Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 112 pages of information about Beowulf.

{We will fight with nature’s weapons only.}

       20 No battle-skill[1] has he, that blows he should strike me,
          To shatter my shield, though sure he is mighty
[25] In strife and destruction; but struggling by night we
          Shall do without edges, dare he to look for
          Weaponless warfare, and wise-mooded Father
       25 The glory apportion, God ever-holy,

{God may decide who shall conquer}

          On which hand soever to him seemeth proper.” 
          Then the brave-mooded hero bent to his slumber,
          The pillow received the cheek of the noble;

{The Geatish warriors lie down.}

          And many a martial mere-thane attending
       30 Sank to his slumber.  Seemed it unlikely

{They thought it very unlikely that they should ever see their homes again.}

          That ever thereafter any should hope to
          Be happy at home, hero-friends visit
          Or the lordly troop-castle where he lived from his childhood;
          They had heard how slaughter had snatched from the wine-hall,
       35 Had recently ravished, of the race of the Scyldings

{But God raised up a deliverer.}

          Too many by far.  But the Lord to them granted
          The weaving of war-speed, to Wederish heroes
          Aid and comfort, that every opponent
          By one man’s war-might they worsted and vanquished,

{God rules the world.}

       40 By the might of himself; the truth is established
          That God Almighty hath governed for ages
          Kindreds and nations.  A night very lurid

{Grendel comes to Heorot.}

          The trav’ler-at-twilight came tramping and striding. 
          The warriors were sleeping who should watch the horned-building,

{Only one warrior is awake.}

       45 One only excepted.  ’Mid earthmen ’twas ’stablished,
          Th’ implacable foeman was powerless to hurl them
          To the land of shadows, if the Lord were unwilling;
          But serving as warder, in terror to foemen,
          He angrily bided the issue of battle.[2]

    [1] Gr. understood ‘godra’ as meaning ‘advantages in battle.’  This
    rendering H.-So. rejects.  The latter takes the passage as meaning that
    Grendel, though mighty and formidable, has no skill in the art of war.

[2] B. in his masterly articles on Beowulf (P. and B. XII.) rejects the division usually made at this point, ‘Þa.’ (711), usually rendered ‘then,’ he translates ‘when,’ and connects its clause with the foregoing sentence.  These changes he makes to reduce the number of ‘com’s’ as principal verbs. (Cf. 703, 711, 721.) With all deference to this acute scholar, I must say that it seems to me that the poet is exhausting his resources to bring out clearly the supreme event on which the whole subsequent action turns.  First, he (Grendel) came in the wan night; second, he came from the moor; third, he came to the hall.  Time, place from which, place to which, are all given.

[26]

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Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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