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a sleeping warrior, tore him unawares,
bit his bone-casings, drank his veins' blood,
in great morsels swallowed him. Soon had he
devoured all of the lifeless one,
feet and hands. He stepped up nearer,
took then with his hand the doughty-minded
warrior at rest; with his hand the foe
reached towards him. He instantly grappled
with the evil-minded, and on his arm rested.
Soon as the criminal realized 750 that in no other man of middle-earth, of the world's regions, had he found a stronger hand-grip, his mind grew fearful. Yet not for that could he sooner escape. He was bent on flight, would flee to his cavern, the devil-pack seek; such case had never in all his life-days befallen before. Then Hygelac's good kinsman remembered his evening speech; upright he stood, 759 and firmly grasped him; his fingers yielded. The jotun was fleeing; the earl stept further. The famed one considered whether he might more widely wheel and thence away flee to his fen-mound; he knew his fingers' power
in the fierce one's grasp. 'Twas a dire journey
the baleful spoiler made to Heorot.
The princely hall thundered; terror was
on all the Danes, the city-dwellers,
each valiant one, while both the fierce 769
strong warriors raged; the mansion resounded.
Then was it wonder great that the wine-hall withstood the war-beasts, nor fell to the ground, the fair earthly dwelling; yet was it too fast, within and without, with iron bands, cunningly forged, though where the fierce ones fought, I have heard, many a mead-bench, with gold adorned, from its sill started. Before that, weened not the Scyldings' sages that any man ever, in any wise, in pieces could break it, goodly and bonedecked, 780 or craftily rive—only the flame's clutch in smoke could devour it. Startling enough the noise uprose. Over the North Danes stood dire terror, on every one of those who heard from the wall the whoop, the dread lay sung by God's denier, the triumphless song of the thrall of hell, his pain bewailing. He held him fast,— he who of men was strongest of might, of them who in that day lived this life. 790
XIII. The Monster Repulsed
Not for aught would the refuge of earls leave alive the deadly guest; the days of his life he counted not useful
to any folk. There many a warrior
of Beowulf's drew his ancient sword;
they would defend the life of their lord,
of the great prince, if so they might.
They knew not, when they entered the strife,
the bold and eager sons of battle,
and thought to hew him on every side 800
his life to seek, that not the choicest
of irons on earth, no battle-falchion,
could ever touch the wicked scather,
since martial weapons he had forsworn,
every edge whatever. Yet on that day
of this life was his life-parting
wretched to be, and the alien spirit
to travel far into power of fiends.
Then he who before in mirth of mood (he was God's foe) had perpetrated 810 many crimes 'gainst the race of men, found that his body would not avail him, for him the proud kinsman of Hygelac had in hand; each was to the other hateful alive. The fell wretch suffered bodily pain; a deadly wound appeared on his shoulder, his sinews started; his bone-casings burst. To Beowulf was the war-glory given; Grendel must thence, death-sick, under his fen-shelters flee, 820 seek a joyless dwelling; well he knew that the end of his life was come, his appointed number of days. For all the Danes, that fierce fight done, was their wish accomplished.
So he then, the far-come, the wise and strong of soul, had purified Hrothgar's hall, saved it from malice; his night's work rejoiced him,
his valor-glories. The Geatish chieftain
had to the East-Danes his boast fulfilled,
had healed, to-wit, the preying sorrow 830
that they in that country before had suffered
and had to endure for hard necessity,
no small affliction. A manifest token
it was when the warrior laid down the hand—
arm and shoulder, Grendel's whole grappler
together there—'neath the vaulted roof.
XIV. Joy At Heorot
Then in the morning, as I have heard tell, there was many a warrior around the gift hall: folk-chiefs came, from far and near, o 'er distant ways, the wonder to see, 840 the tracks of the foe. His taking from life seemed not grievous to any warrior who the inglorious one's trail beheld,— how, weary in spirit, o'ercome in the conflict, death-doomed and fleeing, he bare death-traces thence away to the nickers' mere.
There was the surge boiling with blood, the dire swing of waves all commingled; with clotted blood hot, with sword-gore it welled;
the death-doomed dyed it, when he joyless laid down his life in his fen-asylum, 851 his heathen soul. There hell received him.
Thence again turned they, comrades old, from the joyous journey, and many a younger, proud from the mere, riding on horses, warriors on steeds. Then was Beowulf's glory celebrated. Many oft said that south or north, between the seas the wide world over, there was no other 'neath heaven's course who was a better 860 shield-bearer, or one more worthy of power. Yet found they no fault with their lord beloved, the joyful Hrothgar: he was their good king.
Then was morning light sent forth and quickened. Many a retainer, strong in spirit, to the high hall went, 919 to see the rare wonder. The king himself also from his nuptial bower, guardian of ringtreasures,
with a large troop stept forth, rich in glory, for virtues famed; and his queen with him the meadow-path measured with train of maidens.
XV. Hrothgar's Gratitude Hrothgar spake (he to the hall went, stood near the threshold, saw the steep roof Bhining with gold, and Grendel's hand): "Now for this sight, to the Almighty thanks! May it quickly be given! Much ill have I borne, Grendel's snares; ever can God work 930 wonder on wonder, the King of Glory. Not long was it since, that I little weened for woes of mine through all my life, reparation to know, when, stained with blood, the best of houses all gory stood; woe was wide-spread for each of my counsellors, who did not ween that they evermore from foes could defend the people's landwork.1 from devils and phantoms. Now this warrior, through the might of the Lord, has done a deed which we all together before could not 941 with cunning accomplish. Lo, this may say whatever woman brought forth this son among the nations, if yet she lives, that the ancient Creator was gracious to her at the birth of her son. Now will I, O Beowulf, best of warriors, even as a son, love thee in my heart. Keep henceforth well our kinship new; no lack shalt thou have
of worldly desires, wherein I have power.
Full often for less have I dealt a reward,
an honor-gift, to a feebler warrior, 952
weaker in conflict. Thou for thyself
hast wrought so well, that thy glory shall live
through every age. May the All-wielder
with good reward thee, as now He has done.''
Beowulf spake, Ecgtheow's son: '' We with great good will, that arduous work, that light, have achieved; we boldly ventured in war with the monster. The more do I wish that thou himself mightest have seen, 961 the foe in his trappings, full weary enough. Him I quickly, with hard and fast fetters, on his death-bed thought to have bound, that through my hand-grips low he should lie, struggling for life, but his body escaped. 1 was not able, the Lord did not will it, to keep him from going; I held him not firm enough,
the deadly foe: too strong on his feet
the enemy waB. Yet his hand he left, 970
for his life's safety, to guard his track,
his arm and shoulder; yet not thereby
did the wretched creature comfort obtain;
nor will he, crime-doer, the longer live
with sins oppressed. For pain has him
in its grip compelling straitly clasped,
in its deadly bonds; there shall he await,
the crime-stained wretch, the Final Boom,
as the Lord of Splendor shall mete it to him."
Then less noisy was Ecglaf's son 980 in vaunting speech of words of war, after the nobles, thro' might of the hero, over the high roof had gazed on the hand, the fingers of the foe, each for himself.* Each finger-nail was firm as steel— a heathen's hand-spurs and a warrior's,— hideously monstrous. Every one said that no excellent iron of the bold ones would be able to touch the demon's hand, would ever sever the bloody limb. 990
XVI. Feasting And Song
Then quickly 'twas ordered, that Heorot within
by hand be adorned; many were they,
of men and women, who the wine-house,
the guest hall, prepared; gold-shimmering shone
the webs on the walls, wondrous sights many
to each and all that gaze upon such.
* Beowulf, snys Tit. Klaeber, "hail placed Orendel's hand (on some projection perhaps) above the door (outside) as hluh as he could reach." where the nobles, looking from outside "In the direction of the hlsh roof." behold It. Others think that it was hung up within the hall.
That splendid dwelling much shattered was, though bound within with bands of iron; the hinges asunder were rent, the roof alone was saved all sound, when the monster, stained with foul deeds, turned him to flight,
hopeless of life 1002
[The feast is held, gifts are bestowed on the hero, and Hrothgar's minstrel sings a song of a hundred lines about Finn, the king of the Frisians.]
XVIII. The Queen's Speech
. . . . The lay was sung, 1169 the gleeman 's song. Pastime was resumed, noise rose from the benches, the cup-boys served wine
from wondrous vessels. Then Wealhtheow came forth
'neath a gold diadem, to where the two good cousinst sat; at peace were they still, each true to the other; there Hunferth too sat at the Scylding lord's feet,—all had faith in his spirit,
his courage, altho' to his kinsmen he had not in sword-play been true.t Then the Scyldings'
queen spake: "Accept this beaker, my beloved lord,1 dispenser of treasure; may'st be joyful, H70 gold-friend of men! And speak to the Geats with gentle words! So man shall do. Be kind toward the Geats, mindful of gifts; near and far thou now hast safety. Men have said that thou this warrior wouldst have for a son. Heorot is purged, the bright hall of rings: enjoy while thou may
the rewards of the many, and to thy sons leave folk and realm, when thou shalt go forth to see thy Creator. Well I know that 1180 my gracious Hrothulf will the youth in honor maintain if thou sooner than he, oh friend of the Scyldings, lsavest the world. I ween that he with good will repay our offspring dear, if he remembers all the favors that we for his pleasure and honor performed when he was a child.'' Then she turned to the seat where were her sons,
Hrethric and Hrothmund, and the sons of the heroes, 1189 the youths all together; there sat the noble Beowulf the Geat, beside the two brothers.
t Hrothgar, and his nephew, Hrothulf, who must have been older than the king's children (cp. lines 1180 ft"), but who evidently did not remain "true."
t He was said to bave killed his brothers.
XIX. Beowulf Rewarded. Eventide
The cup was brought him, and friendly greeting
in words was given and twisted gold kindly proffered—bracelets two, armor and rings, a collar the largest of those that on earth I have heard tell of. Never 'neath heaven have I heard of a better treasure-hoard of men, since Hama bore off to the glittering burg the Brosings' necklace,! the jewel and casket (he fled the guileful 1200 hate of Eormenric, chose gain eternal*). Hygelac the Geat wore this collar, the grandson of Swerting, on his last raid, when he 'neath his banner the treasure defended,
the slaughter-spoil guarded; fate took him off when he out of pride sought his own woe, war with the Frisians; he the jewels conveyed, the precious stones, over the wave-bowl, the powerful king; he fell 'neath his shield. Then into the power of the Franks the king's life
went, and his breast-weeds, went too the collar; warriors inferior plundered the fallen 1212 after the war-lot; the Gcat-folk held the abode of the slain.
The hall resounded. Wealhtheow spake, before the warrior-band said:
"Use this collar, Beowulf dear, oh youth, with joy, and use this mantle, these lordly treasures, and thrive thou well; prove thyself mighty, and be to these boys gentle in counsels. I will reward thee. 1220 This hast thou achieved, that, far and near, throughout all time, men will esteem thee, even so widely as the sea encircles the windy land-walls. Be while thou livest a prosperous noble. I grant you well precious treasures; be thou to my sons gentle in deeds, thou who hast joy. Here is each earl to the other true, mild of mood, to his liege lord faithful; the thanes are united, the people all ready. 1230 Warriors who have drunken, do as I bid.'' To her seat then she went. There was choicest of feasts, the warriors drank wine; Wyrd they knew not, calamity grim, as it turned out for many a man after evening had come and Hrothgar had to his lodging departed, the ruler to rest. There guarded the hall
i Perhaps entered a monastery (S. Bugge).
S The famous necklace of Freyja, which Hama
stole from Eormenric, the cruel king of the
countless warriors, as oft they had done. They cleared the bench-floor; it soon was o'erspread
with bods and bolsters. A certain beer-bearer,
ready and fated, bent to his rest. 1241
They set at their heads their disks of war,
their shield-wood bright; there on the bench,
over each noble, easy to see,
was his high martial helm, his ringed byrnie
and war-wood stout. It was their custom
that they were ever for war prepared,
at home, in the field, in both alike,
at whatever time to their liege lord
the need befel. 'Twas a ready people. 1250
XX. Grendel's Mother
They sank then to sleep. One sorely paid for his evening rest, as full oft had happened since the gold-hall Grendel occupied, unrighteousness did, until the end came, death after sins. Then it was seen, wide-known among men, that still an avenger lived after the foe, for a long time after the battle-care,—Grendel's mother. The woman-demon remembered her misery, she that the watery horrors, the cold streams, had to inhabit, when Cain became 1261 slayer by sword of his only brother, his father's son. Then he went forth bloodstained,
by murder marked, fleeing man's joy, dwelt in the wilderness. Thence awoke many fated demons; Grendel was one, the hated fell wolf who at Ileorot found a watchful warrior awaiting the conflict; and there the monster laid hold of him. Yet was he mindful of his great strength, 1270 the generous gift that God had given him, and trusted for help in him the All-wielder, for comfort and aid; so slew he the fiend, struck down tho hell-spirit. Then humble he made off,
the foe of mankind, to seek his death-home, of joy deprived. Natheless his mother, greedy and gloomy, was bent on going the sorrowful journey, her son's death to avenge.
So came she to Heorot, to where the RingDanes 12T9 throughout the hall slept. Forthwith there came to the warriors a change, when in on them rushed
Grendel's mother; the terror was less by just so much as the force of women is, the war-dread from woman, than that from a man
when the hilt-bound sword, hammer-beaten, stained with gore, and doughty of edges, hews off the head of the boar on the helm.
Then in the hall the hard edge was drawn, the sword o 'er the seats, many a broad shield raised firm in hand; helms they forgot and byrnies broad, when the terror seized them. She was in haste,—would out from thence 1292 to save her life, since she was discovered. One of the nobles she quickly had with grip fast seized, as she went to fen; he was to Ilrothgar of heroes the dearest in comradeship beside the two seas, a mighty shield-warrior, whom she killed, a hero renowned. (Beowulf was absent, for another apartment had before been assigned, 1300 after giving of treasures, to the great Geat.) A cry was in Heorot. She took with its gore the well known hand;i grief had become renewed in the dwellings. 'Twas no good exchange,
that those on both sides payment must make with lives of their friends.
Then was the old king, the hoary war-hero, in stormy mood when his highest thane, no longer living, his dearest friend, he knew to be dead. Quickly to his chamber was Beowulf summoned, the victor-rich warrior. Together ere day 1311 he went with his earls, the noble champion with his comrades went where the wise king awaited
whether for him the All-wielder would after the woe-time a change bring about. Then along the floor went the warlike man with his body guard (the hall-wood resounded) till he the wise prince greeted with words, the lord of the Ingwins;2 asked if he had had according to his wish, an easy night. 1320
XXT. Sorrow For Jeschere. The Monster 'a Mere
Hrothgar spake, the Scyldings' protector: "Ask not after happiness! Grief is renewed to the folk of the Danes. Dead is ^Eschere, of Yrmenlaf the elder brother, my confidant and my counsellor, my near attendant when we in war defended our heads, when hosts contended, and boar-crests crashed; such should an earl be, preeminently good, as .SCschero was. He in Heorot has had for murderer 1330 a ghost-like death-spirit; I know not whether
1 OrendePs (see 1. 834 )
2 the Danes
the fell earrion-gloater her steps back has traced,
made known by her meal. She the feud has avenged,
that thou yester night didst Grendel slay, through thy fierce nature, with fetter-like grasps,
for that he too long my people diminished and wrought destruction. He in battle succumbed,
forfeiting life. And now comes another
mighty man-scather to avenge her son,—
has from afar warfare established, 1340
as it may seem to many a thane
who mourns in spirit his treasure-giver,
in hard heart-affliction. Now low lies the hand
which once availed you for every desire.
'' I have heard it said by the land-dwellers, by my own subjects, my hall-counsellors, that they have seen a pair of such mighty march-stalkers holding the moors, stranger-spirits, whereof the one, so far as they could certainly know, 1360 was in form of a woman; the other, accurst, trod an exile's steps in the figure of man (save that he huger than other men was), whom in days of yore the dwellers on earth Grendel named. They know not a father, whether any was afore-time born of the dark ghosts. That secret land they dwell in, wolf-dens, windy nesses, the perilous fen-path, where the mountain stream
downward flows 'neath the mists of the nesses, the flood under earth. 'Tis not far thence, 1361 a mile in measure, that the mere stands, over which hang rustling groves; a wood fast rooted the water o'ershadows. "There every night may be seen a dire wonder,
fire in the flood. None so wise lives of the children of men, who knows the bottom. Although the heath-stepper, wearied by hounds, the stag strong of horns, seek that holtwood, driven from far, he will give up his life, 1370 his breath, on the shore, ere he will venture his head upon it. That is no pleasant place. Thence surging of waters upwards ascends wan to the welkin, when the wind stirs up the hateful tempests, till air grows gloomy and skies shed tears. Again now is counsel in thee alone! The spot thou yet ken'st not, the perilous place where thou may'st find this sinful being. Seek if thou dare. With riches will I for the strife reward thee, with ancient treasures, as I before did, 1381 with twisted gold, if thou comest off safe."
XXII. The Pubsuit
Beowulf spake, Ecgtheow's son: '' Sorrow not, sage man, 'tis better for each to avenge his friend than greatly to mourn. Each of us must an end await of this world's life; let him work who can high deeds ere death; that will be for the warrior,
when he is lifeless, afterwards best. Bise, lord of the realm, let us quickly go to see the course of Grendel 'a parent. 1391 I promise thee, not to the sea shall she 'scape, nor to earth's embrace, nor to mountain-wood, nor to ocean's ground, go whither she will. This day do thou endurance have in every woe, as I expect of thee!''
Up leapt the old man then, thanked God, the mighty Lord, for what the man said. For Hrothgar then a horse was bridled, a steed with curled mane. The ruler wise in state went forth; a troop strode on, 1401 bearing their shields. Tracks there were along the forest paths widely seen, her course o'er the ground; she had thither gone
o'er the murky moor. Of their fellow thanes she bore the best one, soul-bereft, of those that with Hrothgar defended their home.
Then overpassed these sons of nobles deep rocky gorges, a narrow road, strait lonely paths, an unknown way, 1410 precipitous nesses, monster-dens many. He went in advance, he and a few of the wary men, to view the plain, till suddenly he found mountain-trees overhanging a hoary rock, a joyless wood; there was water beneath, gory and troubled. To all the Danes, friends of the Scyldings, 'twas grievous in mind,
a source of sorrow to many a thane, pain to each earl, when of ^schere, 1420 on the sea-shore, the head they found. The flood boiled with blood, the people looked on
at the hot glowing gore. The horn at times sang
a ready war-song. The band all sat. They saw in the water a host of the worm-kind, strange sea dragons sounding the deep; in the headland-clefts also, nickers lying, which in the morning oft-times keep their sorrowful course upon the sail-road, worms and wild beasts;—they sped away, bitter and rage-swollen; they heard the sound,