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Beowulf, anonymous (translated by Gummere), III

III

THUS seethed unceasing the son of Healfdene

with the woe of these days; not wisest men

assuaged his sorrow; too sore the anguish,

loathly and long, that lay on his folk,

most baneful of burdens and bales of the night.

This heard in his home Hygelac's thane, great among Geats, of Grendel's doings. He was the mightiest man of valor

in that same day of this our life,

stalwart and stately. A stout wave-walker

he bade make ready. Yon battle-king, said he,

far o'er the swan-road he fain would seek, the noble monarch who needed men!

The prince's journey by prudent folk was little blamed, though they loved him dear;

they whetted the hero, and hailed good omens.

And now the bold one from bands of Geats

comrades chose, the keenest of warriors

e'er he could find; with fourteen men the sea-wood he sought, and, sailor proved,

led them on to the land's confines. Time had now flown; afloat was the ship,

boat under bluff. On board they climbed,

warriors ready; waves were churning

sea with sand; the sailors bore

on the breast of the bark their bright array,

their mail and weapons: the men pushed off,

on its willing way, the well-braced craft.

Then moved o'er the waters by might of the wind that bark like a bird with breast of foam,

till in season due, on the second day,

the curved prow such course had run

that sailors now could see the land,

sea-cliffs shining, steep high hills,

headlands broad. Their haven was found,

their journey ended. Up then quickly

the Weders' clansmen climbed ashore, anchored their sea-wood, with armor clashing

and gear of battle: God they thanked

or passing in peace o'er the paths of the sea. Now saw from the cliff a Scylding clansman,

a warden that watched the water-side,

how they bore o'er the gangway glittering shields, war-gear in readiness; wonder seized him

to know what manner of men they were.

Straight to the strand his steed he rode,

Hrothgar's henchman; with hand of might he shook his spear, and spake in parley.

“Who are ye, then, ye armed men,

mailed folk, that yon mighty vessel

have urged thus over the ocean ways,

here o'er the waters? A warden I,

sentinel set o'er the sea-march here, lest any foe to the folk of Danes

with harrying fleet should harm the land.

No aliens ever at ease thus bore them,

linden-wielders: yet word-of-leave

clearly ye lack from clansmen here,

my folk's agreement. -- A greater ne'er saw I of warriors in world than is one of you, --

yon hero in harness! No henchman he

worthied by weapons, if witness his features,

his peerless presence! I pray you, though, tell

your folk and home, lest hence ye fare

suspect to wander your way as spies

in Danish land. Now, dwellers afar,

ocean-travellers, take from me

simple advice: the sooner the better

I hear of the country whence ye came.”


III

THUS seethed unceasing the son of Healfdene

with the woe of these days; not wisest men

assuaged his sorrow; too sore the anguish,

loathly and long, that lay on his folk,

most baneful of burdens and bales of the night.

This heard in his home Hygelac's thane, great among Geats, of Grendel's doings. He was the mightiest man of valor

in that same day of this our life,

stalwart and stately. A stout wave-walker

he bade make ready. Yon battle-king, said he,

far o'er the swan-road he fain would seek, the noble monarch who needed men!

The prince's journey by prudent folk was little blamed, though they loved him dear;

they whetted the hero, and hailed good omens.

And now the bold one from bands of Geats

comrades chose, the keenest of warriors

e'er he could find; with fourteen men the sea-wood he sought, and, sailor proved,

led them on to the land's confines. Time had now flown; afloat was the ship,

boat under bluff. On board they climbed,

warriors ready; waves were churning

sea with sand; the sailors bore

on the breast of the bark their bright array,

their mail and weapons: the men pushed off,

on its willing way, the well-braced craft.

Then moved o'er the waters by might of the wind that bark like a bird with breast of foam,

till in season due, on the second day,

the curved prow such course had run

that sailors now could see the land,

sea-cliffs shining, steep high hills,

headlands broad. Their haven was found,

their journey ended. Up then quickly

the Weders' clansmen climbed ashore, anchored their sea-wood, with armor clashing

and gear of battle: God they thanked

or passing in peace o'er the paths of the sea. Now saw from the cliff a Scylding clansman,

a warden that watched the water-side,

how they bore o'er the gangway glittering shields, war-gear in readiness; wonder seized him

to know what manner of men they were.

Straight to the strand his steed he rode,

Hrothgar's henchman; with hand of might he shook his spear, and spake in parley.

“Who are ye, then, ye armed men,

mailed folk, that yon mighty vessel

have urged thus over the ocean ways,

here o'er the waters? A warden I,

sentinel set o'er the sea-march here, lest any foe to the folk of Danes

with harrying fleet should harm the land.

No aliens ever at ease thus bore them,

linden-wielders: yet word-of-leave

clearly ye lack from clansmen here,

my folk's agreement. -- A greater ne'er saw I of warriors in world than is one of you, --

yon hero in harness! No henchman he

worthied by weapons, if witness his features,

his peerless presence! I pray you, though, tell

your folk and home, lest hence ye fare

suspect to wander your way as spies

in Danish land. Now, dwellers afar,

ocean-travellers, take from me

simple advice: the sooner the better

I hear of the country whence ye came.”