Beowulf (Wyatt)/Beowulf 26

XXVI.

Bēowulf maþelode,  bearn Ecgþēowes:
“Nū wē sǣ-līðend  secgan wyllað
feorran-cumene,  þæt wē fundiaþ
1820Higelāc sēcan;  wǣron hēr tela
willum bewenede;  þū ūs wel dohtest.
Gif ic þonne on eorþan  ōwihte mæg
þīinre mōd-lufan  māran tilian,
gumena dryhten,  ðonne ic gyt dyde,
1825gūð-geweorca  ic bēo gearo sōna.
Gif ic þæt ge*fricge  ofer flōda begang,Fol. 170a.
þæt þec ymb-sittend  egesan þȳwað,
swā þec hetende  hwīlum dydon,
ic ðē þūsenda  þegna bringe,
1830hæleþa tō helpe.  Ic on Higelāce wāt,
Gēata dryhten,  þēah ðe hē geong sȳ,
folces hyrde,  þæt hē mec fremman wile
wordum ond weorcum,[1]  þæt ic þē wel herige,
ond þē tō gēoce  gār-holt bere,
1835mægenes fultum,  þǣr ðē bið manna þearf.
Gif him þonne Hrēþrīc[2]  tō hofum Gēata
geþingeð,[3] þēodnes bearn,  hē mæg þǣr fela
frēonda findan;  feor-cȳþðe bēoð
sēlran gesōhte,  þǣm þe him selfa dēah.”
1840Hrōðgār maþelode  him on ondsware:
“Þē þā word-cwydas  wittig[4] Drihten
on sefan sende;  ne hȳrde ic snotorlīcor
on swā geongum fēore  guman þingian;
þū eart mægenes strang  ond on mōde frōd,
1845wīs word-cwida.  Wēn ic talige,
gif þæt gegangeð,  þæt ðe gār nymeð,
hild heoru-grimme,  Hrēþles eaferan,
ādl oþðe īren  ealdor ðīnne,
folces hyrde,  ond þū þīn feorh hafast,
1850þet þē *Sǣ-Gēatas  sēlran næbbenFol. 170b.
tō gecēosenne  cyning ǣnigne,
hord-weard hæleþa,  gyf þū healdan wylt
māga rīce.  Mē þīn mōd-sefa
līcað leng swā wel,[5]  lēofa Bēowulf.
1855Hafast þū gefēred,  þæt þām folcum sceal,
Gēata lēodum  ond Gār-Denum,
sib gemǣne,[6]  ond sacu restan,
inwit-nīþas,  þe hīe ǣr drugon;
wesan, þenden ic wealde  wīdan rīces,
1860māþmas gemǣne;  manig ōþerne
gōdum gegrēttan  ofer ganotes bǣð;
sceall hring-naca  ofer hēaþu[7] bringan
lāc ond luf-tācen.  Ic þā lēode wāt
ge wið fēond ge wið frēond  fæste geworhte,
1865ǣghwæs untǣle  ealde wīsan.”
Ða git him eorla hlēo  inne gesealde,
mago Healfdenes,  māþmas twelfe,[8]
hēt [h]ine[9] mid þǣm lācum  lēode swǣse
sēcean on gesyntum,  snūde eft cuman.
1870Gecyste þā  cyning æþelum gōd,
þēoden Scyldinga,  ðegn betstan,
ond be healse genam;  hruron him tēaras
blonden-feaxum.  Him wæs bēga wēn,
ealdum, in-*frōdum,  ōþres swīðor,Fol. 171a.
1875þæt h[ī]e[10] seoððan  gesēon mōston,
mōdige on meþle.  Wæs him se man tō þon lēof,
þæt hē þone brēost-wylm  forberan ne mehte,
ac him on hreþre  hyge-bendum fæst
æfter dēorum men  dyrne langað
1880bearn[11] wið blōde.  Him Bēowulf þanan,
gūð-rinc gold-wlanc,  græs-moldan træd
since hrēmig;  sǣ-genga bād
āge[n]d-frēan,[12]  sē þe on ancre rād.
Þā wæs on gange  gifu Hrōðgāres
1885oft geæhted.[13]  Þæt wæs ān cyning
ǣghwses orleahtre,  oþ þæt hine yldo benam
mægenes wynnum,  sē þe oft manegum scōd.

  1. 1833. MS. ‘weordum ⁊worcum,’ probably a slip of the scribe.
  2. 1836. MS. ‘hreþrinc.’ Cf. l. 1189.
  3. 1837. MS. ‘geþinged.’
  4. 1841. MS. ‘wigtig.’
  5. 1854. Bugge and Heyne 5: ‘leng swā sēl’ (the longer the better)—a tempting emendation. But if one finds gross anomalies in accidence in the “Beowulf,” why should one look for a flawless syntax?
  6. 1857. MS. ‘ge mænum.’
  7. 1862. Kluge ‘heafu’; cf. l. 2477. Sievers supports this emendation on metrical grounds (“Beit.” x. 245). A certain amount of deference is to be paid to metrical conclusions, but they should hardly suffice of themselves to set aside an otherwise unexceptionable MS. reading. But Sievers also calls hēaþu “unverständlich” (“Beit.” x. 235). None the less the evidence of its existence and meaning is not contemptible. The compound hēaðo-līðend occurs in ll. 1798 and 2955 (in the latter case parallel to sǣmannum), andin “Andreas” 426; hēaðo-sigel in “Riddles” 72. 16. Sievers makes the first syllable short in “Beowulf” 1798 and 2955 (“Beit.” x. 300); if this means that he regards heaðu, “war,” as the first part of these compounds, his supposition goes far towards making the four above-cited passages “unverständlich.”
  8. 1867. MS. ‘·XII·’.
  9. 1868. MS. ‘inne.’
  10. 1875. MS. ‘he.’
  11. 1879–80. MS. ‘beorn’; Grein ‘bearn.’ Heyne takes dyrne langað beorn to mean “the hero secretly longeth” (he makes beorn nom., whereas langian is an impers. verb and takes an accus. of the person). Thorpe and Grein render: “a secret longing burnt.” Neither rendering is free from objection. Beorn is an unexampled form of the pret. of beornan (Sievers § 386, N. 2). But on the other hand, I can find no example of dyrne used as an adv.; fæst agrees with langað much better than with beorn, even if the latter could be nom.; the rare occurrence of a pres. tense amid a succession of preterites: these considerations seem decisive against Heyne’s interpretation.
  12. 1883. MS. ‘agedfrean.’
  13. 1885. A colon is usually placed after geæhted, and Earle remarks that what follows is “the gist of their talk as they went.” I take it to be a reflection of the scop. How could the Geats say: “until old age deprived him, &c.”?