Beowulf (Wyatt)/Beowulf 38

XXXVIII.

Ðā ic snūde gefrægn  sunu Wihstānes
æfter word-cwydum  wundum dryhtne
hȳran heaðo-sīocum,  hring-net beran,
2755brogdne beadu-sercean,  under[1] beorges hrōf.
Geseah ðā sige-hrēðig,  þā hē bī sesse gēong,
mago-þegn *mōdig  māððum-sigla fealo,[2]Fol. 190a.
gold glitinian  grunde getenge,
wundur on wealle,  ond þaes wyrmes denn,
2760ealdes ūht-flogan;  orcas stondan,
fyrn-manna fatu,  feormend-lēase,
hyrstum behrorene.  Þǣr wæs helm monig
eald ond ōmig,  earm-bēaga fela
searwum gesǣled.  Sinc ēaðe mæg,
2765gold on grund[e],[3]  gum-cynnes gehwone
oferhīgian,[4]  hȳde sē ðe wylle.
Swylce hē siomian geseah  segn eall-gylden
hēah ofer horde,  hond-wundra mǣst,
gelocen leoðo-cræftum;  of ðām lēoma[5] stōd,
2770þæt hē þone grund-wong  ongitan meahte,
wræte[6] giondwlītan.  Næs ðæs wyrmes þǣr
onsȳn ǣnig,  ac hyne ecg fornam.
Ðā ic on hlǣwe gefrægn  hord rēafian,
eald enta geweorc,  ānne mannan,
2775him on bearm hladon[7]  būnan ond discas
sylfes dōme;  segn ēac genōm,
bēacna beorhtost.  Bill ǣr gescōd[8]
(ecg wæs īren)  eald-hlāfordes[9]
þām ðāra māðma  mund-bora wæs
2780longe hwīle,  līg-egesan wæg
hātne for horde,  hioro-weallende
middel-nihtum,  *oð þæt hē morðre swealt.Fol. 190b.
Ār wæs on ofoste,  eft-sīðes georn,
frætwum gefyrðred;  hyne fyrwet bræc,
2785hwæðer collen-ferð  cwicne gemētte
in ðām wong-stede  Wedra þēoden,
ellen-sīocne,  þǣr hē hine ǣr forlēt.
Hē ðā mid þām māðmum  mǣrne þīoden,
dryhten sīnne,  drīorigne fand
2790ealdres æt ende;  hē hine eft ongon
wæteres weorpan,  oð þæt wordes ord
brēost-hord þurhbræc.  [Bēowulf maðelode,][10]
gomel on giohðe[11]  gold scēawode:
“Ic ðāra frætwa  Frēan ealles ðanc,
2795Wuldur-cyninge,  wordum secge,
ēcum Dryhtne,  þe ic hēr on starie,
þæs ðe ic mōste  mīnum lēodum
ǣr swylt-dæge  swylc gestrȳnan.
Nū ic on māðma hord  mīne[12] bebohte
2800frōde feorh-lege,  fremmað gēna[13]
lēoda þearfe;  ne mæg ic hēr leng wesan.
Hātað heaðo-mǣre  hlǣw gewyrcean
beorhtne æfber bǣle  æt brimes nosan;
sē scel tō gemyndum  mīnum lēodum
2805hēah hlīfian  on Hrones næsse,
þæt hit sǣ-līðend  syððan hātan
Bīowulfes biorh,  ðā ðe brentingas
ofer *flōda genipu  feorran drīfað.”Fol. 191a..
Dyde him of healse  hring gyldenne
2810þīoden þrīst-hȳdig;  þegne gesealde,
geongum gār-wigan,  gold-fāhne helm,
bēah ond byrnan,  hēt hyne brūcan well.
“Þū eart ende-lāf  usses cynnes,
Wǣgmundinga;  ealle wyrd forswēop[14]
2815mīne māgas  tō metod-sceafte,
eorlas on elne;  ic him æfter sceal.”
Þæt wæs þām gomelan  gingæste word
brēost-gehygdum,  ǣr hē bǣl cure,
hāte heaðo-wylmas;  him of hreðre[15] gewāt
2820sāwol sēcean  sōð-fæstra dōm.[16]

  1. 2755. MS. ‘urder.’
  2. 2757. Most editors normalise to ‘fela’ or ‘feola.’ But see Sievers §§ 275 and 150, 3).
  3. 2765. MS. defective at edge.
  4. 2766. Grein ‘[hord] oferhigian’ (surpass). No gap in MS.
  5. 2769. MS. ‘leoman.’
  6. 2771. MS. ‘wræce,’ here and in l. 3060. Thorpe ‘wræte’ in both places.
  7. 2775. MS. ‘hlodon.’ For infin. in -on cf. ll. 308, etc., and see Sievers § 363, 1).
  8. 2777. MS. ‘ærge scod.’ Kemble ‘ǣr-gescōd,’ brass-shod, sheathed in brass. This has the support of Thorpe and Grein, but lacks analogy; for the reading in the text cf. l. 1587, and ll. 1615, 2562, and 2973.
  9. 2778. Rieger ‘eald-hlāforde’ ( = the dragon), supported by Earle. The MS. reading, ‘eald-hlāfordes,’ is understood by Bugge and Heyne of Beowulf, by Müllenhoff and Wülcker of the former possessor of the hoard. The reading of the latter is:

      “segn eac genom,
    beacna beorhtost,  bill ærgescod
    (ecg wæs iren)  ealdhlafordes,
    þam etc.”

    That ll. 2780—82 refer to the dragon, and are inconsistent with what we are told of the former owner, will be seen by a comparison with ll. 2231—70.

  10. 2792. No gap in MS.
  11. 2793. MS. ‘giogoðe’; Thorpe ‘giohðe.
  12. 2799. MS. ‘minne,’
  13. 2800. Thorpe ‘gē nū’; so Grein and Heyne. Why?
  14. 2814. MS. ‘for/speof.’ Kemble ‘forswēof’ (so Grein and Heyne). But when the MS. reading is certainly wrong, it is surely better, by a change of two letters, to obtain the pret. of a verb already used in this poem (l. 477), and found in the past part, in “Genesis” 391, than, by a change of one letter only, to set up a verb, of whose existence there is no other evidence.
  15. 2819. MS. ‘hwæðre.’ Kemble’s emendation.
  16. 2820. No number in the MS. after this hne, but there is a space, and l. 2821 begins with a large capital.