BEOWULF

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last updated on 15-June-2005


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IIII

 

Him se yldesta      andswarode·

 

He the eldest      answered,
werodes wísa      wordhord onléac:

 

the crew's captain,      he unlocked his word-hoard:
'Wé synt gumcynnes      Géata léode

 260

'We are of the tribe      of the Geat people
ond Higeláces      heorðgenéatas·

 

and Hygelac's      hearth-companions;

wæs mín fæder      folcum gecýþed

 

my father was      known to the folk,
æþele ordfruma      Ecgþéow háten·

 

a noble vanguard-warrior,      called Edgetheow,
gebád wintra worn      aér hé on weg hwurfe

 

who saw many winters      ere he passed away,
gamol of geardum·      hine gearwe geman

 265

old, from our courtyards;      he is readily recalled
witena wélhwylc      wíde geond eorþan.

 

by each one of the wise      widely throughout the world.
Wé þurh holdne hige      hláford þínne

 

We, by resolute resolve,      your lord,
sunu Healfdenes      sécean cwómon

 

the son of Half-Dane      have come to seek,
léodgebyrgean·      wes þú ús lárena gód·

 

that protector of the people;      be you a good guide to us;
habbað wé tó þaém maéran      micel aérende

 270

we have, to that grand one,      a great errand
Deniga fréän·      ne sceal þaér dyrne sum

 

to the Danish lord;      there shouldn't some secret
wesan þæs ic wéne.      Þú wást gif hit is

 

be of this, I think.      You know if it is
swá wé sóþlíce      secgan hýrdon

 

as we truly      have heard said,
þæt mid Scyldingum      sceaðona ic nát hwylc

 

that amongst the Scyldings,      some enemy, I know not what,
déogol daédhata      deorcum nihtum

 275

a furtive despoiler,      in dark nights,
éaweð þurh egsan      uncúðne níð

 

sickeningly reveals      unknown enmity,
hýnðu ond hráfyl.      Ic þæs Hróðgár mæg

 

suffering and slaughter.      I can on this matter, to Hrothgar,
þurh rúmne sefan      raéd gelaéran·

 

from a spacious spirit,      give counsel,
hú hé fród ond gód,      féond oferswýðeþ--

 

how he, wise and good,      overcome the fiend--
gyf him edwendan      aéfre scolde

 280

if for him a change      ever should,
bealuwa bisigu      bót eft cuman--

 

from this suffering of miseries      to remedy, come after--
ond þá cearwylmas      cólran wurðaþ

 

and his hot wellings of melancholic care      grow cooler;
oððe á syþðan      earfoðþráge

 

or else ever after,      a time of torment,
þréanýd þolað      þenden þaér wunað

 

horrible hardship he will endure,      so long as there remains,
on héahstede      húsa sélest.'

 285

in its high place,      that best of houses.
Weard maþelode      ðaér on wicge sæt

 

The guard made a speech,      sitting there on his horse,
ombeht unforht:      'AÉghwæþres sceal

 

--the unhesistating officer:      'He will --every
scearp scyldwiga      gescád witan

 

sharp shield-warrior--      know the distinction
worda ond worca      sé þe wél þenceð.

 

between words and works,      he who reasons rightly.
Ic þæt gehýre·      þæt þis is hold weorod

 290

I hear it,      that this is a legion loyal
fréan Scyldinga·      gewítaþ forð beran

 

to the lord of the Scyldings;      go forth bearing
waépen ond gewaédu·      ic éow wísige·

 

weapons and armour;      I shall guide you;
swylce ic maguþegnas      míne háte

 

likewise, I  the kin-thanes      of mine will order,
wið féonda gehwone      flotan éowerne

 

against any foes      your vessel,
níwtyrwydne      nacan on sande

 295

--newly tarred,      ship on the sand--
árum healdan      oþ ðæt eft byreð

 

to guard in honour,      until it bears back,
ofer lagustréamas      léofne mannan

 

over the sea-streams,      the dear man,
wudu wundenhals      tó Wedermearce·

 

--the swoop-necked wood --      to Wedermark;
gódfremmendra      swylcum gifeþe bið

 

those who perform noble deeds--      to such as these it shall be granted
þæt þone hilderaés      hál gedígeð.'

 300

that the battle-rush      he survive in one piece.'
Gewiton him þá féran      --flota stille bád·

 

Then they went faring      --the boat at rest awaited,
seomode on sole      sidfaéþmed scip

 

it rode on the sand      the broad-bosomed ship,
on ancre fæst--      eoforlíc scionon

 

on anchor fast--      boar-figures shone
ofer hléorberan      gehroden golde·   atop cheekguards      adorned with gold;
fáh ond fýrheard      ferhwearde héold·

 305

glittering and fire-hard;      life-guard they held;
gúþmód grummon·      guman ónetton·

 

war-spirits raised;      the men hastened,
sigon ætsomne      oþ þæt hý sæltimbred

 

marched forward together,      until they the timbered hall,
geatolíc ond goldfáh      ongyton mihton·

 

glorious and gold-trimmed,      were able to glimpse;
þæt wæs foremaérost      foldbúendum

 

that was the foremost      --for earth-dwellers--
receda under roderum      on þaém se ríca bád·

 310

of halls under the heavens,      in it the ruler dwelt;
líxte se léoma      ofer landa fela.

 

its light glimmered      over many lands.
Him þá hildedéor      hof módigra

 

Then to them the fierce fellow     --to that court of great men
torht getaéhte      þæt híe him tó mihton

 

glorious-- he lead,      that they to it could
gegnum gangan·      gúðbeorna sum

 

go directly;      the worthy warrior
wicg gewende·      word æfter cwæð:

 315

turned his horse,      thereupon spoke words:
'Maél is mé tó féran.      Fæder alwalda

 

'Time it is for me to go.      The Father all-ruling,
mid árstafum      éowic gehealde

 

with grace      may He hold you
síða gesunde!      Ic tó saé wille

 

sound on your sojourns!      I will to the sea,
wið wráð werod      wearde healdan.'

 

against brutal dacoits      keep watch.'