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  Beowulf maþelode,         bearn Ecgþeowes:
“Hwæt! we þe þas sælac,         sunu Healfdenes,
leod Scyldinga,         lustum brohton
tires to tacne,         þe þu her to locast.
Ic þæt unsofte         ealdre gedigde
wigge under wætere,         weorc geneþde
earfoðlice;         ætrihte wæs
guð getwæfed,         nymðe mec god scylde.
Ne meahte ic æt hilde         mid Hruntinge
wiht gewyrcan,         þeah þæt wæpen duge;
ac me geuðe         ylda waldend
þæt ic on wage geseah         wlitig hangian
eald sweord eacen         (oftost wisode
winigea leasum),         þæt ic ðy wæpne gebræd.
Ofsloh ða æt þære sæcce,         þa me sæl ageald,
huses hyrdas.         þa þæt hildebil
forbarn brogdenmæl,         swa þæt blod gesprang,
hatost heaþoswata.         Ic þæt hilt þanan
feondum ætferede,         fyrendæda wræc,
deaðcwealm Denigea,         swa hit gedefe wæs.
Ic hit þe þonne gehate,         þæt þu on Heorote most
sorhleas swefan         mid þinra secga gedryht
ond þegna gehwylc         þinra leoda,
duguðe ond iogoþe,         þæt þu him ondrædan ne þearft,
þeoden Scyldinga,         on þa healfe,
aldorbealu eorlum,         swa þu ær dydest.”
ða wæs gylden hilt         gamelum rince,
harum hildfruman,         on hand gyfen,
enta ærgeweorc;         hit on æht gehwearf
æfter deofla hryre         Denigea frean,
wundorsmiþa geweorc,         ond þa þas worold ofgeaf
gromheort guma,         godes ondsaca,
morðres scyldig,         ond his modor eac,
on geweald gehwearf         woroldcyninga
ðæm selestan         be sæm tweonum
ðara þe on Scedenigge         sceattas dælde.
Hroðgar maðelode,         hylt sceawode,
ealde lafe,         on ðæm wæs or writen
fyrngewinnes,         syðþan flod ofsloh,
gifen geotende,         giganta cyn
(frecne geferdon);         þæt wæs fremde þeod
ecean dryhtne;         him þæs endelean
þurh wæteres wylm         waldend sealde.
Swa wæs on ðæm scennum         sciran goldes
þurh runstafas         rihte gemearcod,
geseted ond gesæd         hwam þæt sweord geworht,
irena cyst,         ærest wære,
wreoþenhilt ond wyrmfah.         ða se wisa spræc
sunu Healfdenes         (swigedon ealle):
“þæt, la, mæg secgan         se þe soð ond riht
fremeð on folce,         feor eal gemon,
eald weard,         þæt ðes eorl wære
geboren betera!         Blæd is aræred
geond widwegas,         wine min Beowulf,
ðin ofer þeoda gehwylce.         Eal þu hit geþyldum healdest,
mægen mid modes snyttrum.         Ic þe sceal mine gelæstan
freode, swa wit furðum spræcon.         ðu scealt to frofre weorþan
eal langtwidig         leodum þinum,
hæleðum to helpe.         Ne wearð Heremod swa
eaforum Ecgwelan,         Arscyldingum;
ne geweox he him to willan,         ac to wælfealle
ond to deaðcwalum         Deniga leodum;
breat bolgenmod         beodgeneatas,
eaxlgesteallan,         oþþæt he ana hwearf,
mære þeoden,         mondreamum from.
ðeah þe hine mihtig god         mægenes wynnum,
eafeþum stepte,         ofer ealle men
forð gefremede,         hwæþere him on ferhþe greow
breosthord blodreow.         Nallas beagas geaf
Denum æfter dome;         dreamleas gebad
þæt he þæs gewinnes         weorc þrowade,
leodbealo longsum.         ðu þe lær be þon,
gumcyste ongit;         ic þis gid be þe
awræc wintrum frod.         Wundor is to secganne
hu mihtig god         manna cynne
þurh sidne sefan         snyttru bryttað,
eard ond eorlscipe;         he ah ealra geweald.
Hwilum he on lufan         læteð hworfan
monnes modgeþonc         mæran cynnes,
seleð him on eþle         eorþan wynne
to healdanne,         hleoburh wera,
gedeð him swa gewealdene         worolde dælas,
side rice,         þæt he his selfa ne mæg
for his unsnyttrum         ende geþencean.
Wunað he on wiste;         no hine wiht dweleð
adl ne yldo,         ne him inwitsorh
on sefan sweorceð,         ne gesacu ohwær
ecghete eoweð,         ac him eal worold
wendeð on willan         (he þæt wyrse ne con),

Fitt 24   

1651. Beowulf made a speech, son of Ecgtheow’s: “Indeed, son of Healfdane’s, man of the Scyldings, we have gladly brought the sea-booty which you are looking at here as a sign of glory. With difficulty I survived with my life in battle under water, a work ventured on with adversity.” 

1657. “The battle would have immediately ended if God had not protected me. Nor was I able to achieve anything with Hrunting in the battle, though that weapon may be good.” 

1661. “But it was granted to me by the Ruler of men that I saw hanging in the hall a handsome, mighty old sword– He has often guided the friendless– so that I drew the weapon. Then, when the opportunity was permitted to me, I slew the guardian of the house, killed in the conflict.” 

1666. “Then that battle-sword burned away, the damascened sword, so that blood sprang out, the hottest blood of combat. I carried the hilt away from the fiend there; the wicked deed was avenged, Danish slaughter, as it was fitting.” 

1671. “I have promised you that you might sleep free from care in Heorot with your company of men, and each thane with your people, tried warriors and young warriors, that you need not fear deadly evil for your warriors from that half, prince of the Scyldings, as you did before.” 

1677. Then the golden hilt was given into the old warrior’s hand, the grey-haired war-leader, the ancient work of giants; the work of a wondrous smith, it passed in possession after the devil’s fall to the lord of the Danes. 

1681. And then the world gave up the hostile-hearted creature, God’s adversary, guilty of murder, and his mother also; power passed to the earthly king, the best between the seas who shared out treasures in the Danish realm. 

1687. Hrothgar made a speech, looking at the hilt, the old heirloom, on which was engraved the origin of the ancient strife, when the flood, the rush of ocean, killed the giants' kin, who fared terribly. Those were people estranged from the eternal Lord; the Ruler gave them the final retribution for that through the water’s surging. 

1694.Thus on the plate of metal, shining through the gold, were runic letters rightly marked, which set down and stated for whom the sword was worked, when the best sword was first made with twisted hilt and serpentine patterning. 

1698. Then the wise man spoke, the son of Healfdane, calling for all to be silent: “One who upholds the truth and the right among his folk, who remembers all far back, an old guardian of the homeland, may indeed say that this warrior was born a better man!" 

1703. “Your renown is exalted through distant regions, my friend Beowulf, over each people. You hold it all in patience, strength with wisdom in mind. I will fulfill my friendship to you, as we two spoke earlier.” 

1707. “You will entirely be a long-lasting comfort to my people, a help to warriors. It was not so of Heremod, son of Ecgwelan, of the Honor-Scyldings; he did not grow up to be a joy to him, but to slaughter and to the death of Danish people.” 

1713. “Enraged, he killed table-companions- his comrades- until he turned alone, a renowned prince, from human joys. Though he joyed in the strength given him by mighty God, who exalted his power and advanced him forth over all men, nevertheless, bloodthirsty and secret thoughts grew in his heart.” 

1719. “Nonetheless he gave rings to the Danes in pursuit of renown; he lived joyless, suffering the misery of that struggle, a prolonged affliction to his people. May you be taught by that and see manly virtue!" 

1723. “I tell this tale for you, wise in my years. It is a wonder to say how mighty God, through His deep spirit, distributes wisdom to mankind, land and nobility; he holds all power. Sometimes he lets the mind of a man of renowned kin follow its desire.” 

1730. “Sometimes God gives him in his native land the earthly joy to possess the stronghold of men, and makes him so subject to the regions of the world, a broad kingdom, that he himself does not, in his folly, conceive an end of it.” 

1735. “He dwells in prosperity; neither sickness nor age hinder him, nor does evil anxiety grow dark in his mind, nor does enmity anywhere show deadly hostility, but all the world goes as he desires.”   


oðþæt him on innan         oferhygda dæl
weaxeð ond wridað.         þonne se weard swefeð,
sawele hyrde;         bið se slæp to fæst,
bisgum gebunden,         bona swiðe neah,
se þe of flanbogan         fyrenum sceoteð.
þonne bið on hreþre         under helm drepen
biteran stræle         (him bebeorgan ne con),
wom wundorbebodum         wergan gastes;
þinceð him to lytel         þæt he lange heold,
gytsað gromhydig,         nallas on gylp seleð
fædde beagas,         ond he þa forðgesceaft
forgyteð ond forgymeð,         þæs þe him ær god sealde,
wuldres waldend,         weorðmynda dæl.
Hit on endestæf         eft gelimpeð
þæt se lichoma         læne gedreoseð,
fæge gefealleð;         fehð oþer to,
se þe unmurnlice         madmas dæleþ,
eorles ærgestreon,         egesan ne gymeð.
Bebeorh þe ðone bealonið,         Beowulf leofa,
secg betsta,         ond þe þæt selre geceos,
ece rædas;         oferhyda ne gym,
mære cempa.         Nu is þines mægnes blæd
ane hwile.         Eft sona bið
þæt þec adl oððe ecg         eafoþes getwæfeð,
oððe fyres feng,         oððe flodes wylm,
oððe gripe meces,         oððe gares fliht,
oððe atol yldo;         oððe eagena bearhtm
forsiteð ond forsworceð;         semninga bið
þæt ðec, dryhtguma,         deað oferswyðeð.
Swa ic Hringdena         hund missera
weold under wolcnum         ond hig wigge beleac
manigum mægþa         geond þysne middangeard,
æscum ond ecgum,         þæt ic me ænigne
under swegles begong         gesacan ne tealde.
Hwæt, me þæs on eþle         edwenden cwom,
gyrn æfter gomene,         seoþðan Grendel wearð,
ealdgewinna,         ingenga min;
ic þære socne         singales wæg
modceare micle.         þæs sig metode þanc,
ecean dryhtne,         þæs ðe ic on aldre gebad
þæt ic on þone hafelan         heorodreorigne
ofer ealdgewin         eagum starige!
Ga nu to setle,         symbelwynne dreoh
wigge weorþad;         unc sceal worn fela
maþma gemænra,         siþðan morgen bið.”
Geat wæs glædmod,         geong sona to
setles neosan,         swa se snottra heht.
þa wæs eft swa ær         ellenrofum
fletsittendum         fægere gereorded
niowan stefne.         Nihthelm geswearc
deorc ofer dryhtgumum.         Duguð eal aras.
Wolde blondenfeax         beddes neosan,
gamela Scylding.         Geat unigmetes wel,
rofne randwigan,         restan lyste;
sona him seleþegn         siðes wergum,
feorrancundum,         forð wisade,
se for andrysnum         ealle beweotede
þegnes þearfe,         swylce þy dogore
heaþoliðende         habban scoldon.
Reste hine þa rumheort;         reced hliuade
geap ond goldfah;         gæst inne swæf
oþþæt hrefn blaca         heofones wynne
bliðheort bodode.         ða com beorht scacan
        scaþan onetton,
wæron æþelingas         eft to leodum
fuse to farenne;         wolde feor þanon
cuma collenferhð         ceoles neosan.
Heht þa se hearda         Hrunting beran
sunu Ecglafes,         heht his sweord niman,
leoflic iren;         sægde him þæs leanes þanc,
cwæð, he þone guðwine         godne tealde,
wigcræftigne,         nales wordum log
meces ecge;         þæt wæs modig secg.
Ond þa siðfrome,         searwum gearwe
wigend wæron;         eode weorð Denum
æþeling to yppan,         þær se oþer wæs,
hæle hildedeor         Hroðgar grette.

Fitt 25   

1740. “He knows no worse, until inside, by measures, his arrogance grows and flourishes; then the guardian sleeps, the soul’s keeper. The sleep is too sound, bound by care, with the slayer very near who shoots wickedly from his bow.” 

1745. “When his heart, under protection, is struck with bitter arrows, he is not able to protect it from the perverse and strange commands of evil spirits.” 

1748.”He thinks it too little that he long held, coveting angry-minded; in pride he gives no gold-plated rings at all, and then he forgets and neglects his future destiny, because earlier God, the Ruler of glory, gave him his share of honor.” 

1753. “In the end it happens that after the transitory body declines, the fated to die falls; another takes over, who ungrudgingly deals out treasures, the ancient wealth of noblemen, heedless of terror. Guard against evil hostility, dear Beowulf, best of men, and choose the better: eternal gain.” 

1760. “Be not intent on pride, renowned warrior! Now is your power’s fame for a while; soon after it will be that disease or the sword will deprive you of your strength, or the fire’s grasp, or surging waters, or attack by swords, or the flight of spears, or terrible old age; or the brightness in your eyes will fail and become dim.” 

1767. “Presently it will be that death will overpower you, warrior.” 

1769. “I have ruled the Ring-Danes for fifty years under the sky, and protected them against war from many nations throughout this earth, with spears and swords, so that I did not consider that I had any adversary under the sky’s expanse.” 

1774. “Listen, to me came a reversal in my native land, grief after joy, after Grendel, ancient adversary, became my invader; I bore continuously the persecution with great sorrow of mind.” 

1778. “For that thanks be to the Creator, eternal Lord, that I could experience in my life gazing upon this head, blood-stained from battle after old struggles, with my eyes! Go now to your seat, enjoying the pleasure of feasting, exalted by battle; we shall share a great many treasure when it is morning.” 

1785. The Geat was glad at heart, and soon went to go to his seat, as the wise man had asked. Then there was after, again as before, a finely prepared feast for the one sitting in the hall famed for courage. 

1789. The cover of night grew dark and murky over the warriors. The body of retainers all rose, as the grey-haired old Scylding wished to go to bed. 

1792. The Geat, famous shield-warrior, greatly desired rest. Soon his chamberlain guided him forth, weary from his exploits, from a far country, and in all courtesy looked after the thane’s needs, such as seafaring warriors should have in those days. 

1799. The great-hearted man then rested; the building towered, spacious and adorned with gold; the guest slept inside until the black raven, blithe in heart, announced heaven’s joy. Then bright light came passing over the shadows. 

1803. The warriors hastened, as the noblemen were eager to go back to their people; the visitor, brave in heart, wished to go on his ships far from there. Then the brave son of Ecglaf’s, Unferth, ordered that hard Hrunting should be brought, and that Beowulf take his sword, the precious blade. 

1809. Beowulf expressed thanks for the reward; he considered his war-friend good, and strong in battle. He did not at all in words find fault with the sword’s edge; that was a noble-minded man. 

1813. And then the warriors' arms were ready and they were eager to depart; the honored Danish prince went forward to the high-seat, where the other was. The warrior, brave in battle, greeted Hrothgar.   

  Beowulf maþelode,         bearn Ecgþeowes:
“Nu we sæliðend         secgan wyllað,
feorran cumene,         þæt we fundiaþ
Higelac secan.         Wæron her tela
willum bewenede;         þu us wel dohtest.
Gif ic þonne on eorþan         owihte mæg
þinre modlufan         maran tilian,
gumena dryhten,         ðonne ic gyt dyde,
guðgeweorca,         ic beo gearo sona.
Gif ic þæt gefricge         ofer floda begang,
þæt þec ymbsittend         egesan þywað,
swa þec hetende         hwilum dydon,
ic ðe þusenda         þegna bringe,
hæleþa to helpe.         Ic on Higelac wat,
Geata dryhten,         þeah ðe he geong sy,
folces hyrde,         þæt he mec fremman wile
wordum ond worcum,         þæt ic þe wel herige
ond þe to geoce         garholt bere,
mægenes fultum,         þær ðe bið manna þearf.
Gif him þonne Hreþric         to hofum Geata
geþingeð, þeodnes bearn,         he mæg þær fela
freonda findan;         feorcyþðe beoð
selran gesohte         þæm þe him selfa deah.”
Hroðgar maþelode         him on ondsware:
“þe þa wordcwydas         wigtig drihten
on sefan sende;         ne hyrde ic snotorlicor
on swa geongum feore         guman þingian.
þu eart mægenes strang         ond on mode frod,
wis wordcwida.         Wen ic talige,
gif þæt gegangeð,         þæt ðe gar nymeð,
hild heorugrimme,         Hreþles eaferan,
adl oþðe iren         ealdor ðinne,
folces hyrde,         ond þu þin feorh hafast,
þæt þe Sægeatas         selran næbben
to geceosenne         cyning ænigne,
hordweard hæleþa,         gyf þu healdan wylt
maga rice.         Me þin modsefa
licað leng swa wel,         leofa Beowulf.
Hafast þu gefered         þæt þam folcum sceal,
Geata leodum         ond Gardenum,
sib gemæne,         ond sacu restan,
inwitniþas,         þe hie ær drugon,
wesan, þenden ic wealde         widan rices,
maþmas gemæne,         manig oþerne
godum gegretan         ofer ganotes bæð;
sceal hringnaca         ofer heafu bringan
lac ond luftacen.         Ic þa leode wat
ge wið feond ge wið freond         fæste geworhte,
æghwæs untæle         ealde wisan.”
ða git him eorla hleo         inne gesealde,
mago Healfdenes,         maþmas XII;
het hine mid þæm lacum         leode swæse
secean on gesyntum,         snude eft cuman.
Gecyste þa         cyning æþelum god,
þeoden Scyldinga,         ðegn betstan
ond be healse genam;         hruron him tearas,
blondenfeaxum.         Him wæs bega wen,
ealdum infrodum,         oþres swiðor,
þæt hie seoððan no         geseon moston,
modige on meþle.         Wæs him se man to þon leof
þæt he þone breostwylm         forberan ne mehte,
ac him on hreþre         hygebendum fæst
æfter deorum men         dyrne langað
beorn wið blode.         Him Beowulf þanan,
guðrinc goldwlanc,         græsmoldan træd
since hremig;         sægenga bad
agendfrean,         se þe on ancre rad.
þa wæs on gange         gifu Hroðgares
oft geæhted;         þæt wæs an cyning,
æghwæs orleahtre,         oþþæt hine yldo benam
mægenes wynnum,         se þe oft manegum scod.

Fitt 26   

1817. Beowulf made a speech, son of Ecgtheow’s: “Now we seafarers, who have come from afar, wish to say that we are eager to seek Hygelac. You have treated us well and entertained us as we might wish.” 

1822. “If I might, while on earth, do anything more to earn your heart’s affection, lord of men, than I did yet by war-like deeds, I am soon ready. If I learn over the expanse of the waters that these neighboring peoples are threatened by terrors, as your enemies did for a while, I will bring you a thousand thanes, warriors to help.” 

1830. “I know of Hygelac, lord of the Geats, that though he may be young, guardian of the folk, he will support me in words and deeds so that I will honor you well; and to help I will bear a forest of spears, the support of strength, where you need men.” 

1836. “If Hrethric decides to go to the court of the Geats, a prince’s son, he will find many friends there; it is better that a far country should be visited by one who is of worth.” 

1840. Hrothgar made a speech to answer him: “You have the words of the wise Lord sent into your mind; I have not heard a man of such young age speak more wisely. You are strong in might and sharp in mind, wise in words.” 

1845. “I consider it something to be expected, if it happens that the spear takes Hrethel’s son in sword-fierce battle, or sickness or sword takes your lord, guardian of the folk, and you have your life, that the Sea-Geats will not have any better choice of a king, warrior and guardian of treasure, if you will hold the kingdom of your kinsmen.” 

1853. “Your spirit pleases me longer as well, dear Beowulf. You have brought it about that the folk, Geatish people and Gar-Danes, shall share peace and cease from the strife and enmity which they endured before. While I rule the wide kingdoms treasures will be shared; many will greet his other with gifts over the gannot’s bath.” 

1862. “The ring-prowed ship will bring gifts and tokens of love over the seas. I know your people have disposed firmly both with the enemy and with friends and are in every respect blameless, according to the old ways.” 

1866. Furthermore, the protector of the warriors, son of Healfdane, gave him twelve treasures inside and enjoined him to go to his dear people with the gifts in safety, and to come back soon. Then the king, of good and noble descent, kissed the prince of the Scyldings, the best of thanes, and clasped him by the neck. 

1872. Tears fell from the grey-haired man. He, being old and very wise, had two things in expectation, and one more especially, that they would never be able to see each other again, courageous in council. 

1876. The man was so dear to him that could not restrain his surging emotion, but he held the heart-strings of his heart firm for the dear man and hid the longing which burned in his blood. Beowulf, proud gold-adorned warrior, walked away from him and tread the grassy earth, exulting in his treasure. 

1882. The ship, which rode at anchor, waited for its owner and lord. On the way Hrothgar’s gift was often praised; that was one king blameless in every respect, until age, which has harmed many, deprived him of his strength’s joys.   

Cwom þa to flode         felamodigra,
hægstealdra heap,         hringnet bæron,
locene leoðosyrcan.         Landweard onfand
eftsið eorla,         swa he ær dyde;
no he mid hearme         of hliðes nosan
gæstas grette,         ac him togeanes rad,
cwæð þæt wilcuman         Wedera leodum
scaþan scirhame         to scipe foron.
þa wæs on sande         sægeap naca
hladen herewædum,         hringedstefna,
mearum ond maðmum;         mæst hlifade
ofer Hroðgares         hordgestreonum.
He þæm batwearde         bunden golde
swurd gesealde,         þæt he syðþan wæs
on meodubence         maþme þy weorþra,
yrfelafe.         Gewat him on naca
drefan deop wæter,         Dena land ofgeaf.
þa wæs be mæste         merehrægla sum,
segl sale fæst;         sundwudu þunede.
No þær wegflotan         wind ofer yðum
siðes getwæfde;         sægenga for,
fleat famigheals         forð ofer yðe,
bundenstefna         ofer brimstreamas,
þæt hie Geata clifu         ongitan meahton,
cuþe næssas.         Ceol up geþrang
lyftgeswenced,         on lande stod.
Hraþe wæs æt holme         hyðweard geara,
se þe ær lange tid         leofra manna
fus æt faroðe         feor wlatode;
sælde to sande         sidfæþme scip,
oncerbendum fæst,         þy læs hym yþa ðrym
wudu wynsuman         forwrecan meahte.
Het þa up beran         æþelinga gestreon,
frætwe ond fætgold;         næs him feor þanon
to gesecanne         sinces bryttan,
Higelac Hreþling,         þær æt ham wunað
selfa mid gesiðum         sæwealle neah.
Bold wæs betlic,         bregorof cyning,
heah in healle,         Hygd swiðe geong,
wis, welþungen,         þeah ðe wintra lyt
under burhlocan         gebiden hæbbe,
Hæreþes dohtor;         næs hio hnah swa þeah,
ne to gneað gifa         Geata leodum,
maþmgestreona.         Mod þryðo wæg,
fremu folces cwen,         firen ondrysne.
Nænig þæt dorste         deor geneþan
swæsra gesiða,         nefne sinfrea,
þæt hire an dæges         eagum starede,
ac him wælbende         weotode tealde
handgewriþene;         hraþe seoþðan wæs
æfter mundgripe         mece geþinged,
þæt hit sceadenmæl         scyran moste,
cwealmbealu cyðan.         Ne bið swylc cwenlic þeaw
idese to efnanne,         þeah ðe hio ænlicu sy,
þætte freoðuwebbe         feores onsæce
æfter ligetorne         leofne mannan.
Huru þæt onhohsnode         Hemminges mæg;
ealodrincende         oðer sædan,
þæt hio leodbealewa         læs gefremede,
inwitniða,         syððan ærest wearð
gyfen goldhroden         geongum cempan,
æðelum diore,         syððan hio Offan flet
ofer fealone flod         be fæder lare
siðe gesohte;         ðær hio syððan well
in gumstole,         gode, mære,
lifgesceafta         lifigende breac,
hiold heahlufan         wið hæleþa brego,
ealles moncynnes         mine gefræge
þone selestan         bi sæm tweonum,
eormencynnes.         Forðam Offa wæs
geofum ond guðum,         garcene man,
wide geweorðod,         wisdome heold
eðel sinne;         þonon Eomer woc
hæleðum to helpe,         Hemminges mæg,
nefa Garmundes,         niða cræftig.

Fitt 27  

1888. Then a young and very brave band came to the shore, bearing mail-coats and interlocked mail-shirts. The coastguard observed the return of the warrior, as he before did; he did not greet the guests near the cliff’s nose with an insult, but he rode towards him to say that these warriors in bright armor going to the ship would be welcome to the Weder people. 

1896. Then the spacious vessel was on the sand, the ring-prowed ship, laden with armor, horses and treasures; the mast towered over Hrothgar’s hoard of treasure. Beowulf gave the boat-keeper a sword with bound gold, so that afterwards he was all the more honored on the mead-bench for the treasure and heirloom. 

1903. He then went on the ship, driving the ship through deep water, leaving Danish land. Then there was some sea-garment by the mast; a sail rope was fixed. The sea-wood creaked. The wind over the waves did not hinder the wave-floater’s journey. 

1908. The ship went on and floated, foamy-necked, forth over the waves, the ship with bound prow over sea-currents, so that they might see the Geatish cliffs, familiar headlands. The ship pressed forward and stood on land, wind-battered. 

1914. The ready harbor-guard was swiftly at the water, who had before for a long time eagerly looked out far for the dear men. From moor to sand the anchor-rope of the roomy ship was fixed, lest the force of the waves drive away the handsome wooden craft. 

1920. Then the noblemen commanded the treasure to be borne up, adornments and plated gold; it was not far from there for him to go to the bestower of treasures, Hygelac, son of Hrethling, who dwelt there at home with his companions near the seawall. 

1925. The building was magnificent, with a king of princely fame exalted in the hall, and Hygd very young, wisely accomplished, though the years lived within the enclosed stronghold had been few for Hareth’s daughter. 

1929. She was not so niggardly, though; she was not too sparing with gifts and treasures for the Geatish people. Modthrytho, the noble folk’s queen, committed terrible sins; none of the dear companions dared to bravely venture, except her husband, to look her in the eye by day. 

1936. But he who did could expect deadly bonds ordained and twisted by hand; quickly after being gripped by hand the mace’s use would be determined; so that the sword with branching patterns would settle the matter, make known its deadly evil. 

1940. Such was not a queenly custom for a woman to practice, peerless as she might be, that the peace-weaver should dear men of life after an imagined insult. However, that was stopped by a kinsman of the Hemmings. 

1945. The ale-drinkers said otherwise, that she performed fewer afflictions to the people, malicious acts, as soon as she was given, gold-adorned, to a young warrior of noble and excellent descent, since by her father’s counsel she went in voyage to Offa’s hall over the pale water. 

1951. Thereafter she was well on the throne, renowned for goodness, and made use of her destined life-span. She maintained a deep love for the prince of warriors, and was to all mankind, as I have heard, the best between the seas. For this, Offa, brave man, was widely honored in gifts and war, and ruled his native land with wisdom. 

1960. From him Eomer was born, a warrior to help, kinsman of the Hemmings, grandson of Garmund’s, powerful in battle.   


Gewat him ða se hearda         mid his hondscole
sylf æfter sande         sæwong tredan,
wide waroðas.         Woruldcandel scan,
sigel suðan fus.         Hi sið drugon,
elne geeodon,         to ðæs ðe eorla hleo,
bonan Ongenþeoes         burgum in innan,
geongne guðcyning         godne gefrunon
hringas dælan.         Higelace wæs
sið Beowulfes         snude gecyðed,
þæt ðær on worðig         wigendra hleo,
lindgestealla,         lifigende cwom,
heaðolaces hal         to hofe gongan.
Hraðe wæs gerymed,         swa se rica bebead,
feðegestum         flet innanweard.
Gesæt þa wið sylfne         se ða sæcce genæs,
mæg wið mæge,         syððan mandryhten
þurh hleoðorcwyde         holdne gegrette,
meaglum wordum.         Meoduscencum hwearf
geond þæt healreced         Hæreðes dohtor,
lufode ða leode,         liðwæge bær
hæleðum to handa.         Higelac ongan
sinne geseldan         in sele þam hean
fægre fricgcean         (hyne fyrwet bræc,
hwylce Sægeata         siðas wæron):
“Hu lomp eow on lade,         leofa Biowulf,
þa ðu færinga         feorr gehogodest
sæcce secean         ofer sealt wæter,
hilde to Hiorote?         Ac ðu Hroðgare
widcuðne wean         wihte gebettest,
mærum ðeodne?         Ic ðæs modceare
sorhwylmum seað,         siðe ne truwode
leofes mannes;         ic ðe lange bæd
þæt ðu þone wælgæst         wihte ne grette,
lete Suðdene         sylfe geweorðan
guðe wið Grendel.         Gode ic þanc secge
þæs ðe ic ðe gesundne         geseon moste.”
Biowulf maðelode,         bearn Ecgðioes:
“þæt is undyrne,         dryhten Higelac,
micel gemeting,         monegum fira,
hwylc orleghwil         uncer Grendles
wearð on ðam wange,         þær he worna fela
Sigescyldingum         sorge gefremede,
yrmðe to aldre.         Ic ðæt eall gewræc,
swa begylpan ne þearf         Grendeles maga
ænig ofer eorðan         uhthlem þone,
se ðe lengest leofað         laðan cynnes,
facne bifongen.         Ic ðær furðum cwom
to ðam hringsele         Hroðgar gretan;
sona me se mæra         mago Healfdenes,
syððan he modsefan         minne cuðe,
wið his sylfes sunu         setl getæhte.
Weorod wæs on wynne;         ne seah ic widan feorh
under heofones hwealf         healsittendra
medudream maran.         Hwilum mæru cwen,
friðusibb folca,         flet eall geondhwearf,
bædde byre geonge;         oft hio beahwriðan
secge sealde,         ær hie to setle geong.
Hwilum for duguðe         dohtor Hroðgares
eorlum on ende         ealuwæge bær;
þa ic Freaware         fletsittende
nemnan hyrde,         þær hio nægled sinc
hæleðum sealde.         Sio gehaten is,
geong, goldhroden,         gladum suna Frodan;
hafað þæs geworden         wine Scyldinga,
rices hyrde,         ond þæt ræd talað,
þæt he mid ðy wife         wælfæhða dæl,
sæcca gesette.         Oft seldan hwær
æfter leodhryre         lytle hwile
bongar bugeð,         þeah seo bryd duge!
Mæg þæs þonne ofþyncan         ðeodne Heaðobeardna
ond þegna gehwam         þara leoda,
þonne he mid fæmnan         on flett gæð,
dryhtbearn Dena,         duguða biwenede;
on him gladiað         gomelra lafe,
heard ond hringmæl         Heaðabeardna gestreon
þenden hie ðam wæpnum         wealdan moston,
oððæt hie forlæddan         to ðam lindplegan

Fitt 28   

1963. Then the hardy man himself went amid his band of companions, treading along the sandy plain by the sea, wide shores. The world-candle shone, the sun hastening south. He eagerly made his way to where he had heard the protector of noblemen, the slayer of Ongentheow, good young war-king, shared out rings inside his stronghold. 

1970. Beowulf’s journey was quickly announced to Hygelac, that there in the precinct of the protector of warriors his comrade in battle had come back alive, unharmed by battle, to go to the court. A way was swiftly cleared, as the ruler commanded, for the guest on foot within the hall. 

1977. He who had survived the conflict then sat with the king himself, kinsman with kinsman, after he loyally greeted his liege lord with ceremonious speech, solemn words. Mead-vessels moved around throughout the hall. 

1981. Hareth’s daughter, Hygd, beloved by the people, bore cups with drink in her hand to the warriors. Hygelac began to courteously question his companion in the high hall– his curiously pressed as to what the Sea-Geat’s adventures were. 

1987. “What happened to you on your voyage, dear Beowulf, that you suddenly resolved to seek conflict far off over salt water, battle at Heorot? Have you remedied Hrothgar’s widely known miseries in any way, renowned prince?" 

1992. “My anxiety of mind was agitated by surging sorrow, not trusting this venture of my dear man; I long asked you to not attack the murderous creature at all, to allow the South-Danes themselves to settle the fight with Grendel. To God I say thanks that I have been able to see you sound.” 

1999. Beowulf made a speech, son of Ecgtheow’s: “My great meeting is unconcealed to many men, lord Hygelac, what time of battle there was between Grendel and me in that place, where he brought about sorrows for a great many Victory-Scyldings, miseries for ever.” 

2005. “I avenged all that, so that anyone of Grendel’s kinfolk over the earth need not boast of that uproar at night, he who lives longest of that hateful race, encompassed in crime.” 

2009. “I first came there to the ring-hall to greet Hrothgar. Soon the renowned kinsman of Healfdane’s, after he knew my mind, allotted me a seat with his own sons. The company was in joy. I have never seen under heaven’s vault one sitting in the hall with greater joy over mead.” 

2016. “After a while the renowned queen, the pledge of peace of the folk, went throughout all the hall and urged on the young men; she often gave men circlets before she went to her seat. After a while, for the body of retainers, Hrothgar’s daughter bore an ale-cup to the warriors in turn; then I heard those sitting in the hall name her Freawaru.” 

2023. “There she gave a warrior a studded precious vessel. Young and gold-adorned, she is promised to the gracious son of Frodan; it has been settled by the friend of the Scyldings, the guardian of the kingdom, and with that wise policy he expects that he will settle conflicts, a great number of deadly feuds, with the woman.” 

2029. “After the fall of a man, seldom anywhere does the deadly spear rest, even for a little while, though the bride may be good. It may displease the prince of the Heathobards and each thane of those people- nobly entertained- when he goes with that woman on the hall-floor, the Danish wedding-attendant.” 

2036. “On him shines an old heirloom, hard and ring-patterned, a Heathobard treasure, while they were able to wield the weapon until being led to destruction, dear companions and her own life, in the shield-play.”   


swæse gesiðas         ond hyra sylfra feorh.
þonne cwið æt beore         se ðe beah gesyhð,
eald æscwiga,         se ðe eall geman,
garcwealm gumena         (him bið grim sefa),
onginneð geomormod         geongum cempan
þurh hreðra gehygd         higes cunnian,
wigbealu weccean,         ond þæt word acwyð:
'Meaht ðu, min wine,         mece gecnawan
þone þin fæder         to gefeohte bær
under heregriman         hindeman siðe,
dyre iren,         þær hyne Dene slogon,
weoldon wælstowe,         syððan Wiðergyld læg,
æfter hæleþa hryre,         hwate Scyldungas?
Nu her þara banena         byre nathwylces
frætwum hremig         on flet gæð,
morðres gylpeð,         ond þone maðþum byreð,
þone þe ðu mid rihte         rædan sceoldest.'
Manað swa ond myndgað         mæla gehwylce
sarum wordum,         oððæt sæl cymeð
þæt se fæmnan þegn         fore fæder dædum
æfter billes bite         blodfag swefeð,
ealdres scyldig;         him se oðer þonan
losað lifigende,         con him land geare.
þonne bioð abrocene         on ba healfe
aðsweord eorla;         syððan Ingelde
weallað wælniðas,         ond him wiflufan
æfter cearwælmum         colran weorðað.
þy ic Heaðobeardna         hyldo ne telge,
dryhtsibbe dæl         Denum unfæcne,
freondscipe fæstne.         Ic sceal forð sprecan
gen ymbe Grendel,         þæt ðu geare cunne,
sinces brytta,         to hwan syððan wearð
hondræs hæleða.         Syððan heofones gim
glad ofer grundas,         gæst yrre cwom,
eatol, æfengrom,         user neosan,
ðær we gesunde         sæl weardodon.
þær wæs Hondscio         hild onsæge,
feorhbealu fægum;         he fyrmest læg,
gyrded cempa;         him Grendel wearð,
mærum maguþegne         to muðbonan,
leofes mannes         lic eall forswealg.
No ðy ær ut ða gen         idelhende
bona blodigtoð,         bealewa gemyndig,
of ðam goldsele         gongan wolde,
ac he mægnes rof         min costode,
grapode gearofolm.         Glof hangode
sid ond syllic,         searobendum fæst;
sio wæs orðoncum         eall gegyrwed
deofles cræftum         ond dracan fellum.
He mec þær on innan         unsynnigne,
dior dædfruma,         gedon wolde
manigra sumne;         hyt ne mihte swa,
syððan ic on yrre         uppriht astod.
To lang ys to reccenne         hu ic ðam leodsceaðan
yfla gehwylces         ondlean forgeald;
þær ic, þeoden min,         þine leode
weorðode weorcum.         He on weg losade,
lytle hwile         lifwynna breac;
hwæþre him sio swiðre         swaðe weardade
hand on Hiorte,         ond he hean ðonan
modes geomor         meregrund gefeoll.
Me þone wælræs         wine Scildunga
fættan golde         fela leanode,
manegum maðmum,         syððan mergen com
ond we to symble         geseten hæfdon.
þær wæs gidd ond gleo.         Gomela Scilding,
felafricgende,         feorran rehte;
hwilum hildedeor         hearpan wynne,
gomenwudu grette,         hwilum gyd awræc
soð ond sarlic,         hwilum syllic spell
rehte æfter rihte         rumheort cyning.
Hwilum eft ongan,         eldo gebunden,
gomel guðwiga         gioguðe cwiðan,
hildestrengo;         hreðer inne weoll,
þonne he wintrum frod         worn gemunde.
Swa we þær inne         ondlangne dæg
niode naman,         oððæt niht becwom
oðer to yldum.         þa wæs eft hraðe
gearo gyrnwræce         Grendeles modor,
siðode sorhfull;         sunu deað fornam,
wighete Wedra.         Wif unhyre
hyre bearn gewræc,         beorn acwealde
ellenlice;         þær wæs æschere,
frodan fyrnwitan,         feorh uðgenge.
Noðer hy hine ne moston,         syððan mergen cwom,
deaðwerigne,         Denia leode,
bronde forbærnan,         ne on bæl hladan
leofne mannan;         hio þæt lic ætbær
feondes fæðmum         under firgenstream.
þæt wæs Hroðgare         hreowa tornost
þara þe leodfruman         lange begeate.
þa se ðeoden mec         ðine life
healsode hreohmod,         þæt ic on holma geþring
eorlscipe efnde,         ealdre geneðde,
mærðo fremede;         he me mede gehet.
Ic ða ðæs wælmes,         þe is wide cuð,
grimne gryrelicne         grundhyrde fond;
þær unc hwile wæs         hand gemæne,
holm heolfre weoll,         ond ic heafde becearf
in ðam guðsele         Grendeles modor
eacnum ecgum,         unsofte þonan
feorh oðferede.         Næs ic fæge þa gyt,
ac me eorla hleo         eft gesealde
maðma menigeo,         maga Healfdenes.

Fitt 29-30   

2041. “Then he who sees the precious object will speak during the beer-drinking, an old spear-warrior, who remembers all, the death of men by the spear; he is grim in heart.” 

2044. “Sad of mind, he begins to test the spirit of a young warrior through the thoughts of his heart, arousing the evil of war, and utters the word: ‘Might you, my friend, recognize the sword that your father bore to the fight, the precious iron, under helmet, on his last expedition?'" 

2050. “'There the Danes slew him, and controlled the battle-field after Withergild lay dead, after the fall of the warriors, valiant Scyldings! Now here some son of the slayers, exulting in the adornments, goes on the floor, boasting in his murders, bearing the treasure which you should by rights possess.'" 

2057. “He is urged so and reminded each time with bitter words, until the time comes that the woman’s thane, because of his father’s deeds, sleeps blood-stained after the bite of the sword, having forfeited life. The other escapes from there with his life; he knows the land well.”

2063. “Then the oath-swearing on both halves of the warriors will be broken; afterward deadly hate wells up in Ingeld, and after the surging of sorrow his love for his wife will become cooler.” 

2067. “Therefore I do not consider the Heathobards to have loyalty, or their share in the peace made by marriage to be made without deceit, their friendship firm. I will speak forth further about Grendel, so that you know well, bestower of treasures, about what becomes afterward the hand-to-hand struggle of warriors.” 

2072. “After heaven’s jewel glided over the ground, the enraged creature came, dreadful and hostile in the evening, to seek us out. There, unharmed, we guarded the hall.” 

2076. “There Hondscio was in a fatal battle, fated to die by deadly evil; he lay dead first, girded warrior. Grendel came to him, the renowned young thane to the mouth-slayer. The dear man’s body was entirely swallowed up.” 

2081. “Yet none the quicker the empty-handed bloody-toothed slayer, intent on evil, then wished to go out from the gold-hall; but he tested my renowned strength, my grasp with ready hand. His glove hung broad and strange, secured with cunning clasp.” 

2087. “It was contrived with all ingenuity, the devil’s craft and a dragon’s skill. He wished to put me inside, guiltless, the fierce perpetrator of deeds, as he would many a one. It was not so, after I stood upright in anger.” 

2093. “It is too long to tell how I paid back requital to the ravager of those people for every evil, where I, my prince, brought honor to your people with deeds. He escaped on the way, and enjoyed life for a little while.” 

2098. “Nevertheless, his right hand remained as his trail in Heorot, and he went abject from there, sad at heart, and fell to the bottom of the mere. The friend of the Scyldings rewarded me greatly for the mortal conflict with plated gold, many treasures, after morning came and we had sat down to the feast.” 

2105. “There was song and music; an old Scylding, having learned of many things, related tales from long ago. For a while there was the harp’s joy for the brave in battle, and the delightful wood was struck. For a while true and sorrowful tales were told.” 

2109. “For a while strange stories were narrated fittingly by the great-hearted king. After a while an old warrior, bound by age, proceeded to lament his youth, his strength in battle. My heart welled inside when he recalled many things from old years.” 

2115. “So we took our pleasure inside for the entire day, until the second night came to the men. After then revenge for injury was quickly made ready by Grendel’s mother, who made a journey full of sorrow; death had taken her son through a Weder’s warlike enmity.” 

2120. “The monstrous woman avenged her child; she boldly killed a warrior. There was Aschere, wise old counselor, who departed from life. Nor were the Danish people able, after morning came, to burn up the dead man in fire, nor lay the dear man on the pyre.” 

2127. “She bore off the body in a fiend’s embrace under the mountain-stream. That was Hrothgar’s most grievous sorrow of those which had long befallen the leader of a people. Then the prince, troubled in mind, implored me for your sake that I carry out a heroic deed in the water’s tumult, to venture life, perform a marvelous deed.” 

2134. “He promised me reward. Then, as is widely known, I found in the surging waters the grim and terrible guardian of the deep. There we two fought hand to hand for a while; the water welled with blood, and I cut off his head in the battle-hall of Grendel’s mother with a mighty sword-edge.” 

2140. “With difficulty I bore away from there with my life. I was not then fated to die yet, but afterward the protector of warriors, son of Healfdane’s, gave me a multitude of treasures.”   


Swa se ðeodkyning         þeawum lyfde.
Nealles ic ðam leanum         forloren hæfde,
mægnes mede,         ac he me maðmas geaf,
sunu Healfdenes,         on minne sylfes dom;
ða ic ðe, beorncyning,         bringan wylle,
estum geywan.         Gen is eall æt ðe
lissa gelong;         ic lyt hafo
heafodmaga         nefne, Hygelac, ðec.”
Het ða in beran         eaforheafodsegn,
heaðosteapne helm,         hare byrnan,
guðsweord geatolic,         gyd æfter wræc:
“Me ðis hildesceorp         Hroðgar sealde,
snotra fengel,         sume worde het
þæt ic his ærest ðe         est gesægde;
cwæð þæt hyt hæfde         Hiorogar cyning,
leod Scyldunga         lange hwile;
no ðy ær suna sinum         syllan wolde,
hwatum Heorowearde,         þeah he him hold wære,
breostgewædu.         Bruc ealles well!”
Hyrde ic þæt þam frætwum         feower mearas
lungre, gelice,         last weardode,
æppelfealuwe;         he him est geteah
meara ond maðma.         Swa sceal mæg don,
nealles inwitnet         oðrum bregdon
dyrnum cræfte,         deað renian
hondgesteallan.         Hygelace wæs,
niða heardum,         nefa swyðe hold,
ond gehwæðer oðrum         hroþra gemyndig.
Hyrde ic þæt he ðone healsbeah         Hygde gesealde,
wrætlicne wundurmaððum,         ðone þe him Wealhðeo geaf,
ðeodnes dohtor,         þrio wicg somod
swancor ond sadolbeorht;         hyre syððan wæs
æfter beahðege         breost geweorðod.
Swa bealdode         bearn Ecgðeowes,
guma guðum cuð,         godum dædum,
dreah æfter dome,         nealles druncne slog
heorðgeneatas;         næs him hreoh sefa,
ac he mancynnes         mæste cræfte
ginfæstan gife,         þe him god sealde,
heold hildedeor.         Hean wæs lange,
swa hyne Geata bearn         godne ne tealdon,
ne hyne on medobence         micles wyrðne
drihten Wedera         gedon wolde;
swyðe wendon         þæt he sleac wære,
æðeling unfrom.         Edwenden cwom
tireadigum menn         torna gehwylces.
Het ða eorla hleo         in gefetian,
heaðorof cyning,         Hreðles lafe
golde gegyrede;         næs mid Geatum ða
sincmaðþum selra         on sweordes had;
þæt he on Biowulfes         bearm alegde
ond him gesealde         seofan þusendo,
bold ond bregostol.         Him wæs bam samod
on ðam leodscipe         lond gecynde,
eard, eðelriht,         oðrum swiðor
side rice         þam ðær selra wæs.
Eft þæt geiode         ufaran dogrum
hildehlæmmum,         syððan Hygelac læg
ond Heardrede         hildemeceas
under bordhreoðan         to bonan wurdon,
ða hyne gesohtan         on sigeþeode
hearde hildefrecan,         Heaðoscilfingas,
niða genægdan         nefan Hererices,
syððan Beowulfe         brade rice
on hand gehwearf;         he geheold tela
fiftig wintra         (wæs ða frod cyning,
eald eþelweard),         oððæt an ongan
deorcum nihtum         draca ricsian,
se ðe on heaum hofe         hord beweotode,
stanbeorh steapne;         stig under læg,
eldum uncuð.         þær on innan giong
niða nathwylc,         se ðe neh gefeng
hæðnum horde,         hond ......,
since fahne.         He þæt syððan ......,
þeah ðe he slæpende         besyred wurde
þeofes cræfte;         þæt sie ðiod onfand,
bufolc beorna,         þæt he gebolgen wæs.

Fitt 31   

2144. “So the people’s king lived according to custom. I have not lost any of the rewards, the reward for my strength, but the son of Healfdane’s gave me treasures, of my own choice. These I wish to bring to you, warrior-king, bestowing them with good will. All favors are still dependent on you; I have few close kinsmen except you, Hygelac.” 

2152. Then he commanded the head-sign of a boar to be borne in, a helmet towering in battle, a grey mail-coat, a splendid war-sword, and uttered a speech after this: “Hrothgar gave me this battle-dress, wise king.” 

2156. “He ordered with one speech that I should tell you first of the gift; to say that it was first owned by King Heorogar, man of the Scyldings for a long while. Yet he would not give the corselet to his son, bold Heoroward, though he is loyal to him. Enjoy all of it well!" 

2163. I heard that four apple-bay horses, swift and alike, occupied the track of the adornments. He bestowed the gift on him of horses and treasures. So shall a kinsman do, not at all to weave a net of malice for the other in secret cunning, preparing the death of a close companion. 

2169. To Hygelac, hardy in battle, his nephew was very loyal, and each was mindful of the other’s benefit. I heard that he gave Hygd the neck-ring, splendid and wondrous jewel, which Wealtheow gave him, the prince’s daughter, as well as three horses, graceful with bright saddles. 

2175. Afterward her breast was honored with the receiving of a ring. So the son of Ecgtheow’s showed himself brave, a man renowned for battle and good deeds, who acted in pursuit of glory. He did not at all drunkenly slay hearth-companions. 

2180. He was not savage at heart, but, brave in battle, he kept the liberal gift which God had given him, the greatest strength of mankind. He was long of low esteem, as he was a Geatish son who was considered no good. 

2185. Nor would the lord of the Weders make him worthy of much on the mead-bench; it was very much thought that he was slack, a feeble prince. Change came gloriously to the man in every affliction. 

2190. Then the protector of the warriors, the king famous in battle, ordered brought in Hrethel’s heirloom, adorned with gold; there was not then among the Geats a finer treasure in the form of a sword. This he laid on Beowulf’s lap, and gave him seven thousand hides of land, and a hall and princely throne. 

2196. Both of them together possessed land in that country by natural right, the ancestral domain, but the broad kingdom was rather his who was of higher rank. 

2200. Afterwards it happened, in later days, in the crash of battle, after Hygelac lay dead and battle-maces had slain Heardred under the sword-shields, when hard warriors sought him out, the victorious people, when Heatho-Scylfings attacked the nephew of Hereric’s with hostile assaults, that the broad kingdom passed into Beowulf’s hand. 

2208. He ruled well for fifty years, and was then an old king, old guardian of the native land, until a certain dark night began where the dragon held sway, who watched over a hoard on a high heath, a steep stone barrow; underneath lay a path unknown to men. 

2214. There went some man on inside, who grasped near the heathen hoard with his hand, the shining treasure. Though he intended to trick the sleeping dragon, with a thief’s craft, the people found out, the men dwelling there, that he was enraged.   

  Nealles mid gewealdum         wyrmhord abræc
sylfes willum,         se ðe him sare gesceod,
ac for þreanedlan         þeow nathwylces
hæleða bearna         heteswengeas fleah,
ærnes þearfa,         ond ðær inne fealh,
secg synbysig,         sona onfunde
þæt þær ðam gyste         gryrebroga stod;
hwæðre earmsceapen        ...sceapen
        þa hyne se fær begeat.
Sincfæt ......;         þær wæs swylcra fela
in ðam eorðhuse         ærgestreona,
swa hy on geardagum         gumena nathwylc,
eormenlafe         æþelan cynnes,
þanchycgende         þær gehydde,
deore maðmas.         Ealle hie deað fornam
ærran mælum,         ond se an ða gen
leoda duguðe,         se ðær lengest hwearf,
weard winegeomor,         wende þæs ylcan,
þæt he lytel fæc         longgestreona
brucan moste.         Beorh eallgearo
wunode on wonge         wæteryðum neah,
niwe be næsse,         nearocræftum fæst.
þær on innan bær         eorlgestreona
hringa hyrde         hordwyrðne dæl,
fættan goldes,         fea worda cwæð:
“Heald þu nu, hruse,         nu hæleð ne moston,
eorla æhte!         Hwæt, hyt ær on ðe
gode begeaton.         Guðdeað fornam,
feorhbealo frecne,         fyra gehwylcne
leoda minra,         þara ðe þis lif ofgeaf,
gesawon seledream.         Ic nah hwa sweord wege
oððe feormie         fæted wæge,
dryncfæt deore;         duguð ellor sceoc.
Sceal se hearda helm         hyrsted golde
fætum befeallen;         feormynd swefað,
þa ðe beadogriman         bywan sceoldon,
ge swylce seo herepad,         sio æt hilde gebad
ofer borda gebræc         bite irena,
brosnað æfter beorne.         Ne mæg byrnan hring
æfter wigfruman         wide feran,
hæleðum be healfe.         Næs hearpan wyn,
gomen gleobeames,         ne god hafoc
geond sæl swingeð,         ne se swifta mearh
burhstede beateð.         Bealocwealm hafað
fela feorhcynna         forð onsended!”
Swa giomormod         giohðo mænde
an æfter eallum,         unbliðe hwearf
dæges ond nihtes,         oððæt deaðes wylm
hran æt heortan.         Hordwynne fond
eald uhtsceaða         opene standan,
se ðe byrnende         biorgas seceð,
nacod niðdraca,         nihtes fleogeð
fyre befangen;         hyne foldbuend
swiðe ondrædað.         He gesecean sceall
hord on hrusan,         þær he hæðen gold
warað wintrum frod,         ne byð him wihte ðy sel.
Swa se ðeodsceaða         þreo hund wintra
heold on hrusan         hordærna sum,
eacencræftig,         oððæt hyne an abealch
mon on mode;         mandryhtne bær
fæted wæge,         frioðowære bæd
hlaford sinne.         ða wæs hord rasod,
onboren beaga hord,         bene getiðad
feasceaftum men.         Frea sceawode
fira fyrngeweorc         forman siðe.
þa se wyrm onwoc,         wroht wæs geniwad;
stonc ða æfter stane,         stearcheort onfand
feondes fotlast;         he to forð gestop
dyrnan cræfte         dracan heafde neah.
Swa mæg unfæge         eaðe gedigan
wean ond wræcsið,         se ðe waldendes
hyldo gehealdeþ!         Hordweard sohte
georne æfter grunde,         wolde guman findan,
þone þe him on sweofote         sare geteode,
hat ond hreohmod         hlæw oft ymbehwearf
ealne utanweardne,         ne ðær ænig mon
on þære westenne;         hwæðre wiges gefeh,
beaduwe weorces,         hwilum on beorh æthwearf,
sincfæt sohte.         He þæt sona onfand
ðæt hæfde gumena sum         goldes gefandod,
heahgestreona.         Hordweard onbad
earfoðlice         oððæt æfen cwom;
wæs ða gebolgen         beorges hyrde,
wolde se laða         lige forgyldan
drincfæt dyre.         þa wæs dæg sceacen
wyrme on willan;         no on wealle læg,
bidan wolde,         ac mid bæle for,
fyre gefysed.         Wæs se fruma egeslic
leodum on lande,         swa hyt lungre wearð
on hyra sincgifan         sare geendod.

Fitt 32  

2221. He did not at all deliberately break into the serpent’s hoard, desiring it for himself, to grievously harm him, but in dire distress some slave fled the hostile blows of a man’s son, and the guilty man, needing a dwelling, made his way inside. 

2226. As soon it he looked the intruder rose in horror; nevertheless, the wretched creature escaped when sudden attack befell him. There were many such precious vessels in the earth-house, ancient treasures, which some man in former days, deep in thought, hid there, the immense legacy of a noble kin, precious treasures. 

2236. Death carried off all of them in former times, and the only one still left of the tried warriors of the people, who lived the longest there, a guardian mourning for friends, expected the same, that he would be able to enjoy the ancient treasure for only a little time. 

2241. The barrow was fully ready, and stood on open ground with the seawalls near, newly made by the headlands, and securely made inaccessible. There the keeper of the rings bore inside the noblemen’s treasure, plated gold, a quantity worthy of hoarding. 

2246. He spoke a few words: “Hold now, earth, now that warriors were not able to, the property of warriors! Indeed, worthy men obtained it from you before. Death in battle, terrible mortal harm, carried off each of the men of my people who have left this life, who saw the joy of the hall.” 

2252. “I have none who will carry a sword or bear forth a plated cup, dear drinking-vessel; the tried warriors have passed elsewhere. The hard, gold-adorned helmet is bereft of its gold plates; the burnishers sleep in death, they who should polish the battle-mask.” 

2258. “And the mail-coat also, which in battle endured the bite of swords over broken shields, decays after the warrior; the ring of the mail-coat may not journey far with the war-leader, by the side of the warrior.” 

2262. “There is no joy in the harp, delight in musical instruments, no good hawk flying through the hall, nor swift mare to stamp through the courtyard. The destruction of death has sent away many a living race.” 

2267. Thus, sad at heart, he expressed his sorrow; alone of all he moved about joylessly for days and nights, until the surging of death touched at his heart. The delightful hoard was found by the old night-ravager standing open, the burner who seeks the barrow- a naked, malicious dragon, who flies at night enveloped in fire. 

2274. The dwellers in the land greatly fear him. He will seek out a hoard in the earth, where he guards years-old heathen gold; nor is he at all the better for it. 

2278. So the mighty ravager of the people held a treasure-house in the earth for three hundred years, until one man enraged him at heart; he bore a gold-plated cup to his lord, and begged for a peace-agreement from his lord for his sin. 

2283. The hoard was thus ransacked, diminished of rings, as the grant was made to the wretched man. The lord looked upon the ancient work of men for the first time. 

2287. Then the serpent awoke and strife was renewed; fiercehearted, it moved quickly along the stones and found its enemy’s track; he had stepped forth with stealthy skill near the dragon’s head. So may one not fated to die easily survive misery and exile, who holds the favor of the Ruler. 

2293. The guardian of the hoard searched eagerly along the ground, wishing to find the man who had dealt with him grievously in his sleep. Hot and fierce-hearted, he often went all round the barrow outside. There was not any man there in that deserted place. Nevertheless, he rejoiced in warfare, in the deeds of battle. 

2298. For a while he turned back into the barrow, and sought for the precious vessel; he soon found that some man had tampered with the gold, the rich treasure. The guardian of the hoard waited with difficulty until evening had come. 

2302. The guardian of the barrow was then enraged, and would pay back for that drinking-vessel with loathful flames. Then the day was gone by, as the serpent desired; no longer would he wait on the sea-wall, but would go forth with flames, ready with fire. 

2309. The beginning was terrible for the people in the land, as it would swiftly and sorely bring an end to their treasure-giver.   


Ða se gæst ongan         gledum spiwan,
beorht hofu bærnan;         bryneleoma stod
eldum on andan.         No ðær aht cwices
lað lyftfloga         læfan wolde.
Wæs þæs wyrmes wig         wide gesyne,
nearofages nið         nean ond feorran,
hu se guðsceaða         Geata leode
hatode ond hynde;         hord eft gesceat,
dryhtsele dyrnne,         ær dæges hwile.
Hæfde landwara         lige befangen,
bæle ond bronde,         beorges getruwode,
wiges ond wealles;         him seo wen geleah.
þa wæs Biowulfe         broga gecyðed
snude to soðe,         þæt his sylfes ham,
bolda selest,         brynewylmum mealt,
gifstol Geata.         þæt ðam godan wæs
hreow on hreðre,         hygesorga mæst;
wende se wisa         þæt he wealdende
ofer ealde riht,         ecean dryhtne,
bitre gebulge.         Breost innan weoll
þeostrum geþoncum,         swa him geþywe ne wæs.
Hæfde ligdraca         leoda fæsten,
ealond utan,         eorðweard ðone
gledum forgrunden;         him ðæs guðkyning,
Wedera þioden,         wræce leornode.
Heht him þa gewyrcean         wigendra hleo
eallirenne,         eorla dryhten,
wigbord wrætlic;         wisse he gearwe
þæt him holtwudu         helpan ne meahte,
lind wið lige.         Sceolde lændaga
æþeling ærgod         ende gebidan,
worulde lifes,         ond se wyrm somod,
þeah ðe hordwelan         heolde lange.
Oferhogode ða         hringa fengel
þæt he þone widflogan         weorode gesohte,
sidan herge;         no he him þa sæcce ondred,
ne him þæs wyrmes wig         for wiht dyde,
eafoð ond ellen,         forðon he ær fela
nearo neðende         niða gedigde,
hildehlemma,         syððan he Hroðgares,
sigoreadig secg,         sele fælsode
ond æt guðe forgrap         Grendeles mægum
laðan cynnes.         No þæt læsest wæs
hondgemota,         þær mon Hygelac sloh,
syððan Geata cyning         guðe ræsum,
freawine folca         Freslondum on,
Hreðles eafora         hiorodryncum swealt,
bille gebeaten.         þonan Biowulf com
sylfes cræfte,         sundnytte dreah;
hæfde him on earme         ana XXX
hildegeatwa,         þa he to holme beag.
Nealles Hetware         hremge þorfton
feðewiges,         þe him foran ongean
linde bæron;         lyt eft becwom
fram þam hildfrecan         hames niosan.
Oferswam ða sioleða bigong         sunu Ecgðeowes,
earm anhaga,         eft to leodum;
þær him Hygd gebead         hord ond rice,
beagas ond bregostol,         bearne ne truwode
þæt he wið ælfylcum         eþelstolas
healdan cuðe,         ða wæs Hygelac dead.
No ðy ær feasceafte         findan meahton
æt ðam æðelinge         ænige ðinga,
þæt he Heardrede         hlaford wære
oððe þone cynedom         ciosan wolde;
hwæðre he him on folce         freondlarum heold,
estum mid are,         oððæt he yldra wearð,
Wedergeatum weold.         Hyne wræcmæcgas
ofer sæ sohtan,         suna Ohteres;
hæfdon hy forhealden         helm Scylfinga,
þone selestan         sæcyninga
þara ðe in Swiorice         sinc brytnade,
mærne þeoden.         Him þæt to mearce wearð;
he þær for feorme         feorhwunde hleat
sweordes swengum,         sunu Hygelaces,
ond him eft gewat         Ongenðioes bearn
hames niosan,         syððan Heardred læg,
let ðone bregostol         Biowulf healdan,
Geatum wealdan.         þæt wæs god cyning!

Fitt 33   

2312. Then the stranger began to spew flames, and to burn bright dwellings; the glow of fire rose, to the terror of men. The loathful flying creature would not leave anything alive there. The serpent’s onslaught, his cruelly hostile malice, was widely visible from near and far, how the warlike ravager hated and humiliated the Geatish people. 

2319. He hastened again to his hoard, his secret and splendid hall, before daytime. The people of the land had been encircled in flame, fire and burning; he trusted in his burrow, its fighting power and its walls; his hope deceived him. 

2324. Then the terror was made known to Beowulf, quickly in its truth, that his own home, the best of buildings, had melted in the surge of fire, the Geatish throne. The good man had sorrow in his heart, the greatest of grief. 

2329. The wise man thought that he had acted contrary to the old law, and had severely offended the Ruler, the eternal Lord. His breast inside welled up with dark thoughts, as was not customary for him. 

2333. The fire-dragon had destroyed in flames the people’s stronghold, along the coastal land, the earth-guard. The war-king, the Weder prince, planned vengeance for him. He ordered made for himself a wondrous shield, all of iron, a warrior’s protector for the lord of noblemen. He knew well that forest-wood would not help him, a linden shield against the fire. 

2341. The prince of proven excellence would experience the end of his transitory days, this world’s life, and the serpent also, though he long held the hoarded wealth. 

2345. The prince of rings then disdained that he should attack the far-flier with a host of men, a large army; he did not dread battle for himself, nor did he think anything of the serpent’s fighting power, his strength and courage. 

2349. For he had before risked many harsh straits, and survived combat and the crash of battle, since he had cleansed the hall of Hrothgar, man blessed with victory, and in combat had gripped in death Grendel’s kindred, his loathful race. 

2354. Not the least was the hand-to-hand encounter where a man slew Hygelac, when the Geatish king, Hrethel’s son, lord and friend of the folk, died in sword-drink in Frisian land in the onslaught of battle, the strike of the edge. 

2359. From there Beowulf came by his own craft, and performed a feat of swimming; he had on his arm battle-gear from thirty warriors when he went to the sea. The Hetware did not at all have reason to be exultant in their foot-battle when they bore shields against him; few came back from the warrior to go to their homes. 

2367. The son of Ecgtheow’s swam across the expanse of the sea, a wretched and solitary one, back to his people, where Hygd offered him hoard and kingdom, rings and royal throne. She did not trust her son, that he would be able to hold the ancestral throne against foreign people now that Hygelac was dead. 

2373. Yet no sooner might the destitute people prevail upon the prince, in any way, to be Heardred’s lord, or to accept the royal power; yet he supported him in friendly counsel among the folk, with good will and honor, until he became older and could rule the Weder-Geats. 

2379. Exiles from over the sea, Othere’s sons, sought Heardred; they had rebelled against the protector of the Scylfings, renowned prince, the best sea-king who distributed treasure in Sweden. For him that became his life’s end; the son of Hygelac’s received a mortal wound for his hospitality, the sword’s stroke. 

2387. And the son of Ongentheow’s went back to seek his home after Heardred lay dead, and allowed Beowulf to occupy the royal throne and to rule the Geats. That was a good king.   

  Se ðæs leodhryres         lean gemunde
uferan dogrum,         Eadgilse wearð
feasceaftum freond,         folce gestepte
ofer sæ side         sunu Ohteres,
wigum ond wæpnum;         he gewræc syððan
cealdum cearsiðum,         cyning ealdre bineat.
Swa he niða gehwane         genesen hæfde,
sliðra geslyhta,         sunu Ecgðiowes,
ellenweorca,         oð ðone anne dæg
þe he wið þam wyrme         gewegan sceolde.
Gewat þa XIIa sum         torne gebolgen
dryhten Geata         dracan sceawian.
Hæfde þa gefrunen         hwanan sio fæhð aras,
bealonið biorna;         him to bearme cwom
maðþumfæt mære         þurh ðæs meldan hond.
Se wæs on ðam ðreate         þreotteoða secg,
se ðæs orleges         or onstealde,
hæft hygegiomor,         sceolde hean ðonon
wong wisian.         He ofer willan giong
to ðæs ðe he eorðsele         anne wisse,
hlæw under hrusan         holmwylme neh,
yðgewinne;         se wæs innan full
wrætta ond wira.         Weard unhiore,
gearo guðfreca,         goldmaðmas heold,
eald under eorðan.         Næs þæt yðe ceap
to gegangenne         gumena ænigum!
Gesæt ða on næsse         niðheard cyning,
þenden hælo abead         heorðgeneatum,
goldwine Geata.         Him wæs geomor sefa,
wæfre ond wælfus,         wyrd ungemete neah,
se ðone gomelan         gretan sceolde,
secean sawle hord,         sundur gedælan
lif wið lice,         no þon lange wæs
feorh æþelinges         flæsce bewunden.
Biowulf maþelade,         bearn Ecgðeowes:
“Fela ic on giogoðe         guðræsa genæs,
orleghwila;         ic þæt eall gemon.
Ic wæs syfanwintre,         þa mec sinca baldor,
freawine folca,         æt minum fæder genam;
heold mec ond hæfde         Hreðel cyning,
geaf me sinc ond symbel,         sibbe gemunde.
Næs ic him to life         laðra owihte,
beorn in burgum,         þonne his bearna hwylc,
Herebeald ond Hæðcyn         oððe Hygelac min.
Wæs þam yldestan         ungedefelice
mæges dædum         morþorbed stred,
syððan hyne Hæðcyn         of hornbogan,
his freawine,         flane geswencte,
miste mercelses         ond his mæg ofscet,
broðor oðerne         blodigan gare.
þæt wæs feohleas gefeoht,         fyrenum gesyngad,
hreðre hygemeðe;         sceolde hwæðre swa þeah
æðeling unwrecen         ealdres linnan.
Swa bið geomorlic         gomelum ceorle
to gebidanne,         þæt his byre ride
giong on galgan,         þonne he gyd wrece,
sarigne sang,         þonne his sunu hangað
hrefne to hroðre,         ond he him helpe ne mæg,
eald ond infrod,         ænige gefremman.
Symble bið gemyndgad         morna gehwylce
eaforan ellorsið;         oðres ne gymeð
to gebidanne         burgum in innan
yrfeweardas,         þonne se an hafað
þurh deaðes nyd         dæda gefondad.
Gesyhð sorhcearig         on his suna bure
winsele westne,         windge reste
reote berofene.         Ridend swefað,
hæleð in hoðman;         nis þær hearpan sweg,
gomen in geardum,         swylce ðær iu wæron.

Fitt 34   

2391. In later days he was mindful of retribution for that; he became a friend to the destitute Eadgils, and with his folk he supported the son of Othere’s over the wide sea, with warriors and weapons. He took vengeance after the bitter expedition, depriving the king of life. 

2397. So he, the son of Ecgtheow’s, had survived each combat, fierce battles, with courageous deeds, until the one day on which he should wage battle with the serpent. He went, one of twelve, enraged with anger, the lord of the Geats, to look upon the dragon. 

2403. He had then learned from where the feud had arose, a man’s dire affliction; it had come to his possession, the famous and precious vessel, through the hand of an informer. He was the thirteenth man in the company, who had brought about the beginning of the strife. 

2408. The captive, sad in mind, was to be their abject guide from there to the place. He went against his will to where he alone knew of the earth-hall, the barrow under ground near the surging sea, tossing waves, which inside was full of ornate, gold-carved objects. 

2413. The keeper was monstrous, a ready warrior who held the golden treasures, old under earth; it was not an easy purchase for any man to obtain. 

2417. The king, hardy in conflict, then sat on the headland while his hearth-companions offered him good luck, to their gold-giving friend of the Geats. He was sat at heart, restless and ready for death, with fate immeasurably near, which was to greet the old man and seek the soul’s hoard, dividing life from body. 

2423. Not for long after was the prince’s life enclosed in flesh. Beowulf made a speech, son of Ecgtheow’s: “I have survived many battle-rushes in youth, times of war; I remember all that. I was seven years old when the lord of treasure, lord and friend of the folk, received me from my father.” 

2430. “King Hrethel took charge of me and kept me, gave me treasure and feasting, and was mindful of kinship; I was not in his lifetime at all more hateful to him than a warrior in his stronghold, or any of his sons, Herebeald and Hathcyn, or my own Hygelac.” 

2435. “The eldest was unfittingly spread on a violent death-bed by a kinsman’s deed, after Hathcyn, his lord and friend, struck him down with an arrow from a horn-bow. It missed its mark and he shot his kinsman dead, one brother the other with a bloody shaft.” 

2441. “That was an assault without compensation, a crime wrongly done, wearing to the heart’s spirit; yet it was so that the prince had to lose his life unavenged. So it is sad for an old man to endure his young son swinging on the gallows.” 

2446. “Then he utters a dirge, a mournful song, when his son hangs, a joy to the ravens, and he, old and wise, may not help him or accomplish anything. He is always reminded each morning of his son’s passing away; he does not care to wait inside his stronghold for another heir, when the one, through death’s necessity, has experienced his last deeds.” 

2455. “He looks sorrowfully on his son’s dwelling, the deserted banquet hall, the windy resting-place, bereft of joy; the horsemen sleep, the warriors in the grave. There is no sound of harp there, no men in the yard, as there were formerly.”   

Gewiteð þonne on sealman,         sorhleoð gæleð
an æfter anum;         þuhte him eall to rum,
wongas ond wicstede.         Swa Wedra helm
æfter Herebealde         heortan sorge
weallende wæg.         Wihte ne meahte
on ðam feorhbonan         fæghðe gebetan;
no ðy ær he þone heaðorinc         hatian ne meahte
laðum dædum,         þeah him leof ne wæs.
He ða mid þære sorhge,         þe him swa sar belamp,
gumdream ofgeaf,         godes leoht geceas,
eaferum læfde,         swa deð eadig mon,
lond ond leodbyrig,         þa he of life gewat.
þa wæs synn ond sacu         Sweona ond Geata
ofer wid wæter,         wroht gemæne,
herenið hearda,         syððan Hreðel swealt,
oððe him Ongenðeowes         eaferan wæran
frome, fyrdhwate,         freode ne woldon
ofer heafo healdan,         ac ymb Hreosnabeorh
eatolne inwitscear         oft gefremedon.
þæt mægwine         mine gewræcan,
fæhðe ond fyrene,         swa hyt gefræge wæs,
þeah ðe oðer his         ealdre gebohte,
heardan ceape;         Hæðcynne wearð,
Geata dryhtne,         guð onsæge.
þa ic on morgne gefrægn         mæg oðerne
billes ecgum         on bonan stælan,
þær Ongenþeow         Eofores niosað.
Guðhelm toglad,         gomela Scylfing
hreas hildeblac;         hond gemunde
fæhðo genoge,         feorhsweng ne ofteah.
Ic him þa maðmas,         þe he me sealde,
geald æt guðe,         swa me gifeðe wæs,
leohtan sweorde;         he me lond forgeaf,
eard, eðelwyn.         Næs him ænig þearf
þæt he to Gifðum         oððe to Gardenum
oððe in Swiorice         secean þurfe
wyrsan wigfrecan,         weorðe gecypan.
Symle ic him on feðan         beforan wolde,
ana on orde,         ond swa to aldre sceall
sæcce fremman,         þenden þis sweord þolað,
þæt mec ær ond sið         oft gelæste.
Syððan ic for dugeðum         Dæghrefne wearð
to handbonan,         Huga cempan;
nalles he ða frætwe         Frescyninge,
breostweorðunge,         bringan moste,
ac in compe gecrong         cumbles hyrde,
æþeling on elne;         ne wæs ecg bona,
ac him hildegrap         heortan wylmas,
banhus gebræc.         Nu sceall billes ecg,
hond ond heard sweord,         ymb hord wigan.”
Beowulf maðelode,         beotwordum spræc
niehstan siðe:         “Ic geneðde fela
guða on geogoðe;         gyt ic wylle,
frod folces weard,         fæhðe secan,
mærðu fremman,         gif mec se mansceaða
of eorðsele         ut geseceð.”
Gegrette ða         gumena gehwylcne,
hwate helmberend,         hindeman siðe,
swæse gesiðas:         “Nolde ic sweord beran,
wæpen to wyrme,         gif ic wiste hu
wið ðam aglæcean         elles meahte
gylpe wiðgripan,         swa ic gio wið Grendle dyde.
Ac ic ðær heaðufyres         hates wene,
oreðes ond attres;         forðon ic me on hafu
bord ond byrnan.         Nelle ic beorges weard
forfleon fotes trem,         ac unc furður sceal
weorðan æt wealle,         swa unc wyrd geteoð,
metod manna gehwæs.         Ic eom on mode from
þæt ic wið þone guðflogan         gylp ofersitte.
Gebide ge on beorge         byrnum werede,
secgas on searwum,         hwæðer sel mæge
æfter wælræse         wunde gedygan
uncer twega.         Nis þæt eower sið
ne gemet mannes,         nefne min anes,
þæt he wið aglæcean         eofoðo dæle,
eorlscype efne.         Ic mid elne sceall
gold gegangan,         oððe guð nimeð,
feorhbealu frecne,         frean eowerne!”
Aras ða bi ronde         rof oretta,
heard under helme,         hiorosercean bær
under stancleofu,         strengo getruwode
anes mannes.         Ne bið swylc earges sið!
Geseah ða be wealle         se ðe worna fela,
gumcystum god,         guða gedigde,
hildehlemma,         þonne hnitan feðan,
stondan stanbogan,         stream ut þonan
brecan of beorge.         Wæs þære burnan wælm
heaðofyrum hat;         ne meahte horde neah
unbyrnende         ænige hwile
deop gedygan         for dracan lege.
Let ða of breostum,         ða he gebolgen wæs,
Wedergeata leod         word ut faran,
stearcheort styrmde;         stefn in becom
heaðotorht hlynnan         under harne stan.
Hete wæs onhrered,         hordweard oncniow
mannes reorde;         næs ðær mara fyrst
freode to friclan.         From ærest cwom
oruð aglæcean         ut of stane,
hat hildeswat.         Hruse dynede.
Biorn under beorge         bordrand onswaf
wið ðam gryregieste,         Geata dryhten;
ða wæs hringbogan         heorte gefysed
sæcce to seceanne.         Sweord ær gebræd
god guðcyning,         gomele lafe,
ecgum unslaw;         æghwæðrum wæs
bealohycgendra         broga fram oðrum.
Stiðmod gestod         wið steapne rond
winia bealdor,         ða se wyrm gebeah
snude tosomne;         he on searwum bad.
Gewat ða byrnende         gebogen scriðan,
to gescipe scyndan.         Scyld wel gebearg
life ond lice         læssan hwile
mærum þeodne         þonne his myne sohte,
ðær he þy fyrste,         forman dogore
wealdan moste         swa him wyrd ne gescraf
hreð æt hilde.         Hond up abræd
Geata dryhten,         gryrefahne sloh
incgelafe,         þæt sio ecg gewac
brun on bane,         bat unswiðor
þonne his ðiodcyning         þearfe hæfde,
bysigum gebæded.         þa wæs beorges weard
æfter heaðuswenge         on hreoum mode,
wearp wælfyre;         wide sprungon
hildeleoman.         Hreðsigora ne gealp
goldwine Geata;         guðbill geswac,
nacod æt niðe,         swa hyt no sceolde,
iren ærgod.         Ne wæs þæt eðe sið,
þæt se mæra         maga Ecgðeowes
grundwong þone         ofgyfan wolde;
sceolde ofer willan         wic eardian
elles hwergen,         swa sceal æghwylc mon
alætan lændagas.         Næs ða long to ðon
þæt ða aglæcean hy         eft gemetton.
Hyrte hyne hordweard         (hreðer æðme weoll)
niwan stefne;         nearo ðrowode,
fyre befongen,         se ðe ær folce weold.
Nealles him on heape         handgesteallan,
æðelinga bearn,         ymbe gestodon
hildecystum,         ac hy on holt bugon,
ealdre burgan.         Hiora in anum weoll
sefa wið sorgum;         sibb æfre ne mæg
wiht onwendan         þam ðe wel þenceð.

Fitt 35   

2460. “Then he goes to his bed, chanting one song of grief after another; to him, all seems too spacious, the fields and his dwelling-place. So the protector of the Weders bore a welling grief in his heart for Herebeald.” 

2464. “Nothing at all might put right the violent deed of the slayer; yet none the sooner might he show hatred for the warrior for the hostile deed, though he was not dear to him. Then, amid the grief which had too bitterly befallen him, he gave up human joy and chose God’s light.” 

2470. “He left to his sons, as the prosperous man does, land and towns when he left his life.” 

2472. “Then there was enmity and strife between Swedes and Geats over wide water, mutual feud, hard and warlike enmity, after Hrethel had died, and against him Ongentheow’s sons were bold and war-keen. They would not hold friendship over the seas, but around Whale’s Hill often carried out malicious killings.” 

2479. “My dear kinsmen avenged that, hostile deeds and crimes, as it was well known, though the other paid with his life, hard bargain; Hathcyn, lord of the Geats, became a fatality of war.” 

2484. “I have heard that in the morning one kinsman- Hygelac- avenged the other on the slayer with the edge of his sword, where he encountered Ongentheow’s sons. His war-helmet split; the old Scylfing fell, pale from battle.” 

2489. “His hand remembered enough hostile deeds, and did not hold back the deadly blow. I repaid in war the treasures which he gave me, as it was granted by fate to me, with a gleaming sword. He granted me land, the joy of a hereditary estate.” 

2493. “Nor was there any need for him to look to the Gifthas, or to the Spear-Danes, or in Sweden, that he need seek worse warriors, bought at a price; I would always be before him in a band on foot, alone at the point.” 

2498. “And so I will throughout my life do battle while this sword endures, which has often been of service before and now, since I became the slayer of Dagrefne with my own hand, the champion of the Franks, for the host of warriors.” 

2503. “He was not able to bring adornments to the king of the Frisians, the breast-ornament, but the keeper of the standard fell in battle, a prince in valor; nor was my sword-blade his slayer, but my hostile grasp crushed his bone-house, his pulsing heart.” 

2508. “Now the sword’s edge, the hand and hard blade, shall do battle for the hoard.” Beowulf made a speech, speaking the words of a vow for the last time: “I have ventured upon many battles in my youth; yet I will, the old guardian of the people, seek out conflict, and accomplish a glorious deed, if the wicked ravager of the earthen hall seeks me out.” 

2516. He then greeted each man, bold warriors in helmets, for the last time, dear companions: “I would not bear a sword as a weapon to the serpent, if I knew how else I might grapple with the fierce assailant, as I pledged, as I did with Grendel long ago.” 

2522. “But I expect hot and deadly fire there, breath and venom; therefore I will have on me a shield and mail-coat. I will not flee from the barrow’s guardian one footstep, but we two shall be further along the wall as the Creator of each man allots us our fate.” 

2527. “I am firm in heart that I forebear from making a vow against the flying enemy. Wait in the barrow, protected by your mail-coats, men in arms, to see which of us two may better survive our wounds after the deadly onslaught.” 

2532. “This is not your exploit, nor what is fitting for men except me alone, that he share out his strength against the fierce assailant to perform a heroic deed. With valor I shall win gold, or your lord will be taken by battle, terrible destroyer of life!" 

2538. The renowned warrior then arose by his shield, hard under helmet, and bore his mail-coat under the rocky cliffs. He trusted in one man’s strength; such is not the course of the cowardly! 

2542. Then he who had survived a great many wars, good in manly virtue, the crash of battle when bands on foot clashed, saw a stone arch standing by the wall, with a stream out from there, bursting out of the barrow. 

2546. There was the burning surging of hot and deadly fire; nor might he survive any while unburned in the depths near the hoard for the dragon’s flames. Then the Weder-Geatish man, who was enraged, allowed a word to go out from his breast, a fierce-hearted shout. 

2552. His voice came in and reverberated clear in battle under the grey stone. Hatred was aroused; the hoard-guardian recognized man’s speech; there was no more time to ask for friendship. First the fierce assailant’s breath came out from the stone, the hot vapor of battle; the ground resounded. 

2559. The warrior under the barrow, lord of the Geats, swung the rim of his shield against the dreadful stranger; then the coiled creature’s heart was incited to seek battle. The good war-king had drawn his sword earlier, ancient heirloom, sharp edge. Each of them, intent upon destruction, was horrified by the other. 

2566. It stood firm against the towering shield of the dear people’s lord, and then the serpent swiftly coiled itself together; he waited in arms. Then, burning and coiled, it went gliding out, hastening to its fate. 

2570. His shield protected the renowned prince, his life and body, for a shorter while than his purpose required. For the first time, he would have to hold the day there without fate having decreed for him triumph in battle. 

2575. The hand of the lord of the Geats swung up the mighty heirloom and struck it, terrible in its varied colors, so that the edge failed, gleaming on bone. Its bite was less strong than the people’s king had needed it to be, oppressed by affliction. 

2580. Then the barrow’s guard, after the battle-stroke, was fierce in spirit, and threw deadly fire; the battle-light leapt wide. The gold-giving friend of the Geats did not boast of glorious victory. Unsheathed in battle, the war-shield failed as it should not have, the hitherto excellent sword. 

2586. Nor was it an easy journey when the renowned son of Ecgtheow’s had to give up the ground, when he should, against his will, inhabit a dwelling-place elsewhere, just as each man shall leave these transitory days. 

2591. It was not long until the warriors met each other again. The hoard’s guardian took heart- its breast heaved with breathing once again; he who had ruled the folk before suffered harsh straits, enveloped in fire. 

2596. Not at all did his band of comrades, the sons of noblemen, stand around him in martial virtue, but they fled into the woods and saved their lives. In one of them a heart surged with sorrow; nothing may ever turn away the kinship of him who thinks rightly.   

  Wiglaf wæs haten         Weoxstanes sunu,
leoflic lindwiga,         leod Scylfinga,
mæg ælfheres;         geseah his mondryhten
under heregriman         hat þrowian.
Gemunde ða ða are         þe he him ær forgeaf,
wicstede weligne         Wægmundinga,
folcrihta gehwylc,         swa his fæder ahte.
Ne mihte ða forhabban;         hond rond gefeng,
geolwe linde,         gomel swyrd geteah,
þæt wæs mid eldum         Eanmundes laf,
suna Ohteres.         þam æt sæcce wearð,
wræccan wineleasum,         Weohstan bana
meces ecgum,         ond his magum ætbær
brunfagne helm,         hringde byrnan,
eald sweord etonisc;         þæt him Onela forgeaf,
his gædelinges         guðgewædu,
fyrdsearo fuslic,         no ymbe ða fæhðe spræc,
þeah ðe he his broðor bearn         abredwade.
He frætwe geheold         fela missera,
bill ond byrnan,         oððæt his byre mihte
eorlscipe efnan         swa his ærfæder;
geaf him ða mid Geatum         guðgewæda,
æghwæs unrim,         þa he of ealdre gewat,
frod on forðweg.         þa wæs forma sið
geongan cempan,         þæt he guðe ræs
mid his freodryhtne         fremman sceolde.
Ne gemealt him se modsefa,         ne his mæges laf
gewac æt wige;         þæt se wyrm onfand,
syððan hie togædre         gegan hæfdon.
Wiglaf maðelode,         wordrihta fela
sægde gesiðum         (him wæs sefa geomor):
“Ic ðæt mæl geman,         þær we medu þegun,
þonne we geheton         ussum hlaforde
in biorsele,         ðe us ðas beagas geaf,
þæt we him ða guðgetawa         gyldan woldon
gif him þyslicu         þearf gelumpe,
helmas ond heard sweord.         ðe he usic on herge geceas
to ðyssum siðfate         sylfes willum,
onmunde usic mærða,         ond me þas maðmas geaf,
þe he usic garwigend         gode tealde,
hwate helmberend,         þeah ðe hlaford us
þis ellenweorc         ana aðohte
to gefremmanne,         folces hyrde,
for ðam he manna mæst         mærða gefremede,
dæda dollicra.         Nu is se dæg cumen
þæt ure mandryhten         mægenes behofað,
godra guðrinca;         wutun gongan to,
helpan hildfruman,         þenden hyt sy,
gledegesa grim.         God wat on mec
þæt me is micle leofre         þæt minne lichaman
mid minne goldgyfan         gled fæðmie.
Ne þynceð me gerysne         þæt we rondas beren
eft to earde,         nemne we æror mægen
fane gefyllan,         feorh ealgian
Wedra ðeodnes.         Ic wat geare
þæt næron ealdgewyrht,         þæt he ana scyle
Geata duguðe         gnorn þrowian,
gesigan æt sæcce;         urum sceal sweord ond helm,
byrne ond beaduscrud,         bam gemæne.”
Wod þa þurh þone wælrec,         wigheafolan bær
frean on fultum,         fea worda cwæð:
“Leofa Biowulf,         læst eall tela,
swa ðu on geoguðfeore         geara gecwæde
þæt ðu ne alæte         be ðe lifigendum
dom gedreosan.         Scealt nu dædum rof,
æðeling anhydig,         ealle mægene
feorh ealgian;         ic ðe fullæstu.”
æfter ðam wordum         wyrm yrre cwom,
atol inwitgæst,         oðre siðe
fyrwylmum fah         fionda niosian,
laðra manna;         ligyðum for.
Born bord wið rond,         byrne ne meahte
geongum garwigan         geoce gefremman,
ac se maga geonga         under his mæges scyld
elne geeode,         þa his agen wæs
gledum forgrunden.         þa gen guðcyning
mærða gemunde,         mægenstrengo sloh
hildebille,         þæt hyt on heafolan stod
niþe genyded;         Nægling forbærst,
geswac æt sæcce         sweord Biowulfes,
gomol ond grægmæl.         Him þæt gifeðe ne wæs
þæt him irenna         ecge mihton
helpan æt hilde;         wæs sio hond to strong,
se ðe meca gehwane,         mine gefræge,
swenge ofersohte,         þonne he to sæcce bær
wæpen wundrum heard;         næs him wihte ðe sel.
þa wæs þeodsceaða         þriddan siðe,
frecne fyrdraca,         fæhða gemyndig,
ræsde on ðone rofan,         þa him rum ageald,
hat ond heaðogrim,         heals ealne ymbefeng
biteran banum;         he geblodegod wearð
sawuldriore,         swat yðum weoll.

Fitt 36   

2602. He was called Wiglaf, son of Weoxstone, a beloved warrior, a man of the Scylfings, kinsman of Alfhere. He saw his liege lord suffer heat under his helmet. He was reminded then of the property which Beowulf had given him before, the rich dwelling place of the Wagmundings, each in common right as his father had possessed. 

2609. He was not then able to restrain himself; his hand grasped the yellow shield, and drew an ancient sword; that was Eanmund’s heirloom among men, son of Othere’s. It happened in battle that Weohstan was the slayer of that friendless exile with the sword’s edge, and bore away to his kinsmen the shining helmet, a ringed mail-coat, an old sword made by giants. 

2616. Onela gave him that, his kinsmen’s war-garments, ready war-gear; he spoke nothing about the feud, even though Weohstan had killed his brother’s son. He kept the adornments for many seasons, sword and mail-coat, until his son might perform heroic deeds just as his late father. 

2623. Then, amid the Geats, he gave him a countless number of every type of war-garment when he departed from life, old and on his way forth. That was the first time for the young warrior that he should participate in the onslaught of battle with his noble lord. 

2628. Nor did his spirit weaken, nor did his kinsman’s heirloom fail in conflict; the serpent found that out when they had come together. 

2631. Wiglaf made a speech, and said many a true word to his companions- he was sad at heart: “I remember that time, where we drank mead, when we promised our lord in the beer-hall, he who gave us rings, that we would repay him for the war equipment if such need would befall him, with helmets and hard swords.” 

2638. “For this he chose us in his army, willed ourselves to be at this expedition, considered us worthy, and gave me these treasures, because he considered us good spear-fighters, valiant helmet-bearers! Though our lord, the folk’s guardian, intended to accomplish this courageous deed alone, because he among men accomplished the most glorious feats, audacious deeds.” 

2646. “Now the day is come that our liege lord needs the strength of good warriors. Let us go to help our leader in battle while he is in the heat of grim fire-terror. God knows of me that it is dearer to me that fire should enfold me with my gold-giving lord.” 

2653. “Nor does it seem fitting to me that we should bear shields back to home unless we first may kill the foe, and defend the life of our Weder prince’s. I know well that it has not been merited by past deeds that he alone of the Geatish host must suffer affliction, and fall in battle.” 

2659. “We shall both share sword and helmet, mail-coat and battle-garment.” He then waded through the deadly smoke, bore a helmet to help his lord, and spoke a few words: “Dear Beowulf, perform everything well, as you said long ago in youth that you would not allow, while you are alive, your glory to decline.” 

2666. “You shall now defend your life with all strength, deed-famed, resolute prince. I will help you!” After these words the serpent became angry; the terrible, malicious alien attacked its enemy a second time with glowing, surging fire, loathful flames. 

2672. The wave of flames advanced, and burned the shield up to its boss; it might not burn the young warrior providing help, but the young man went on valiantly under his kinsman’s shield when his own was destroyed by flames. 

2678. Then again the war-king set his mind on glory, and struck with his battle-sword with great strength, so that it stuck in the head, impelled with hostility. Naegling broke; Beowulf’s sword, ancient and grey-colored, failed in battle. 

2682. It was not granted by fate to him that the sword’s edge might help him in battle. The hand was too strong, I have heard, whose stroke overtaxed every sword, when he bore to battle the wondrously hard weapon. He was not at all the better for it. 

2698. Then the ravager of the people, for the third time, terrible fire-dragon, was intent on hostile deeds; he rushed on the renowned man when the opportunity permitted him, hot and battle-fierce. His neck was entirely clasped by sharp tusks; he became bloodied with his life-fluid. Blood surged in streams.

  Ða ic æt þearfe gefrægn         þeodcyninges
andlongne eorl         ellen cyðan,
cræft ond cenðu,         swa him gecynde wæs.
Ne hedde he þæs heafolan,         ac sio hand gebarn
modiges mannes,         þær he his mæges healp,
þæt he þone niðgæst         nioðor hwene sloh,
secg on searwum,         þæt ðæt sweord gedeaf,
fah ond fæted,         þæt ðæt fyr ongon
sweðrian syððan.         þa gen sylf cyning
geweold his gewitte,         wællseaxe gebræd
biter ond beaduscearp,         þæt he on byrnan wæg;
forwrat Wedra helm         wyrm on middan.
Feond gefyldan         (ferh ellen wræc),
ond hi hyne þa begen         abroten hæfdon,
sibæðelingas.         Swylc sceolde secg wesan,
þegn æt ðearfe!         þæt ðam þeodne wæs
siðast sigehwila         sylfes dædum,
worlde geweorces.         ða sio wund ongon,
þe him se eorðdraca         ær geworhte,
swelan ond swellan;         he þæt sona onfand,
þæt him on breostum         bealoniðe weoll
attor on innan.         ða se æðeling giong
þæt he bi wealle         wishycgende
gesæt on sesse;         seah on enta geweorc,
hu ða stanbogan         stapulum fæste
ece eorðreced         innan healde.
Hyne þa mid handa         heorodreorigne,
þeoden mærne,         þegn ungemete till
winedryhten his         wætere gelafede,
hilde sædne,         ond his helm onspeon.
Biowulf maþelode         (he ofer benne spræc,
wunde wælbleate;         wisse he gearwe
þæt he dæghwila         gedrogen hæfde,
eorðan wynne;         ða wæs eall sceacen
dogorgerimes,         deað ungemete neah):
“Nu ic suna minum         syllan wolde
guðgewædu,         þær me gifeðe swa
ænig yrfeweard         æfter wurde
lice gelenge.         Ic ðas leode heold
fiftig wintra;         næs se folccyning,
ymbesittendra         ænig ðara,
þe mec guðwinum         gretan dorste,
egesan ðeon.         Ic on earde bad
mælgesceafta,         heold min tela,
ne sohte searoniðas,         ne me swor fela
aða on unriht.         Ic ðæs ealles mæg
feorhbennum seoc         gefean habban;
for ðam me witan ne ðearf         waldend fira
morðorbealo maga,         þonne min sceaceð
lif of lice.         Nu ðu lungre geong
hord sceawian         under harne stan,
Wiglaf leofa,         nu se wyrm ligeð,
swefeð sare wund,         since bereafod.
Bio nu on ofoste,         þæt ic ærwelan,
goldæht ongite,         gearo sceawige
swegle searogimmas,         þæt ic ðy seft mæge
æfter maððumwelan         min alætan
lif ond leodscipe,         þone ic longe heold.”

Fitt 37   

2694. Then, I have heard, at the need of the people’s king, the warrior at his side displayed courage, strength and boldness, as was natural for him. 

2697. Nor did he heed that dragon’s head, but the brave man’s hand was burned as he helped his kinsman, as he struck at the malicious alien a little lower down, the man in arms, so that the sword sank in, gleaming and gold plated; the fire began to subside after. 

2702. Then again the king himself held his senses, and drew the deadly knife, cruel and sharp in battle, that he carried in his mail-coat. The protector of the Weders cut through the serpent in the middle. The foe was felled- valor drove his life out- and they had both then destroyed him, noble kinsmen. 

2708. So should a man be to his prince in need. For the prince that was the last time of victory for his own deeds, of his actions in the world. Then the wound which the earth-dragon inflicted on him earlier began to burn and swell. 

2713. He soon found out that deadly evil was welling up in his breast, venom inside. Then the prince, wise in thought, went to where he might sit on a seat by the wall; he saw the work of the giants, how the stone arches, secure pillars, held an age-old earth-dwelling inside. 

2720. Then with his hand, blood-stained from battle, the thane, good without limit, bathed his friend and lord with water, the renowned prince wearied from battle, and unfastened his helmet. 

2724. Beowulf made a speech- he spoke despite his injury, mortal wound; he knew well that he had passed through his days, joy on earth. His number of days were all passed away, with death exceedingly near. 

2729. “Now I would give my war-garments to my son, if it had been granted so to me by fate that any heir was of my body. I ruled this people for fifty years; there was no king of a folk, any neighboring peoples there, who dared greet me with swords, threaten with terror.” 

2736. “I awaited my destiny in the homeland, held my own well, and sought no contrived hostility, nor swore many oaths wrongfully. In all of this, sick with mortal wounds, I may have joy; for the Ruler of men has no cause to accuse me of murderous killing when my life passes from my body.” 

2743. “Now go swiftly to look upon the hoard under the grey stone, dear Wiglaf, now that the serpent lies dead, sleeping from sore wounds, bereft of its treasure.” 

2747. “Be now in haste so that I may see the ancient riches, the store of gold, and look at the bright, finely-worked jewels clearly, so that because of the wealth of treasure I may more peacefully leave the life and nation which I long held.”   

  Ða ic snude gefrægn         sunu Wihstanes
æfter wordcwydum         wundum dryhtne
hyran heaðosiocum,         hringnet beran,
brogdne beadusercean         under beorges hrof.
Geseah ða sigehreðig,         þa he bi sesse geong,
magoþegn modig         maððumsigla fealo,
gold glitinian         grunde getenge,
wundur on wealle,         ond þæs wyrmes denn,
ealdes uhtflogan,         orcas stondan,
fyrnmanna fatu         feormendlease,
hyrstum behrorene;         þær wæs helm monig
eald ond omig,         earmbeaga fela
searwum gesæled.         Sinc eaðe mæg,
gold on grunde,         gumcynnes gehwone
oferhigian,         hyde se ðe wylle.
Swylce he siomian geseah         segn eallgylden
heah ofer horde,         hondwundra mæst,
gelocen leoðocræftum;         of ðam leoma stod,
þæt he þone grundwong         ongitan meahte,
wræte giondwlitan.         Næs ðæs wyrmes þær
onsyn ænig,         ac hyne ecg fornam.
ða ic on hlæwe gefrægn         hord reafian,
eald enta geweorc,         anne mannan,
him on bearm hladon         bunan ond discas
sylfes dome;         segn eac genom,
beacna beorhtost.         Bill ær gescod
(ecg wæs iren)         ealdhlafordes
þam ðara maðma         mundbora wæs
longe hwile,         ligegesan wæg
hatne for horde,         hioroweallende
middelnihtum,         oðþæt he morðre swealt.
Ar wæs on ofoste,         eftsiðes georn,
frætwum gefyrðred;         hyne fyrwet bræc,
hwæðer collenferð         cwicne gemette
in ðam wongstede         Wedra þeoden
ellensiocne,         þær he hine ær forlet.
He ða mid þam maðmum         mærne þioden,
dryhten sinne,         driorigne fand
ealdres æt ende;         he hine eft ongon
wæteres weorpan,         oðþæt wordes ord
breosthord þurhbræc.        
gomel on giohðe         (gold sceawode):
“Ic ðara frætwa         frean ealles ðanc,
wuldurcyninge,         wordum secge,
ecum dryhtne,         þe ic her on starie,
þæs ðe ic moste         minum leodum
ær swyltdæge         swylc gestrynan.
Nu ic on maðma hord         mine bebohte
frode feorhlege,         fremmað gena
leoda þearfe;         ne mæg ic her leng wesan.
Hatað heaðomære         hlæw gewyrcean
beorhtne æfter bæle         æt brimes nosan;
se scel to gemyndum         minum leodum
heah hlifian         on Hronesnæsse,
þæt hit sæliðend         syððan hatan
Biowulfes biorh,         ða ðe brentingas
ofer floda genipu         feorran drifað.”
Dyde him of healse         hring gyldenne
þioden þristhydig,         þegne gesealde,
geongum garwigan,         goldfahne helm,
beah ond byrnan,         het hyne brucan well:
“þu eart endelaf         usses cynnes,
Wægmundinga.         Ealle wyrd forsweop
mine magas         to metodsceafte,
eorlas on elne;         ic him æfter sceal.”
þæt wæs þam gomelan         gingæste word
breostgehygdum,         ær he bæl cure,
hate heaðowylmas;         him of hreðre gewat
sawol secean         soðfæstra dom.

Fitt 38   

2752. Then I have heard that the son of Wihstan, after the spoken words of his wounded lord, swiftly obeyed the battle-wounded man, and carried a mail-coat, woven battle-shirt, under the barrow’s roof. 

2756. The brave young thane, triumphant in victory, saw after he went by the seat many precious jewels, glittering gold lying on the ground, wondrous objects on the wall, and the serpent’s lair- the old creature that flew before dawn- cups standing, and vessels of men of old, lacking a burnisher, bereft of adornment. 

2762. There was many a helmet, old and rusted, and many an arm-wring, skillfully twisted. Treasure, gold in the ground, may easily overpower each one of mankind, hide it who will. He also saw a standard all of gold, hanging high over the hoard, a great marvel made by hand, woven with the skill of hand. 

2769. From these things a light shone out, so that he might see the surface of the floor, and look at every part of the ornate objects. There was no sign of the serpent, for the sword had carried him off. 

2773. Then I have heard that one man plundered the hoard in the barrow, the old work of giants; he loaded his lap with drinking-vessels and dishes of his own choice; the standard was also taken, brightest of banners. 

2778. The aged lord’s sword- its edge was iron- had already injured the dragon, who was the guardian of the treasure for a long while, who brought hot, terrifying fire because of the hoard, fiercely welling in the middle of the night, until he died a violent death. 

2783. The messenger was in haste, eager to journey back, urged on by precious things; anxiety oppressed him to find whether the prince of the Weders, deprived of strength, was alive and bold in spirit in that place where he left him before. 

2788. Then, with the treasures, he found his lord bleeding, renowned prince, his life at an end; he began again to sprinkle him with water, until words began to break through his heart. The warrior-king spoke, old in sorrow- he looked at the gold. 

2794. “To the Lord of all, the King of glory, eternal Lord, I say words of thanks for the precious things which I gaze upon here, for the fact that I have been permitted to gain such treasure for my people before my day of death.” 

2799. “Now for a hoard of treasures I have sold my old life. Attend still to my people’s needs; I may not be here longer. Order the battle-famed to build a splendid burial mound, after the pyre, at the sea’s promontory.” 

2804. “It is to be a memorial to my people, a high tower on Whale’s Hill, that afterwards seafarers may call Beowulf’s barrow when they drive ships over the sea’s mist from afar.” 

2809. The brave-hearted prince took from his neck a golden ring, and gave it to the thane, the young warrior, and a gold-adorned helmet, and commanded him to use it well: “You are the last remaining of our kin, the Wagmundings.” 

2814. “Fate swept away all of my kinsmen to their destiny’s decree, warriors in valor; I shall follow them.” That was the last word thought from the heart of the old man, before he chose the pyre, hot and hostile flames. His soul departed from his breast to seek the judgment of his righteousness.   

  Ða wæs gegongen         guman unfrodum
earfoðlice,         þæt he on eorðan geseah
þone leofestan         lifes æt ende
bleate gebæran.         Bona swylce læg,
egeslic eorðdraca         ealdre bereafod,
bealwe gebæded.         Beahhordum leng
wyrm wohbogen         wealdan ne moste,
ac hine irenna         ecga fornamon,
hearde, heaðoscearde         homera lafe,
þæt se widfloga         wundum stille
hreas on hrusan         hordærne neah.
Nalles æfter lyfte         lacende hwearf
middelnihtum,         maðmæhta wlonc
ansyn ywde,         ac he eorðan gefeoll
for ðæs hildfruman         hondgeweorce.
Huru þæt on lande         lyt manna ðah,
mægenagendra,         mine gefræge,
þeah ðe he dæda gehwæs         dyrstig wære,
þæt he wið attorsceaðan         oreðe geræsde,
oððe hringsele         hondum styrede,
gif he wæccende         weard onfunde
buon on beorge.         Biowulfe wearð
dryhtmaðma dæl         deaðe forgolden;
hæfde æghwæðer         ende gefered
lænan lifes.         Næs ða lang to ðon
þæt ða hildlatan         holt ofgefan,
tydre treowlogan         tyne ætsomne.
ða ne dorston ær         dareðum lacan
on hyra mandryhtnes         miclan þearfe,
ac hy scamiende         scyldas bæran,
guðgewædu,         þær se gomela læg,
wlitan on Wilaf.         He gewergad sæt,
feðecempa,         frean eaxlum neah,
wehte hyne wætre;         him wiht ne speow.
Ne meahte he on eorðan,         ðeah he uðe wel,
on ðam frumgare         feorh gehealdan,
ne ðæs wealdendes         wiht oncirran;
wolde dom godes         dædum rædan
gumena gehwylcum,         swa he nu gen deð.
þa wæs æt ðam geongan         grim ondswaru
eðbegete         þam ðe ær his elne forleas.
Wiglaf maðelode,         Weohstanes sunu,
sec, sarigferð         (seah on unleofe):
“þæt, la, mæg secgan         se ðe wyle soð specan
þæt se mondryhten         se eow ða maðmas geaf,
eoredgeatwe,         þe ge þær on standað,
þonne he on ealubence         oft gesealde
healsittendum         helm ond byrnan,
þeoden his þegnum,         swylce he þrydlicost
ower feor oððe neah         findan meahte,
þæt he genunga         guðgewædu
wraðe forwurpe,         ða hyne wig beget.
Nealles folccyning         fyrdgesteallum
gylpan þorfte;         hwæðre him god uðe,
sigora waldend,         þæt he hyne sylfne gewræc
ana mid ecge,         þa him wæs elnes þearf.
Ic him lifwraðe         lytle meahte
ætgifan æt guðe,         ond ongan swa þeah
ofer min gemet         mæges helpan;
symle wæs þy sæmra,         þonne ic sweorde drep
ferhðgeniðlan,         fyr unswiðor
weoll of gewitte.         Wergendra to lyt
þrong ymbe þeoden,         þa hyne sio þrag becwom.
Nu sceal sincþego         ond swyrdgifu,
eall eðelwyn         eowrum cynne,
lufen alicgean;         londrihtes mot
þære mægburge         monna æghwylc
idel hweorfan,         syððan æðelingas
feorran gefricgean         fleam eowerne,
domleasan dæd.         Deað bið sella
eorla gehwylcum         þonne edwitlif!”

Fitt 39   

2821. Then it was a painful happening for the young man, that he saw the dearest man suffer pitiably on the ground, at the end of his life. The slayer also lay, terrible earth-dragon, bereft of life, overwhelmed by ruin. 

2826. The coiled serpent was no longer able to rule over the hoard of rings, but the sword’s edge destroyed him, the hard, battle-sharp hammer-remnant, so that the wide-flyer fell on the ground, unmoving from his wounds, near the hoard-house. 

2832. There was not at all the show of a sign of it flying through the air, moving about in the middle of the night, glorying in rich possessions, but he fell on the earth through the handiwork of the war-leader. 

2836. Indeed, there were in the land few mighty men who succeeded, as I have heard, though they were daring in every deed, that they made a rush against the breath of the venomous ravager, or disturbed the hall of rings with their hand, if he found the guardian who dwells in the barrow awake. 

2842. Beowulf paid for the share of noble treasures with his death; both had reached the end of this transitory life. It was not long after that the laggards in battle left the wood, cowardly traitors, the ten together, who did not dare before fight with spears in their liege lord’s great need. 

2850. But they carried their shields in shame, their war-garments, to where the old man lay, and gazed on Wiglaf. He sat, exhausted, the foot-warrior near the shoulder of his lord; he tried to revive him with water- he did not at all succeed. 

2855. Nor might he, though he wished strongly, keep the chieftain’s life on earth, nor change anything ordained by the Ruler. The decree of God’s would rule the deeds of each man, as He now still does. 

2860. Then it was easy for the young man to obtain a grim answer for those who lost their courage earlier. Wiglaf made a speech, Weohstan’s son, a man sad at heart, as he looked on the unloved. 

2864. “It indeed may be said, by he who will speak the truth, that the liege lord who gave you these treasures, the war-equipment in which you now stand there- when he on the mead-bench often gave to the hall-sitters a helmet and mail-coat, a prince to his thanes, as most splendid as he might find anywhere far or near- that he had completely and grievously thrown away the war-garments when war came upon him.” 

2873. “Not at all did the people’s king have cause to boast about his comrades in arms. Yet God granted him, the victorious Ruler, that he himself avenged, alone with his sword-blade, when he was in need of courage.” 

2877. “I might give him little life-protection in combat, and yet I began to help my kinsman, despite my power. It always was the weaker when I struck the deadly foe with my sword; the fire less strongly welled out from its head.” 

2882. “The defenders were too few thronged around the prince when the time of hardship came to him. Now the receiving of treasures and giving of swords, all joy in the native land of your kin, in your beloved homeland, shall cease.” 

2886. “Every man of your kindred must wander, deprived of his land-right, after noblemen from afar learn of your flight, inglorious deed. Death is better for each warrior than a life of disgrace!" 

  Heht ða þæt heaðoweorc         to hagan biodan
up ofer ecgclif,         þær þæt eorlweorod
morgenlongne dæg         modgiomor sæt,
bordhæbbende,         bega on wenum,
endedogores         ond eftcymes
leofes monnes.         Lyt swigode
niwra spella         se ðe næs gerad,
ac he soðlice         sægde ofer ealle:
“Nu is wilgeofa         Wedra leoda,
dryhten Geata,         deaðbedde fæst,
wunað wælreste         wyrmes dædum.
Him on efn ligeð         ealdorgewinna
sexbennum seoc;         sweorde ne meahte
on ðam aglæcean         ænige þinga
wunde gewyrcean.         Wiglaf siteð
ofer Biowulfe,         byre Wihstanes,
eorl ofer oðrum         unlifigendum,
healdeð higemæðum         heafodwearde
leofes ond laðes.         Nu ys leodum wen
orleghwile,         syððan underne
Froncum ond Frysum         fyll cyninges
wide weorðeð.         Wæs sio wroht scepen
heard wið Hugas,         syððan Higelac cwom
faran flotherge         on Fresna land,
þær hyne Hetware         hilde genægdon,
elne geeodon         mid ofermægene,
þæt se byrnwiga         bugan sceolde,
feoll on feðan,         nalles frætwe geaf
ealdor dugoðe.         Us wæs a syððan
Merewioingas         milts ungyfeðe.
Ne ic to Sweoðeode         sibbe oððe treowe
wihte ne wene,         ac wæs wide cuð
þætte Ongenðio         ealdre besnyðede
Hæðcen Hreþling         wið Hrefnawudu,
þa for onmedlan         ærest gesohton
Geata leode         Guðscilfingas.
Sona him se froda         fæder Ohtheres,
eald ond egesfull,         ondslyht ageaf,
abreot brimwisan,         bryd ahredde,
gomela iomeowlan         golde berofene,
Onelan modor         ond Ohtheres,
ond ða folgode         feorhgeniðlan,
oððæt hi oðeodon         earfoðlice
in Hrefnesholt         hlafordlease.
Besæt ða sinherge         sweorda lafe,
wundum werge,         wean oft gehet
earmre teohhe         ondlonge niht,
cwæð, he on mergenne         meces ecgum
getan wolde,         sum on galgtreowum
fuglum to gamene.         Frofor eft gelamp
sarigmodum         somod ærdæge,
syððan hie Hygelaces         horn ond byman,
gealdor ongeaton,         þa se goda com
leoda dugoðe         on last faran.

Fitt 40   

2892. Then he ordered that the warlike deed be announced to the encampment, up over the sea-cliff, where the band of warriors, shield-bearers, sat sad at heart all morning long. Their expectation was of two things: the last day and the return of the beloved man. 

2897. He who rode up to the headland was hardly silent with the new message, but he truly said in the hearing of all: “Now the lord of the Geats, the benefactor of the Weder people, is still in his deathbed, and occupies a bed of slaughter through the serpent’s deeds.” 

2903. “The deadly foe lies beside him, stricken with dagger-wounds; he could not inflict a wound in any way on the fierce assailant with a sword. Wiglaf sits over Beowulf, son of Wihstan’s, one warrior by the lifeless other.” 

2909. “In weariness of mind he keeps a head-watch over the loved and the loathed. Now the people’s expectation is of a time of war, after the king’s death becomes widely known to the Franks and Frisians.” 

2913. “The hostility was made hard against the Franks after Hygelac came from afar with a ship-bound force to Frisian land, where the Hetware attacked him in battle. He displayed valor amid superior force, so that the mail-clad warrior should succumb, and fell in the foot-band.” 

2919. “That lord gave no precious things at all to his retainers. For ever, since then, the Merovingian king has denied us favors.” 

2922. “Nor do I at all expect peace or good faith from the Swedish, but it was widely known that Ongentheow deprived Hathcyn, Hrethel’s son, of his life near Ravenswood, when in arrogance the Geatish people first attacked the War-Scylfings.” 

2928. “Soon the aged father of Othere’s, Ongentheow, old and terrible, gave a counter-stroke, cut down the sea-king, and rescued his bride, an old woman of former days deprived of gold, mother of Onela and Othere.” 

2933. “And then he pursued the deadly foes until they escaped with difficulty in Ravenswood, without a lord. The standing army beset the survivors of the swords, wearied from wounds; miseries were often vowed to the wretched company the entire night.” 

2939. “He said that in the morning he would destroy them with the mace’s edge, and would have some on the gallows trees as sport for birds. Comfort came back for the sad at heart with the first light of day, after they heard the sound of Hygelac’s horn and trumpet, when the good man came following their track with a host of men.”   


Wæs sio swatswaðu         Sweona ond Geata,
wælræs weora         wide gesyne,
hu ða folc mid him         fæhðe towehton.
Gewat him ða se goda         mid his gædelingum,
frod, felageomor,         fæsten secean,
eorl Ongenþio,         ufor oncirde;
hæfde Higelaces         hilde gefrunen,
wlonces wigcræft,         wiðres ne truwode,
þæt he sæmannum         onsacan mihte,
heaðoliðendum         hord forstandan,
bearn ond bryde;         beah eft þonan
eald under eorðweall.         þa wæs æht boden
Sweona leodum,         segn Higelaces
freoðowong þone         forð ofereodon,
syððan Hreðlingas         to hagan þrungon.
þær wearð Ongenðiow         ecgum sweorda,
blondenfexa,         on bid wrecen,
þæt se þeodcyning         ðafian sceolde
Eafores anne dom.         Hyne yrringa
Wulf Wonreding         wæpne geræhte,
þæt him for swenge         swat ædrum sprong
forð under fexe.         Næs he forht swa ðeh,
gomela Scilfing,         ac forgeald hraðe
wyrsan wrixle         wælhlem þone,
syððan ðeodcyning         þyder oncirde.
Ne meahte se snella         sunu Wonredes
ealdum ceorle         ondslyht giofan,
ac he him on heafde         helm ær gescer,
þæt he blode fah         bugan sceolde,
feoll on foldan;         næs he fæge þa git,
ac he hyne gewyrpte,         þeah ðe him wund hrine.
Let se hearda         Higelaces þegn
bradne mece,         þa his broðor læg,
eald sweord eotonisc,         entiscne helm
brecan ofer bordweal;         ða gebeah cyning,
folces hyrde,         wæs in feorh dropen.
ða wæron monige         þe his mæg wriðon,
ricone arærdon,         ða him gerymed wearð
þæt hie wælstowe         wealdan moston.
þenden reafode         rinc oðerne,
nam on Ongenðio         irenbyrnan,
heard swyrd hilted         ond his helm somod,
hares hyrste         Higelace bær.
He ðam frætwum feng         ond him fægre gehet
leana mid leodum,         ond gelæste swa;
geald þone guðræs         Geata dryhten,
Hreðles eafora,         þa he to ham becom,
Iofore ond Wulfe         mid ofermaðmum,
sealde hiora gehwæðrum         hund þusenda
landes ond locenra beaga         (ne ðorfte him ða lean oðwitan
mon on middangearde),         syððan hie ða mærða geslogon,
ond ða Iofore forgeaf         angan dohtor,
hamweorðunge,         hyldo to wedde.
þæt ys sio fæhðo         ond se feondscipe,
wælnið wera,         ðæs ðe ic wen hafo,
þe us seceað to         Sweona leoda,
syððan hie gefricgeað         frean userne
ealdorleasne,         þone ðe ær geheold
wið hettendum         hord ond rice
æfter hæleða hryre,         hwate Scildingas,
folcred fremede         oððe furður gen
eorlscipe efnde.         Nu is ofost betost
þæt we þeodcyning         þær sceawian
ond þone gebringan,         þe us beagas geaf,
on adfære.         Ne scel anes hwæt
meltan mid þam modigan,         ac þær is maðma hord,
gold unrime         grimme geceapod,
ond nu æt siðestan         sylfes feore
beagas gebohte.         þa sceall brond fretan,
æled þeccean,         nalles eorl wegan
maððum to gemyndum,         ne mægð scyne
habban on healse         hringweorðunge,
ac sceal geomormod,         golde bereafod,
oft nalles æne         elland tredan,
nu se herewisa         hleahtor alegde,
gamen ond gleodream.         Forðon sceall gar wesan
monig, morgenceald,         mundum bewunden,
hæfen on handa,         nalles hearpan sweg
wigend weccean,         ac se wonna hrefn
fus ofer fægum         fela reordian,
earne secgan         hu him æt æte speow,
þenden he wið wulf         wæl reafode.”
Swa se secg hwata         secggende wæs
laðra spella;         he ne leag fela
wyrda ne worda.         Weorod eall aras;
eodon unbliðe         under Earnanæs,
wollenteare         wundur sceawian.
Fundon ða on sande         sawulleasne
hlimbed healdan         þone þe him hringas geaf
ærran mælum;         þa wæs endedæg
godum gegongen,         þæt se guðcyning,
Wedra þeoden,         wundordeaðe swealt.
ær hi þær gesegan         syllicran wiht,
wyrm on wonge         wiðerræhtes þær
laðne licgean;         wæs se legdraca
grimlic, gryrefah,         gledum beswæled.
Se wæs fiftiges         fotgemearces
lang on legere,         lyftwynne heold
nihtes hwilum,         nyðer eft gewat
dennes niosian;         wæs ða deaðe fæst,
hæfde eorðscrafa         ende genyttod.
Him big stodan         bunan ond orcas,
discas lagon         ond dyre swyrd,
omige, þurhetone,         swa hie wið eorðan fæðm
þusend wintra         þær eardodon.
þonne wæs þæt yrfe,         eacencræftig,
iumonna gold         galdre bewunden,
þæt ðam hringsele         hrinan ne moste
gumena ænig,         nefne god sylfa,
sigora soðcyning,         sealde þam ðe he wolde
(he is manna gehyld)         hord openian,
efne swa hwylcum manna         swa him gemet ðuhte.

Fitt 41   

2946. “The trail of blood of the Swedes and Geats, the deadly onslaught of men, was widely visible- how the people stirred up the feud among them. Then the good man went with his kinsmen, wise and very sad, to seek his stronghold.” 

2951. “The nobleman Ongentheow turned to higher ground; he had learned of Hygelac’s fighting power, the proud one’s war-craft. He did not trust resistance, that he might withstand the seamen, defend his hoard, his children and wife, against the seafaring warriors.” 

2956. “He turned back from there, the old man under his earthen rampart. Then pursuit was given to the Swedish people; Hygelac’s standard overran that place of refuge, after Hrethel’s descendants pressed forward to the encampment.” 

2961. “There the grey-haired Ongentheow was driven to a halt by the edges of swords, so that the people’s king had to submit to Eafor’s judgment alone. There his brother Wulf, son of Wonred, struck him furiously with his weapon, so that from the stroke blood sprung forth in streams from beneath his hair.” 

2967. “He was nevertheless not afraid, the old Scylfing, but paid him back quickly for the deadly blow with a worse exchange, after the people’s king turned in that direction.” 

2971. “Nor might the brave son of Wonred’s give a counter-stroke to the old man, but he had already cut through the helmet on his head, so that he should bow down, bloodstained, and fell on the earth. Yet he was not fated to die yet, but he recovered himself, though the wound had struck him deeply.” 

2977. “This caused the hardy thane of Hygelac, when his brother lay, to break through the protecting shield with a broad mace, an old sword and helmet made by giants. Then the king bowed down; the people’s guardian was life-stricken.” 

2982. “Then there were many who bound the wounds of his kinsman, swiftly raised up; then a way was cleared for them so that they were able to take control of the place of slaughter. Then one warrior plundered the other, and took from Ongentheow his iron mail-coat, his hard hilted sword, and his helmet also. He bore to Hygelac the grey-haired man’s equipment.” 

2989. “He received the adornments and treated him courteously amid his people, and so fulfilled his promises. The Geatish lord repaid Hrethel’s sons for the onslaught in battle when they came home, Eafor and Wulf with very great treasures.” 

2994. “He gave each of them a hundred thousand silver coins' worth of land and interlinked rings- no man on earth had need to reproach him for the reward, after they had achieved the glory by fighting. And then he gave Eafor his only daughter, an honor to a home, as a pledge of favor.” 

2999. “That is the feud and the enmity, the deadly hostility of men, for which I have the expectation that the Swedish people will attack us after they learn that our lord is lifeless, who previously protected the hoard and kingdom against enemies after the fall of heroes, the bold shield-warriors.” 

3005. “He performed benefits for the people until he carried out still more heroic deeds. Now haste is best, that we may look at the people’s king there, and bring him who gave us rings on the way to the funeral pyre.” 

3010. “Nor shall one part melt with the courageous, but the hoard of treasures, countless gold, purchased at a grim cost, and now the rings were bought in the end of his own life. These the fire shall consume, the flame enfold.” 

3015. “Not at all will the warrior wear treasure at the memorial, nor the beautiful woman have a ring-adornment on her neck, but all will be sad at heart, deprived of gold, often- not at all once- treading foreign land, now that our army-leader has laid aside laughter, joy, and merriment.” 

3021. “For the spear shall be grasped by hands on many cold mornings, raised in hand. The harp’s sound will not awaken the warriors, but the black raven, who will be eager to speak much of those fated to die, to say to the eagle how he fared at eating while he plundered the slain with the wolf.” 

3028. So the valiant man told the loathful tidings; he did not say much that was false of the future or the past. The band of men all rose and went sorrowfully to the promontory Earnanes to see the wonder with welling tears. 

3033. They then found on the sand the lifeless man, occupying his bed of rest, he who gave them rings in former times; then the last day of the hero had been reached, that the war-king, the Wederish prince, had died a wondrous death. 

3038. They first saw a more strange creature there, the serpent in the opposite place, lying hatefully; the fire-dragon was fierce and terrible in its varied colors, scorched by flames. It was fifty feet long as it lay. 

3043. It possessed joy in the sky for a night’s while, going back down to visit its lair; it was then held fast in death. Its use of the cavern in the earth had ended. 

3047. Beside him stood drinking-vessels and cups; dishes lay and a precious sword, rusty and eaten through, as they had remained there in the earth’s bosom for a thousand winters. 

3051. Back then the mighty heritage, the gold of ancient men, was encircled by spells, so that the ring-filled hall would not be permitted to be reached by any man, unless God Himself, the true King of victories, granted that he could- He is man’s protection- open the hoard, to whatever man seemed fitting to Him.   

  Þa wæs gesyne         þæt se sið ne ðah
þam ðe unrihte         inne gehydde
wræte under wealle.         Weard ær ofsloh
feara sumne;         þa sio fæhð gewearð
gewrecen wraðlice.         Wundur hwar þonne
eorl ellenrof         ende gefere
lifgesceafta,         þonne leng ne mæg
mon mid his magum         meduseld buan.
Swa wæs Biowulfe,         þa he biorges weard
sohte, searoniðas;         seolfa ne cuðe
þurh hwæt his worulde gedal         weorðan sceolde.
Swa hit oð domes dæg         diope benemdon
þeodnas mære,         þa ðæt þær dydon,
þæt se secg wære         synnum scildig,
hergum geheaðerod,         hellbendum fæst,
wommum gewitnad,         se ðone wong strude,
næs he goldhwæte         gearwor hæfde
agendes est         ær gesceawod.
Wiglaf maðelode,         Wihstanes sunu:
“Oft sceall eorl monig         anes willan
wræc adreogan,         swa us geworden is.
Ne meahton we gelæran         leofne þeoden,
rices hyrde,         ræd ænigne,
þæt he ne grette         goldweard þone,
lete hyne licgean         þær he longe wæs,
wicum wunian         oð woruldende;
heold on heahgesceap.         Hord ys gesceawod,
grimme gegongen;         wæs þæt gifeðe to swið
þe ðone þeodcyning         þyder ontyhte.
Ic wæs þær inne         ond þæt eall geondseh,
recedes geatwa,         þa me gerymed wæs,
nealles swæslice         sið alyfed
inn under eorðweall.         Ic on ofoste gefeng
micle mid mundum         mægenbyrðenne
hordgestreona,         hider ut ætbær
cyninge minum.         Cwico wæs þa gena,
wis ond gewittig;         worn eall gespræc
gomol on gehðo         ond eowic gretan het,
bæd þæt ge geworhton         æfter wines dædum
in bælstede         beorh þone hean,
micelne ond mærne,         swa he manna wæs
wigend weorðfullost         wide geond eorðan,
þenden he burhwelan         brucan moste.
Uton nu efstan         oðre siðe,
seon ond secean         searogimma geþræc,
wundur under wealle;         ic eow wisige,
þæt ge genoge         neon sceawiað
beagas ond brad gold.         Sie sio bær gearo,
ædre geæfned,         þonne we ut cymen,
ond þonne geferian         frean userne,
leofne mannan,         þær he longe sceal
on ðæs waldendes         wære geþolian.”
Het ða gebeodan         byre Wihstanes,
hæle hildedior,         hæleða monegum,
boldagendra,         þæt hie bælwudu
feorran feredon,         folcagende,
godum togenes:         “Nu sceal gled fretan,
weaxan wonna leg         wigena strengel,
þone ðe oft gebad         isernscure,
þonne stræla storm         strengum gebæded
scoc ofer scildweall,         sceft nytte heold,
feðergearwum fus         flane fulleode.”
Huru se snotra         sunu Wihstanes
acigde of corðre         cyninges þegnas
syfone tosomne,         þa selestan,
eode eahta sum         under inwithrof
hilderinca;         sum on handa bær
æledleoman,         se ðe on orde geong.
Næs ða on hlytme         hwa þæt hord strude,
syððan orwearde         ænigne dæl
secgas gesegon         on sele wunian,
læne licgan;         lyt ænig mearn
þæt hi ofostlice         ut geferedon
dyre maðmas.         Dracan ec scufun,
wyrm ofer weallclif,         leton weg niman,
flod fæðmian         frætwa hyrde.
þa wæs wunden gold         on wæn hladen,
æghwæs unrim,         æþeling boren,
har hilderinc         to Hronesnæsse.

Fitt 42   

3058. Then it was seen that the venture had not succeeded for he who had wrongfully hidden the ornate objects inside under the walls. The guardian had previously slain one man alone; then the feud had been avenged grievously. 

3062. It was a wonder where the courage-famed warrior may reach the end of his allotted life, when a man may no longer dwell in the mead-hall with his kinsmen. So it was for Beowulf, when he sought out the barrow’s guardian and his cunning enmity. 

3067. He did not know himself through what means his parting from the world should come about, just as until judgment day it had been solemnly declared by the renowned princes who placed it there, that the man who should plunder that place would be guilty of sin, confined to an idol’s shrine, and held fast in the bonds of hell, tormented by evils. 

3074. He had not at all previously fully perceived the gold-bestowing favor of the Lord. Wiglaf made a speech, Wiglaf’s son: “Often many a warrior will desire to endure misery alone, as has happened with us.” 

3079. “Nor might we persuade the beloved prince, the kingdom’s guardian, with any counsel that he not attack the gold-guardian, to let him lie where he long was, to remain in his dwelling-place until the world’s end- to keep his exalted destiny.” 

3084. “The hoard is shown, bitterly won; the fate was too harsh which impelled the people’s king to that place. I was inside there and looked over all of it, the building’s precious objects, when a way was cleared for me; not at all in a friendly way was passage granted inside under the earthen walls.” 

3090. “In haste I grasped much with my hand from the mighty burden of hoarded treasure, and bore away my king out to here. He was then still alive, wise and conscious; he spoke a great many things, old in grief.” 

3095. “He ordered me to greet you, and directed that in the place of the pyre you should build, in honor of the deeds of your friendly lord, a barrow just as high- great and renowned- as he was a man, the most worthy warrior throughout the earth, while he was able to enjoy the stronghold’s wealth.” 

3101. “Let us now hasten a second time, to see and seek out the pile of finely-worked jewels, the wonder under walls. I will guide you so that you will see from near at hand abundant rings and broad gold.” 

3105. “Let the bier be ready, swiftly prepared, when we come out, and then let us carry our lord, the beloved man, to where he shall long remain in the protection of the Ruler. The son of Wihstan’s, battle-bold warrior, then commanded and gave orders to many warriors who owned a hall, leaders of people, that they bring wood for the fire from far off for the good man. 

3114. “Now flames shall consume- the fire growing dark- the ruler of warriors, who often endured the rain of iron during a storm of arrows, impelled by bow-strings, and passed over shield-wall, with the shaft fulfilling its duty, hastening with feather fittings as it aided the arrow-head.” 

3120. Indeed, the wise son of Wihstan’s summoned from the band of king’s thanes seven together, the best, and went with the seven others in under the evil roof of the warrior; one bore in hand a blazing torch, he who went in front. 

3126. No lots were drawn then to see who would plunder the hoard, once men saw any part unguarded in the chamber, laying wasting away. Little did any man mourn that they hastily carried out the precious treasures. 

3131. The dragon was also shoved over the cliff, the serpent, allowing the waves to take him, the sea to enfold the keeper of precious things. Then the twisted gold was laden on a wagon, everything in countless number. The prince was borne, the grey-haired warrior, to Whale’s Hill.   

  Him ða gegiredan         Geata leode
ad on eorðan         unwaclicne,
helmum behongen,         hildebordum,
beorhtum byrnum,         swa he bena wæs;
alegdon ða tomiddes         mærne þeoden
hæleð hiofende,         hlaford leofne.
Ongunnon þa on beorge         bælfyra mæst
wigend weccan;         wudurec astah,
sweart ofer swioðole,         swogende leg
wope bewunden         (windblond gelæg),
oðþæt he ða banhus         gebrocen hæfde,
hat on hreðre.         Higum unrote
modceare mændon,         mondryhtnes cwealm;
swylce giomorgyd         Geatisc meowle
song sorgcearig         swiðe geneahhe
þæt hio hyre heofungdagas         hearde ondrede,
wælfylla worn,         werudes egesan,
hynðo ond hæftnyd.         Heofon rece swealg.
Geworhton ða         Wedra leode
hleo on hoe,         se wæs heah ond brad,
wægliðendum         wide gesyne,
ond betimbredon         on tyn dagum
beadurofes becn,         bronda lafe
wealle beworhton,         swa hyt weorðlicost
foresnotre men         findan mihton.
Hi on beorg dydon         beg ond siglu,
eall swylce hyrsta,         swylce on horde ær
niðhedige men         genumen hæfdon,
forleton eorla gestreon         eorðan healdan,
gold on greote,         þær hit nu gen lifað
eldum swa unnyt         swa hit æror wæs.
þa ymbe hlæw riodan         hildediore,
æþelinga bearn,         ealra twelfe,
woldon ceare cwiðan         ond kyning mænan,
wordgyd wrecan         ond ymb wer sprecan;
eahtodan eorlscipe         ond his ellenweorc
duguðum demdon,         swa hit gedefe bið
þæt mon his winedryhten         wordum herge,
ferhðum freoge,         þonne he forð scile
of lichaman         læded weorðan.
Swa begnornodon         Geata leode
hlafordes hryre,         heorðgeneatas,
cwædon þæt he wære         wyruldcyninga
manna mildust         ond monðwærust,
leodum liðost         ond lofgeornost.

Fitt 43   

3137. Then the Geatish people made him ready, with a splendid funeral pyre on the earth. His helmet was hung round, his battle-shield, and his bright mail-coat, as he had requested. The renowned prince was laid in the midst; warriors lamented their beloved lord. 

3143. A funeral fire then proceeded on the cliff, kindled by warriors; wood-smoke rose up, black over the fire, roaring flames mingled with weeping- the swirling wind subsided- until it had destroyed his bone-house, hot on his breast. 

3148. Sad hearts lamented in grief for the death of their liege lord. A Geatish woman with her hair bound up also repeatedly said a song of mourning, that she sorely dreaded their invasion, the abundance of slaughter, the terror of the company of men, humiliation and captivity. 

3155. Heaven received the smoke. The Geatish people then built a burial-mound on the headland, which was high and broad, widely visible to seafarers, and constructed in ten days a monument to the battle-bold man, with walls built around the remnants of the fire, as it might be most worthily devised by wise men. 

3163. They placed on the barrow ring and jewels, all such adornments from the hoard as hostile-minded men had taken before. The warriors left wealth for the earth to hold, gold in the ground, where it now still exists, as useless to men as it previously was. 

3169. Then the battle-brave rode around the burial-mound, the sons of noblemen, twelve in all, who wished to lament their sorrow and mourn for their king, utter a dirge, and speak about the man. 

3173. His heroism was praised and his courageous deed judged highly, as it is fitting that a man praise his lord with words, loved in heart, when he must be led forth from his body. The Geatish people lamented their lord’s fall so, their hearth-companion. 

3180. They said that of earthly kings he was the mildest and most gracious man, kindest to his people, and most eager for fame.   



The End
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