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 16-July-2005


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

V

 

Straét wæs stánfáh·      stíg wísode

 320

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

 325

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

 330

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

 335

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

 340

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

 345

--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

 350

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.'

 355

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:

  360

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

 365

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.'

 370

who the warriors      led hither.'