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Beowulf, anonymous (translated by Gummere), VIII

VIII

UNFERTH spake, the son of Ecglaf,

who sat at the feet of the Scyldings' lord,

unbound the battle-runes. -- Beowulf's quest,

sturdy seafarer's, sorely galled him;

ever he envied that other men

should more achieve in middle-earth

of fame under heaven than he himself. --

“Art thou that Beowulf, Breca's rival,

who emulous swam on the open sea,

when for pride the pair of you proved the floods,

and wantonly dared in waters deep

to risk your lives? No living man,

or lief or loath, from your labor dire

could you dissuade, from swimming the main.

Ocean-tides with your arms ye covered,

with strenuous hands the sea-streets measured,

swam o'er the waters. Winter's storm

rolled the rough waves. In realm of sea

a sennight strove ye. In swimming he topped thee,

had more of main! Him at morning-tide

billows bore to the Battling Reamas,

whence he hied to his home so dear

beloved of his liegemen, to land of Brondings,

fastness fair, where his folk he ruled,

town and treasure. In triumph o'er thee

Beanstan's bairn his boast achieved.

So ween I for thee a worse adventure

-- though in buffet of battle thou brave hast been,

in struggle grim, -- if Grendel's approach

thou darst await through the watch of night!”

Beowulf spake, bairn of Ecgtheow: --

“What a deal hast uttered, dear my Unferth,

drunken with beer, of Breca now,

told of his triumph! Truth I claim it,

that I had more of might in the sea

than any man else, more ocean-endurance.

We twain had talked, in time of youth,

and made our boast, -- we were merely boys,

striplings still, -- to stake our lives

far at sea: and so we performed it.

Naked swords, as we swam along,

we held in hand, with hope to guard us

against the whales. Not a whit from me

could he float afar o'er the flood of waves,

haste o'er the billows; nor him I abandoned.

Together we twain on the tides abode

five nights full till the flood divided us,

churning waves and chillest weather,

darkling night, and the northern wind

ruthless rushed on us: rough was the surge.

Now the wrath of the sea-fish rose apace;

yet me 'gainst the monsters my mailed coat,

hard and hand-linked, help afforded, --

battle-sark braided my breast to ward,

garnished with gold. There grasped me firm

and haled me to bottom the hated foe,

with grimmest gripe. 'Twas granted me, though,

to pierce the monster with point of sword,

with blade of battle: huge beast of the sea

was whelmed by the hurly through hand of mine.


VIII

UNFERTH spake, the son of Ecglaf,

who sat at the feet of the Scyldings' lord,

unbound the battle-runes. -- Beowulf's quest,

sturdy seafarer's, sorely galled him;

ever he envied that other men

should more achieve in middle-earth

of fame under heaven than he himself. --

“Art thou that Beowulf, Breca's rival,

who emulous swam on the open sea,

when for pride the pair of you proved the floods,

and wantonly dared in waters deep

to risk your lives? No living man,

or lief or loath, from your labor dire

could you dissuade, from swimming the main.

Ocean-tides with your arms ye covered,

with strenuous hands the sea-streets measured,

swam o'er the waters. Winter's storm

rolled the rough waves. In realm of sea

a sennight strove ye. In swimming he topped thee,

had more of main! Him at morning-tide

billows bore to the Battling Reamas,

whence he hied to his home so dear

beloved of his liegemen, to land of Brondings,

fastness fair, where his folk he ruled,

town and treasure. In triumph o'er thee

Beanstan's bairn his boast achieved.

So ween I for thee a worse adventure

-- though in buffet of battle thou brave hast been,

in struggle grim, -- if Grendel's approach

thou darst await through the watch of night!”

Beowulf spake, bairn of Ecgtheow: --

“What a deal hast uttered, dear my Unferth,

drunken with beer, of Breca now,

told of his triumph! Truth I claim it,

that I had more of might in the sea

than any man else, more ocean-endurance.

We twain had talked, in time of youth,

and made our boast, -- we were merely boys,

striplings still, -- to stake our lives

far at sea: and so we performed it.

Naked swords, as we swam along,

we held in hand, with hope to guard us

against the whales. Not a whit from me

could he float afar o'er the flood of waves,

haste o'er the billows; nor him I abandoned.

Together we twain on the tides abode

five nights full till the flood divided us,

churning waves and chillest weather,

darkling night, and the northern wind

ruthless rushed on us: rough was the surge.

Now the wrath of the sea-fish rose apace;

yet me 'gainst the monsters my mailed coat,

hard and hand-linked, help afforded, --

battle-sark braided my breast to ward,

garnished with gold. There grasped me firm

and haled me to bottom the hated foe,

with grimmest gripe. 'Twas granted me, though,

to pierce the monster with point of sword,

with blade of battle: huge beast of the sea

was whelmed by the hurly through hand of mine.