diacritically-marked text and facing translation

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last updated on 29-August-2012

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



sydaudio Nolde eorla hléo      aénige þinga


The protector of earls had no wish      for any reason

þone cwealmcuman      cwicne forlaétan


the murderous guest      to release alive,
né his lífdagas      léoda aénigum


nor his life-days      to any people
nytte tealde.      Þær genehost brægd


counted as advantage.      There many brandished
eorl Béowulfes      ealde láfe·


warriors of Beowulf,      old heirlooms,
wolde fréadrihtnes      feorh ealgian


they wished prince-lord's      life defend,
maéres þéodnes      ðaér híe meahton swá·


the legendary leader's,      if they could do so;
híe þæt ne wiston      þá híe gewin drugon


they did not know that,      when they joined the fray,
heardhicgende      hildemecgas


the bold-minded      battle-men,
ond on healfa gehwone      héawan þóhton,


and on each side      thought to heaw,
sáwle sécan:      þone synscaðan


to seek the soul:      that the sin-scather
aénig ofer eorþan      írenna cyst


any on earth,      of the choicest of irons,
gúðbilla nán      grétan nolde


of war-bills, none,      could not at all greet him
ac hé sigewaépnum      forsworen hæfde


but he victory-weapons      had forsworn,
ecga gehwylcre.      Scolde his aldorgedál


every blade-edge.      His life-severing was bound to
on ðaém dæge      þysses lífes


on that day      in this life
earmlíc wurðan      ond se ellorgást


be wretched,      and the alien-spirit
on féonda geweald      feor síðian·


into the administration of fiends      would journey far away;
ðá þæt onfunde      sé þe fela aéror


then he found,      he who before many,
módes myrðe      manna cynne


miseries in his mind,      on mankind
fyrene gefremede      --he, fág wið god--


atrocities committed      --he, who fought with God--
þæt him se líchoma      laéstan nolde


that him his body-shell      would not obey,
ac hine se módega      maég Hygeláces


but him the daring      kinsman of Hygelac
hæfde be honda·      wæs gehwæþer óðrum


had by the hand;      each was by the other
lifigende láð·      lícsár gebád


loathed while living;      body-pain he felt,
atol aéglaéca·      him on eaxle wearð


the awful ogre;      on his shoulder was
syndolh sweotol·      seonowe onsprungon·


a great wound apparent,      sinows sprang asunder,
burston bánlocan·      Béowulfe wearð


bone-locks burst;      to Beowulf was
gúðhréð gyfeþe·      scolde Grendel þonan


war-glory given;      thence Grendel had to
feorhséoc fléön      under fenhleoðu,


flee sick unto death      under the hills of the fen,
sécean wynléas wíc·      wiste þé geornor


to seek his joyless abode;      he knew it more surely
þæt his aldres wæs      ende gegongen


that was his life's      end arrived,
dógera dægrím.      Denum eallum wearð


the day-count of his days.      For the Danes were all,
æfter þám wælraése      willa gelumpen:


after that slaughter-storm,      wishes come to pass:
hæfde þá gefaélsod      sé þe aér feorran cóm


he had then cleansed,      he who had before come from afar,
snotor ond swýðferhð      sele Hróðgáres,


shrewd and strong-minded,      the hall of Hrothgar,
genered wið níðe·      nihtweorce gefeh


rescued from ruin;      in his night's work he rejoiced,
ellenmaérþum·      hæfde Éast-Denum


in valour from great deeds;      to the East-Danes had
Géatmecga léod      gilp gelæsted·


the Geatmen's leader,      his oath fulfilled;
swylce oncýþðe      ealle gebétte


so too anguish      all remedied,
inwidsorge      þé híe aér drugon


grievous sorrow,      that they had ere endured,
ond for þréanýdum      þolian scoldon


and in hard distress      had to suffer,
torn unlýtel·      þæt wæs tácen sweotol


no small misery;      that was a clear sign,
syþðan hildedéor      hond álegde


when the battle-bold one      the hand placed,
earm ond eaxle      --þaér wæs eal geador


arm and shoulder      --there was all together
Grendles grápe--      under géapne hróf.


the grip of Grendel--      under the gaping roof.