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last updated on 15-June-2005

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Hróðgár maþelode      --hé to héalle géong·


Hrothgar spoke      --he went to the hall,
stód on stapole·     geseah stéapne hróf


stood on the steps,      observed the steep roof
golde fáhne      ond Grendles hond--:


adorned with gold      and Grendel's hand--:
'Ðisse ansýne      alwealdan þanc


'For this sight      Thanks to the All-Ruler
lungre gelimpe!      Fela ic láþes gebád,


be swiftly forthcoming!      I have suffered many injuries,
grynna æt Grendle·      á mæg god wyrcan


griefs from Grendel;      God can always work
wunder æfter wundre,      wuldres hyrde.


wonder after wonder,      glory's Keeper.
Ðaét wæs ungeára      þæt ic aénigra mé


It was not long past      that I for me any
wéana ne wénde      tó wídan feore


for woes not hoped      for the bredth of my life,
bóte gebídan      þonne blóde fáh


to experience remedy      when adorned with blood
húsa sélest      heorodréorig stód:


the most splendid house      stood battle-gory:
wéa wídscofen      witena gehwylcne


woe widespread      for each of the sages
ðára þe ne wéndon      þæt híe wídeferhð


those who did not hope      that in the span of their lives
léoda landgeweorc      láþum beweredon


the nation's fortress      from foes they could protect,
scuccum ond scinnum·      ná scealc hafað


from shucks and shines;      now a warrior has,
þurh drihtnes miht      daéd gefremede


through the Lord's power,      performed a deed
ðe wé ealle      aér ne meahton


which we all      before could not
snyttrum besyrwan·      hwæt, þæt secgan mæg


with schemes contrive;      listen, that may say
efne swá hwylc mægþa      swá ðone magan cende


even so whichever woman      as that begot this man,
æfter gumcynnum      gyf héo gýt lyfað


among mankind,      if she yet lives,
þæt hyre ealdmetod      éste waére


that to her the Old Measurer of Fate      was gracious
bearngebyrdo.      Nú ic, Béowulf, þec,


in child-bearing.      Now, I, Beowulf, you,
secg betosta,      mé for sunu wylle


the best of men,      for me like a son would
fréogan on ferhþe·      heald forð tela


love in life;      keep well henceforth
níwe sibbe·      ne bið þé aénigre gád


this new kinship;      there will not be any want
worolde wilna      þé ic geweald hæbbe·


of worldly wishes      while I have power;
ful oft ic for laéssan      léan teohhode


full oft I for less      rewards have bestowed,
hordweorþunge      hnáhran rince


honouring with treasure      a humbler man,
saémran æt sæcce·      þú þé self hafast


lesser at fighting;      you for yourself have
daédum gefremed      þæt þín dóm lyfað


by deeds ensured,      that your fame lives
áwa tó aldre·      alwalda þec


for ever and ever;      may the All-Ruler you
góde forgylde      swá hé nú gýt dyde!'


reward with good,      as He has now yet done!'
Béowulf maþelode      bearn Ecgþéowes:


Beowulf spoke,      the son of Edgetheow:
'Wé þæt ellenweorc      éstum miclum


'We the courage-works      with great pleasure,
feohtan fremedon·      frécne genéðdon


endeavoured to fight,      boldly risked
eafoð uncúþes.      Úþe ic swíþor


the strength of an unknown foe.      I would rather
þæt ðú hine selfne      geséon móste


that you him himself      might have seen,
féond on frætewum      fylwérigne·


the fiend in his full gear      wearied by death;
ic him hrædlíce      heardan clammum


I him quickly      in hard clasp
on wælbedde      wríþan þóhte


on the bed of slaughter      thought to fetter,
þæt hé for handgripe      mínum scolde


that he because of the hand-grip      of mine must
licgean lífbysig      bútan his líc swice·


lie struggling for life,      lest his body slip away;
ic hine ne mihte      þá metod nolde


I him could not,      when the Measurer of Fate did not wish it,
ganges getwaéman·      nó ic him þæs georne ætfealh


hinder departing;      nor I so readily kept him close,
feorhgeníðlan·      wæs tó foremihtig


that mortal foe;      he was too overpowering,
féond on féþe·      hwæþere, hé his folme forlét


the fiend in departing;      however, he left his hand
tó lífwraþe      lást weardian,


to save his life,      remaining behind,
earm ond eaxle·      nó þaér aénige swá þéah


arm and shoulder;      not with it though any
féasceaft guma      frófre gebohte·


the worthless creature,      relief purchased;
nó þý leng leofað      láðgetéona


not the longer does he live,      the hateful spoiler,
synnum geswenced      ac hyne sár hafað


struck down by sins      but him the wound has
in níðgripe      nearwe befongen


with violent grip      narrowly enclosed
balwon bendum      ðaér ábídan sceal


in baleful bonds,      there he must await,
maga máne fáh      miclan dómes·


the creature stained with crimes,      the great judgement,
hú him scír metod      scrífan wille.'


how him the glorious Measure of Fate      wishes to decree.'
Ðá wæs swígra secg      sunu Ecgláfes


Then the man was more silent,      the son of Edgelaf,
on gylpspraéce      gúðgeweorca


in boast-speech      of war-works
siþðan æþelingas      eorles cræfte


when the noble men,      by the strength of the prince
ofer héanne hróf      hand scéawedon


over the high roof      saw the hand,
feondes fingras·      foran aéghwylc wæs


the fiend's fingers;      on the front of each was,
steda nægla gehwylc      stýle gelícost


in the place of each nail      very much like steel
haéþenes handsporu      hilderinces


heathenish hand-spurs,      the war-creature's
egl unhéoru·      aéghwylc gecwæð


ungentle talon;      everyone said
þæt him heardra nán      hrínan wolde


that him no hard weapon      would strike,
íren aérgód,      þæt ðæs áhlaécan


pre-eminent iron,      that of them (none) the demon's
blódge beadufolme      onberan wolde.


bloody battle-hand      would injure.