Beowulf: Translations by Thomas C. Kennedy (2001)

Click for a larger version (900 pixels high) Beowulf. Squire Publishers, Leawood, Kansas, 2001. ISBN: 1-58597-091-3.
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[lines 194-224a in section III and 8th line from the bottom of folio 134r to 4th line from the bottom of folio 134v on Kevin S. Kiernan's Electronic Beowulf CD] Images of the original manuscript text of this section, and an mp3 file of Ben Slade reading it in Old English, are here.

    {Beowulf hears about Grendel and decides to travel from his home in Geatland (southern Sweden) to Heorot (in northeast Denmark) to see if he can help out. }

Then, where he lived, Higelacís thane,
the Geatís good man, heard the news
of Grendelís crimes. Mankindís strongest
he was on that day of this life,
noble and mighty. He ordered
a wave-crosser, said that over
the path of the swan he would seek
that great king, since he needed a man.
Although they loved him very much,
the wise argued little with him,
encouraged him, looked at omens.
The good man, from the Geat tribe,
had chosen the keenest warriors
that he might find, fifteen in all.
That sea-crafty man picked a boat
and led his men to the landís end.
It was time. She was in the waves,
under the cliff. Warriorís ready
stepped on her prow, currents twisting
water with sand. The men carried
bright treasures to the shipís bosom,
beautiful war-gear and they shoved
their boat out, men on dream journey.
Wood went over waves urged by wind
floating foamy-necked like a bird,
and sometime on the second day,
their curved prow wading the waters,
those seafarers saw land again,
sea-cliffs shining and steep mountains
and broad headlands. They were across.


[lines 791-819a in section XII and 8th line from the top of folio 147r to 13th line from the top of folio 147v on Kevin S. Kiernan's Electronic Beowulf CD] Images of the original manuscript text of this section, and an mp3 file of Ben Slade reading it in Old English, are here.

    {At this moment Beowulf and Grendel are fighting and Grendel is howling and screaming and wishing to escape but Beowulf has grabbed Grendel's arm and is using his incredible hand-strength to hold on to him. }

The shelter of earls didn't want
to let that deadly visitor
escape alive, or Grendel's days
with any tribe to be counted
well spent. The earls of Beowulf
drew ancestral swords to protect
the noble leader, the great lord,
the famous chieftain, if they could.
Hard minded, intending to hew
on all sides, they went for the kill.
They didn't know that no war blade,
not the best iron over earth,
could ever touch that criminal.
He had cast a spell on weapons,
on every edge. Leaving the world
on that day of this life was hard
for him. In the power of fiends
that strange spirit would journey far.
Then the adversary of God,
who caused much sorrow in the minds
of mankind, found that his body
refused to follow. Hygelac's
bold kinsman held him by the hand,
each other's mortal enemy.
The monster felt pain, a great wound
at his shoulder. The sinews snapped,
and the cage of bone broke open.
To Beowulf, the victory
was given.


[lines 1537-1569 in sections XXII and XXIII and 5th line from the bottom of folio 163v, through folio 164r to 4th line from the top of folio 164v on Kevin S. Kiernan's Electronic Beowulf CD] Images of the original manuscript text of this section, and an mp3 file of Ben Slade reading it in Old English, are here. Note: there is a discussion of the word eaxle in line 1537a on my page on Shoulder Grabbing vs. Hair Pulling

    {At this moment Beowulf has just failed to hurt Grendel's mother with the sword Hrunting and he tries to wrestle her as he had done with Grendel. }

Not holding back, the Geat seized
Grendel's mother by the shoulder
and flung his mortal enemy
to the floor. She paid him right back,
reaching for him with her grim claws.
Then the strongest of warriors fell;
the weary champion was down.
Sitting on her guest, she drew out
a large knife, intending to avenge
her only child. On his shoulder
the woven ring-net saved his life,
kept point and edge from entering.
Then the warrior, Ecgtheow's son,
had lost his way under the earth
if not for his battle-armor.
That hard war-net and holy God
delivered victory. The Lord,
Ruler of Heaven, made the right
decision. He stood up again.
 
He saw among other weapons
a victory blade with strong edge,
an old giant sword, the glory
of warriors, the best of weapons,
but larger than any other
man might carry into battle,
ornamented work of titans.
The Scylding warrior grasped the hilt,
savage, sword-grim, drew the ring sword,
filled with anger and despair, struck
and caught her hard right in the neck,
broke the bone rings. The sword went through
the doomed body, and she went down.
The sword was crimson. He rejoiced
in his work.


[lines 1584b-1590 in section XXIII and 7th line from the bottom of folio 164v to first half of the last line of folio 164v on Kevin S. Kiernan's Electronic Beowulf CD] Images of the original manuscript text of this section, and an mp3 file of Ben Slade reading it in Old English, are here.

    {At this moment Beowulf has just discovered Grendel's lifeless body lying in the cave. }

     The brave champion
rewarded him. He saw Grendel
lying at rest, weary of war,
lifeless, with the wounds he'd received
in Heorot. The dead body
split open when it was struck hard
with the sword, and the head fell off.


[lines 2672b-2708a in sections XXXVI and XXXVII and 8th line from the bottom of folio 189A197r, through folio 189A197v to 3rd line from the top of folio 189r on Kevin S. Kiernan's Electronic Beowulf CD] Images of the original manuscript text of this section, and an mp3 file of Ben Slade reading it in Old English, are here.

    {At this moment, Wiglaf has just run into the flames to be by Beowulf's side and the dragon has charged at them both, incinerating Wiglaf's shield. }

Flames consumed his shield, and armor
was no help the young warrior.
but when his own was gone, he got
behind his kinsmanís shield. The king,
remembering his famous deeds,
swung his sword with all his might
so it stuck in the dragonís head.
Then Naegling, Beowulfís sword, snapped.
Old and grey, it failed in the fight.
It was not to be that heíd win
a fight with an edge of iron.
His hand was too strong, was too much
for any blade. When he carried
a hard weapon into battle,
he was no better off for it.
For the third time, the man-scather,
the fire dragon seeing his chance,
attacked, and hot and battle-grim,
sank his teeth in the heroís neck.
He was drenched with waves of blood.
 
He came to the aid of his king
with courage and strength and boldness
as was his nature. Not heeding
the dragonís head, he burned his hand
severely when with his sword he
struck the fierce spirit lower down.
The bright and golden sword sank in,
The king, still conscious, drew a knife
that he wore on his coat of mail,
and the helmut of the Weders
thrust the blade into the serpent.
They had brought down the enemy,
their courage against the wormís life,
two kinsmen fighting together.

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