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first page of Beowulf in Cotton Vitellius A. xv.[1]
Author(s) unknown
Language Old English (West Saxon and some Anglian)
Date unknown, sometime between the 8th and 11th century
State of existence manuscript suffered damage from fire in 1731
Manuscript(s) Cotton Vitellius A. xv
First printed edition by Thorkelin (1815)
Genre narrative heroic poetry
Verse form alliterative verse
Length c. 3182 lines
Subject the battles of Beowulf, the Geatish hero, in youth and old age
Setting Denmark and Sweden
Personages include Beowulf, Hygelac, Hrothgar, Wealhtheow, Hrothulf, Æschere, Unferth, Grendel, Grendel's mother, Wiglaf, Hildeburh.

Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem of unknown authorship, dating as recorded in the Nowell Codex manuscript from between the 8th[2][3] and the early 11th century,[4] set in Denmark and Sweden. Commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, Beowulf has been the subject of much scholarly study, theory, speculation, discourse, and, at 3182 lines, has been noted for its length.

In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, battles three antagonists: Grendel, who has been attacking the resident warriors of a mead hall called Heorot in Denmark; Grendel's mother; and an unnamed dragon. The last battle takes place later in life, after returning to Geatland (modern southern Sweden), where Beowulf has become king. In the final battle, Beowulf is fatally wounded. After his death his retainers bury him in a tumulus in Geatland.

The common English pronunciation of "Beowulf" is /ˈbeɪ.ɵwʊlf/. In Old English the "ēo" in Bēowulf was (probably) a diphthong, although its phonetic value is disputed[5] (it is usually cited either as [ˈbeːo̯wʊlf][6] or [ˈbeːəwʊlf][7]).



The main protagonist, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hroðgar, the king of the Danes, whose great hall, Heorot, is plagued by the monster Grendel. Beowulf kills both Grendel and Grendel's mother, the latter with a magical sword.

Later in his life, Beowulf is himself king of the Geats, and finds his realm terrorized by a dragon whose treasure had been stolen from his hoard in a burial mound. He attacks the dragon with the help of his thegns, but they do not succeed. Beowulf decides to follow the dragon into its lair, at Earnanæs, but only his young Swedish relative Wiglaf dares join him. Beowulf finally slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded. He is buried in a tumulus by the sea.


As an epic

Beowulf is considered an epic poem in that the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts. The poet who composed Beowulf, while objective in telling the tale, nonetheless utilizes a certain style to maintain excitement and adventure within the story. An elaborate history of characters and their lineages are spoken of, as well as their interactions with each other, debts owed and repaid, and deeds of valor.

Historical background

Ohthere's mound

The events described in the poem take place in the late 5th century, after the Anglo-Saxons had begun migration and settlement in England, and before the beginning of the 7th century, a time when the Saxons were either newly arrived or in close contact with their fellow Germanic kinsmen in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. The poem could have been transmitted in England by people of Geatish origins.[8] It has been suggested that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia,[9] as Sutton Hoo also shows close connections with Scandinavia, and also that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffings, were descendants of the Geatish Wulfings.[10] Others have associated this poem with the court of King Alfred, or with the court of King Canute.[4]

An approximation of the central regions of the tribes mentioned in Beowulf, and the approximate location of the Angles. For a more detailed discussion on the fragmented political situation of Scandinavia during the 6th century, see Scandza.

The poem deals with legends, i.e., it was composed for entertainment and does not separate between fictional elements and real historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia, ca. 516. Scholars generally agree that many of the personalities of Beowulf also appear in Scandinavian sources,[11] but this does not only concern people (e.g., Healfdene, Hroðgar, Halga, Hroðulf, Eadgils and Ohthere), but also clans (e.g., Scyldings, Scylfings and Wulfings) and some of the events (e.g., the Battle on the Ice of Lake Vänern). The Scandinavian sources are notably Ynglinga saga, Gesta Danorum, Hrólfr Kraki's saga and the Latin summary of the lost Skjöldunga saga. As far as Sweden is concerned, the dating of the events in the poem has been confirmed by archaeological excavations of the barrows indicated by Snorri Sturluson and by Swedish tradition as the graves of Ohthere (dated to c. 530) and his son Eadgils (dated to c. 575) in Uppland, Sweden.[12][13][14] In Denmark, recent archaeological excavations at Lejre, where Scandinavian tradition located the seat of the Scyldings, i.e., Heorot, have revealed that a hall was built in the mid-6th century, exactly the time period of Beowulf.[15] Three halls, each about 50 metres long, were found during the excavation.[15]

The majority view appears to be that people such as King Hroðgar and the Scyldings in Beowulf are based on real people in 6th-century Scandinavia.[16] Like the Finnsburg Fragment and several shorter surviving poems, Beowulf has consequently been used as a source of information about Scandinavian personalities such as Eadgils and Hygelac, and about continental Germanic personalities such as Offa, king of the continental Angles.

Eadgils was buried at Uppsala, according to Snorri Sturluson. When Eadgils' mound (to the left) was excavated, in 1874, the finds supported Beowulf and the sagas.

19th-century archeological evidence may confirm elements of the Beowulf story. Eadgils was buried at Uppsala, according to Snorri Sturluson. When Eadgils' mound (to the left in the photo) was excavated in 1874, the finds supported Beowulf and the sagas. They showed that a powerful man was buried in a large barrow, c 575, on a bear skin with two dogs and rich grave offerings. These remains include a Frankish sword adorned with gold and garnets and a tafl game with Roman pawns of ivory. He was dressed in a costly suit made of Frankish cloth with golden threads, and he wore a belt with a costly buckle. There were four cameos from the Middle East which were probably part of a casket. This would have been a burial fitting a king who was famous for his wealth in Old Norse sources. Ongenþeow's barrow (to the right in the photo) has not been excavated.[12][13]

Structured by battles

Jane Chance (Professor of English, Rice University) in her 1980 article "The Structural Unity of Beowulf: The Problem of Grendel's Mother" argued that there are two standard interpretations of the poem: one view which suggests a two-part structure (i.e., the poem is divided between Beowulf's battles with Grendel and with the dragon) and the other, a three-part structure (this interpretation argues that Beowulf's battle with Grendel's mother is structurally separate from his battle with Grendel).[17] Chance stated that, "this view of the structure as two-part has generally prevailed since its inception in J. R. R. Tolkien's Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics in Proceedings of the British Academy 22 (1936)."[17] In contrast, she argued that the three-part structure has become "increasingly popular."[17]

First battle: Grendel

Beowulf is challenged by a Danish coast guard, Evelyn Paul (1911).

Beowulf begins with the story of King Hroðgar, who built the great hall Heorot for his people. In it he, his wife Wealhþeow, and his warriors spend their time singing and celebrating, until Grendel, an outcast from society who is angered by the singing, attacks the hall and kills and devours many of Hroðgar's warriors while they sleep. But Grendel dares not touch the throne of Hroðgar, because he is described as protected by a powerful god. Hroðgar and his people, helpless against Grendel's attacks, abandon Heorot.

Beowulf, a young warrior from Geatland, hears of Hroðgar's troubles and with his king's permission leaves his homeland to help Hroðgar.

Beowulf and his men spend the night in Heorot. After they fall asleep, Grendel enters the hall and attacks, devouring one of Beowulf's men. Beowulf, who bears no weapon as this would be an unfair advantage over the unarmed beast, has been feigning sleep and leaps up to clench Grendel's hand. The two battle until it seems as though the hall might collapse. Beowulf's retainers draw their swords and rush to his aid, but their blades can not pierce Grendel's skin as he is immune to human weapons. Finally, Beowulf tears Grendel's arm from his body at the shoulder and Grendel runs to his home in the marshes to die.

Second battle: Grendel's mother

The next night, after celebrating Grendel's death, Hroðgar and his men sleep in Heorot. Grendel's mother appears and attacks the hall. She kills Hroðgar's most trusted warrior, Æschere, in revenge for Grendel's death.

Hroðgar, Beowulf, and their men track Grendel's mother to her lair under a lake. Beowulf prepares himself for battle; he is presented with a sword, Hrunting, by a warrior called Unferth. After stipulating a number of conditions to Hroðgar in case of his death (including the taking in of his kinsmen and the inheritance by Unferth of Beowulf's estate), Beowulf dives into the lake. He is swiftly detected and attacked by Grendel's mother. However, she is unable to harm Beowulf through his armour and drags him to the bottom of the lake. In a cavern containing Grendel's body and the remains of men that the two have killed, Grendel's mother and Beowulf engage in fierce combat.

At first, Grendel's mother appears to prevail. Beowulf, finding that Hrunting cannot harm his foe, discards it in fury. Beowulf is again saved from his opponent's attack by his armour and, grasping a mighty sword of the giants from Grendel's mother's armoury (which no other man could have hefted in battle), Beowulf beheads her. Traveling further into the lair, Beowulf discovers Grendel's corpse and severs his head. Beowulf then returns to the surface and to his men at the "ninth hour" (l. 1600, "nōn", about 3pm).[18] He returns to Heorot, where Hroðgar gives Beowulf many gifts, including the sword Nægling, his family's heirloom.

Third battle: The dragon

A 1908 depiction of Beowulf fighting the unnamed dragon by J. R. Skelton.

Beowulf returns home and eventually becomes king of his own people. One day, late in Beowulf's life, a slave steals a golden cup from the lair of an unnamed dragon (sometimes referred to as Sua[citation needed]) at Earnaness. When the dragon sees that the cup has been stolen, it leaves its cave in a rage, burning everything in sight. Beowulf and his warriors come to fight the dragon, but when Beowulf is wounded by the dragon, his warriors run away in fear. Only one of the warriors, a brave young man named Wiglaf, stays to help Beowulf. The two slay the dragon, but Beowulf dies from his wounds.

After he is cremated, Beowulf is buried in Geatland on a cliff overlooking the sea, where sailors are able to see his tumulus. The dragon's treasure is buried with him, in accordance with Beowulf's wishes, rather than distributed to his people. There is a curse associated with the hoard and it is also a Germanic and Scandinavian burial practice.

Structured by funerals

It is widely accepted that there are three funerals in Beowulf. [19] These funerals help to outline changes in the poem’s story as well as the audiences’ views on earthly possessions, battle and glory. The funerals are also paired with the three battles described above.[19] The three funerals share similarities regarding the offerings for the dead and the change in theme through the description of each funeral. Gale Owen-Crocker (Professor of Anglo-Saxon, University of Manchester) in The Four Funerals in Beowulf (2000) argues that a passage in the poem, commonly known as “The Lay of the Last Survivor” (lines 2247-66), is an additional funeral.[19] The funerals are themselves involved in the ritual of hoarding: the deposition of sacrificial objects with both religious and socio-economic functions.[20]

Scyld Scefing (lines 1–52)

The first funeral in the poem is of Scyld Scefing (translated in some versions as "Shield Shiefson") the king of the Danes.[21] The first fitt helps the poet illustrate the settings of the poem by introducing Hrothgar’s lineage. The funeral leads to the introduction of the hero, Beowulf and his confrontation with the first monster, Grendel. This passage begins by describing Scyld’s glory as a “scourge of many tribes, a wrecker of mead-benches.” [21] Scyld’s glory and importance is shown by the prestigious death he obtains through his service as the king of the Danes.[19] His importance is proven once more by the grand funeral given to him by his people: his funeral at sea with many weapons and treasures shows he was a great soldier and an even greater leader to his people.[19] The poet introduces the concepts of a heroic society through Scyld. The possessions buried with the king are elaborately described to emphasize the importance of such items.[19] The importance of these earthly possessions are then used to establish this dead king’s greatness in respect to the treasure.[19] Scyld’s funeral helps the poet to elaborate on the glory of battle in a heroic society and how earthly possessions help define a person‘s importance. This funeral also helps the poet to develop the plot to lead into the confrontation between the protagonist, Beowulf, and the main antagonist, Grendel.

Hildeburg’s kin (lines 1107–24)

The second funeral in the poem is that of Hildeburg’s kin and is the second fitt of this poem.[21] The funeral is sung in Heorot to celebrate Beowulf's victory over Grendel. It also signifies the beginning of the protagonist’s battle against Grendel's mother. The death of Hildeburg’s brother, son(s), and husband are the results of battle. The battle also leads to Scyld’s death and mirrors the use of funeral offerings for the dead with extravagant possessions.[21] As with the Dane’s king, Hildeburg’s relatives are buried with their armour and gold to signify their importance.[19] However, the relatives’ funeral differs from the first as it was a cremation ceremony. Furthermore, the poet focuses on the strong emotions of those who died while in battle.[21] The gory details of “heads melt[ing], gashes [springing] open...and the blood [springing] out from the body’s wounds” [21] describes war as a horrifying event instead of one of glory.[19] Although the poet maintains the theme of possessions as important even in death, the glory of battle is challenged by the vicious nature of war. The second funeral displays different concepts from the first and a change of direction in the plot that leads to Beowulf's fight against Grendel's Mother.

Lay of the Last Survivor (lines 2247–66)

"The Lay of the Last Survivor" is arguably an addition to the other three funerals in Beowulf because of the striking similarities that define the importance of the other burials.[19] The parallels that identify this passage with the other three funerals are the similar burial customs, changes in setting and plot, and changes of theme. The lament appears to be a funeral because of the Last Survivor’s description of burial offerings that are also found in the funerals of Scyld Scefing, Hildeburg’s kin, and Beowulf.[19] The Last Survivor describes the many treasures left for the dead such as the weapons, armour and gold cups [21] that have strong parallels to Scyld’s “well furbished ship...,bladed weapons and coats of mail,”[21] Hildeburg’s Kin’s “blood-plastered coats of mail [and] boar-shaped helmets”[21] and Beowulf's treasure from the dragon.[21]

An additional argument towards viewing this passage as a funeral lies in the statement, “tumbling hawk [and] swift horse”[21] mentioned in the poem. This is an animal offering which was a burial custom during the era of the poem.[19] Moreover this passage, like the other funerals, signifies changes in setting and plot.[19] One can also argue that it is the 3rd part to the poem since it describes the settings during the time lapse for the final battle between Beowulf and the Dragon. The poet also describes death in battle as horrifying, a concept continued from the second part of the poem, through the Last Survivor’s eyes.[19]

Beowulf’s funeral (lines 3137–82)

The barrow of Skalunda, a barrow that was identified by the archaeologist Birger Nerman as Beowulf's burial mound.[22]

The fourth and final funeral of the poem is Beowulf's funeral. After the final battle against the dragon, Beowulf receives fatal wounds and dies. The greatness of Beowulf's life is demonstrated through this funeral, particularly through the many offerings of his people.[19] In addition, the immense hoard of the dragon is buried with the hero. The poet also bestows on Beowulf more significance than the others through his description of the cremation.[19] “Weohstan’s son(pause) commanded it be announced to many men(pause) that they should fetch from afar wood for the pyre.” [21] for their leader’s funeral. The dragon’s remains are thrown into the sea, a parallel to Scyld’s burial in his ship. Beowulf's funeral is the fourth fitt of the poem and acts as an epilogue for the hero who is the, “most gracious and fair-minded, kindest to his people and keenest to win fame.” [21]

The Beowulf manuscript


The earliest known owner is the 16th-century scholar Laurence Nowell, after whom the manuscript is named, though its official designation is Cotton Vitellius A.XV because it was one of Robert Bruce Cotton's holdings in the middle of the 17th century. Kevin Kiernan argues that Nowell most likely acquired it through William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, in 1563, when Nowell entered Cecil’s household as a tutor to his ward, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.[4]

It suffered damage in the Cotton Library fire at Ashburnham House in 1731. Since then, parts of the manuscript have crumbled along with many of the letters. Rebinding efforts, though saving the manuscript from much degeneration, have nonetheless covered up other letters of the poem, causing further loss. Kevin Kiernan, Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, is foremost in the computer digitization and preservation of the manuscript (the Electronic Beowulf Project[23]), using fibre-optic backlighting to further reveal lost letters of the poem.

The poem is known only from a single manuscript, which is estimated to date from close to AD 1000. Kiernan has argued from an examination of the manuscript that it was the author's own working copy. He dated the work to the reign of Canute the Great.[4] The poem appears in what is today called the Beowulf manuscript or Nowell Codex (British Library MS Cotton Vitellius A.xv), along with other works. The earliest extant reference to the first foliation of the Nowell Codex was made sometime between 1628 and 1650 by Franciscus Junius (the younger).[4] The owner of the codex before Nowell remains a mystery.[4]

The Reverend Thomas Smith and Humfrey Wanley undertook the task of cataloguing the Cotton library, in which the Nowell Codex was held. Smith’s catalogue appeared in 1696, and Humfrey’s in 1705.[24] The Beowulf manuscript itself is mentioned in name for the first time in a letter in 1700 between George Hickes, Wanley’s assistant, and Wanley. In the letter to Wanley, Hickes responds to an apparent charge against Smith, made by Wanley, that Smith had failed to mention the Beowulf script when cataloguing Cotton MS. Vitellius A. XV. Hickes replies to Wanley "I can find nothing yet of Beowulph."[24] It has been theorized that Smith failed to mention the Beowulf manuscript because of his reliance on previous catalogues or because either he had no idea how to describe it or because it was temporarily out of the codex.[24]

The two scribes

The Beowulf manuscript was transcribed from an original by two scribes: Scribe A and Scribe B, the latter of whom took over at line 1939. The handwriting of the two scribes is ill-matched.[4] The script of Scribe B is archaic.[4] Both scribes proofread their work, and Scribe B even proofread the work of Scribe A.[4] The work of Scribe B bears a striking resemblance to the work of the first scribe of the Blickling homilies, and so much so that it is believed they derive from the same scriptorium.[4] From knowledge of books held in the library at Malmesbury Abbey and available as source works, and from the identification of certain words particular to the local dialect found in the text, the transcription may have been made there.[25] However, for at least a century, some scholars have maintained that the description of Grendel’s mere in Beowulf was borrowed from St.Paul’s vision of Hell in Homily 16 of the Blickling homilies.[4]


Icelandic scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin made the first transcriptions of the manuscript in 1786 and published the results in 1815, working under a historical research commission of the Danish government. He made one himself, and had another done by a professional copyist who knew no Anglo-Saxon. Since that time, the manuscript has crumbled further, and the Thorkelin transcripts remain a prized secondary source for Beowulf scholars. The recovery of at least 2000 letters can be attributed to these transcripts. Their accuracy has been called into question, however (e.g., by Chauncey Brewster Tinker in The Translations of Beowulf[26], a comprehensive survey of 19th-century translations and editions of Beowulf), and the extent to which the manuscript was actually more readable in Thorkelin's time is unclear.

Authorship and date

Beowulf was written in England, but is set in Scandinavia. It has variously been dated to between the 8th and the early 11th centuries. It is an epic poem told in historical perspective; a story of epic events and of great people of a heroic past. Although its author is unknown, its themes and subject matter are generally believed to have been formed through oral tradition, the passing down of stories by scops (Old English poets) and it is considered partly historical.[citation needed]

Opinion differs as to whether the composition of the poem is contemporary with its transcription, or whether the poem was composed at an earlier time and orally transmitted for many years, and then transcribed at a later date. Lord felt strongly the manuscript represents the transcription of a performance, though likely taken at more than one sitting.[citation needed] Kiernan (1996) argues on the basis of paleographical and codicological evidence, that the poem is contemporary with the manuscript.[4] Kiernan’s reasoning has in part to do with the much-discussed political context of the poem: it has been held by most scholars, until recently, that the poem was composed in the 8th century or earlier on the assumption that a poem eliciting sympathy for the Danes could not have been composed by Anglo-Saxons during the Viking Ages of the 9th and 10th centuries.[4] Kiernan argues against an 8th-century provenance because this would still require that the poem be transmitted by Anglo-Saxons through the Viking Age, holds that the paleographic and codicological evidence encourages the belief that Beowulf is an 11th-century composite poem, and states that Scribe A and Scribe B are the authors and that Scribe B is the more poignant of the two.[4]

The 11th century date is due to scholars who argue that, rather than transcription of the tale from the oral tradition by a literate monk, Beowulf reflects an original interpretation of the story by the poet.[2][27]

Debate over oral tradition

See also: Oral-Formulaic Theory in Anglo-Saxon Poetry

The question of whether Beowulf was passed down through the oral tradition prior to its present manuscript form has been the subject of much debate, and involves more than the mere matter of how it was composed. Rather, given the implications of the theory of Oral-Formulaic Composition and Oral tradition, the question concerns how the poem is to be understood, and what sorts of interpretations are legitimate.

Scholarly discussion about Beowulf in the context of the oral tradition was extremely active throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The debate might be framed starkly as follows: on the one hand, we can hypothesize a poem put together from various tales concerning the hero (the Grendel episode, the Grendel's mother story, and the firedrake narrative). These fragments would be held for many years in tradition, and learned by apprenticeship from one generation of illiterate poets to the next. The poem is composed orally and extemporaneously, and the archive of tradition on which it draws is oral, pagan, Germanic, heroic, and tribal. On the other hand, one might posit a poem which is composed by a literate scribe, who acquired literacy by way of learning Latin (and absorbing Latinate culture and ways of thinking), probably a monk and therefore profoundly Christian in outlook. On this view, the pagan references would be a sort of decorative archaizing.[28][29] There is a third view that sees merit in both arguments above and attempts to bridge them, and so cannot be articulated as starkly as they can; it sees more than one Christianity and more than one attitude towards paganism at work in the poem, separated from each other by hundreds of years; it sees the poem as originally the product of a literate Christian author with one foot in the pagan world and one in the Christian, himself a convert perhaps or one whose forbears had been pagan, a poet who was conversant in both oral and literary milieus and was capable of a masterful "repurposing" of poetry from the oral tradition; this early Christian poet saw virtue manifest in a willingness to sacrifice oneself in a devotion to justice and in an attempt to aid and protect those in need of help and greater safety; good pagan men had trodden that noble path and so this poet presents pagan culture with equanimity and respect; yet overlaid upon this early Christian poet's composition are verses from a much later reformist "fire-and-brimstone" Christian poet who vilifies pagan practice as dark and sinful and who adds satanic aspects to its monsters.

M. H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt assert in their introduction to Beowulf in the Norton Anthology of English Literature that, "The poet was reviving the heroic language, style, and pagan world of ancient Germanic oral poetry [...] it is now widely believed that Beowulf is the work of a single poet who was a Christian and that his poem reflects well-established Christian tradition."[30] However, scholars such as D.K. Crowne have proposed the idea that the poem was passed down from reciter to reciter under the theory of Oral-Formulaic Composition, which hypothesizes that epic poems were (at least to some extent) improvised by whoever was reciting them. In his landmark work, The Singer of Tales, Albert Lord refers to the work of Francis P. Magoun and others, saying “the documentation is complete, thorough, and accurate. This exhaustive analysis is in itself sufficient to prove that Beowulf was composed orally.”[31]

Examination of Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poetry for evidence of oral-formulaic composition has met with mixed response. While "themes" (inherited narrative subunits for representing familiar classes of event, such as the "arming the hero",[32] or the particularly well-studied "hero on the beach" theme[33]) do exist across Anglo-Saxon and other Germanic works, some scholars conclude that Anglo-Saxon poetry is a mix of oral-formulaic and literate patterns, arguing that the poems both were composed on a word-by-word basis and followed larger formulae and patterns.[34]

Larry Benson argued that the interpretation of Beowulf as an entirely formulaic work diminishes the ability of the reader to analyze the poem in a unified manner, and with due attention to the poet’s creativity. Instead, he proposed that other pieces of Germanic literature contain "kernels of tradition" from which Beowulf borrows and expands upon.[35][36] A few years later, Ann Watts published a book in which she argued against the imperfect application of traditional, Homeric, oral-formulaic theory to Anglo-Saxon poetry. She also argued that the two traditions are not comparable and should not be regarded as such.[36][37] Thomas Gardner agreed with Watts, in a paper published four years later which argued that the Beowulf text is of too varied a nature to be completely constructed from formulae and themes.[36][38]

John Miles Foley held, specifically with reference to the “Beowulf” debate,[39] that while comparative work was both necessary and valid, it must be conducted with a view to the particularities of a given tradition; Foley argued with a view to developments of oral traditional theory that do not assume, or depend upon, finally unverifiable assumptions about composition, and that discard the oral/literate dichotomy focused on composition in favor of a more fluid continuum of traditionality and textuality.[40][41][42][43]

Finally, in the view of Ursula Schaefer, the question of whether the poem was "oral" or "literate" becomes something of a red herring.[44] In this model, the poem is created, and is interpretable, within both noetic horizons. Schaefer’s concept of "vocality" offers neither a compromise nor a synthesis of the views which see the poem as on the one hand Germanic, pagan, and oral and on the other Latin-derived, Christian, and literate, but, as stated by Monika Otter: "...a 'tertium quid', a modality that participates in both oral and literate culture yet also has a logic and aesthetic of its own."[45]


The poem mixes the West Saxon and Anglian dialects of Old English, though they are predominantly West Saxon, as are other Old English poems copied at the time.[citation needed]

There is a bewildering array of linguistic forms in the Beowulf manuscript. It is this fact that leads some scholars to believe that Beowulf has endured a long and complicated transmission through all the main dialect areas.[4] The poem retains a complicated mix of the following dialectical forms: Mercian, Northumbrian, Early West Saxon, Kentish and Late West Saxon.[4] Kiernan argues that it is virtually impossible that there could have been a process of transmission which could have sustained the complicated mix of forms from dialect to dialect, from generation to generation, and from scribe to scribe.[4]

Kiernan’s argument against an early dating based on a mixture of forms is long and involved, but he concludes that the mixture of forms points to a comparatively straightforward history of the written text as:

... an 11th-century MS; an 11th-century Mercian poet using an archaic poetic dialect; and 11th-century standard literary dialect that contained early and late, cross-dialectical forms, and admitted spelling variations; and (perhaps) two 11th-century scribes following slightly different spelling practices.[4]

According to this view, Beowulf can largely be seen to be the product of antiquarian interests and that it tells readers more about "an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon’s notions about Denmark, and its pre-history, than it does about the age of Bede and a 7th- or 8th-century Anglo-Saxon’s notions about his ancestors’ homeland."[4]

Form and metre

An Old English poem such as Beowulf is very different from modern poetry. Anglo-Saxon poets typically used alliterative verse, a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. This is a technique in which the first half of the line (the a-verse) is linked to the second half (the b-verse) through similarity in initial sound. In addition, the two halves are divided by a caesura: "Oft Scyld Scefing \\ sceaþena þreatum" (l. 4).

The poet has a choice of epithets or formulae to use in order to fulfill the alliteration. When speaking or reading Old English poetry, it is important to remember for alliterative purposes that many of the letters are not pronounced the same way as they are in modern English. The letter "h", for example, is always pronounced (Hroðgar: HROTH-gar), and the digraph "cg" is pronounced like "dj", as in the word "edge". Both f and s vary in pronunciation depending on their phonetic environment. Between vowels or voiced consonants, they are voiced, sounding like modern v and z, respectively. Otherwise they are unvoiced, like modern f in "fat" and s in "sat". Some letters which are no longer found in modern English, such as thorn, þ, and eth, ð — representing both pronunciations of modern English "th", as in "cloth" and "clothe" — are used extensively both in the original manuscript and in modern English editions. The voicing of these characters echoes that of f and s. Both are voiced (as in "clothe") between other voiced sounds: oðer, laþleas, suþern. Otherwise they are unvoiced (as in "cloth"): þunor, suð, soþfæst.

Kennings are also a significant technique in Beowulf. They are evocative poetic descriptions of everyday things, often created to fill the alliterative requirements of the metre. For example, a poet might call the sea the "swan-road" or the "whale-road"; a king might be called a "ring-giver." There are many kennings in Beowulf, and the device is typical of much of classic poetry in Old English, which is heavily formulaic. The poem also makes extensive use of elided metaphors.[46]

J.R.R. Tolkien argued that the poem is an elegy.[2]

Interpretation and criticism

In historical terms, the poem's characters would have been Norse pagans (the historical events of the poem took place before the Christianization of Scandinavia), yet the poem was recorded by Christian Anglo-Saxons who had largely converted from their native Anglo-Saxon paganism around the 7th century — both Anglo-Saxon paganism and Norse paganism share a common origin as both are forms of Germanic paganism. Beowulf thus depicts a Germanic warrior society, in which the relationship between the lord of the region and those who served under him was of paramount importance. M. H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt note that:

Although Hrothgar and Beowulf are portrayed as morally upright and enlightened Pagans, they fully espouse and frequently affirm the values of Germanic heroic poetry. In the poetry depicting warrior society, the most important of human relationships was that which existed between the warrior — the thane - and his lord, a relationship based less on subordination of one man's will to another's than on mutual trust and respect. When a warrior vowed loyalty to his lord, he became not so much his servant as his voluntary companion, one who would take pride in defending him and fighting in his wars. In return, the lord was expected to take care of his thanes and to reward them richly for their valor.[47]

This society was strongly defined in terms of kinship; if someone was killed, it was the duty of surviving kin to exact revenge either with their own lives or through weregild, a payment of reparation.[47]

Stanley B. Greenfield (Professor of English, University of Oregon) has suggested that references to the human body throughout Beowulf emphasize the relative position of thanes to their lord. He argues that the term “shoulder-companion” could refer to both a physical arm as well as a thane (Aeschere) who was very valuable to his lord (Hrothgar). With Aeschere's death, Hrothgar turns to Beowulf as his new "arm."[48] In addition Greenfield argues, the foot is used for the opposite effect, only appearing four times in the poem. It is used in conjunction with Unferth (a man described by Beowulf as weak, traitorous, and cowardly). Greenfield notes that Unferth is described as “at the king’s feet” (line 499). Unferth is also a member of the foot troops, who, throughout the story, do nothing and “generally serve as backdrops for more heroic action.” [49]

At the same time, Richard North (Professor of English, University College London) argues that the Beowulf poet interpreted "Danish myths in Christian form" (as the poem would have served as a form of entertainment for a Christian audience), and states: "As yet we are no closer to finding out why the first audience of Beowulf liked to hear stories about people routinely classified as damned. This question is pressing, given [...] that Anglo-Saxons saw the Danes as 'heathens' rather than as foreigners."[50] Grendel's mother and Grendel are described as descendants of Cain, a fact which some scholars link to The Cain Tradition.[51]

Allen Cabaniss argues that there are several similarities between Beowulf and the Bible. First he argues, for similarities between Beowulf and Jesus: both are brave and selfless in overcoming the evils that oppose them, and both are kings that die to save their people.[52] Secondly, he argues for a similarity between part of The Book of Revelation (“shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 21:8) and the home of Grendel and Grendel's mother.[53] Third, he compares the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (when he pardons those who call for his crucifixion) to the portion of the poem when (before plunging into the perilous lake) Beowulf forgives his enemy, Unferth.[53]

Scholars disagree, however, as to the meaning and nature of the poem: is it a Christian work set in a Germanic pagan context? The questions suggests that the conversion from the Germanic pagan beliefs to Christian ones was a very slow and gradual process over several centuries, and it remains unclear the ultimate nature of the poem's message in respect to religious belief at the time it was written. Robert F. Yeager (Professor of literature, University of North Carolina at Asheville) notes the facts that form the basis for these questions:

That the scribes of Cotton Vitellius A.XV were Christian is beyond doubt; and it is equally certain that Beowulf was composed in a Christianized England, since conversion took place in the sixth and seventh centuries. Yet the only Biblical references in Beowulf are to the Old Testament, and Christ is never mentioned. The poem is set in pagan times, and none of the characters is demonstrably Christian. In fact, when we are told what anyone in the poem believes, we learn that they are pagans. Beowulf’s own beliefs are not expressed explicitly. He offers eloquent prayers to a higher power, addressing himself to the “Father Almighty” or the “Wielder of All.” Were those the prayers of a pagan who used phrases the Christians subsequently appropriated? Or, did the poem’s author intend to see Beowulf as a Christian Ur-hero, symbolically refulgent with Christian virtues?[54]

It should also be noted that the poem was often overlooked as a literary benchmark until J.R.R. Tolkien's 1936 criticism Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics suggested that the poem be considered as such.

Translations and glossaries

In 1805 Sharon Turner translated selected verses into English.[55] This was followed in 1814 by John Josias Conybeare who published an edition "in English paraphrase and Latin verse translation."[55] In 1815, Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin published the first complete edition in Latin.[55] Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig reviewed this edition in 1815 and created the first complete verse translation in Danish in 1820.[55] In 1837, J. M. Kemble created an important literal translation in English.[55] In 1895, William Morris & A. J. Wyatt's published the ninth English translation.[55]

During the early 20th century, Frederick Klaeber's Beowulf and The Fight at Finnsburg (which included the poem in Old English, an extensive glossary of Old English terms, and general background information) became the "central source used by graduate students for the study of the poem and by scholars and teachers as the basis of their translations."[56] In 1999, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's edition of Beowulf was published by Faber & Faber and includes "Northern Irish diction and turns of phrase." In 2000, W.W. Norton added it to the Norton Anthology of English Literature. [55]

Artistic adaptations



  • Cameron, Angus, et al. Dictionary of Old English (Microfiche). Toronto: Published for the Dictionary of Old English Project Centre for Medieval Studies University of Toronto by the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1986/1994.


Hypertext editions:

Modern English translations:

  • Alexander, Michael. Beowulf : A Verse Translation. Penguin Classics;. Rev. ed. London: New York, 2003.
  • Anderson, Sarah M., Alan Sullivan, and Timothy Murphy. Beowulf. A Longman Cultural Edition;. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2004.
  • Crossley-Holland, Kevin; Mitchell, Bruce. Beowulf: A New Translation. London: Macmillan, 1968
  • Donaldson, E. Talbot, and Nicholas Howe. Beowulf : A Prose Translation : Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. A Norton Critical Edition. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2002.
  • Garmonsway, George Norman, et al. Beowulf and Its Analogues. (Revised 1980). ed. London: Dent, 1980.
  • Gummere, Frances. 'Beowulf'. St Petersburg, Florida:Red and Black Publishers, 2007. ISBN 978-0-979-1813-1-3.
  • Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-32097-9
  • Hudson, Marc. Beowulf. Introduction and notes by Martin Garrett. Ware: Wordsworth Classics, 2007.
  • Lehmann, Ruth. Beowulf : An Imitative Translation. 1st ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988.
  • Liuzza, R. M. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. Orchard Park, NY: Broadview Press, 2000.
  • Osborn, Marijane. Annotated List of Beowulf Translations.
  • Raffel, Burton. Beowulf. New York: Signet Classic, 1999.
  • Ringler, Dick. Beowulf: A New Translation For Oral Delivery. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2007. ISBN 978-0-87220-893-3
  • Swanton, Michael (ed.). Beowulf (Manchester Medieval Studies). Manchester: University, 1997.
  • Szobody, Michelle L. & Justin Gerard (Illustrator) Beowulf, Book I: Grendel the Ghastly. Greenville, SC: Portland Studios, 2007. ISBN 9780979718304
  • Wright, David. Beowulf. Panther Books, 1970. ISBN 0-586-03279-7

Old English and modern English:

Old English with glossaries:

  • Alexander, Michael. Beowulf: A Glossed Text. Second ed. Penguin: London, 2000.
  • Jack, George. Beowulf : A Student Edition. Oxford University Press: New York, 1997.
  • Klaeber, Frederick, ed. Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. Third ed. Boston: Heath, 1950.
  • Mitchell, Bruce, et al. Beowulf: An Edition with Relevant Shorter Texts. Oxford, UK: Malden Ma., 1998.
  • Porter, John. Beowulf: text and translation. Anglo-Saxon Books, 1991.
  • Rebsamen, Frederick R. Beowulf : A Verse Translation. 1st ed. New York, NY: Icon Editions, 1991.
  • Wrenn, C.L., ed. Beowulf with the Finnesburg Fragment. 3rd ed. London: Harrap, 1973.



  • M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt. Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages (Vol 1), Beowulf. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000. 29-32.
  • Alfano, Christine. "The Issue of Feminine Monstrosity: A Re-evaluation of Grendel's Mother." Comitatus 23 (1992): 1-16.
  • Anderson, Sarah. Ed. Introduction and historical/cultural contexts. Longman Cultural Edition, 2004. ISBN 0321107209
  • Battaglia, Frank. "The Germanic Earth Goddess in Beowulf." Mankind Quarterly 31.4 (Summer 1991): 415-46.
  • Chadwick, Nora K. "The Monsters and Beowulf." The Anglo-Saxons: Studies in Some Aspects of Their History. Ed. Peter ed Clemoes. London: Bowes & Bowes, 1959. 171-203.
  • Chance, Jane. "The Structural Unity of Beowulf: The Problem of Grendel's Mother." New Readings on Women in Old English Literature. Eds. Helen Damico and Alexandra Hennessey Olsen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990. 248-61.
  • Creed, Robert P. Reconstructing the Rhythm of Beowulf.
  • Damico, Helen. Beowulf's Wealhtheow and the Valkyrie Tradition. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984.
  • Drout, Michael. Beowulf and the Critics.
  • Gillam, Doreen M. "The Use of the Term 'Aeglaeca' in Beowulf at Lines 893 and 2592." Studia Germanica Gandensia 3 (1961): 145-69.
  • The Heroic Age, Issue 5. "Anthropological and Cultural Approaches to Beowulf." Summer/Autumn 2001.
  • Horner, Shari. The Discourse of Enclosure: Representing Women in Old English Literature. New York: SUNY Press, 2001.
  • Nicholson, Lewis E. (Ed.). An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism. (1963), Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 0-268-00006-9
  • North, Richard. Origins of Beowulf: From Vergil to Wiglaf. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Orchard, Andy. A Critical Companion to Beowulf. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2003.
  • ---. Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf-Manuscript. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.
  • Owen-Crocker, Gale (2000). The Four Funerals in Beowulf: And the Structure of the Poem. New York: Manchester University Press. 
  • Stanley, E.G. "Did Beowulf Commit 'Feaxfeng' against Grendel's Mother." Notes and Queries 23 (1976): 339-40.
  • Tolkien, J.R.R.. Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics (1983). London: George Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-0480-9019-0
  • Trask, Richard M. "Preface to the Poems: Beowulf and Judith: Epic Companions." Beowulf and Judith : Two Heroes. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1998. 11-14.


  1. ^ Facsimile (1882) of the 18th century autotypes of the cotton MS Vitellius A XV
  2. ^ a b c Tolkien, J.R.R. (1958). Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics. London: Oxford University Press. p. 127. 
  3. ^ Hieatt, A. Kent (1983). Beowulf and Other Old English Poems. New York: Bantam Books. p. xi-xiii. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Kiernan, Kevin (1996). Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. footnote 69 pg 162, 90, 258, 257, 171, xix-xx, xix, 3, 4, 277–278 , 23–34, 29, 29, 60, 62, footnote 69 162. ISBN 0-472-08412-7. 
  5. ^ Smith, Jeremy (2005). Essentials of Early English: An Introduction to Old, Middle and Early Modern English. Routledge. p. 49. 
  6. ^ Mitchell, Bruce; Fred C. Robinson (1986). "Diphthongs". A Guide to Old English. Blackwell. pp. 14–15. 
  7. ^ Hogg, Richard M.; Norman Francis Blake (1992). "Phonology and Morphology". The Cambridge History of the English Language: The beginning to 1066. Cambridge University Press. pp. 86–88. 
  8. ^ M. H. Abrams, general ed.. (1986). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. W. W. Norton and Co., Ltd. p. 19. ISBN 0393954722. 
  9. ^ Beowulf: a Dual-Language Edition. New York, NY: Doubleday. 1977. 
  10. ^ Newton, Sam (1993). The Origins of Beowulf and the Pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Boydell & Brewer Ltd.. ISBN 0859913619. 
  11. ^ Shippey, T. A. (Summer 2001). "Wicked Queens and Cousin Strategies in Beowulf and Elsewhere, Notes and Bibliography". In the Heroic Age (5). 
  12. ^ a b Klingmark, Elisabeth (in Swedish). Gamla Uppsala, Svenska kulturminnen 59. Riksantikvarieämbetet. 
  13. ^ a b Nerman, Birger (1925). Det svenska rikets uppkomst. Stockholm. 
  14. ^ "Ottar's Mound". Swedish National Heritage Board. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  15. ^ a b Niles, John D. (October 2006). "Beowulf's Great Hall". History Today 56 (10): 40–44. 
  16. ^ Anderson, Carl Edlund (1999). "Formation and Resolution of Ideological Contrast in the Early History of Scandinavia (Ph.D. thesis)" (PDF). University of Cambridge, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic (Faculty of English). p. 115. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  17. ^ a b c Chance, Jane (1990). Helen Damico and Alexandra Hennessey Olsen. ed. The Structural Unity of Beowulf: The Problem of Grendel's Mother. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 248. 
  18. ^ Jack, George. Beowulf: A Student Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 123. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Owen-Crocker, Gale (2000). The Four Funerals in Beowulf: And the Structure of the Poem. New York: Manchester University Press. pp. 1–5, 23, 31, 34, 44, 52, 65–69, 84–86, 104–105. 
  20. ^ Tarzia, Wade (1989). The Hoarding Ritual in Germanic Epic Tradition.. The Journal of Folklore Research 26:2. pp. 99–121. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Greenblatt, Stephen; M.H. Abrahams (2006). The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume A: Middle Ages. New York: Norton & Company. pp. 34–35, 57–58, 81, 99–100. 
  22. ^ Ewald, Gustav (1950). "Är Skalunda hög kung Beowulfs grav?" (in Swedish). Västgöta-Bygden 1: 335–336. (Om *Birger Nermans och °Carl Otto Fasts idéer angående hednatima kungars gravplats.)
  23. ^ "Electronic Beowulf". The University of Kentucky. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  24. ^ a b c Joy, Eileen A (2005). "Thomas Smith, Humfrey Wanley, and the Little-Known Country of the Cotton Library" (PDF). Electronic British Library Journal. p. 2, 24, 24, footnote 24. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  25. ^ Lapidge, Michael (1996). Anglo-Latin literature, 600-899. London: Hambledon Press. p. 299. ISBN 1-852-85011-6. 
  26. ^ Gutenberg copy of Chauncey Brewster Tinker's The Translations of Beowulf (1903)
  27. ^ Heaney, Seamus (2000). Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. New York: Norton. 
  28. ^ "The Christian Coloring of Beowulf" (F. A. Blackburn, PMLA 12 (1897), 210-17
  29. ^ "The Pagan Coloring of Beowulf" (Larry D. Benson, in Old English Poetry: fifteen essays. R.P. Creed, ed. Providence (Rhode Island): Brown University Press, 1967: 193-213).
  30. ^ Abrams, M.H.; Greenblatt, Stephen (2000). The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages (Vol 1), Beowulf. New York: W.W. Norton. p. 29. 
  31. ^ Lord, Albert. The Singer of Tales. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960. p. 198
  32. ^ Zumthor, Paul. “The Text and the Voice.” Transl. Marilyn C. Englehardt. New Literary History 16(1984):67-92
  33. ^ Crowne, D.K. 'The Hero on the Beach: An Example of Composition by Theme in Anglo-Saxon Poetry', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 61 (1960)
  34. ^ Benson, Larry D. "The Literary Character of Anglo-Saxon Formulaic Poetry" Publications of the Modern Language Association 81 (1966):, 334-41
  35. ^ Benson, Larry. "The Originality of Beowulf" The Interpretation of Narrative. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970. pp 1-44
  36. ^ a b c Foley, John M. Oral-Formulaic Theory and Research: An Introduction and Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1985. p. 126
  37. ^ Watts, Ann C. The Lyre and the Harp: A Comparative Reconsideration of Oral Tradition in Homer and Old English Epic Poetry. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1969. p. 124, et al.
  38. ^ Gardner, Thomas. "How Free Was the Beowulf Poet?" Modern Philology. 1973. p. 111-27.
  39. ^ Foley, John Miles. The Theory of Oral Composition: History and Methodology. Bloomington: IUP, 1991, pp. 109 f.
  40. ^ Bäuml, Franz H. "Varieties and Consequences of Medieval Literacy and Illiteracy", in Speculum, Vol. 55, No. 2 (1980), pp.243-244.
  41. ^ Havelock, Eric Alfred. Preface to Plato. Vol. 1 A History of the Greek Mind, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA: 1963.
  42. ^ Curschmann, Michael. The Concept of the Formula as an Impediment to Our Understanding of Medieval Oral Poetry” Medievalia et Humanistica, n.s. 8(1977):63-76
  43. ^ Zumthor, Paul. "The Text and the Voice." Transl. Marilyn C. Englehardt. New Literary History 16(1984):67-92
  44. ^ Schaefer, Ursula. Vokalitat: Altenglische Dichtung zwischen Mundlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit, ScriptOralia 39 (Tubingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1992
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Beowulf." Norton Anthology of English Literature. ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 8th Edition. pp 29-33
  47. ^ a b Abrams, M.H.; Greenblatt, Stephen (2000). The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages (Vol 1), Beowulf. New York: W.W. Norton. p. 30. 
  48. ^ Greenfield, Stanley. (1989) Hero and Exile. London: Hambleton Press, 59
  49. ^ Greenfield, Stanley. (1989) Hero and Exile. London: Hambleton Press, 61
  50. ^ Richard North, "The King's Soul: Danish Mythology in Beowulf," in the Origins of Beowulf: From Vergil to Wiglaf, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 195
  51. ^ Williams, David:"Cain and Beowulf: A Study in Secular Allegory. University of Toronto Press, 1982
  52. ^ Cabaniss, A. Liturgy and Literature, page 101. University of Alabama Press, 1970
  53. ^ a b Cabaniss, A: "Liturgy and Literature", page 102. University of Alabama Press, 1970
  54. ^ Yeager, Robert F.. "Why Read Beowulf?". National Endowement For The Humanities. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  55. ^ a b c d e f g Osborn, Marijane. "Annotated List of Beowulf Translations". Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  56. ^ "Bloomfield, Josephine. Benevolent Authoritarianism in Klaeber's Beowulf: An Editorial Translation of Kingship" (PDF). Modern Language Quarterly 60 (2). June 1999. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The first page of the only manuscript of Beowulf

Beowulf is the only surviving complete epic poem written in Anglo-Saxon. It may date from the 8th century, though this is highly contentious. The translation used here is that of John R Clark Hall, as amended by C L Wrenn (1950).

  • Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena      in geār-dagum
    þēod-cyninga      þrym gefrūnon,
    hū þā æðelingas      ellen fremedon.
    • Translation: Lo! We have heard of the glory of the kings of the people of the Spear-Danes in days of yore – how those princes did valorous deeds!
  • Ā-lēdon þā      lēofne þēoden,
    bēaga bryttan      on bearm scipes,
    mærne be mæste.      Þær wæs mādma fela,
    of feor-wegum      frætwa gelæded:
    ne hyrde ic cymlīcor      cēol gegyrwan
    hilde-wæpnum      and heaðo-wædum,
    billum and byrnum;      him on bearme læg
    mādma mænigo,      þā him mid scoldon
    on flōdes æht      feor gewītan.
    Nalas hī hine læssan      lācum tēodan,
    þēod-gestrēonum,      þonne þā dydon,
    þē hine æt frumsceafte      forð onsendon
    ænne ofer yðe      umbor wesende:
    þā gyt hīe him āsetton      segen gyldenne
    hēah ofer hēafod,      lēton holm beran,
    gēafon on gār-secg:      him wæs geōmor sefa,
    murnende mōd.      Men ne cunnon
    secgan tō soðe      sele-rædende,
    hæleð under heofenum,      hwā þæm hlæste onfēng.
    • Translation: They laid then the beloved chieftain, giver of rings, on the ship's bosom, glorious by the mast. There were brought many treasures, ornaments from far-off lands. Never have I heard that a vessel was more fairly fitted-out with war-weapons and battle-raiment, swords and coats of mail. On his bosom lay a host of treasures, which were to travel far with him into the power of the flood. They furnished him with no lesser gifts, and royal treasures, than those had done who, in the beginning, sent him forth over the sea alone, child as he was. They set besides a golden standard high above his head, and let the sea bear him,—gave him to the ocean. Their soul was sad, their spirit sorrowful. Counsellors in hall, mighty men beneath the heavens cannot say truly who received that load.
    • Line 34.
    • Scyld Scefing's body is committed to the sea.
  • In Caines cynne      þone cwealm gewræc,
    ēce drihten,      þæs þe hē Ābel slōg;
    ne gefeah hē þære fæhðe,      ac hē hine feor forwræc,
    metod for þy māne      man-cynne fram.
    Þanon untydras      ealle onwōcon,
    eotenas and ylfe      and orcnēas,
    swylce gīgantas,      þā wið gode wunnon
    lange þrāge;      hē him þæs lēan forgeald.
    • On Cain's kindred did the everlasting Lord avenge the murder, for that he had slain Abel; he had no joy of that feud, but the Creator drove him far from mankind for that misdeed. Thence all evil broods were born, ogres and devils and evil spirits — the giants also, who long time fought with God, for which he gave them their reward.
    • Line 107
  •                         Sēlre bið æghwæm,
    þæt hē his frēond wrece,      þonne hē fela murne;
    ūre æghwylc sceal      ende gebīdan
    worolde līfes;      wyrce sē þe mōte
    dōmes ær dēaðe!      þæt bið driht-guman
    unlifgendum      æfter sēlest.
    • Better is it for each one of us that he should avenge his friend, than greatly mourn. Each of us must expect an end of living in this world; let him who may win glory before death: for that is best at last for the departed warrior.
    • Line 1385
  •                         Oferhyda ne gym,
    mære cempa!      Nū is þīnes mægnes blæd
    āne hwīle;      eft sōna bið,
    þæt þec ādl oððe ecg      eafoðes getwæfeð,
    oððe fyres feng      oððe flōdes wylm,
    oððe gripe mēces      oððe gāres fliht,
    oððe atol yldo,      oððe ēagena bearhtm
    forsiteð and forsworceð;      semninga bið,
    þæt þec, dryht-guma,      dēað oferswyðeð.
    • Incline not to arrogance, famous warrior! Now shall the fullness of thy strength last for a while. But soon after it shall be, that malady or sword shall cut thee off from power, or the embrace of fire or welling of a flood, or onset with the knife, or arrow's flight, or hideous old age. Or brightness of eyes shall diminish and grow dim, and at length it shall be that death shall overpower thee, noble chieftain!
    • Line 1761
  • Heald þū nū, hrūse,      nū hæleð ne mōston,
    eorla æhte.      Hwæt! hit ær on þē
    gōde begeāton;      gūð-dēað fornam,
    feorh-bealo frēcne      fyra gehwylcne,
    lēoda mīnra, þāra þe þis līf ofgeaf,
    gesāwon sele-drēam.      Nāh hwā sweord wege
    oððe fetige      fæted wæge,
    drync-fæt dēore:      duguð ellor scōc.
    Sceal se hearda helm      hyrsted golde
    fætum befeallen:      feormiend swefað,
    þā þe beado-grīman      bywan sceoldon,
    gē swylce sēo here-pād,      sīo æt hilde gebād
    ofer borda gebræc      bite īrena,
    brosnað æfter beorne.      Ne mæg byrnan hring
    æfter wīg-fruman      wīde fēran
    hæleðum be healfe;      næs hearpan wyn,
    gomen glēo-bēames,      nē gōd hafoc
    geond sæl swingeð,      nē se swifta mearh
    burh-stede bēateð.      Bealo-cwealm hafað
    fela feorh-cynna      feorr onsended!
    • Now do thou, O Earth, hold fast what heroes might not,—the possessions of nobles. Lo! Brave men won it at first from thee; death in war, horrid carnage, took away every one of my tribe who yielded up this life; they saw [the last of] festive joy. I have no one to bear the sword, or to burnish the plated flagon, the precious drinking-cup; the noble warriors have departed to another place. Now will the hard helmet, bedight with gold, be deprived of its adornments; they sleep who should burnish the battle-masks. The armour too, which stood the stroke of swords in battle, mid the crash of shields, perishes as does the fighter; nor may the ringed mail fare far and wide with the warrior, side by side with mighty men. There is no joy of harp, no pastime with the gladdening lute; no good hawk sweeps through the hall, nor does the swift steed paw the courtyard. Baleful death has banished hence many of the human race.
    • Line 2248
  • Ic þāra frætwa      frēan ealles þanc
    wuldur-cyninge      wordum secge,
    ēcum dryhtne,      þē ic hēr on starie,
    þæs þe ic mōste      mīnum lēodum
    ær swylt-dæge      swylc gestrynan.
    Nū ic on māðma hord      mīne bebohte
    frōde feorh-lege,      fremmað gē nū
    lēoda þearfe;      ne mæg ic hēr leng wesan.
    Hātað heaðo-mære      hlæw gewyrcean,
    beorhtne æfter bæle      æt brimes nosan;
    se scel tō gemyndum      mīnum lēodum
    hēah hlīfian      on Hrones næsse,
    þæt hit sæ-līðend      syððan hātan
    Bīowulfes biorh,      þā þe brentingas
    ofer flōda genipu      feorran drīfað."
    • I utter in words my thanks to the Ruler of all, the King of Glory, the everlasting Lord, for the treasures which I here gaze upon, in that I have been allowed to win such things for my people before my day of death! Now that I have given my old life in barter for the hoard of treasure, do ye henceforth supply the people's needs,—I may stay here no longer. Bid the war-veterans raise a splendid barrow after the funeral fire, on a projection by the sea, which shall tower high on Hronesness as a memorial for my people, so that seafarers who urge their tall ships from afar over the spray of ocean shall thereafter call it Beowulf's barrow.
    • Line 2795

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Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Beowulf and the dragon

In this story of Beowulf the main character Beowulf is an "ideal" Anglo-Saxon hero. Beowulf comes from the Kingdom of Hygelac which is across the ocean from Hrothgar. Beowulf fights three different monstrous creatures. The first of which the evil Grendel. Grendel is a large, powerful, and cowardly creature that attacks the Mead Hall at night. When Hrothgar asks Beowulf to "solve" the Grendel problem. The next creature that Hrothgar ask Beowulf to kill is Grendel's mother, The Troll-Wife. Beowulf had to swim underwater for three days and then he fought The Troll-Wife. After he defeated the troll wife he then proceeded to get back to the king to get his reward. After they got back to his kingdom after collecting the reward, Beowulf becomes king and everything is going well, until one day a man happens upon the dragon's lair. The man sees the vast amount of gold and takes a goblet.



Beowulf is described as a heroic, righteous, and strong person. He is apparently able to fight large creatures with his bare hands, swim underwater for long lengths of time, and fight valiantly against any foe. Beowulf is described as the "ideal" Anglo-Saxon hero: strong, persistent, and honest. He is this way because the original "authors" of this epic poem, wanted to portray their customs to the younger crowd when this poem was performed. Beowulf can conquer anything, and overcome any obstacle because he is the embodiment of good.


Grendel is the first foe that Beowulf is called to defeat. Grendel whom is called "the seed of Cain" is not described exactly well in the book. However, he is described as a large figure with the strength to pick up a grown man and swallow him whole. Grendel is shown as somewhat of a coward because he only attacks at night when the guards are asleep. This is to avoid any type of actual fighting that would probably ensue during the day time.


The Troll-Wife, also known as Grendel's Mother, is furious that Beowulf killed her son. In retaliation, Grendel's Mother attacks the hall killing many people. To stop this threat, Beowulf and an army of men travel to Grendel's Mother's dwelling. This dwelling is underneath a lake, which also contains the remains of Grendel himself. Beowulf is given a sword in which to battle Grendel's Mother with. He dives into the lake and is immediatly confronted by the beastly creature. She drags Beowulf deeper into the lake into her lair. For the majority of the fight it seems that Beowulf is losing the fight. Beowulf loses his sword, and is protected only by his armor. However, Beowulf finds the a sword that belongs to the Troll-Wife. This sword was so massive that it could only be wielded by Beowulf himself. He proceeds to use this sword to behead the beast. Beowulf also uses the sword to decapitate the already dead body of Grendel, to bring back the head as a "prize" of sorts.


The dragon is the final foe that Beowulf has to fight. The dragon was in a deep slumber until the thief woke the dragon up by stealing the goblet. Once the dragon woke up and realized that one of his small items from the horde of items he has was stolen, he became enraged and started burning buildings and people around his lair. Beowulf was then summoned to go and slay the dragon. Beowulf decided to get a couple of soldiers to go with him to fight the dragon but when they arrived at the location of the dragon, the soldiers got scared and decided not to go help Beowulf. In the fight against the dragon Beowulf killed the dragon but at the same time the dragon managed to hurt Beowulf so much that Beowulf knew he was going to die. Beowulf then tells the soldiers that his last wish is to see some of the loot that the dragon was guarding.

Battle Characteristics

These battles show Beowulf's willing to give his own life to defeat these monstrous creatures for the good of his people. His lacks the need to worry about his own well being, only strengthening his will in battle. The thought of fighting with weapons makes him feel that he is being cowardly if his opponent does not also have a weapon. "To bear my sword, or sheltering shield, Or yellow buckler, to battle the fiend. With hand-grip only I'll grapple with Grendel" (Kennedy 340-342) The only times that Beowulf actually uses a weapon for the entire tale is when he fights Grendle's mother and when he fights the Dragon. Beowulf shows complete disregard for his personal well being in order to defend his friends.

Creature Characteristics

The three creatures that are introduced in the epic poem of "Beowulf" show some very different characteristics. Grendel is a large monster, capable of swallowing grown men whole, and striking fear into many of these people. However, Grendel is a coward. No matter how strong he is, he is afraid to fight. He attacks at night in order to keep from entering a conflict. Grendel's Mother on the other hand, is a very strong "lady". She is not afraid to fight someone head on, as she does with Beowulf. She is actually a very good combatant. The final creature that Beowulf fights is a venomous, fire-breathing dragon. This monster is a little different. He/she is so aware of his/her surroundings, that he/she can pick out if one of his/her items are missing. "There a thief broke in on the heathen treasure, Laid hand on a flagon all fretted with gold, As the dragon discovered, though cozened in sleep By the pilferer's cunning. The people soon found That the mood of the dragon was roused to wrath!..." (Kennedy 1379-1383) This greed is the source of the dragons venomous nature during battle.

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Source: James A. Harrison and Robert Sharp, eds. (1883) from Project Gutenberg (with corrections)
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For a modern English translation, see Beowulf (Gummere)














Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1883, by JAMES ALBERT HARRISON AND ROBERT SHARP in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.






First page of the manuscript




Hwæt! Wē Gār‐Dena   in geār‐dagum
þēod‐cyninga   þrym gefrūnon,
hū þā æðelingas   ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scēfing   sceaðena þrēatum,
monegum mǣgðum   meodo‐setla oftēah.
Egsode eorl,   syððan ǣrest wearð
fēa‐sceaft funden:   hē þæs frōfre gebād,
wēox under wolcnum,   weorð‐myndum ðāh,
oð þæt him ǣghwylc   þāra ymb‐sittendra
ofer hron‐rāde   hȳran scolde, [10]
gomban gyldan:   þæt wæs gōd cyning!
þǣm eafera wæs   æfter cenned
geong in geardum,   þone god sende
folce tō frōfre;   fyren‐þearfe ongeat,
þæt hīe ǣr drugon   aldor‐lēase
lange hwīle.   Him þæs līf‐frēa,
wuldres wealdend,   worold‐āre forgeaf;
Bēowulf wæs brēme   (blǣd wīde sprang),
Scyldes eafera   Scede‐landum in.
Swā sceal geong guma,   gōde gewyrcean, [20]
fromum feoh‐giftum   on fæder wine,
þæt hine on ylde   eft gewunigen
wil‐gesīðas,   þonne wīg cume,
lēode gelǣsten:   lof‐dǣdum sceal
in mǣgða gehwǣre   man geþēon.
Him þā Scyld gewāt   tō gescæp‐hwīle
fela‐hrōr fēran   on frēan wǣre;
hī hyne þā ætbǣron   tō brimes faroðe.
swǣse gesīðas,   swā hē selfa bæd,
þenden wordum wēold   wine Scyldinga, [30]
lēof land‐fruma   lange āhte.
Þǣr æt hȳðe stōd   hringed‐stefna,
īsig and ūtfūs,   æðelinges fær;
ā‐lēdon þā   lēofne þēoden,
bēaga bryttan   on bearm scipes,
mǣrne be mæste.   Þǣr wæs mādma fela,
of feor‐wegum   frætwa gelǣded:
ne hȳrde ic cȳmlīcor   cēol gegyrwan
hilde‐wǣpnum   and heaðo‐wǣdum,
billum and byrnum;   him on bearme læg [40]
mādma mænigo,   þā him mid scoldon
on flōdes ǣht   feor gewītan.
Nalas hī hine lǣssan   lācum tēodan,
þēod‐gestrēonum,   þonne þā dydon,
þē hine æt frumsceafte   forð onsendon
ǣnne ofer ȳðe   umbor wesende:
þā gȳt hīe him āsetton   segen gyldenne
hēah ofer hēafod,   lēton holm beran,
gēafon on gār‐secg:   him wæs geōmor sefa,
murnende mōd.   Men ne cunnon [50]
secgan tō soðe   sele‐rǣdende,
hæleð under heofenum,   hwā þǣm hlæste onfēng.


Þā wæs on burgum   Bēowulf Scyldinga,
lēof lēod‐cyning,   longe þrāge
folcum gefrǣge   (fæder ellor hwearf,
aldor of earde),   oð þæt him eft onwōc
hēah Healfdene;   hēold þenden lifde,
gamol and gūð‐rēow,   glæde Scyldingas.
Þǣm fēower bearn   forð‐gerīmed
in worold wōcun,   weoroda rǣswan, [60]
Heorogār and Hrōðgār   and Hālga til;
hȳrde ic, þat Elan cwēn   Ongenþēowes wæs
Heaðoscilfinges   heals‐gebedde.
Þā wæs Hrōðgāre   here‐spēd gyfen,
wīges weorð‐mynd,   þæt him his wine‐māgas
georne hȳrdon,   oð þæt sēo geogoð gewēox,
mago‐driht micel.   Him on mōd bearn,
þæt heal‐reced   hātan wolde,
medo‐ærn micel   men gewyrcean,
þone yldo bearn   ǣfre gefrūnon, [70]
and þǣr on innan   eall gedǣlan
geongum and ealdum,   swylc him god sealde,
būton folc‐scare   and feorum gumena.
Þā ic wīde gefrægn   weorc gebannan
manigre mǣgðe   geond þisne middan‐geard,
folc‐stede frætwan.   Him on fyrste gelomp
ǣdre mid yldum,   þæt hit wearð eal gearo,
heal‐ærna mǣst;   scōp him Heort naman,
sē þe his wordes geweald   wīde hæfde.
Hē bēot ne ālēh,   bēagas dǣlde, [80]
sinc æt symle.   Sele hlīfade
hēah and horn‐gēap:   heaðo‐wylma bād,
lāðan līges;   ne wæs hit lenge þā gēn
þæt se ecg‐hete   āðum‐swerian
æfter wæl‐nīðe   wæcnan scolde.
Þā se ellen‐gǣst   earfoðlīce
þrāge geþolode,   sē þe in þȳstrum bād,
þæt hē dōgora gehwām   drēam gehȳrde
hlūdne in healle;   þǣr wæs hearpan swēg,
swutol sang scopes.   Sægde sē þe cūðe [90]
frum‐sceaft fīra   feorran reccan,
cwæð þæt se ælmihtiga   eorðan worhte,
wlite‐beorhtne wang,   swā wæter bebūgeð,
gesette sige‐hrēðig   sunnan and mōnan
lēoman tō lēohte   land‐būendum,
and gefrætwade   foldan scēatas
leomum and lēafum;   līf ēac gesceōp
cynna gehwylcum,   þāra þe cwice hwyrfað.
Swā þā driht‐guman   drēamum lifdon
ēadiglīce,   oð þæt ān ongan [100]
fyrene fremman,   fēond on helle:
wæs se grimma gæst   Grendel hāten,
mǣre mearc‐stapa,   sē þe mōras hēold,
fen and fæsten;   fīfel‐cynnes eard
won‐sǣlig wer   weardode hwīle,
siððan him scyppend   forscrifen hæfde.
In Caines cynne   þone cwealm gewræc,
ēce drihten,   þæs þe hē Ābel slōg;
ne gefeah hē þǣre fǣhðe,   ac hē hine feor forwræc,
metod for þȳ māne   man‐cynne fram. [110]
Þanon untȳdras   ealle onwōcon,
eotenas and ylfe   and orcnēas,
swylce gīgantas,   þā wið gode wunnon
lange þrāge;   hē him þæs lēan forgeald.


Gewāt þā nēosian,   syððan niht becōm,
hēan hūses,   hū hit Hring‐Dene
æfter bēor‐þege   gebūn hæfdon.
Fand þā þǣr inne   æðelinga gedriht
swefan æfter symble;   sorge ne cūðon,
won‐sceaft wera.   Wiht unhǣlo [120]
grim and grǣdig   gearo sōna wæs,
rēoc and rēðe,   and on ræste genam
þrītig þegna:   þanon eft gewāt
hūðe hrēmig   tō hām faran,
mid þǣre wæl‐fylle   wīca nēosan.
Þā wæs on ūhtan   mid ǣr‐dæge
Grendles gūð‐cræft   gumum undyrne:
þā wæs æfter wiste   wōp up āhafen,
micel morgen‐swēg.   Mǣre þēoden,
æðeling ǣr‐gōd,   unblīðe sæt, [130]
þolode þrȳð‐swȳð,   þegn‐sorge drēah,
syððan hīe þæs lāðan   lāst scēawedon,
wergan gāstes;   wæs þæt gewin tō strang,
lāð and longsum.   Næs hit lengra fyrst,
ac ymb āne niht   eft gefremede
morð‐beala māre   and nō mearn fore
fǣhðe and fyrene;   wæs tō fæst on þām.
Þā wæs ēað‐fynde,   þē him elles hwǣr
gerūmlīcor   ræste sōhte,
bed æfter būrum,   þā him gebēacnod wæs, [140]
gesægd sōðlīce   sweotolan tācne
heal‐þegnes hete;   hēold hine syððan
fyr and fæstor,   sē þǣm fēonde ætwand.
Swā rīxode   and wið rihte wan
āna wið eallum,   oð þæt īdel stōd
hūsa sēlest.   Wæs sēo hwīl micel:
twelf wintra tīd   torn geþolode
wine Scyldinga,   wēana gehwelcne,
sīdra sorga;   forþām syððan wearð
ylda bearnum   undyrne cūð, [150]
gyddum geōmore,   þætte Grendel wan,
hwīle wið Hrōðgār;‐‐   hete‐nīðas wæg,
fyrene and fǣhðe   fela missēra,
singāle sæce,   sibbe ne wolde
wið manna hwone   mægenes Deniga
feorh‐bealo feorran,   fēo þingian,
nē þǣr nǣnig witena   wēnan þorfte
beorhtre bōte   tō banan folmum;
atol ǣglǣca   ēhtende wæs,
deorc dēað‐scūa   duguðe and geogoðe [160]
seomade and syrede.   Sin‐nihte hēold
mistige mōras;   men ne cunnon,
hwyder hel‐rūnan   hwyrftum scrīðað.
Swā fela fyrena   fēond man‐cynnes,
atol ān‐gengea,   oft gefremede
heardra hȳnða;   Heorot eardode,
sinc‐fāge sel   sweartum nihtum
(nō hē þone gif‐stōl   grētan mōste,
māððum for metode,   nē his myne wisse);
þæt wæs wrǣc micel   wine Scyldinga, [170]
mōdes brecða.   Monig‐oft gesæt
rīce tō rūne;   rǣd eahtedon,
hwæt swīð‐ferhðum   sēlest wǣre
wið fǣr‐gryrum   tō gefremmanne.
Hwīlum hīe gehēton   æt hærg‐trafum
wīg‐weorðunga,   wordum bǣdon,
þæt him gāst‐bona   gēoce gefremede
wið þēod‐þrēaum.   Swylc wæs þēaw hyra,
hǣðenra hyht;   helle gemundon
in mōd‐sefan,   metod hīe ne cūðon, [180]
dǣda dēmend,   ne wiston hīe drihten god,
nē hīe hūru heofena helm   herian ne cūðon,
wuldres waldend.   Wā bið þǣm þe sceal
þurh slīðne nīð   sāwle bescūfan
in fȳres fæðm,   frōfre ne wēnan,
wihte gewendan;   wēl bið þǣm þe mōt
æfter dēað‐dæge   drihten sēcean
and tō fæder fæðmum   freoðo wilnian.


Swā þā mǣl‐ceare   maga Healfdenes
singāla sēað;   ne mihte snotor hæleð [190]
wēan onwendan:   wæs þæt gewin tō swȳð,
lāð and longsum,   þē on þā lēode becōm,
nȳd‐wracu nīð‐grim,   niht‐bealwa mǣst.
Þæt fram hām gefrægn   Higelāces þegn,
gōd mid Gēatum,   Grendles dǣda:
sē wæs mon‐cynnes   mægenes strengest
on þǣm dæge   þysses līfes,
æðele and ēacen.   Hēt him ȳð‐lidan
gōdne gegyrwan;   cwæð hē gūð‐cyning
ofer swan‐rāde   sēcean wolde, [200]
mǣrne þēoden,   þā him wæs manna þearf.
Þone sīð‐fæt him   snotere ceorlas
lȳt‐hwōn lōgon,   þēah hē him lēof wǣre;
hwetton higerōfne,   hǣl scēawedon.
Hæfde se gōda   Gēata lēoda
cempan gecorone,   þāra þe hē cēnoste
findan mihte;   fīftȳna sum
sund‐wudu sōhte;   secg wīsade,
lagu‐cræftig mon,   land‐gemyrcu.
Fyrst forð gewāt:   flota wæs on ȳðum, [210]
bāt under beorge.   Beornas gearwe
on stefn stigon;   strēamas wundon
sund wið sande;   secgas bǣron
on bearm nacan   beorhte frætwe,
gūð‐searo geatolīc;   guman ūt scufon,
weras on wil‐sīð   wudu bundenne.
Gewāt þā ofer wǣg‐holm   winde gefȳsed
flota fāmig‐heals   fugle gelīcost,
oð þæt ymb ān‐tīd   ōðres dōgores
wunden‐stefna   gewaden hæfde, [220]
þæt þā līðende   land gesāwon,
brim‐clifu blīcan,   beorgas stēape,
sīde sǣ‐næssas:   þā wæs sund liden,
eoletes æt ende.   Þanon up hraðe
Wedera lēode   on wang stigon,
sǣ‐wudu sǣldon   (syrcan hrysedon,
gūð‐gewǣdo);   gode þancedon,
þæs þe him ȳð‐lāde   ēaðe wurdon.
Þā of wealle geseah   weard Scildinga,
sē þe holm‐clifu   healdan scolde, [230]
beran ofer bolcan   beorhte randas,
fyrd‐searu fūslīcu;   hine fyrwyt bræc
mōd‐gehygdum,   hwæt þā men wǣron.
Gewāt him þā tō waroðe   wicge rīdan
þegn Hrōðgāres,   þrymmum cwehte
mægen‐wudu mundum,   meðel‐wordum frægn:
"Hwæt syndon gē   searo‐hæbbendra
byrnum werede,   þē þus brontne cēol
ofer lagu‐strǣte   lǣdan cwōmon,
hider ofer holmas   helmas bǣron? [240]
Ic wæs ende‐sǣta,   ǣg‐wearde hēold,
þæt on land Dena   lāðra nǣnig
mid scip‐herge   sceððan ne meahte.
Nō hēr cūðlīcor   cuman ongunnon
lind‐hæbbende;   nē gē lēafnes‐word
gūð‐fremmendra   gearwe ne wisson,
māga gemēdu.   Nǣfre ic māran geseah
eorla ofer eorðan,   þonne is ēower sum,
secg on searwum;   nis þæt seld‐guma
wǣpnum geweorðad,   næfne him his wlite lēoge, [250]
ǣnlīc an‐sȳn.   Nū ic ēower sceal
frum‐cyn witan,   ǣr gē fyr heonan
lēase scēaweras   on land Dena
furður fēran.   Nū gē feor‐būend,
mere‐līðende,   mīnne gehȳrað
ān‐fealdne geþōht:   ofost is sēlest
tō gecȳðanne,   hwanan ēowre cyme syndon."


Him se yldesta   andswarode,
werodes wīsa,   word‐hord onlēac:
"Wē synt gum‐cynnes   Gēata lēode [260]
and Higelāces   heorð‐genēatas.
Wæs mīn fæder   folcum gecȳðed,
æðele ord‐fruma   Ecgþēow hāten;
gebād wintra worn,   ǣr hē on weg hwurfe,
gamol of geardum;   hine gearwe geman
witena wēl‐hwylc   wīde geond eorðan.‐
Wē þurh holdne hige   hlāford þinne,
sunu Healfdenes,   sēcean cwōmon,
lēod‐gebyrgean:   wes þū ūs lārena gōd!
Habbað wē tō þǣm mǣran   micel ǣrende [270]
Deniga frēan;   ne sceal þǣr dyrne sum
wesan, þæs ic wēne.   Þū wāst, gif hit is,
swā wē sōðlice   secgan hȳrdon,
þæt mid Scyldingum   sceaða ic nāt hwylc,
dēogol dǣd‐hata,   deorcum nihtum
ēaweð þurh egsan   uncūðne nīð,
hȳnðu and hrā‐fyl.   Ic þæs Hrōðgār mæg
þurh rūmne sefan   rǣd gelǣran,
hū hē frōd and gōd   fēond oferswȳðeð,
gyf him ed‐wendan   ǣfre scolde [280]
bealuwa bisigu,   bōt eft cuman
and þā cear‐wylmas   cōlran wurðað;
oððe ā syððan   earfoð‐þrāge,
þrēa‐nȳd þolað,   þenden þǣr wunað
on hēah‐stede   hūsa sēlest."
Weard maðelode,   þǣr on wicge sæt
ombeht unforht:   "Ǣghwæðres sceal
scearp scyld‐wiga   gescād witan,
worda and worca,   sē þe wēl þenceð.
Ic þæt gehȳre,   þæt þis is hold weorod [290]
frēan Scyldinga.   Gewītað forð beran
wǣpen and gewǣdu,   ic ēow wīsige:
swylce ic magu‐þegnas   mīne hāte
wið fēonda gehwone   flotan ēowerne,
nīw‐tyrwedne   nacan on sande
ārum healdan,   oð þæt eft byreð
ofer lagu‐strēamas   lēofne mannan
wudu wunden‐hals   tō Weder‐mearce.
Gūð‐fremmendra   swylcum gifeðe bið,
þæt þone hilde‐rǣs   hāl gedīgeð." [300]
Gewiton him þā fēran   (flota stille bād,
seomode on sāle   sīd‐fæðmed scyp,
on ancre fæst);   eofor‐līc scionon
ofer hlēor‐beran   gehroden golde
fāh and fȳr‐heard,   ferh wearde hēold.
Gūðmōde grummon,   guman ōnetton,
sigon ætsomne,   oð þæt hȳ sæl timbred
geatolīc and gold‐fāh   ongytan mihton;
þæt wæs fore‐mǣrost   fold‐būendum
receda under roderum,   on þǣm se rīca bād; [310]
līxte se lēoma   ofer landa fela.
Him þā hilde‐dēor   hof mōdigra
torht getǣhte,   þæt hīe him tō mihton
gegnum gangan;   gūð‐beorna sum
wicg gewende,   word æfter cwæð:
"Mǣl is mē tō fēran;   fæder alwalda
mid ār‐stafum   ēowic gehealde
sīða gesunde!   ic tō sǣ wille,
wið wrāð werod   wearde healdan."


Strǣt wæs stān‐fāh,   stīg wīsode [320]
gumum ætgædere.   Gūð‐byrne scān
heard hond‐locen,   hring‐īren scīr
song in searwum,   þā hīe tō sele furðum
in hyra gryre‐geatwum   gangan cwōmon.
Setton sǣ‐mēðe   sīde scyldas,
rondas regn‐hearde   wið þæs recedes weal,
bugon þā tō bence;   byrnan hringdon,
gūð‐searo gumena;   gāras stōdon,
sǣ‐manna searo,   samod ætgædere,
æsc‐holt ufan grǣg:   wæs se īren‐þrēat [330]
wǣpnum gewurðad.   Þā þǣr wlonc hæleð
ōret‐mecgas   æfter æðelum frægn:
"Hwanon ferigeað gē   fǣtte scyldas,
grǣge syrcan   and grīm‐helmas,
here‐sceafta hēap?‐‐   Ic eom Hrōðgāres
ār and ombiht.   Ne seah ic el‐þēodige
þus manige men   mōdiglīcran.
Wēn' ic þæt gē for wlenco,   nalles for wræc‐sīðum,
ac for hige‐þrymmum   Hrōðgār sōhton."
Him þā ellen‐rōf   andswarode, [340]
wlanc Wedera lēod   word æfter spræc,
heard under helme:   "Wē synt Higelāces
bēod‐genēatas;   Bēowulf is mīn nama.
Wille ic āsecgan   suna Healfdenes,
mǣrum þēodne   mīn ǣrende,
aldre þīnum,   gif hē ūs geunnan wile,
þæt wē hine swā gōdne   grētan mōton."
Wulfgār maðelode   (þæt wæs Wendla lēod,
wæs his mōd‐sefa   manegum gecȳðed,
wīg and wīs‐dōm):   "ic þæs wine Deniga, [350]
frēan Scildinga   frīnan wille,
bēaga bryttan,   swā þū bēna eart,
þēoden mǣrne   ymb þīnne sīð ;
and þē þā andsware   ǣdre gecȳðan,
þē mē se gōda   āgifan þenceð."
Hwearf þā hrædlīce,   þǣr Hrōðgār sæt,
eald and unhār   mid his eorla gedriht;
ēode ellen‐rōf,   þæt hē for eaxlum gestōd
Deniga frēan,   cūðe hē duguðe þēaw.
Wulfgār maðelode   tō his wine‐drihtne: [360]
"Hēr syndon geferede   feorran cumene
ofer geofenes begang   Gēata lēode:
þone yldestan   ōret‐mecgas
Bēowulf nemnað.   Hȳ bēnan synt,
þæt hīe, þēoden mīn,   wið þē mōton
wordum wrixlan;   nō þū him wearne getēoh,
þīnra gegn‐cwida   glædnian, Hrōðgār!
Hȳ on wīg‐geatwum   wyrðe þinceað
eorla geæhtlan;   hūru se aldor dēah,
sē þǣm heaðo‐rincum   hider wīsade." [370]


Hrōðgār maðelode,   helm Scyldinga:
"Ic hine cūðe   cniht‐wesende.
Wæs his eald‐fæder   Ecgþēo hāten,
þǣm tō hām forgeaf   Hrēðel Gēata
āngan dōhtor;   is his eafora nū
heard hēr cumen,   sōhte holdne wine.
þonne sægdon þæt   sǣ‐līðende,
þā þe gif‐sceattas   Gēata fyredon
þyder tō þance,   þæt hē þrīttiges
manna mægen‐cræft   on his mund‐grīpe [380]
heaðo‐rōf hæbbe.   Hine hālig god
for ār‐stafum   us onsende,
tō West‐Denum,   þæs ic wēn hæbbe,
wið Grendles gryre:   ic þǣm gōdan sceal
for his mōd‐þræce   mādmas bēodan.
Bēo þū on ofeste,   hāt hig in gān,
sēon sibbe‐gedriht   samod ætgædere;
gesaga him ēac wordum,   þæt hīe sint wil‐cuman
Deniga lēodum."   Þā wið duru healle
Wulfgār ēode,   word inne ābēad: [390]
"Ēow hēt secgan   sige‐drihten mīn,
aldor Ēast‐Dena,   þæt hē ēower æðelu can
and gē him syndon   ofer sǣ‐wylmas,
heard‐hicgende,   hider wil‐cuman.
Nū gē mōton gangan   in ēowrum guð‐geatawum,
under here‐grīman,   Hrōðgār gesēon;
lǣtað hilde‐bord   hēr onbidian,
wudu wæl‐sceaftas,   worda geþinges."
Ārās þā se rīca,   ymb hine rinc manig,
þrȳðlīc þegna hēap;   sume þǣr bidon, [400]
heaðo‐rēaf hēoldon,   swā him se hearda bebēad.
Snyredon ætsomne,   þā secg wīsode
under Heorotes hrōf;   hyge‐rōf ēode,
heard under helme,   þæt hē on heoðe gestōd.
Bēowulf maðelode   (on him byrne scān,
searo‐net sēowed   smiðes or‐þancum):
"Wes þū Hrōðgār hāl!   ic eom Higelāces
mǣg and mago‐þegn;   hæbbe ic mǣrða fela
ongunnen on geogoðe.   Mē wearð Grendles þing
on mīnre ēðel‐tyrf   undyrne cūð: [410]
secgað sǣ‐līðend,   þæt þes sele stande,
reced sēlesta,   rinca gehwylcum
īdel and unnyt,   siððan ǣfen‐lēoht
under heofenes hādor   beholen weorðeð.
Þā mē þæt gelǣrdon   lēode mīne,
þā sēlestan,   snotere ceorlas,
þēoden Hrōðgār,   þæt ic þē sōhte;
forþan hīe mægenes cræft   mīnne cūðon:
selfe ofersāwon,   þā ic of searwum cwōm,
fāh from fēondum,   þǣr ic fīfe geband, [420]
ȳðde eotena cyn,   and on ȳðum slōg
niceras nihtes,   nearo‐þearfe drēah,
wræc Wedera nīð   (wēan āhsodon)
forgrand gramum;   and nū wið Grendel sceal,
wið þām āglǣcan,   āna gehegan
þing wið þyrse.   Ic þē nū þā,
brego Beorht‐Dena,   biddan wille,
eodor Scyldinga,   ānre bēne;
þæt þū mē ne forwyrne,   wīgendra hlēo,
frēo‐wine folca,   nū ic þus feorran cōm, [430]
þæt ic mōte āna   and mīnra eorla gedryht,
þes hearda hēap,   Heorot fǣlsian.
Hæbbe ic ēac geāhsod,   þæt se ǣglǣca
for his won‐hȳdum   wǣpna ne rēceð;
ic þæt þonne forhicge,   swā mē Higelāc sīe,
mīn mon‐drihten,   mōdes blīðe,
þæt ic sweord bere   oððe sīdne scyld
geolo‐rand tō gūðe;   ac ic mid grāpe sceal
fōn wið fēonde   and ymb feorh sacan,
lāð wið lāðum;   þǣr gelȳfan sceal [440]
dryhtnes dōme   sē þe hine dēað nimeð.
Wēn' ic þæt hē wille,   gif hē wealdan mōt,
in þǣm gūð‐sele   Gēatena lēode
etan unforhte,   swā hē oft dyde
mægen Hrēðmanna.   Nā þū mīnne þearft
hafalan hȳdan,   ac hē mē habban wile
drēore fāhne,   gif mec dēað nimeð;
byreð blōdig wæl,   byrgean þenceð,
eteð ān‐genga   unmurnlīce,
mearcað mōr‐hopu:   nō þū ymb mīnes ne þearft [450]
līces feorme   leng sorgian.
Onsend Higelāce,   gif mec hild nime,
beadu‐scrūda betst,   þæt mīne brēost wereð,
hrægla sēlest;   þæt is Hrēðlan lāf,
Wēlandes geweorc.   Gǣð ā Wyrd swā hīo scel!"


Hrōðgār maðelode,   helm Scyldinga:
"for were‐fyhtum þū,   wine mīn Bēowulf,
and for ār‐stafum   ūsic sōhtest.
Geslōh þin fæder   fǣhðe mǣste,
wearð hē Heaðolāfe   tō hand‐bonan [460]
mid Wilfingum;   þā hine Wedera cyn
for here‐brōgan   habban ne mihte.
Þanon hē gesōhte   Sūð‐Dena folc
ofer ȳða gewealc,   Ār‐Scyldinga;
þā ic furðum wēold   folce Deninga,
and on geogoðe hēold   gimme‐rīce
hord‐burh hæleða:   þā wæs Heregār dēad,
mīn yldra mǣg   unlifigende,
bearn Healfdenes.   Sē wæs betera þonne ic!
Siððan þā fǣhðe   fēo þingode; [470]
sende ic Wylfingum   ofer wæteres hrycg
ealde mādmas:   hē mē āðas swōr.
Sorh is mē tō secganne   on sefan mīnum
gumena ǣngum,   hwæt mē Grendel hafað
hȳnðo on Heorote   mid his hete‐þancum,
fǣr‐nīða gefremed.   Is mīn flet‐werod,
wīg‐hēap gewanod;   hīe Wyrd forswēop
on Grendles gryre.   God ēaðe mæg
þone dol‐scaðan   dǣda getwǣfan!
Ful oft gebēotedon   bēore druncne [480]
ofer ealo‐wǣge   ōret‐mecgas,
þæt hīe in bēor‐sele   bīdan woldon
Grendles gūðe   mid gryrum ecga.
Þonne wæs þēos medo‐heal   on morgen‐tīd,
driht‐sele drēor‐fāh,   þonne dæg līxte,
eal benc‐þelu   blōde bestȳmed,
heall heoru‐drēore:   āhte ic holdra þȳ lǣs,
dēorre duguðe,   þē þā dēað fornam.
Site nū tō symle   and onsǣl meoto,
sige‐hrēð secgum,   swā þīn sefa hwette!" [490]
Þā wæs Gēat‐mæcgum   geador ætsomne
on bēor‐sele   benc gerȳmed;
þǣr swīð‐ferhðe   sittan ēodon
þrȳðum dealle.   Þegn nytte behēold,
sē þe on handa bær   hroden ealo‐wǣge,
scencte scīr wered.   Scop hwīlum sang
hādor on Heorote;   þǣr wæs hæleða drēam,
duguð unlȳtel   Dena and Wedera.


Unferð maðelode,   Ecglāfes bearn,
þē æt fōtum sæt   frēan Scyldinga; [500]
onband beadu‐rūne   (wæs him Bēowulfes sīð,
mōdges mere‐faran,   micel æf‐þunca,
forþon þe hē ne ūðe,   þæt ǣnig ōðer man
ǣfre mǣrða þon mā   middan‐geardes
gehēdde under heofenum   þonne hē sylfa):
"Eart þū sē Bēowulf,   sē þe wið Brecan wunne,
on sīdne sǣ   ymb sund flite,
þǣr git for wlence   wada cunnedon
and for dol‐gilpe   on dēop wæter
aldrum nēðdon?   Nē inc ǣnig mon, [510]
nē lēof nē lāð,   belēan mihte
sorh‐fullne sīð;   þā git on sund rēon,
þǣr git ēagor‐strēam   earmum þehton,
mǣton mere‐strǣta,   mundum brugdon,
glidon ofer gār‐secg;   geofon ȳðum wēol,
wintres wylme.   Git on wæteres ǣht
seofon niht swuncon;   hē þē æt sunde oferflāt,
hæfde māre mægen.   Þā hine on morgen‐tīd
on Heaðo‐rǣmas   holm up ætbær,
þonon hē gesōhte   swǣsne ēðel [520]
lēof his lēodum   lond Brondinga,
freoðo‐burh fægere,   þǣr hē folc āhte,
burg and bēagas.   Bēot eal wið þē
sunu Bēanstānes   sōðe gelǣste.
Þonne wēne ic tō þē   wyrsan geþinges,
þēah þū heaðo‐rǣsa   gehwǣr dohte,
grimre gūðe,   gif þū Grendles dearst
niht‐longne fyrst   nēan bīdan!"
Bēowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"Hwæt! þū worn fela,   wine mīn Unferð, [530]
bēore druncen   ymb Brecan sprǣce,
sægdest from his sīðe!   Sōð ic talige,
þæt ic mere‐strengo   māran āhte,
earfeðo on ȳðum,   þonne ǣnig ōðer man.
Wit þæt gecwǣdon   cniht‐wesende
and gebēotedon   (wǣron bēgen þā gīt
on geogoð‐feore)   þæt wit on gār‐secg ūt
aldrum nēðdon;   and þæt geæfndon swā.
Hæfdon swurd nacod,   þā wit on sund rēon,
heard on handa,   wit unc wið hron‐fixas [540]
werian þōhton.   Nō hē wiht fram mē
flōd‐ȳðum feor   flēotan meahte,
hraðor on holme,   nō ic fram him wolde.
Þā wit ætsomne   on sǣ wǣron
fīf nihta fyrst,   oð þæt unc flōd tōdrāf,
wado weallende,   wedera cealdost,
nīpende niht   and norðan wind
heaðo‐grim andhwearf;   hrēo wǣron ȳða,
Wæs mere‐fixa   mōd onhrēred:
þǣr mē wið lāðum   līc‐syrce mīn, [550]
heard hond‐locen,   helpe gefremede;
beado‐hrægl brōden   on brēostum læg,
golde gegyrwed.   Mē tō grunde tēah
fāh fēond‐scaða,   fæste hæfde
grim on grāpe:   hwæðre mē gyfeðe wearð,
þæt ic āglǣcan   orde gerǣhte,
hilde‐bille;   heaðo‐rǣs fornam
mihtig mere‐dēor   þurh mīne hand.


Swā mec gelōme   lāð‐getēonan
þrēatedon þearle.   Ic him þēnode [560]
dēoran sweorde,   swā hit gedēfe wæs;
næs hīe þǣre fylle   gefēan hæfdon,
mān‐fordǣdlan,   þæt hīe mē þēgon,
symbel ymb‐sǣton   sǣ‐grunde nēah,
ac on mergenne   mēcum wunde
be ȳð‐lāfe   uppe lǣgon,
sweordum āswefede,   þæt syððan nā
ymb brontne ford   brim‐līðende
lāde ne letton.   Lēoht ēastan cōm,
beorht bēacen godes;   brimu swaðredon, [570]
þæt ic sǣ‐næssas   gesēon mihte,
windige weallas.   Wyrd oft nereð
unfǣgne eorl,   ðonne his ellen dēah!
Hwæðere mē gesǣlde,   þæt ic mid sweorde ofslōh
niceras nigene.   Nō ic on niht gefrægn
under heofones hwealf   heardran feohtan,
nē on ēg‐strēamum   earmran mannan;
hwæðere ic fāra feng   fēore gedīgde,
siðes wērig.   Þā mec sǣ oðbær,
flōd æfter faroðe,   on Finna land, [580]
wadu weallendu.   Nō ic wiht fram þē
swylcra searo‐nīða   secgan hȳrde,
billa brōgan:   Breca nǣfre gīt
æt heaðo‐lāce,   nē gehwæðer incer
swā dēorlīce   dǣd gefremede
fāgum sweordum   . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .   nō ic þæs gylpe;
þēah þū þīnum brōðrum   tō banan wurde,
hēafod‐mǣgum;   þæs þū in helle scealt
werhðo drēogan,   þēah þīn wit duge,
Secge ic þē tō sōðe,   sunu Ecglāfes, [590]
þæt nǣfre Grendel swā fela   gryra gefremede,
atol ǣglǣca   ealdre þīnum,
hȳnðo on Heorote,   gif þīn hige wǣre,
sefa swā searo‐grim,   swā þū self talast.
Ac hē hafað onfunden,   þæt hē þā fǣhðe ne þearf,
atole ecg‐þræce   ēower lēode
swīðe onsittan,   Sige‐Scyldinga;
nymeð nȳd‐bāde,   nǣnegum ārað
lēode Deniga,   ac hē on lust wīgeð,
swefeð ond sendeð,   secce ne wēneð [600]
tō Gār‐Denum.   Ac him Gēata sceal
eafoð and ellen   ungeāra nū
gūðe gebēodan.   Gǣð eft sē þe mōt
tō medo mōdig,   siððan morgen‐lēoht
ofer ylda bearn   ōðres dōgores,
sunne swegl‐wered   sūðan scīneð!"
Þā wæs on sālum   sinces brytta
gamol‐feax and gūð‐rōf,   gēoce gelȳfde
brego Beorht‐Dena;   gehȳrde on Bēowulfe
folces hyrde   fæst‐rǣdne geþōht. [610]
Þǣr wæs hæleða hleahtor;   hlyn swynsode,
word wǣron wynsume.   Ēode Wealhþēow forð,
cwēn Hrōðgāres,   cynna gemyndig,
grētte gold‐hroden   guman on healle,
and þā frēolīc wīf   ful gesealde
ǣrest Ēast‐Dena   ēðel‐wearde,
bæd hine blīðne   æt þǣre bēor‐þege,
lēodum lēofne;   hē on lust geþeah
symbel and sele‐ful,   sige‐rōf kyning.
Ymb‐ēode þā   ides Helminga [620]
duguðe and geogoðe   dǣl ǣghwylcne;
sinc‐fato sealde,   oð þæt sǣl ālamp,
þæt hīo Bēowulfe,   bēag‐hroden cwēn,
mōde geþungen,   medo‐ful ætbær;
grētte Gēata lēod,   gode þancode
wīs‐fæst wordum,   þæs þe hire se willa gelamp,
þæt hēo on ǣnigne   eorl gelȳfde
fyrena frōfre.   Hē þæt ful geþeah,
wæl‐rēow wiga   æt Wealhþēon,
and þā gyddode   gūðe gefȳsed, [630]
Bēowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"Ic þæt hogode,   þā ic on holm gestāh,
sǣ‐bāt gesæt   mid mīnra secga gedriht,
þæt ic ānunga   ēowra lēoda
willan geworhte,   oððe on wæl crunge,
fēond‐grāpum fæst.   Ic gefremman sceal
eorlīc ellen,   oððe ende‐dæg
on þisse meodu‐healle   mīnne gebīdan."
Þām wīfe þā word   wēl līcodon,
gilp‐cwide Gēates;   ēode gold‐hroden [640]
frēolīcu folc‐cwēn   tō hire frēan sittan.
Þā wæs eft swā ǣr   inne on healle
þrȳð‐word sprecen,   þēod on sǣlum,
sige‐folca swēg,   oð þæt semninga
sunu Healfdenes   sēcean wolde
ǣfen‐ræste;   wiste æt þǣm āhlǣcan
tō þǣm hēah‐sele   hilde geþinged,
siððan hīe sunnan lēoht   gesēon ne meahton,
oððe nīpende   niht ofer ealle,
scadu‐helma gesceapu   scrīðan cwōman, [650]
wan under wolcnum.   Werod eall ārās.
Grētte þā giddum   guma ōðerne,
Hrōðgār Bēowulf,   and him hǣl ābēad,
wīn‐ærnes geweald   and þæt word ācwæð:
"Nǣfre ic ǣnegum men   ǣr ālȳfde,
siððan ic hond and rond   hebban mihte,
þrȳð‐ærn Dena   būton þē nū þā.
Hafa nū and geheald   hūsa sēlest;
gemyne mǣrðo,   mægen‐ellen cȳð,
waca wið wrāðum!   Ne bið þē wilna gād, [660]
gif þū þæt ellen‐weorc   aldre gedīgest."


Þā him Hrōðgār gewāt   mid his hæleða gedryht,
eodur Scyldinga   ūt of healle;
wolde wīg‐fruma   Wealhþēo sēcan,
cwēn tō gebeddan   Hæfde kyninga wuldor
Grendle tō‐gēanes,   swā guman gefrungon,
sele‐weard āseted,   sundor‐nytte behēold
ymb aldor Dena,   eoton weard ābēad;
hūru Gēata lēod   georne truwode
mōdgan mægnes,   metodes hyldo. [670]
Þā hē him of dyde   īsern‐byrnan,
helm of hafelan,   sealde his hyrsted sweord,
īrena cyst   ombiht‐þegne,
and gehealdan hēt   hilde‐geatwe.
Gespræc þā se gōda   gylp‐worda sum
Bēowulf Gēata,   ǣr hē on bed stige:
"Nō ic mē an here‐wǣsmum   hnāgran talige
gūð‐geweorca,   þonne Grendel hine;
forþan ic hine sweorde   swebban nelle,
aldre benēotan,   þēah ic eal mǣge. [680]
Nāt hē þāra gōda,   þæt hē mē on‐gēan slēa,
rand gehēawe,   þēah þe hē rōf sīe
nīð‐geweorca;   ac wit on niht sculon
secge ofersittan,   gif hē gesēcean dear
wīg ofer wǣpen,   and siððan wītig god
on swā hwæðere hond   hālig dryhten
mǣrðo dēme,   swā him gemet þince."
Hylde hine þā heaðo‐dēor,   hlēor‐bolster onfēng
eorles andwlitan;   and hine ymb monig
snellīc sǣ‐rinc   sele‐reste gebēah. [690]
Nǣnig heora þōhte   þæt hē þanon scolde
eft eard‐lufan   ǣfre gesēcean,
folc oððe frēo‐burh,   þǣr hē āfēded wæs,
ac hīe hæfdon gefrūnen,   þæt hīe ǣr tō fela micles
in þǣm wīn‐sele   wæl‐dēað fornam,
Denigea lēode.   Ac him dryhten forgeaf
wīg‐spēda gewiofu,   Wedera lēodum
frōfor and fultum,   þæt hīe fēond heora
þurh ānes cræft   ealle ofercōmon,
selfes mihtum:   sōð is gecȳðed, [700]
þæt mihtig god   manna cynnes
wēold wīde‐ferhð.   Cōm on wanre niht
scrīðan sceadu‐genga.   Scēotend swǣfon,
þā þæt horn‐reced   healdan scoldon,
ealle būton ānum.   Þæt wæs yldum cūð,
þæt hīe ne mōste,   þā metod nolde,
se syn‐scaða   under sceadu bregdan;
ac hē wæccende   wrāðum on andan
bād bolgen‐mōd   beadwa geþinges.


Þā cōm of mōre   under mist‐hleoðum [710]
Grendel gongan,   godes yrre bær.
Mynte se mān‐scaða   manna cynnes
sumne besyrwan   in sele þām hēan;
wōd under wolcnum,   tō þæs þe hē wīn‐reced,
gold‐sele gumena,   gearwost wisse
fǣttum fāhne.   Ne wæs þæt forma sīð,
þæt hē Hrōðgāres   hām gesōhte:
nǣfre hē on aldor‐dagum   ǣr nē siððan
heardran hæle,   heal‐þegnas fand!
Cōm þā tō recede   rinc sīðian [720]
drēamum bedǣled.   Duru sōna onarn
fȳr‐bendum fæst,   syððan hē hire folmum hrān;
onbræd þā bealo‐hȳdig,   þā hē ābolgen wæs,
recedes mūðan.   Raðe æfter þon
on fāgne flōr   fēond treddode,
ēode yrre‐mōd;   him of ēagum stōd
līge gelīcost   lēoht unfǣger.
Geseah hē in recede   rinca manige,
swefan sibbe‐gedriht   samod ætgædere,
mago‐rinca hēap:   þā his mōd āhlōg, [730]
mynte þæt hē gedǣlde,   ǣr þon dæg cwōme,
atol āglǣca,   ānra gehwylces
līf wið līce,   þā him ālumpen wæs
wist‐fylle wēn.   Ne wæs þæt wyrd þā gēn,
þæt hē mā mōste   manna cynnes
þicgean ofer þā niht.   Þrȳð‐swȳð behēold
mǣg Higelāces,   hū se mān‐scaða
under fǣr‐gripum   gefaran wolde.
Nē þæt se āglǣca   yldan þōhte,
ac hē gefēng hraðe   forman siðe [740]
slǣpendne rinc,   slāt unwearnum,
bāt bān‐locan,   blōd ēdrum dranc,
syn‐snǣdum swealh:   sōna hæfde
unlyfigendes   eal gefeormod
fēt and folma.   Forð nēar ætstōp,
nam þā mid handa   hige‐þīhtigne
rinc on ræste;   rǣhte ongēan
fēond mid folme,   hē onfēng hraðe
inwit‐þancum   and wið earm gesæt.
Sōna þæt onfunde   fyrena hyrde, [750]
þæt hē ne mētte   middan‐geardes
eorðan scēata   on elran men
mund‐gripe māran:   hē on mōde wearð
forht on ferhðe,   nō þȳ ǣr fram meahte;
hyge wæs him hin‐fūs,   wolde on heolster flēon,
sēcan dēofla gedræg:   ne wæs his drohtoð þǣr,
swylce hē on ealder‐dagum   ǣr gemētte.
Gemunde þā se gōda   mǣg Higelāces
ǣfen‐sprǣce,   up‐lang āstōd
and him fæste wiðfēng.   Fingras burston; [760]
eoten wæs ūt‐weard,   eorl furður stōp.
Mynte se mǣra,   þǣr hē meahte swā,
wīdre gewindan   and on weg þanon
flēon on fen‐hopu;   wiste his fingra geweald
on grames grāpum.   Þæt wæs gēocor sīð,
þæt se hearm‐scaða   tō Heorute ātēah:
dryht‐sele dynede,   Denum eallum wearð,
ceaster‐būendum,   cēnra gehwylcum,
eorlum ealu‐scerwen.   Yrre wǣron bēgen,
rēðe rēn‐weardas.   Reced hlynsode; [770]
þā wæs wundor micel,   þæt se wīn‐sele
wiðhæfde heaðo‐dēorum,   þæt hē on hrūsan ne fēol,
fǣger fold‐bold;   ac hē þæs fæste wæs
innan and ūtan   īren‐bendum
searo‐þoncum besmiðod.   Þǣr fram sylle ābēag
medu‐benc monig   mīne gefrǣge,
golde geregnad,   þǣr þā graman wunnon;
þæs ne wēndon ǣr   witan Scyldinga,
þæt hit ā mid gemete   manna ǣnig
betlīc and bān‐fāg   tōbrecan meahte, [780]
listum tōlūcan,   nymðe līges fæðm
swulge on swaðule.   Swēg up āstāg
nīwe geneahhe;   Norð‐Denum stōd
atelīc egesa   ānra gehwylcum
þāra þe of wealle   wōp gehȳrdon,
gryre‐lēoð galan   godes andsacan,
sige‐lēasne sang,   sār wānigean
helle hæftan.   Hēold hine tō fæste
sē þe manna wæs   mægene strengest
on þǣm dæge   þysses līfes. [790]


Nolde eorla hlēo   ǣnige þinga
þone cwealm‐cuman   cwicne forlǣtan,
nē his līf‐dagas   lēoda ǣnigum
nytte tealde.   Þǣr genehost brægd
eorl Bēowulfes   ealde lāfe,
wolde frēa‐drihtnes   feorh ealgian
mǣres þēodnes,   þǣr hīe meahton swā;
hīe þæt ne wiston,   þā hīe gewin drugon,
heard‐hicgende   hilde‐mecgas,
and on healfa gehwone   hēawan þōhton, [800]
sāwle sēcan,   þæt þone syn‐scaðan
ǣnig ofer eorðan   īrenna cyst,
gūð‐billa nān   grētan nolde;
ac hē sige‐wǣpnum   forsworen hæfde,
ecga gehwylcre.   Scolde his aldor‐gedāl
on þǣm dæge   þysses līfes
earmlīc wurðan   and se ellor‐gāst
on fēonda geweald   feor sīðian.
Þā þæt onfunde   sē þe fela ǣror
mōdes myrðe   manna cynne [810]
fyrene gefremede   (hē wæs fāg wið god)
þæt him se līc‐homa   lǣstan nolde,
ac hine se mōdega   mǣg Hygelāces
hæfde be honda;   wæs gehwæðer ōðrum
lifigende lāð.   Līc‐sār gebād
atol ǣglǣca,   him on eaxle wearð
syn‐dolh sweotol,   seonowe onsprungon
burston bān‐locan.   Bēowulfe wearð
gūð‐hrēð gyfeðe;   scolde Grendel þonan
feorh‐sēoc flēon   under fen‐hleoðu, [820]
sēcean wyn‐lēas wīc;   wiste þē geornor,
þæt his aldres wæs   ende gegongen,
dōgera dæg‐rīm.   Denum eallum wearð
æfter þām wæl‐rǣse   willa gelumpen.
Hæfde þā gefǣlsod,   sē þe ǣr feorran cōm,
snotor and swȳð‐ferhð   sele Hrōðgāres,
genered wið nīðe.   Niht‐weorce gefeh,
ellen‐mǣrðum;   hæfde Ēast‐Denum
Gēat‐mecga lēod   gilp gelǣsted,
swylce oncȳððe   ealle gebētte, [830]
inwid‐sorge,   þē hīe ǣr drugon
and for þrēa‐nȳdum   þolian scoldon,
torn unlȳtel.   Þæt wæs tācen sweotol,
syððan hilde‐dēor   hond ālegde,
earm and eaxle   (þǣr wæs eal geador
Grendles grāpe)   under gēapne hrōf.


Þā wæs on morgen   mīne gefrǣge
ymb þā gif‐healle   gūð‐rinc monig:
fērdon folc‐togan   feorran and nēan
geond wīd‐wegas   wundor scēawian, [840]
lāðes lāstas.   Nō his līf‐gedāl
sārlīc þūhte   secga ǣnegum,
þāra þe tīr‐lēases   trode scēawode,
hū hē wērig‐mōd   on weg þanon,
nīða ofercumen,   on nicera mere
fǣge and geflȳmed   feorh‐lāstas bær.
Þǣr wæs on blōde   brim weallende,
atol ȳða geswing   eal gemenged
hātan heolfre,   heoro‐drēore wēol;
dēað‐fǣge dēog,   siððan drēama lēas [850]
in fen‐freoðo   feorh ālegde
hǣðene sāwle,   þǣr him hel onfēng.
Þanon eft gewiton   eald‐gesīðas,
swylce geong manig   of gomen‐wāðe,
fram mere mōdge,   mēarum rīdan,
beornas on blancum.   Þǣr wæs Bēowulfes
mǣrðo mǣned;   monig oft gecwæð,
þætte sūð nē norð   be sǣm tweonum
ofer eormen‐grund   ōðer nǣnig
under swegles begong   sēlra nǣre [860]
rond‐hæbbendra,   rīces wyrðra.
Nē hīe hūru wine‐drihten   wiht ne lōgon,
glædne Hrōðgār,   ac þæt wæs gōd cyning.
Hwīlum heaðo‐rōfe   hlēapan lēton,
on geflīt faran   fealwe mēaras,
þǣr him fold‐wegas   fægere þūhton,
cystum cūðe;   hwīlum cyninges þegn,
guma gilp‐hlæden   gidda gemyndig,
sē þe eal‐fela   eald‐gesegena
worn gemunde,   word ōðer fand [870]
sōðe gebunden:   secg eft ongan
sīð Bēowulfes   snyttrum styrian
and on spēd wrecan   spel gerāde,
wordum wrixlan,   wēl‐hwylc gecwæð,
þæt hē fram Sigemunde   secgan hȳrde,
ellen‐dǣdum,   uncūðes fela,
Wælsinges gewin,   wīde sīðas,
þāra þe gumena bearn   gearwe ne wiston,
fǣhðe and fyrene,   būton Fitela mid hine,
þonne hē swylces hwæt   secgan wolde [880]
ēam his nefan,   swā hīe ā wǣron
æt nīða gehwām   nȳd‐gesteallan:
hæfdon eal‐fela   eotena cynnes
sweordum gesǣged.   Sigemunde gesprong
æfter dēað‐dæge   dōm unlȳtel,
syððan wīges heard   wyrm ācwealde,
hordes hyrde;   hē under hārne stān,
æðelinges bearn,   āna genēðde
frēcne dǣde;   ne wæs him Fitela mid.
Hwæðre him gesǣlde,   þæt þæt swurd þurhwōd [890]
wrǣtlīcne wyrm,   þæt hit on wealle ætstōd,
dryhtlīc īren;   draca morðre swealt.
Hæfde āglǣca   elne gegongen,
þæt hē bēah‐hordes   brūcan mōste
selfes dōme:   sǣ‐bāt gehlōd,
bær on bearm scipes   beorhte frætwa,
Wælses eafera;   wyrm hāt gemealt.
Sē wæs wreccena   wīde mǣrost
ofer wer‐þēode,   wīgendra hlēo
ellen‐dǣdum:   hē þæs āron þāh. [900]
Siððan Heremōdes   hild sweðrode
eafoð and ellen.   Hē mid eotenum wearð
on fēonda geweald   forð forlācen,
snūde forsended.   Hine sorh‐wylmas
lemede tō lange,   hē his lēodum wearð,
eallum æðelingum   tō aldor‐ceare;
swylce oft bemearn   ǣrran mǣlum
swīð‐ferhðes sīð   snotor ceorl monig,
sē þe him bealwa tō   bōte gelȳfde,
þæt þæt þēodnes bearn   geþēon scolde, [910]
fæder‐æðelum onfōn,   folc gehealdan,
hord and hlēo‐burh,   hæleða rīce,
ēðel Scyldinga.   Hē þǣr eallum wearð,
mǣg Higelāces   manna cynne,
frēondum gefægra;   hine fyren onwōd.
Hwīlum flītende   fealwe strǣte
mēarum mǣton.   Þā wæs morgen‐lēoht
scofen and scynded.   Ēode scealc monig
swīð‐hicgende   tō sele þām hēan,
searo‐wundor sēon,   swylce self cyning, [920]
of brȳd‐būre   bēah‐horda weard,
tryddode tīr‐fæst   getrume micle,
cystum gecȳðed,   and his cwēn mid him
medo‐stīg gemæt   mægða hōse.


Hrōðgār maðelode   (hē tō healle gēong,
stōd on stapole,   geseah stēapne hrōf
golde fāhne   and Grendles hond):
"þisse ansȳne   al‐wealdan þanc
lungre gelimpe!   Fela ic lāðes gebād,
grynna æt Grendle:   ā mæg god wyrcan [930]
wunder æfter wundre,   wuldres hyrde!
Þæt wæs ungeāra,   þæt ic ǣnigra mē
wēana ne wēnde   tō wīdan feore
bōte gebīdan   þonne blōde fāh
hūsa sēlest   heoro‐drēorig stōd;
wēa wīd‐scofen   witena gehwylcne
þāra þe ne wēndon,   þæt hīe wīde‐ferhð
lēoda land‐geweorc   lāðum beweredon
scuccum and scinnum.   Nū scealc hafað
þurh drihtnes miht   dǣd gefremede, [940]
þē wē ealle   ǣr ne meahton
snyttrum besyrwan.   Hwæt! þæt secgan mæg
efne swā hwylc mægða,   swā þone magan cende
æfter gum‐cynnum,   gyf hēo gȳt lyfað,
þæt hyre eald‐metod   ēste wǣre
bearn‐gebyrdo.   Nū ic Bēowulf
þec, secg betsta,   mē for sunu wylle
frēogan on ferhðe;   heald forð tela
nīwe sibbe.   Ne bið þē nǣnigra gād
worolde wilna,   þē ic geweald hæbbe. [950]
Ful‐oft ic for lǣssan   lēan teohhode
hord‐weorðunge   hnāhran rince,
sǣmran æt sæcce.   Þū þē self hafast
dǣdum gefremed,   þæt þīn dōm lyfað
āwa tō aldre.   Alwalda þec
gōde forgylde,   swā hē nū gȳt dyde!"
Bēowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"Wē þæt ellen‐weorc   ēstum miclum,
feohtan fremedon,   frēcne genēðdon
eafoð uncūðes;   ūðe ic swīðor, [960]
þæt þū hinc selfne   gesēon mōste,
fēond on frætewum   fyl‐wērigne!
Ic hine hrædlīce   heardan clammum
on wæl‐bedde   wrīðan þōhte,
þæt hē for mund‐gripe   mīnum scolde
licgean līf‐bysig,   būtan his līc swice;
ic hine ne mihte,   þā metod nolde,
ganges getwǣman,   nō ic him þæs georne ætfealh,
feorh‐genīðlan;   wæs tō fore‐mihtig
fēond on fēðe.   Hwæðere hē his folme forlēt [970]
tō līf‐wraðe   lāst weardian,
earm and eaxle;   nō þǣr ǣnige swā þēah
fēa‐sceaft guma   frōfre gebohte:
nō þȳ leng leofað   lāð‐getēona
synnum geswenced,   ac hyne sār hafað
in nȳd‐gripe   nearwe befongen,
balwon bendum:   þǣr ābīdan sceal
maga māne fāh   miclan dōmes,
hū him scīr metod   scrīfan wille."
Þā wæs swīgra secg,   sunu Ecglāfes, [980]
on gylp‐sprǣce   gūð‐geweorca,
siððan æðelingas   eorles cræfte
ofer hēahne hrōf   hand scēawedon,
fēondes fingras,   foran ǣghwylc;
wæs stēde nægla gehwylc,   stȳle gelīcost,
hǣðenes hand‐sporu   hilde‐rinces
egle unhēoru;   ǣg‐hwylc gecwæð,
þæt him heardra nān   hrīnan wolde
īren ǣr‐gōd,   þæt þæs āhlǣcan
blōdge beadu‐folme   onberan wolde. [990]


Þā wæs hāten hreðe   Heort innan‐weard
folmum gefrætwod:   fela þǣra wæs
wera and wīfa,   þē þæt wīn‐reced,
gest‐sele gyredon.   Gold‐fāg scinon
web æfter wāgum,   wundor‐sīona fela
secga gehwylcum   þāra þe on swylc starað
Wæs þæt beorhte bold   tōbrocen swīðe
eal inne‐weard   īren‐bendum fæst,
heorras tōhlidene;   hrōf āna genæs
ealles ansund,   þā se āglǣca [1000]
fyren‐dǣdum fāg   on flēam gewand,
aldres or‐wēna.   Nō þæt ȳðe byð
tō beflēonne   (fremme sē þe wille!)
ac gesacan sceal   sāwl‐berendra
nȳde genȳdde   niðða bearna
grund‐būendra   gearwe stōwe,
þǣr his līc‐homa   leger‐bedde fæst
swefeð æfter symle.   Þā wæs sǣl and mǣl,
þæt tō healle gang   Healfdenes sunu;
wolde self cyning   symbel þicgan. [1010]
Ne gefrægen ic þā mǣgðe   māran weorode
ymb hyra sinc‐gyfan   sēl gebǣran.
Bugon þā tō bence   blǣd‐āgende,
fylle gefǣgon.   Fægere geþǣgon
medo‐ful manig   māgas þāra
swīð‐hicgende   on sele þām hēan,
Hrōðgār and Hrōðulf.   Heorot innan wæs
frēondum āfylled;   nalles fācen‐stafas
Þēod‐Scyldingas   þenden fremedon.
Forgeaf þā Bēowulfe   bearn Healfdenes [1020]
segen gyldenne   sigores tō lēane,
hroden hilte‐cumbor,   helm and byrnan;
mǣre māððum‐sweord   manige gesāwon
beforan beorn beran.   Bēowulf geþah
ful on flette;   nō hē þǣre feoh‐gyfte
for scēotendum   scamigan þorfte,
ne gefrægn ic frēondlīcor   fēower mādmas
golde gegyrede   gum‐manna fela
in ealo‐bence   ōðrum gesellan.
Ymb þæs helmes hrōf   hēafod‐beorge [1030]
wīrum bewunden   walan ūtan hēold,
þæt him fēla lāfe   frēcne ne meahton
scūr‐heard sceððan,   þonne scyld‐freca
ongēan gramum   gangan scolde.
Heht þā eorla hlēo   eahta mēaras,
fǣted‐hlēore,   on flet tēon
in under eoderas;   þāra ānum stōd
sadol searwum fāh   since gewurðad,
þæt wæs hilde‐setl   hēah‐cyninges,
þonne sweorda gelāc   sunu Healfdenes [1040]
efnan wolde;   nǣfre on ōre læg
wīd‐cūðes wīg,   þonne walu fēollon.
And þā Bēowulfe   bēga gehwæðres
eodor Ingwina   onweald getēah,
wicga and wǣpna;   hēt hine wēl brūcan.
Swā manlīce   mǣre þēoden,
hord‐weard hæleða   heaðo‐rǣsas geald
mēarum and mādmum,   swā hȳ nǣfre man lyhð,
sē þe secgan wile   sōð æfter rihte.


Þā gȳt ǣghwylcum   eorla drihten [1050]
þāra þe mid Bēowulfe   brim‐lāde tēah,
on þǣre medu‐bence   māððum gesealde,
yrfe‐lāfe,   and þone ǣnne heht
golde forgyldan,   þone þe Grendel ǣr
māne ācwealde,   swā hē hyra mā wolde,
nefne him wītig god   wyrd forstōde
and þæs mannes mōd:   metod eallum wēold
gumena cynnes,   swā hē nū gīt dēð;
forþan bið andgit   ǣghwǣr sēlest,
ferhðes fore‐þanc!   fela sceal gebīdan [1060]
lēofes and lāðes,   sē þe longe hēr
on þyssum win‐dagum   worolde brūceð.
Þǣr wæs sang and swēg   samod ætgædere
fore Healfdenes   hilde‐wīsan,
gomen‐wudu grēted,   gid oft wrecen,
þonne heal‐gamen   Hrōðgāres scop
æfter medo‐bence   mǣnan scolde
Finnes eaferum,   þā hīe se fǣr begeat:
"Hæleð Healfdenes,   Hnæf Scyldinga,
in wæle   feallan scolde. [1070]
Nē hūru Hildeburh   herian þorfte
Eotena trēowe:   unsynnum wearð
beloren lēofum   æt þām lind‐plegan
bearnum and brōðrum;   hīe on gebyrd hruron
gāre wunde;   þæt wæs geōmuru ides.
Nalles hōlinga   Hōces dōhtor
meotod‐sceaft bemearn,   syððan morgen cōm,
þā hēo under swegle   gesēon meahte
morðor‐bealo māga,   þǣr hēo ǣr mǣste hēold
worolde wynne:   wīg ealle fornam [1080]
Finnes þegnas,   nemne fēaum ānum,
þæt hē ne mehte   on þǣm meðel‐stede
wīg Hengeste   wiht gefeohtan,
nē þā wēa‐lāfe   wīge forþringan
þōodnes þegne;    ac hig him geþingo budon,
þæt hīe him ōðer flet   eal gerȳmdon,
healle and hēah‐setl,   þæt hīe healfre geweald
wið Eotena bearn   āgan mōston,
and æt feoh‐gyftum   Folcwaldan sunu
dōgra gehwylce   Dene weorðode, [1090]
Hengestes hēap   hringum wenede,
efne swā swīðe   sinc‐gestrēonum
fǣttan goldes,   swā hē Frēsena cyn
on bēor‐sele   byldan wolde.
Þā hīe getruwedon   on twā healfa
fæste frioðu‐wǣre;   Fin Hengeste
elne unflitme   āðum benemde,
þæt hē þā wēa‐lāfe   weotena dōme
ārum heolde,   þæt þǣr ǣnig mon
wordum nē worcum   wǣre ne brǣce, [1100]
nē þurh inwit‐searo   ǣfre gemǣnden,
þēah hīe hira bēag‐gyfan   banan folgedon
þēoden‐lēase,   þā him swā geþearfod wæs:
gyf þonne Frȳsna hwylc   frēcnan sprǣce
þæs morðor‐hetes   myndgiend wǣre,
þonne hit sweordes ecg   syððan scolde.
Āð wæs geæfned   and icge gold
āhæfen of horde.   Here‐Scyldinga
betst beado‐rinca   wæs on bǣl gearu;
æt þǣm āde wæs   ēð‐gesȳne [1110]
swāt‐fāh syrce,   swȳn eal‐gylden,
eofer īren‐heard,   æðeling manig
wundum āwyrded;   sume on wæle crungon.
Hēt þā Hildeburh   æt Hnæfes āde
hire selfre sunu   sweoloðe befæstan,
bān‐fatu bærnan   and on bǣl dōn.
Earme on eaxle   ides gnornode,
geōmrode giddum;   gūð‐rinc āstāh.
Wand tō wolcnum   wæl‐fȳra mǣst,
hlynode for hlāwe;   hafelan multon, [1120]
ben‐geato burston,   þonne blōd ætspranc
lāð‐bite līces.   Līg ealle forswealg,
gǣsta gīfrost,   þāra þe þǣr gūð fornam
bēga folces;   wæs hira blǣd scacen.


"Gewiton him þā wīgend   wīca nēosian,
frēondum befeallen   Frȳsland gesēon,
hāmas and hēa‐burh.   Hengest þā gȳt
wæl‐fāgne winter   wunode mid Finne
ealles unhlitme;   eard gemunde,
þēah þe hē ne meahte   on mere drīfan [1130]
hringed‐stefnan;   holm storme wēol,
won wið winde;   winter ȳðe belēac
īs‐gebinde   oð þæt ōðer cōm
geār in geardas,   swā nū gȳt dēð,
þā þe syngales   sēle bewitiað,
wuldor‐torhtan weder.   Þā wæs winter scacen,
fæger foldan bearm;   fundode wrecca,
gist of geardum;   hē tō gyrn‐wræce
swīðor þōhte,   þonne tō sǣ‐lāde,
gif hē torn‐gemōt   þurhtēon mihte, [1140]
þæt hē Eotena bearn   inne gemunde.
Swā hē ne forwyrnde   worold‐rǣdenne,
þonne him Hūnlāfing   hilde‐lēoman,
billa sēlest,   on bearm dyde:
þæs wǣron mid Eotenum   ecge cūðe.
Swylce ferhð‐frecan   Fin eft begeat
sweord‐bealo slīðen   æt his selfes hām,
siððan grimne gripe   Gūðlaf ond Ōslāf
æfter sǣ‐siðe   sorge mǣndon,
ætwiton wēana dǣl;   ne meahte wǣfre mōd [1150]
forhabban in hreðre.   Þā wæs heal hroden
fēonda fēorum,   swilce Fin slægen,
cyning on corðre,   and sēo cwēn numen.
Scēotend Scyldinga   tō scypum feredon
eal in‐gesteald   eorð‐cyninges,
swylce hīe æt Finnes hām   findan meahton
sigla searo‐gimma.   Hīe on sǣ‐lāde
drihtlīce wīf   tō Denum feredon,
lǣddon tō lēodum."   Lēoð wæs āsungen,
glēo‐mannes gyd.   Gamen eft āstāh, [1160]
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 gȳt wæs hiera sib ætgædere
ǣghwylc ōðrum trȳwe.   Swylce þǣr Unferð þyle
æt fōtum sæt frēan Scyldinga:   gehwylc hiora his ferhðe trēowde,
þæt hē hæfde mōd micel,   þēah þe hē his māgum nǣre
ārfæst æt ecga gelācum.   Spræc þā ides Scyldinga:
"Onfōh þissum fulle,   frēo‐drihten mīn,
sinces brytta;   þū on sǣlum wes, [1170]
gold‐wine gumena,   and tō Gēatum sprec
mildum wordum!   Swā sceal man dōn.
Bēo wið Gēatas glæd,   geofena gemyndig;
nēan and feorran   þū nū friðu hafast.
Mē man sægde,   þæt þū þē for sunu wolde
here‐rinc habban.   Heorot is gefǣlsod,
bēah‐sele beorhta;   brūc þenden þū mōte
manigra mēda   and þīnum māgum lǣf
folc and rīce,   þonne þū forð scyle
metod‐sceaft sēon.   Ic mīnne can [1180]
glædne Hrōðulf,   þæt hē þā geogoðe wile
ārum healdan,   gyf þū ǣr þonne hē,
wine Scildinga,   worold oflǣtest;
wēne ic, þæt hē mid gōde   gyldan wille
uncran eaferan,   gif hē þæt eal gemon,
hwæt wit tō willan   and tō worð‐myndum
umbor wesendum ǣr   ārna gefremedon."
Hwearf þā bī bence,   þǣr hyre byre wǣron,
Hrēðrīc and Hrōðmund,   and hæleða bearn,
giogoð ætgædere;   þǣr se gōda sæt [1190]
Bēowulf Gēata   be þǣm gebrōðrum twǣm.


Him wæs ful boren   and frēond‐laðu
wordum bewægned   and wunden gold
ēstum geēawed,   earm‐hrēade twā,
hrægl and hringas,   heals‐bēaga mǣst
þāra þe ic on foldan   gefrægen hæbbe.
Nǣnigne ic under swegle   sēlran hȳrde
hord‐māððum hæleða,   syððan Hāma ætwæg
tō þǣre byrhtan byrig   Brōsinga mene,
sigle and sinc‐fæt,   searo‐nīðas fealh [1200]
Eormenrīces,   gecēas ēcne rǣd.
Þone hring hæfde   Higelāc Gēata,
nefa Swertinges,   nȳhstan sīðe,
siððan hē under segne   sinc ealgode,
wæl‐rēaf werede;   hyne Wyrd fornam,
syððan hē for wlenco   wēan āhsode,
fǣhðe tō Frȳsum;   hē þā frætwe wæg,
eorclan‐stānas   ofer ȳða ful,
rīce þēoden,   hē under rande gecranc;
gehwearf þā in Francna fæðm   feorh cyninges, [1210]
brēost‐gewǣdu   and se bēah somod:
wyrsan wīg‐frecan   wæl rēafedon
æfter gūð‐sceare,   Gēata lēode
hreā‐wīc hēoldon.   Heal swēge onfēng.
Wealhþēo maðelode,   hēo fore þǣm werede spræc:
"Brūc þisses bēages,   Bēowulf, lēofa
hyse, mid hǣle,   and þisses hrægles nēot
þēod‐gestrēona,   and geþēoh tela,
cen þec mid cræfte   and þyssum cnyhtum wes
lāra līðe!   ic þē þæs lēan geman. [1220]
Hafast þū gefēred,   þæt þē feor and nēah
ealne wīde‐ferhð   weras ehtigað,
efne swā sīde   swā sǣ bebūgeð
windige weallas.   Wes, þenden þū lifige,
æðeling ēadig!   ic þē an tela
sinc‐gestrēona.   Bēo þū suna mīnum
dǣdum gedēfe   drēam healdende!
Hēr is ǣghwylc eorl   ōðrum getrȳwe,
mōdes milde,   man‐drihtne hold,
þegnas syndon geþwǣre,   þēod eal gearo: [1230]
druncne dryht‐guman,   dōð swā ic bidde!"
Ēode þā tō setle.   Þǣr wæs symbla cyst,
druncon wīn weras:   wyrd ne cūðon,
geō‐sceaft grimme,   swā hit āgangen wearð
eorla manegum,   syððan ǣfen cwōm
and him Hrōðgār gewāt   tō hofe sīnum,
rīce tō ræste.   Reced weardode
unrīm eorla,   swā hīe oft ǣr dydon:
benc‐þelu beredon,   hit geond‐brǣded wearð
beddum and bolstrum.   Bēor‐scealca sum [1240]
fūs and fǣge   flet‐ræste gebēag.
Setton him tō hēafdum   hilde‐randas,
bord‐wudu beorhtan;   þǣr on bence wæs
ofer æðelinge   ȳð‐gesēne
heaðo‐stēapa helm,   hringed byrne,
þrec‐wudu þrymlīc.   Wæs þēaw hyra,
þæt hīe oft wǣron   an wīg gearwe,
gē æt hām gē on herge,   gē gehwæðer þāra
efne swylce mǣla,   swylce hira man‐dryhtne
þearf gesǣlde;   wæs sēo þēod tilu. [1250]


Sigon þā tō slǣpe.   Sum sāre angeald
ǣfen‐ræste,   swā him ful‐oft gelamp,
siððan gold‐sele   Grendel warode,
unriht æfnde,   oð þæt ende becwōm,
swylt æfter synnum.   Þæt gesȳne wearð,
wīd‐cūð werum,   þætte wrecend þā gȳt
lifde æfter lāðum,   lange þrāge
æfter gūð‐ceare;   Grendles mōdor,
ides āglǣc‐wīf   yrmðe gemunde,
sē þe wæter‐egesan   wunian scolde, [1260]
cealde strēamas,   siððan Cain wearð
tō ecg‐banan   āngan brēðer,
fæderen‐mǣge;   hē þā fāg gewāt,
morðre gemearcod   man‐drēam flēon,
wēsten warode.   Þanon wōc fela
geōsceaft‐gāsta;   wæs þǣra Grendel sum,
heoro‐wearh hetelīc,   sē æt Heorote fand
wæccendne wer   wīges bīdan,
þǣr him āglǣca   æt‐grǣpe wearð;
hwæðre hē gemunde   mægenes strenge, [1270]
gim‐fæste gife,   þē him god sealde,
and him tō anwaldan   āre gelȳfde,
frōfre and fultum:   þȳ hē þone fēond ofercwōm,
gehnǣgde helle gāst:   þā hē hēan gewāt,
drēame bedǣled   dēað‐wīc sēon,
man‐cynnes fēond.   And his mōdor þā gȳt
gīfre and galg‐mōd   gegān wolde
sorh‐fulne sīð,   suna dēað wrecan.
Cōm þā tō Heorote,   þǣr Hring‐Dene
geond þæt sæld swǣfun.   Þā þǣr sōna wearð [1280]
ed‐hwyrft eorlum,   siððan inne fealh
Grendles mōdor;   wæs se gryre lǣssa
efne swā micle,   swā bið mægða cræft,
wīg‐gryre wīfes   be wǣpned‐men,
þonne heoru bunden,   hamere geþuren,
sweord swāte fāh   swīn ofer helme,
ecgum dyhtig   andweard scireð.
Þā wæs on healle   heard‐ecg togen,
sweord ofer setlum,   sīd‐rand manig
hafen handa fæst;   helm ne gemunde, [1290]
byrnan sīde,   þe hine se brōga angeat.
Hēo wæs on ofste,   wolde ūt þanon
fēore beorgan,   þā hēo onfunden wæs;
hraðe hēo æðelinga   ānne hæfde
fæste befangen,   þā hēo tō fenne gang;
sē wæs Hrōðgāre   hæleða lēofost
on gesīðes hād   be sǣm tweonum,
rīce rand‐wiga,   þone þe hēo on ræste ābrēat,
blǣd‐fæstne beorn.   Næs Bēowulf þǣr,
ac wæs ōðer in   ǣr geteohhod [1300]
æfter māððum‐gife   mǣrum Gēate.
Hrēam wearð on Heorote.   Hēo under heolfre genam
cūðe folme;   cearu wæs genīwod
geworden in wīcum:   ne wæs þæt gewrixle til,
þæt hīe on bā healfa   bicgan scoldon
frēonda fēorum.   Þā wæs frōd cyning,
hār hilde‐rinc,   on hrēon mōde,
syððan hē aldor‐þegn   unlyfigendne,
þone dēorestan   dēadne wisse.
Hraðe wæs tō būre   Bēowulf fetod, [1310]
sigor‐ēadig secg.   Samod ǣr‐dæge
ēode eorla sum,   æðele cempa
self mid gesīðum,   þǣr se snottra bād,
hwæðre him al‐walda   ǣfre wille
æfter wēa‐spelle   wyrpe gefremman.
Gang þā æfter flōre   fyrd‐wyrðe man
mid his hand‐scale   (heal‐wudu dynede)
þæt hē þone wīsan   wordum hnǣgde
frēan Ingwina;   frægn gif him wǣre
æfter nēod‐laðu   niht getǣse. [1320]


Hrōðgār maðelode,   helm Scildinga:
"Ne frīn þū æfter sǣlum!   Sorh is genīwod
Denigea lēodum.   Dēad is Æsc‐here,
Yrmenlāfes   yldra brōðor,
mīn rūn‐wita   and mīn rǣd‐bora,
eaxl‐gestealla,   þonne wē on orlege
hafelan weredon,   þonne hniton fēðan,
eoferas cnysedan;   swylc scolde eorl wesan
æðeling ǣr‐gōd,   swylc Æsc‐here wæs.
Wearð him on Heorote   tō hand‐banan [1330]
wæl‐gǣst wǣfre;   ic ne wāt hwæder
atol ǣse wlanc   eft‐sīðas tēah,
fylle gefrǣgnod.   Hēo þā fǣhðe wræc,
þē þū gystran niht   Grendel cwealdest
þurh hǣstne hād   heardum clammum,
forþan hē tō lange   lēode mīne
wanode and wyrde.   Hē æt wīge gecrang
ealdres scyldig,   and nū ōðer cwōm
mihtig mān‐scaða,   wolde hyre mǣg wrecan,
gē feor hafað   fǣhðe gestǣled, [1340]
þæs þe þincean mæg   þegne monegum,
sē þe æfter sinc‐gyfan   on sefan grēoteð,
hreðer‐bealo hearde;   nū sēo hand ligeð,
sē þe ēow wēl‐hwylcra   wilna dohte.
Ic þæt lond‐būend   lēode mīne
sele‐rǣdende   secgan hȳrde,
þæt hīe gesāwon   swylce twēgen
micle mearc‐stapan   mōras healdan,
ellor‐gǣstas:   þǣra ōðer wæs,
þæs þe hīe gewislīcost   gewitan meahton, [1350]
idese onlīcnes,   ōðer earm‐sceapen
on weres wæstmum   wræc‐lāstas træd,
næfne hē wæs māra   þonne ǣnig man ōðer,
þone on geār‐dagum   Grendel nemdon
fold‐būende:   nō hīe fæder cunnon,
hwæðer him ǣnig wæs   ǣr ācenned
dyrnra gāsta.   Hīe dȳgel lond
warigeað, wulf‐hleoðu,   windige næssas,
frēcne fen‐gelād,   þǣr fyrgen‐strēam
under næssa genipu   niðer gewīteð, [1360]
flōd under foldan;   nis þæt feor heonon
mīl‐gemearces,   þæt se mere standeð,
ofer þǣm hongiað   hrīmge bearwas,
wudu wyrtum fæst,   wæter oferhelmað.
Þǣr mæg nihta gehwǣm   nīð‐wundor sēon,
fȳr on flōde;   nō þæs frōd leofað
gumena bearna,   þæt þone grund wite;
þēah þe hǣð‐stapa   hundum geswenced,
heorot hornum trum   holt‐wudu sēce,
feorran geflȳmed,   ǣr hē feorh seleð, [1370]
aldor on ōfre,   ǣr hē in wille,
hafelan hȳdan.   Nis þæt hēoru stōw:
þonon ȳð‐geblond   up āstīgeð
won tō wolcnum,   þonne wind styreð
lāð gewidru,   oð þæt lyft drysmað,
roderas rēotað.   Nū is rǣd gelang
eft æt þē ānum!   Eard gīt ne const,
frēcne stōwe,   þǣr þū findan miht
sinnigne secg:   sēc gif þū dyrre!
Ic þē þā fǣhðe   fēo lēanige, [1380]
eald‐gestrēonum,   swā ic ǣr dyde,
wundnum golde,   gyf þū on weg cymest."


Bēowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"Ne sorga, snotor guma!   sēlre bið ǣghwǣm,
þæt hē his frēond wrece,   þonne hē fela murne;
ūre ǣghwylc sceal   ende gebīdan
worolde līfes;   wyrce sē þe mōte
dōmes ǣr dēaðe!   þæt bið driht‐guman
unlifgendum   æfter sēlest.
Ārīs, rīces weard;   uton hraðe fēran, [1390]
Grendles māgan   gang scēawigan!
Ic hit þē gehāte:   nō hē on helm losað,
nē on foldan fæðm,   nē on fyrgen‐holt,
nē on gyfenes grund,   gā þǣr hē wille.
Þȳs dōgor þū   geþyld hafa
wēana gehwylces,   swā ic þē wēne tō!"
Āhlēop þā se gomela,   gode þancode,
mihtigan drihtne,   þæs se man gespræc.
Þā wæs Hrōðgāre   hors gebǣted,
wicg wunden‐feax.   Wīsa fengel [1400]
geatolīc gengde;   gum‐fēða stōp
lind‐hæbbendra.   Lāstas wǣron
æfter wald‐swaðum   wīde gesȳne,
gang ofer grundas;   gegnum fōr þā
ofer myrcan mōr,   mago‐þegna bær
þone sēlestan   sāwol‐lēasne,
þāra þe mid Hrōðgāre   hām eahtode.
Ofer‐ēode þā   æðelinga bearn
stēap stān‐hliðo,   stīge nearwe,
enge ān‐paðas,   un‐cūð gelād, [1410]
neowle næssas,   nicor‐hūsa fela;
hē fēara sum   beforan gengde
wīsra monna,   wong scēawian,
oð þæt hē fǣringa   fyrgen‐bēamas
ofer hārne stān   hleonian funde,
wyn‐lēasne wudu;   wæter under stōd
drēorig and gedrēfed.   Denum eallum wæs,
winum Scyldinga,   weorce on mōde,
tō geþolianne   þegne monegum,
oncȳð eorla gehwǣm,   syððan Æsc‐heres [1420]
on þām holm‐clife   hafelan mētton.
Flōd blōde wēol   (folc tō sǣgon)
hātan heolfre.   Horn stundum song
fūslīc fyrd‐lēoð.   Fēða eal gesæt;
gesāwon þā æfter wætere   wyrm‐cynnes fela,
sellīce sǣ‐dracan   sund cunnian,
swylce on næs‐hleoðum   nicras licgean,
þā on undern‐mǣl   oft bewitigað
sorh‐fulne sīð   on segl‐rāde,
wyrmas and wil‐dēor;   hīe on weg hruron [1430]
bitere and gebolgne,   bearhtm ongeāton,
gūð‐horn galan.   Sumne Gēata lēod
of flān‐bogan   fēores getwǣfde,
ȳð‐gewinnes,   þæt him on aldre stōd
here‐strǣl hearda;   hē on holme wæs
sundes þē sǣnra,   þē hyne swylt fornam.
Hræðe wearð on ȳðum   mid eofer‐sprēotum
heoro‐hōcyhtum   hearde genearwod,
nīða genǣged   and on næs togen
wundorlīc wǣg‐bora;   weras scēawedon [1440]
gryrelīcne gist.   Gyrede hine Bēowulf
eorl‐gewǣdum,   nalles for ealdre mearn:
scolde here‐byrne   hondum gebrōden,
sīd and searo‐fāh,   sund cunnian,
sēo þe bān‐cofan   beorgan cūðe,
þæt him hilde‐grāp   hreðre ne mihte,
eorres inwit‐feng,   aldre gesceððan;
ac se hwīta helm   hafelan werede,
sē þe mere‐grundas   mengan scolde,
sēcan sund‐gebland   since geweorðad, [1450]
befongen frēa‐wrāsnum,   swā hine fyrn‐dagum
worhte wǣpna smið,   wundrum tēode,
besette swīn‐līcum,   þæt hine syððan nō
brond nē beado‐mēcas   bītan ne meahton.
Næs þæt þonne mǣtost   mægen‐fultuma,
þæt him on þearfe lāh   þyle Hrōðgāres;
wæs þǣm hæft‐mēce   Hrunting nama,
þæt wæs ān foran   eald‐gestrēona;
ecg wæs īren   āter‐tēarum fāh,
āhyrded heaðo‐swāte;   nǣfre hit æt hilde ne swāc [1460]
manna ǣngum   þāra þe hit mid mundum bewand,
sē þe gryre‐sīðas   gegān dorste,
folc‐stede fāra;   næs þæt forma sīð,
þæt hit ellen‐weorc   æfnan scolde.
Hūru ne gemunde   mago Ecglāfes
eafoðes cræftig,   þæt hē ǣr gespræc
wīne druncen,   þā hē þæs wǣpnes onlāh
sēlran sweord‐frecan:   selfa ne dorste
under ȳða gewin   aldre genēðan,
driht‐scype drēogan;   þǣr hē dōme forlēas, [1470]
ellen‐mǣrðum.   Ne wæs þǣm ōðrum swā,
syððan hē hine tō gūðe   gegyred hæfde.


Bēowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"geþenc nū, se mǣra   maga Healfdenes,
snottra fengel,   nū ic eom sīðes fūs,
gold‐wine gumena,   hwæt wit geō sprǣcon,
gif ic æt þearfe   þīnre scolde
aldre linnan,   þæt þū mē ā wǣre
forð‐gewitenum   on fæder stǣle;
wes þū mund‐bora mīnum   mago‐þegnum, [1480]
hond‐gesellum,   gif mec hild nime:
swylce þū þā mādmas,   þē þū mē sealdest,
Hrōðgār lēofa,   Higelāce onsend.
Mæg þonne on þǣm golde ongitan   Gēata dryhten,
gesēon sunu Hrēðles,   þonne hē on þæt sinc starað,
þæt ic gum‐cystum   gōdne funde
bēaga bryttan,   brēac þonne mōste.
And þū Unferð lǣt   ealde lāfe,
wrǣtlīc wǣg‐sweord   wīd‐cūðne man
heard‐ecg habban;   ic mē mid Hruntinge [1490]
dōm gewyrce,   oððe mec dēað nimeð."
Æfter þǣm wordum   Weder‐Gēata lēod
efste mid elne,   nalas andsware
bīdan wolde;   brim‐wylm onfēng
hilde‐rince.   Þā wæs hwīl dæges,
ǣr hē þone grund‐wong   ongytan mehte.
Sōna þæt onfunde,   sē þe flōda begong
heoro‐gīfre behēold   hund missēra,
grim and grǣdig,   þæt þǣr gumena sum
æl‐wihta eard   ufan cunnode. [1500]
Grāp þā tōgēanes,   gūð‐rinc gefēng
atolan clommum;   nō þȳ ǣr in gescōd
hālan līce:   hring ūtan ymb‐bearh,
þæt hēo þone fyrd‐hom   þurh‐fōn ne mihte,
locene leoðo‐syrcan   lāðan fingrum.
Bær þā sēo brim‐wylf,   þā hēo tō botme cōm,
hringa þengel   tō hofe sīnum,
swā hē ne mihte nō   (hē þæs mōdig wæs)
wǣpna gewealdan,   ac hine wundra þæs fela
swencte on sunde,   sǣ‐dēor monig [1510]
hilde‐tūxum   here‐syrcan bræc,
ēhton āglǣcan.   Þā se eorl ongeat,
þæt hē in nið‐sele   nāt‐hwylcum wæs,
þǣr him nǣnig wæter   wihte ne sceðede,
nē him for hrōf‐sele   hrīnan ne mehte
fǣr‐gripe flōdes:   fȳr‐lēoht geseah,
blācne lēoman   beorhte scīnan.
Ongeat þā se gōda   grund‐wyrgenne,
mere‐wīf mihtig;   mægen‐rǣs forgeaf
hilde‐bille,   hond swenge ne oftēah, [1520]
þæt hire on hafelan   hring‐mǣl āgōl
grǣdig gūð‐lēoð.   Þā se gist onfand,
þæt se beado‐lēoma   bītan nolde,
aldre sceððan,   ac sēo ecg geswāc
þēodne æt þearfe:   þolode ǣr fela
hond‐gemōta,   helm oft gescær,
fǣges fyrd‐hrægl:   þæt wæs forma sīð
dēorum māðme,   þæt his dōm ālæg.
Eft wæs ān‐rǣd,   nalas elnes læt,
mǣrða gemyndig   mǣg Hygelāces; [1530]
wearp þā wunden‐mǣl   wrǣttum gebunden
yrre ōretta,   þæt hit on eorðan læg,
stīð and stȳl‐ecg;   strenge getruwode,
mund‐gripe mægenes.   Swā sceal man dōn,
þonne hē æt gūðe   gegān þenceð
longsumne lof,   nā ymb his līf cearað.
Gefēng þā be eaxle   (nalas for fǣhðe mearn)
Gūð‐Gēata lēod   Grendles mōdor;
brægd þā beadwe heard,   þā hē gebolgen wæs,
feorh‐genīðlan,   þæt hēo on flet gebēah. [1540]
Hēo him eft hraðe   and‐lēan forgeald
grimman grāpum   and him tōgēanes fēng;
oferwearp þā wērig‐mōd   wigena strengest,
fēðe‐cempa,   þæt hē on fylle wearð.
Ofsæt þā þone sele‐gyst   and hyre seaxe getēah,
brād and brūn‐ecg   wolde hire bearn wrecan,
āngan eaferan.   Him on eaxle læg
brēost‐net brōden;   þæt gebearh fēore,
wið ord and wið ecge   ingang forstōd.
Hæfde þā forsīðod   sunu Ecgþēowes [1550]
under gynne grund,   Gēata cempa,
nemne him heaðo‐byrne   helpe gefremede,
here‐net hearde,   and hālig god
gewēold wīg‐sigor,   wītig drihten;
rodera rǣdend   hit on ryht gescēd,
ȳðelīce   syððan hē eft āstōd.


Geseah þā on searwum   sige‐ēadig bil,
eald sweord eotenisc   ecgum þȳhtig,
wigena weorð‐mynd:   þæt wæs wǣpna cyst,
būton hit wæs māre   þonne ǣnig mon ōðer [1560]
tō beadu‐lāce   ætberan meahte
gōd and geatolīc   gīganta geweorc.
Hē gefēng þā fetel‐hilt,   freca Scildinga,
hrēoh and heoro‐grim   hring‐mǣl gebrægd,
aldres orwēna,   yrringa slōh,
þæt hire wið halse   heard grāpode,
bān‐hringas bræc,   bil eal þurh‐wōd
fǣgne flǣsc‐homan,   hēo on flet gecrong;
sweord wæs swātig,   secg weorce gefeh.
Līxte se lēoma,   lēoht inne stōd, [1570]
efne swā of hefene   hādre scīneð
rodores candel.   Hē æfter recede wlāt,
hwearf þā be wealle,   wǣpen hafenade
heard be hiltum   Higelāces þegn,
yrre and ān‐rǣd.   Næs sēo ecg fracod
hilde‐rince,   ac hē hraðe wolde
Grendle forgyldan   gūð‐rǣsa fela
þāra þe hē geworhte   tō West‐Denum
oftor micle   þonne on ǣnne sīð,
þonne hē Hrōðgāres   heorð‐genēatas [1580]
slōh on sweofote,   slǣpende fræt
folces Denigea   fȳf‐tȳne men
and ōðer swylc   ūt of‐ferede,
lāðlīcu lāc.   Hē him þæs lēan forgeald,
rēðe cempa,   tō þæs þe hē on ræste geseah
gūð‐wērigne   Grendel licgan,
aldor‐lēasne,   swā him ǣr gescōd
hild æt Heorote;   hrā wīde sprong,
syððan hē æfter dēaðe   drepe þrowade,
heoro‐sweng heardne,   and hine þā hēafde becearf, [1590]
Sōna þæt gesāwon   snottre ceorlas,
þā þe mid Hrōðgāre   on holm wliton,
þæt wæs ȳð‐geblond   eal gemenged,
brim blōde fāh:   blonden‐feaxe
gomele ymb gōdne   ongeador sprǣcon,
þæt hig þæs æðelinges   eft ne wēndon,
þæt hē sige‐hrēðig   sēcean cōme
mǣrne þēoden;   þā þæs monige gewearð,
þæt hine sēo brim‐wylf   ābroten hæfde.
Þā cōm nōn dæges.   Næs ofgēafon [1600]
hwate Scyldingas; gewāt him hām þonon
gold‐wine gumena.   Gistas sētan,
mōdes sēoce,   and on mere staredon,
wiston and ne wēndon,   þæt hīe heora wine‐drihten
selfne gesāwon.   Þā þæt sweord ongan
æfter heaðo‐swāte   hilde‐gicelum
wīg‐bil wanian;   þæt wæs wundra sum,
þæt hit eal gemealt   īse gelīcost,
þonne forstes bend   fæder onlǣteð,
onwindeð wæl‐rāpas,   sē þe geweald hafað [1610]
sǣla and mǣla;   þæt is sōð metod.
Ne nom hē in þǣm wīcum,   Weder‐Gēata lēod,
māðm‐ǣhta mā,   þēh hē þǣr monige geseah,
būton þone hafelan   and þā hilt somod,
since fāge;   sweord ǣr gemealt,
forbarn brōden mǣl:   wæs þæt blōd tō þæs hāt,
ǣttren ellor‐gǣst,   sē þǣr inne swealt.
Sōna wæs on sunde,   sē þe ǣr æt sæcce gebād
wīg‐hryre wrāðra,   wæter up þurh‐dēaf;
wǣron ȳð‐gebland   eal gefǣlsod, [1620]
ēacne eardas,   þā se ellor‐gāst
oflēt līf‐dagas   and þās lǣnan gesceaft.
Cōm þā tō lande   lid‐manna helm
swīð‐mōd swymman,   sǣ‐lāce gefeah,
mægen‐byrðenne   þāra þe hē him mid hæfde.
Ēodon him þā tōgēanes,   gode þancodon,
þrȳðlīc þegna hēap,   þēodnes gefēgon,
þæs þe hī hyne gesundne   gesēon mōston.
Þā wæs of þǣm hrōran   helm and byrne
lungre ālȳsed:   lagu drūsade, [1630]
wæter under wolcnum,   wæl‐drēore fāg.
Fērdon forð þonon   fēðe‐lāstum
ferhðum fægne,   fold‐weg mǣton,
cūðe strǣte;   cyning‐balde men
from þǣm holm‐clife   hafelan bǣron
earfoðlīce   heora ǣghwæðrum
fela‐mōdigra:   fēower scoldon
on ðæm wæl‐stenge   weorcum geferian
tō þǣm gold‐sele   Grendles hēafod,
oð þæt semninga   tō sele cōmon [1640]
frome fyrd‐hwate   fēower‐tȳne
Gēata gongan;   gum‐dryhten mid
mōdig on gemonge   meodo‐wongas træd.
Þā cōm in gān   ealdor þegna,
dǣd‐cēne mon   dōme gewurðad,
hæle hilde‐dēor.   Hrōðgār grētan:
Þā wæs be feaxe   on flet boren
Grendles hēafod,   þǣr guman druncon,
egeslīc for eorlum   and þǣre idese mid:
wlite‐sēon wrǣtlīc   weras onsāwon. [1650]


Bēowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"Hwæt! wē þē þās sǣ‐lāc,   sunu Healfdenes,
lēod Scyldinga,   lustum brōhton,
tīres tō tācne,   þē þū hēr tō lōcast.
Ic þæt unsōfte   ealdre gedīgde:
wigge under wætere   weorc genēðde
earfoðlīce,   æt‐rihte wæs
gūð getwǣfed,   nymðe mec god scylde.
Ne meahte ic æt hilde   mid Hruntinge
wiht gewyrcan,   þēah þæt wǣpen duge, [1660]
ac mē geūðe   ylda waldend,
þæt ic on wāge geseah   wlitig hangian
eald sweord ēacen   (oftost wīsode
winigea lēasum)   þæt ic þȳ wǣpne gebrǣ.
Ofslōh þā æt þǣre sæcce   (þā mē sǣl āgeald)
hūses hyrdas.   Þā þæt hilde‐bil
forbarn, brogden mǣl,   swā þæt blōd gesprang,
hātost heaðo‐swāta:   ic þæt hilt þanan
fēondum ætferede;   fyren‐dǣda wræc,
dēað‐cwealm Denigea,   swā hit gedēfe wæs. [1670]
Ic hit þē þonne gehāte,   þæt þū on Heorote mōst
sorh‐lēas swefan   mid þīnra secga gedryht,
and þegna gehwylc   þīnra lēoda,
duguðe and iogoðe,   þæt þū him ondrǣdan ne þearft,
þēoden Scyldinga,   on þā healfe,
aldor‐bealu eorlum,   swā þū ǣr dydest."
Þā wæs gylden hilt   gamelum rince.
hārum hild‐fruman,   on hand gyfen,
enta ǣr‐geweorc,   hit on ǣht gehwearf
æfter dēofla hryre   Denigea frēan, [1680]
wundor‐smiða geweorc,   and þā þās worold ofgeaf
grom‐heort guma,   godes andsaca,
morðres scyldig,   and his mōdor ēac;
on geweald gehwearf   worold‐cyninga
þǣm sēlestan   be sǣm twēonum
þāra þe on Sceden‐igge   sceattas dǣlde.
Hrōðgār maðelode,   hylt scēawode,
ealde lāfe,   on þǣm wæs ōr writen
fyrn‐gewinnes:   syððan flōd ofslōh,
gifen gēotende,   gīganta cyn, [1690]
frēcne gefērdon:   þæt wæs fremde þēod
ēcean dryhtne,   him þæs ende‐lēan
þurh wæteres wylm   waldend sealde.
Swā wæs on þǣm scennum   scīran goldes
þurh rūn‐stafas   rihte gemearcod,
geseted and gesǣd,   hwām þæt sweord geworht,
īrena cyst   ǣrest wǣre,
wreoðen‐hilt and wyrm‐fāh.   þā se wīsa spræc
sunu Healfdenes   (swīgedon ealle):
"Þæt lā mæg secgan,   sē þe sōð and riht [1700]
fremeð on folce,   (feor eal gemon
eald ēðel‐weard),   þæt þes eorl wǣre
geboren betera!   Blǣd is ārǣred
geond wīd‐wegas,   wine mīn Bēowulf,
þīn ofer þēoda gehwylce.   Eal þū hit geþyldum healdest,
mægen mid mōdes snyttrum.   Ic þē sceal mīne gelǣstan
frēode, swā wit furðum sprǣcon;   þū scealt tō frōfre weorðan
eal lang‐twidig   lēodum þīnum,
hæleðum tō helpe.   Ne wearð Heremōd swā
eaforum Ecgwelan,   Ār‐Scyldingum; [1710]
ne gewēox hē him tō willan,   ac tō wæl‐fealle
and tō dēað‐cwalum   Deniga lēodum;
brēat bolgen‐mōd   bēod‐genēatas,
eaxl‐gesteallan,   oð þæt hē āna hwearf,
mǣre þēoden.   mon‐drēamum from:
þēah þe hine mihtig god   mægenes wynnum,
eafeðum stēpte,   ofer ealle men
forð gefremede,   hwæðere him on ferhðe grēow
brēost‐hord blōd‐rēow:   nallas bēagas geaf
Denum æfter dōme;   drēam‐lēas gebād, [1720]
þæt hē þæs gewinnes   weorc þrowade,
lēod‐bealo longsum.   Þū þē lǣr be þon,
gum‐cyste ongit!   ic þis gid be þē
āwræc wintrum frōd.   Wundor is tō secganne,
hū mihtig god   manna cynne
þurh sīdne sefan   snyttru bryttað,
eard and eorl‐scipe,   hē āh ealra geweald.
Hwīlum hē on lufan   lǣteð hworfan
monnes mōd‐geþonc   mǣran cynnes,
seleð him on ēðle   eorðan wynne, [1730]
tō healdanne   hlēo‐burh wera,
gedēð him swā gewealdene   worolde dǣlas,
sīde rīce,   þæt hē his selfa ne mæg
for his un‐snyttrum   ende geþencean;
wunað hē on wiste,   nō hine wiht dweleð,
ādl nē yldo,   nē him inwit‐sorh
on sefan sweorceð,   nē gesacu ōhwǣr,
ecg‐hete ēoweð,   ac him eal worold
wendeð on willan;   hē þæt wyrse ne con,
oð þæt him on innan   ofer‐hygda dǣl [1740]
weaxeð and wridað,   þonne se weard swefeð,
sāwele hyrde:   bið se slǣp tō fæst,
bisgum gebunden,   bona swīðe nēah,
sē þe of flān‐bogan   fyrenum scēoteð.


"Þonne bið on hreðre   under helm drepen
biteran strǣle:   him bebeorgan ne con
wom wundor‐bebodum   wergan gāstes;
þinceð him tō lȳtel,   þæt hē tō lange hēold,
gȳtsað grom‐hȳdig,   nallas on gylp seleð
fǣtte bēagas   and hē þā forð‐gesceaft [1750]
forgyteð and forgȳmeð,   þæs þe him ǣr god sealde
wuldres waldend,   weorð‐mynda dǣl.
Hit on ende‐stæf   eft gelimpeð,
þæt se līc‐homa   lǣne gedrēoseð,
fǣge gefealleð;   fēhð ōðer tō,
sē þe unmurnlīce   mādmas dǣleð,
eorles ǣr‐gestrēon,   egesan ne gȳmeð.
Bebeorh þē þone bealo‐nīð,   Bēowulf lēofa,
secg se betsta,   and þē þæt sēlre gecēos,
ēce rǣdas;   oferhȳda ne gȳm, [1760]
mǣre cempa!   Nū is þīnes mægnes blǣd
āne hwīle;   eft sōna bið,
þæt þec ādl oððe ecg   eafoðes getwǣfeð,
oððe fȳres feng   oððe flōdes wylm,
oððe gripe mēces   oððe gāres fliht,
oððe atol yldo,   oððe ēagena bearhtm
forsiteð and forsworceð;   semninga bið,
þæt þec, dryht‐guma,   dēað oferswȳðeð.
Swā ic Hring‐Dena   hund missēra
wēold under wolcnum,   and hig wigge belēac [1770]
manigum mǣgða   geond þysne middan‐geard,
æscum and ecgum,   þæt ic mē ǣnigne
under swegles begong   gesacan ne tealde.
Hwæt! mē þæs on ēðle   edwenden cwōm,
gyrn æfter gomene,   seoððan Grendel wearð,
eald‐gewinna,   in‐genga mīn:
ic þǣre sōcne   singāles wæg
mōd‐ceare micle.   Þæs sig metode þanc,
ēcean drihtne,   þæs þe ic on aldre gebād,
þæt ic on þone hafelan   heoro‐drēorigne [1780]
ofer eald gewin   ēagum starige!
Gā nū tō setle,   symbel‐wynne drēoh
wīgge weorðad:   unc sceal worn fela
māðma gemǣnra,   siððan morgen bið."
Gēat wæs glæd‐mōd,   gēong sōna tō,
setles nēosan,   swā se snottra heht.
Þā wæs eft swā ǣr   ellen‐rōfum,
flet‐sittendum   fægere gereorded
nīowan stefne.   Niht‐helm geswearc
deorc ofer dryht‐gumum.   Duguð eal ārās; [1790]
wolde blonden‐feax   beddes nēosan,
gamela Scylding.   Gēat ungemetes wēl,
rōfne rand‐wigan   restan lyste:
sōna him sele‐þegn   sīðes wērgum,
feorran‐cundum   forð wīsade,
se for andrysnum   ealle beweotede
þegnes þearfe,   swylce þȳ dōgore
hēaðo‐līðende   habban scoldon.
Reste hine þā rūm‐heort;   reced hlīfade
gēap and gold‐fāh,   gæst inne swæf, [1800]
oð þæt hrefn blaca   heofones wynne
blīð‐heort bodode.   Þā cōm beorht sunne
scacan ofer grundas;   scaðan ōnetton,
wǣron æðelingas   eft tō lēodum
fūse tō farenne,   wolde feor þanon
cuma collen‐ferhð   cēoles nēosan.
Heht þā se hearda   Hrunting beran,
sunu Ecglāfes,   heht his sweord niman,
lēoflīc īren;   sægde him þæs lēanes þanc,
cwæð hē þone gūð‐wine   gōdne tealde, [1810]
wīg‐cræftigne,   nales wordum lōg
mēces ecge:   þæt wæs mōdig secg.
And þā sīð‐frome   searwum gearwe
wīgend wǣron,   ēode weorð Denum
æðeling tō yppan,   þǣr se ōðer wæs
hæle hilde‐dēor,   Hrōðgār grētte.


Bēowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"Nū wē sǣ‐līðend   secgan wyllað
feorran cumene,   þæt wē fundiað
Higelāc sēcan.   Wǣron hēr tela [1820]
willum bewenede;   þū ūs wēl dohtest.
Gif ic þonne on eorðan   ōwihte mæg
þīnre mōd‐lufan   māran tilian,
gumena dryhten,   þonne ic gȳt dyde,
gūð‐geweorca   ic bēo gearo sōna.
Gif ic þæt gefricge   ofer flōda begang,
þæt þec ymbe‐sittend   egesan þȳwað,
swā þec hetende   hwīlum dydon,
ic þē þūsenda   þegna bringe,
hæleða tō helpe.   Ic on Higelāce wāt, [1830]
Gēata dryhten,   þēah þe hē geong sȳ,
folces hyrde,   þæt hē mec fremman wile
wordum and worcum,   þæt ic þē wēl herige,
and þē tō gēoce   gār‐holt bere
mægenes fultum,   þǣr þē bið manna þearf;
gif him þonne Hrēðrīc   tō hofum Gēata
geþingeð, þēodnes bearn,   hē mæg þǣr fela
frēonda findan:   feor‐cȳððe bēoð
sēlran gesōhte   þǣm þe him selfa dēah."
Hrōðgār maðelode   him on andsware: [1840]
"Þē þā word‐cwydas   wittig drihten
on sefan sende!   ne hȳrde ic snotorlīcor
on swā geongum feore   guman þingian:
þū eart mægenes strang   and on mōde frōd,
wīs word‐cwida.   Wēn ic talige,
gif þæt gegangeð,   þæt þe gār nymeð,
hild heoru‐grimme   Hrēðles eaferan,
ādl oððe īren   ealdor þīnne,
folces hyrde,   and þū þīn feorh hafast,
þæt þe Sǣ‐Gēatas   sēlran næbben [1850]
tō gecēosenne   cyning ǣnigne,
hord‐weard hæleða,   gif þū healdan wylt
māga rīce.   Mē þīn mōd‐sefa
līcað leng swā wēl,   lēofa Bēowulf:
hafast þū gefēred,   þæt þām folcum sceal,
Gēata lēodum   and Gār‐Denum
sib gemǣnum   and sacu restan,
inwit‐nīðas,   þē hīe ǣr drugon;
wesan, þenden ic wealde   wīdan rīces,
māðmas gemǣne,   manig ōðerne [1860]
gōdum gegrētan   ofer ganotes bæð;
sceal hring‐naca   ofer hēaðu bringan
lāc and luf‐tācen.   Ic þā lēode wāt
gē wið fēond gē wið frēond   fæste geworhte
ǣghwæs untǣle   ealde wīsan."
Þā gīt him eorla hlēo   inne gesealde,
mago Healfdenes   māðmas twelfe,
hēt hine mid þǣm lācum   lēode swǣse
sēcean on gesyntum,   snūde eft cuman.
Gecyste þā   cyning æðelum gōd, [1870]
þēoden Scildinga,   þegen betstan
and be healse genam;   hruron him tēaras,
blonden‐feaxum:   him wæs bēga wēn,
ealdum infrōdum,   ōðres swīðor,
þæt hī seoððan   gesēon mōston
mōdige on meðle.   Wæs him se man tō þon lēof,
þæt hē þone brēost‐wylm   forberan ne mehte,
ac him on hreðre   hyge‐bendum fæst
æfter dēorum men   dyrne langað
beorn wið blōde.   Him Bēowulf þanan, [1880]
gūð‐rinc gold‐wlanc   græs‐moldan træd,
since hrēmig:   sǣ‐genga bād
āgend‐frēan,   sē þe on ancre rād.
Þā wæs on gange   gifu Hrōðgāres
oft geæhted:   þæt wæs ān cyning
ǣghwæs orleahtre,   oð þæt hine yldo benam
mægenes wynnum,   sē þe oft manegum scōd.


Cwōm þā tō flōde   fela‐mōdigra
hæg‐stealdra hēap;   hring‐net bǣron,
locene leoðo‐syrcan.   Land‐weard onfand [1890]
eft‐sīð eorla,   swā hē ǣr dyde;
nō hē mid hearme   of hlīðes nosan
gæstas grētte,   ac him tōgēanes rād;
cwæð þæt wilcuman   Wedera lēodum
scawan scīr‐hame   tō scipe fōron.
Þā wæs on sande   sǣ‐gēap naca
hladen here‐wǣdum,   hringed‐stefna
mēarum and māðmum:   mæst hlīfade
ofer Hrōðgāres   hord‐gestrēonum.
Hē þǣm bāt‐wearde   bunden golde [1900]
swurd gesealde,   þæt hē syððan wæs
on meodu‐bence   māðme þȳ weorðra,
yrfe‐lāfe.   Gewāt him on ȳð‐nacan,
drēfan dēop wæter,   Dena land ofgeaf.
Þā wæs be mæste   mere‐hrægla sum,
segl sāle fæst.   Sund‐wudu þunede,
nō þǣr wēg‐flotan   wind ofer ȳðum
sīðes getwǣfde;   sǣ‐genga fōr,
flēat fāmig‐heals   forð ofer ȳðe,
bunden‐stefna   ofer brim‐strēamas, [1910]
þæt hīe Gēata clifu   ongitan meahton,
cūðe næssas.   Cēol up geþrang,
lyft‐geswenced   on lande stōd.
Hraðe wæs æt holme   hȳð‐weard gearo,
sē þe ǣr lange tīd,   lēofra manna
fūs, æt faroðe   feor wlātode;
sǣlde tō sande   sīd‐fæðme scip
oncer‐bendum fæst,   þȳ lǣs hym ȳða þrym
wudu wynsuman   forwrecan meahte.
Hēt þā up beran   æðelinga gestrēon, [1920]
frætwe and fǣt‐gold;   næs him feor þanon
tō gesēcanne   sinces bryttan:
Higelāc Hrēðling   þǣr æt hām wunað,
selfa mid gesīðum   sǣ‐wealle nēah;
bold wæs betlīc,   brego‐rōf cyning,
hēa on healle,   Hygd swīðe geong,
wīs, wēl‐þungen,   þēah þe wintra lȳt
under burh‐locan   gebiden hæbbe
Hæreðes dōhtor:   næs hīo hnāh swā þēah,
nē tō gnēað gifa   Gēata lēodum, [1930]
māðm‐gestrēona.   Mod Þrȳðo wæg,
fremu folces cwēn,   firen ondrysne:
nǣnig þæt dorste   dēor genēðan
swǣsra gesīða,   nefne sin‐frēa,
þæt hire an dæges   ēagum starede;
ac him wæl‐bende   weotode tealde,
hand‐gewriðene:   hraðe seoððan wæs
æfter mund‐gripe   mēce geþinged,
þæt hit sceaðen‐mǣl   scȳran mōste,
cwealm‐bealu cȳðan.   Ne bið swylc cwēnlīc þēaw [1940]
idese tō efnanne,   þēah þe hīo ǣnlīcu sȳ,
þætte freoðu‐webbe   fēores onsæce
æfter līge‐torne   lēofne mannan.
Hūru þæt onhōhsnode   Heminges mǣg;
ealo drincende   ōðer sǣdan,
þæt hīo lēod‐bealewa   lǣs gefremede,
inwit‐nīða,   syððan ǣrest wearð
gyfen gold‐hroden   geongum cempan,
æðelum dīore,   syððan hīo Offan flet
ofer fealone flōd   be fæder lāre [1950]
sīðe gesōhte,   þǣr hīo syððan wēl
in gum‐stōle,   gōde mǣre,
līf‐gesceafta   lifigende brēac,
hīold hēah‐lufan   wið hæleða brego,
ealles mon‐cynnes   mīne gefrǣge
þone sēlestan   bī sǣm twēonum
eormen‐cynnes;   forþām Offa wæs
geofum and gūðum   gār‐cēne man,
wīde geweorðod;   wīsdōme hēold
ēðel sīnne,   þonon Ēomǣr wōc [1960]
hæleðum tō helpe,   Heminges mǣg,
nefa Gārmundes,   nīða cræftig.


Gewāt him þā se hearda   mid his hond‐scole
sylf æfter sande   sǣ‐wong tredan,
wīde waroðas.   Woruld‐candel scān,
sigel sūðan fūs:   hī sīð drugon,
elne geēodon,   tō þæs þe eorla hlēo,
bonan Ongenþēowes   burgum on innan,
geongne gūð‐cyning   gōdne gefrūnon
hringas dǣlan.   Higelāce wæs [1970]
sīð Bēowulfes   snūde gecȳðed,
þæt þǣr on worðig   wīgendra hlēo,
lind‐gestealla   lifigende cwōm,
heaðo‐lāces hāl   tō hofe gongan.
Hraðe wæs gerȳmed,   swā se rīca bebēad,
fēðe‐gestum   flet innan‐weard.
Gesæt þā wið sylfne,   sē þā sæcce genæs,
mǣg wið mǣge,   syððan man‐dryhten
þurh hlēoðor‐cwyde   holdne gegrētte
mēaglum wordum.   Meodu‐scencum [1980]
hwearf geond þæt reced   Hæreðes dōhtor:
lufode þā lēode,   līð‐wǣge bær
hǣlum tō handa.   Higelāc ongan
sīnne geseldan   in sele þām hēan
fægre fricgean,   hyne fyrwet bræc,
hwylce Sǣ‐Gēata   sīðas wǣron:
"Hū lomp ēow on lāde,   lēofa Bīowulf,
þā þū fǣringa   feorr gehogodest,
sæcce sēcean   ofer sealt wæter,
hilde tō Hiorote?   Ac þū Hrōðgāre [1990]
wīd‐cūðne wēan   wihte gebēttest,
mǣrum þēodne?   Ic þæs mōd‐ceare
sorh‐wylmum sēað,   sīðe ne truwode
lēofes mannes;   ic þē lange bæd,
þæt þū þone wæl‐gǣst   wihte ne grētte,
lēte Sūð‐Dene   sylfe geweorðan
gūðe wið Grendel.   Gode ic þanc secge,
þæs þe ic þē gesundne   gesēon mōste."
Bīowulf maðelode,   bearn Ecgþīowes:
"Þæt is undyrne,   dryhten Higelāc, [2000]
mǣre gemēting   monegum fīra,
hwylc orleg‐hwīl   uncer Grendles
wearð on þām wange,   þǣr hē worna fela
Sige‐Scildingum   sorge gefremede,
yrmðe tō aldre;   ic þæt eal gewræc,
swā ne gylpan þearf   Grendeles māga
ǣnig ofer eorðan   ūht‐hlem þone,
sē þe lengest leofað   lāðan cynnes,
fenne bifongen.   Ic þǣr furðum cwōm,
tō þām hring‐sele   Hrōðgār grētan: [2010]
sōna mē se mǣra   mago Healfdenes,
syððan hē mōd‐sefan   mīnne cūðe,
wið his sylfes sunu   setl getǣhte.
Weorod wæs on wynne;   ne seah ic wīdan feorh
under heofenes hwealf   heal‐sittendra
medu‐drēam māran.   Hwīlum mǣru cwēn,
friðu‐sibb folca   flet eall geond‐hwearf,
bǣdde byre geonge;   oft hīo bēah‐wriðan
secge sealde,   ǣr hīo tō setle gēong.
Hwīlum for duguðe   dōhtor Hrōðgāres [2020]
eorlum on ende   ealu‐wǣge bær,
þā ic Frēaware   flet‐sittende
nemnan hȳrde,   þǣr hīo nægled sinc
hæleðum sealde:   sīo gehāten wæs,
geong gold‐hroden,   gladum suna Frōdan;
hafað þæs geworden   wine Scyldinga
rīces hyrde   and þæt rǣd talað,
þæt hē mid þȳ wīfe   wæl‐fǣhða dǣl,
sæcca gesette.   Oft nō seldan hwǣr
æfter lēod‐hryre   lȳtle hwīle [2030]
bon‐gār būgeð,   þēah sēo brȳd duge!


"Mæg þæs þonne ofþyncan   þēoden Heaðobeardna
and þegna gehwām   þāra lēoda,
þonne hē mid fǣmnan   on flett gǣð,
dryht‐bearn Dena   duguða biwenede:
on him gladiað   gomelra lāfe
heard and hring‐mǣl,   Heaðobeardna gestrēon,
þenden hīe þām wǣpnum   wealdan mōston,
oð þæt hīe forlǣddan   tō þām lind‐plegan
swǣse gesīðas   ond hyra sylfra feorh. [2040]
Þonne cwið æt bēore,   sē þe bēah gesyhð,
eald æsc‐wiga,   sē þe eall geman
gār‐cwealm gumena   (him bið grim sefa),
onginneð geōmor‐mōd   geongne cempan
þurh hreðra gehygd   higes cunnian,
wīg‐bealu weccean   and þæt word ācwyð:
'Meaht þū, mīn wine,   mēce gecnāwan,
þone þin fæder   tō gefeohte bær
under here‐grīman   hindeman sīðe,
dȳre īren,   þǣr hyne Dene slōgon, [2050]
wēoldon wæl‐stōwe,   syððan wiðer‐gyld læg,
æfter hæleða hryre,   hwate Scyldungas?
Nu hēr þāra banena   byre nāt‐hwylces,
frætwum hrēmig   on flet gǣð,
morðres gylpeð   and þone māððum byreð,
þone þe þū mid rihte   rǣdan sceoldest!'
Manað swā and myndgað   mǣla gehwylce
sārum wordum,   oð þæt sǣl cymeð,
þæt se fǣmnan þegn   fore fæder dǣdum
æfter billes bite   blōd‐fāg swefeð, [2060]
ealdres scyldig;   him se ōðer þonan
losað lifigende,   con him land geare.
Þonne bīoð brocene   on bā healfe
āð‐sweord eorla;   syððan Ingelde
weallað wæl‐nīðas   and him wīf‐lufan
æfter cear‐wælmum   cōlran weorðað.
Þȳ ic Heaðobeardna   hyldo ne telge,
dryht‐sibbe dǣl   Denum unfǣcne,
frēond‐scipe fæstne.   Ic sceal forð sprecan
gēn ymbe Grendel,   þæt þū geare cunne, [2070]
sinces brytta,   tō hwan syððan wearð
hond‐rǣs hæleða.   Syððan heofones gim
glād ofer grundas,   gæst yrre cwōm,
eatol ǣfen‐grom,   ūser nēosan,
þǣr wē gesunde   sæl weardodon;
þǣr wæs Hondscīo   hild onsǣge,
feorh‐bealu fǣgum,   hē fyrmest læg,
gyrded cempa;   him Grendel wearð,
mǣrum magu‐þegne   tō mūð‐bonan,
lēofes mannes   līc eall forswealg. [2080]
Nō þȳ ǣr ūt þā gēn   īdel‐hende
bona blōdig‐tōð   bealewa gemyndig,
of þām gold‐sele   gongan wolde,
ac hē mægnes rōf   mīn costode,
grāpode gearo‐folm.   Glōf hangode
sīd and syllīc   searo‐bendum fæst,
sīo wæs orþoncum   eall gegyrwed
dēofles cræftum   and dracan fellum:
hē mec þǣr on innan   unsynnigne,
dīor dǣd‐fruma,   gedōn wolde, [2090]
manigra sumne:   hyt ne mihte swā,
syððan ic on yrre   upp‐riht āstōd.
Tō lang ys tō reccenne,   hū ic þām lēod‐sceaðan
yfla gehwylces   ond‐lēan forgeald;
þǣr ic, þēoden mīn,   þīne lēode
weorðode weorcum.   Hē on weg losade,
lȳtle hwīle   līf‐wynna brēac;
hwæðre him sīo swīðre   swaðe weardade
hand on Hiorte   and hē hēan þonan,
mōdes geōmor   mere‐grund gefēoll. [2100]
Mē þone wæl‐rǣs   wine Scildunga
fǣttan golde   fela lēanode,
manegum māðmum,   syððan mergen cōm
and wē tō symble   geseten hæfdon.
Þǣr wæs gidd and glēo;   gomela Scilding
fela fricgende   feorran rehte;
hwīlum hilde‐dēor   hearpan wynne,
gomen‐wudu grētte;   hwīlum gyd āwræc
sōð and sārlīc;   hwīlum syllīc spell
rehte æfter rihte   rūm‐heort cyning. [2110]
Hwīlum eft ongan   eldo gebunden,
gomel gūð‐wiga   gioguðe cwīðan
hilde‐strengo;   hreðer inne wēoll,
þonne hē wintrum frōd   worn gemunde.
Swā wē þǣr inne   andlangne dæg
nīode nāman,   oð þæt niht becwōm
ōðer tō yldum.   Þā wæs eft hraðe
gearo gyrn‐wræce   Grendeles mōdor,
sīðode sorh‐full;   sunu dēað fornam,
wīg‐hete Wedra.   Wīf unhȳre [2120]
hyre bearn gewræc,   beorn ācwealde
ellenlīce;   þǣr wæs Æsc‐here,
frōdan fyrn‐witan,   feorh ūðgenge;
nōðer hȳ hine ne mōston,   syððan mergen cwōm,
dēað‐wērigne   Denia lēode
bronde forbærnan,   nē on bǣl hladan
lēofne mannan:   hīo þæt līc ætbær
fēondes fæðmum   under firgen‐strēam.
Þæt wæs Hrōðgāre   hrēowa tornost
þāra þe lēod‐fruman   lange begeāte; [2130]
þā se þēoden mec   þīne līfe
healsode hrēoh‐mōd,   þæt ic on holma geþring
eorl‐scipe efnde,   ealdre genēðde,
mǣrðo fremede:   hē mē mēde gehēt.
Ic þā þæs wælmes,   þē is wīde cūð,
grimne gryrelīcne   grund‐hyrde fond.
Þǣr unc hwīle wæs   hand gemǣne;
holm heolfre wēoll   and ic hēafde becearf
in þām grund‐sele   Grendeles mōdor
ēacnum ecgum,   unsōfte þonan [2140]
feorh oðferede;   næs ic fǣge þā gȳt,
ac mē eorla hlēo   eft gesealde
māðma menigeo,   maga Healfdenes.


"Swā se þēod‐kyning   þēawum lyfde;
nealles ic þām lēanum   forloren hæfde,
mægnes mēde,   ac hē mē māðmas geaf,
sunu Healfdenes,   on sīnne sylfes dōm;
þā ic þē, beorn‐cyning,   bringan wylle,
ēstum geȳwan.   Gēn is eall æt þē
lissa gelong:   ic lȳt hafo [2150]
hēafod‐māga,   nefne Hygelāc þec!"
Hēt þā in beran   eafor, hēafod‐segn,
heaðo‐stēapne helm,   hāre byrnan,
gūð‐sweord geatolīc,   gyd æfter wræc:
"Mē þis hilde‐sceorp   Hrōðgār sealde,
snotra fengel,   sume worde hēt,
þæt ic his ǣrest   þē eft gesægde,
cwæð þæt hyt hæfde   Hiorogār cyning,
lēod Scyldunga   lange hwīle:
nō þȳ ǣr suna sīnum   syllan wolde, [2160]
hwatum Heorowearde,   þēah hē him hold wǣre,
brēost‐gewǣdu.   Brūc ealles well!"
Hȳrde ic þæt þām frætwum   fēower mēaras
lungre gelīce   lāst weardode,
æppel‐fealuwe;   hē him ēst getēah
mēara and māðma.   Swā sceal mǣg dōn,
nealles inwit‐net   ōðrum bregdan,
dyrnum cræfte   dēað rēnian
hond‐gesteallan.   Hygelāce wæs,
nīða heardum,   nefa swȳðe hold [2170]
and gehwæðer ōðrum   hrōðra gemyndig.
Hȳrde ic þæt hē þone heals‐bēah   Hygde gesealde,
wrǣtlīcne wundur‐māððum,   þone þe him Wealhþēo geaf,
þēodnes dōhtor,   þrīo wicg somod
swancor and sadol‐beorht;   hyre syððan wæs
æfter bēah‐þege   brēost geweorðod.
Swā bealdode   bearn Ecgþēowes,
guma gūðum cūð,   gōdum dǣdum,
drēah æfter dōme,   nealles druncne slōg
heorð‐genēatas;   næs him hrēoh sefa, [2180]
ac hē man‐cynnes   mǣste cræfte
gin‐fæstan gife,   þē him god sealde,
hēold hilde‐dēor.   Hēan wæs lange,
swā hyne Gēata bearn   gōdne ne tealdon,
nē hyne on medo‐bence   micles wyrðne
drihten wereda   gedōn wolde;
swȳðe oft sægdon,   þæt hē slēac wǣre,
æðeling unfrom:   edwenden cwōm
tīr‐ēadigum menn   torna gehwylces.
Hēt þā eorla hlēo   in gefetian, [2190]
heaðo‐rōf cyning,   Hrēðles lāfe,
golde gegyrede;   næs mid Gēatum þā
sinc‐māððum sēlra   on sweordes hād;
þæt hē on Bīowulfes   bearm ālegde,
and him gesealde   seofan þūsendo,
bold and brego‐stōl.   Him wæs bām samod
on þām lēod‐scipe   lond gecynde,
eard ēðel‐riht,   ōðrum swīðor
sīde rīce,   þām þǣr sēlra wæs.
Eft þæt geīode   ufaran dōgrum [2200]
hilde‐hlæmmum,   syððan Hygelāc læg
and Heardrēde   hilde‐mēceas
under bord‐hrēoðan   tō bonan wurdon,
þā hyne gesōhtan   on sige‐þēode
hearde hilde‐frecan,   Heaðo‐Scilfingas,
nīða genǣgdan   nefan Hererīces.
Syððan Bēowulfe   brāde rīce
on hand gehwearf:   hē gehēold tela
fīftig wintru   (wæs þā frōd cyning,
eald ēðel‐weard),   oð þæt ān ongan [2210]
deorcum nihtum   draca rīcsian,
sē þe on hēare hǣðe   hord beweotode,
stān‐beorh stēapne:   stīg under læg,
eldum uncūð.   Þǣr on innan gīong
niða nāt‐hwylces   nēode gefēng
hǣðnum horde   hond . d . . geþ . . hwylc
since fāhne,   hē þæt syððan . . . . .
. . . þ . . . lð . þ . . l . g
slǣpende be fȳre,   fyrena hyrde
þēofes cræfte,   þæt sie . . . . ðioð . . . . . [2220]
. idh . folc‐beorn,   þæt hē gebolgen wæs.


Nealles mid geweoldum   wyrm‐horda . . . cræft
sōhte sylfes willum,   sē þe him sāre gesceōd,
ac for þrēa‐nēdlan   þēow nāt‐hwylces
hæleða bearna   hete‐swengeas flēah,
for ofer‐þearfe   and þǣr inne fealh
secg syn‐bysig.   Sōna in þā tīde
þæt . . . . . þām gyste   . . . . br . g . stōd,
hwæðre earm‐sceapen . . . . . . .
. . ð . . . sceapen o . . . . i r . . e se fǣs begeat, [2230]
sinc‐fæt geseah:   þǣr wæs swylcra fela
in þām eorð‐scræfe   ǣr‐gestrēona,
swā hȳ on geār‐dagum   gumena nāt‐hwylc
eormen‐lāfe   æðelan cynnes
þanc‐hycgende   þǣr gehȳdde,
dēore māðmas.   Ealle hīe dēað fornam
ǣrran mǣlum,   and se ān þā gēn
lēoda duguðe,   sē þǣr lengest hwearf,
weard wine‐geōmor   wīscte þæs yldan,
þæt hē lȳtel fæc   long‐gestrēona [2240]
brūcan mōste.   Beorh eal gearo
wunode on wonge   wæter‐ȳðum nēah,
nīwe be næsse   nearo‐cræftum fæst:
þǣr on innan bær   eorl‐gestrēona
hringa hyrde   hard‐fyrdne dǣl
fǣttan goldes,   fēa worda cwæð:
"Heald þū nū, hrūse,   nū hæleð ne mōston,
eorla ǣhte.   Hwæt! hit ǣr on þē
gōde begeāton;   gūð‐dēað fornam,
feorh‐bealo frēcne   fȳra gehwylcne, [2250]
lēoda mīnra,   þāra þe þis līf ofgeaf,
gesāwon sele‐drēam.   Nāh hwā sweord wege
oððe fetige   fǣted wǣge,
drync‐fæt dēore:   duguð ellor scōc.
Sceal se hearda helm   hyrsted golde
fǣtum befeallen:   feormiend swefað,
þā þe beado‐grīman   bȳwan sceoldon,
gē swylce sēo here‐pād,   sīo æt hilde gebād
ofer borda gebræc   bite īrena,
brosnað æfter beorne.   Ne mæg byrnan hring [2260]
æfter wīg‐fruman   wīde fēran
hæleðum be healfe;   næs hearpan wyn,
gomen glēo‐bēames,   nē gōd hafoc
geond sæl swingeð,   nē se swifta mearh
burh‐stede bēateð.   Bealo‐cwealm hafað
fela feorh‐cynna   feorr onsended!"
Swā giōmor‐mōd   giohðo mǣnde,
ān æfter eallum   unblīðe hwēop,
dæges and nihtes,   oð þæt dēaðes wylm
hrān æt heortan.   Hord‐wynne fond [2270]
eald ūht‐sceaða   opene standan,
sē þe byrnende   biorgas sēceð
nacod nīð‐draca,   nihtes flēogeð
fȳre befangen;   hyne fold‐būend
wīde gesāwon.   Hē gēwunian sceall
hlāw under hrūsan,   þǣr hē hǣðen gold
warað wintrum frōd;   ne byð him wihte þē sēl.
Swā se þēod‐sceaða   þrēo hund wintra
hēold on hrūsan   hord‐ærna sum
ēacen‐cræftig,   oð þæt hyne ān ābealh [2280]
mon on mōde:   man‐dryhtne bær
fǣted wǣge,   frioðo‐wǣre bæd
hlāford sīnne.   Þā wæs hord rāsod,
onboren bēaga hord,   bēne getīðad
fēa‐sceaftum men.   Frēa scēawode
fīra fyrn‐geweorc   forman sīðe.
Þā se wyrm onwōc,   wrōht wæs genīwad;
stonc þā æfter stāne,   stearc‐heort onfand
fēondes fōt‐lāst;   hē tō forð gestōp,
dyrnan cræfte,   dracan hēafde nēah. [2290]
Swā mæg unfǣge   ēaðe gedīgan
wēan and wræc‐sīð,   sē þe waldendes
hyldo gehealdeð.   Hord‐weard sōhte
georne æfter grunde,   wolde guman findan,
þone þe him on sweofote   sāre getēode:
hāt and hrēoh‐mōd   hlǣw oft ymbe hwearf,
ealne ūtan‐weardne;   nē þǣr ǣnig mon
wæs on þǣre wēstenne.   Hwæðre hilde gefeh,
beado‐weorces:   hwīlum on beorh æthwearf,
sinc‐fæt sōhte;   hē þæt sōna onfand, [2300]
þæt hæfde gumena sum   goldes gefandod
hēah‐gestrēona.   Hord‐weard onbād
earfoðlīce,   oð þæt ǣfen cwōm;
wæs þā gebolgen   beorges hyrde,
wolde se lāða   līge forgyldan
drinc‐fæt dȳre.   Þā wæs dæg sceacen
wyrme on willan,   nō on wealle leng
bīdan wolde,   ac mid bǣle fōr,
fȳre gefȳsed.   Wæs se fruma egeslīc
lēodum on lande,   swā hyt lungre wearð [2310]
on hyra sinc‐gifan   sāre geendod.


Þā se gæst ongan   glēdum spīwan,
beorht hofu bærnan;   bryne‐lēoma stōd
eldum on andan;   nō þǣr āht cwices
lāð lyft‐floga   lǣfan wolde.
Wæs þæs wyrmes wīg   wīde gesȳne,
nearo‐fāges nīð   nēan and feorran,
hū se gūð‐sceaða   Gēata lēode
hatode and hȳnde:   hord eft gescēat,
dryht‐sele dyrnne   ǣr dæges hwīle. [2320]
Hæfde land‐wara   līge befangen,
bǣle and bronde;   beorges getruwode,
wīges and wealles:   him sēo wēn gelēah.
Þā wæs Bīowulfe   brōga gecȳðed
snūde tō sōðe,   þæt his sylfes him
bolda sēlest   bryne‐wylmum mealt,
gif‐stōl Gēata.   Þæt þām gōdan wæs
hrēow on hreðre,   hyge‐sorga mǣst:
wēnde se wīsa,   þæt hē wealdende,
ofer ealde riht,   ēcean dryhtne [2330]
bitre gebulge:   brēost innan wēoll
þēostrum geþoncum,   swā him geþȳwe ne wæs.
Hæfde līg‐draca   lēoda fæsten,
ēa‐lond ūtan,   eorð‐weard þone
glēdum forgrunden.   Him þæs gūð‐cyning,
Wedera þīoden,   wræce leornode.
Heht him þā gewyrcean   wīgendra hlēo
eall‐īrenne,   eorla dryhten
wīg‐bord wrǣtlīc;   wisse hē gearwe,
þæt him holt‐wudu   helpan ne meahte, [2340]
lind wið līge.   Sceolde lǣn‐daga
æðeling ǣr‐gōd   ende gebīdan
worulde līfes   and se wyrm somod;
þēah þe hord‐welan   hēolde lange.
Oferhogode þā   hringa fengel,
þæt hē þone wīd‐flogan   weorode gesōhte,
sīdan herge;   nō hē him þā sæcce ondrēd,
nē him þæs wyrmes wīg   for wiht dyde,
eafoð and ellen;   forþon hē ǣr fela
nearo nēðende   nīða gedīgde, [2350]
hilde‐hlemma,   syððan hē Hrōðgāres,
sigor‐ēadig secg,   sele fǣlsode
and æt gūðe forgrāp   Grendeles mǣgum,
lāðan cynnes.   Nō þæt lǣsest wæs
hond‐gemota,   þǣr mon Hygelāc slōh,
syððan Gēata cyning   gūðe rǣsum,
frēa‐wine folces   Frēslondum on,
Hrēðles eafora   hioro‐dryncum swealt,
bille gebēaten;   þonan Bīowulf cōm
sylfes cræfte,   sund‐nytte drēah; [2360]
hæfde him on earme   ... XXX
hilde‐geatwa,   þā hē tō holme stāg.
Nealles Hetware   hrēmge þorfton
fēðe‐wīges,   þē him foran ongēan
linde bǣron:   lȳt eft becwōm
fram þām hild‐frecan   hāmes nīosan.
Oferswam þā sioleða bigong   sunu Ecgþēowes,
earm ān‐haga   eft tō lēodum,
þǣr him Hygd gebēad   hord and rīce,
bēagas and brego‐stōl:   bearne ne truwode, [2370]
þæt hē wið æl‐fylcum   ēðel‐stōlas
healdan cūðe,   þā wæs Hygelāc dēad.
Nō þȳ ǣr fēa‐sceafte   findan meahton
æt þām æðelinge   ǣnige þinga,
þæt hē Heardrēde   hlāford wǣre,
oððe þone cyne‐dōm   cīosan wolde;
hwæðre hē him on folce   frēond‐lārum hēold,
ēstum mid āre,   oð þæt hē yldra wearð,
Weder‐Gēatum wēold.   Hyne wræc‐mæcgas
ofer sǣ sōhtan,   suna Ōhteres: [2380]
hæfdon hȳ forhealden   helm Scylfinga,
þone sēlestan   sǣ‐cyninga,
þāra þe in Swīo‐rīce   sinc brytnade,
mǣrne þēoden.   Him þæt tō mearce wearð;
hē þǣr orfeorme   feorh‐wunde hlēat
sweordes swengum,   sunu Hygelāces;
and him eft gewāt   Ongenþīowes bearn
hāmes nīosan,   syððan Heardrēd læg;
lēt þone brego‐stōl   Bīowulf healdan,
Gēatum wealdan:   þæt wæs gōd cyning. [2390]


Sē þæs lēod‐hryres   lēan gemunde
uferan dōgrum,   Ēadgilse wearð
fēa‐sceaftum fēond.   Folce gestepte
ofer sǣ sīde   sunu Ōhteres
wigum and wǣpnum:   hē gewræc syððan
cealdum cear‐sīðum,   cyning ealdre binēat.
Swā hē nīða gehwane   genesen hæfde,
slīðra geslyhta,   sunu Ecgþīowes,
ellen‐weorca,   oð þone ānne dæg,
þē hē wið þām wyrme   gewegan sceolde. [2400]
Gewāt þā twelfa sum   torne gebolgen
dryhten Gēata   dracan scēawian;
hæfde þā gefrūnen,   hwanan sīo fǣhð ārās,
bealo‐nīð biorna;   him tō bearme cwōm
māððum‐fæt mǣre   þurh þæs meldan hond,
Sē wæs on þām þrēate   þreotteoða secg,
sē þæs orleges   ōr onstealde,
hæft hyge‐giōmor,   sceolde hēan þonon
wong wīsian:   hē ofer willan gīong
tō þæs þe hē eorð‐sele   ānne wisse, [2410]
hlǣw under hrūsan   holm‐wylme nēh,
ȳð‐gewinne,   sē wæs innan full
wrǣtta and wīra:   weard unhīore,
gearo gūð‐freca,   gold‐māðmas hēold,
eald under eorðan;   næs þæt ȳðe cēap,
tō gegangenne   gumena ǣnigum.
Gesæt þā on næsse   nīð‐heard cyning,
þenden hǣlo ābēad   heorð‐genēatum
gold‐wine Gēata:   him wæs geōmor sefa,
wǣfre and wæl‐fūs,   Wyrd ungemete nēah, [2420]
sē þone gomelan   grētan sceolde,
sēcean sāwle hord,   sundur gedǣlan
līf wið līce:   nō þon lange wæs
feorh æðelinges   flǣsce bewunden.
Bīowulf maðelade,   bearn Ecgþēowes:
"Fela ic on giogoðe   guð‐rǣsa genæs,
orleg‐hwīla:   ic þæt eall gemon.
Ic wæs syfan‐wintre,   þā mec sinca baldor,
frēa‐wine folca   æt mīnum fæder genam,
hēold mec and hæfde   Hrēðel cyning, [2430]
geaf mē sinc and symbel,   sibbe gemunde;
næs ic him tō līfe   lāðra ōwihte
beorn in burgum,   þonne his bearna hwylc,
Herebeald and Hæðcyn,   oððe Hygelāc mīn.
Wæs þām yldestan   ungedēfelīce
mǣges dǣdum   morðor‐bed strēd,
syððan hyne Hæðcyn   of horn‐bogan,
his frēa‐wine   flāne geswencte,
miste mercelses   and his mǣg ofscēt,
brōðor ōðerne,   blōdigan gāre: [2440]
þæt wæs feoh‐lēas gefeoht,   fyrenum gesyngad
hreðre hyge‐mēðe;   sceolde hwæðre swā þēah
æðeling unwrecen   ealdres linnan.
Swā bið geōmorlīc   gomelum ceorle
tō gebīdanne,   þæt his byre rīde
giong on galgan,   þonne hē gyd wrece,
sārigne sang,   þonne his sunu hangað
hrefne tō hrōðre   and hē him helpe ne mæg,
eald and in‐frōd,   ǣnige gefremman.
Symble bið gemyndgad   morna gehwylce [2450]
eaforan ellor‐sīð;   ōðres ne gȳmeð
tō gebīdanne   burgum on innan
yrfe‐weardes,   þonne se ān hafað
þurh dēaðes nȳd   dǣda gefondad.
Gesyhð sorh‐cearig   on his suna būre
wīn‐sele wēstne,   wind‐gereste,
rēote berofene;   rīdend swefað
hæleð in hoðman;   nis þǣr hearpan swēg,
gomen in geardum,   swylce þǣr iū wǣron.


"Gewīteð þonne on sealman,   sorh‐lēoð gæleð [2460]
ān æfter ānum:   þūhte him eall tō rūm,
wongas and wīc‐stede.   Swā Wedra helm
æfter Herebealde   heortan sorge
weallende wæg,   wihte ne meahte
on þām feorh‐bonan   fǣhðe gebētan:
nō þȳ ǣr hē þone heaðo‐rinc   hatian ne meahte
lāðum dǣdum,   þēah him lēof ne wæs.
Hē þā mid þǣre sorge,   þē him sīo sār belamp,
gum‐drēam ofgeaf,   godes lēoht gecēas;
eaferum lǣfde,   swā dēð ēadig mon, [2470]
lond and lēod‐byrig,   þā hē of līfe gewāt.
Þā wæs synn and sacu   Swēona and Gēata,
ofer wīd wæter   wrōht gemǣne,
here‐nīð hearda,   syððan Hrēðel swealt,
oððe him Ongenþēowes   eaferan wǣran
frome fyrd‐hwate,   frēode ne woldon
ofer heafo healdan,   ac ymb Hrēosna‐beorh
eatolne inwit‐scear   oft gefremedon.
Þæt mǣg‐wine   mīne gewrǣcan,
fǣhðe and fyrene,   swā hyt gefrǣge wæs, [2480]
þēah þe ōðer hit   ealdre gebohte,
heardan cēape:   Hæðcynne wearð,
Gēata dryhtne,   gūð onsǣge.
Þā ic on morgne gefrægn   mǣg ōðerne
billes ecgum   on bonan stǣlan,
þǣr Ongenþēow   Eofores nīosade:
gūð‐helm tōglād,   gomela Scylfing
hrēas heoro‐blāc;   hond gemunde
fǣhðo genōge,   feorh‐sweng ne oftēah.
Ic him þā māðmas,   þē hē mē sealde, [2490]
geald æt gūðe,   swā mē gifeðe wæs,
lēohtan sweorde:   hē mē lond forgeaf,
eard ēðel‐wyn.   Næs him ǣnig þearf,
þæt hē tō Gifðum   oððe tō Gār‐Denum
oððe in Swīo‐rīce   sēcean þurfe
wyrsan wīg‐frecan,   weorðe gecȳpan;
symle ic him on fēðan   beforan wolde,
āna on orde,   and swā tō aldre sceall
sæcce fremman,   þenden þis sweord þolað,
þæt mec ǣr and sīð   oft gelǣste, [2500]
syððan ic for dugeðum   Dæghrefne wearð
tō hand‐bonan,   Hūga cempan:
nalles hē þā frætwe   Frēs‐cyninge,
brēost‐weorðunge   bringan mōste,
ac in campe gecrong   cumbles hyrde,
æðeling on elne.   Ne wæs ecg bona,
ac him hilde‐grāp   heortan wylmas,
bān‐hūs gebræc.   Nū sceall billes ecg,
hond and heard sweord   ymb hord wīgan."
Bēowulf maðelode,   bēot‐wordum spræc [2510]
nīehstan sīðe:   "Ic genēðde fela
gūða on geogoðe;   gȳt ic wylle,
frōd folces weard,   fǣhðe sēcan,
mǣrðum fremman,   gif mec se mān‐sceaða
of eorð‐sele   ūt gesēceð!"
Gegrētte þā   gumena gehwylcne,
hwate helm‐berend   hindeman sīðe,
swǣse gesīðas:   "Nolde ic sweord beran,
wǣpen tō wyrme,   gif ic wiste hū
wið þām āglǣcean   elles meahte [2520]
gylpe wiðgrīpan,   swā ic giō wið Grendle dyde;
ac ic þǣr heaðu‐fȳres   hātes wēne,
rēðes and‐hāttres:   forþon ic mē on hafu
bord and byrnan.   Nelle ic beorges weard
oferflēon fōtes trem,   fēond unhȳre,
ac unc sceal weorðan æt wealle,   swā unc Wyrd getēoð,
metod manna gehwæs.   Ic eom on mōde from,
þæt ic wið þone gūð‐flogan   gylp ofersitte.
Gebīde gē on beorge   byrnum werede,
secgas on searwum,   hwæðer sēl mǣge [2530]
æfter wæl‐rǣse   wunde gedȳgan
uncer twēga.   Nis þæt ēower sīð,
nē gemet mannes,   nefne mīn ānes,
þæt hē wið āglǣcean   eofoðo dǣle,
eorl‐scype efne.   Ic mid elne sceall
gold gegangan   oððe gūð nimeð,
feorh‐bealu frēcne,   frēan ēowerne!"
Ārās þā bī ronde   rōf ōretta,
heard under helm,   hioro‐sercean bær
under stān‐cleofu,   strengo getruwode [2540]
ānes mannes:   ne bið swylc earges sīð.
Geseah þā be wealle,   sē þe worna fela,
gum‐cystum gōd,   gūða gedīgde,
hilde‐hlemma,   þonne hnitan fēðan,
(stōd on stān‐bogan)   strēam ūt þonan
brecan of beorge;   wæs þǣre burnan wælm
heaðo‐fȳrum hāt:   ne meahte horde nēah
unbyrnende   ǣnige hwīle
dēop gedȳgan   for dracan lēge.
Lēt þā of brēostum,   þā hē gebolgen wæs, [2550]
Weder‐Gēata lēod   word ūt faran,
stearc‐heort styrmde;   stefn in becōm
heaðo‐torht hlynnan   under hārne stān.
Hete wæs onhrēred,   hord‐weard oncnīow
mannes reorde;   næs þǣr māra fyrst,
frēode tō friclan.   From ǣrest cwōm
oruð āglǣcean   ūt of stāne,
hāt hilde‐swāt;   hrūse dynede.
Biorn under beorge   bord‐rand onswāf
wið þām gryre‐gieste,   Gēata dryhten: [2560]
þā wæs hring‐bogan   heorte gefȳsed
sæcce tō sēceanne.   Sweord ǣr gebrǣ
gōd gūð‐cyning   gomele lāfe,
ecgum unglēaw,   ǣghwæðrum wæs
bealo‐hycgendra   brōga fram ōðrum.
Stīð‐mōd gestōd   wið stēapne rond
winia bealdor,   þā se wyrm gebēah
snūde tōsomne:   hē on searwum bād.
Gewāt þā byrnende   gebogen scrīðan tō,
gescīfe scyndan.   Scyld wēl gebearg [2570]
līfe and līce   lǣssan hwīle
mǣrum þēodne,   þonne his myne sōhte,
þǣr hē þȳ fyrste   forman dōgore
wealdan mōste,   swā him Wyrd ne gescrāf
hrēð æt hilde.   Hond up ābræd
Gēata dryhten,   gryre‐fāhne slōh
incge lāfe,   þæt sīo ecg gewāc
brūn on bāne,   bāt unswīðor,
þonne his þīod‐cyning   þearfe hæfde,
bysigum gebǣded.   Þā wæs beorges weard [2580]
æfter heaðu‐swenge   on hrēoum mōde,
wearp wæl‐fȳre,   wīde sprungon
hilde‐lēoman:   hrēð‐sigora ne gealp
gold‐wine Gēata,   gūð‐bill geswāc
nacod æt nīðe,   swā hyt nō sceolde,
īren ǣr‐gōd.   Ne wæs þæt ēðe sīð,
þæt se mǣra   maga Ecgþēowes
grund‐wong þone   ofgyfan wolde;
sceolde wyrmes willan   wīc eardian
elles hwergen,   swā sceal ǣghwylc mon [2590]
ālǣtan lǣn‐dagas.   Næs þā long tō þon,
þæt þā āglǣcean   hȳ eft gemētton.
Hyrte hyne hord‐weard,   hreðer ǣðme wēoll,
nīwan stefne:   nearo þrowode
fȳre befongen   sē þe ǣr folce wēold.
Nealles him on hēape   hand‐gesteallan,
æðelinga bearn   ymbe gestōdon
hilde‐cystum,   ac hȳ on holt bugon,
ealdre burgan.   Hiora in ānum wēoll
sefa wið sorgum:   sibb ǣfre ne mæg [2600]
wiht onwendan,   þām þe wēl þenceð.


Wīglāf wæs hāten   Wēoxstānes sunu,
lēoflīc lind‐wiga,   lēod Scylfinga,
mǣg Ælfheres:   geseah his mon‐dryhten
under here‐grīman   hāt þrowian.
Gemunde þā þā āre,   þē hē him ǣr forgeaf
wīc‐stede weligne   Wǣgmundinga,
folc‐rihta gehwylc,   swā his fæder āhte;
ne mihte þā forhabban,   hond rond gefēng,
geolwe linde,   gomel swyrd getēah, [2610]
þæt wæs mid eldum   Ēanmundes lāf,
suna Ōhteres,   þām æt sæcce wearð
wracu wine‐lēasum   Wēohstānes bana
mēces ecgum,   and his māgum ætbær
brūn‐fāgne helm,   hringde byrnan,
eald sweord eotonisc,   þæt him Onela forgeaf,
his gædelinges   gūð‐gewǣdu,
fyrd‐searo fūslīc:   nō ymbe þā fǣhðe spræc,
þēah þe hē his brōðor   bearn ābredwade.
Hē frætwe gehēold   fela missēra, [2620]
bill and byrnan,   oð þæt his byre mihte
eorl‐scipe efnan,   swā his ǣr‐fæder;
geaf him þā mid Gēatum   gūð‐gewǣda
ǣghwæs unrīm;   þā hē of ealdre gewāt,
frōd on forð‐weg.   Þā wæs forma sīð
geongan cempan,   þæt hē gūðe rǣs
mid his frēo‐dryhtne   fremman sceolde;
ne gemealt him se mōd‐sefa,   nē his mǣges lāf
gewāc æt wīge:   þæt se wyrm onfand,
syððan hīe tōgædre   gegān hæfdon. [2630]
Wīglāf maðelode   word‐rihta fela,
sægde gesīðum,   him wæs sefa geōmor:
"Ic þæt mǣl geman,   þǣr wē medu þēgun,
þonne wē gehēton   ūssum hlāforde
in bīor‐sele,   þē ūs þās bēagas geaf,
þæt wē him þā gūð‐geatwa   gyldan woldon,
gif him þyslīcu   þearf gelumpe,
helmas and heard sweord:   þē hē ūsic on herge gecēas
tō þyssum sīð‐fate   sylfes willum,
onmunde ūsic mǣrða   and mē þās māðmas geaf, [2640]
þē hē ūsic gār‐wīgend   gōde tealde,
hwate helm‐berend,   þēah þe hlāford ūs
þis ellen‐weorc   āna āþōhte
tō gefremmanne,   folces hyrde,
forþām hē manna mǣst   mǣrða gefremede,
dǣda dollīcra.   Nū is sē dæg cumen,
þæt ūre man‐dryhten   mægenes behōfað
gōdra gūð‐rinca:   wutun gangan tō,
helpan hild‐fruman,   þenden hyt sȳ,
glēd‐egesa grim!   God wāt on mec, [2650]
þæt mē is micle lēofre,   þæt mīnne līc‐haman
mid mīnne gold‐gyfan   glēd fæðmie.
Ne þynceð mē gerysne,   þæt wē rondas beren
eft tō earde,   nemne wē ǣror mǣgen
fāne gefyllan,   feorh ealgian
Wedra þīodnes.   Ic wāt geare,
þæt nǣron eald‐gewyrht,   þæt hē āna scyle
Gēata duguðe   gnorn þrowian,
gesīgan æt sæcce:   sceal ūrum þæt sweord and helm,
byrne and byrdu‐scrūd   bām gemǣne." [2660]
Wōd þā þurh þone wæl‐rēc,   wīg‐heafolan bær
frēan on fultum,   fēa worda cwæð:
"Lēofa Bīowulf,   lǣst eall tela,
swā þū on geoguð‐fēore   geāra gecwǣde,
þæt þū ne ālǣte   be þē lifigendum
dōm gedrēosan:   scealt nū dǣdum rōf,
æðeling ān‐hȳdig,   ealle mægene
feorh ealgian;   ic þē fullǣstu!"
Æfter þām wordum   wyrm yrre cwōm,
atol inwit‐gæst   ōðre sīðe, [2670]
fȳr‐wylmum fāh   fīonda nīosan,
lāðra manna;   līg‐ȳðum forborn
bord wið ronde:   byrne ne meahte
geongum gār‐wigan   gēoce gefremman:
ac se maga geonga   under his mǣges scyld
elne geēode,   þā his āgen wæs
glēdum forgrunden.   Þā gēn gūð‐cyning
mǣrða gemunde,   mægen‐strengo,
slōh hilde‐bille,   þæt hyt on heafolan stōd
nīðe genȳded:   Nægling forbærst, [2680]
geswāc æt sæcce   sweord Bīowulfes
gomol and grǣg‐mǣl.   Him þæt gifeðe ne wæs,
þæt him īrenna   ecge mihton
helpan æt hilde;   wæs sīo hond tō strong,
sē þe mēca gehwane   mīne gefrǣge
swenge ofersōhte,   þonne hē tō sæcce bær
wǣpen wundrum heard,   næs him wihte þē sēl.
Þā wæs þēod‐sceaða   þriddan sīðe,
frēcne fȳr‐draca   fǣhða gemyndig,
rǣsde on þone rōfan,   þā him rūm āgeald, [2690]
hāt and heaðo‐grim,   heals ealne ymbefēng
biteran bānum;   hē geblōdegod wearð
sāwul‐drīore;   swāt ȳðum wēoll.


Þā ic æt þearfe gefrægn   þēod‐cyninges
and‐longne eorl   ellen cȳðan,
cræft and cēnðu,   swā him gecynde wæs;
ne hēdde hē þæs heafolan,   ac sīo hand gebarn
mōdiges mannes,   þǣr hē his mǣges healp,
þæt hē þone nīð‐gæst   nioðor hwēne slōh,
secg on searwum,   þæt þæt sweord gedēaf [2700]
fāh and fǣted,   þæt þæt fȳr ongon
sweðrian syððan.   Þā gēn sylf cyning
gewēold his gewitte,   wæll‐seaxe gebrǣ,
biter and beadu‐scearp,   þæt hē on byrnan wæg:
forwrāt Wedra helm    wyrm on middan.
Fēond gefyldan   (ferh ellen wræc),
and hī hyne þā bēgen   ābroten hæfdon,
sib‐æðelingas:   swylc sceolde secg wesan,
þegn æt þearfe.   Þæt þām þēodne wæs
sīðast sīge‐hwīle   sylfes dǣdum, [2710]
worlde geweorces.   Þā sīo wund ongon,
þē him se eorð‐draca   ǣr geworhte,
swelan and swellan.   Hē þæt sōna onfand,
þæt him on brēostum   bealo‐nīð wēoll,
attor on innan.   Þā se æðeling gīong,
þæt hē bī wealle,   wīs‐hycgende,
gesæt on sesse;   seah on enta geweorc,
hū þā stān‐bogan   stapulum fæste
ēce eorð‐reced   innan hēoldon.
Hyne þā mid handa   heoro‐drēorigne [2720]
þēoden mǣrne   þegn ungemete till,
wine‐dryhten his   wætere gelafede,
hilde‐sædne   and his helm onspēon.
Bīowulf maðelode,   hē ofer benne spræc,
wunde wæl‐blēate   (wisse hē gearwe,
þæt hē dæg‐hwīla   gedrogen hæfde
eorðan wynne;   þā wæs eall sceacen
dōgor‐gerīmes,   dēað ungemete nēah):
"Nū ic suna mīnum   syllan wolde
gūð‐gewǣdu,   þǣr mē gifeðe swā [2730]
ǣnig yrfe‐weard   æfter wurde,
līce gelenge.   Ic þās lēode hēold
fīftig wintra:   næs se folc‐cyning
ymbe‐sittendra   ǣnig þāra,
þē mec gūð‐winum   grētan dorste,
egesan þēon.   Ic on earde bād
mǣl‐gesceafta,   hēold mīn tela,
ne sōhte searo‐nīðas,   nē mē swōr fela
āða on unriht.   Ic þæs ealles mæg,
feorh‐bennum sēoc,   gefēan habban: [2740]
forþām mē wītan ne þearf   waldend fīra
morðor‐bealo māga,   þonne mīn sceaceð
līf of līce.   Nū þū lungre
geong, hord scēawian   under hārne stān,
Wīglāf lēofa,   nū se wyrm ligeð,
swefeð sāre wund,   since berēafod.
Bīo nū on ofoste,   þæt ic ǣr‐welan,
gold‐ǣht ongite,   gearo scēawige
swegle searo‐gimmas,   þæt ic þȳ sēft mǣge
æfter māððum‐welan   mīn ālǣtan [2750]
līf and lēod‐scipe,   þone ic longe hēold."


Þā ic snūde gefrægn   sunu Wīhstānes
æfter word‐cwydum   wundum dryhtne
hȳran heaðo‐sīocum,   hring‐net beran,
brogdne beadu‐sercean   under beorges hrōf.
Geseah þā sige‐hrēðig,   þā hē bī sesse gēong,
mago‐þegn mōdig   māððum‐sigla fela,
gold glitinian   grunde getenge,
wundur on wealle   and þæs wyrmes denn,
ealdes ūht‐flogan,   orcas stondan, [2760]
fyrn‐manna fatu   feormend‐lēase,
hyrstum behrorene:   þǣr wæs helm monig,
eald and ōmig,   earm‐bēaga fela,
searwum gesǣled.   Sinc ēaðe mæg,
gold on grunde,   gumena cynnes
gehwone ofer‐hīgian,   hȳde sē þe wylle!
Swylce hē siomian geseah   segn eall‐gylden
hēah ofer horde,   hond‐wundra mǣst,
gelocen leoðo‐cræftum:   of þām lēoma stōd,
þæt hē þone grund‐wong   ongitan meahte, [2770]
wrǣte giond‐wlītan.   Næs þæs wyrmes þǣr
onsȳn ǣnig,   ac hyne ecg fornam.
Þā ic on hlǣwe   gefrægn hord rēafian,
eald enta geweorc   ānne mannan,
him on bearm hladan   bunan and discas
sylfes dōme,   segn ēac genom,
bēacna beorhtost;   bill ǣr‐gescōd
(ecg wæs īren)   eald‐hlāfordes
þām þāra māðma   mund‐bora wæs
longe hwīle,   līg‐egesan wæg [2780]
hātne for horde,   hioro‐weallende,
middel‐nihtum,   oð þæt hē morðre swealt.
Ār wæs on ofoste   eft‐sīðes georn,
frætwum gefyrðred:   hyne fyrwet bræc,
hwæðer collen‐ferð   cwicne gemētte
in þām wong‐stede   Wedra þēoden,
ellen‐sīocne,   þǣr hē hine ǣr forlēt.
Hē þā mid þām māðmum   mǣrne þīoden,
dryhten sīnne   drīorigne fand
ealdres æt ende:   hē hine eft ongon [2790]
wæteres weorpan,   oð þæt wordes ord
brēost‐hord þurhbræc.   Bēowulf maðelode,
gomel on giohðe   (gold scēawode):
"Ic þāra frætwa   frēan ealles þanc
wuldur‐cyninge   wordum secge,
ēcum dryhtne,   þē ic hēr on starie,
þæs þe ic mōste   mīnum lēodum
ǣr swylt‐dæge   swylc gestrȳnan.
Nū ic on māðma hord   mīne bebohte
frōde feorh‐lege,   fremmað gē nū [2800]
lēoda þearfe;   ne mæg ic hēr leng wesan.
Hātað heaðo‐mǣre   hlǣw gewyrcean,
beorhtne æfter bǣle   æt brimes nosan;
se scel tō gemyndum   mīnum lēodum
hēah hlīfian   on Hrones næsse,
þæt hit sǣ‐līðend   syððan hātan
Bīowulfes biorh,   þā þe brentingas
ofer flōda genipu   feorran drīfað."
Dyde him of healse   hring gyldenne
þīoden þrīst‐hȳdig,   þegne gesealde, [2810]
geongum gār‐wigan,   gold‐fāhne helm,
bēah and byrnan,   hēt hyne brūcan well:
"Þū eart ende‐lāf   ūsses cynnes,
Wǣgmundinga;   ealle Wyrd forswēof,
mīne māgas   tō metod‐sceafte,
eorlas on elne:   ic him æfter sceal."
Þæt wæs þām gomelan   gingeste word
brēost‐gehygdum,   ǣr hē bǣl cure,
hāte heaðo‐wylmas:   him of hreðre gewāt
sāwol sēcean   sōð‐fæstra dōm. [2820]


Þā wæs gegongen   guman unfrōdum
earfoðlīce,   þæt hē on eorðan geseah
þone lēofestan   līfes æt ende
blēate gebǣran.   Bona swylce læg,
egeslīc eorð‐draca,   ealdre berēafod,
bealwe gebǣded:   bēah‐hordum leng
wyrm wōh‐bogen   wealdan ne mōste,
ac him īrenna   ecga fornāmon,
hearde heaðo‐scearpe   homera lāfe,
þæt se wīd‐floga   wundum stille [2830]
hrēas on hrūsan   hord‐ærne nēah,
nalles æfter lyfte   lācende hwearf
middel‐nihtum,   māðm‐ǣhta wlonc
ansȳn ȳwde:   ac hē eorðan gefēoll
for þæs hild‐fruman   hond‐geweorce.
Hūru þæt on lande   lȳt manna þāh
mægen‐āgendra   mīne gefrǣge,
þēah þe hē dǣda gehwæs   dyrstig wǣre,
þæt hē wið attor‐sceaðan   oreðe gerǣsde,
oððe hring‐sele   hondum styrede, [2840]
gif hē wæccende   weard onfunde
būan on beorge.   Bīowulfe wearð
dryht‐māðma dǣl   dēaðe forgolden;
hæfde ǣghwæðer   ende gefēred
lǣnan līfes.   Næs þā lang tō þon,
þæt þā hild‐latan   holt ofgēfan,
tȳdre trēow‐logan   tȳne ætsomne,
þā ne dorston ǣr   dareðum lācan
on hyra man‐dryhtnes   miclan þearfe;
ac hȳ scamiende   scyldas bǣran, [2850]
gūð‐gewǣdu,   þǣr se gomela læg:
wlitan on Wīglāf.   Hē gewērgad sæt,
fēðe‐cempa   frēan eaxlum nēah,
wehte hyne wætre;   him wiht ne spēow;
ne meahte hē on eorðan,   þēah hē ūðe wēl,
on þām frum‐gāre   feorh gehealdan,
nē þæs wealdendes willan   wiht oncirran;
wolde dōm godes   dǣdum rǣdan
gumena gehwylcum,   swā hē nū gēn dēð.
Þā wæs æt þām geongan   grim andswaru [2860]
ēð‐begēte þām þe ǣr   his elne forlēas.
Wīglāf maðelode,   Wēohstānes sunu,
secg sārig‐ferð   seah on unlēofe:
"Þæt lā mæg secgan,   sē þe wyle sōð sprecan,
þæt se mon‐dryhten,   se ēow þā māðmas geaf,
ēored‐geatwe,   þē gē þǣr on standað,
þonne hē on ealu‐bence   oft gesealde
heal‐sittendum   helm and byrnan,
þēoden his þegnum,   swylce hē þrȳðlīcost
ōhwǣr feor oððe nēah   findan meahte, [2870]
þæt hē gēnunga   gūð‐gewǣdu
wrāðe forwurpe.   Þā hyne wīg beget,
nealles folc‐cyning   fyrd‐gesteallum
gylpan þorfte;   hwæðre him god ūðe,
sigora waldend,   þæt hē hyne sylfne gewræc
āna mid ecge,   þā him wæs elnes þearf,
Ic him līf‐wraðe   lȳtle meahte
ætgifan æt gūðe   and ongan swā þēah
ofer mīn gemet   mǣges helpan:
symle wæs þȳ sǣmra,   þonne ic sweorde drep [2880]
ferhð‐genīðlan,   fȳr unswīðor
wēoll of gewitte.   Wergendra tō lȳt
þrong ymbe þēoden,   þā hyne sīo þrāg becwōm.
Nū sceal sinc‐þego   and swyrd‐gifu
eall ēðel‐wyn   ēowrum cynne,
lufen ālicgean:   lond‐rihtes mōt
þǣre mǣg‐burge   monna ǣghwylc
īdel hweorfan,   syððan æðelingas
feorran gefricgean   flēam ēowerne,
dōm‐lēasan dǣd.   Dēað bið sēlla [2890]
eorla gehwylcum   þonne edwīt‐līf!"


Heht þā þæt heaðo‐weorc   tō hagan bīodan
up ofer ēg‐clif,   þǣr þæt eorl‐weorod
morgen‐longne dæg   mōd‐giōmor sæt,
bord‐hæbbende,   bēga on wēnum
ende‐dōgores   and eft‐cymes
lēofes monnes.   Lȳt swīgode
nīwra spella,   sē þe næs gerād,
ac hē sōðlīce   sægde ofer ealle;
"Nū is wil‐geofa   Wedra lēoda, [2900]
dryhten Gēata   dēað‐bedde fæst,
wunað wæl‐reste   wyrmes dǣdum;
him on efn ligeð   ealdor‐gewinna,
siex‐bennum sēoc:   sweorde ne meahte
on þām āglǣcean   ǣnige þinga
wunde gewyrcean.   Wīglāf siteð
ofer Bīowulfe,   byre Wīhstānes,
eorl ofer ōðrum   unlifigendum,
healdeð hige‐mēðum   hēafod‐wearde
lēofes and lāðes.   Nū ys lēodum wēn [2910]
orleg‐hwīle,   syððan underne
Froncum and Frȳsum   fyll cyninges
wīde weorðeð.   Wæs sīo wrōht scepen
heard wið Hūgas,   syððan Higelāc cwōm
faran flot‐herge   on Frēsna land,
þǣr hyne Hetware   hilde gehnǣgdon,
elne geēodon   mid ofer‐mægene,
þæt se byrn‐wiga   būgan sceolde,
fēoll on fēðan:   nalles frætwe geaf
ealdor dugoðe;   ūs wæs ā syððan [2920]
Merewīoinga   milts ungyfeðe.
Nē ic tō Swēo‐þēode   sibbe oððe trēowe
wihte ne wēne;   ac wæs wīde cūð,
þætte Ongenþīo   ealdre besnyðede
Hæðcyn Hrēðling   wið Hrefna‐wudu,
þā for on‐mēdlan   ǣrest gesōhton
Gēata lēode   Gūð‐scilfingas.
Sōna him se frōda   fæder Ōhtheres,
eald and eges‐full   ond‐slyht āgeaf,
ābrēot brim‐wīsan,   brȳd āhēorde, [2930]
gomela īo‐meowlan   golde berofene,
Onelan mōdor   and Ōhtheres,
and þā folgode   feorh‐genīðlan
oð þæt hī oðēodon   earfoðlīce
in Hrefnes‐holt   hlāford‐lēase.
Besæt þā sin‐herge   sweorda lāfe
wundum wērge,   wēan oft gehēt
earmre teohhe   andlonge niht:
cwæð hē on mergenne   mēces ecgum
gētan wolde,   sume on galg‐trēowum [2940]
fuglum tō gamene.   Frōfor eft gelamp
sārig‐mōdum   somod ǣr‐dæge,
syððan hīe Hygelāces   horn and bȳman
gealdor ongeāton.   Þā se gōda cōm
lēoda dugoðe   on lāst faran.


"Wæs sīo swāt‐swaðu   Swēona and Gēata,
wæl‐rǣs wera   wīde gesȳne,
hū þā folc mid him   fǣhðe tōwehton.
Gewāt him þā se gōda   mid his gædelingum,
frōd fela geōmor   fæsten sēcean, [2950]
eorl Ongenþīo   ufor oncirde;
hæfde Higelāces   hilde gefrūnen,
wlonces wīg‐cræft,   wiðres ne truwode,
þæt hē sǣ‐mannum   onsacan mihte,
hēaðo‐līðendum   hord forstandan,
bearn and brȳde;   bēah eft þonan
eald under eorð‐weall.   Þā wæs ǣht boden
Swēona lēodum,   segn Higelāce.
Freoðo‐wong þone   forð oferēodon,
syððan Hrēðlingas   tō hagan þrungon. [2960]
Þǣr wearð Ongenþīo   ecgum sweorda,
blonden‐fexa   on bīd wrecen,
þæt se þēod‐cyning   þafian sceolde
Eofores ānne dōm:   hyne yrringa
Wulf Wonrēding   wǣpne gerǣhte,
þæt him for swenge   swāt ǣdrum sprong
forð under fexe.   Næs hē forht swā þēh,
gomela Scilfing,   ac forgeald hraðe
wyrsan wrixle   wæl‐hlem þone,
syððan þēod‐cyning   þyder oncirde: [2970]
ne meahte se snella   sunu Wonrēdes
ealdum ceorle   ond‐slyht giofan,
ac hē him on hēafde   helm ǣr gescer,
þæt hē blōde fāh   būgan sceolde,
fēoll on foldan;   næs hē fǣge þā gīt,
ac hē hyne gewyrpte,   þēah þe him wund hrīne,
Lēt se hearda   Higelāces þegn
brādne mēce,   þā his brōðor læg,
eald sweord eotonisc,   entiscne helm,
brecan ofer bord‐weal:   þā gebēah cyning, [2980]
folces hyrde,   wæs in feorh dropen.
Þā wǣron monige,   þē his mǣg wriðon,
ricone ārǣrdon,   þā him gerȳmed wearð,
þæt hīe wæl‐stōwe   wealdan mōston.
Þenden rēafode   rinc ōðerne,
nam on Ongenþīo   īren‐byrnan,
heard swyrd hilted   and his helm somod;
hāres hyrste   Higelāce bær.
Hē þām frætwum fēng   and him fægre gehēt
lēana fore lēodum   and gelǣste swā: [2990]
geald þone gūð‐rǣs   Gēata dryhten,
Hrēðles eafora,   þā hē tō hām becōm,
Jofore and Wulfe   mid ofer‐māðmum,
sealde hiora gehwæðrum   hund þūsenda
landes and locenra bēaga;   ne þorfte him þā lēan oðwītan
mon on middan‐gearde,   syððan hīe þā mǣrða geslōgon;
and þā Jofore forgeaf   āngan dōhtor,
hām‐weorðunge,   hyldo tō wedde.
Þæt ys sīo fǣhðo   and se fēond‐scipe,
wæl‐nīð wera,   þæs þe ic wēn hafo, [3000]
þē ūs sēceað tō   Swēona lēode,
syððan hīe gefricgeað   frēan ūserne
ealdor‐lēasne,   þone þe ǣr gehēold
wið hettendum   hord and rīce,
æfter hæleða hryre   hwate Scylfingas,
folc‐rǣd fremede   oððe furður gēn
eorl‐scipe efnde.   Nū is ofost betost,
þæt wē þēod‐cyning   þǣr scēawian
and þone gebringan,   þē ūs bēagas geaf,
on ād‐fære.   Ne scel ānes hwæt [3010]
meltan mid þām mōdigan,   ac þǣr is māðma hord.
gold unrīme   grimme gecēapod
and nū æt sīðestan   sylfes fēore
bēagas gebohte;   þā sceal brond fretan,
ǣled þeccean,   nalles eorl wegan
māððum tō gemyndum,   nē mægð scȳne
habban on healse   hring‐weorðunge,
ac sceall geōmor‐mōd   golde berēafod
oft nalles ǣne   el‐land tredan,
nū se here‐wīsa   hleahtor ālegde, [3020]
gamen and glēo‐drēam.   Forþon sceall gār wesan
monig morgen‐ceald   mundum bewunden,
hæfen on handa,   nalles hearpan swēg
wīgend weccean,   ac se wonna hrefn
fūs ofer fǣgum,   fela reordian,
earne secgan,   hū him æt ǣte spēow,
þenden hē wið wulf   wæl rēafode."
Swā se secg hwata   secgende wæs
lāðra spella;   hē ne lēag fela
wyrda nē worda.   Weorod eall ārās, [3030]
ēodon unblīðe   under Earna næs
wollen‐tēare   wundur scēawian.
Fundon þā on sande   sāwul‐lēasne
hlim‐bed healdan,   þone þe him hringas geaf
ǣrran mǣlum:   þā wæs ende‐dæg
gōdum gegongen,   þæt se gūð‐cyning,
Wedra þēoden,   wundor‐dēaðe swealt.
Ǣr hī gesēgan   syllīcran wiht,
wyrm on wonge   wiðer‐ræhtes þǣr
lāðne licgean:   wæs se lēg‐draca, [3040]
grimlīc gryre‐gæst,   glēdum beswǣled,
sē wæs fīftiges   fōt‐gemearces.
lang on legere,   lyft‐wynne hēold
nihtes hwīlum,   nyðer eft gewāt
dennes nīosian;   wæs þā dēaðe fæst,
hæfde eorð‐scrafa   ende genyttod.
Him big stōdan   bunan and orcas,
discas lāgon   and dȳre swyrd,
ōmige þurh‐etone,   swā hīe wið eorðan fæðm
þūsend wintra   þǣr eardodon: [3050]
þonne wæs þæt yrfe   ēacen‐cræftig,
iū‐monna gold   galdre bewunden,
þæt þām hring‐sele   hrīnan ne mōste
gumena ǣnig,   nefne god sylfa,
sigora sōð‐cyning,   sealde þām þe hē wolde
(hē is manna gehyld)   hord openian,
efne swā hwylcum manna,   swā him gemet þūhte.


Þā wæs gesȳne,   þæt se sīð ne þāh
þām þe unrihte   inne gehȳdde
wrǣte under wealle.   Weard ǣr ofslōh [3060]
fēara sumne;   þā sīo fǣhð gewearð
gewrecen wrāðlīce.   Wundur hwār, þonne
eorl ellen‐rōf   ende gefēre
līf‐gesceafta,   þonne leng ne mæg
mon mid his māgum   medu‐seld būan.
Swā wæs Bīowulfe,   þā hē biorges weard
sōhte, searo‐nīðas:   seolfa ne cūðe,
þurh hwæt his worulde gedāl   weorðan sceolde;
swā hit oð dōmes dæg   dīope benemdon
þēodnas mǣre,   þā þæt þǣr dydon, [3070]
þæt se secg wǣre   synnum scildig,
hergum geheaðerod,   hell‐bendum fæst,
wommum gewītnad,   sē þone wong strāde.
Næs hē gold‐hwæt:   gearwor hæfde
āgendes ēst   ǣr gescēawod.
Wīglāf maðelode,   Wīhstānes sunu:
"Oft sceall eorl monig   ānes willan
wrǣc ādrēogan,   swā ūs geworden is.
Ne meahton wē gelǣran   lēofne þēoden,
rīces hyrde   rǣd ǣnigne, [3080]
þæt hē ne grētte   gold‐weard þone,
lēte hyne licgean,   þǣr hē longe wæs,
wīcum wunian   oð woruld‐ende.
Hēoldon hēah gesceap:   hord ys gescēawod,
grimme gegongen;   wæs þæt gifeðe tō swīð,
þē þone þēoden   þyder ontyhte.
Ic wæs þǣr inne   and þæt eall geond‐seh,
recedes geatwa,   þā mē gerȳmed wæs,
nealles swǣslīce   sīð ālȳfed
inn under eorð‐weall.   Ic on ofoste gefēng [3090]
micle mid mundum   mægen‐byrðenne
hord‐gestrēona,   hider ūt ætbær
cyninge mīnum:   cwico wæs þā gēna,
wīs and gewittig;   worn eall gespræc
gomol on gehðo   and ēowic grētan hēt,
bæd þæt gē geworhton   æfter wines dǣdum
in bǣl‐stede   beorh þone hēan
micelne and mǣrne,   swā hē manna wæs
wīgend weorð‐fullost   wīde geond eorðan,
þenden hē burh‐welan   brūcan mōste. [3100]
Uton nū efstan   ōðre sīðe
sēon and sēcean   searo‐geþræc,
wundur under wealle!   ic ēow wīsige,
þæt gē genōge   nēan scēawiað
bēagas and brād gold.   Sīe sīo bǣr gearo
ǣdre geæfned,   þonne wē ūt cymen,
and þonne geferian   frēan ūserne,
lēofne mannan,   þǣr hē longe sceal
on þæs waldendes   wǣre geþolian."
Hēt þā gebēodan   byre Wīhstānes, [3110]
hæle hilde‐dīor,   hæleða monegum
bold‐āgendra,   þæt hīe bǣl‐wudu
feorran feredon,   folc‐āgende
gōdum tōgēnes:   "Nū sceal glēd fretan
(weaxan wonna lēg)   wigena strengel,
þone þe oft gebād   īsern‐scūre,
þonne strǣla storm,   strengum gebǣded,
scōc ofer scild‐weall,   sceft nytte hēold,
feðer‐gearwum fūs   flāne full‐ēode."
Hūru se snotra   sunu Wīhstānes [3120]
ācīgde of corðre   cyninges þegnas
syfone tōsomne   þā sēlestan,
ēode eahta sum   under inwit‐hrōf;
hilde‐rinc sum   on handa bær
ǣled‐lēoman,   sē þe on orde gēong.
Næs þā on hlytme,   hwā þæt hord strude,
syððan or‐wearde   ǣnigne dǣl
secgas gesēgon   on sele wunian,
lǣne licgan:   lȳt ǣnig mearn,
þæt hī ofostlice   ūt geferedon [3130]
dȳre māðmas;   dracan ēc scufun,
wyrm ofer weall‐clif,   lēton wǣg niman,
flōd fæðmian   frætwa hyrde.
Þǣr wæs wunden gold   on wǣn hladen,
ǣghwæs unrīm,   æðeling boren,
hār hilde‐rinc   tō Hrones næsse.


     Him þā gegiredan Gēata lēode
     ād on eorðan un-wāclīcne,
 helmum behongen, hilde-bordum, [3140]
     beorhtum byrnum, swā hē bēna wæs;
     ālegdon þā tō-middes mǣrne þēoden
     hæleð hīofende, hlāford lēofne.
     Ongunnon þā on beorge bǣl-fȳra mǣst
 wīgend weccan: wudu-rēc āstāh
     sweart ofer swioðole, swōgende lēg,
     wōpe bewunden (wind-blond gelæg)
     oð þæt hē þā bān-hūs gebrocen hæfde,
     hāt on hreðre. Higum unrōte
 mōd-ceare mǣndon mon-dryhtnes cwealm; [3150]
     swylce giōmor-gyd lat . con meowle
     . . . . . wunden heorde . . .
     serg (?) cearig sǣlde geneahhe
     þæt hīo hyre . . . . gas hearde
 . . . . . ede wælfylla wonn . .
     hildes egesan hyðo
     haf mid heofon rēce swealh (?)
     Geworhton þā Wedra lēode
     hlǣw on hlīðe, sē wæs hēah and brād,
 wǣg-līðendum wīde gesȳne, [3160]
     and betimbredon on tȳn dagum
     beadu-rōfes bēcn: bronda betost
     wealle beworhton, swā hyt weorðlīcost
     fore-snotre men findan mihton.
 Hī on beorg dydon bēg and siglu,
     eall swylce hyrsta, swylce on horde ǣr
     nīð-hȳdige men genumen hæfdon;
     forlēton eorla gestrēon eorðan healdan,
     gold on grēote, þǣr hit nū gēn lifað
 eldum swā unnyt, swā hit ǣror wæs. [3170]
     Þā ymbe hlǣw riodan hilde-dēore,
     æðelinga bearn ealra twelfa,
     woldon ceare cwīðan, kyning mǣnan,
     word-gyd wrecan and ymb wer sprecan,
 eahtodan eorl-scipe and his ellen-weorc
     duguðum dēmdon, swā hit ge-dēfe bið,
     þæt mon his wine-dryhten wordum herge,
     ferhðum frēoge, þonne hē forð scile
     of līc-haman lǣne weorðan.
 Swā begnornodon Gēata lēode [3180]
     hlāfordes hryre, heorð-genēatas,
     cwǣdon þæt hē wǣre woruld-cyning
     mannum mildust and mon-þwǣrust,
     lēodum līðost and lof-geornost.


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1911 encyclopedia

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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Old English Beowulf.


  • IPA: /ˈbɛːwʊlf/

Proper noun




  1. (poetic) An Anglo-Saxon personal name, usually with reference to the hero of an Old English epic poem, or to the poem itself.

Old English


Origin uncertain, perhaps from bēo ‘bee’ + wulf ‘wolf’, i.e. ‘bee-hunter’, used as a kenning for ‘bear’ or ‘woodpecker’.[1]


  • IPA: /ˈbeowulf/

Proper noun




  1. (poetic) Beowulf


  • Notes:
  1. ^
    • Traditions, Superstitions, and Folklore, (chiefly Lancashire and the North of England: ) Their Affinity to Others in Widely-distributed Localities; Their Eastern Origin and Mythical Significance by Charles Hardwick, 1872.
    • Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and Folk-lore by Walter Keating Kelly, 1863.
    • The Saxons in England: A History of the English Commonwealth Till the Period of the Norman Conquest by John Mitchell Kemble, 1849.
    • Others, [1][2]


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

#REDIRECT[[Wikisource:Beowulf (Gummere)]]
This page is a soft redirect.

Simple English

The first page of the only manuscript of Beowulf.

Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem. It is not known who wrote it, but it was originally written down between the 8th and the 11th century. The only copy of Beowulf that still exists is from about 1010. Beowulf is 3183 lines long.

The protagonist of the poem is Beowulf. The poem is named after him. In the poem, Beowulf fights three monsters: Grendel and Grendel's mother, and later in his life an unnamed dragon.


Hrothgar, a Danish king, has built a big mead hall, which is called Heorot. Hrothgar and his people live a good life and celebrate in Heorot. But then they are attacked by Grendel, who comes to Heorot every night and kills some of Hrothgar's people.

Beowulf is a Geatic warrior from Geatland (modern southern Sweden). He hears of Hrothgar's troubles with Grendel. Beowulf and his men leave Geatland to help King Hrothgar.

Beowulf and his men stay the night in Heorot. When Grendel comes to kill them, Beowulf fights him. Beowulf tears Grendel's arm off from his body and sticks it on the wall as a trophy. Grendel runs to his home in the marshes, where he dies. Everyone is happy that Grendel is killed and celebrates. But the next night, Grendel's mother comes to Heorot and kills many people for revenge and grabs Grendel's arm. Beowulf then goes to the marshes where Grendel and his mother lived. Beowulf goes to kill her, but then she seduces him. The poem tells in remarkable detail of their sexual exploits. Afterward, Beowulf tells of the death of Grendel's mother back at Hrothgar's castle. Hrothgar reveals to Beowulf in secrecy that Grendel was his son, and they did the same thing. Hrothgar then jumps off a cliff, right after naming Beowulf the new king, because he has been freed of his curse.

Later in his life, he fights a dragon, who happens to be his own son. Beowulf, helped by the young man Wiglaf, kills the dragon. But Beowulf is wounded in the final battle and dies. Grendel's mother (played by Angelina Jolie) then reclaims his body when it is burned on the barrow in the ocean. Beowulf then name wiglaf as his successor, and the poem ends. It is assumed that the same process happened over and over, and anytime there is a monster in Europe today, it is the son of one of the kings, and an example of that is Camilla.


The story of Beowulf has often been told in books, plays, and films. Sometimes the full story is told, sometimes just parts of the story. Sometimes the plot is altered. Sometimes only ideas or themes are taken from the story. Some examples are:

  • Beowulf (1999 film)
  • Beowulf and Grendel (2005 film)
  • Grendel (2007 film)
  • Beowulf (2007 animated film)
  • Eaters of the Dead, a book by Michael Crichton (1976)
  • Grendel, a book by John Gardner (1971)
  • The Ring-givers, a book by W. H. Canaway (1958).

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