BEOWULF

diacritically-marked text and facing translation

Images of the Beowulf MS are reproduced by kind permission of the British Library Board (who retain copyright)
All other material on this site under copyright 2002-2005, Benjamin Slade
Please include proper citation reference if quoting a short passage;
otherwise no part of these documents may be reproduced without expressed permission from the author.

last updated on 12-June-2005


(click on the 'lyre icon' [ sydaudio ] to listen to a reading of selected passages in Old English)

X

 

Ðá him Hróþgár gewát      mid his hæleþa gedryht   Then Hrothgar went      with his band of heroes,
eodur Scyldinga      út of healle·   the protector of the Scyldings,      out of the hall;
wolde wígfruma      Wealhþéo sécan

 

he wished      to seek Wealhtheow,
cwén tó gebeddan·      hæfde kyningwuldor

 

the queen as companion in bed;      the glory of kings had,
Grendle tógéanes·      swá guman gefrungon·

  666

against Grendel,      --so men heard--
seleweard áseted:      sundornytte behéold

 

the hall-guard posted:      special duty he held
ymb aldor Dena·      eotonweard' ábéad.

 

for the chief of the Danes,      ogre-watch he kept.
Húru Géata léod      georne trúwode

 

Indeed the prince of the Geats      keenly trusted
módgan mægnes,      metodes hyldo

 

in his prodigious power,      his Maker's favour,
ðá hé him of dyde      ísernbyrnan

  671

then he from himself took      iron-byrnie,
helm of hafelan·      sealde his hyrsted sweord

 

helm from head,      gave his adorned sword,
írena cyst      ombihtþegne

 

the choicest of irons,      to his retainer,
ond gehealdan hét      hildegeatwe·

 

and commanded him ward      his battle-gear;
gespræc þá se góda      gylpworda sum

 

the good man spoke then      some promise-words,
Béowulf Géata      aér hé on bed stige:

  676

Beowulf of the Geats,      before he stepped into bed:
'Nó ic mé an herewæsmun      hnágran talige

 

'I myself in martial-stature do not      tally poorer
gúþgeweorca      þonne Grendel hine·

 

in works of war      then Grendel himself;
forþan ic hine sweorde      swebban nelle,

 

therefore him with my sword I      shall not slay,
aldre benéotan      þéah ic eal mæge·

 

deprive of life,      though I fully am able;
nát hé þára góda      þæt hé mé ongéan sléä·

  681

he knows not the finer skills      that he may strike me back,
rand gehéawe      þéah ðe hé róf síe

 

hew my rimmed-shield,      although he is renowned
níþgeweorca      ac wit on niht sculon

 

for malicious works      but we at night must
secge ofersittan      gif hé gesécean dear

 

relinquish short sword      if he dares to seek
wíg ofer waépen      ond siþðan wítig god

 

war without weapons,      and then wise God,
on swá hwæþere hond      hálig dryhten

  686

on whichever hand,      the holy Lord
maérðo déme      swá him gemet þince.'

 

will allot glory,      as seems fitting to Him.'
Hylde hine þá heaþodéor      --hléorbolster onféng

 

The war-bold one then bent himself down      --the cheek-bolster received
eorles andwlitan--      ond hine ymb monig

 

the earl's face--      and round him many
snellíc saérinc      selereste gebéah·

 

brave seaman      sank down in hall-slumber;
naénig heora þóhte      þæt hé þanon scolde

  691

none of them thought      that he thence would
eft eardlufan      aéfre gesécean

 

his dear home again      ever visit,
folc oþðe fréoburh      þaér hé áféded wæs

 

his folk or his noble citadel,      where he was nurtured
ac híe hæfdon gefrúnen      þæt híe aér tó fela micles

 

for they had heard      that far too many of them already
in þaém wínsele      wældéað fornam

 

in that wine-hall      slaughtering Death had carried off
Denigea léode.      Ac him dryhten forgeaf

  696

of the Danish people.      But to them the Lord granted
wígspéda gewiofu       Wedera léodum

 

the woven-destiny of war-luck      to the Wederas' men,
frófor ond fultum      þæt híe féond heora

 

solace and support,      that they their foe,
ðurh ánes cræft      ealle ofercómon

 

through the strength of one,      all overcame,
selfes mihtum·      sóð is gecýþed,

 

by his own might;      truth is known
þæt mihtig god      manna cynnes

  701

that mighty God      mankind
weold wídeferhð.      Cóm on wanre niht

 

has ruled forever.      In the colourless night came
scríðan sceadugenga·      scéotend swaéfon

 

slinking the shadow-wanderer;      the shooters slept,
þá þæt hornreced      healdan scoldon

 

they that the horned-house      were obliged to guard,
ealle búton ánum      --þæt wæs yldum cúþ

 

all but one      --it was known to men
þæt híe ne móste·      þá metod nolde·

  706

that they could not,      when the Maker did not wish it,
se synscaþa      under sceadu bregdan--

 

by the malefactor      be drawn under the shadows--
ac hé wæccende      wráþum on andan

 

but he watching      in angry indignation
bád bolgenmód      beadwa geþinges.

 

bided in rising rage      for the result of battle.