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the war-horn singing. The lord of the Geats with a bolt from his bow took one from life, from his wave-strife, and left in his vitals 1434 the hard war-shaft; he in the sea was the slower in swimming, when death took him off.
Quickly on the waves, with hunting-spears sharply hooked, he was strongly pressed, felled by force, and drawn up on the headland, the wonderful swimmer. The men there gazed on the grisly guest.
Beowulf girt himself 1441 in war-like weeds; for life he feared not; his warrior-byrnie, woven by hands, ample and inlaid, must tempt the deep; it could well his body protect that battle-grip might not scathe his breast, the fierce one's wily grasp injure his life. But the flashing helm guarded his head, (which with the sea-bottom was to mingle, 1449 and seek the sea-surge) with jewels adorned, encircled with chains, as in days of yore the weapon-smith wrought it, wondrously framed,
set with swine-figures, so that thereafter no brand nor war-sword ever could bite it.
Nor then was that least of powerful aids which Hrothgar's oraton lent him at need: Hrunting was named the hafted falchion. 'Twas among the foremost of olden treasures; its edge was iron, tainted with poison, 1459 harden'd with warrior-blood; ne'er in battle had it failed any of those that brandished it, who durst to travel the ways of terror, the perilous trysts. 'Twas not the first time that it a valorous deed should perform.
Surely Ecglaf's son remembered not, the mighty in power, what erst he had said, drunken with wine, when the weapon he lent to a better sword-warrior. He durst not himself 'mid the strife of the waves adventure his life, a great deed perform; there lost he his credit for valorous doing. Not so with the other 1471 when he had prepared himself for battle!
XXIII. The Fight Beneath The Waves
Beowulf spake, Ecgtheow's son: "Remember thou now, great sou of Healfdene, sagacious prince, now I am ready to go,
0 gold-friend of men, the things we have
If I should lose my life for thy need,
that thou wouldst ever be to me,
when I am gone, in a father's stead. 1479
Be a guardian thou to my fellow thanes,
1 Hunferth (cf. 1. 49!))
to my near comrades, if war take me off. Also the treasures which thou hast given me, beloved Hrothgar, to Hygelae send. By that gold then may the lord of the Geats know,
may Hrethol's son see, when he looks on that treasure,
that I in man's virtue have found one preeminent,
a giver of rings, and rejoiced while I might. And let Hunferth have the ancient relic, the wondrous war-sword, let the far-famed man the hard-of-edge have. I with Hrunting 1490 will work me renown, or death shall take me."
After these words the Weder-Geats' lord with ardor hastened, nor any answer would he await. The sea-wave received the warrior-hero. It was a day's space ere he the bottom could perceive. Forthwith she found—she who the flood's course
had blood-thirsty held a hundred years, grim and greedy—that a man from above was there exploring the realm of strange creatures. 1500 Then at him she grasped, the warrior seized in her horrible claws. Nathless she crushed not his unhurt body; the ring-mail guarded him, so that she might not pierce that war-dress, the lock-linked sark, with her hostile fingers.
Then when the sea-wolf reached the bottom, she bore to ber dwelling the prince of rings so that he might not, brave as he was, his weapons wield; for many strange beings in the deep oppressed him, many a sea-beast with its battle tusks his war-sark broke; 1511 the wretches pursued him. Then the earl found he was in ho knew not what dread hall, where him no water in aught could scathe, nor because of the roof could the sudden grip of the flood reach him; he saw a fire-light, a brilliant beam brightly shining. The hero perceived then the wolf of the deeps, the mighty mere-wife; a powerful onslaught he made with his falchion, the sword-blow withheld not, 1520 so on her head the ringed brand sang a horrid war-song. The guest then discovered how that the battle beam would not bite, would not scathe life, but that the edge failed its lord at his need; erst had it endured hand-conflicts many, slashed often the helm, war-garb of the doomed; then was the first time for the precious gift that its power failed.
Still was he resolute, slacked not his ardor, of groat deeds mindful was Hygelae's kinsman. Flung he the twisted brand, curiously bound,
the angry champion, that stiff and steel-edged it lay on the earth; in his strength he trusted, his powerful hand-grip. So shall man do, 1634 when he in battle thinks of gaining lasting praise, nor cares for his life. By the shoulder then seized he (recked not of her malice), the lord of the war-Geats, Grendel's mother; the fierce fighter hurled, incensed as he was, the mortal foe, that she fell to the ground. She quickly repaid him again in full 1541 with her fierce grasps, and at him caught; then stumbled he weary, of warriors the strongest,
the active champion, so that he fell. She pressed down the hall-guest, and drew her dagger,
the broad gleaming blade,—would avenge her son,
her only child. On his shoulder lay the braided breast-net which shielded his life 'gainst point, 'gainst edge, all entrance withstood.
Then would have perished Ecgtheow's son 'neath the wide earth, champion of the Geats, had not his war-byrnie help afforded, 1552 his battle-net hard, and holy God awarded the victory. The wise Lord, Buler of Heaven, with justice decided it easily, when he again stood up.
Then he saw 'mongst the arms a victorious falchion,
an old jotun-sword, of edges doughty, the glory of warriors; of weapons 'twaB choicest, 1559 save it was greater than any man else to the game of war could carry forth, good and gorgeous, the work of giants.
The knotted hilt seized he, the Scyldings' warrior,—
fierce and deadly grim, the ringed sword swung; despairing of life, he angrily struck, that 'gainst her neck it griped her hard, her bone-rings* brake. Thre' her fated carcass the falchion passed; on the ground she sank. The blade was gory, the man joy'd in his work. The sword-beam shone bright, light rayed
within, 1570 even as from heaven serenely shines the candle of the firmament. He looked down
the chamber, then turned by the wall; his weapon upraised firm by the hilt Hygelac's thane,
angry and resolute. Nor was the edge to the war-prince useless; for he would forthwith
Grendel requite for the many raids that he had made upon the West Danes, and not on one occasion only, when he Hrothgar's hearth-companions 1580 slew in their rest, sleeping devoured fifteen men of the folk of the Danes, and as many others conveyed away, hateful offerings. He had so repaid him for that, the fierce champion, that at rest he saw,
weary of contest, Grendel lying deprived of his life, as he had been scathed by the conflict at Heorot; the corpse bounded far when after death he suffered the stroke, 15S9 the hard sword-blow, and his head it severed.
Forthwith they saw, the sagacious men, those who with Hrothgar kept watch on the water,
that the surge of the waves was all commingled, the deep stained with blood. The grizzly-haired old men together spake of the hero, how they of the atheling hoped no more that, victory-flush "d, he would come to seek their famous king, since this seemed a sign that him the sea-wolf had quite destroyed. The noon-tide* came, they left the nesses, the Scyldings bold; departed home thence the gold-friend of men. The strangers sat, sick of mood, and gazed on the mere, 1603 wished but weened not that they their dear lord himself should see.
Then that sword, the war-blade, with its battle-gore like bloody icicles, began to fade. A marvel it was, how it all melted, most like to ice when the Father relaxes the bands of the frost, unwinds the flood-fetters, He who has power over seasons and times; true Creator is that! More treasures he took not, the Weder-Geats' lord, 1612 within those dwellings (though many he sawthere)
except the head, and the hilt also, with jewels shining;—the blade had all melted, the drawn brand was burnt, so hot was the blood,
so venomous the demon, who down there had perished.
Afloat soon was he that at strife had awaited the slaughter of foes; he swam up through the water.
* An apparent admission of the exaggeration In 1. 1495, though noon meant formerly the ninth hour of the day, which would bring It near evening.
The ocean surges all were cleansed, 1620 the dwellings vast, when the stranger guest her life-days left and this fleeting existence. Then came to land the sailor's protector stoutly swimming, rejoiced in his sea-spoil, the mighty burden of what he brought with him.
Then toward him they went, with thanks to God,
the stout band of thanes, rejoiced in their lord, because they beheld him safe and sound. From the vigorous chief both helm and byrnie were then soon loosed. The sea subsided— the cloud-shadowed water with death-gore dappled. 1631 Thence forth they went retracing their steps happy at heart, the high-way measured, the well-known road. The nobly bold men up from the sea-shore bore the head, not without labor for each of them, the mightily daring. Four undertook with toil to bear on the battle-spear, up to the gold-hall, the head of Grcndel; until straightway to the hall they came, 1640 resolute, warlike, four and ten of them, Geats all marching with their lord. Proud amid the throng, he trod the meadows.
Then entering came the prince of thanes, the deed-strong man with glory honored, the man bold in battle, Hrothgar to greet. And into the hall, where men were drinking, Grendel's head by the hair was borne, a thing of terror to nobles and lady. 'Twas a wonderful sight men looked upon.
XXV. Hrothoae's Gratitude And Counsel
Beowulf spake, Ecgtheow's son: 1651 "Lo, these sea-offerings, son of Healfdene, lord of the Scyldings, we have joyfully brought, in token of glory: thou scest them here. Not easily did I escape with my life, ventured with pain on the war under water. Indeed the struggle would have been ended outright, had not God me shielded. Not able was I, in the conflict, with Hrunting aught to accomplish, though that weapon was good; 1660 but the Buler of men granted to me, that I saw on the wall, all beautiful hanging, an old heavy sword, (He has often directed the friendless man,) and that weapon I drew. Then I slew in that strife, as occasion afforded, the wards of the house. That war-falchion then, that drawn brand, was burnt, as the blood burst forth,
of strife-blood the hottest. Thence I the hilt from the foes bore away, avenged the crimes,
the Danes' death-plague, as it was fitting. 1670
"I promise thee now that thou in Heorot mayest sleep secure with thy warrior-band, and thy thanes, each one, thanes of thy people, the tried and the youthful; that thou neediest not,
oh princo of the Scyldings, fear from that side life's bane to thy warriors as erst thou didst."
Then the golden hilt, to the aged hero, the hoar war-leader, in hand was given, giant-work old; it passed to the keeping (those devils once fallen) of the lord of the Danes, 1680 wonderful smith-work; when quitted this world the fierce-hearted creature, God's adversary, of murder guilty, and his mother also, it passed to the keeping of the best of the world-kings that by the two seas, in Scania-land, treasures dealt. Then Hrothgar spake; he gazed on the hilt, old relic whereon was the origin written of an ancient war, when the flood had slain— the flowing ocean—the race of the giants;— they had borne them boldly. That was a people alien from God; them a final reward, 1692 through the rage of the water, the All-wielder gave.
On the mounting too, of shining gold,
in runic letters, was rightly marked,
was set and said, for whom first was wrought
that choicest of swords, with hilt bound round
and serpentine. Then spake the wise man,
the son of Healfdene, (all were silent):
"Lo this may he say who practises truth and right 'mong the people, far back all remembers, 1701 a land-warden old, that this earl was nobly born. Thy fame is exalted, through far and wide ways, Beowulf, my friend, over every nation. Thou wearest with patience thy might, and with prudence. I shall show
thee my love, e'en as we two have said: thou shalt be for a comfort
a very long time to thine own people, a help unto warriors. Not so was Heremod' to Ecgwela's children, the noble Scyldings; he throve not for their weal, but for their
slaughter, 1711 and for a death-plague to the folk of the Danes. In angry mood slew he his table-sharers, his nearest friends, till he lonely departed, the very great prince, from the joys of men. Though him Mighty God, with delights of
with strength had exalted, above all men I l A Danish King, banished for cruelty.
had advanced him, yet there grew in his heart
a bloodthirsty spirit; he gave no rings
to the Danes, as was custom; joyless continued
he, '" 1720
Bo that of war he the misery suffered, long bale to the people. Learn thou from him; lay hold of man's virtue! For thee have I told
wise in winters. 'Tis wondrous to say, how mighty God, to the race of men, through his ample mind, dispenses wisdom, lands and valor: He has power over all. Sometimes He lets wander at their own will the thoughts of a man of race renowned, in his country gives him the joy of earth, 1730 a shelter-city of men to possess; thus makes to him subject parts of the world, ample kingdoms, that he himself may not, because of his folly, think of his end. He lives in plenty; no whit deters him disease or old age, no uneasy care darkens his soul, nor anywhere strife breeds hostile hate; but for him the whole world
turns at his will; he the worse knows not,—
XXVI. Heothgar's Counsel Concluded
until within him a great deal of arrogance grows and buds, when the guardian sleeps, 1741 the keeper of the soul. Too fast is the sleep, bound down by cares; very near is the slayer, who from his arrow-bow wickedly shoots. Then he in the breast, 'neath the helm, will be stricken
with the bitter shaft; he cannot guard him from strange evil orders of the Spirit accursed. Too small teems to him what loug he has held; fierce minded he covets, gives not in his pride many rich rings; and the future life '1750 he forgets and neglects, because God to him gave,
Ruler of glory, many great dignities.
"From that evil keep thee, Beowulf dear, best among warriors, and choose thee the better, counsels eternal. Heed not arrogance, 1760 famous champion! Now is thy might in flower for awhile; eftsoons will it be that disease or the sword shall deprive thee of strength,
or the clutch of fire, or rage of flood, or falchion's grip, or arrows' flight, or cruel age; or brightness of eyes
shall fail and darken; sudden 'twill be,
that thee, noble warrior, death shall o 'erpower.
'' Thus I the Bing-Danes half a hundred years had ruled 'neath the welkin, and saved them in
war 1770 from many tribes through this mid-earth, with spears and swords, so that I counted that under Heaven I had no foe. Lo to mo then came a reverse in my realm, after merriment sadness, since Grendel became my enemy old, and my assailant. From that persecution have I constantly borne great grief of mind. So thanks be to God the Lord Eternal, that I have lived till I on that head all clotted with gore, 1780 old conflict ended, might gaze with my eyes. Go now to thy seat, the banquet enjoy, O honored in battle; for us two shall be many treasures in common, when morning shall
Glad was the Geat and straightway went to take his seat, as the sage commanded.
Then as before were the famed for valor, the sitters at court right handsomely set feasting afresh. The night-helm grew murky, 1789 dark o 'er the vassals; the courtiers all rose; the grizzly-haired prince would go to his bed, the aged Scylding; the Geat, exceedingly famed shield-warrior, desired to rest. Him, journey-weary, come from afar, a hall-thane promptly guided forth who in respect had all things provided for a thane's need, such as in that day farers over the sea should have.
The great-hearted rested. High rose the hall vaulted and gold-hued; therein slept the guest, until the black raven, blithe-hearted, announced the joy of heaven. Then came the bright sun o'er the fields gliding 1803
[Beowulf returns the sword Hrunting to Hunferth, then goes to the king and announces his intention of returning to his fatherland. The king repeats his thanks and praises.]
XXVII. The Paetino
Then to him gave the warrior's protector, the son of Healfdene, treasures twelve; with those gifts bade him his own dear people in safety to seek, and quickly return. 1869 The king, in birth noble, then kissed the prince, the lord of the Scyldings the best of thanes;— and round the neck clasped him; tears he shed, the hoary headed; chances two there were to the aged, the second stronger, whether , (or not) they should see each other again in conference. So dear was the man
that his breast's heaving he could not restrain, but in his bosom, in heart-bands fast, for the man beloved his secret longing burned in his blood. Beowulf thence, 1880 a gold-proud warrior, trod the greensward, in treasure exulting. The sea-ganger awaited, at anchor riding, its owner and lord.*
Weland for a woman learned to know exile, that haughty earl bowed unto hardship, had for companions sorrow and longing, the winter's cold sting, woe upon woe, what time Nithhad laid sore need on him. Withering sinew-wounds! Ill-starred man! 6 That was o'erpassed; this may pass also.
On Beadohilde bore not so heavily her brother's death as the dule in her own heart 3 when she perceived, past shadow of doubt,
• Is the poem of Beowulf In any sense mythological? Perhaps the latest and best opinion on the subject Is that It is not.
"Undoubtedly one Is here on the borderland of myth. But In the actual poem the border Is not crossed. Whatever the remote connection of Beowulf the hero with Beowa the god, ... to the poet of the epic Its hero is a man, and the monsters are such as folk then believed to haunt sea and lake and moor."—Francis B. Gummere: The Oldest English Epic.
"The poem loses nothing of Its plcturesqueness in being denied its mythology. The firedrake and Grendel and the she-demon are more terrible when conceived as uncanny and abominable beings whose activities in the world can only be dimly imagined by men than they are when made mere personifications of the forces of nature. Beowulf Is no less heroic as a mortal facing with undaunted courage these grisly phantoms of the moor and mere, than as a god subduing the sea or the darkness. And the proud words that he utters in his dying hour are more impressive from the lips of a man than from those of a being who still retains some of the glory of a god about him.—'In my home I awaited what time might bring me. held well my own. sought no treacherous feuds, swore no false oaths. In all this I can rejoice, though sick unto death with my wounds.' "—William W. Lawrence: Pub. Mod. Lang. Association, June, 1900.
t Dear's Lament is one of the poems that may have been brought from the continent by the Angles in their early migrations. "Its form," says Stopford Brooke, "is remarkable. It has a refrain, and there is no other early English Instance of tbis known to us. It is written in strophes, and one motive, constant throughout. Is expressed in the refrain. This dominant cry of passion makes the poem a true lyric, ... the Father of all English lyrics. . . . Deor has been deprived of his rewards and lands, and has seen a rival set above his head. It is this whirling down of Fortune's wheel that he mourns In his song, and he compares his fate to that of others who have suffered, so that he may have some comfort. But the comfort is stern like that the Northmen take,"
her maidhood departed, and yet could nowise clearly divine how it might be. 12 That was o'erpassed; this may pass also.
Of Hild's fate we have heard from many. Land-bereaved were the Geatish chieftains, so that sorrow left them sleepless.
That was o'erpassed; this may pass also.
Theodoric kept for thirty winters 18 in the burg of the Ma?rings; 'twas known of many.
That was o'erpassed; this may pass also.
Heard have we likewise of Eormanric's mind, wolfishly tempered; widely enthralled he the folk of the Goth-realm; he wa9 a grim king. Many a warrior sat locked in his sorrow, 24 waiting on woe; wished, how earnestly! the reign of that king might come to an end. That was o'erpassed; this may pass also.
. Now of myself this will I say: 35 Erewhile I was Sc6p of the Heodenings, dear to my lord. Deor my name was. A many winters I knew good service; gracious was my lord. But now Heorrenda, by craft of his singing, succeeds to the landright
that Guardian of Men erst gave unto me.
That was o'erpassed; this may pass also.
CAEDMON (fl. 670)
From The PARAPHRASE OF THE
The Garden Of Eden
Then beheld our Creator the beauty of his works and the excellence of
his productions, of the new creatures. Paradise stood good and spiritual, filled with gifts, with forward benefits. Fair washed 210 the genial land the running water, the well-brook: no clouds as yet over the ample ground bore rains lowering with wind; yet with fruits stood earth adorn'd. Held their onward course river-streams, four noble ones, from the new Paradise. These were parted, by the Lord's might, all from one (when he this earth created)
• These paraphrases of the Scriptures are commonly spoken of as Cmdmon's, though ascribed to him on very uncertain grounds. Apart from their Intrinsic worth they are Interesting for their possible relation to Paradise Lost. See Eng. Lit., p. 23. The translation is the literal one of Benjamin Thorpe.