Beowulf eBook

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

{The famous sword is presented to Hrothgar.}

          The gray-haired chieftain, the gold-fashioned sword-hilt,
          Old-work of giants, was thereupon given;
          Since the fall of the fiends, it fell to the keeping
       30 Of the wielder of Danemen, the wonder-smith’s labor,
          And the bad-mooded being abandoned this world then,
          Opponent of God, victim of murder,
          And also his mother; it went to the keeping
          Of the best of the world-kings, where waters encircle,
       35 Who the scot divided in Scylding dominion.

{Hrothgar looks closely at the old sword.}

          Hrothgar discoursed, the hilt he regarded,
          The ancient heirloom where an old-time contention’s
          Beginning was graven:  the gurgling currents,
          The flood slew thereafter the race of the giants,
       40 They had proved themselves daring:  that people was loth to

{It had belonged to a race hateful to God.}

          The Lord everlasting, through lash of the billows
          The Father gave them final requital. 
          So in letters of rune on the clasp of the handle
          Gleaming and golden, ’twas graven exactly,
       45 Set forth and said, whom that sword had been made for,
          Finest of irons, who first it was wrought for,
          Wreathed at its handle and gleaming with serpents. 
          The wise one then said (silent they all were)

{Hrothgar praises Beowulf.}

          Son of old Healfdene:  “He may say unrefuted
       50 Who performs ’mid the folk-men fairness and truth
          (The hoary old ruler remembers the past),
          That better by birth is this bairn of the nobles! 
          Thy fame is extended through far-away countries,
          Good friend Beowulf, o’er all of the races,
       55 Thou holdest all firmly, hero-like strength with
          Prudence of spirit.  I’ll prove myself grateful
          As before we agreed on; thou granted for long shalt
          Become a great comfort to kinsmen and comrades,

{Heremod’s career is again contrasted with Beowulf’s.}

          A help unto heroes.  Heremod became not
       60 Such to the Scyldings, successors of Ecgwela;
          He grew not to please them, but grievous destruction,
[59] And diresome death-woes to Danemen attracted;
          He slew in anger his table-companions,
          Trustworthy counsellors, till he turned off lonely
       65 From world-joys away, wide-famous ruler: 
          Though high-ruling heaven in hero-strength raised him,
          In might exalted him, o’er men of all nations
          Made him supreme, yet a murderous spirit
          Grew in his bosom:  he gave then no ring-gems

{A wretched failure of a king, to give no jewels to his retainers.}

Project Gutenberg
Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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