BEOWULF

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III

 

Swá ðá maélceare      maga Healfdenes

 

So then over the sorrow of the time      the son of Half-Dane
singála séað·      ne mihte snotor hæleð

 190

continually brooded;      the wise hero could not
wéan onwendan·      wæs þæt gewin tó swýð

 

turn away woe;      that strife was too strong,
láþ ond longsum      þe on ðá léode becóm,

 

hateful and enduring,      that on the people came
nýdwracu níþgrim      nihtbealwa maést.

 

fearfully cruel, violent trouble,      the greatest night-evil.

  Þæt fram hám gefrægn      Higeláces þegn

 

That from home heard      Hygelac's thane,
gód mid Géatum,      Grendles daéda·

 195

a good man of the Geats,      of Grendel's deeds;
sé wæs moncynnes      mægenes strengest

 

he was of mankind      of the greatest strength,
on þaém dæge      þysses lífes

 

on that day      in this life,
æþele ond éacen·      hét him ýðlidan

 

noble and mighty;      he ordered them a wave-crosser
gódne gegyrwan·      cwæð: hé gúðcyning

 

--a good one-- prepare;      he said: the war-king
ofer swanráde      sécean wolde

 200

over swan-road      he wished to seek,
maérne þéoden      þá him wæs manna þearf·

 

that mighty clan-chief,      since he was in need of men;
ðone síðfæt him      snotere ceorlas

 

that adventure him,      the clear-headed chaps,
lýt hwón lógon      þéah hé him léof waére

 

very little begrudged      though he was dear to them,
hwetton higerófne·      haél scéawedon.

 

they urged on the valiant-hearted one,      and observed the omens.
Hæfde se góda      Géata léoda

 205

The worthy one had,      from the Geatish peoples,
cempan gecorone      þára þe hé cénoste

 

chosen champions,      those who were the boldest he
findan mihte·      fíftýna sum

 

could find;      fifteen together,
sundwudu sóhte·      secg wísade

 

they sought the sea-wood,      he led the warriors,
lagucræftig mon      landgemyrcu.

 

that sea-skilled man,      to the boundary of the shore.
Fyrst forð gewát·      flota wæs on ýðum

 210

Time passed by;      the ship was on the waves,
bát under beorge·      beornas gearwe

 

the boat under the cliffs;      the ready warriors
on stefn stigon      --stréamas wundon,

 

stepped up into the prow      --the currents curled round,
sund wið sande--      secgas baéron

 

sea against sand--      the men bore
on bearm nacan      beorhte frætwe

 

into the bosom of boat      bright arms and armour,
gúðsearo geatolíc·      guman út scufon

 215

noble war-gear;      the fellows shoved off,
weras on wilsíð      wudu bundenne.

 

men on a welcome voyage,      in a well-braced ship.
Gewát þá ofer waégholm      winde gefýsed

 

Then they went over the water-waves      urged by the wind,
flota fámíheals      fugle gelícost

 

the foamy-necked floater,      remarkably bird-like
oð þæt ymb ántid      óþres dógores

 

until in due time,      on the second day,
wundenstefna      gewaden hæfde

 220

the curved-prow      had made the journey,
þæt ða líðende      land gesáwon,

 

so that the sailors      sighted land,

brimclifu blícan,      beorgas stéape

 

bright sea-cliffs,      towering shores,
side saénæssas·      þá wæs sund liden

 

wide headlands;      then was the sea traversed,
éoletes æt ende.      Þanon up hraðe

 

their sea-voyage at an end.      Thence up quickly
Wedera léode      on wang stigon·

 225

the Wederas-warriors      stepped onto land;
saéwudu saéldon·      syrcan hrysedon

 

moored their vessel;      their mail-shirts clanked
gúðgewaédo·      gode þancedon

 

those war-garments;      they thanked God
þæs þe him ýþláde      éaðe wurdon.

 

that for them the wave-paths      had been smooth.
Þá of wealle geseah      weard Scildinga

 

Then from the wall saw      the ward of the Scyldings,
sé þe holmclifu      healdan scolde·

 230

he who the sea-cliffs      had the duty to guard,
beran ofer bolcan      beorhte randas

 

borne over the gang-plank,      bright bossed-shields,
fyrdsearu fúslicu·      hine fyrwyt bræc

 

eager war-devices;      in him curiosity broke
módgehygdum      hwæt þá men waéron·

 

the thoughts of his heart:      what these men were;
gewát him þá tó waroðe      wicge rídan

 

then he went to the shore      riding his horse,
þegn Hróðgáres·      þrymmum cwehte

 235

the thane of Hrothgar;      he forcefully shook
mægenwudu mundum·      meþelwordum frægn:

 

his mighty wooden shaft,      and with formal words asked:
'Hwæt syndon gé      searohæbbendra

 

'What are you      armour-wearers
byrnum werede      þe þus brontne céol

 

bound in byrnies,      who thus your tall keel
ofer lagustraéte      laédan cwómon

 

over the sea-street      leading came,
hider ofer holmas?'  

 240

hither over the waters?'
Hé wæs endesaéta·      aégwearde héold

 

He was the coast-guardian,      he held the sea-watch,
þé on land Dena      láðra naénig

 

so that on Danish land      no enemies at all
mid scipherge      sceðþan ne meahte·

 

with a navy      would not be able to ravage.
'Nó hér cúðlícor      cuman ongunnon

 

'Not here more openly      began to come
lindhæbbende      né gé léafnesword

 245

lindenwood shield-bearers,      nor you the leave-word
gúðfremmendra      gearwe ne wisson

 

of our war-makers      certainly don't know
mága gemédu·      naéfne ic máran geseah

 

our kinsmen's consent;      never have I seen greater
eorla ofer eorþan      ðonne is éower sum,

 

noble on earth      than the one that you are,
secg on searwum·      nis þæt seldguma

 

warrior in armour;      this is no a mere retainer
waépnum geweorðad·      næfre him his wlite léoge,

 250

made worthy by weapons;      unless he is belied by his looks,
aénlic ansýn!      Nú ic éower sceal

 

a unique appearance!      Now I must your
frumcyn witan      aér gé fyr heonan

 

lineage learn,      ere you far hence,
léasscéaweras      on land Dena

 

deceiving spies      in the land of the Danes
furþur féran·      Nú gé feorbúend

 

further fare;      now you far-dwellers
merelíðende      mínne gehýrað

 255

you sea-sailors,      hear my
ánfealdne geþóht:      ofost is sélest

 

one-fold thought:      speed is best
tó gecýðanne      hwanan éowre cyme syndon.'  

 

for reporting,      whence your comings are.'