Beowulf eBook

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

{Beowulf hears of the havoc wrought by the dragon.}

          Then straight was the horror to Beowulf published,
          Early forsooth, that his own native homestead,[1]
       15 The best of buildings, was burning and melting,
          Gift-seat of Geatmen.  ’Twas a grief to the spirit
          Of the good-mooded hero, the greatest of sorrows: 

{He fears that Heaven is punishing him for some crime.}

          The wise one weened then that wielding his kingdom
          ’Gainst the ancient commandments, he had bitterly angered
       20 The Lord everlasting:  with lorn meditations
          His bosom welled inward, as was nowise his custom. 
          The fire-spewing dragon fully had wasted
          The fastness of warriors, the water-land outward,
          The manor with fire.  The folk-ruling hero,
       25 Prince of the Weders, was planning to wreak him. 
          The warmen’s defender bade them to make him,
          Earlmen’s atheling, an excellent war-shield

{He orders an iron shield to be made from him, wood is useless.}

          Wholly of iron:  fully he knew then
          That wood from the forest was helpless to aid him,
       30 Shield against fire.  The long-worthy ruler
          Must live the last of his limited earth-days,
          Of life in the world and the worm along with him,
          Though he long had been holding hoard-wealth in plenty.

{He determines to fight alone.}

          Then the ring-prince disdained to seek with a war-band,
       35 With army extensive, the air-going ranger;
          He felt no fear of the foeman’s assaults and
          He counted for little the might of the dragon,
[80] His power and prowess:  for previously dared he

{Beowulf’s early triumphs referred to}

          A heap of hostility, hazarded dangers,
       40 War-thane, when Hrothgar’s palace he cleansed,
          Conquering combatant, clutched in the battle
          The kinsmen of Grendel, of kindred detested.[2]

{Higelac’s death recalled.}

          ’Twas of hand-fights not least where Higelac was slaughtered,
          When the king of the Geatmen with clashings of battle,
       45 Friend-lord of folks in Frisian dominions,
          Offspring of Hrethrel perished through sword-drink,
          With battle-swords beaten; thence Beowulf came then
          On self-help relying, swam through the waters;
          He bare on his arm, lone-going, thirty
       50 Outfits of armor, when the ocean he mounted. 
          The Hetwars by no means had need to be boastful
          Of their fighting afoot, who forward to meet him
          Carried their war-shields:  not many returned from
          The brave-mooded battle-knight back to their homesteads.
       55 Ecgtheow’s bairn o’er the bight-courses swam then,
          Lone-goer lorn to his land-folk returning,
          Where Hygd to him tendered treasure and kingdom,

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Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.