Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about Beowulf.
translation by erasing the comma after ‘meoto’ and reading ’sige-hreethsecgum.’—­There are other and bolder emendations and suggestions.  Of these the boldest is to regard ‘meoto’ as a verb (imperative), and read ‘on sael’:  Think upon gayety, etc.—­All the renderings are unsatisfactory, the one given in our translation involving a zeugma.



{Unferth, a thane of Hrothgar, is jealous of Beowulf, and undertakes to twit him.}

          Unferth spoke up, Ecglaf his son,
          Who sat at the feet of the lord of the Scyldings,
          Opened the jousting (the journey[1] of Beowulf,
          Sea-farer doughty, gave sorrow to Unferth
        5 And greatest chagrin, too, for granted he never
          That any man else on earth should attain to,
          Gain under heaven, more glory than he): 

{Did you take part in a swimming-match with Breca?}

          “Art thou that Beowulf with Breca did struggle,
          On the wide sea-currents at swimming contended,
       10 Where to humor your pride the ocean ye tried,

{’Twas mere folly that actuated you both to risk your lives on the ocean.}

          From vainest vaunting adventured your bodies
          In care of the waters?  And no one was able
          Nor lief nor loth one, in the least to dissuade you
          Your difficult voyage; then ye ventured a-swimming,
       15 Where your arms outstretching the streams ye did cover,
          The mere-ways measured, mixing and stirring them,
          Glided the ocean; angry the waves were,
          With the weltering of winter.  In the water’s possession,
          Ye toiled for a seven-night; he at swimming outdid thee,
       20 In strength excelled thee.  Then early at morning
          On the Heathoremes’ shore the holm-currents tossed him,
          Sought he thenceward the home of his fathers,
          Beloved of his liegemen, the land of the Brondings,
          The peace-castle pleasant, where a people he wielded,
[20] 25 Had borough and jewels.  The pledge that he made thee

{Breca outdid you entirely.}

          The son of Beanstan hath soothly accomplished. 
          Then I ween thou wilt find thee less fortunate issue,

{Much more will Grendel outdo you, if you vie with him in prowess.}

          Though ever triumphant in onset of battle,
          A grim grappling, if Grendel thou darest
       30 For the space of a night near-by to wait for!”

{Beowulf retaliates.}

          Beowulf answered, offspring of Ecgtheow: 
          “My good friend Unferth, sure freely and wildly,

{O friend Unferth, you are fuddled with beer, and cannot talk coherently.}

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Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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