subject for 'gesacan.' Some say 'he'; others supply 'each,' i.e., every soul-bearer ... must gain the inevitable place. The genitives in this case are partitive.—If 'he' be subj., the genitives are dependent on 'gearwe' (= prepared).—The 'he' itself is disputed, some referring it to Grendel; but B. takes it as involved in the parenthesis.



{Each of Beowulf's companions receives a costly gift.}

And the atheling of earlmen to each of the heroes Who the ways of the waters went with Beowulf, A costly gift-token gave on the mead-bench, Offered an heirloom, and ordered that that man

{The warrior killed by Grendel is to be paid for in gold.}

5 With gold should be paid for, whom Grendel had erstwhile Wickedly slaughtered, as he more of them had done Had far-seeing God and the mood of the hero The fate not averted: the Father then governed All of the earth-dwellers, as He ever is doing; 10 Hence insight for all men is everywhere fittest, Forethought of spirit! much he shall suffer Of lief and of loathsome who long in this present Useth the world in this woful existence. There was music and merriment mingling together

{Hrothgar's scop recalls events in the reign of his lord's father.}

15 Touching Healfdene's leader; the joy-wood was fingered, Measures recited, when the singer of Hrothgar On mead-bench should mention the merry hall-joyance Of the kinsmen of Finn, when onset surprised them:

{Hnaef, the Danish general, is treacherously attacked while staying at Finn's castle.}

"The Half-Danish hero, Hnaef of the Scyldings, 20 On the field of the Frisians was fated to perish. Sure Hildeburg needed not mention approving The faith of the Jutemen: though blameless entirely,

{Queen Hildeburg is not only wife of Finn, but a kinswoman of the murdered Hnaef.}

When shields were shivered she was shorn of her darlings, Of bairns and brothers: they bent to their fate 25 With war-spear wounded; woe was that woman. Not causeless lamented the daughter of Hoce The decree of the Wielder when morning-light came and She was able 'neath heaven to behold the destruction [38] Of brothers and bairns, where the brightest of earth-joys

{Finn's force is almost exterminated.}

30 She had hitherto had: all the henchmen of Finn War had offtaken, save a handful remaining, That he nowise was able to offer resistance[1]

{Hengest succeeds Hnaef as Danish general.}

To the onset of Hengest in the parley of battle, Nor the wretched remnant to rescue in war from 35 The earl of the atheling; but they offered conditions,

{Compact between the Frisians and the Danes.}

Another great building to fully make ready, A hall and a high-seat, that half they might rule with The sons of the Jutemen, and that Folcwalda's son would Day after day the Danemen honor 40 When gifts were giving, and grant of his ring-store To Hengest's earl-troop ever so freely, Of his gold-plated jewels, as he encouraged the Frisians

{Equality of gifts agreed on.}

On the bench of the beer-hall. On both sides they swore then A fast-binding compact; Finn unto Hengest 45 With no thought of revoking vowed then most solemnly The woe-begone remnant well to take charge of, His Witan advising; the agreement should no one By words or works weaken and shatter, By artifice ever injure its value, 50 Though reaved of their ruler their ring-giver's slayer They followed as vassals, Fate so requiring:

{No one shall refer to old grudges.}

Then if one of the Frisians the quarrel should speak of In tones that were taunting, terrible edges Should cut in requital. Accomplished the oath was, 55 And treasure of gold from the hoard was uplifted.

{Danish warriors are burned on a funeral-pyre.}

The best of the Scylding braves was then fully Prepared for the pile; at the pyre was seen clearly The blood-gory burnie, the boar with his gilding, The iron-hard swine, athelings many 60 Fatally wounded; no few had been slaughtered. Hildeburg bade then, at the burning of Hnaef,


{Queen Hildeburg has her son burnt along with Hnaef.}

The bairn of her bosom to bear to the fire, That his body be burned and borne to the pyre. The woe-stricken woman wept on his shoulder,[2] 65 In measures lamented; upmounted the hero.[3] The greatest of dead-fires curled to the welkin, On the hill's-front crackled; heads were a-melting, Wound-doors bursting, while the blood was a-coursing From body-bite fierce. The fire devoured them, 70 Greediest of spirits, whom war had offcarried From both of the peoples; their bravest were fallen.

[1] For 1084, R. suggests 'wiht Hengeste wieth gefeohtan.'—K. suggests 'wieth Hengeste wiht gefeohtan.' Neither emendation would make any essential change in the translation.

[2] The separation of adjective and noun by a phrase (cf. v. 1118) being very unusual, some scholars have put 'earme on eaxle' with the foregoing lines, inserting a semicolon after 'eaxle.' In this case 'on eaxe' (i.e., on the ashes, cinders) is sometimes read, and this affords a parallel to 'on bael.' Let us hope that a satisfactory rendering shall yet be reached without resorting to any tampering with the text, such as Lichtenheld proposed: 'earme ides on eaxle gnornode.'

[3] For 'gueth-rinc,' 'gueth-rec,' battle-smoke, has been suggested.



{The survivors go to Friesland, the home of Finn.}

"Then the warriors departed to go to their dwellings, Reaved of their friends, Friesland to visit, Their homes and high-city. Hengest continued

{Hengest remains there all winter, unable to get away.}

Biding with Finn the blood-tainted winter, 5 Wholly unsundered;[1] of fatherland thought he Though unable to drive the ring-stemmed vessel [40] O'er the ways of the waters; the wave-deeps were tossing, Fought with the wind; winter in ice-bonds Closed up the currents, till there came to the dwelling 10 A year in its course, as yet it revolveth, If season propitious one alway regardeth, World-cheering weathers. Then winter was gone, Earth's bosom was lovely; the exile would get him,

{He devises schemes of vengeance.}

The guest from the palace; on grewsomest vengeance 15 He brooded more eager than on oversea journeys, Whe'r onset-of-anger he were able to 'complish, The bairns of the Jutemen therein to remember. Nowise refused he the duties of liegeman When Hun of the Frisians the battle-sword Lafing, 20 Fairest of falchions, friendly did give him: Its edges were famous in folk-talk of Jutland. And savage sword-fury seized in its clutches Bold-mooded Finn where he bode in his palace,

{Guthlaf and Oslaf revenge Hnaef's slaughter.}

When the grewsome grapple Guthlaf and Oslaf 25 Had mournfully mentioned, the mere-journey over, For sorrows half-blamed him; the flickering spirit Could not bide in his bosom. Then the building was covered[2]

{Finn is slain.}

With corpses of foemen, and Finn too was slaughtered, The king with his comrades, and the queen made a prisoner.

{The jewels of Finn, and his queen are carried away by the Danes.}

30 The troops of the Scyldings bore to their vessels All that the land-king had in his palace, Such trinkets and treasures they took as, on searching, At Finn's they could find. They ferried to Daneland The excellent woman on oversea journey,

{The lay is concluded, and the main story is resumed.}

35 Led her to their land-folk." The lay was concluded, The gleeman's recital. Shouts again rose then, Bench-glee resounded, bearers then offered

{Skinkers carry round the beaker.}

Wine from wonder-vats. Wealhtheo advanced then Going 'neath gold-crown, where the good ones were seated


{Queen Wealhtheow greets Hrothgar, as he sits beside Hrothulf, his nephew.}

40 Uncle and nephew; their peace was yet mutual, True each to the other. And Unferth the spokesman Sat at the feet of the lord of the Scyldings: Each trusted his spirit that his mood was courageous, Though at fight he had failed in faith to his kinsmen. 45 Said the queen of the Scyldings: "My lord and protector, Treasure-bestower, take thou this beaker; Joyance attend thee, gold-friend of heroes,

{Be generous to the Geats.}

And greet thou the Geatmen with gracious responses! So ought one to do. Be kind to the Geatmen, 50 In gifts not niggardly; anear and afar now Peace thou enjoyest. Report hath informed me Thou'lt have for a bairn the battle-brave hero. Now is Heorot cleansed, ring-palace gleaming;

{Have as much joy as possible in thy hall, once more purified.}

Give while thou mayest many rewards, 55 And bequeath to thy kinsmen kingdom and people, On wending thy way to the Wielder's splendor. I know good Hrothulf, that the noble young troopers

{I know that Hrothulf will prove faithful if he survive thee.}

He'll care for and honor, lord of the Scyldings, If earth-joys thou endest earlier than he doth; 60 I reckon that recompense he'll render with kindness Our offspring and issue, if that all he remember, What favors of yore, when he yet was an infant, We awarded to him for his worship and pleasure." Then she turned by the bench where her sons were carousing, 65 Hrethric and Hrothmund, and the heroes' offspring,

{Beowulf is sitting by the two royal sons.}

The war-youth together; there the good one was sitting 'Twixt the brothers twain, Beowulf Geatman.

[1] For 1130 (1) R. and Gr. suggest 'elne unflitme' as 1098 (1) reads. The latter verse is undisputed; and, for the former, 'elne' would be as possible as 'ealles,' and 'unflitme' is well supported. Accepting 'elne unflitme' for both, I would suggest 'very peaceably' for both places: (1) Finn to Hengest very peaceably vowed with oaths, etc. (2) Hengest then still the slaughter-stained winter remained there with Finn very peaceably. The two passages become thus correlatives, the second a sequel of the first. 'Elne,' in the sense of very (swiethe), needs no argument; and 'unflitme' (from 'flitan') can, it seems to me, be more plausibly rendered 'peaceful,' 'peaceable,' than 'contestable,' or 'conquerable.'

[2] Some scholars have proposed 'roden'; the line would then read: Then the building was reddened, etc., instead of 'covered.' The 'h' may have been carried over from the three alliterating 'h's.'



{More gifts are offered Beowulf.}

A beaker was borne him, and bidding to quaff it Graciously given, and gold that was twisted Pleasantly proffered, a pair of arm-jewels, [42] Rings and corslet, of collars the greatest 5 I've heard of 'neath heaven. Of heroes not any More splendid from jewels have I heard 'neath the welkin,

{A famous necklace is referred to, in comparison with the gems presented to Beowulf.}

Since Hama off bore the Brosingmen's necklace, The bracteates and jewels, from the bright-shining city,[1] Eormenric's cunning craftiness fled from, 10 Chose gain everlasting. Geatish Higelac, Grandson of Swerting, last had this jewel When tramping 'neath banner the treasure he guarded, The field-spoil defended; Fate offcarried him When for deeds of daring he endured tribulation, 15 Hate from the Frisians; the ornaments bare he O'er the cup of the currents, costly gem-treasures, Mighty folk-leader, he fell 'neath his target; The[2] corpse of the king then came into charge of The race of the Frankmen, the mail-shirt and collar: 20 Warmen less noble plundered the fallen, When the fight was finished; the folk of the Geatmen The field of the dead held in possession. The choicest of mead-halls with cheering resounded. Wealhtheo discoursed, the war-troop addressed she:

{Queen Wealhtheow magnifies Beowulf's achievements.}

25 "This collar enjoy thou, Beowulf worthy, Young man, in safety, and use thou this armor, Gems of the people, and prosper thou fully, Show thyself sturdy and be to these liegemen Mild with instruction! I'll mind thy requital. 30 Thou hast brought it to pass that far and near Forever and ever earthmen shall honor thee, Even so widely as ocean surroundeth The blustering bluffs. Be, while thou livest, [43] A wealth-blessed atheling. I wish thee most truly

{May gifts never fail thee.}

35 Jewels and treasure. Be kind to my son, thou Living in joyance! Here each of the nobles Is true unto other, gentle in spirit, Loyal to leader. The liegemen are peaceful, The war-troops ready: well-drunken heroes,[3] 40 Do as I bid ye." Then she went to the settle. There was choicest of banquets, wine drank the heroes:

{They little know of the sorrow in store for them.}

Weird they knew not, destiny cruel, As to many an earlman early it happened, When evening had come and Hrothgar had parted 45 Off to his manor, the mighty to slumber. Warriors unnumbered warded the building As erst they did often: the ale-settle bared they, 'Twas covered all over with beds and pillows.

{A doomed thane is there with them.}

Doomed unto death, down to his slumber 50 Bowed then a beer-thane. Their battle-shields placed they, Bright-shining targets, up by their heads then; O'er the atheling on ale-bench 'twas easy to see there Battle-high helmet, burnie of ring-mail,

{They were always ready for battle.}

And mighty war-spear. 'Twas the wont of that people 55 To constantly keep them equipped for the battle,[4] At home or marching—in either condition— At seasons just such as necessity ordered As best for their ruler; that people was worthy.

[1] C. suggests a semicolon after 'city,' with 'he' as supplied subject of 'fled' and 'chose.'

[2] For 'feorh' S. suggests 'feoh': 'corpse' in the translation would then be changed to 'possessions,' 'belongings.' This is a better reading than one joining, in such intimate syntactical relations, things so unlike as 'corpse' and 'jewels.'

[3] S. suggests 'wine-joyous heroes,' 'warriors elated with wine.'

[4] I believe this translation brings out the meaning of the poet, without departing seriously from the H.-So. text. 'Oft' frequently means 'constantly,' 'continually,' not always 'often.'—Why 'an (on) wig gearwe' should be written 'anwig-gearwe' (= ready for single combat), I cannot see. 'Gearwe' occurs quite frequently with 'on'; cf. B. 1110 (ready for the pyre), El. 222 (ready for the glad journey). Moreover, what has the idea of single combat to do with B. 1247 ff.? The poet is giving an inventory of the arms and armor which they lay aside on retiring, and he closes his narration by saying that they were always prepared for battle both at home and on the march.




They sank then to slumber. With sorrow one paid for His evening repose, as often betid them While Grendel was holding[1] the gold-bedecked palace, Ill-deeds performing, till his end overtook him, 5 Death for his sins. 'Twas seen very clearly,

{Grendel's mother is known to be thirsting for revenge.}

Known unto earth-folk, that still an avenger Outlived the loathed one, long since the sorrow Caused by the struggle; the mother of Grendel, Devil-shaped woman, her woe ever minded, 10 Who was held to inhabit the horrible waters,

{[Grendel's progenitor, Cain, is again referred to.]}

The cold-flowing currents, after Cain had become a Slayer-with-edges to his one only brother, The son of his sire; he set out then banished, Marked as a murderer, man-joys avoiding, 15 Lived in the desert. Thence demons unnumbered

{The poet again magnifies Beowulf's valor.}

Fate-sent awoke; one of them Grendel, Sword-cursed, hateful, who at Heorot met with A man that was watching, waiting the struggle, Where a horrid one held him with hand-grapple sturdy; 20 Nathless he minded the might of his body, The glorious gift God had allowed him, And folk-ruling Father's favor relied on, His help and His comfort: so he conquered the foeman, The hell-spirit humbled: he unhappy departed then, 25 Reaved of his joyance, journeying to death-haunts, Foeman of man. His mother moreover

{Grendel's mother comes to avenge her son.}

Eager and gloomy was anxious to go on Her mournful mission, mindful of vengeance For the death of her son. She came then to Heorot [45] 30 Where the Armor-Dane earlmen all through the building Were lying in slumber. Soon there became then Return[2] to the nobles, when the mother of Grendel Entered the folk-hall; the fear was less grievous By even so much as the vigor of maidens, 35 War-strength of women, by warrior is reckoned, When well-carved weapon, worked with the hammer, Blade very bloody, brave with its edges, Strikes down the boar-sign that stands on the helmet. Then the hard-edged weapon was heaved in the building,[3] 40 The brand o'er the benches, broad-lindens many Hand-fast were lifted; for helmet he recked not, For armor-net broad, whom terror laid hold of. She went then hastily, outward would get her Her life for to save, when some one did spy her;

{She seizes a favorite liegemen of Hrothgar's.}

45 Soon she had grappled one of the athelings Fast and firmly, when fenward she hied her; That one to Hrothgar was liefest of heroes In rank of retainer where waters encircle, A mighty shield-warrior, whom she murdered at slumber, 50 A broadly-famed battle-knight. Beowulf was absent,

{Beowulf was asleep in another part of the palace.}

But another apartment was erstwhile devoted To the glory-decked Geatman when gold was distributed. There was hubbub in Heorot. The hand that was famous She grasped in its gore;[4] grief was renewed then [46] 55 In homes and houses: 'twas no happy arrangement In both of the quarters to barter and purchase With lives of their friends. Then the well-aged ruler, The gray-headed war-thane, was woful in spirit, When his long-trusted liegeman lifeless he knew of,

{Beowulf is sent for.}

60 His dearest one gone. Quick from a room was Beowulf brought, brave and triumphant. As day was dawning in the dusk of the morning,

{He comes at Hrothgar's summons.}

Went then that earlman, champion noble, Came with comrades, where the clever one bided 65 Whether God all gracious would grant him a respite After the woe he had suffered. The war-worthy hero With a troop of retainers trod then the pavement (The hall-building groaned), till he greeted the wise one,

{Beowulf inquires how Hrothgar had enjoyed his night's rest.}

The earl of the Ingwins;[5] asked if the night had 70 Fully refreshed him, as fain he would have it.

[1] Several eminent authorities either read or emend the MS. so as to make this verse read, _While Grendel was wasting the gold-bedecked palace_. So 20_15 below: _ravaged the desert_.

[2] For 'sona' (1281), t.B. suggests 'sara,' limiting 'edhwyrft.' Read then: Return of sorrows to the nobles, etc. This emendation supplies the syntactical gap after 'edhwyrft.'

[3] Some authorities follow Grein's lexicon in treating 'heard ecg' as an adj. limiting 'sweord': H.-So. renders it as a subst. (So v. 1491.) The sense of the translation would be the same.

[4] B. suggests 'under hrof genam' (v. 1303). This emendation, as well as an emendation with (?) to v. 739, he offers, because 'under' baffles him in both passages. All we need is to take 'under' in its secondary meaning of 'in,' which, though not given by Grein, occurs in the literature. Cf. Chron. 876 (March's A.-S. Gram. Sec. 355) and Oro. Amaz. I. 10, where 'under' = in the midst of. Cf. modern Eng. 'in such circumstances,' which interchanges in good usage with 'under such circumstances.'

[5] For 'neod-laethu' (1321) C. suggests 'nead-laethum,' and translates: asked whether the night had been pleasant to him after crushing-hostility.



{Hrothgar laments the death of AEschere, his shoulder-companion.}

Hrothgar rejoined, helm of the Scyldings: "Ask not of joyance! Grief is renewed to The folk of the Danemen. Dead is AEschere, Yrmenlaf's brother, older than he, 5 My true-hearted counsellor, trusty adviser, Shoulder-companion, when fighting in battle Our heads we protected, when troopers were clashing,

{He was my ideal hero.}

And heroes were dashing; such an earl should be ever, An erst-worthy atheling, as AEschere proved him. 10 The flickering death-spirit became in Heorot His hand-to-hand murderer; I can not tell whither The cruel one turned in the carcass exulting,


{This horrible creature came to avenge Grendel's death.}

By cramming discovered.[1] The quarrel she wreaked then, That last night igone Grendel thou killedst 15 In grewsomest manner, with grim-holding clutches, Since too long he had lessened my liege-troop and wasted My folk-men so foully. He fell in the battle With forfeit of life, and another has followed, A mighty crime-worker, her kinsman avenging, 20 And henceforth hath 'stablished her hatred unyielding,[2] As it well may appear to many a liegeman, Who mourneth in spirit the treasure-bestower, Her heavy heart-sorrow; the hand is now lifeless Which[3] availed you in every wish that you cherished.

{I have heard my vassals speak of these two uncanny monsters who lived in the moors.}

25 Land-people heard I, liegemen, this saying, Dwellers in halls, they had seen very often A pair of such mighty march-striding creatures, Far-dwelling spirits, holding the moorlands: One of them wore, as well they might notice, 30 The image of woman, the other one wretched In guise of a man wandered in exile, Except he was huger than any of earthmen; Earth-dwelling people entitled him Grendel In days of yore: they know not their father, 35 Whe'r ill-going spirits any were borne him

{The inhabit the most desolate and horrible places.}

Ever before. They guard the wolf-coverts, Lands inaccessible, wind-beaten nesses, Fearfullest fen-deeps, where a flood from the mountains 'Neath mists of the nesses netherward rattles, 40 The stream under earth: not far is it henceward Measured by mile-lengths that the mere-water standeth, Which forests hang over, with frost-whiting covered,[4] [48] A firm-rooted forest, the floods overshadow. There ever at night one an ill-meaning portent 45 A fire-flood may see; 'mong children of men None liveth so wise that wot of the bottom; Though harassed by hounds the heath-stepper seek for,

{Even the hounded deer will not seek refuge in these uncanny regions.}

Fly to the forest, firm-antlered he-deer, Spurred from afar, his spirit he yieldeth, 50 His life on the shore, ere in he will venture To cover his head. Uncanny the place is: Thence upward ascendeth the surging of waters, Wan to the welkin, when the wind is stirring The weathers unpleasing, till the air groweth gloomy,

{To thee only can I look for assistance.}

55 And the heavens lower. Now is help to be gotten From thee and thee only! The abode thou know'st not, The dangerous place where thou'rt able to meet with The sin-laden hero: seek if thou darest! For the feud I will fully fee thee with money, 60 With old-time treasure, as erstwhile I did thee, With well-twisted jewels, if away thou shalt get thee."

[1] For 'gefraegnod' (1334), K. and t.B. suggest 'gefaegnod,' rendering 'rejoicing in her fill.' This gives a parallel to 'aese wlanc' (1333).

[2] The line 'And ... yielding,' B. renders: And she has performed a deed of blood-vengeance whose effect is far-reaching.

[3] 'Se e' (1345) is an instance of masc. rel. with fem. antecedent. So v. 1888, where 'se e' refers to 'yldo.'

[4] For 'hrimge' in the H.-So. edition, Gr. and others read 'hrinde' (=hrinende), and translate: which rustling forests overhang.



Beowulf answered, Ecgtheow's son:

{Beowulf exhorts the old king to arouse himself for action.}

"Grieve not, O wise one! for each it is better, His friend to avenge than with vehemence wail him; Each of us must the end-day abide of 5 His earthly existence; who is able accomplish Glory ere death! To battle-thane noble Lifeless lying, 'tis at last most fitting. Arise, O king, quick let us hasten To look at the footprint of the kinsman of Grendel! 10 I promise thee this now: to his place he'll escape not, To embrace of the earth, nor to mountainous forest, Nor to depths of the ocean, wherever he wanders. [49] Practice thou now patient endurance Of each of thy sorrows, as I hope for thee soothly!"

{Hrothgar rouses himself. His horse is brought.}

15 Then up sprang the old one, the All-Wielder thanked he, Ruler Almighty, that the man had outspoken. Then for Hrothgar a war-horse was decked with a bridle, Curly-maned courser. The clever folk-leader

{They start on the track of the female monster.}

Stately proceeded: stepped then an earl-troop 20 Of linden-wood bearers. Her footprints were seen then Widely in wood-paths, her way o'er the bottoms, Where she faraway fared o'er fen-country murky, Bore away breathless the best of retainers Who pondered with Hrothgar the welfare of country. 25 The son of the athelings then went o'er the stony, Declivitous cliffs, the close-covered passes, Narrow passages, paths unfrequented, Nesses abrupt, nicker-haunts many; One of a few of wise-mooded heroes, 30 He onward advanced to view the surroundings, Till he found unawares woods of the mountain O'er hoar-stones hanging, holt-wood unjoyful; The water stood under, welling and gory. 'Twas irksome in spirit to all of the Danemen, 35 Friends of the Scyldings, to many a liegeman

{The sight of AEschere's head causes them great sorrow.}

Sad to be suffered, a sorrow unlittle To each of the earlmen, when to AEschere's head they Came on the cliff. The current was seething With blood and with gore (the troopers gazed on it). 40 The horn anon sang the battle-song ready. The troop were all seated; they saw 'long the water then

{The water is filled with serpents and sea-dragons.}

Many a serpent, mere-dragons wondrous Trying the waters, nickers a-lying On the cliffs of the nesses, which at noonday full often 45 Go on the sea-deeps their sorrowful journey, Wild-beasts and wormkind; away then they hastened

{One of them is killed by Beowulf.}

Hot-mooded, hateful, they heard the great clamor, The war-trumpet winding. One did the Geat-prince [50] Sunder from earth-joys, with arrow from bowstring, 50 From his sea-struggle tore him, that the trusty war-missile

{The dead beast is a poor swimmer}

Pierced to his vitals; he proved in the currents Less doughty at swimming whom death had offcarried. Soon in the waters the wonderful swimmer Was straitened most sorely with sword-pointed boar-spears, 55 Pressed in the battle and pulled to the cliff-edge; The liegemen then looked on the loath-fashioned stranger.

{Beowulf prepares for a struggle with the monster.}

Beowulf donned then his battle-equipments, Cared little for life; inlaid and most ample, The hand-woven corslet which could cover his body, 60 Must the wave-deeps explore, that war might be powerless To harm the great hero, and the hating one's grasp might Not peril his safety; his head was protected By the light-flashing helmet that should mix with the bottoms, Trying the eddies, treasure-emblazoned, 65 Encircled with jewels, as in seasons long past The weapon-smith worked it, wondrously made it, With swine-bodies fashioned it, that thenceforward no longer Brand might bite it, and battle-sword hurt it. And that was not least of helpers in prowess

{He has Unferth's sword in his hand.}

70 That Hrothgar's spokesman had lent him when straitened; And the hilted hand-sword was Hrunting entitled, Old and most excellent 'mong all of the treasures; Its blade was of iron, blotted with poison, Hardened with gore; it failed not in battle 75 Any hero under heaven in hand who it brandished, Who ventured to take the terrible journeys, The battle-field sought; not the earliest occasion That deeds of daring 'twas destined to 'complish.

{Unferth has little use for swords.}

Ecglaf's kinsman minded not soothly, 80 Exulting in strength, what erst he had spoken Drunken with wine, when the weapon he lent to A sword-hero bolder; himself did not venture 'Neath the strife of the currents his life to endanger, [51] To fame-deeds perform; there he forfeited glory, 85 Repute for his strength. Not so with the other When he clad in his corslet had equipped him for battle.



{Beowulf makes a parting speech to Hrothgar.}

Beowulf spake, Ecgtheow's son: "Recall now, oh, famous kinsman of Healfdene, Prince very prudent, now to part I am ready, Gold-friend of earlmen, what erst we agreed on,

{If I fail, act as a kind liegelord to my thanes,}

5 Should I lay down my life in lending thee assistance, When my earth-joys were over, thou wouldst evermore serve me In stead of a father; my faithful thanemen, My trusty retainers, protect thou and care for, Fall I in battle: and, Hrothgar beloved,

{and send Higelac the jewels thou hast given me}

10 Send unto Higelac the high-valued jewels Thou to me hast allotted. The lord of the Geatmen May perceive from the gold, the Hrethling may see it

{I should like my king to know how generous a lord I found thee to be.}

When he looks on the jewels, that a gem-giver found I Good over-measure, enjoyed him while able. 15 And the ancient heirloom Unferth permit thou, The famed one to have, the heavy-sword splendid[1] The hard-edged weapon; with Hrunting to aid me, I shall gain me glory, or grim-death shall take me."

{Beowulf is eager for the fray.}

The atheling of Geatmen uttered these words and 20 Heroic did hasten, not any rejoinder Was willing to wait for; the wave-current swallowed

{He is a whole day reaching the bottom of the sea.}

The doughty-in-battle. Then a day's-length elapsed ere He was able to see the sea at its bottom. Early she found then who fifty of winters 25 The course of the currents kept in her fury, Grisly and greedy, that the grim one's dominion


{Grendel's mother knows that some one has reached her domains.}

Some one of men from above was exploring. Forth did she grab them, grappled the warrior With horrible clutches; yet no sooner she injured 30 His body unscathed: the burnie out-guarded, That she proved but powerless to pierce through the armor, The limb-mail locked, with loath-grabbing fingers. The sea-wolf bare then, when bottomward came she,

{She grabs him, and bears him to her den.}

The ring-prince homeward, that he after was powerless 35 (He had daring to do it) to deal with his weapons, But many a mere-beast tormented him swimming,

{Sea-monsters bite and strike him.}

Flood-beasts no few with fierce-biting tusks did Break through his burnie, the brave one pursued they. The earl then discovered he was down in some cavern 40 Where no water whatever anywise harmed him, And the clutch of the current could come not anear him, Since the roofed-hall prevented; brightness a-gleaming Fire-light he saw, flashing resplendent. The good one saw then the sea-bottom's monster,

{Beowulf attacks the mother of Grendel.}

45 The mighty mere-woman; he made a great onset With weapon-of-battle, his hand not desisted From striking, that war-blade struck on her head then A battle-song greedy. The stranger perceived then

{The sword will not bite.}

The sword would not bite, her life would not injure, 50 But the falchion failed the folk-prince when straitened: Erst had it often onsets encountered, Oft cloven the helmet, the fated one's armor: 'Twas the first time that ever the excellent jewel Had failed of its fame. Firm-mooded after, 55 Not heedless of valor, but mindful of glory, Was Higelac's kinsman; the hero-chief angry Cast then his carved-sword covered with jewels That it lay on the earth, hard and steel-pointed;

{The hero throws down all weapons, and again trusts to his hand-grip.}

He hoped in his strength, his hand-grapple sturdy. 60 So any must act whenever he thinketh To gain him in battle glory unending, And is reckless of living. The lord of the War-Geats [53] (He shrank not from battle) seized by the shoulder[2] The mother of Grendel; then mighty in struggle 65 Swung he his enemy, since his anger was kindled, That she fell to the floor. With furious grapple

{Beowulf falls.}

She gave him requital[3] early thereafter, And stretched out to grab him; the strongest of warriors Faint-mooded stumbled, till he fell in his traces,

{The monster sits on him with drawn sword.}

70 Foot-going champion. Then she sat on the hall-guest And wielded her war-knife wide-bladed, flashing, For her son would take vengeance, her one only bairn.

{His armor saves his life.}

His breast-armor woven bode on his shoulder; It guarded his life, the entrance defended 75 'Gainst sword-point and edges. Ecgtheow's son there Had fatally journeyed, champion of Geatmen, In the arms of the ocean, had the armor not given, Close-woven corslet, comfort and succor,

{God arranged for his escape.}

And had God most holy not awarded the victory, 80 All-knowing Lord; easily did heaven's Ruler most righteous arrange it with justice;[4] Uprose he erect ready for battle.

[1] Kl. emends 'wael-sweord.' The half-line would then read, '_the battle-sword splendid_.'—For 'heard-ecg' in next half-verse, see note to 20_39 above.

[2] Sw., R., and t.B. suggest 'feaxe' for 'eaxle' (1538) and render: Seized by the hair.

[3] If 'hand-lean' be accepted (as the MS. has it), the line will read: She hand-reward gave him early thereafter.

[4] Sw. and S. change H.-So.'s semicolon (v. 1557) to a comma, and translate: The Ruler of Heaven arranged it in justice easily, after he arose again.



{Beowulf grasps a giant-sword,}

Then he saw mid the war-gems a weapon of victory, An ancient giant-sword, of edges a-doughty, Glory of warriors: of weapons 'twas choicest, Only 'twas larger than any man else was [54] 5 Able to bear to the battle-encounter, The good and splendid work of the giants. He grasped then the sword-hilt, knight of the Scyldings, Bold and battle-grim, brandished his ring-sword, Hopeless of living, hotly he smote her, 10 That the fiend-woman's neck firmly it grappled,

{and fells the female monster.}

Broke through her bone-joints, the bill fully pierced her Fate-cursed body, she fell to the ground then: The hand-sword was bloody, the hero exulted. The brand was brilliant, brightly it glimmered, 15 Just as from heaven gemlike shineth The torch of the firmament. He glanced 'long the building, And turned by the wall then, Higelac's vassal Raging and wrathful raised his battle-sword Strong by the handle. The edge was not useless 20 To the hero-in-battle, but he speedily wished to Give Grendel requital for the many assaults he Had worked on the West-Danes not once, but often, When he slew in slumber the subjects of Hrothgar, Swallowed down fifteen sleeping retainers 25 Of the folk of the Danemen, and fully as many Carried away, a horrible prey. He gave him requital, grim-raging champion,

{Beowulf sees the body of Grendel, and cuts off his head.}

When he saw on his rest-place weary of conflict Grendel lying, of life-joys bereaved, 30 As the battle at Heorot erstwhile had scathed him; His body far bounded, a blow when he suffered, Death having seized him, sword-smiting heavy, And he cut off his head then. Early this noticed The clever carles who as comrades of Hrothgar

{The waters are gory.}

35 Gazed on the sea-deeps, that the surging wave-currents Were mightily mingled, the mere-flood was gory: Of the good one the gray-haired together held converse,

{Beowulf is given up for dead.}

The hoary of head, that they hoped not to see again The atheling ever, that exulting in victory 40 He'd return there to visit the distinguished folk-ruler: [55] Then many concluded the mere-wolf had killed him.[1] The ninth hour came then. From the ness-edge departed The bold-mooded Scyldings; the gold-friend of heroes Homeward betook him. The strangers sat down then 45 Soul-sick, sorrowful, the sea-waves regarding: They wished and yet weened not their well-loved friend-lord

{The giant-sword melts.}

To see any more. The sword-blade began then, The blood having touched it, contracting and shriveling With battle-icicles; 'twas a wonderful marvel 50 That it melted entirely, likest to ice when The Father unbindeth the bond of the frost and Unwindeth the wave-bands, He who wieldeth dominion Of times and of tides: a truth-firm Creator. Nor took he of jewels more in the dwelling, 55 Lord of the Weders, though they lay all around him, Than the head and the handle handsome with jewels; [56] The brand early melted, burnt was the weapon:[2] So hot was the blood, the strange-spirit poisonous

{The hero swims back to the realms of day.}

That in it did perish. He early swam off then 60 Who had bided in combat the carnage of haters, Went up through the ocean; the eddies were cleansed, The spacious expanses, when the spirit from farland His life put aside and this short-lived existence. The seamen's defender came swimming to land then 65 Doughty of spirit, rejoiced in his sea-gift, The bulky burden which he bore in his keeping. The excellent vassals advanced then to meet him, To God they were grateful, were glad in their chieftain, That to see him safe and sound was granted them. 70 From the high-minded hero, then, helmet and burnie Were speedily loosened: the ocean was putrid, The water 'neath welkin weltered with gore. Forth did they fare, then, their footsteps retracing, Merry and mirthful, measured the earth-way, 75 The highway familiar: men very daring[3] Bare then the head from the sea-cliff, burdening Each of the earlmen, excellent-valiant.

{It takes four men to carry Grendel's head on a spear.}

Four of them had to carry with labor The head of Grendel to the high towering gold-hall 80 Upstuck on the spear, till fourteen most-valiant And battle-brave Geatmen came there going Straight to the palace: the prince of the people Measured the mead-ways, their mood-brave companion. The atheling of earlmen entered the building, 85 Deed-valiant man, adorned with distinction, Doughty shield-warrior, to address King Hrothgar: [57] Then hung by the hair, the head of Grendel Was borne to the building, where beer-thanes were drinking, Loth before earlmen and eke 'fore the lady: 90 The warriors beheld then a wonderful sight.

[1] 'aes monige geweareth' (1599) and 'hafaeth aes geworden' (2027).—In a paper published some years ago in one of the Johns Hopkins University circulars, I tried to throw upon these two long-doubtful passages some light derived from a study of like passages in Alfred's prose.—The impersonal verb 'geweorethan,' with an accus. of the person, and a aet-clause is used several times with the meaning 'agree.' See Orosius (Sweet's ed.) 178_7; 204_34; 208_28; 210_15; 280_20. In the two Beowulf passages, the aet-clause is anticipated by 'aes,' which is clearly a gen. of the thing agreed on.

The first passage (v. 1599 (b)-1600) I translate literally: Then many agreed upon this (namely), that the sea-wolf had killed him.

The second passage (v. 2025 (b)-2027): She is promised ...; to this the friend of the Scyldings has agreed, etc. By emending 'is' instead of 'waes' (2025), the tenses will be brought into perfect harmony.

In v. 1997 ff. this same idiom occurs, and was noticed in B.'s great article on Beowulf, which appeared about the time I published my reading of 1599 and 2027. Translate 1997 then: Wouldst let the South-Danes themselves decide about their struggle with Grendel. Here 'Sueth-Dene' is accus. of person, and 'guethe' is gen. of thing agreed on.

With such collateral support as that afforded by B. (P. and B. XII. 97), I have no hesitation in departing from H.-So., my usual guide.

The idiom above treated runs through A.-S., Old Saxon, and other Teutonic languages, and should be noticed in the lexicons.

[2] 'Broden-mael' is regarded by most scholars as meaning a damaskeened sword. Translate: _The damaskeened sword burned up_. Cf. 25_16 and note.

[3] 'Cyning-balde' (1635) is the much-disputed reading of K. and Th. To render this, "nobly bold," "excellently bold," have been suggested. B. would read 'cyning-holde' (cf. 290), and render: Men well-disposed towards the king carried the head, etc. 'Cynebealde,' says t.B., endorsing Gr.



{Beowulf relates his last exploit.}

Beowulf spake, offspring of Ecgtheow: "Lo! we blithely have brought thee, bairn of Healfdene, Prince of the Scyldings, these presents from ocean Which thine eye looketh on, for an emblem of glory. 5 I came off alive from this, narrowly 'scaping: In war 'neath the water the work with great pains I Performed, and the fight had been finished quite nearly, Had God not defended me. I failed in the battle Aught to accomplish, aided by Hrunting, 10 Though that weapon was worthy, but the Wielder of earth-folk

{God was fighting with me.}

Gave me willingly to see on the wall a Heavy old hand-sword hanging in splendor (He guided most often the lorn and the friendless), That I swung as a weapon. The wards of the house then 15 I killed in the conflict (when occasion was given me). Then the battle-sword burned, the brand that was lifted,[1] As the blood-current sprang, hottest of war-sweats; Seizing the hilt, from my foes I offbore it; I avenged as I ought to their acts of malignity, 20 The murder of Danemen. I then make thee this promise,

{Heorot is freed from monsters.}

Thou'lt be able in Heorot careless to slumber With thy throng of heroes and the thanes of thy people Every and each, of greater and lesser, And thou needest not fear for them from the selfsame direction 25 As thou formerly fearedst, oh, folk-lord of Scyldings, [58] End-day for earlmen." To the age-hoary man then,

{The famous sword is presented to Hrothgar.}

The gray-haired chieftain, the gold-fashioned sword-hilt, Old-work of giants, was thereupon given; Since the fall of the fiends, it fell to the keeping 30 Of the wielder of Danemen, the wonder-smith's labor, And the bad-mooded being abandoned this world then, Opponent of God, victim of murder, And also his mother; it went to the keeping Of the best of the world-kings, where waters encircle, 35 Who the scot divided in Scylding dominion.

{Hrothgar looks closely at the old sword.}

Hrothgar discoursed, the hilt he regarded, The ancient heirloom where an old-time contention's Beginning was graven: the gurgling currents, The flood slew thereafter the race of the giants, 40 They had proved themselves daring: that people was loth to

{It had belonged to a race hateful to God.}

The Lord everlasting, through lash of the billows The Father gave them final requital. So in letters of rune on the clasp of the handle Gleaming and golden, 'twas graven exactly, 45 Set forth and said, whom that sword had been made for, Finest of irons, who first it was wrought for, Wreathed at its handle and gleaming with serpents. The wise one then said (silent they all were)

{Hrothgar praises Beowulf.}

Son of old Healfdene: "He may say unrefuted 50 Who performs 'mid the folk-men fairness and truth (The hoary old ruler remembers the past), That better by birth is this bairn of the nobles! Thy fame is extended through far-away countries, Good friend Beowulf, o'er all of the races, 55 Thou holdest all firmly, hero-like strength with Prudence of spirit. I'll prove myself grateful As before we agreed on; thou granted for long shalt Become a great comfort to kinsmen and comrades,

{Heremod's career is again contrasted with Beowulf's.}

A help unto heroes. Heremod became not 60 Such to the Scyldings, successors of Ecgwela; He grew not to please them, but grievous destruction, [59] And diresome death-woes to Danemen attracted; He slew in anger his table-companions, Trustworthy counsellors, till he turned off lonely 65 From world-joys away, wide-famous ruler: Though high-ruling heaven in hero-strength raised him, In might exalted him, o'er men of all nations Made him supreme, yet a murderous spirit Grew in his bosom: he gave then no ring-gems

{A wretched failure of a king, to give no jewels to his retainers.}

70 To the Danes after custom; endured he unjoyful Standing the straits from strife that was raging, Longsome folk-sorrow. Learn then from this, Lay hold of virtue! Though laden with winters, I have sung thee these measures. 'Tis a marvel to tell it,

{Hrothgar moralizes.}

75 How all-ruling God from greatness of spirit Giveth wisdom to children of men, Manor and earlship: all things He ruleth. He often permitteth the mood-thought of man of The illustrious lineage to lean to possessions, 80 Allows him earthly delights at his manor, A high-burg of heroes to hold in his keeping, Maketh portions of earth-folk hear him, And a wide-reaching kingdom so that, wisdom failing him, He himself is unable to reckon its boundaries; 85 He liveth in luxury, little debars him, Nor sickness nor age, no treachery-sorrow Becloudeth his spirit, conflict nowhere, No sword-hate, appeareth, but all of the world doth Wend as he wisheth; the worse he knoweth not, 90 Till arrant arrogance inward pervading, Waxeth and springeth, when the warder is sleeping, The guard of the soul: with sorrows encompassed, Too sound is his slumber, the slayer is near him, Who with bow and arrow aimeth in malice.


[1] Or rather, perhaps, '_the inlaid, or damaskeened weapon_.' Cf. 24_57 and note.



{A wounded spirit.}

"Then bruised in his bosom he with bitter-toothed missile Is hurt 'neath his helmet: from harmful pollution He is powerless to shield him by the wonderful mandates Of the loath-cursed spirit; what too long he hath holden 5 Him seemeth too small, savage he hoardeth, Nor boastfully giveth gold-plated rings,[1] The fate of the future flouts and forgetteth Since God had erst given him greatness no little, Wielder of Glory. His end-day anear, 10 It afterward happens that the bodily-dwelling Fleetingly fadeth, falls into ruins; Another lays hold who doleth the ornaments, The nobleman's jewels, nothing lamenting, Heedeth no terror. Oh, Beowulf dear, 15 Best of the heroes, from bale-strife defend thee, And choose thee the better, counsels eternal;

{Be not over proud: life is fleeting, and its strength soon wasteth away.}

Beware of arrogance, world-famous champion! But a little-while lasts thy life-vigor's fulness; 'Twill after hap early, that illness or sword-edge 20 Shall part thee from strength, or the grasp of the fire, Or the wave of the current, or clutch of the edges, Or flight of the war-spear, or age with its horrors, Or thine eyes' bright flashing shall fade into darkness: 'Twill happen full early, excellent hero,

{Hrothgar gives an account of his reign.}

25 That death shall subdue thee. So the Danes a half-century I held under heaven, helped them in struggles 'Gainst many a race in middle-earth's regions, With ash-wood and edges, that enemies none On earth molested me. Lo! offsetting change, now,


{Sorrow after joy.}

30 Came to my manor, grief after joyance, When Grendel became my constant visitor, Inveterate hater: I from that malice Continually travailed with trouble no little. Thanks be to God that I gained in my lifetime, 35 To the Lord everlasting, to look on the gory Head with mine eyes, after long-lasting sorrow! Go to the bench now, battle-adorned Joy in the feasting: of jewels in common We'll meet with many when morning appeareth." 40 The Geatman was gladsome, ganged he immediately To go to the bench, as the clever one bade him. Then again as before were the famous-for-prowess, Hall-inhabiters, handsomely banqueted, Feasted anew. The night-veil fell then 45 Dark o'er the warriors. The courtiers rose then; The gray-haired was anxious to go to his slumbers, The hoary old Scylding. Hankered the Geatman,

{Beowulf is fagged, and seeks rest.}

The champion doughty, greatly, to rest him: An earlman early outward did lead him, 50 Fagged from his faring, from far-country springing, Who for etiquette's sake all of a liegeman's Needs regarded, such as seamen at that time Were bounden to feel. The big-hearted rested; The building uptowered, spacious and gilded, 55 The guest within slumbered, till the sable-clad raven Blithely foreboded the beacon of heaven. Then the bright-shining sun o'er the bottoms came going;[2] The warriors hastened, the heads of the peoples Were ready to go again to their peoples,

{The Geats prepare to leave Dane-land.}

60 The high-mooded farer would faraway thenceward Look for his vessel. The valiant one bade then,[3]


{Unferth asks Beowulf to accept his sword as a gift. Beowulf thanks him.}

Offspring of Ecglaf, off to bear Hrunting, To take his weapon, his well-beloved iron; He him thanked for the gift, saying good he accounted 65 The war-friend and mighty, nor chid he with words then The blade of the brand: 'twas a brave-mooded hero. When the warriors were ready, arrayed in their trappings, The atheling dear to the Danemen advanced then On to the dais, where the other was sitting, 70 Grim-mooded hero, greeted King Hrothgar.

[1] K. says 'proudly giveth.'—Gr. says, 'And gives no gold-plated rings, in order to incite the recipient to boastfulness.'—B. suggests 'gyld' for 'gylp,' and renders: And gives no beaten rings for reward.

[2] If S.'s emendation be accepted, v. 57 will read: Then came the light, going bright after darkness: the warriors, etc.

[3] As the passage stands in H.-So., Unferth presents Beowulf with the sword Hrunting, and B. thanks him for the gift. If, however, the suggestions of Grdtvg. and M. be accepted, the passage will read: Then the brave one (i.e. Beowulf) commanded that Hrunting be borne to the son of Ecglaf (Unferth), bade him take his sword, his dear weapon; he (B.) thanked him (U.) for the loan, etc.



{Beowulf's farewell.}

Beowulf spake, Ecgtheow's offspring: "We men of the water wish to declare now Fared from far-lands, we're firmly determined To seek King Higelac. Here have we fitly 5 Been welcomed and feasted, as heart would desire it; Good was the greeting. If greater affection I am anywise able ever on earth to Gain at thy hands, ruler of heroes, Than yet I have done, I shall quickly be ready

{I shall be ever ready to aid thee.}

10 For combat and conflict. O'er the course of the waters Learn I that neighbors alarm thee with terror, As haters did whilom, I hither will bring thee For help unto heroes henchmen by thousands.

{My liegelord will encourage me in aiding thee.}

I know as to Higelac, the lord of the Geatmen, 15 Though young in years, he yet will permit me, By words and by works, ward of the people, Fully to furnish thee forces and bear thee My lance to relieve thee, if liegemen shall fail thee, And help of my hand-strength; if Hrethric be treating, [63] 20 Bairn of the king, at the court of the Geatmen, He thereat may find him friends in abundance: Faraway countries he were better to seek for Who trusts in himself." Hrothgar discoursed then, Making rejoinder: "These words thou hast uttered 25 All-knowing God hath given thy spirit!

{O Beowulf, thou art wise beyond thy years.}

Ne'er heard I an earlman thus early in life More clever in speaking: thou'rt cautious of spirit, Mighty of muscle, in mouth-answers prudent. I count on the hope that, happen it ever 30 That missile shall rob thee of Hrethel's descendant, Edge-horrid battle, and illness or weapon Deprive thee of prince, of people's protector,

{Should Higelac die, the Geats could find no better successor than thou wouldst make.}

And life thou yet holdest, the Sea-Geats will never Find a more fitting folk-lord to choose them, 35 Gem-ward of heroes, than thou mightest prove thee, If the kingdom of kinsmen thou carest to govern. Thy mood-spirit likes me the longer the better, Beowulf dear: thou hast brought it to pass that To both these peoples peace shall be common,

{Thou hast healed the ancient breach between our races.}

40 To Geat-folk and Danemen, the strife be suspended, The secret assailings they suffered in yore-days; And also that jewels be shared while I govern The wide-stretching kingdom, and that many shall visit Others o'er the ocean with excellent gift-gems: 45 The ring-adorned bark shall bring o'er the currents Presents and love-gifts. This people I know Tow'rd foeman and friend firmly established,[1] After ancient etiquette everywise blameless." Then the warden of earlmen gave him still farther,

{Parting gifts}

50 Kinsman of Healfdene, a dozen of jewels, Bade him safely seek with the presents His well-beloved people, early returning.


{Hrothgar kisses Beowulf, and weeps.}

Then the noble-born king kissed the distinguished, Dear-loved liegeman, the Dane-prince saluted him, 55 And clasped his neck; tears from him fell, From the gray-headed man: he two things expected, Aged and reverend, but rather the second, [2]That bold in council they'd meet thereafter. The man was so dear that he failed to suppress the 60 Emotions that moved him, but in mood-fetters fastened

{The old king is deeply grieved to part with his benefactor.}

The long-famous hero longeth in secret Deep in his spirit for the dear-beloved man Though not a blood-kinsman. Beowulf thenceward, Gold-splendid warrior, walked o'er the meadows 65 Exulting in treasure: the sea-going vessel Riding at anchor awaited its owner. As they pressed on their way then, the present of Hrothgar

{Giving liberally is the true proof of kingship.}

Was frequently referred to: a folk-king indeed that Everyway blameless, till age did debar him 70 The joys of his might, which hath many oft injured.

[1] For 'geworhte,' the crux of this passage, B. proposes 'geohte,' rendering: I know this people with firm thought every way blameless towards foe and friends.

[2] S. and B. emend so as to negative the verb 'meet.' "Why should Hrothgar weep if he expects to meet Beowulf again?" both these scholars ask. But the weeping is mentioned before the 'expectations': the tears may have been due to many emotions, especially gratitude, struggling for expression.



Then the band of very valiant retainers Came to the current; they were clad all in armor,

{The coast-guard again.}

In link-woven burnies. The land-warder noticed The return of the earlmen, as he erstwhile had seen them; 5 Nowise with insult he greeted the strangers From the naze of the cliff, but rode on to meet them; Said the bright-armored visitors[1] vesselward traveled [65] Welcome to Weders. The wide-bosomed craft then Lay on the sand, laden with armor, 10 With horses and jewels, the ring-stemmed sailer: The mast uptowered o'er the treasure of Hrothgar.

{Beowulf gives the guard a handsome sword.}

To the boat-ward a gold-bound brand he presented, That he was afterwards honored on the ale-bench more highly As the heirloom's owner. [2]Set he out on his vessel, 15 To drive on the deep, Dane-country left he. Along by the mast then a sea-garment fluttered, A rope-fastened sail. The sea-boat resounded, The wind o'er the waters the wave-floater nowise Kept from its journey; the sea-goer traveled, 20 The foamy-necked floated forth o'er the currents, The well-fashioned vessel o'er the ways of the ocean,

{The Geats see their own land again.}

Till they came within sight of the cliffs of the Geatmen, The well-known headlands. The wave-goer hastened Driven by breezes, stood on the shore.

{The port-warden is anxiously looking for them.}

25 Prompt at the ocean, the port-ward was ready, Who long in the past outlooked in the distance,[3] At water's-edge waiting well-loved heroes; He bound to the bank then the broad-bosomed vessel Fast in its fetters, lest the force of the waters 30 Should be able to injure the ocean-wood winsome. Bade he up then take the treasure of princes, Plate-gold and fretwork; not far was it thence To go off in search of the giver of jewels: [66] Hrethel's son Higelac at home there remaineth,[4] 35 Himself with his comrades close to the sea-coast. The building was splendid, the king heroic, Great in his hall, Hygd very young was,

{Hygd, the noble queen of Higelac, lavish of gifts.}

Fine-mooded, clever, though few were the winters That the daughter of Haereth had dwelt in the borough; 40 But she nowise was cringing nor niggard of presents, Of ornaments rare, to the race of the Geatmen.

{Offa's consort, Thrytho, is contrasted with Hygd.}

Thrytho nursed anger, excellent[5] folk-queen, Hot-burning hatred: no hero whatever 'Mong household companions, her husband excepted

{She is a terror to all save her husband.}

45 Dared to adventure to look at the woman With eyes in the daytime;[6] but he knew that death-chains Hand-wreathed were wrought him: early thereafter, When the hand-strife was over, edges were ready, That fierce-raging sword-point had to force a decision, 50 Murder-bale show. Such no womanly custom For a lady to practise, though lovely her person, That a weaver-of-peace, on pretence of anger A beloved liegeman of life should deprive. Soothly this hindered Heming's kinsman; 55 Other ale-drinking earlmen asserted That fearful folk-sorrows fewer she wrought them, Treacherous doings, since first she was given Adorned with gold to the war-hero youthful, For her origin honored, when Offa's great palace 60 O'er the fallow flood by her father's instructions She sought on her journey, where she afterwards fully, Famed for her virtue, her fate on the king's-seat [67] Enjoyed in her lifetime, love did she hold with The ruler of heroes, the best, it is told me, 65 Of all of the earthmen that oceans encompass, Of earl-kindreds endless; hence Offa was famous Far and widely, by gifts and by battles, Spear-valiant hero; the home of his fathers He governed with wisdom, whence Eomaer did issue 70 For help unto heroes, Heming's kinsman, Grandson of Garmund, great in encounters.

[1] For 'scawan' (1896), 'scaethan' has been proposed. Accepting this, we may render: He said the bright-armored warriors were going to their vessel, welcome, etc. (Cf. 1804.)

[2] R. suggests, 'Gewat him on naca,' and renders: The vessel set out, to drive on the sea, the Dane-country left. 'On' bears the alliteration; cf. 'on hafu' (2524). This has some advantages over the H.-So. reading; viz. (1) It adds nothing to the text; (2) it makes 'naca' the subject, and thus brings the passage into keeping with the context, where the poet has exhausted his vocabulary in detailing the actions of the vessel.—B.'s emendation (cf. P. and B. XII. 97) is violent.

[3] B. translates: Who for a long time, ready at the coast, had looked out into the distance eagerly for the dear men. This changes the syntax of 'leofra manna.'

[4] For 'wunaeth' (v. 1924) several eminent critics suggest 'wunade' (=remained). This makes the passage much clearer.

[5] Why should such a woman be described as an 'excellent' queen? C. suggests 'frecnu' = dangerous, bold.

[6] For 'an daeges' various readings have been offered. If 'and-eges' be accepted, the sentence will read: No hero ... dared look upon her, eye to eye. If 'an-daeges' be adopted, translate: Dared look upon her the whole day.



Then the brave one departed, his band along with him,

{Beowulf and his party seek Higelac.}

Seeking the sea-shore, the sea-marches treading, The wide-stretching shores. The world-candle glimmered, The sun from the southward; they proceeded then onward, 5 Early arriving where they heard that the troop-lord, Ongentheow's slayer, excellent, youthful Folk-prince and warrior was distributing jewels, Close in his castle. The coming of Beowulf Was announced in a message quickly to Higelac, 10 That the folk-troop's defender forth to the palace The linden-companion alive was advancing, Secure from the combat courtward a-going. The building was early inward made ready For the foot-going guests as the good one had ordered.

{Beowulf sits by his liegelord.}

15 He sat by the man then who had lived through the struggle, Kinsman by kinsman, when the king of the people Had in lordly language saluted the dear one,

{Queen Hygd receives the heroes.}

In words that were formal. The daughter of Haereth Coursed through the building, carrying mead-cups:[1] [68] 20 She loved the retainers, tendered the beakers To the high-minded Geatmen. Higelac 'gan then

{Higelac is greatly interested in Beowulf's adventures.}

Pleasantly plying his companion with questions In the high-towering palace. A curious interest Tormented his spirit, what meaning to see in 25 The Sea-Geats' adventures: "Beowulf worthy,

{Give an account of thy adventures, Beowulf dear.}

How throve your journeying, when thou thoughtest suddenly Far o'er the salt-streams to seek an encounter, A battle at Heorot? Hast bettered for Hrothgar, The famous folk-leader, his far-published sorrows 30 Any at all? In agony-billows

{My suspense has been great.}

I mused upon torture, distrusted the journey Of the beloved liegeman; I long time did pray thee By no means to seek out the murderous spirit, To suffer the South-Danes themselves to decide on[2] 35 Grappling with Grendel. To God I am thankful To be suffered to see thee safe from thy journey."

{Beowulf narrates his adventures.}

Beowulf answered, bairn of old Ecgtheow: "'Tis hidden by no means, Higelac chieftain, From many of men, the meeting so famous, 40 What mournful moments of me and of Grendel Were passed in the place where he pressing affliction On the Victory-Scyldings scathefully brought, Anguish forever; that all I avenged, So that any under heaven of the kinsmen of Grendel

{Grendel's kindred have no cause to boast.}

45 Needeth not boast of that cry-in-the-morning, Who longest liveth of the loth-going kindred,[3] Encompassed by moorland. I came in my journey To the royal ring-hall, Hrothgar to greet there:

{Hrothgar received me very cordially.}

Soon did the famous scion of Healfdene, 50 When he understood fully the spirit that led me, Assign me a seat with the son of his bosom. [69] The troop was in joyance; mead-glee greater 'Neath arch of the ether not ever beheld I

{The queen also showed up no little honor.}

'Mid hall-building holders. The highly-famed queen, 55 Peace-tie of peoples, oft passed through the building, Cheered the young troopers; she oft tendered a hero A beautiful ring-band, ere she went to her sitting.

{Hrothgar's lovely daughter.}

Oft the daughter of Hrothgar in view of the courtiers To the earls at the end the ale-vessel carried, 60 Whom Freaware I heard then hall-sitters title, When nail-adorned jewels she gave to the heroes:

{She is betrothed to Ingeld, in order to unite the Danes and Heathobards.}

Gold-bedecked, youthful, to the glad son of Froda Her faith has been plighted; the friend of the Scyldings, The guard of the kingdom, hath given his sanction,[4] 65 And counts it a vantage, for a part of the quarrels, A portion of hatred, to pay with the woman. [5]Somewhere not rarely, when the ruler has fallen, The life-taking lance relaxeth its fury For a brief breathing-spell, though the bride be charming!

[1] 'Meodu-scencum' (1981) some would render 'with mead-pourers.' Translate then: The daughter of Haereth went through the building accompanied by mead-pourers.

[2] See my note to 1599, supra, and B. in P. and B. XII. 97.

[3] For 'fenne,' supplied by Grdtvg., B. suggests 'facne' (cf. Jul. 350). Accepting this, translate: Who longest lives of the hated race, steeped in treachery.

[4] See note to v. 1599 above.

[5] This is perhaps the least understood sentence in the poem, almost every word being open to dispute. (1) The 'no' of our text is an emendation, and is rejected by many scholars. (2) 'Seldan' is by some taken as an adv. (= seldom), and by others as a noun (= page, companion). (3) 'Leod-hryre,' some render 'fall of the people'; others, 'fall of the prince.' (4) 'Bugeeth,' most scholars regard as the intrans. verb meaning 'bend,' 'rest'; but one great scholar has translated it 'shall kill.' (5) 'Hwaer,' Very recently, has been attacked, 'waere' being suggested. (6) As a corollary to the above, the same critic proposes to drop 'oft' out of the text.—t.B. suggests: Oft seldan waere after leodhryre: lytle hwile bongar bugeeth, eah seo bryd duge = often has a treaty been (thus) struck, after a prince had fallen: (but only) a short time is the spear (then) wont to rest, however excellent the bride may be.



"It well may discomfit the prince of the Heathobards And each of the thanemen of earls that attend him, [70] When he goes to the building escorting the woman, That a noble-born Daneman the knights should be feasting: 5 There gleam on his person the leavings of elders Hard and ring-bright, Heathobards' treasure, While they wielded their arms, till they misled to the battle Their own dear lives and beloved companions. He saith at the banquet who the collar beholdeth, 10 An ancient ash-warrior who earlmen's destruction Clearly recalleth (cruel his spirit), Sadly beginneth sounding the youthful Thane-champion's spirit through the thoughts of his bosom, War-grief to waken, and this word-answer speaketh:

{Ingeld is stirred up to break the truce.}

15 'Art thou able, my friend, to know when thou seest it The brand which thy father bare to the conflict In his latest adventure, 'neath visor of helmet, The dearly-loved iron, where Danemen did slay him, And brave-mooded Scyldings, on the fall of the heroes, 20 (When vengeance was sleeping) the slaughter-place wielded? E'en now some man of the murderer's progeny Exulting in ornaments enters the building, Boasts of his blood-shedding, offbeareth the jewel Which thou shouldst wholly hold in possession!' 25 So he urgeth and mindeth on every occasion With woe-bringing words, till waxeth the season When the woman's thane for the works of his father, The bill having bitten, blood-gory sleepeth, Fated to perish; the other one thenceward 30 'Scapeth alive, the land knoweth thoroughly.[1] Then the oaths of the earlmen on each side are broken, When rancors unresting are raging in Ingeld And his wife-love waxeth less warm after sorrow. So the Heathobards' favor not faithful I reckon, 35 Their part in the treaty not true to the Danemen, Their friendship not fast. I further shall tell thee


{Having made these preliminary statements, I will now tell thee of Grendel, the monster.}

More about Grendel, that thou fully mayst hear, Ornament-giver, what afterward came from The hand-rush of heroes. When heaven's bright jewel 40 O'er earthfields had glided, the stranger came raging, The horrible night-fiend, us for to visit, Where wholly unharmed the hall we were guarding.

{Hondscio fell first}

To Hondscio happened a hopeless contention, Death to the doomed one, dead he fell foremost, 45 Girded war-champion; to him Grendel became then, To the vassal distinguished, a tooth-weaponed murderer, The well-beloved henchman's body all swallowed. Not the earlier off empty of hand did The bloody-toothed murderer, mindful of evils, 50 Wish to escape from the gold-giver's palace, But sturdy of strength he strove to outdo me, Hand-ready grappled. A glove was suspended Spacious and wondrous, in art-fetters fastened, Which was fashioned entirely by touch of the craftman 55 From the dragon's skin by the devil's devices: He down in its depths would do me unsadly One among many, deed-doer raging, Though sinless he saw me; not so could it happen When I in my anger upright did stand. 60 'Tis too long to recount how requital I furnished For every evil to the earlmen's destroyer;

{I reflected honor upon my people.}

'Twas there, my prince, that I proudly distinguished Thy land with my labors. He left and retreated, He lived his life a little while longer: 65 Yet his right-hand guarded his footstep in Heorot, And sad-mooded thence to the sea-bottom fell he, Mournful in mind. For the might-rush of battle

{King Hrothgar lavished gifts upon me.}

The friend of the Scyldings, with gold that was plated, With ornaments many, much requited me, 70 When daylight had dawned, and down to the banquet We had sat us together. There was chanting and joyance: The age-stricken Scylding asked many questions [72] And of old-times related; oft light-ringing harp-strings, Joy-telling wood, were touched by the brave one; 75 Now he uttered measures, mourning and truthful, Then the large-hearted land-king a legend of wonder Truthfully told us. Now troubled with years

{The old king is sad over the loss of his youthful vigor.}

The age-hoary warrior afterward began to Mourn for the might that marked him in youth-days; 80 His breast within boiled, when burdened with winters Much he remembered. From morning till night then We joyed us therein as etiquette suffered, Till the second night season came unto earth-folk. Then early thereafter, the mother of Grendel

{Grendel's mother.}

85 Was ready for vengeance, wretched she journeyed; Her son had death ravished, the wrath of the Geatmen. The horrible woman avenged her offspring, And with mighty mainstrength murdered a hero.

{AEschere falls a prey to her vengeance.}

There the spirit of AEschere, aged adviser, 90 Was ready to vanish; nor when morn had lightened Were they anywise suffered to consume him with fire, Folk of the Danemen, the death-weakened hero, Nor the beloved liegeman to lay on the pyre;

{She suffered not his body to be burned, but ate it.}

She the corpse had offcarried in the clutch of the foeman[2] 95 'Neath mountain-brook's flood. To Hrothgar 'twas saddest Of pains that ever had preyed on the chieftain; By the life of thee the land-prince then me[3] Besought very sadly, in sea-currents' eddies To display my prowess, to peril my safety, 100 Might-deeds accomplish; much did he promise.

{I sought the creature in her den,}

I found then the famous flood-current's cruel, Horrible depth-warder. A while unto us two [73] Hand was in common; the currents were seething With gore that was clotted, and Grendel's fierce mother's

{and hewed her head off.}

105 Head I offhacked in the hall at the bottom With huge-reaching sword-edge, hardly I wrested My life from her clutches; not doomed was I then,

{Jewels were freely bestowed upon me.}

But the warden of earlmen afterward gave me Jewels in quantity, kinsman of Healfdene.

[1] For 'lifigende' (2063), a mere conjecture, 'wigende' has been suggested. The line would then read: Escapeth by fighting, knows the land thoroughly.

[2] For 'faeethmum,' Gr.'s conjecture, B. proposes 'faerunga.' These three half-verses would then read: She bore off the corpse of her foe suddenly under the mountain-torrent.

[3] The phrase 'ine lyfe' (2132) was long rendered 'with thy (presupposed) permission.' The verse would read: The land-prince then sadly besought me, with thy (presupposed) permission, etc.

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