Beowulf (Wyatt)/Beowulf 17

XVII.

1125Gewiton him ðā wīgendwīca nēosian
frēondum befeallen,Frȳsland gesēon,
hāmas ond hēa-burh.Hengest ðā gyt
wæl-fāgne winterwunode mid Finn
el[ne] unflitme;[1]eard gemunde,
1130þēah þe hē [ne][2] meahteon mere drīfan
hringed-stefnan;holm storme wēol,
won wið winde;winter ȳþe belēac
īs-gebinde,op ðæt ōþer cōm
gēar in geardas,swā nū gyt dēð,
1135þā ðe syngalessēle bewitiað,
wuldor-torhtan weder.Ðā wæs winter scacen,
fæger foldan bearm;fundode wrecca,
gist of geardum;hē tō gyrn-wræce
swīðor *þohte,þonne tō sǣ-lāde,Fol. 155a.
1140gif hē torn-gemōtþurhtēon mihte,
þæt hē Eotena bearninne gemunde.
Swā hē ne forwyrndeworold-rǣdenne,
þonne him Hūnlāfinghilde-lēoman,
billa sēlest,on bearm dyde;[3]
1145þæs wǣron mid Eotenumecge cūðe.
Swylce ferhð-frecanFin eft begeat
sweord-bealo slīðenæt his selfes hām,
siþðan grimne gripeGūðlāf ond Ōslāf
æfter sǣ-sīðesorge mǣndon,
1150ætwiton wēana dǣl;ne meahte wǣfre mōd
forhabban in hreþre.Ðā wæs heal hroden[4]
fēonda fēorum,swilce Fin slægen,
cyning on corþre,ond sēo cwēn numen.
Scēotend Scyldingatō scypon feredon
1155eal in-gestealdeorð-cyninges,
swylce hīe æt Finnes hāmfindan meahton
sigla, searo-gimma.Hīe on sǣ-lāde
drihtlīce wīftō Denum feredon,
lǣddon *tō lēodum.”Lēoð wæs āsungen,Fol. 155b.
1160glēo-mannes gyd.Gamen eft āstāh,
beorhtode benc-swēg;byrelas sealdon
wīn of wunder-fatum.Þā cwōm Wealhþēo forð
gān under gyldnum bēage,þǣr þā gōdan twēgen
sǣton suhter-gefæderan;þā gyt wæs hiera sib ætgædere,
1165ǣghwylc ōðrum trȳwe.Swylce þǣr Unferþ[5] þyle
æt fōtum sæt frēan Scyldinga;gehwylc hiora his ferhþe trēowde,
þæt hē hæfde mōd micel,þēah þe hē his māgum nǣre
ār-fæst æt ecga gelācum.Spræc ðā ides Scyldinga:
“Onfōh þissum fulle,frēo-drihten mīn,
1170sinces brytta;þū on sǣlum wes,
gold-wine gumena,ond tō Gēatum sprec[6]
mildum wordum,swā sceal man dōn.
Bēo wið Gēatas glæd,geofena gemyndig;
nēan ond feorranþū nū [freoðo][7] hafast.
1175Mē man sægde,þæt *þū ðē for sunu woldeFol. 156a.
here-ri[n]c[8] habban.Heorot is gefǣlsod,
bēah-sele beorhta;brūc þenden þū mōte
manigra mēda,[9]ond þīnum māgum lǣf
folc ond rīce,þonne ðū forð scyle
1180metod-sceaft sēon.Ic mīnne can
glædne Hrōþulf,þæt hē þā geogoðe wile
ārum healdan,gyf þū ǣr þonne hē,
wine Scildinga,worold oflǣtest;
wēne ic, þæt hē mid gōdegyldan wille
1185uncran eaferan,gif hē þæt eal gemon,
hwaet wit tō willanond tō worð-myndum
umbor-wesendum ǣrārna gefremedon.”
Hwearf þā bī bence,þǣr hyre byre wǣron,
Hrēðrīc ond Hrōðmund,ond hæleþa bearn,
1190giogoð ætgædere;þǣr se gōda sæt,
Bēowulf Gēata,be þǣm gebrōðrum twǣm.

  1. 1128—9. MS. ‘mid finnel unhlitme’; Heyne ‘mid Finne [ealles] unhlitme’; Rieger suggested the emendation in the text from l. 1097, and has been followed by Grein and Wülcker.
  2. 1130. Grundtvig’s emendation; Grein read ne in place of . Cf. l. 648.
  3. 1142—4. In this difficult passage I have preserved the MS. reading. In l. 1143, it has ‘hun lafing,’ which Zupitza transliterates ‘hun-lafing.’ We constantly find proper names divided into two parts in the MS., e.g. ‘hroð gar,’ l. 339; ‘hun lafing,’ therefore, may stand equally well for Hunlafing or for Hun Lafing. There is much in this whole episode which is still obscure and uncertain, and until more light is thrown upon it, I adhere to the MS. and to Grein’s explanation of the text. While accepting generally Möller’s reconstruction of the Finn saga (for which see his “Das altenglische Volksepos”), I cannot adopt his emendation worod-rǣdenne, which is accepted by Bugge (who, however, assigns to it a signification different from Möller’s), Heyne and Socin, and Earle. For one thing, the form worod is unknown to O.E. poetry. With regard to this particular emendation and to the whole of Bugge’s ingenious argumentation (for which see “Beitr̈age” xii. 32—37)—wherein he surmises that Hūn is identical with the Hūn of “Widsith” 33, and that Lāfing is the name of a sword which Hūn laid upon Hengest’s breast when the latter, the better to compass his revenge, “did not refuse to declare himself Finn’s liegeman” (an interpretation which involves a material departure from Möller’s reconstruction of the saga)—my opinion of all this is simply “not proven.” And if not proven, it is much more complicated than Grein’s explanation, and not a whit more consistent, as I think, with the accepted reconstructions of the whole saga.
  4. 1151. Bugge ‘roden’ ( = reddened).
  5. 1165. MS. ‘hun ferþ,’
  6. 1171. MS. ‘spræc.’
  7. 1174. No gap in MS. Ettmüller ‘[friðu],’ which I have spelt as in l. 188.
  8. 1176. MS. ‘here ric.’
  9. 1178. MS. defective at edge; AB ‘medo.’