Beowulf: Translations by William Morris & A. J. Wyatt (1898)

Click for a larger version (900 pixels high) The Tale of Beowulf. Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1898. ISBN: none.
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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. }

Now that from his home heard the Hygelac's thane,
Good midst of the Geat-folk; of Grendel's deeds heard he.
But he was of mankind of might and main mightiest
In the day that we tell of, the day of this life,
All noble, strong-waxen. He bade a wave-wearer
Right good to be gear'd him, and quoth he that the war-king
Over the swan-road he would be seeking,
The folk-lord far-famed, since lack of men had he.
Forsooth of that faring the carles wiser-fashion'd
Laid little blame on him, though lief to them was he;
The heart-hardy whetted they, heeded the omen.
There had the good one, e'en he of the Geat-folk,
Champions out-chosen of them that he keenest
Might find for his needs; and he then the fifteenth
Sought to the sound-wood. A swain thereon show'd him,
A sea-crafty man, all the make of the land-marks.
Wore then a while, on the waves was the floater,
The boat under the berg, and yare then the warriors
Strode up on the stem; the streams were a-winding
The sea 'gainst the sands. Upbore the swains then
Up into the bark's barm the bright-fretted weapons,
The war-array stately; then out the lads shov'd her,
The fold on the welcome way shov'd out the wood-bound.
Then by the wind driven out o'er the wave-holm
Far'd the foamy-neck'd floater most like to a fowl,
Till when was the same tide of the second day's wearing
The wound-about-stemm'd one had waded her way,
So that then they that sail'd her had sight of the land,
Bleak shine of the sea-cliffs, bergs steep up above,
Sea-nesses wide reaching;

[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. }

Naught would the earls' help for anything thenceforth
That murder-comer yet quick let loose of,
Nor his life-days forsooth to any of folk
Told he for useful. Out then drew full many
Of Beowulf's earls the heir-loom of old days,
For their lord and their master's fair life would they ward,
That mighty of princes, of so might they do it.
For this did they know not when they the strife dreed,
Those hardy-minded men of the battle,
And on every half there thought to be hewing,
And search out his soul, that the ceaseless scather
Not any on earth of the choice of all irons,
Not one of the war-bills, would greet home for ever.
For he had forsworn him from victory-weapons,
And each one of edges. But his sundering of soul
In the days that we tell of, the day of this life,
Should be weary and woeful, the ghost wending elsewhere
To the wielding of fiends to wend him afar.
Then found he out this, he who mickle erst made
Out of mirth of his mood unto children of men
And had fram'd many crimes, he the foeman of God,
That the body of him would not bide to avail him,
But the hardy of mood, even Hygalac's kinsman,
Had him fast by the hand: now was each to the other
All loathly while living: his body-sore bided
The monster: was manifest now on his shoulder
The unceasing wound, sprang the sinews asunder,
The bone-locks bursted. To Beowulf now
Was the battle-fame 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. }

Then fast by the shoulder, of the feud nothing recking,
The lord of the War-Geats clutch'd Grendel's mother,
Cast down the battle-hard, bollen with anger,
That foe of the life, till she bow'd to the floor;
But swiftly to him gave she back the hand-guerdon
With hand-graspings grim, and griped against him;
Then mood-weary stumbled the strongest of warriors,
The foot-kemp, until that adown there he fell.
Then she sat on the hall-guest and tugg'd out her sax,
The broad and brown-edged, to wreak her her son,
Her offspring her own. But lay yet on his shoulder
The breast-net well braided, the berg of his life,
That 'gainst point and 'gainst edge the entrance withstood.
Gone amiss then forsooth had been Ecgtheow's son
Underneath the wide ground there, the kemp of the Geats,
Save to him his war-byrny had fram'd him a help,
The hard host-net; and save that the Lord God the Holy
Had wielded the war-gain, the Lord the All-wise;
Save that the skies' Ruler had rightwisely doom'd it
All easily. Sithence he stood up again.
Midst the war-gear he saw then a bill victory-wealthy,
An old sword of eotens full doughty of edges,
The worship of warriors. That was choice of all weapons,
Save that more was it made than any man other
In the battle-play ever might bear it afield,
So goodly, all glorious, the work of giants.
Then the girdled hilt seiz'd he, the Wolf of the Scyldings,
The rough and the sword-grim, and drew forth the ring-sword,
Naught weening of life, and wrathful he smote then
So that there on her halse the hard edge begripped,
And brake through the bone-rings; the bill all through-waded
Her flesh-sheathing fey; cring'd she down on the floor;

[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. }

Now he paid him his guerdon therefor,
The fierce champion; so well, that abed there he saw
Where Grendel war-weary was lying adown
Forlorn of his life, as him ere had scathed
The battle at Hart; sprang wide the body,
Sithence after death he suffer'd the stroke,
The hard swing of sword. Then he smote the head off him.

[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. }

With flame was lightly then burnt up
The board to the boss, and might not the byrny
To the warrior the young frame any help yet.
But so the young man under shield of his kinsman
Went onward with valour, whenas his own was
All undone with gleeds; then again the war-king
Remember'd his glories, and smote with main might
With his battle-bill, so that it stood in the head
Need-driven by war-hate. Then asunder burst Nægling,
Waxed weak in the war-tide, e'en Beowulf's sword,
The old and grey-marked; to him was not given
That to him any whit might the edges of irons
Be helpful in battle; over-strong was the hand
Which every of swords, by the hearsay of me,
With its swing over-wrought, when he bare unto strife
A wondrous hard weapon; naught it was to him better.
Then was the folk-scather for the third of times yet,
The fierce fire-drake, all mindful of feud;
He rac'd on that strong one, when was room to him given,
Hot and battle-grim; he all the halse of him gripped
With bitter-keen bones; all bebloody'd he waxed
With the gore of his soul. Well'd in waves then the war-sweat.
Then heard I that at need of the high king of folk
The upright earl made well manifest might,
His craft and his keenness as kind was to him;
The head there he heeded not (but the hand burned
Of that man of high mood when he helped his kinsman),
Whereas he now the hate-guest smote yet a deal nether,
That warrior in war-gear, whereby the sword dived,
The plated, of fair hue, and thereby fell the flame
To minish thereafter, and once more the king's self
Wielded his wit, and his slaying-sax drew out,
The bitter and battle-sharp, borne on his byrny;
Asunder the Weder's helm smote the Worm midmost;
They felled the fiend, and force drave the life out,
And they twain together had gotten him ending,
Those athelings sib. --