Beowulf eBook

Gareth Hinds
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about Beowulf.

          Another great building to fully make ready,
          A hall and a high-seat, that half they might rule with
          The sons of the Jutemen, and that Folcwalda’s son would
          Day after day the Danemen honor
       40 When gifts were giving, and grant of his ring-store
          To Hengest’s earl-troop ever so freely,
          Of his gold-plated jewels, as he encouraged the Frisians

{Equality of gifts agreed on.}

          On the bench of the beer-hall.  On both sides they swore then
          A fast-binding compact; Finn unto Hengest
       45 With no thought of revoking vowed then most solemnly
          The woe-begone remnant well to take charge of,
          His Witan advising; the agreement should no one
          By words or works weaken and shatter,
          By artifice ever injure its value,
       50 Though reaved of their ruler their ring-giver’s slayer
          They followed as vassals, Fate so requiring: 

{No one shall refer to old grudges.}

          Then if one of the Frisians the quarrel should speak of
          In tones that were taunting, terrible edges
          Should cut in requital.  Accomplished the oath was,
       55 And treasure of gold from the hoard was uplifted.

{Danish warriors are burned on a funeral-pyre.}

          The best of the Scylding braves was then fully
          Prepared for the pile; at the pyre was seen clearly
          The blood-gory burnie, the boar with his gilding,
          The iron-hard swine, athelings many
       60 Fatally wounded; no few had been slaughtered. 
          Hildeburg bade then, at the burning of Hnaef,


{Queen Hildeburg has her son burnt along with Hnaef.}

          The bairn of her bosom to bear to the fire,
          That his body be burned and borne to the pyre. 
          The woe-stricken woman wept on his shoulder,[2]
       65 In measures lamented; upmounted the hero.[3]
          The greatest of dead-fires curled to the welkin,
          On the hill’s-front crackled; heads were a-melting,
          Wound-doors bursting, while the blood was a-coursing
          From body-bite fierce.  The fire devoured them,
       70 Greediest of spirits, whom war had offcarried
          From both of the peoples; their bravest were fallen.

    [1] For 1084, R. suggests ’wiht Hengeste wieth gefeohtan.’—­K. suggests
    ‘wieth Hengeste wiht gefeohtan.’  Neither emendation would make any
    essential change in the translation.

[2] The separation of adjective and noun by a phrase (cf. v. 1118) being very unusual, some scholars have put ‘earme on eaxle’ with the foregoing lines, inserting a semicolon after ‘eaxle.’  In this case ’on eaxe’ (i.e., on the ashes, cinders) is sometimes read, and this affords a parallel to ‘on bael.’  Let us hope that a satisfactory rendering shall yet be reached without resorting to any tampering with the text, such as Lichtenheld proposed:  ’earme ides on eaxle gnornode.’

    [3] For ‘gueth-rinc,’ ‘gueth-rec,’ battle-smoke, has been suggested.

Project Gutenberg
Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook