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Beowulf, anonymous (translated by Gummere), XVIII-XX

XVIII-XX

XVIII

A CUP she gave him, with kindly greeting

and winsome words. Of wounden gold,

she offered, to honor him, arm-jewels twain,

corselet and rings, and of collars the noblest

that ever I knew the earth around.

Ne'er heard I so mighty, 'neath heaven's dome, a hoard-gem of heroes, since Hama bore

to his bright-built burg the Brisings' necklace, jewel and gem casket. -- Jealousy fled he,

Eormenric's hate: chose help eternal. Hygelac Geat, grandson of Swerting,

on the last of his raids this ring bore with him,

under his banner the booty defending,

the war-spoil warding; but Wyrd o'erwhelmed him what time, in his daring, dangers he sought,

feud with Frisians. Fairest of gems

he bore with him over the beaker-of-waves,

sovran strong: under shield he died.

Fell the corpse of the king into keeping of Franks,

gear of the breast, and that gorgeous ring;

weaker warriors won the spoil,

after gripe of battle, from Geatland's lord, and held the death-field.

Din rose in hall.

Wealhtheow spake amid warriors, and said: --

“This jewel enjoy in thy jocund youth,

Beowulf lov'd, these battle-weeds wear, a royal treasure, and richly thrive!

Preserve thy strength, and these striplings here

counsel in kindness: requital be mine.

Hast done such deeds, that for days to come

thou art famed among folk both far and near,

so wide as washeth the wave of Ocean

his windy walls. Through the ways of life

prosper, O prince! I pray for thee

rich possessions. To son of mine

be helpful in deed and uphold his joys!

Here every earl to the other is true,

mild of mood, to the master loyal!

Thanes are friendly, the throng obedient,

liegemen are revelling: list and obey!”

Went then to her place. -- That was proudest of feasts;

flowed wine for the warriors. Wyrd they knew not,

destiny dire, and the doom to be seen

by many an earl when eve should come,

and Hrothgar homeward hasten away,

royal, to rest. The room was guarded

by an army of earls, as erst was done.

They bared the bench-boards; abroad they spread

beds and bolsters. -- One beer-carouser

in danger of doom lay down in the hall. --

At their heads they set their shields of war,

bucklers bright; on the bench were there

over each atheling, easy to see,

the high battle-helmet, the haughty spear,

the corselet of rings. 'Twas their custom so ever to be for battle prepared,

at home, or harrying, which it were,

even as oft as evil threatened

their sovran king. -- They were clansmen good.

XIX

THEN sank they to sleep. With sorrow one bought

his rest of the evening, -- as ofttime had happened

when Grendel guarded that golden hall,

evil wrought, till his end drew nigh,

slaughter for sins. 'Twas seen and told how an avenger survived the fiend,

as was learned afar. The livelong time

after that grim fight, Grendel's mother, monster of women, mourned her woe.

She was doomed to dwell in the dreary waters,

cold sea-courses, since Cain cut down

with edge of the sword his only brother,

his father's offspring: outlawed he fled, marked with murder, from men's delights warded the wilds. -- There woke from him

such fate-sent ghosts as Grendel, who,

war-wolf horrid, at Heorot found

a warrior watching and waiting the fray,

with whom the grisly one grappled amain.

But the man remembered his mighty power,

the glorious gift that God had sent him,

in his Maker's mercy put his trust for comfort and help: so he conquered the foe,

felled the fiend, who fled abject,

reft of joy, to the realms of death,

mankind's foe. And his mother now,

gloomy and grim, would go that quest

of sorrow, the death of her son to avenge.

To Heorot came she, where helmeted Danes

slept in the hall. Too soon came back

old ills of the earls, when in she burst,

the mother of Grendel. Less grim, though, that terror,

e'en as terror of woman in war is less, might of maid, than of men in arms

when, hammer-forged, the falchion hard,

sword gore-stained, through swine of the helm,

crested, with keen blade carves amain.

Then was in hall the hard-edge drawn,

the swords on the settles,and shields a-many

firm held in hand: nor helmet minded

nor harness of mail, whom that horror seized.

Haste was hers; she would hie afar

and save her life when the liegemen saw her.

Yet a single atheling up she seized

fast and firm, as she fled to the moor.

He was for Hrothgar of heroes the dearest,

of trusty vassals betwixt the seas,

whom she killed on his couch, a clansman famous,

in battle brave. -- Nor was Beowulf there;

another house had been held apart,

after giving of gold, for the Geat renowned. --

Uproar filled Heorot; the hand all had viewed,

blood-flecked, she bore with her; bale was returned,

dole in the dwellings: 'twas dire exchange where Dane and Geat were doomed to give

the lives of loved ones. Long-tried king,

the hoary hero, at heart was sad

when he knew his noble no more lived,

and dead indeed was his dearest thane.

To his bower was Beowulf brought in haste,

dauntless victor. As daylight broke,

along with his earls the atheling lord,

with his clansmen, came where the king abode

waiting to see if the Wielder-of-All

would turn this tale of trouble and woe.

Strode o'er floor the famed-in-strife, with his hand-companions, -- the hall resounded, --

wishing to greet the wise old king,

Ingwines' lord; he asked if the night had passed in peace to the prince's mind. XX

HROTHGAR spake, helmet-of-Scyldings: --

“Ask not of pleasure! Pain is renewed

to Danish folk. Dead is Aeschere,

of Yrmenlaf the elder brother,

my sage adviser and stay in council,

shoulder-comrade in stress of fight

when warriors clashed and we warded our heads,

hewed the helm-boars; hero famed

should be every earl as Aeschere was!

But here in Heorot a hand hath slain him

of wandering death-sprite. I wot not whither,

proud of the prey, her path she took,

fain of her fill. The feud she avenged

that yesternight, unyieldingly,

Grendel in grimmest grasp thou killedst, --

seeing how long these liegemen mine

he ruined and ravaged. Reft of life,

in arms he fell. Now another comes,

keen and cruel, her kin to avenge,

faring far in feud of blood:

so that many a thane shall think, who e'er sorrows in soul for that sharer of rings,

this is hardest of heart-bales. The hand lies low

that once was willing each wish to please.

Land-dwellers here and liegemen mine,

who house by those parts, I have heard relate

that such a pair they have sometimes seen,

march-stalkers mighty the moorland haunting,

wandering spirits: one of them seemed,

so far as my folk could fairly judge,

of womankind; and one, accursed,

in man's guise trod the misery-track of exile, though huger than human bulk.

Grendel in days long gone they named him,

folk of the land; his father they knew not,

nor any brood that was born to him

of treacherous spirits. Untrod is their home;

by wolf-cliffs haunt they and windy headlands,

fenways fearful, where flows the stream

from mountains gliding to gloom of the rocks,

underground flood. Not far is it hence

in measure of miles that the mere expands,

and o'er it the frost-bound forest hanging, sturdily rooted, shadows the wave.

By night is a wonder weird to see,

fire on the waters. So wise lived none

of the sons of men, to search those depths!

Nay, though the heath-rover, harried by dogs,

the horn-proud hart, this holt should seek,

long distance driven, his dear life first

on the brink he yields ere he brave the plunge

to hide his head: 'tis no happy place! Thence the welter of waters washes up

wan to welkin when winds bestir

evil storms, and air grows dusk,

and the heavens weep. Now is help once more

with thee alone! The land thou knowst not,

place of fear, where thou findest out

that sin-flecked being. Seek if thou dare!

I will reward thee, for waging this fight,

with ancient treasure, as erst I did,

with winding gold, if thou winnest back.”



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XVIII-XX

XVIII

A CUP she gave him, with kindly greeting

and winsome words. Of wounden gold,

she offered, to honor him, arm-jewels twain,

corselet and rings, and of collars the noblest

that ever I knew the earth around.

Ne'er heard I so mighty, 'neath heaven's dome, a hoard-gem of heroes, since Hama bore

to his bright-built burg the Brisings' necklace, jewel and gem casket. -- Jealousy fled he,

Eormenric's hate: chose help eternal. Hygelac Geat, grandson of Swerting,

on the last of his raids this ring bore with him,

under his banner the booty defending,

the war-spoil warding; but Wyrd o'erwhelmed him what time, in his daring, dangers he sought,

feud with Frisians. Fairest of gems

he bore with him over the beaker-of-waves,

sovran strong: under shield he died.

Fell the corpse of the king into keeping of Franks,

gear of the breast, and that gorgeous ring;

weaker warriors won the spoil,

after gripe of battle, from Geatland's lord, and held the death-field.

Din rose in hall.

Wealhtheow spake amid warriors, and said: --

“This jewel enjoy in thy jocund youth,

Beowulf lov'd, these battle-weeds wear, a royal treasure, and richly thrive!

Preserve thy strength, and these striplings here

counsel in kindness: requital be mine.

Hast done such deeds, that for days to come

thou art famed among folk both far and near,

so wide as washeth the wave of Ocean

his windy walls. Through the ways of life

prosper, O prince! I pray for thee

rich possessions. To son of mine

be helpful in deed and uphold his joys!

Here every earl to the other is true,

mild of mood, to the master loyal!

Thanes are friendly, the throng obedient,

liegemen are revelling: list and obey!”

Went then to her place. -- That was proudest of feasts;

flowed wine for the warriors. Wyrd they knew not,

destiny dire, and the doom to be seen

by many an earl when eve should come,

and Hrothgar homeward hasten away,

royal, to rest. The room was guarded

by an army of earls, as erst was done.

They bared the bench-boards; abroad they spread

beds and bolsters. -- One beer-carouser

in danger of doom lay down in the hall. --

At their heads they set their shields of war,

bucklers bright; on the bench were there

over each atheling, easy to see,

the high battle-helmet, the haughty spear,

the corselet of rings. 'Twas their custom so ever to be for battle prepared,

at home, or harrying, which it were,

even as oft as evil threatened

their sovran king. -- They were clansmen good.

XIX

THEN sank they to sleep. With sorrow one bought

his rest of the evening, -- as ofttime had happened

when Grendel guarded that golden hall,

evil wrought, till his end drew nigh,

slaughter for sins. 'Twas seen and told how an avenger survived the fiend,

as was learned afar. The livelong time

after that grim fight, Grendel's mother, monster of women, mourned her woe.

She was doomed to dwell in the dreary waters,

cold sea-courses, since Cain cut down

with edge of the sword his only brother,

his father's offspring: outlawed he fled, marked with murder, from men's delights warded the wilds. -- There woke from him

such fate-sent ghosts as Grendel, who,

war-wolf horrid, at Heorot found

a warrior watching and waiting the fray,

with whom the grisly one grappled amain.

But the man remembered his mighty power,

the glorious gift that God had sent him,

in his Maker's mercy put his trust for comfort and help: so he conquered the foe,

felled the fiend, who fled abject,

reft of joy, to the realms of death,

mankind's foe. And his mother now,

gloomy and grim, would go that quest

of sorrow, the death of her son to avenge.

To Heorot came she, where helmeted Danes

slept in the hall. Too soon came back

old ills of the earls, when in she burst,

the mother of Grendel. Less grim, though, that terror,

e'en as terror of woman in war is less, might of maid, than of men in arms

when, hammer-forged, the falchion hard,

sword gore-stained, through swine of the helm,

crested, with keen blade carves amain.

Then was in hall the hard-edge drawn,

the swords on the settles,and shields a-many

firm held in hand: nor helmet minded

nor harness of mail, whom that horror seized.

Haste was hers; she would hie afar

and save her life when the liegemen saw her.

Yet a single atheling up she seized

fast and firm, as she fled to the moor.

He was for Hrothgar of heroes the dearest,

of trusty vassals betwixt the seas,

whom she killed on his couch, a clansman famous,

in battle brave. -- Nor was Beowulf there;

another house had been held apart,

after giving of gold, for the Geat renowned. --

Uproar filled Heorot; the hand all had viewed,

blood-flecked, she bore with her; bale was returned,

dole in the dwellings: 'twas dire exchange where Dane and Geat were doomed to give

the lives of loved ones. Long-tried king,

the hoary hero, at heart was sad

when he knew his noble no more lived,

and dead indeed was his dearest thane.

To his bower was Beowulf brought in haste,

dauntless victor. As daylight broke,

along with his earls the atheling lord,

with his clansmen, came where the king abode

waiting to see if the Wielder-of-All

would turn this tale of trouble and woe.

Strode o'er floor the famed-in-strife, with his hand-companions, -- the hall resounded, --

wishing to greet the wise old king,

Ingwines' lord; he asked if the night had passed in peace to the prince's mind. XX

HROTHGAR spake, helmet-of-Scyldings: --

“Ask not of pleasure! Pain is renewed

to Danish folk. Dead is Aeschere,

of Yrmenlaf the elder brother,

my sage adviser and stay in council,

shoulder-comrade in stress of fight

when warriors clashed and we warded our heads,

hewed the helm-boars; hero famed

should be every earl as Aeschere was!

But here in Heorot a hand hath slain him

of wandering death-sprite. I wot not whither,

proud of the prey, her path she took,

fain of her fill. The feud she avenged

that yesternight, unyieldingly,

Grendel in grimmest grasp thou killedst, --

seeing how long these liegemen mine

he ruined and ravaged. Reft of life,

in arms he fell. Now another comes,

keen and cruel, her kin to avenge,

faring far in feud of blood:

so that many a thane shall think, who e'er sorrows in soul for that sharer of rings,

this is hardest of heart-bales. The hand lies low

that once was willing each wish to please.

Land-dwellers here and liegemen mine,

who house by those parts, I have heard relate

that such a pair they have sometimes seen,

march-stalkers mighty the moorland haunting,

wandering spirits: one of them seemed,

so far as my folk could fairly judge,

of womankind; and one, accursed,

in man's guise trod the misery-track of exile, though huger than human bulk.

Grendel in days long gone they named him,

folk of the land; his father they knew not,

nor any brood that was born to him

of treacherous spirits. Untrod is their home;

by wolf-cliffs haunt they and windy headlands,

fenways fearful, where flows the stream

from mountains gliding to gloom of the rocks,

underground flood. Not far is it hence

in measure of miles that the mere expands,

and o'er it the frost-bound forest hanging, sturdily rooted, shadows the wave.

By night is a wonder weird to see,

fire on the waters. So wise lived none

of the sons of men, to search those depths!

Nay, though the heath-rover, harried by dogs,

the horn-proud hart, this holt should seek,

long distance driven, his dear life first

on the brink he yields ere he brave the plunge

to hide his head: 'tis no happy place! Thence the welter of waters washes up

wan to welkin when winds bestir

evil storms, and air grows dusk,

and the heavens weep. Now is help once more

with thee alone! The land thou knowst not,

place of fear, where thou findest out

that sin-flecked being. Seek if thou dare!

I will reward thee, for waging this fight,

with ancient treasure, as erst I did,

with winding gold, if thou winnest back.”

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