Beowulf: Translations by Richard M. Trask (1998)

Click for a larger version (900 pixels high) Beowulf and Judith: Two Heroes. University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland, 1998. ISBN: 0-7618-0825-6.
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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. }

Hygelac's thane     heard from abroad,
     Ðæt fram ham gefrægn     Higelaces þegn,
good warrior of Geats,     about Grendel's doings;
     god mid Geatum,     Grendles dæda;    [195]
he was strongest in might     among all others
     se wæs moncynnes     mægenes strengest
in the time alloted     to this life below,
     on pæm dæge     pysses lifes,
noble and imposing.     He said to prepare a wave skimmer,
     æþele ond eacen.     He him yðlidan
ordered a good one.     He gave in words
     godne gegyrwan,     cwæð he guðcyning
that over the swan road     he would seek the war king,    [200]
     ofer swanrade     secean wolde,
the noble chief,     for he had need of men.
     mærne þeoden,     þa him wæs manna þearf.
The knowing counselors     denied not to him
     Þone siðfæt him     snotere ceorlas
the journey leaving,     though they loved him well;
     lythwon logon,     þeah he him leof wære;
urged on the intrepid one,     trusted the omens.
     hwetton hige[r]ofne,     hæl sceawedon.
The good hero     of the Geatish people
     Hæfde se goda     Geada leoda     [205]
chose the boldest     champions of those
     cempan gecorone     þara þe he cenoste
he could find among them;     fifteen there were,
     findan mihte;     fiftyna sum
one of them sought     the seawood out,
     sundwudu sohte,     secg wisade,
seaworthy he showed     the shore to them.
     lagucræftig mon,     landgemycru.
The time had come,     the keel was on the waves,     [210]
     Fyrst forð gewat,     flota wæs on yðum,
the boat under the cliff.     The keen men were ready,
     bat under the beorge.     beomas gearwe
they stepped to the prow--     the streams of sea coiled,
     on stefn stigon,     streamas wundon,
water against sand;     the warriors carried
     sund wið sande;     secgas bæron
to the boat's middle     the bright weaponry,
     on bearm nacan     beorhte frætwe,
shining war gear.     They shoved out then,
     guðsearo geatolic;     guman ut scufon,     [215]
eagergoing companions,     a proud vessel.
     weras on wilsið,     wudu bundenne.
They went over the waveway     in the wind blowing,
     Gewat þa ofer wægholm     winde gefysed,
the foam-neck floater     flying like a bird
     flota famiheals     fugle gelicost,
till the time had come     that the curve-carved prow
     oðþæt ymb antid     oþres dogores
on the second day     could see the land.     [220]
     wundenstefna     gewaden haefde
The wander-goer     had gained progress
     þæt ða liðende     land gesawon,
to a gleaming seacliff,     soaring headlands,
     brimclifu blican,     beorgas steape,
high overhangs;     the oversea journey
     side sænæssas;     þa wæs sund liden,
was at an end.
     eoletes æt ende.

[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 noble protector      did not desire
     Nolde eorla hleo      ænige þinga
to allow the kill guest      to live in escaping;
     þone ewealmeuman      ewiene forlætan,
he reckoned its lifedays      were right useless
     ne his lifdagas      leoda ænigum
to all the people.      Then, an earl of Beowulf's
     nytte tealde.      Þær genehost brægd
ceremoniously brandished      an ancestral sword
     eorl Beowulfes      ealde lafe,     [795]
to help protect      his high lord's life,
     wolde freadrihtnes      feorh ealgian,
his illustrious captain,      if he could give aid.
     mæres þeodnes,      ðær hie meahton swa.
They had no knowing      in the heat of fighting,
     Hie þæt ne wiston      þa hie gewin drugon,
those hard hitting      hero warriors
     heardhicgende      hildemecgas,
hoping to strike on      on every flank     [800]
     ond on healfa gehwone      heawan þohton,
seeking the enemy's life,      that the evil harmer
     sawle secan,      þone synscaðan
could not be injured      by iron toolwork,
     æofer eorþan      irenna cyst,
no fancy war sword      fashioned on earth,
     guðbilla nan,      gretan nolde,
for he had cast a spell      on splendid weapons,
     ac he sigewæpnum      forsworen hæfde,
every sword edge.      His soul's leaving
     ecga gehwylcre.      Scolde his aldorgedal      [805]
from the diurnal round      of earthly life
     on ðæm dæge      þysses lifes
was hard at hand      and the hurtful creature
     earmlic wurðan,      ond se ellorgast
was to venture far      into the Fiend's gripping.
     on feonda geweald      feor siðian.
He found that out then      (who before, many times,
     Ða þæt onfunde      se þe fela æror
had performed crimes      on the kin of mankind      [810]
     modes myrðe      manna cynne,
with murderous intent--      he was outlaw to God)
     fyrene gefremede,      he wæs fag wið God,
that his body was      broken fatally,
     þæt him se lichoma      læstan nolde,
and the keen hearted      kinsman of Hygelac
     ac hine se modega      mæg Hygelaces
had him in his hands:      in hate each loathed
     hæfde be honda:      wæs gehwæþer oðrum
the other's life.      The ugly horror-creature
     lifigende lað.      Licsar gebad      [815]
had suffered a body blow,      a severed shoulder,
     atol æglæca;      him on eaxle wearð
sinews spilling      from the splintered jointcase,
     syndolh sweotol,      seonowe onsprongon,
a wide open blood-wound.      To Beowulf was granted
     burston banoclan.      Beowulfe wearð
the war glory.
     guðhreð gyfeþe

[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 he seized by the shoulder,     not shrinking from the feud,
     Gefeng þa be eaxle,     nalas for fæhðe mearn,
Grendel's mother;     the Guth-Geat leader,
     Guðgeata leod     Grendles modor;
battle hardened, flung     in a fit of rage
     br$aelig;gd þa beadwe heard     þa he gebolgen wæs
the fierce enemy,     so that she fell to the ground.    [1540]
     feorhgeni$eth;ian     þæt heo on flet gebeah.
Quick she offered back at him     her own requital
     Heo him eft hraþe     andlean forgeald
with grim gripping     and grabbed toward him;
     grimman grapum     and him togeanes feng;
the battleweary one stumbled,     boldest of warriors,
     oferwearp þa wengmod     wigena strengest,
the footfighter,     so that he fell headlong.
     feþecempa,     þæt he on fylla wearð.
Then she sat on the hall guest     and hauled out her dagger
     Ofsæt þa þone selegyst     ond hyre seax geteah    [1545]
broad and bright edged;     she would be avenged
     brad [ond] brunecg,     wolde hire bearn wrecan.
for her only offspring.     He was on his shoulder
     angan eaferan.     Him on eaxle læg
lying on his braided breastnet,     which bought his life,
     breaostnet broden     þæt gebearh feore
against point and against sword edge     withstanding entrance.
     wið ord ond wið ecge     ingang forstod.
He would have been slain,     the son of Ecgtheow, [1550]
     Hæfde ða forsiðod     sunu Ecgþeowes
on that commodious ground,     the Geat champion,
     under gynne grund,     Geata cempa,
had his battle corslet     not come to his aid,
     nemne him heaðobyrne     helpe gefremede.
the hard war-net,     and holy God
     herenet hearde,     ond halig God
not won war victory;     the wise Ruler,
     geweold wigsigor;     witig Drihten,
Lord of the Skies,     allowed righteousness
     rodera Rædend,     hit on ryht gesced    [1555]
quite readily     when he rose to his feet again.
     yðelice     syþðan he eft astod.
He saw then in the war room     a sword victory-eager,
     Geseah ða on searwum     sigeadig bil,
giant-smithied old piece     edgefirm and strong,
     ealdsweord eotenisc     ecgum þyhtig,
a warrior's glory dream;     it was of weapons the choicest,
     wigena weorðmynd,     þæt wæpna cyst,
but it was more     than any other man    [1560]
     buton hit wæs mare     ðonne ænig mon oðer
could bring to bear     in battle play,
     to beadulace     ætberan meahte,
good and ornate,     old work of giants.
     god ond geatolic,     giganta geweorc.
The hero of Scyldings     hefted the snakehilt,
     He gefeng pa fetelhilt,     freca Scyldinga
waved the ring blade,     rowdy and fight fierce,
     hreoh ond heorogrim     hringmæl gebrægd,
desperate of life     drove it ferociously
     aldres orwena     yrringa sloh    [1565]
so it hit hard on     her horrible neck,
     þæt hire wið halse     heard grapode,
broke the bone rings.     The point bashed all through
     banhringas bræc.     Bil eal ðurhwod
the death fated fleshcover.     On the floor she collapsed.
     fægne flæschoman,     heo on flet gecrong.
The sword was blood bedewed.     The man savored the work.
     Sweord wæs swatig,     secg weorce gefeh.

[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 seething champion
     ...     He him þæs lean forgeald
gave him reward     when he got the sight
     reþe cempa,     to ðæs þe he on ræste geseah    [1585]
of Grendel lying     low, war weary,
     guðwerigne     Grendel liegan
of life deprived     by the pitched battle
     aldorleasne     swa him ær gescod
that hit him at Heorot.     The whole corpse burst open
     hild æt Heorote.     Hra wide sprong
from the hard handswing     suffered in death,
     syþðan he æfter deaðe     drepe þrowade,
the culminating blow,     for now he carved off his head.    [1590]
     heorosweng heardne,     ond hine þa heafde becearf.

[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 hard shieldboss
     ...     Ligyðum for,
melted in the flame waves,     the mail shirt did not
     born bord wið rond,     byrne ne meahte
do any good     to the daring young battlegiver,
     geongum garwigan     geoce gefremman,
so the young warrior     went valiantly
     ac se maga geonga     under his mæges scyld    [2675]
to his elder kinsman's shield     when his own had been
     elne geeode     þa his agen w[æs]
swallowed in flames.     Yet still the war king
     gledum forgrunden.     Þa gen guðcyning
recalled past glories,     with great forcefulness
     m[ærða] gemunde,     mægenstrengo sloh
hit with his battlepoint.     In the head it stuck,
     hildebille     þæt hyt on healfolan stod
nudged in violently;     Nægling shattered,    [2680]
     niþe genyded;     Nægling forbeasrt,
the sword of Beowulf,     broken in contending,
     geswac æt sæcce     sweord Biowulfes
ancient and grey engraved.     It was not given to him
     gomol ond grægmæl.     Him þæt gifeðe ne wæs,
that the iron edge     of aid might be,
     þæt him irenna     ecge mihton
a help in battle;     the hand was too strong
     helpan æt hilde;     wæs sio hond to strong,
which overtaxed in swinging     every sword blade,
     se ðe meca gehwane     mine gefræge    [2685]
as I have heard,     when he urged on in battle
     swenge ofersohte     þonne he to sæcce bær
a wonder-hard weapon;     the worse it turned out.
     wæpen wund[r]um heard;     næs him wihte ðe sel.
Then the life threatener     a third foray,
     Þa wæs þeodsceaða     þriddan siðe
frightful fire-dragon     feuding in mind,
     frecne fyrdraca,     fæhða gemundig,
rushed on the champion     when a chance permitted it,    [2690]
     ræsde on ðone rofan     þa him rum ageald,
hot and gore-grim,     ground all into his neck
     hat ond heaðogrim,     heals ealne ymbefeng
with biting fangs;     bloodied he was
     biteran banum;     he geblodegod wearð
in his soul's life essence,     battle gore pulsed out in gushes.
     sawuldnore,     swat yðum weoll.
I have heard also     how the earl alongside
     Ða ie æt þearfe [gefrægn]     þeodcyninges
the folk leader     lent his courage,
     andlongne eorl     ellen cyðan,     [2695]
strength and keenness     as was instilled in him.
     cræft od cenðu     swa him gecynde wæs
He took no heed of the fiery head,     and the hand of the zealous
     Ne hedde he þæs heafolan,     ac sio hand gebarn
hero was burned     in helping his kinsman
     modiges mannes     þæ:r he his mæges healp
as he struck the loathed stranger     a bit lower down,
     þæt he þone niðgæst     nioðor hwene sloh.
strong man in armor,     so the sword drove in,    [2700]
     secg on searwum,     þæt ðæt sweord gedeaf
fine gilded and shining,     and the fire began
     fah ond fæted     þæt ðæt fyr ongon
consequently to wane.     Then the king himself
     sweðrian syððan.     Þa gen sylf cyning
still had his wits about him,     his battle knife he drew,
     geweold his gewitte,     wællseaxe gebræd
cut-keen and skirmish sharp,     which he carried on his mail shirt;
     biter ond beaduscearp     þæ:t he on byrnan wæg,
the Weder leader pierced     the worm in mid-gut.
     forwrat Wedra helm     wyrm on middan.     [2705]
He felled the fiend,     boldness forced out his life breath,
     Feond gefyldan,     ferh ellen wræc,
and so those noble kin     had annihilated it
     ond hi hyne þa begen     abroten hæfdon,
both together.
     sibæðelingas. --