Beowulf (Wyatt)/Beowulf 22

XXII.

Bēowulf maþelode, bearn Ecgþēowes:
“Geþenc nū, se mǣramaga Healfdenes,
1475snottra fengel,nū ic eom sīðes fūs,
gold-wine gumena,hwæt wit gēo sprǣcon:
gif ic æt þearfeþīnre scolde
aldre linnan,þæt ðū mē ā wǣre
forð-gewitenumon fæder stǣle.
1480Wes þū mund-boramīnum mago-þegnum,[1]
hond-gesellum,gif mec hild nime;
swylce þū ðā mādmas,þe þū mē sealdest,
Hrōðgār lēofa,Higelāce onsend.
Mæg þonne on þǣm golde ongitanGēata dryhten,
1485gesēon sunu Hrēðles,[2]þonne hē on þæt sinc starað,
þæt ic gum-cystumgōdne funde
bēaga bryttan,brēac þonne mōste.
Ond þū Unferð[3] lǣtealde lāfe,
wrætlīc wǣg-sweord,wīd-cūðne man
1490heard-ecg habban;ic mē mid Hruntinge
dōm gewyrce,*oþðe mec dēað nimeð.”Fol. 163a.
Æfter þǣm wordumWeder-Gēata lēod
efste mid elne,nalas ondsware
bīdan wolde;brim-wylm onfēng
1495hilde-rince.Ðā wæs hwīl dæges,
ǣr hē þone grund-wongongytan mehte.
Sōna þæt onfunde,sē ðe flōda begong
heoro-gīfre behēoldhund missera,
grim ond grǣdig,þæt þǣr gumena sum
1500æl-wihta eardufan cunnode.
Grāp þā, tōgēanes,gūð-rinc gefēng
atolan clommum;nō þȳ ǣr in gescōd
hālan līce;hring ūtan ymbbearh,
þæt hēo þone fyrd-homðurhfōn ne mihte,
1505locene leoðo-syrcan,lāþan fingrum.
Bær þā sēo brim-wyl[f],[4]þā hēo tō botme cōm,
hringa þengeltō hofe sīnum,
swā hē ne mihte nō(hē þēah[5] mōdig wæs)
wǣpna gewealdan;ac hine wundra þæs fela
1510swe[n]cte[6] on sunde,sǣ-dēor monig
hilde-tuxumhere-syrcan bræc,
ēhton āglǣcan.Ðā se eorl ongeat,
þæt hē [in][7] nīð-selenāt-hwylcum wæs,
þǣr him nǣnig wæterwihte ne sceþede,
1515ne him for hrōf-selehrīnan ne mehte
fǣr-gripe flōdes;*fȳr-lēoht geseah,Fol. 163b.
blācne lēomanbeorhte scīnan.
Ongeat þā se gōdagrund-wyrgenne,
mere-wīf mihtig;mægen-rǣs forgeaf
1520hilde-bille,hond[8] swenge ne oftēah,
þæt hire on hafelanhring-mǣl āgōl
grǣdig gūð-lēoð.Ðā se gist onfand,
þæt se beado-lēomabītan nolde,
aldre sceþðan,ac sēo ecg geswāc
1525ðēodne æt þearfe;ðolode ǣr fela
hond-gemōta,helm oft gescær,
fǣges fyrd-hrægl;ðā wæs forma sīð
dēorum mādme,þæt his dōm ālæg.
Eft wæs ān-rǣd,nalas elnes læt,
1530mǣrða gemyndig,mǣg Hy[ge]lāces.[9]
Wearp ðā wunden-mǣl[10]wrættum gebunden
yrre ōretta,þæt hit on eorðan læg,
stīð ond stȳl-ecg;strenge getrūwode,
mund-gripe mægenes.Swā sceal man dōn,
1535þonne hē æt gūðegegān þenceð
longsumne lof,nā ymb his līf cearað.
Gefēng þā be eaxle[11](nalas for fǣhðe mearn)
Gūð-Gēata lēodGrendles mōdor,
brægd þā beadwe heard,þā hē gebolgen wæs,
1540feorh-genīðlan,þæt hēo on flet gebēah.
Hēo him eft hraðehand-lēan[12] forgeald
grim*man grāpum,ond him tōgēanes fēng;Fol. 164a.
oferwearp þā wērig-mōdwigena strengest,
fēþe-cempa,þæt hē on fylle wearð.
1545Ofsæt þā þone sele-gyst,ond hyre seax[13] getēah
brād, brūn-ecg,[14]wolde hire bearn wrecan,
āngan eaferan.Him on eaxle læg
brēost-net brōden;þæt gebearh fēore,
wið ord ond wið ecgeingang forstōd.
1550Hæfde ðā forsīðodsunu Ecgþēowes
under gynne grund,Gēata cempa,
nemne him heaðo-byrnehelpe gefremede,
here-net hearde,ond hālig God
gewēold wīg-sigor,wītig Drihten,
1555rodera Rǣdendhit on ryht gescēd[15]
ȳðelīce;syþðan hē eft āstōd.

  1. 1480. Heyne divides this line wrongly, after mīnum.
  2. 1485. MS. ‘hrædles.’
  3. 1488. MS. ‘hunferð.’
  4. 1506. MS. ‘brim wyl.’
  5. 1508. MS. ‘þæm’; Grundtvig (adopted by Heyne) ‘þæs’; Grein ‘þēah.’ Grein’s emendation makes admirable sense. I would retain the MS. reading in preference to þæs, which Heyne supports by parallel passages. It is undeniable that þæs is common enough with the meaning “so” (see l. 1509); but what can be feebler than to be told, half way through the poem, that Beowulf is brave enough to wield his weapons?
  6. 1510. MS. ‘swecte.’
  7. 1513. Thorpe ‘[in].’ Grein (followed by Heyne) ‘nið-sele,’ aula in profundis; Sweet ‘nīð-sele,’ hostile hall. The line is of the same type as 482, and a long syllable is required for the scansion (see “Beiträge” x. 297).
  8. 1520. MS. ‘hord swenge’; Sweet ‘swenge hond,’ without explanation.
  9. 1530. MS. ‘hylaces.’
  10. 1531. MS. ‘wundel mæl.’
  11. 1537. Sweet adopts Rieger’s emendation ‘feaxe,’ apparently for the sake of the alliteration—a wanton change, for gefēng alliterates normally with fæhðe.
  12. 1541. Heyne and Sweet (who however glosses hand-lēan alone) adopt Rieger’s emendation and-lēan, alliterating with eft. So, in l. 2094, Heyne reads ond-lēan for hond-lēan, “mit Rücksicht auf die Allitteration.” On the other hand, it is unfortunate that the alliteration is not decisive in the case of either line. Moreover, the phrase and-lēan forgieldan, “to repay reward,” is distinctly over-redundant, containing as it does the re- notion in both and- and for-, as well as in the word lēan itself (here, also, in eft in the first half-line). Cf. ll. 114, 1584. Thus no case is made out for setting aside the clear readings of the MS.
  13. 1545. MS. ‘seaxe’; Ettmüller (followed by Sweet) ‘seax.’ Getēon always takes an accus.; cf. l. 2610 and brād, brūn-ecg, 1546.
  14. 1546. Heyne ‘brad [ond] brun-ecg,’ on metrical and syntactical grounds.
  15. 1555. Wülcker has a colon after gescēd and no stop after ȳðelīce.