BEOWULF

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II

 

Gewát ðá néosian      syþðan niht becóm

 115

He then went to visit and see      --when night came--
héän húses·      hú hit Hring-Dene

 

the high house      how it, the Ring-Danes
æfter béorþege      gebún hæfdon·

 

after the beer-feast,      had occupied;
fand þá ðaér inne      æþelinga gedriht

 

he found then therein      the nobles' company
swefan æfter symble·      sorge ne cúðon

 

slumbering after the feast;      they did not know sorrow,
wonsceaft wera·      wiht unhaélo

 120

misery of men;      that damned creature,
grim ond graédig      gearo sóna wæs

 

grim and greedy,      soon was ready,
réoc ond réþe      ond on ræste genam

 

savage and cruel      and from their rest seized
þrítig þegna·      þanon eft gewát

 

thirty thanes;      thence back he went
húðe hrémig      tó hám faran

 

proud in plunder      to his home, faring
mid þaére wælfylle      wíca néosan.

 125

with the banquet of bodies      to seek his shelter.
Ðá wæs on úhtan      mid aérdæge

 

Then was in the dark of dawn      before the day
Grendles gúðcræft      gumum undyrne·

 

Grendle's war-might      revealed to the men;
þá wæs æfter wiste      wóp up áhafen

 

then it was after their feasting      they raised up lament
micel morgenswég.      Maére þéoden

 

in a great morning-cry.      The mighty chieftain,
æþeling aérgod      unblíðe sæt·

 130

the prince, old and good,      sat in sorrow,
þolode ðrýðswýð      þegnsorge dréah

 

the great mighty one suffered,      anguish of thane-loss   oppressed him
syðþan híe þæs láðan      lást scéawedon,

 

when they the foe's      tracks beheld,
wergan gástes·      wæs þæt gewin tó strang

 

of the wicked ghoul;      that strife was too strong,
láð ond longsum.      Næs hit lengra fyrst

 

loathsome and lingering.      Nor was it a longer time
ac ymb áne niht      eft gefremede

 135

but after a single night      again he perpetuated
morðbeala máre      ond nó mearn fore,

 

more brutal slaughter,      and it grieved him not,
faéhðe ond fyrene·      wæs tó fæst on þám.

 

violence and viciousness,      he was too entrenched in these.
Þá wæs éaðfynde      þé him elles hwaér

 

Then was it easily found,      one who would somewhere else,
gerúmlícor      ræste sóhte

 

further away,      seek rest:
bed æfter búrum      ðá him gebéacnod wæs

 140

a bed among the bowers,      when it was made clear to him,
gesægd sóðlíce      sweotolan tácne

 

truly told,      by an unmistakable token
healðegnes hete·      héold hyne syðþan

 

the enmity of the hall's occupier;      he held himself then
fyr ond fæstor      sé þaém féonde ætwand.

 

further and safer,      he who shunned that fiend.
Swá ríxode      ond wið rihte wan

 

Thus he ruled      and challenged justice,
ána wið eallum      oð þæt ídel stód

 145

one against all,      until empty stood
húsa sélest·      wæs séo hwíl micel,

 

that finest of houses;      the time was long
twelf wintra tíd      torn geþolode

 

--the space of twelve winters--      that bitter anguish endured
wine Scyldenda,      wéana gehwelcne

 

the friend, the shielder,      --every woe,   
sídra sorga·      forðám secgum wearð

 

immense miseries;      therefore to men became
ylda bearnum      undyrne cúð,

 150

to sons of men,      clearly known
gyddum geómore      þætte Grendel wan

 

in mournful ballads,      that Grendle had contended
hwíle wið Hróþgár·      heteníðas wæg

 

long against Hrothgar,      sustained fierce enmity,
fyrene ond faéhðe      fela misséra,

 

felony and feud,      for many seasons
singále sæce·      sibbe ne wolde

 

continual strife;      he did not want peace
wið manna hwone      mægenes Deniga,

 155

with any man      of the Danish contingent,
feorhbealo feorran,      féa þingian

 

to desist in life-destruction,      to settle it with payment,
né þaér naénig witena      wénan þorfte

 

none of the counsellors      had any need to hope for
beorhtre bóte      tó banan folmum

 

noble recompense      from the slayer's hands,
ac se aéglaéca      éhtende wæs

 

but the wretch      was persecuting
deorc déaþscua      duguþe ond geogoþe

 160

--the dark death-shade--      warriors old and young;
seomade ond syrede·      sinnihte héold

 

he lay in wait and set snares,      in the endless night he held
mistige móras·      men ne cunnon

 

the misty moors;      men do not know
hwyder helrúnan      hwyrftum scríþað.

 

where such hellish enigmas      slink in their haunts.
Swá fela fyrena      féond mancynnes

 

Thus many offences      that foe of mankind,
atol ángengea      oft gefremede,

 165

that terrible lone traveller,      often committed,
heardra hýnða·      Heorot eardode

 

hard humiliations;      he dwelt in Heorot,
sincfáge sel      sweartum nihtum

 

the richly-adorned hall,      in the black nights
--nó hé þone gifstól      grétan móste,

 

--by no means he the gift-throne      was compelled to approach respectfully,
máþðum for metode,      né his myne wisse--

 

the treasure, by the Maker,      nor did he feel love for it--
Þæt wæs wraéc micel      wine Scyldinga,

 170

That was great misery      for the Friend of the Scyldings,
módes brecða.      Monig oft gesæt

 

a breaking of his spirit.      Many often sat
ríce tó rúne·      raéd eahtedon·

 

the mighty at counsel;      pondered a plan,
hwæt swíðferhðum      sélest waére

 

what by strong-minded men      would be best,
wið faérgryrum      tó gefremmanne·

 

against the sudden horror,      to do;
hwílum híe gehéton      æt hærgtrafum

 175

sometimes they pledged      at holy temples
wígweorþunga·      wordum baédon

 

sacred honouring,      in words bid
þæt him gástbona      géoce gefremede

 

that them the demon-slayer      would offer succour
wið þéodþréaum·      swylc wæs þéaw hyra·

 

from the plight of the people;      such was their habit:
haéþenra hyht·      helle gemundon

 

the hope of heathens;      on hell they pondered
in módsefan·      metod híe ne cúþon

 180

in the depths of their hearts;      the Creator they did not know,
daéda démend·      ne wiston híe drihten god

 

the Judge of deeds,      they were not aware of the Lord God,
né híe húru heofena helm      herian ne cúþon

 

nor yet they the Helm of the Heavens      were able to honour,
wuldres waldend.      Wá bið þaém ðe sceal

 

Glory's Wielder.      Woe be to him who must,
þurh slíðne níð      sáwle bescúfan

 

through dire terror,      thrust his soul
in fýres fæþm,      frófre ne wénan,

 185

into fire's embrace;      hope not for relief,
wihte gewendan·      wél bið þaém þe mót

 

or to change at all;      well be he who may
æfter déaðdæge      drihten sécean

 

after death-day      seek the Lord
ond tó fæder fæþmum      freoðo wilnian.

 

and in his Father's arms      yearn towards Nirvana.