diacritically-marked text and facing translation

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last updated on 16-July-2005

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Straét wæs stánfáh·      stíg wísode


The street was paved with stones,      the path guided
gumum ætgædere·      gúðbyrne scán


the men together;      war-byrnie shone
heard hondlocen      hringíren scír


harsh, linked by hand,      ring-iron glittering,
song in searwum·      þá híe tó sele furðum


they sang in their arms,      as they to the hall straight
in hyra gryregeatwum      gangan cwómon·


in their grim gear      came marching;
setton saéméþe      síde scyldas


they set down, sea-weary,      their wide shields,
rondas regnhearde      wið þæs recedes weal·


the rims wondrous-hard      against the wall of the hall,
bugon þá tó bence·      byrnan hringdon


and bent down then to a bench;      corslets rang--
gúðsearo gumena·      gáras stódon


the war-clothes of warriors;      spears stood,
saémanna searo      samod ætgædere


seamen's weapons,      all together,
æscholt ufan graég·      wæs se írenþréat


silvery above a grove of ash;      the iron-clad troop was
waépnum gewurþad·      þá ðaér wlonc hæleð


honoured in weapons;      then a proud noble
óretmecgas      æfter hæleþum frægn:


the elite soldiers      asked about the heroes:
'Hwanon ferigeað gé      faétte scyldas


'Whence ferry you      plated shields,
graége syrcan      ond grímhelmas


steel-hued shirts of mail      and masked-helms,
heresceafta héap?      Ic eom Hróðgáres


this host of army-shafts?      I am Hrothgar's
ár ond ombiht·      ne seah ic elþéodige


herald and officer;      I have not seen from a foreign land
þus manige men      módiglícran·


this many men      looking braver in spirit;
wén' ic þæt gé for wlenco      nalles for wraécsíðum


I expect that you from valour,      not from exile,
ac for higeþrymmum      Hróðgár sóhton.'


but from greatness of heart      have sought out Hrothgar.'
Him þá ellenróf      andswarode


Then him the renowned one      answered
wlanc Wedera léod      word æfter spræc


--that proud prince of the Wedera nation--      spoke thereafter words,
heard under helme:      'Wé synt Higeláces


severe beneath his helmet:      'We are Hygelac's
béodgenéatas·      Béowulf is mín nama·


companions at table;      Beowulf  is my name;
wille ic ásecgan      sunu Healfdenes


I wish to proclaim to      the son of Half-Dane,
maérum þéodne      min aérende


--that famed sovereign--      my errand
aldre þínum      gif hé ús geunnan wile


to your lord,      if he wishes to grant us
þæt wé hine swá gódne      grétan móton.'


that we him, the virtuous one,      might greet.'
Wulfgár maþelode      --þæt wæs Wendla léod·


Wulfgar began to speak      --he was the Wendels' leader,
wæs his módsefa      manegum gecýðed


his courage was      well-known to many,
wíg ond wísdóm--:      'Ic þæs wine Deniga


war-skill and wisdom--:      'I this from friend of the Danes,
fréan Scildinga      frínan wille


lord of the Scyldings,      will inquire,
béaga bryttan·      swá þú béna eart·


from the giver of rings,      --as you are petitioners--
þéoden maérne      ymb þínne síð


from that famed sovereign      about your quest,
ond þé þá andsware      aédre gecýðan


and to you the answer      promptly make known
ðe mé se góda      ágifan þenceð.'


which to me the virtuous one      sees fit to give.'
Hwearf þá hrædlíce      þaér Hróðgár sæt


He turned then quickly      to where Hrothgar sat,
eald ond anhár      mid his eorla gedriht·


old and very grey,      amid his company of earls;
éode ellenróf      þæt hé for eaxlum gestód


he strode grandly      so that he stood by the shoulders
Deniga fréän:      cúþe hé duguðe þéaw·


of the Danes' lord:      he knew the custom of veteran-warriors;
Wulfgár maðelode      tó his winedrihtne:


Wulfgar made this speech      to his friend and lord:
'Hér syndon geferede      feorran cumene


'Here have ventured,      come from far away,
ofer geofenes begang      Géata léode·


over the expanse of the sea,      men of the Geats;
þone yldestan      óretmecgas


the eldest one      of these elite warriors
Béowulf nemnað·      hý bénan synt


is called Beowulf;      they are asking
þæt híe, þéoden min,      wið þé móton


that they, my lord,      with you might
wordum wrixlan·      nó ðú him wearne getéoh


exchange words;      give them not refusal
ðínra gegncwida,      glædman Hróðgár·


from your answers,      gracious Hrothgar;
hý on wíggetáwum      wyrðe þinceað


they by their war-gear      seem worthy
eorla geæhtlan·      húru se aldor déah


of the esteem of nobles;      indeed, the prince is powerful,
sé þaém heaðorincum      hider wísade.'


who the warriors      led hither.'