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Beowulf, anonymous (translated by Gummere), V

V

STONE-BRIGHT the street: it showed the way

to the crowd of clansmen. Corselets glistened

hand-forged, hard; on their harness bright

the steel ring sang, as they strode along

in mail of battle, and marched to the hall.

There, weary of ocean, the wall along

they set their bucklers, their broad shields, down,

and bowed them to bench: the breastplates clanged,

war-gear of men; their weapons stacked,

spears of the seafarers stood together,

gray-tipped ash: that iron band

was worthily weaponed! -- A warrior proud

asked of the heroes their home and kin.

“Whence, now, bear ye burnished shields,

harness gray and helmets grim,

spears in multitude? Messenger, I,

Hrothgar's herald! Heroes so many

ne'er met I as strangers of mood so strong.

'Tis plain that for prowess, not plunged into exile,

for high-hearted valor, Hrothgar ye seek!”

Him the sturdy-in-war bespake with words,

proud earl of the Weders answer made,

hardy 'neath helmet: -- “Hygelac's, we,

fellows at board; I am Beowulf named.

I am seeking to say to the son of Healfdene

this mission of mine, to thy master-lord,

the doughty prince, if he deign at all

grace that we greet him, the good one, now.”

Wulfgar spake, the Wendles' chieftain,

whose might of mind to many was known,

his courage and counsel: “The king of Danes,

the Scyldings' friend, I fain will tell,

the Breaker-of-Rings, as the boon thou askest,

the famed prince, of thy faring hither,

and, swiftly after, such answer bring

as the doughty monarch may deign to give.”

Hied then in haste to where Hrothgar sat

white-haired and old, his earls about him,

till the stout thane stood at the shoulder there

of the Danish king: good courtier he!

Wulfgar spake to his winsome lord: --

“Hither have fared to thee far-come men

o'er the paths of ocean, people of Geatland;

and the stateliest there by his sturdy band

is Beowulf named. This boon they seek,

that they, my master, may with thee

have speech at will: nor spurn their prayer

to give them hearing, gracious Hrothgar!

In weeds of the warrior worthy they,

methinks, of our liking; their leader most surely,

a hero that hither his henchmen has led.”



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V

STONE-BRIGHT the street: it showed the way

to the crowd of clansmen. Corselets glistened

hand-forged, hard; on their harness bright

the steel ring sang, as they strode along

in mail of battle, and marched to the hall.

There, weary of ocean, the wall along

they set their bucklers, their broad shields, down,

and bowed them to bench: the breastplates clanged,

war-gear of men; their weapons stacked,

spears of the seafarers stood together,

gray-tipped ash: that iron band

was worthily weaponed! -- A warrior proud

asked of the heroes their home and kin.

“Whence, now, bear ye burnished shields,

harness gray and helmets grim,

spears in multitude? Messenger, I,

Hrothgar's herald! Heroes so many

ne'er met I as strangers of mood so strong.

'Tis plain that for prowess, not plunged into exile,

for high-hearted valor, Hrothgar ye seek!”

Him the sturdy-in-war bespake with words,

proud earl of the Weders answer made,

hardy 'neath helmet: -- “Hygelac's, we,

fellows at board; I am Beowulf named.

I am seeking to say to the son of Healfdene

this mission of mine, to thy master-lord,

the doughty prince, if he deign at all

grace that we greet him, the good one, now.”

Wulfgar spake, the Wendles' chieftain,

whose might of mind to many was known,

his courage and counsel: “The king of Danes,

the Scyldings' friend, I fain will tell,

the Breaker-of-Rings, as the boon thou askest,

the famed prince, of thy faring hither,

and, swiftly after, such answer bring

as the doughty monarch may deign to give.”

Hied then in haste to where Hrothgar sat

white-haired and old, his earls about him,

till the stout thane stood at the shoulder there

of the Danish king: good courtier he!

Wulfgar spake to his winsome lord: --

“Hither have fared to thee far-come men

o'er the paths of ocean, people of Geatland;

and the stateliest there by his sturdy band

is Beowulf named. This boon they seek,

that they, my master, may with thee

have speech at will: nor spurn their prayer

to give them hearing, gracious Hrothgar!

In weeds of the warrior worthy they,

methinks, of our liking; their leader most surely,

a hero that hither his henchmen has led.”

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