BEOWULF

diacritically-marked text and facing translation

Images of the Beowulf MS are reproduced by kind permission of the British Library Board (who retain copyright)
All other material on this site under copyright 2002-5, Benjamin Slade
Please include proper citation reference if quoting a short passage;
otherwise no part of these documents may be reproduced without expressed permission from the author.

last updated on 15-June-2005


(click on the 'lyre icon' [ sydaudio ] to listen to a reading of selected passages in Old English)

XLIII

 

Him ðá gegiredan    Géata léode

 

Then for him prepared     the people of the Geats
ád on eorðan    unwáclícne

  3138

a pyre on the earth,     not trifling,
helmum behongen    hildebordum

 

hung with helmets,    with battle-shields,
beorhtum byrnum    swá hé béna wæs·

 

with bright byrnies,    as he had requested;
álegdon ðá tómiddes     maérne þéoden

 

they laid then in the midst    the famed chieftain,
hæleð híofende    hláford léofne·

 

the lamenting heroes,     their belovèd lord;
ongunnon þá on beorge    baélfýra maést

  3143

then began on the barrow     the greatest bale-fire,
wígend weccan·    wuduréc ástáh

 

the warriors to kindle;    wood-smoke arose,
sweart ofer swioðole    swógende lég

 

swarthy over the heat,     the roaring flame
wópe bewunden    --windblond gelæg--

 

woven with weeping    --the tumult of winds lay still--
oð þæt hé ðá bánhús     gebrocen hæfde

 

until it the bone-house    had broken
hát on hreðre·    higum unróte

  3148

hot at heart;     despairing in their hearts
módceare maéndon    mondryhtnes cwealm·

 

they bemoaned their grief,    their liege-lord's death;
swylce giómorgyd    Géatisc ánméowle

 

so too a death-dirge     a solitary Geatish woman
Bíowulfe brægd    bundenheorde

 

wove for Beowulf,     cruelly bound,
sang sorgcearig·    saélðe geneahhe

 

she sang sorrowful,     earnestly of fortune
þæt hío hyre hearmdagas    hearde ondréde

  3153

that she for herself days of harm    fiercely dreaded,
wælfylla worn    werudes egesan

 

of multitude of slaughter-feasts,    terror of troops,
hýðo ond hæftnýd.    Heofon réce swealg·

 

rapine and bondage.     Heaven swallowed the smoke;
geworhton ðá    Wedra léode

 

then wrought    the Wederas' people
hlaéo on hóe    sé wæs héah ond brád

 

a barrow on the hill,    it was high and broad,
waéglíðendum    wíde gesýne

  3158

for wave-farers     widely visible,
ond betimbredon    on týn dagum

 

and they constructed    in ten days
beadurófes bécn·    bronda láfe

 

the war-chief's beacon,     the leavings of the fire,
wealle beworhton    swá hyt weorðlícost

 

with a wall they encircled,    as it most worthily
foresnotre men    findan mihton·

 

the very wisest men     could devise;
hí on beorg dydon    bég ond siglu

  3163

they placed in the barrow    rings and brooches,
eall swylce hyrsta    swylce on horde aér

 

all such trappings,    as before from the hoard
níðhédige men    genumen hæfdon·

 

hostile men    had taken away;
forléton eorla gestréon     eorðan healdan

 

the treasure of heroes they let    the earth hold,
gold on gréote    þaér hit nú gén lifað

 

gold in the gritty soil,     where it now still lives,
eldum swá unnyt    swá hyt aérer wæs.

  3168

as useless to men    as it was before.
Þá ymbe hlaéw riodan,     hildedéore

 

Then around the mound rode    the battle-brave
æþelinga bearn    ealra twelfa·

 

sons of nobles,    twelve in all,
woldon cearge cwíðan    kyning maénan,

 

they wished to bewail their sorrow,    to mourn their king,
wordgyd wrecan    ond ymb wer sprecan·

 

to pronounce elegy,    and speak about the man;
eahtodan eorlscipe    ond his ellenweorc

  3173

they praised his heroic deeds    and his works of courage,
duguðum démdon.    Swá hit gedéfe bið

 

exalted his majesty.     As it is fitting,
þæt mon his winedryhten    wordum herge·

 

that one his friend and lord    honours in words,
ferhðum fréoge    þonne hé forð scile

 

cherish in one's spirit,     when he must forth
of líchaman     laéded weorðan·

 

from his body    be led;
swá begnornodon    Géata léode

  3178

thus bemourned    the people of the Geats
hláfordes hryre,     heorðgenéatas:

 

their lord's fall,    his hearth-companions:
cwaédon þæt hé waére     wyruldcyning

 

they said that he was,      of all kings of the world,
manna mildust    monðwaérust

 

the most generous of men,    the most gracious,
léodum líðost    ond lofgeornost.

 

the most protective of his people,    and the most eager for honour.