Beowulf eBook

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

          The son of Weohstan was Wiglaf entitled,
          Shield-warrior precious, prince of the Scylfings,
          AElfhere’s kinsman:  he saw his dear liegelord
          Enduring the heat ’neath helmet and visor.
        5 Then he minded the holding that erst he had given him,

{Wiglaf recalls Beowulf’s generosity.}

          The Waegmunding warriors’ wealth-blessed homestead,
          Each of the folk-rights his father had wielded;
          He was hot for the battle, his hand seized the target,
          The yellow-bark shield, he unsheathed his old weapon,
       10 Which was known among earthmen as the relic of Eanmund,
          Ohthere’s offspring, whom, exiled and friendless,
          Weohstan did slay with sword-edge in battle,
          And carried his kinsman the clear-shining helmet,
          The ring-made burnie, the old giant-weapon
       15 That Onela gave him, his boon-fellow’s armor,
          Ready war-trappings:  he the feud did not mention,
          Though he’d fatally smitten the son of his brother. 
          Many a half-year held he the treasures,
          The bill and the burnie, till his bairn became able,
       20 Like his father before him, fame-deeds to ’complish;
          Then he gave him ’mong Geatmen a goodly array of
          Weeds for his warfare; he went from life then
          Old on his journey.  ’Twas the earliest time then

{This is Wiglaf’s first battle as liegeman of Beowulf.}

          That the youthful champion might charge in the battle
       25 Aiding his liegelord; his spirit was dauntless. 
          Nor did kinsman’s bequest quail at the battle: 
          This the dragon discovered on their coming together. 
          Wiglaf uttered many a right-saying,
          Said to his fellows, sad was his spirit: 

{Wiglaf appeals to the pride of the cowards.}

       30 “I remember the time when, tasting the mead-cup,
          We promised in the hall the lord of us all
[89] Who gave us these ring-treasures, that this battle-equipment,
          Swords and helmets, we’d certainly quite him,
          Should need of such aid ever befall him: 

{How we have forfeited our liegelord’s confidence!}

       35 In the war-band he chose us for this journey spontaneously,
          Stirred us to glory and gave me these jewels,
          Since he held and esteemed us trust-worthy spearmen,
          Hardy helm-bearers, though this hero-achievement
          Our lord intended alone to accomplish,
       40 Ward of his people, for most of achievements,
          Doings audacious, he did among earth-folk.

{Our lord is in sore need of us.}

          The day is now come when the ruler of earthmen
          Needeth the vigor of valiant heroes: 
          Let us wend us towards him, the war-prince to succor,
       45 While the heat yet rageth, horrible fire-fight.

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Project Gutenberg
Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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