Beowulf: Translations by E. L. Risden (1994)

Click for a larger version (900 pixels high) Beowulf: A Student's Edition The Whitston Publishing Company, Troy, New York, 1994. ISBN: 0878754555.
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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. }

              Thus from home heard        Hygelac's thane,
good man of the Geats,        of Grendel's deeds;
he was of mankind       the greatest in might
in those days       of this life,
noble and mighty.       He ordered prepared
a wave-traveler;       he said he would seek
over the swan-road       the warrior-king,
the great lord,       who needed men.
With that adventure       wise men
found little fault,       though he was dear to them,
they urged on the valiant one,       examined the omens.
From the people of the Geats       the good man
chose cahmpions,       the best of those
he could find--       they were fifteen in all--
and sought the sea-wood.       The warrior led them,
the sea-skilled man,       to the land-boundary.
              A time passed;       a floater was on the waves,
a craft under the cliffs.       Ready soldiers
climbed into the prow;       currents eddied,
swimming along the shore.       The warriors carried
into the bosom of the ship       bright weapons
and noble battle-armor.       The men shoved off
on a longed-for adventure       in the well-braced ship,
embarked over the wave-way       urged by the wind,
the foamy-necked floater       most like a bird,
till after a dure time       the next day
the curve-prowed ship       had advanced
so that the seafarers       saw land,
the sea-cliffs gleam,       the steep shores,
the wide sea-headlands.       Then was ocean traversed,
the voyage at an end.

[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. }

                                He held him fast,
he who of them       was the strongest in might
n those days       of this life.
Nor would the protector of men       by any means
leave alive       the murderous-visitor,
nor did any of the men       consider useful
his life-days.       There most often
Beowulf's men       drew old swords;
they wished to defend       their lord's life,
the fame of the leader       as best they could.
They did not know,       when they drew into the fray,
stern-minded       sword-soldiers,
and on every side       thought to hew,
to seek the life       of the evil-enemy,
that throughout the earth none       of the best of swords,
none of the battle-blades       would touch him,
but victory-weapons he       had made useless by magic,
any sword.       It had to be that his death
in those days       of this life
be miserable       and the alien-spirit
in the power of fiends       to travel far.
              Then he discovered,        he who before many
crimes committed       against the race of men
to spirits' sorrow--       he fought against god--
that his body       would not serve,
but the mighty one,       kinsman of Hygelac,
had him in his hands;       each to the other was,
living, loathesome.       The horrible monster
suffered a body-wound:       in his shoulder was
manifest a sin-payment;       sinews sprung out,
joints burst.       To Beowulf was given
glory in battle.

[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. }

The man of the war-Geats       then seized by the shoulder
Grendel's mother--       he did not mourn for that feud.
The strong one flung into the fight       the mortal foe
when he was enraged,       so that she fell on the hall-floor.
She quickly after       paid him requital
with fierce grips       and seized him against her.
The strongest of men       then stumbled disheartened
so that he fell,       foot-warrior.
She then sat on her hall-guest       and drew her knife.
broad and bright-edged;       she wished to avenge her son,
her only progeny.       On his shoulder lay
the woven breast-net:       that saved his life--
it withstood entry       against point and edge.
Then Ecgtheow's son       had perished
under the earth,       champion of the Geats,
but the battle-byrnie       provided help,
hard war-net,       and holy god
brought him battle-victory--       the wise lord,
ruler of the heavens,       decided it rightly,
quite easily,       once he again stood up.
He saw then among the armor       a victory-blessed blade,
an old monstrous sword       with firm edges,
honor-memorial of men;       that was the best of weapons,
though it was larger       than any other man
could carry       into battle-play,
good and noble,       the work of giants.
He grasped the ring-hilt,       adventurer of the Scyldings,
fierece and battle-grim,       drew the ring-decorated one,
despairing of life,       and angrily struck
so that it grievously gripped       against her neck.
Bone-rings broke;       the blade passed entirely through
the death-fated flesh-home.       She crashed on the floor.
The sword was bloody;       the soldier rejoiced in the deed.

[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. }

               He gave him requital for that,
fierce champion,       when he saw Grendel lying
battle-weary       in his resting place,
lifeless,       as he had previously harmed him
in battle at Heorot.       The corpse sprung wide open
when after death       it suffered a blow,
stern sword-stroke,       and the head was hewed 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. }

                                  The fire flowed in waves,
burnt up the shield to the rim;       the byrnie could not
provide help       for the young spear-warrior,
but the young kinsman       went with courage
under his kinsman's shield       when his own was
consumed in flames.       Then yet the war-king
remembered glory,       with might-strength struck
with battle-blade       so that it stood in the head,
compelled by ferocity:       Naegling burst,
failed in battle,       Beowulf's sword,
old and gray.       To him it was not given
that edges       of iron could
help in battle;       the hand was too strong,
that which with a stroke,       I have heard,
overtaxed each sword       when he to battle bore
weapons hard with wounds,       nor was he any the better for them.
              Then the enemy of the people was       for a third time
mindful of the feud,       fearsome fire-dragon.
He rushed the renowned one       when the chance was granted him,
hot and battle-grim,        completely clasped the neck,
the bones of the fierce one.       He was bloodied
with soul's -blood:       the fluid welled in waves.
              Then in his need I have heard       of the king
that the man at his side       showed courage,
skill and boldness,       as was natural to him.
Nor did he heed that head,       but the hand
of the brave man was burned       when he helped his kinsman
because he struck the evil-guest       somewhat farther down,
man in armor,       so that the sword dived in,
shining and gold-coated,       such that the fire began
to abate afterwards.       Then the king himself yet
ruled his senses,       drew his slaughter-knife,
bitter and battle-sharp,        that he bore in his byrnie.
The protector of the Weathers cut       the worm through the middle.
The enemy fell--       courage avenged life--
and they both       had killed him. --