Beowulf - An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem
by The Heyne-Socin
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"So the beloved land-prince lived in decorum; I had missed no rewards, no meeds of my prowess, But he gave me jewels, regarding my wishes, Healfdene his bairn; I'll bring them to thee, then,

{All my gifts I lay at thy feet.}

5 Atheling of earlmen, offer them gladly. And still unto thee is all my affection:[1] But few of my folk-kin find I surviving But thee, dear Higelac!" Bade he in then to carry[2] The boar-image, banner, battle-high helmet, 10 Iron-gray armor, the excellent weapon,

{This armor I have belonged of yore to Heregar.}

In song-measures said: "This suit-for-the-battle Hrothgar presented me, bade me expressly, Wise-mooded atheling, thereafter to tell thee[3] The whole of its history, said King Heregar owned it, 15 Dane-prince for long: yet he wished not to give then [74] The mail to his son, though dearly he loved him, Hereward the hardy. Hold all in joyance!" I heard that there followed hard on the jewels Two braces of stallions of striking resemblance, 20 Dappled and yellow; he granted him usance Of horses and treasures. So a kinsman should bear him, No web of treachery weave for another, Nor by cunning craftiness cause the destruction

{Higelac loves his nephew Beowulf.}

Of trusty companion. Most precious to Higelac, 25 The bold one in battle, was the bairn of his sister, And each unto other mindful of favors.

{Beowulf gives Hygd the necklace that Wealhtheow had given him.}

I am told that to Hygd he proffered the necklace, Wonder-gem rare that Wealhtheow gave him, The troop-leader's daughter, a trio of horses 30 Slender and saddle-bright; soon did the jewel Embellish her bosom, when the beer-feast was over. So Ecgtheow's bairn brave did prove him,

{Beowulf is famous.}

War-famous man, by deeds that were valiant, He lived in honor, beloved companions 35 Slew not carousing; his mood was not cruel, But by hand-strength hugest of heroes then living The brave one retained the bountiful gift that The Lord had allowed him. Long was he wretched, So that sons of the Geatmen accounted him worthless, 40 And the lord of the liegemen loth was to do him Mickle of honor, when mead-cups were passing; They fully believed him idle and sluggish,

{He is requited for the slights suffered in earlier days.}

An indolent atheling: to the honor-blest man there Came requital for the cuts he had suffered. 45 The folk-troop's defender bade fetch to the building The heirloom of Hrethel, embellished with gold,

{Higelac overwhelms the conqueror with gifts.}

So the brave one enjoined it; there was jewel no richer In the form of a weapon 'mong Geats of that era; In Beowulf's keeping he placed it and gave him 50 Seven of thousands, manor and lordship. Common to both was land 'mong the people, [75] Estate and inherited rights and possessions, To the second one specially spacious dominions, To the one who was better. It afterward happened 55 In days that followed, befell the battle-thanes,

{After Heardred's death, Beowulf becomes king.}

After Higelac's death, and when Heardred was murdered With weapons of warfare 'neath well-covered targets, When valiant battlemen in victor-band sought him, War-Scylfing heroes harassed the nephew 60 Of Hereric in battle. To Beowulf's keeping Turned there in time extensive dominions:

{He rules the Geats fifty years.}

He fittingly ruled them a fifty of winters (He a man-ruler wise was, manor-ward old) till A certain one 'gan, on gloom-darkening nights, a

{The fire-drake.}

65 Dragon, to govern, who guarded a treasure, A high-rising stone-cliff, on heath that was grayish: A path 'neath it lay, unknown unto mortals. Some one of earthmen entered the mountain, The heathenish hoard laid hold of with ardor; 70 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[1] This verse B. renders, 'Now serve I again thee alone as my gracious king.'

[2] For 'eafor' (2153), Kl. suggests 'ealdor.' Translate then: Bade the prince then to bear in the banner, battle-high helmet, etc. On the other hand, W. takes 'eaforheafodsegn' as a compound, meaning 'helmet': He bade them bear in the helmet, battle-high helm, gray armor, etc.

[3] The H.-So. rendering (aerest = history, origin; 'eft' for 'est'), though liable to objection, is perhaps the best offered. 'That I should very early tell thee of his favor, kindness' sounds well; but 'his' is badly placed to limit 'est.'—Perhaps, 'eft' with verbs of saying may have the force of Lat. prefix 're,' and the H.-So. reading mean, 'that I should its origin rehearse to thee.'



* * * * * * * He sought of himself who sorely did harm him, But, for need very pressing, the servant of one of The sons of the heroes hate-blows evaded, 5 Seeking for shelter and the sin-driven warrior Took refuge within there. He early looked in it, * * * * * * * * * * * * * * [76] * * * * * * when the onset surprised him,

{The hoard.}

10 He a gem-vessel saw there: many of suchlike Ancient ornaments in the earth-cave were lying, As in days of yore some one of men of Illustrious lineage, as a legacy monstrous, There had secreted them, careful and thoughtful, 15 Dear-valued jewels. Death had offsnatched them, In the days of the past, and the one man moreover Of the flower of the folk who fared there the longest, Was fain to defer it, friend-mourning warder, A little longer to be left in enjoyment 20 Of long-lasting treasure.[1] A barrow all-ready Stood on the plain the stream-currents nigh to, New by the ness-edge, unnethe of approaching: The keeper of rings carried within a [2]Ponderous deal of the treasure of nobles, 25 Of gold that was beaten, briefly he spake then:[3]

{The ring-giver bewails the loss of retainers.}

"Hold thou, O Earth, now heroes no more may, The earnings of earlmen. Lo! erst in thy bosom Worthy men won them; war-death hath ravished, Perilous life-bale, all my warriors, 30 Liegemen beloved, who this life have forsaken, Who hall-pleasures saw. No sword-bearer have I, And no one to burnish the gold-plated vessel, The high-valued beaker: my heroes are vanished. The hardy helmet behung with gilding 35 Shall be reaved of its riches: the ring-cleansers slumber Who were charged to have ready visors-for-battle, And the burnie that bided in battle-encounter [77] O'er breaking of war-shields the bite of the edges Moulds with the hero. The ring-twisted armor, 40 Its lord being lifeless, no longer may journey Hanging by heroes; harp-joy is vanished, The rapture of glee-wood, no excellent falcon Swoops through the building, no swift-footed charger Grindeth the gravel. A grievous destruction 45 No few of the world-folk widely hath scattered!" So, woful of spirit one after all Lamented mournfully, moaning in sadness By day and by night, till death with its billows

{The fire-dragon}

Dashed on his spirit. Then the ancient dusk-scather 50 Found the great treasure standing all open, He who flaming and fiery flies to the barrows, Naked war-dragon, nightly escapeth Encompassed with fire; men under heaven Widely beheld him. 'Tis said that he looks for[4] 55 The hoard in the earth, where old he is guarding The heathenish treasure; he'll be nowise the better.

{The dragon meets his match.}

So three-hundred winters the waster of peoples Held upon earth that excellent hoard-hall, Till the forementioned earlman angered him bitterly: 60 The beat-plated beaker he bare to his chieftain And fullest remission for all his remissness Begged of his liegelord. Then the hoard[5] was discovered, The treasure was taken, his petition was granted

{The hero plunders the dragon's den}

The lorn-mooded liegeman. His lord regarded 65 The old-work of earth-folk—'twas the earliest occasion. When the dragon awoke, the strife was renewed there; He snuffed 'long the stone then, stout-hearted found he [78] The footprint of foeman; too far had he gone With cunning craftiness close to the head of 70 The fire-spewing dragon. So undoomed he may 'scape from Anguish and exile with ease who possesseth The favor of Heaven. The hoard-warden eagerly Searched o'er the ground then, would meet with the person That caused him sorrow while in slumber reclining: 75 Gleaming and wild he oft went round the cavern, All of it outward; not any of earthmen Was seen in that desert.[6] Yet he joyed in the battle, Rejoiced in the conflict: oft he turned to the barrow, Sought for the gem-cup;[7] this he soon perceived then

{The dragon perceives that some one has disturbed his treasure.}

80 That some man or other had discovered the gold, The famous folk-treasure. Not fain did the hoard-ward Wait until evening; then the ward of the barrow Was angry in spirit, the loathed one wished to Pay for the dear-valued drink-cup with fire. 85 Then the day was done as the dragon would have it, He no longer would wait on the wall, but departed

{The dragon is infuriated.}

Fire-impelled, flaming. Fearful the start was To earls in the land, as it early thereafter To their giver-of-gold was grievously ended.

[1] For 'long-gestreona,' B. suggests 'laengestreona,' and renders, Of fleeting treasures. S. accepts H.'s 'long-gestreona,' but renders, The treasure long in accumulating.

[2] For 'hard-fyrdne' (2246), B. first suggested 'hard-fyndne,' rendering: A heap of treasures ... so great that its equal would be hard to find. The same scholar suggests later 'hord-wynne dael' = A deal of treasure-joy.

[3] Some read 'fec-word' (2247), and render: Banning words uttered.

[4] An earlier reading of H.'s gave the following meaning to this passage: He is said to inhabit a mound under the earth, where he, etc. The translation in the text is more authentic.

[5] The repetition of 'hord' in this passage has led some scholars to suggest new readings to avoid the second 'hord.' This, however, is not under the main stress, and, it seems to me, might easily be accepted.

[6] The reading of H.-So. is well defended in the notes to that volume. B. emends and renders: Nor was there any man in that desert who rejoiced in conflict, in battle-work. That is, the hoard-ward could not find any one who had disturbed his slumbers, for no warrior was there, t.B.'s emendation would give substantially the same translation.

[7] 'Sinc-faet' (2301): this word both here and in v. 2232, t.B. renders 'treasure.'



{The dragon spits fire.}

The stranger began then to vomit forth fire, To burn the great manor; the blaze then glimmered For anguish to earlmen, not anything living [79] Was the hateful air-goer willing to leave there. 5 The war of the worm widely was noticed, The feud of the foeman afar and anear, How the enemy injured the earls of the Geatmen, Harried with hatred: back he hied to the treasure, To the well-hidden cavern ere the coming of daylight. 10 He had circled with fire the folk of those regions, With brand and burning; in the barrow he trusted, In the wall and his war-might: the weening deceived him.

{Beowulf hears of the havoc wrought by the dragon.}

Then straight was the horror to Beowulf published, Early forsooth, that his own native homestead,[1] 15 The best of buildings, was burning and melting, Gift-seat of Geatmen. 'Twas a grief to the spirit Of the good-mooded hero, the greatest of sorrows:

{He fears that Heaven is punishing him for some crime.}

The wise one weened then that wielding his kingdom 'Gainst the ancient commandments, he had bitterly angered 20 The Lord everlasting: with lorn meditations His bosom welled inward, as was nowise his custom. The fire-spewing dragon fully had wasted The fastness of warriors, the water-land outward, The manor with fire. The folk-ruling hero, 25 Prince of the Weders, was planning to wreak him. The warmen's defender bade them to make him, Earlmen's atheling, an excellent war-shield

{He orders an iron shield to be made from him, wood is useless.}

Wholly of iron: fully he knew then That wood from the forest was helpless to aid him, 30 Shield against fire. The long-worthy ruler Must live the last of his limited earth-days, Of life in the world and the worm along with him, Though he long had been holding hoard-wealth in plenty.

{He determines to fight alone.}

Then the ring-prince disdained to seek with a war-band, 35 With army extensive, the air-going ranger; He felt no fear of the foeman's assaults and He counted for little the might of the dragon, [80] His power and prowess: for previously dared he

{Beowulf's early triumphs referred to}

A heap of hostility, hazarded dangers, 40 War-thane, when Hrothgar's palace he cleansed, Conquering combatant, clutched in the battle The kinsmen of Grendel, of kindred detested.[2]

{Higelac's death recalled.}

'Twas of hand-fights not least where Higelac was slaughtered, When the king of the Geatmen with clashings of battle, 45 Friend-lord of folks in Frisian dominions, Offspring of Hrethrel perished through sword-drink, With battle-swords beaten; thence Beowulf came then On self-help relying, swam through the waters; He bare on his arm, lone-going, thirty 50 Outfits of armor, when the ocean he mounted. The Hetwars by no means had need to be boastful Of their fighting afoot, who forward to meet him Carried their war-shields: not many returned from The brave-mooded battle-knight back to their homesteads. 55 Ecgtheow's bairn o'er the bight-courses swam then, Lone-goer lorn to his land-folk returning, Where Hygd to him tendered treasure and kingdom,

{Heardred's lack of capacity to rule.}

Rings and dominion: her son she not trusted, To be able to keep the kingdom devised him 60 'Gainst alien races, on the death of King Higelac.

{Beowulf's tact and delicacy recalled.}

Yet the sad ones succeeded not in persuading the atheling In any way ever, to act as a suzerain To Heardred, or promise to govern the kingdom; Yet with friendly counsel in the folk he sustained him, 65 Gracious, with honor, till he grew to be older,

{Reference is here made to a visit which Beowulf receives from Eanmund and Eadgils, why they come is not known.}

Wielded the Weders. Wide-fleeing outlaws, Ohthere's sons, sought him o'er the waters: They had stirred a revolt 'gainst the helm of the Scylfings, The best of the sea-kings, who in Swedish dominions 70 Distributed treasure, distinguished folk-leader. [81] 'Twas the end of his earth-days; injury fatal[3] By swing of the sword he received as a greeting, Offspring of Higelac; Ongentheow's bairn Later departed to visit his homestead, 75 When Heardred was dead; let Beowulf rule them, Govern the Geatmen: good was that folk-king.

[1] 'Ham' (2326), the suggestion of B. is accepted by t.B. and other scholars.

[2] For 'laethan cynnes' (2355), t.B. suggests 'laethan cynne,' apposition to 'maegum.' From syntactical and other considerations, this is a most excellent emendation.

[3] Gr. read 'on feorme' (2386), rendering: He there at the banquet a fatal wound received by blows of the sword.



He planned requital for the folk-leader's ruin In days thereafter, to Eadgils the wretched Becoming an enemy. Ohthere's son then Went with a war-troop o'er the wide-stretching currents 5 With warriors and weapons: with woe-journeys cold he After avenged him, the king's life he took.

{Beowulf has been preserved through many perils.}

So he came off uninjured from all of his battles, Perilous fights, offspring of Ecgtheow, From his deeds of daring, till that day most momentous 10 When he fate-driven fared to fight with the dragon.

{With eleven comrades, he seeks the dragon.}

With eleven companions the prince of the Geatmen Went lowering with fury to look at the fire-drake: Inquiring he'd found how the feud had arisen, Hate to his heroes; the highly-famed gem-vessel 15 Was brought to his keeping through the hand of th' informer.

{A guide leads the way, but}

That in the throng was thirteenth of heroes, That caused the beginning of conflict so bitter, Captive and wretched, must sad-mooded thenceward

{very reluctantly.}

Point out the place: he passed then unwillingly 20 To the spot where he knew of the notable cavern, The cave under earth, not far from the ocean, The anger of eddies, which inward was full of Jewels and wires: a warden uncanny, [82] Warrior weaponed, wardered the treasure, 25 Old under earth; no easy possession For any of earth-folk access to get to. Then the battle-brave atheling sat on the naze-edge, While the gold-friend of Geatmen gracious saluted His fireside-companions: woe was his spirit, 30 Death-boding, wav'ring; Weird very near him, Who must seize the old hero, his soul-treasure look for, Dragging aloof his life from his body: Not flesh-hidden long was the folk-leader's spirit. Beowulf spake, Ecgtheow's son:

{Beowulf's retrospect.}

35 "I survived in my youth-days many a conflict, Hours of onset: that all I remember. I was seven-winters old when the jewel-prince took me, High-lord of heroes, at the hands of my father, Hrethel the hero-king had me in keeping,

{Hrethel took me when I was seven.}

40 Gave me treasure and feasting, our kinship remembered; Not ever was I any less dear to him

{He treated me as a son.}

Knight in the boroughs, than the bairns of his household, Herebald and Haethcyn and Higelac mine. To the eldest unjustly by acts of a kinsman 45 Was murder-bed strewn, since him Haethcyn from horn-bow

{One of the brothers accidentally kills another.}

His sheltering chieftain shot with an arrow, Erred in his aim and injured his kinsman, One brother the other, with blood-sprinkled spear:

{No fee could compound for such a calamity.}

'Twas a feeless fight, finished in malice, 50 Sad to his spirit; the folk-prince however Had to part from existence with vengeance untaken.

{[A parallel case is supposed.]}

So to hoar-headed hero 'tis heavily crushing[1] [83] To live to see his son as he rideth Young on the gallows: then measures he chanteth, 55 A song of sorrow, when his son is hanging For the raven's delight, and aged and hoary He is unable to offer any assistance. Every morning his offspring's departure Is constant recalled: he cares not to wait for 60 The birth of an heir in his borough-enclosures, Since that one through death-pain the deeds hath experienced. He heart-grieved beholds in the house of his son the Wine-building wasted, the wind-lodging places Reaved of their roaring; the riders are sleeping, 65 The knights in the grave; there's no sound of the harp-wood, Joy in the yards, as of yore were familiar.

[1] 'Gomelum ceorle' (2445).—H. takes these words as referring to Hrethel; but the translator here departs from his editor by understanding the poet to refer to a hypothetical old man, introduced as an illustration of a father's sorrow.

Hrethrel had certainly never seen a son of his ride on the gallows to feed the crows.

The passage beginning 'swa bieth geomorlic' seems to be an effort to reach a full simile, 'as ... so.' 'As it is mournful for an old man, etc. ... so the defence of the Weders (2463) bore heart-sorrow, etc.' The verses 2451 to 2463-1/2 would be parenthetical, the poet's feelings being so strong as to interrupt the simile. The punctuation of the fourth edition would be better—a comma after 'galgan' (2447). The translation may be indicated as follows: (Just) as it is sad for an old man to see his son ride young on the gallows when he himself is uttering mournful measures, a sorrowful song, while his son hangs for a comfort to the raven, and he, old and infirm, cannot render him any kelp—(he is constantly reminded, etc., 2451-2463)—so the defence of the Weders, etc.



"He seeks then his chamber, singeth a woe-song One for the other; all too extensive Seemed homesteads and plains. So the helm of the Weders

{Hrethel grieves for Herebald.}

Mindful of Herebald heart-sorrow carried, 5 Stirred with emotion, nowise was able To wreak his ruin on the ruthless destroyer: He was unable to follow the warrior with hatred, With deeds that were direful, though dear he not held him. [84] Then pressed by the pang this pain occasioned him, 10 He gave up glee, God-light elected; He left to his sons, as the man that is rich does, His land and fortress, when from life he departed.

{Strife between Swedes and Geats.}

Then was crime and hostility 'twixt Swedes and Geatmen, O'er wide-stretching water warring was mutual, 15 Burdensome hatred, when Hrethel had perished, And Ongentheow's offspring were active and valiant, Wished not to hold to peace oversea, but Round Hreosna-beorh often accomplished Cruelest massacre. This my kinsman avenged, 20 The feud and fury, as 'tis found on inquiry, Though one of them paid it with forfeit of life-joys,

{Haethcyn's fall at Ravenswood.}

With price that was hard: the struggle became then Fatal to Haethcyn, lord of the Geatmen. Then I heard that at morning one brother the other 25 With edges of irons egged on to murder, Where Ongentheow maketh onset on Eofor: The helmet crashed, the hoary-haired Scylfing Sword-smitten fell, his hand then remembered Feud-hate sufficient, refused not the death-blow.

{I requited him for the jewels he gave me.}

30 The gems that he gave me, with jewel-bright sword I 'Quited in contest, as occasion was offered: Land he allowed me, life-joy at homestead, Manor to live on. Little he needed From Gepids or Danes or in Sweden to look for 35 Trooper less true, with treasure to buy him; 'Mong foot-soldiers ever in front I would hie me, Alone in the vanguard, and evermore gladly Warfare shall wage, while this weapon endureth That late and early often did serve me

{Beowulf refers to his having slain Daeghrefn.}

40 When I proved before heroes the slayer of Daeghrefn, Knight of the Hugmen: he by no means was suffered To the king of the Frisians to carry the jewels, The breast-decoration; but the banner-possessor Bowed in the battle, brave-mooded atheling. [85] 45 No weapon was slayer, but war-grapple broke then The surge of his spirit, his body destroying. Now shall weapon's edge make war for the treasure, And hand and firm-sword." Beowulf spake then, Boast-words uttered—the latest occasion:

{He boasts of his youthful prowess, and declares himself still fearless.}

50 "I braved in my youth-days battles unnumbered; Still am I willing the struggle to look for, Fame-deeds perform, folk-warden prudent, If the hateful despoiler forth from his cavern Seeketh me out!" Each of the heroes, 55 Helm-bearers sturdy, he thereupon greeted

{His last salutations.}

Beloved co-liegemen—his last salutation: "No brand would I bear, no blade for the dragon, Wist I a way my word-boast to 'complish[1] Else with the monster, as with Grendel I did it; 60 But fire in the battle hot I expect there, Furious flame-burning: so I fixed on my body Target and war-mail. The ward of the barrow[2] I'll not flee from a foot-length, the foeman uncanny. At the wall 'twill befall us as Fate decreeth,

{Let Fate decide between us.}

65 Each one's Creator. I am eager in spirit, With the winged war-hero to away with all boasting. Bide on the barrow with burnies protected,

{Wait ye here till the battle is over.}

Earls in armor, which of us two may better Bear his disaster, when the battle is over. 70 'Tis no matter of yours, and man cannot do it, But me and me only, to measure his strength with The monster of malice, might-deeds to 'complish. I with prowess shall gain the gold, or the battle, [86] Direful death-woe will drag off your ruler!" 75 The mighty champion rose by his shield then, Brave under helmet, in battle-mail went he 'Neath steep-rising stone-cliffs, the strength he relied on Of one man alone: no work for a coward. Then he saw by the wall who a great many battles 80 Had lived through, most worthy, when foot-troops collided,

{The place of strife is described.}

Stone-arches standing, stout-hearted champion, Saw a brook from the barrow bubbling out thenceward: The flood of the fountain was fuming with war-flame: Not nigh to the hoard, for season the briefest 85 Could he brave, without burning, the abyss that was yawning, The drake was so fiery. The prince of the Weders Caused then that words came from his bosom, So fierce was his fury; the firm-hearted shouted: His battle-clear voice came in resounding 90 'Neath the gray-colored stone. Stirred was his hatred,

{Beowulf calls out under the stone arches.}

The hoard-ward distinguished the speech of a man; Time was no longer to look out for friendship. The breath of the monster issued forth first, Vapory war-sweat, out of the stone-cave:

{The terrible encounter.}

95 The earth re-echoed. The earl 'neath the barrow Lifted his shield, lord of the Geatmen, Tow'rd the terrible stranger: the ring-twisted creature's Heart was then ready to seek for a struggle.

{Beowulf brandishes his sword,}

The excellent battle-king first brandished his weapon, 100 The ancient heirloom, of edges unblunted,[3] To the death-planners twain was terror from other.

{and stands against his shield.}

The lord of the troopers intrepidly stood then 'Gainst his high-rising shield, when the dragon coiled him

{The dragon coils himself.}

Quickly together: in corslet he bided. [87] 105 He went then in blazes, bended and striding, Hasting him forward. His life and body The targe well protected, for time-period shorter Than wish demanded for the well-renowned leader, Where he then for the first day was forced to be victor, 110 Famous in battle, as Fate had not willed it. The lord of the Geatmen uplifted his hand then, Smiting the fire-drake with sword that was precious, That bright on the bone the blade-edge did weaken, Bit more feebly than his folk-leader needed, 115 Burdened with bale-griefs. Then the barrow-protector,

{The dragon rages}

When the sword-blow had fallen, was fierce in his spirit, Flinging his fires, flamings of battle Gleamed then afar: the gold-friend of Weders

{Beowulf's sword fails him.}

Boasted no conquests, his battle-sword failed him 120 Naked in conflict, as by no means it ought to, Long-trusty weapon. 'Twas no slight undertaking That Ecgtheow's famous offspring would leave The drake-cavern's bottom; he must live in some region Other than this, by the will of the dragon, 125 As each one of earthmen existence must forfeit. 'Twas early thereafter the excellent warriors

{The combat is renewed.}

Met with each other. Anew and afresh The hoard-ward took heart (gasps heaved then his bosom):

{The great hero is reduced to extremities.}

Sorrow he suffered encircled with fire 130 Who the people erst governed. His companions by no means Were banded about him, bairns of the princes,

{His comrades flee!}

With valorous spirit, but they sped to the forest, Seeking for safety. The soul-deeps of one were

{Blood is thicker than water.}

Ruffled by care: kin-love can never 135 Aught in him waver who well doth consider.


[1] The clause 2520(2)-2522(1), rendered by 'Wist I ... monster,' Gr., followed by S., translates substantially as follows: If I knew how else I might combat the boastful defiance of the monster.—The translation turns upon 'wiethgripan,' a word not understood.

[2] B. emends and translates: I will not flee the space of a foot from the guard of the barrow, but there shall be to us a fight at the wall, as fate decrees, each one's Creator.

[3] The translation of this passage is based on 'unslaw' (2565), accepted by H.-So., in lieu of the long-standing 'ungleaw.' The former is taken as an adj. limiting 'sweord'; the latter as an adj. c. 'gueth-cyning': The good war-king, rash with edges, brandished his sword, his old relic. The latter gives a more rhetorical Anglo-Saxon (poetical) sentence.



{Wiglaf remains true—the ideal Teutonic liegeman.}

The son of Weohstan was Wiglaf entitled, Shield-warrior precious, prince of the Scylfings, AElfhere's kinsman: he saw his dear liegelord Enduring the heat 'neath helmet and visor. 5 Then he minded the holding that erst he had given him,

{Wiglaf recalls Beowulf's generosity.}

The Waegmunding warriors' wealth-blessed homestead, Each of the folk-rights his father had wielded; He was hot for the battle, his hand seized the target, The yellow-bark shield, he unsheathed his old weapon, 10 Which was known among earthmen as the relic of Eanmund, Ohthere's offspring, whom, exiled and friendless, Weohstan did slay with sword-edge in battle, And carried his kinsman the clear-shining helmet, The ring-made burnie, the old giant-weapon 15 That Onela gave him, his boon-fellow's armor, Ready war-trappings: he the feud did not mention, Though he'd fatally smitten the son of his brother. Many a half-year held he the treasures, The bill and the burnie, till his bairn became able, 20 Like his father before him, fame-deeds to 'complish; Then he gave him 'mong Geatmen a goodly array of Weeds for his warfare; he went from life then Old on his journey. 'Twas the earliest time then

{This is Wiglaf's first battle as liegeman of Beowulf.}

That the youthful champion might charge in the battle 25 Aiding his liegelord; his spirit was dauntless. Nor did kinsman's bequest quail at the battle: This the dragon discovered on their coming together. Wiglaf uttered many a right-saying, Said to his fellows, sad was his spirit:

{Wiglaf appeals to the pride of the cowards.}

30 "I remember the time when, tasting the mead-cup, We promised in the hall the lord of us all [89] Who gave us these ring-treasures, that this battle-equipment, Swords and helmets, we'd certainly quite him, Should need of such aid ever befall him:

{How we have forfeited our liegelord's confidence!}

35 In the war-band he chose us for this journey spontaneously, Stirred us to glory and gave me these jewels, Since he held and esteemed us trust-worthy spearmen, Hardy helm-bearers, though this hero-achievement Our lord intended alone to accomplish, 40 Ward of his people, for most of achievements, Doings audacious, he did among earth-folk.

{Our lord is in sore need of us.}

The day is now come when the ruler of earthmen Needeth the vigor of valiant heroes: Let us wend us towards him, the war-prince to succor, 45 While the heat yet rageth, horrible fire-fight.

{I would rather die than go home with out my suzerain.}

God wot in me, 'tis mickle the liefer The blaze should embrace my body and eat it With my treasure-bestower. Meseemeth not proper To bear our battle-shields back to our country, 50 'Less first we are able to fell and destroy the Long-hating foeman, to defend the life of

{Surely he does not deserve to die alone.}

The prince of the Weders. Well do I know 'tisn't Earned by his exploits, he only of Geatmen Sorrow should suffer, sink in the battle: 55 Brand and helmet to us both shall be common, [1]Shield-cover, burnie." Through the bale-smoke he stalked then, Went under helmet to the help of his chieftain,

{Wiglaf reminds Beowulf of his youthful boasts.}

Briefly discoursing: "Beowulf dear, Perform thou all fully, as thou formerly saidst, 60 In thy youthful years, that while yet thou livedst [90] Thou wouldst let thine honor not ever be lessened. Thy life thou shalt save, mighty in actions, Atheling undaunted, with all of thy vigor;

{The monster advances on them.}

I'll give thee assistance." The dragon came raging, 65 Wild-mooded stranger, when these words had been uttered ('Twas the second occasion), seeking his enemies, Men that were hated, with hot-gleaming fire-waves; With blaze-billows burned the board to its edges: The fight-armor failed then to furnish assistance 70 To the youthful spear-hero: but the young-aged stripling Quickly advanced 'neath his kinsman's war-target, Since his own had been ground in the grip of the fire.

{Beowulf strikes at the dragon.}

Then the warrior-king was careful of glory, He soundly smote with sword-for-the-battle, 75 That it stood in the head by hatred driven; Naegling was shivered, the old and iron-made

{His sword fails him.}

Brand of Beowulf in battle deceived him. 'Twas denied him that edges of irons were able To help in the battle; the hand was too mighty 80 [2]Which every weapon, as I heard on inquiry, Outstruck in its stroke, when to struggle he carried The wonderful war-sword: it waxed him no better.

{The dragon advances on Beowulf again.}

Then the people-despoiler—third of his onsets— Fierce-raging fire-drake, of feud-hate was mindful, 85 Charged on the strong one, when chance was afforded, Heated and war-grim, seized on his neck With teeth that were bitter; he bloody did wax with Soul-gore seething; sword-blood in waves boiled.

[1] The passage 'Brand ... burnie,' is much disputed. In the first place, some eminent critics assume a gap of at least two half-verses.—'Urum' (2660), being a peculiar form, has been much discussed. 'Byrdu-scrud' is also a crux. B. suggests 'bywdu-scrud' = splendid vestments. Nor is 'bam' accepted by all, 'beon' being suggested. Whatever the individual words, the passage must mean, "I intend to share with him my equipments of defence."

[2] B. would render: Which, as I heard, excelled in stroke every sword that he carried to the strife, even the strongest (sword). For 'onne' he reads 'one,' rel. pr.




{Wiglaf defends Beowulf.}

Then I heard that at need of the king of the people The upstanding earlman exhibited prowess, Vigor and courage, as suited his nature; [1]He his head did not guard, but the high-minded liegeman's 5 Hand was consumed, when he succored his kinsman, So he struck the strife-bringing strange-comer lower, Earl-thane in armor, that in went the weapon Gleaming and plated, that 'gan then the fire[2]

{Beowulf draws his knife,}

Later to lessen. The liegelord himself then 10 Retained his consciousness, brandished his war-knife, Battle-sharp, bitter, that he bare on his armor:

{and cuts the dragon.}

The Weder-lord cut the worm in the middle. They had felled the enemy (life drove out then[3] Puissant prowess), the pair had destroyed him, 15 Land-chiefs related: so a liegeman should prove him, A thaneman when needed. To the prince 'twas the last of His era of conquest by his own great achievements,


{Beowulf's wound swells and burns.}

The latest of world-deeds. The wound then began Which the earth-dwelling dragon erstwhile had wrought him 20 To burn and to swell. He soon then discovered That bitterest bale-woe in his bosom was raging, Poison within. The atheling advanced then,

{He sits down exhausted.}

That along by the wall, he prudent of spirit Might sit on a settle; he saw the giant-work, 25 How arches of stone strengthened with pillars The earth-hall eternal inward supported. Then the long-worthy liegeman laved with his hand the

{Wiglaf bathes his lord's head.}

Far-famous chieftain, gory from sword-edge, Refreshing the face of his friend-lord and ruler, 30 Sated with battle, unbinding his helmet. Beowulf answered, of his injury spake he, His wound that was fatal (he was fully aware He had lived his allotted life-days enjoying The pleasures of earth; then past was entirely 35 His measure of days, death very near):

{Beowulf regrets that he has no son.}

"My son I would give now my battle-equipments, Had any of heirs been after me granted, Along of my body. This people I governed Fifty of winters: no king 'mong my neighbors 40 Dared to encounter me with comrades-in-battle, Try me with terror. The time to me ordered I bided at home, mine own kept fitly, Sought me no snares, swore me not many

{I can rejoice in a well-spent life.}

Oaths in injustice. Joy over all this 45 I'm able to have, though ill with my death-wounds; Hence the Ruler of Earthmen need not charge me With the killing of kinsmen, when cometh my life out Forth from my body. Fare thou with haste now

{Bring me the hoard, Wiglaf, that my dying eyes may be refreshed by a sight of it.}

To behold the hoard 'neath the hoar-grayish stone, 50 Well-loved Wiglaf, now the worm is a-lying, Sore-wounded sleepeth, disseized of his treasure. Go thou in haste that treasures of old I, Gold-wealth may gaze on, together see lying [93] The ether-bright jewels, be easier able, 55 Having the heap of hoard-gems, to yield my Life and the land-folk whom long I have governed."

[1] B. renders: He (W.) did not regard his (the dragon's) head (since Beowulf had struck it without effect), but struck the dragon a little lower down.—One crux is to find out whose head is meant; another is to bring out the antithesis between 'head' and 'hand.'

[2] 'aet aet fyr' (2702), S. emends to 'a aet fyr' = when the fire began to grow less intense afterward. This emendation relieves the passage of a plethora of conjunctive aet's.

[3] For 'gefyldan' (2707), S. proposes 'gefylde.' The passage would read: He felled the foe (life drove out strength), and they then both had destroyed him, chieftains related. This gives Beowulf the credit of having felled the dragon; then they combine to annihilate him.—For 'ellen' (2707), Kl. suggests 'e(a)llne.'—The reading 'life drove out strength' is very unsatisfactory and very peculiar. I would suggest as follows: Adopt S.'s emendation, remove H.'s parenthesis, read 'ferh-ellen wraec,' and translate: He felled the foe, drove out his life-strength (that is, made him hors de combat), and then they both, etc.



{Wiglaf fulfils his lord's behest.}

Then heard I that Wihstan's son very quickly, These words being uttered, heeded his liegelord Wounded and war-sick, went in his armor, His well-woven ring-mail, 'neath the roof of the barrow. 5 Then the trusty retainer treasure-gems many

{The dragon's den.}

Victorious saw, when the seat he came near to, Gold-treasure sparkling spread on the bottom, Wonder on the wall, and the worm-creature's cavern, The ancient dawn-flier's, vessels a-standing, 10 Cups of the ancients of cleansers bereaved, Robbed of their ornaments: there were helmets in numbers, Old and rust-eaten, arm-bracelets many, Artfully woven. Wealth can easily, Gold on the sea-bottom, turn into vanity[1] 15 Each one of earthmen, arm him who pleaseth! And he saw there lying an all-golden banner High o'er the hoard, of hand-wonders greatest, Linked with lacets: a light from it sparkled, That the floor of the cavern he was able to look on,

{The dragon is not there.}

20 To examine the jewels. Sight of the dragon [94] Not any was offered, but edge offcarried him.

{Wiglaf bears the hoard away.}

Then I heard that the hero the hoard-treasure plundered, The giant-work ancient reaved in the cavern, Bare on his bosom the beakers and platters, 25 As himself would fain have it, and took off the standard, The brightest of beacons;[2] the bill had erst injured (Its edge was of iron), the old-ruler's weapon, Him who long had watched as ward of the jewels, Who fire-terror carried hot for the treasure, 30 Rolling in battle, in middlemost darkness, Till murdered he perished. The messenger hastened, Not loth to return, hurried by jewels: Curiosity urged him if, excellent-mooded, Alive he should find the lord of the Weders 35 Mortally wounded, at the place where he left him. 'Mid the jewels he found then the famous old chieftain, His liegelord beloved, at his life's-end gory: He thereupon 'gan to lave him with water, Till the point of his word pierced his breast-hoard. 40 Beowulf spake (the gold-gems he noticed),

{Beowulf is rejoiced to see the jewels.}

The old one in sorrow: "For the jewels I look on Thanks do I utter for all to the Ruler, Wielder of Worship, with words of devotion, The Lord everlasting, that He let me such treasures 45 Gain for my people ere death overtook me. Since I've bartered the aged life to me granted For treasure of jewels, attend ye henceforward

{He desires to be held in memory by his people.}

The wants of the war-thanes; I can wait here no longer. The battle-famed bid ye to build them a grave-hill, 50 Bright when I'm burned, at the brim-current's limit; As a memory-mark to the men I have governed, [95] Aloft it shall tower on Whale's-Ness uprising, That earls of the ocean hereafter may call it Beowulf's barrow, those who barks ever-dashing 55 From a distance shall drive o'er the darkness of waters."

{The hero's last gift}

The bold-mooded troop-lord took from his neck then The ring that was golden, gave to his liegeman, The youthful war-hero, his gold-flashing helmet, His collar and war-mail, bade him well to enjoy them:

{and last words.}

60 "Thou art latest left of the line of our kindred, Of Waegmunding people: Weird hath offcarried All of my kinsmen to the Creator's glory, Earls in their vigor: I shall after them fare." 'Twas the aged liegelord's last-spoken word in 65 His musings of spirit, ere he mounted the fire, The battle-waves burning: from his bosom departed His soul to seek the sainted ones' glory.

[1] The word 'oferhigian' (2767) being vague and little understood, two quite distinct translations of this passage have arisen. One takes 'oferhigian' as meaning 'to exceed,' and, inserting 'hord' after 'gehwone,' renders: _The treasure may easily, the gold in the ground, exceed in value every hoard of man, hide it who will._ The other takes 'oferhigian' as meaning 'to render arrogant,' and, giving the sentence a moralizing tone, renders substantially as in the body of this work. (Cf. 28_13 et seq.)

[2] The passage beginning here is very much disputed. 'The bill of the old lord' is by some regarded as Beowulf's sword; by others, as that of the ancient possessor of the hoard. 'AEr gescod' (2778), translated in this work as verb and adverb, is by some regarded as a compound participial adj. = sheathed in brass.



{Wiglaf is sorely grieved to see his lord look so un-warlike.}

It had wofully chanced then the youthful retainer To behold on earth the most ardent-beloved At his life-days' limit, lying there helpless. The slayer too lay there, of life all bereaved, 5 Horrible earth-drake, harassed with sorrow:

{The dragon has plundered his last hoard.}

The round-twisted monster was permitted no longer To govern the ring-hoards, but edges of war-swords Mightily seized him, battle-sharp, sturdy Leavings of hammers, that still from his wounds 10 The flier-from-farland fell to the earth Hard by his hoard-house, hopped he at midnight Not e'er through the air, nor exulting in jewels Suffered them to see him: but he sank then to earthward Through the hero-chief's handwork. I heard sure it throve then


{Few warriors dared to face the monster.}

15 But few in the land of liegemen of valor, Though of every achievement bold he had proved him, To run 'gainst the breath of the venomous scather, Or the hall of the treasure to trouble with hand-blows, If he watching had found the ward of the hoard-hall 20 On the barrow abiding. Beowulf's part of The treasure of jewels was paid for with death; Each of the twain had attained to the end of Life so unlasting. Not long was the time till

{The cowardly thanes come out of the thicket.}

The tardy-at-battle returned from the thicket, 25 The timid truce-breakers ten all together, Who durst not before play with the lances In the prince of the people's pressing emergency;

{They are ashamed of their desertion.}

But blushing with shame, with shields they betook them, With arms and armor where the old one was lying: 30 They gazed upon Wiglaf. He was sitting exhausted, Foot-going fighter, not far from the shoulders Of the lord of the people, would rouse him with water; No whit did it help him; though he hoped for it keenly, He was able on earth not at all in the leader 35 Life to retain, and nowise to alter The will of the Wielder; the World-Ruler's power[1] Would govern the actions of each one of heroes,

{Wiglaf is ready to excoriate them.}

As yet He is doing. From the young one forthwith then Could grim-worded greeting be got for him quickly 40 Whose courage had failed him. Wiglaf discoursed then, Weohstan his son, sad-mooded hero,

{He begins to taunt them.}

Looked on the hated: "He who soothness will utter Can say that the liegelord who gave you the jewels, The ornament-armor wherein ye are standing, 45 When on ale-bench often he offered to hall-men Helmet and burnie, the prince to his liegemen, As best upon earth he was able to find him,—


{Surely our lord wasted his armor on poltroons.}

That he wildly wasted his war-gear undoubtedly When battle o'ertook him.[2] The troop-king no need had 50 To glory in comrades; yet God permitted him,

{He, however, got along without you}

Victory-Wielder, with weapon unaided Himself to avenge, when vigor was needed. I life-protection but little was able To give him in battle, and I 'gan, notwithstanding,

{With some aid, I could have saved our liegelord}

55 Helping my kinsman (my strength overtaxing): He waxed the weaker when with weapon I smote on My mortal opponent, the fire less strongly Flamed from his bosom. Too few of protectors Came round the king at the critical moment.

{Gift-giving is over with your people: the ring-lord is dead.}

60 Now must ornament-taking and weapon-bestowing, Home-joyance all, cease for your kindred, Food for the people; each of your warriors Must needs be bereaved of rights that he holdeth In landed possessions, when faraway nobles 65 Shall learn of your leaving your lord so basely,

{What is life without honor?}

The dastardly deed. Death is more pleasant To every earlman than infamous life is!"

[1] For 'daedum raedan' (2859) B. suggests 'deaeth araedan,' and renders: The might (or judgment) of God would determine death for every man, as he still does.

[2] Some critics, H. himself in earlier editions, put the clause, 'When ... him' (A.-S. 'a ... beget') with the following sentence; that is, they make it dependent upon 'orfte' (2875) instead of upon 'forwurpe' (2873).



{Wiglaf sends the news of Beowulf's death to liegemen near by.}

Then he charged that the battle be announced at the hedge Up o'er the cliff-edge, where the earl-troopers bided The whole of the morning, mood-wretched sat them, Bearers of battle-shields, both things expecting, 5 The end of his lifetime and the coming again of The liegelord beloved. Little reserved he Of news that was known, who the ness-cliff did travel, But he truly discoursed to all that could hear him:


{The messenger speaks.}

"Now the free-giving friend-lord of the folk of the Weders, 10 The folk-prince of Geatmen, is fast in his death-bed, By the deeds of the dragon in death-bed abideth; Along with him lieth his life-taking foeman Slain with knife-wounds: he was wholly unable To injure at all the ill-planning monster

{Wiglaf sits by our dead lord.}

15 With bite of his sword-edge. Wiglaf is sitting, Offspring of Wihstan, up over Beowulf, Earl o'er another whose end-day hath reached him, Head-watch holdeth o'er heroes unliving,[1]

{Our lord's death will lead to attacks from our old foes.}

For friend and for foeman. The folk now expecteth 20 A season of strife when the death of the folk-king To Frankmen and Frisians in far-lands is published. The war-hatred waxed warm 'gainst the Hugmen,

{Higelac's death recalled.}

When Higelac came with an army of vessels Faring to Friesland, where the Frankmen in battle 25 Humbled him and bravely with overmight 'complished That the mail-clad warrior must sink in the battle, Fell 'mid his folk-troop: no fret-gems presented The atheling to earlmen; aye was denied us Merewing's mercy. The men of the Swedelands 30 For truce or for truth trust I but little; But widely 'twas known that near Ravenswood Ongentheow

{Haethcyn's fall referred to.}

Sundered Haethcyn the Hrethling from life-joys, When for pride overweening the War-Scylfings first did Seek the Geatmen with savage intentions. 35 Early did Ohthere's age-laden father, Old and terrible, give blow in requital, Killing the sea-king, the queen-mother rescued, The old one his consort deprived of her gold, Onela's mother and Ohthere's also, [99] 40 And then followed the feud-nursing foemen till hardly, Reaved of their ruler, they Ravenswood entered. Then with vast-numbered forces he assaulted the remnant, Weary with wounds, woe often promised The livelong night to the sad-hearted war-troop: 45 Said he at morning would kill them with edges of weapons, Some on the gallows for glee to the fowls. Aid came after to the anxious-in-spirit At dawn of the day, after Higelac's bugle And trumpet-sound heard they, when the good one proceeded 50 And faring followed the flower of the troopers.

[1] 'Hige-meethum' (2910) is glossed by H. as dat. plu. (= for the dead). S. proposes 'hige-meethe,' nom. sing. limiting Wiglaf; i.e. W., mood-weary, holds head-watch o'er friend and foe.—B. suggests taking the word as dat. inst. plu. of an abstract noun in -'u.' The translation would be substantially the same as S.'s.



{The messenger continues, and refers to the feuds of Swedes and Geats.}

"The blood-stained trace of Swedes and Geatmen, The death-rush of warmen, widely was noticed, How the folks with each other feud did awaken. The worthy one went then[1] with well-beloved comrades, 5 Old and dejected to go to the fastness, Ongentheo earl upward then turned him; Of Higelac's battle he'd heard on inquiry, The exultant one's prowess, despaired of resistance, With earls of the ocean to be able to struggle, 10 'Gainst sea-going sailors to save the hoard-treasure, His wife and his children; he fled after thenceward Old 'neath the earth-wall. Then was offered pursuance To the braves of the Swedemen, the banner[2] to Higelac. [100] They fared then forth o'er the field-of-protection, 15 When the Hrethling heroes hedgeward had thronged them. Then with edges of irons was Ongentheow driven, The gray-haired to tarry, that the troop-ruler had to Suffer the power solely of Eofor:

{Wulf wounds Ongentheow.}

Wulf then wildly with weapon assaulted him, 20 Wonred his son, that for swinge of the edges The blood from his body burst out in currents, Forth 'neath his hair. He feared not however, Gray-headed Scylfing, but speedily quited

{Ongentheow gives a stout blow in return.}

The wasting wound-stroke with worse exchange, 25 When the king of the thane-troop thither did turn him: The wise-mooded son of Wonred was powerless To give a return-blow to the age-hoary man, But his head-shielding helmet first hewed he to pieces, That flecked with gore perforce he did totter, 30 Fell to the earth; not fey was he yet then, But up did he spring though an edge-wound had reached him.

{Eofor smites Ongentheow fiercely.}

Then Higelac's vassal, valiant and dauntless, When his brother lay dead, made his broad-bladed weapon, Giant-sword ancient, defence of the giants, 35 Bound o'er the shield-wall; the folk-prince succumbed then,

{Ongentheow is slain.}

Shepherd of people, was pierced to the vitals. There were many attendants who bound up his kinsman, Carried him quickly when occasion was granted That the place of the slain they were suffered to manage. 40 This pending, one hero plundered the other, His armor of iron from Ongentheow ravished, His hard-sword hilted and helmet together;

{Eofor takes the old king's war-gear to Higelac.}

The old one's equipments he carried to Higelac. He the jewels received, and rewards 'mid the troopers 45 Graciously promised, and so did accomplish: The king of the Weders requited the war-rush, Hrethel's descendant, when home he repaired him,

{Higelac rewards the brothers.}

To Eofor and Wulf with wide-lavished treasures, To each of them granted a hundred of thousands [101] 50 In land and rings wrought out of wire:

{His gifts were beyond cavil.}

None upon mid-earth needed to twit him[3] With the gifts he gave them, when glory they conquered;

{To Eofor he also gives his only daughter in marriage.}

And to Eofor then gave he his one only daughter, The honor of home, as an earnest of favor. 55 That's the feud and hatred—as ween I 'twill happen— The anger of earthmen, that earls of the Swedemen Will visit on us, when they hear that our leader Lifeless is lying, he who longtime protected His hoard and kingdom 'gainst hating assailers, 60 Who on the fall of the heroes defended of yore The deed-mighty Scyldings,[4] did for the troopers What best did avail them, and further moreover

{It is time for us to pay the last marks of respect to our lord.}

Hero-deeds 'complished. Now is haste most fitting, That the lord of liegemen we look upon yonder, 65 And that one carry on journey to death-pyre Who ring-presents gave us. Not aught of it all Shall melt with the brave one—there's a mass of bright jewels, Gold beyond measure, grewsomely purchased And ending it all ornament-rings too 70 Bought with his life; these fire shall devour, Flame shall cover, no earlman shall wear A jewel-memento, nor beautiful virgin Have on her neck rings to adorn her, But wretched in spirit bereaved of gold-gems 75 She shall oft with others be exiled and banished, Since the leader of liegemen hath laughter forsaken, [102] Mirth and merriment. Hence many a war-spear Cold from the morning shall be clutched in the fingers, Heaved in the hand, no harp-music's sound shall 80 Waken the warriors, but the wan-coated raven Fain over fey ones freely shall gabble, Shall say to the eagle how he sped in the eating, When, the wolf his companion, he plundered the slain." So the high-minded hero was rehearsing these stories 85 Loathsome to hear; he lied as to few of

{The warriors go sadly to look at Beowulf's lifeless body.}

Weirds and of words. All the war-troop arose then, 'Neath the Eagle's Cape sadly betook them, Weeping and woful, the wonder to look at. They saw on the sand then soulless a-lying, 90 His slaughter-bed holding, him who rings had given them In days that were done; then the death-bringing moment Was come to the good one, that the king very warlike, Wielder of Weders, with wonder-death perished. First they beheld there a creature more wondrous,

{They also see the dragon.}

95 The worm on the field, in front of them lying, The foeman before them: the fire-spewing dragon, Ghostly and grisly guest in his terrors, Was scorched in the fire; as he lay there he measured Fifty of feet; came forth in the night-time[5] 100 To rejoice in the air, thereafter departing To visit his den; he in death was then fastened, He would joy in no other earth-hollowed caverns. There stood round about him beakers and vessels, Dishes were lying and dear-valued weapons, 105 With iron-rust eaten, as in earth's mighty bosom A thousand of winters there they had rested:

{The hoard was under a magic spell.}

That mighty bequest then with magic was guarded, Gold of the ancients, that earlman not any The ring-hall could touch, save Ruling-God only, [103] 110 Sooth-king of Vict'ries gave whom He wished to

{God alone could give access to it.}

[6](He is earth-folk's protector) to open the treasure, E'en to such among mortals as seemed to Him proper.

[1] For 'goda,' which seems a surprising epithet for a Geat to apply to the "terrible" Ongentheow, B. suggests 'gomela.' The passage would then stand: 'The old one went then,' etc.

[2] For 'segn Higelace,' K., Th., and B. propose 'segn Higelaces,' meaning: Higelac's banner followed the Swedes (in pursuit).—S. suggests 'saecc Higelaces,' and renders: Higelac's pursuit.—The H.-So. reading, as translated in our text, means that the banner of the enemy was captured and brought to Higelac as a trophy.

[3] The rendering given in this translation represents the king as being generous beyond the possibility of reproach; but some authorities construe 'him' (2996) as plu., and understand the passage to mean that no one reproached the two brothers with having received more reward than they were entitled to.

[4] The name 'Scyldingas' here (3006) has caused much discussion, and given rise to several theories, the most important of which are as follows: (1) After the downfall of Hrothgar's family, Beowulf was king of the Danes, or Scyldings. (2) For 'Scyldingas' read 'Scylfingas'—that is, after killing Eadgils, the Scylfing prince, Beowulf conquered his land, and held it in subjection. (3) M. considers 3006 a thoughtless repetition of 2053. (Cf. H.-So.)

[5] B. takes 'nihtes' and 'hwilum' (3045) as separate adverbial cases, and renders: Joy in the air had he of yore by night, etc. He thinks that the idea of vanished time ought to be expressed.

[6] The parenthesis is by some emended so as to read: (1) (He (i.e. God) is the hope of men); (2) (he is the hope of heroes). Gr.'s reading has no parenthesis, but says: ... could touch, unless God himself, true king of victories, gave to whom he would to open the treasure, the secret place of enchanters, etc. The last is rejected on many grounds.



Then 'twas seen that the journey prospered him little Who wrongly within had the ornaments hidden[1] Down 'neath the wall. The warden erst slaughtered Some few of the folk-troop: the feud then thereafter 5 Was hotly avenged. 'Tis a wonder where,[2] When the strength-famous trooper has attained to the end of Life-days allotted, then no longer the man may Remain with his kinsmen where mead-cups are flowing. So to Beowulf happened when the ward of the barrow, 10 Assaults, he sought for: himself had no knowledge How his leaving this life was likely to happen. So to doomsday, famous folk-leaders down did Call it with curses—who 'complished it there— [104] That that man should be ever of ill-deeds convicted, 15 Confined in foul-places, fastened in hell-bonds, Punished with plagues, who this place should e'er ravage.[3] He cared not for gold: rather the Wielder's Favor preferred he first to get sight of.[4]

{Wiglaf addresses his comrades.}

Wiglaf discoursed then, Wihstan his son: 20 "Oft many an earlman on one man's account must Sorrow endure, as to us it hath happened. The liegelord beloved we could little prevail on, Kingdom's keeper, counsel to follow, Not to go to the guardian of the gold-hoard, but let him 25 Lie where he long was, live in his dwelling Till the end of the world. Met we a destiny Hard to endure: the hoard has been looked at, Been gained very grimly; too grievous the fate that[5] The prince of the people pricked to come thither. 30 I was therein and all of it looked at, The building's equipments, since access was given me, Not kindly at all entrance permitted

{He tells them of Beowulf's last moments.}

Within under earth-wall. Hastily seized I And held in my hands a huge-weighing burden 35 Of hoard-treasures costly, hither out bare them To my liegelord beloved: life was yet in him, And consciousness also; the old one discoursed then Much and mournfully, commanded to greet you,

{Beowulf's dying request.}

Bade that remembering the deeds of your friend-lord 40 Ye build on the fire-hill of corpses a lofty Burial-barrow, broad and far-famous, As 'mid world-dwelling warriors he was widely most honored While he reveled in riches. Let us rouse us and hasten [105] Again to see and seek for the treasure, 45 The wonder 'neath wall. The way I will show you, That close ye may look at ring-gems sufficient And gold in abundance. Let the bier with promptness Fully be fashioned, when forth we shall come, And lift we our lord, then, where long he shall tarry, 50 Well-beloved warrior, 'neath the Wielder's protection."

{Wiglaf charges them to build a funeral-pyre.}

Then the son of Wihstan bade orders be given, Mood-valiant man, to many of heroes, Holders of homesteads, that they hither from far, [6]Leaders of liegemen, should look for the good one 55 With wood for his pyre: "The flame shall now swallow (The wan fire shall wax[7]) the warriors' leader Who the rain of the iron often abided, When, sturdily hurled, the storm of the arrows Leapt o'er linden-wall, the lance rendered service, 60 Furnished with feathers followed the arrow." Now the wise-mooded son of Wihstan did summon The best of the braves from the band of the ruler

{He takes seven thanes, and enters the den.}

Seven together; 'neath the enemy's roof he Went with the seven; one of the heroes 65 Who fared at the front, a fire-blazing torch-light Bare in his hand. No lot then decided Who that hoard should havoc, when hero-earls saw it Lying in the cavern uncared-for entirely, Rusting to ruin: they rued then but little 70 That they hastily hence hauled out the treasure,

{They push the dragon over the wall.}

The dear-valued jewels; the dragon eke pushed they, The worm o'er the wall, let the wave-currents take him, [106] The waters enwind the ward of the treasures.

{The hoard is laid on a wain.}

There wounden gold on a wain was uploaded, 75 A mass unmeasured, the men-leader off then, The hero hoary, to Whale's-Ness was carried.

[1] For 'gehydde,' B. suggests 'gehyethde': the passage would stand as above except the change of 'hidden' (v. 2) to 'plundered.' The reference, however, would be to the thief, not to the dragon.

[2] The passage 'Wundur ... buan' (3063-3066), M. took to be a question asking whether it was strange that a man should die when his appointed time had come.—B. sees a corruption, and makes emendations introducing the idea that a brave man should not die from sickness or from old age, but should find death in the performance of some deed of daring.—S. sees an indirect question introduced by 'hwar' and dependent upon 'wundur': A secret is it when the hero is to die, etc.—Why may the two clauses not be parallel, and the whole passage an Old English cry of 'How wonderful is death!'?—S.'s is the best yet offered, if 'wundor' means 'mystery.'

[3] For 'strude' in H.-So., S. suggests 'stride.' This would require 'ravage' (v. 16) to be changed to 'tread.'

[4] 'He cared ... sight of' (17, 18), S. emends so as to read as follows: He (Beowulf) had not before seen the favor of the avaricious possessor.

[5] B. renders: That which drew the king thither (i.e. the treasure) was granted us, but in such a way that it overcomes us.

[6] 'Folc-agende' (3114) B. takes as dat. sing. with 'godum,' and refers it to Beowulf; that is, Should bring fire-wood to the place where the good folk-ruler lay.

[7] C. proposes to take 'weaxan' = L. 'vescor,' and translate devour. This gives a parallel to 'fretan' above. The parenthesis would be discarded and the passage read: Now shall the fire consume, the wan-flame devour, the prince of warriors, etc.



{Beowulf's pyre.}

The folk of the Geatmen got him then ready A pile on the earth strong for the burning, Behung with helmets, hero-knights' targets, And bright-shining burnies, as he begged they should have them; 5 Then wailing war-heroes their world-famous chieftain, Their liegelord beloved, laid in the middle.

{The funeral-flame.}

Soldiers began then to make on the barrow The largest of dead-fires: dark o'er the vapor The smoke-cloud ascended, the sad-roaring fire, 10 Mingled with weeping (the wind-roar subsided) Till the building of bone it had broken to pieces, Hot in the heart. Heavy in spirit They mood-sad lamented the men-leader's ruin; And mournful measures the much-grieving widow 15 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 20 * * * * * * *

{The Weders carry out their lord's last request.}

The men of the Weders made accordingly A hill on the height, high and extensive, Of sea-going sailors to be seen from a distance, And the brave one's beacon built where the fire was, 25 In ten-days' space, with a wall surrounded it, As wisest of world-folk could most worthily plan it. They placed in the barrow rings and jewels,


{Rings and gems are laid in the barrow.}

All such ornaments as erst in the treasure War-mooded men had won in possession: 30 The earnings of earlmen to earth they entrusted, The gold to the dust, where yet it remaineth As useless to mortals as in foregoing eras. 'Round the dead-mound rode then the doughty-in-battle, Bairns of all twelve of the chiefs of the people,

{They mourn for their lord, and sing his praises.}

35 More would they mourn, lament for their ruler, Speak in measure, mention him with pleasure, Weighed his worth, and his warlike achievements Mightily commended, as 'tis meet one praise his Liegelord in words and love him in spirit, 40 When forth from his body he fares to destruction. So lamented mourning the men of the Geats, Fond-loving vassals, the fall of their lord,

{An ideal king.}

Said he was kindest of kings under heaven, Gentlest of men, most winning of manner, 45 Friendliest to folk-troops and fondest of honor.



Several discrepancies and other oversights have been noticed in the H.-So. glossary. Of these a good part were avoided by Harrison and Sharp, the American editors of Beowulf, in their last edition, 1888. The rest will, I hope, be noticed in their fourth edition. As, however, this book may fall into the hands of some who have no copy of the American edition, it seems best to notice all the principal oversights of the German editors.

From ham (194).—Notes and glossary conflict; the latter not having been altered to suit the conclusions accepted in the former.

aer gelyfan sceal dryhtnes dome (440).—Under 'dom' H. says 'the might of the Lord'; while under 'gelyfan' he says 'the judgment of the Lord.'

Eal bencelu (486).—Under 'benc-elu' H. says nom. plu.; while under 'eal' he says nom. sing.

Heatho-raemas (519).—Under 'aetberan' H. translates 'to the Heathoremes'; while under 'Heatho-raemas' he says 'Heathoraemas reaches Breca in the swimming-match with Beowulf.' Harrison and Sharp (3d edition, 1888) avoid the discrepancy.

Fah feond-scaetha (554).—Under 'feond-scaetha' H. says 'a gleaming sea-monster'; under 'fah' he says 'hostile.'

Onfeng hraethe inwit-ancum (749).—Under 'onfon' H. says 'he received the maliciously-disposed one'; under 'inwit-anc' he says 'he grasped,' etc.

Nieth-wundor seon (1366).—Under 'nieth-wundor' H. calls this word itself nom. sing.; under 'seon' he translates it as accus. sing., understanding 'man' as subject of 'seon.' H. and S. (3d edition) make the correction.

Forgeaf hilde-bille (1521).—H., under the second word, calls it instr. dat.; while under 'forgifan' he makes it the dat. of indir. obj. H. and S. (3d edition) make the change.

Brad and brun-ecg (1547).—Under 'brad' H. says 'das breite Hueftmesser mit bronzener Klinge'; under 'brun-ecg' he says 'ihr breites Hueftmesser mit blitzender Klinge.'


Yethelice (1557).—Under this word H. makes it modify 'astod.' If this be right, the punctuation of the fifth edition is wrong. See H. and S., appendix.

Selran gesohte (1840).—Under 'sel' and 'gesecan' H. calls these two words accus. plu.; but this is clearly an error, as both are nom. plu., pred. nom. H. and S. correct under 'sel.'

Wieth sylfne (1978).—Under 'wieth' and 'gesittan' H. says 'wieth = near, by'; under 'self' he says 'opposite.'

eow (2225) is omitted from the glossary.

For duguethum (2502).—Under 'dugueth' H. translates this phrase, 'in Tuechtigkeit'; under 'for,' by 'vor der edlen Kriegerschaar.'

aer (2574).—Under 'wealdan' H. translates aer by 'wo'; under 'motan,' by 'da.' H. and S. suggest 'if' in both passages.

Wunde (2726).—Under 'wund' H. says 'dative,' and under 'wael-bleate' he says 'accus.' It is without doubt accus., parallel with 'benne.'

Strengum gebaeded (3118).—Under 'strengo' H. says 'Strengum' = mit Macht; under 'gebaeded' he translates 'von den Sehnen.' H. and S. correct this discrepancy by rejecting the second reading.

Bronda be lafe (3162).—A recent emendation. The fourth edition had 'bronda betost.' In the fifth edition the editor neglects to change the glossary to suit the new emendation. See 'bewyrcan.'


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