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last updated on 15-June-2005

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Ðá ic æt þearfe gefrægn     þéodcyninges


I heard that then at the need    of the folk-king
andlongne eorl    ellen cýðan


the nobleman alongside    displayed courage,
cræft ond cénðu    swá him gecynde wæs·


strength and boldness,    as was natural to him;
ne hédde hé þæs heafolan    ac sío hand gebarn


he did not heed (the dragon's) head,    though the hand was burned
módiges mannes    þaér hé his mægenes healp


of the spirited man,    there he his strength helped,
þæt he þone níðgæst     nioðor hwéne slóh,


that he the hostile outsider    struck somewhat lower,
secg on searwum    þæt ðæt sweord gedéaf


the warrior in his war-gear,    so that the sword sank in
fáh ond faéted    þæt ðæt fýr ongon


gleaming and golden    so that the fire began
sweðrian syððan.    Þá gén sylf cyning


to weaken after that.    Then again the king himself
gewéold his gewitte·    wællseaxe gebraéd


gathered his wits,    drew a slaughter-seax
biter ond beaduscearp    þæt hé on byrnan wæg·


bitter and battle-sharp,    that he wore on his byrnie;
forwrát Wedra helm    wyrm on middan.


The Helm of the Wederas cut through    the wyrm in the middle.
Féond gefyldan    --ferh ellen wræc--


The foe they felled    --their courage driving out life--
ond hí hyne þá bégen    ábroten hæfdon,


and then the both of them him    had destroyed,
sibæðelingas·    swylc sceolde secg wesan


the noble kinsmen;    so ought a man to be,
þegn æt ðearfe.    Þæt ðám þéodne wæs


a thane in need.    That was for the chieftain
síðas sigehwíle    sylfes daédum,


the last time of victory    by his own deeds,
worlde geweorces.    Ðá sío wund ongon


in the world of action.    Then the wound began,
þé him se eorðdraca    aér geworhte


which him the earth-dragon    had caused earlier,
swelan ond swellan·    hé þæt sóna onfand·


to swelter and to swell;    he soon discovered that,
þæt him on bréostum     bealoníð wéoll


it him in the breast    welled with deadly evil,
attor on innan.    Ðá se æðeling gíong


poison inside.    Then the noble went,
þæt hé bí wealle     wíshycgende


so that he by the wall    wise in thought
gesæt on sesse·    seah on enta geweorc·


sat on a seat;    he looked on the giants' work
hú ðá stánbogan    stapulum fæste


how the stone-arches     on firm pillars
éce eorðreced    innan healden.


the eternal earth-hall    supported within.
Hyne þá mid handa    heorodréorigne


Then with his hands,    sword-bloody,
þéoden maérne    þegn ungemete till


the renowned chieftain,    the immensely good thane
winedryhten his    wætere gelafede


his friend and lord    washed with water,
hilde sædne    ond his helm onspéon·


weary of battle,    and unfastened his helm;
Bíowulf maþelode·    hé ofer benne spræc,


Beowulf spoke;    he spoke despite his injury,
wunde wælbléate    --wisse hé gearwe


the slaughter-wretched wound    --he readily knew
þæt hé dæghwíla    gedrogen hæfde


that he the length of his days    had fulfilled,
eorðan wynne·    ðá wæs eall sceacen


joy of earth;    then was all departed
dógorgerímes,     déað ungemete néah--:


his number of days,    death exceedingly near
'Nú ic suna mínum    syllan wolde


'Now I to my son    I would have wished to give
gúðgewaédu     þaér mé gifeðe swá


war-garments,     if it had been granted to me such that
aénig yrfeweard    æfter wurde


any guardian of inheritance    would be after
líce gelenge·    ic ðás léode héold


this body remaining;    I ruled the people
fíftig wintra·    næs sé folccyning


fifty winters;    there was not a folk-king
ymbesittendra    aénig ðára


of my neighbours    --of any of them--
þé mec gúðwinum    grétan dorste,


who me with war-friends     dared to greet,
egesan ðéön·    ic on earde bád


to threaten with terror;    I on earth awaited
maélgesceafta·     héold mín tela·


destiny,    ruled my own well,
ne sóhte searoníðas    né mé swór fela


did not seek cunning hostility,    nor swore me many
áða on unriht·    ic ðæs ealles mæg


oaths unjustly;    I all of it can,
feorhbennum séoc    geféan habban


sick with mortal-injuries,    have rejoicing,
forðám mé wítan ne ðearf     Waldend fíra


because he will not need to reproach me,    the Ruler of men,
morðorbealo mága    þonne mín sceaceð


for dire murder of kin,    when departs my
líf of líce.    Nú ðú lungre geong


life from body.    Now go you quickly
hord scéawian    under hárne stán,


to examine the hoard    under the hoary grey stone,
Wígláf léofa,    nú se wyrm ligeð,


dear Wiglaf,    now the wyrm lies dead,
swefeð sáre wund    since beréafod


sleeping sorely wounded,    deprived of treasure
bío nú on ofoste    þæt ic aérwelan


be now in haste,    that I the ancient wealth,
goldaéht ongite·    gearo scéawige


the possession of gold might perceive,    readily behold
swegle searogimmas    þæt ic ðý séft mæge


sparkling cleverly-cut gems,    so that I can the more pleasantly
æfter máððumwelan    mín álaétan


for treasure-wealth    leave my
líf ond léodscipe    þone ic longe héold.'


life and nation,    that long I ruled.'