Beowulf (Wyatt)/Beowulf 23

XXIII.

Geseah ðā on searwumsige-ēadig bil,
eald sweord eotenisc,ecgum þyhtig,
wigena weorð-mynd;þæt [wæs][1] wǣpna cyst,
1560būton hit wæs māreðonne ǣnig mon ōðer
tō beadu-lāceætberan meahte,
gōd ond geatolīc,gīganta geweorc.
Hē gefēng þā fetel-hilt,freca Scyldinga
hrēoh ond heoro-grimhring-mǣl gebrægd,
1565aldres orwēnayrringa *slōh,Fol. 164b.
þæt hire wið halseheard grāpode,
bān-hringas bræc;bil eal ðurhwōd
fǣgne flǣsc-homan;hēo on flet gecrong.
Sweord wæs swātig;secg weorce gefeh.
1570Līxte se lēoma,lēoht inne stōd,
efne swā of hefenehādre scīneð
rodores candel.Hē æfter recede wlāt,
hwearf þā be wealle;wǣpen hafenade
heard be hiltumHigelāces ðegn
1575yrre ond ān-rǣd.Næs sēo ecg fracod
hilde-rince,ac hē hraþe wolde
Grendle forgyldangūð-rǣsa fela,
ðāra þe hē geworhtetō West-Denum
oftor micleðonne on ǣnne sīð,
1580þonne he Hrōðgāresheorð-genēatas
slōh on sweofote,slǣpende fræt
folces Denigeafȳf-tȳne men,
ond ōðer swylcūt offerede,
lāðlicu lāc.Hē him þæs lēan forgeald,
1585rēþe cempa,  tō ðæs þe hē on ræste geseah
gūð-wērigne  Grendel licgan,
aldor-lēasne,  swā him ǣr gescōd
hild æt Heorote.  Hrā wīde sprong,
syþðan hē æfter dēaðe  drepe þrōwade,
1590heoro-sweng heardne;  ond hine þā hēafde becearf.
Sōna þæt gesāwon  snottre *ceorlas,Fol. 165a.
þā ðe mid Hrōðgāre  on holm wliton,
þæt wæs ȳð-geblond  eal gemenged,
brim blōde fāh.  Blonden-feaxe
1595gomele ymb gōdne  on geador sprǣcon,
þæt hig þæs æðelinges  eft ne wēndon,
þæt hē sige-hrēðig  sēcean cōme
mǣrne þēoden,  þā ðæs monige gewearð,
þæt hine sēo brim-wylf  ābroten[2] hæfde.
1600Ðā cōm nōn dæges;  næs ofgēafon
hwate Scyldingas;  gewāt him hām þonon
gold-wine gumena.  Gistas sētan[3]
mōdes sēoce,  ond on mere staredon;
wiston[4] ond ne wēndon,  þæt hīe heora wine-drihten
1605selfne gesāwon.  Ðā þæt sweord ongan
æfter heaþo-swāte  hilde-gicelum,
wīg-bil wanian;  þæt wæs wundra sum,
þæt hit eal gemealt  īse gelīcost,
ðonne forstes bend  Fæder onlǣteð,
1610onwindeð wǣl-rāpas,[5]  sē geweald hafað
sǣla ond mǣla;  þæt is sōð Metod.
Ne nōm hē in þǣm wicum,  Weder-Gēata lēod,
māðm-ǣhta mā,  þēh hē þǣr monige geseah,
būton þone hafelan  ond þā hilt somod,
1615since fāge;  sweord ǣr gemealt,
forbarn brōden mǣl;  wæs þæt blōd *tō þæs hāt,Fol. 165b.
ǣttren ellor-gǣst,  sē þǣr inne swealt.
Sōna wæs on sunde,  sē þe ǣr æt sæcce gebād
wīg-hryre wrāðra,  wæter ūp þurhdēaf;
1620wǣron ȳð-gebland  eal gefǣlsod,
ēacne eardas,  þā se ellor-gāst
oflēt līf-dagas  ond þās lǣnan gesceaft.
Cōm þā tō lande  lid-manna helm
swīð-mōd swymman,  sǣ-lāce gefeah,
1625mægen-byrþenne  þāra þe hē him mid hæfde.
Eodon him þā tōgēanes  Gode þancodon,
ðrȳðlīc þegna hēap,  þēodnes gefēgon,
þæs þe hī hyne gesundne  gesēon mōston.
Ðā wæs of þǣm hrōran  helm ond byrne
1630lungre ālȳsed.  Lagu drūsade,
wæter under wolcnum,  wæl-drēore fāg.
Fērdon forð þonon  fēþe-lāstum
ferhþum fægne,  fold-weg mæton,
cūþe strǣte,  cyning-balde men;
1635from þǣm holm-clife  hafelan bǣron
earfoðlīce  heora ǣghwæþrum
fela-mōdigra;  fēower scoldon
on þǣm wæl-stenge  weorcum geferian
tō þǣm gold-sele  Grendles hēafod,
1640oþ ðæt *semninga  tō sele cōmonFol. 166a.
frome, fyrd-hwate,  fēower-tȳne
Gēata gongan;  gum-dryhten mid,
mōdig on gemonge,  meodo-wongas træd.
Ðā cōm in gān  ealdor ðegna,
1645dǣd-cēne mon  dōme gewurþad,
hæle hilde-dēor,  Hrōðgār grētan.
Þā wæs be feaxe  on flet boren
Grendles hēafod,  þǣr guman druncon,
egeslīc for eorlum  ond þǣre idese mid;
1650wlite-sēon wrætlīc  weras onsāwon.

  1. 1559. Kemble’s emendation.
  2. 1599. MS. ‘abreoten.’
  3. 1602. MS. ‘secan.’
  4. 1604. Kemble ‘wīscton’; Sweet ‘wȳscton’; Cosijn (followed by Heyne and Socin) ‘wīston’ = wīscton, wished. This last hypothesis lacks authority. Probably it is merely a case of the blending of two constructions; wiston, “knew,” would require ne gesāwon; ne wēndon, “did not expect,” requires gesāwon only; the latter construction prevails. It is possible, however, that ne has dropped out after the -ne of selfne; in that case the meaning would be: “they knew, and did not merely expect, that they should not see their lord himself again.”
  5. 1610. Sweet adopts Kemble’s emendation, wǣg-rāpas. Heyne has wæl-rāpas, and in his glossary: “cf. wæll, wel, wyll, Quelle, Flut;—leax sceal on wæle mid scēote scrīðan, Gnom. Cott. 39.” Sweet gives the same passage, in his “A.S. Reader” xxviii. 39, marked wǣle, and there is no doubt he is right (more’s the pity he departs from the MS. reading here). Heyne identifies wæl with well, “a well” (more common as a weak noun). It is clear that he has confounded two words. In the Wright-Wülcker Glossaries we find: “Fons, well, 178. 8; Gurges, wæl, 178. 13.” The vowel of the latter word is long, as shown by the common Lancashire weel, noted by Somner in 1659, and still in use; so also in all the cognate languages, e.g. in modern Plattdeutsch Weel, and Heyne himself, in the glossary to his Kleinere and. Denkmäler (1867) has: “uuāl (A.S. wǣl, gurges), Abgrund.”