Beowulf eBook

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

WIGLAF PLUNDERS THE DRAGON’S DEN.—­BEOWULF’S DEATH.

{Wiglaf fulfils his lord’s behest.}

          Then heard I that Wihstan’s son very quickly,
          These words being uttered, heeded his liegelord
          Wounded and war-sick, went in his armor,
          His well-woven ring-mail, ’neath the roof of the barrow.
        5 Then the trusty retainer treasure-gems many

{The dragon’s den.}

          Victorious saw, when the seat he came near to,
          Gold-treasure sparkling spread on the bottom,
          Wonder on the wall, and the worm-creature’s cavern,
          The ancient dawn-flier’s, vessels a-standing,
       10 Cups of the ancients of cleansers bereaved,
          Robbed of their ornaments:  there were helmets in numbers,
          Old and rust-eaten, arm-bracelets many,
          Artfully woven.  Wealth can easily,
          Gold on the sea-bottom, turn into vanity[1]
       15 Each one of earthmen, arm him who pleaseth! 
          And he saw there lying an all-golden banner
          High o’er the hoard, of hand-wonders greatest,
          Linked with lacets:  a light from it sparkled,
          That the floor of the cavern he was able to look on,

{The dragon is not there.}

20 To examine the jewels.  Sight of the dragon [94] Not any was offered, but edge offcarried him.

{Wiglaf bears the hoard away.}

          Then I heard that the hero the hoard-treasure plundered,
          The giant-work ancient reaved in the cavern,
          Bare on his bosom the beakers and platters,
       25 As himself would fain have it, and took off the standard,
          The brightest of beacons;[2] the bill had erst injured
          (Its edge was of iron), the old-ruler’s weapon,
          Him who long had watched as ward of the jewels,
          Who fire-terror carried hot for the treasure,
       30 Rolling in battle, in middlemost darkness,
          Till murdered he perished.  The messenger hastened,
          Not loth to return, hurried by jewels: 
          Curiosity urged him if, excellent-mooded,
          Alive he should find the lord of the Weders
       35 Mortally wounded, at the place where he left him. 
          ’Mid the jewels he found then the famous old chieftain,
          His liegelord beloved, at his life’s-end gory: 
          He thereupon ’gan to lave him with water,
          Till the point of his word pierced his breast-hoard.
       40 Beowulf spake (the gold-gems he noticed),

{Beowulf is rejoiced to see the jewels.}

          The old one in sorrow:  “For the jewels I look on
          Thanks do I utter for all to the Ruler,
          Wielder of Worship, with words of devotion,
          The Lord everlasting, that He let me such treasures
       45 Gain for my people ere death overtook me. 
          Since I’ve bartered the aged life to me granted
          For treasure of jewels, attend ye henceforward

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Project Gutenberg
Beowulf from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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