The Northern Way

Beowulf in Old English

ða sio wund ongon,
þe him se eorðdraca ær geworhte,
swelan ond swellan; he þæt sona onfand,
þæt him on breostum bealoniðe weoll

2715 attor on innan. ða se æðeling giong
þæt he bi wealle wishycgende
gesæt on sesse; seah on enta geweorc,
hu ða stanbogan stapulum fæste
ece eorðreced innan healde.

2720 Hyne þa mid handa heorodreorigne,
þeoden mærne, þegn ungemete till
winedryhten his wætere gelafede,
hilde sædne, ond his helm onspeon.
Biowulf maþelode (he ofer benne spræc,

2725 wunde wælbleate; wisse he gearwe
þæt he dæghwila gedrogen hæfde,
eorðan wynne; ða wæs eall sceacen
dogorgerimes, deað ungemete neah):
"Nu ic suna minum syllan wolde

2730 guðgewædu, þær me gifeðe swa
ænig yrfeweard æfter wurde
lice gelenge. Ic ðas leode heold
fiftig wintra; næs se folccyning,
ymbesittendra ænig ðara,

2735 þe mec guðwinum gretan dorste,
egesan ðeon. Ic on earde bad
mælgesceafta, heold min tela,
ne sohte searoniðas, ne me swor fela
aða on unriht. Ic ðæs ealles mæg

2740 feorhbennum seoc gefean habban;
for ðam me witan ne ðearf waldend fira
morðorbealo maga, þonne min sceaceð
lif of lice. Nu ðu lungre geong
hord sceawian under harne stan,

2745 Wiglaf leofa, nu se wyrm ligeð,
swefeð sare wund, since bereafod.
Bio nu on ofoste, þæt ic ærwelan,
goldæht ongite, gearo sceawige
swegle searogimmas, þæt ic ðy seft mæge

2750 æfter maððumwelan min alætan
lif ond leodscipe, þone ic longe heold."
ða ic snude gefrægn sunu Wihstanes
æfter wordcwydum wundum dryhtne
hyran heaðosiocum, hringnet beran,

2755 brogdne beadusercean under beorges hrof.
Geseah ða sigehreðig, þa he bi sesse geong,
magoþegn modig maððumsigla fealo,
gold glitinian grunde getenge,
wundur on wealle, ond þæs wyrmes denn,

2760 ealdes uhtflogan, orcas stondan,
fyrnmanna fatu feormendlease,
hyrstum behrorene; þær wæs helm monig
eald ond omig, earmbeaga fela
searwum gesæled. Sinc eaðe mæg,

2765 gold on grunde, gumcynnes gehwone
oferhigian, hyde se ðe wylle.
Swylce he siomian geseah segn eallgylden
heah ofer horde, hondwundra mæst,
gelocen leoðocræftum; of ðam leoma stod,

2770 þæt he þone grundwong ongitan meahte,
wræte giondwlitan. Næs ðæs wyrmes þær
onsyn ænig, ac hyne ecg fornam.
ða ic on hlæwe gefrægn hord reafian,
eald enta geweorc, anne mannan,

2775 him on bearm hladon bunan ond discas
sylfes dome; segn eac genom,
beacna beorhtost. Bill ær gescod
(ecg wæs iren) ealdhlafordes
þam ðara maðma mundbora wæs

2780 longe hwile, ligegesan wæg
hatne for horde, hioroweallende
middelnihtum, oðþæt he morðre swealt.
Ar wæs on ofoste, eftsiðes georn,
frætwum gefyrðred; hyne fyrwet bræc,

2785 hwæðer collenferð cwicne gemette
in ðam wongstede Wedra þeoden
ellensiocne, þær he hine ær forlet.
He ða mid þam maðmum mærne þioden,
dryhten sinne, driorigne fand

2790 ealdres æt ende; he hine eft ongon
wæteres weorpan, oðþæt wordes ord
breosthord þurhbræc.
gomel on giohðe (gold sceawode):
"Ic ðara frætwa frean ealles ðanc,

2795 wuldurcyninge, wordum secge,
ecum dryhtne, þe ic her on starie,
þæs ðe ic moste minum leodum
ær swyltdæge swylc gestrynan.
Nu ic on maðma hord mine bebohte

2800 frode feorhlege, fremmað gena
leoda þearfe; ne mæg ic her leng wesan.
Hatað heaðomære hlæw gewyrcean
beorhtne æfter bæle æt brimes nosan;
se scel to gemyndum minum leodum

2805 heah hlifian on Hronesnæsse,
þæt hit sæliðend syððan hatan
Biowulfes biorh, ða ðe brentingas
ofer floda genipu feorran drifað."
Dyde him of healse hring gyldenne

2810 þioden þristhydig, þegne gesealde,
geongum garwigan, goldfahne helm,
beah ond byrnan, het hyne brucan well:
"þu eart endelaf usses cynnes,
Wægmundinga. Ealle wyrd forsweop

2815 mine magas to metodsceafte,
eorlas on elne; ic him æfter sceal."
þæt wæs þam gomelan gingæste word
breostgehygdum, ær he bæl cure,
hate heaðowylmas; him of hreðre gewat

2820 sawol secean soðfæstra dom.
ða wæs gegongen guman unfrodum
earfoðlice, þæt he on eorðan geseah
þone leofestan lifes æt ende
bleate gebæran. Bona swylce læg,

2825 egeslic eorðdraca ealdre bereafod,
bealwe gebæded. Beahhordum leng
wyrm wohbogen wealdan ne moste,
ac hine irenna ecga fornamon,
hearde, heaðoscearde homera lafe,

2830 þæt se widfloga wundum stille
hreas on hrusan hordærne neah.
Nalles æfter lyfte lacende hwearf
middelnihtum, maðmæhta wlonc
ansyn ywde, ac he eorðan gefeoll

2835 for ðæs hildfruman hondgeweorce.
Huru þæt on lande lyt manna ðah,
mægenagendra, mine gefræge,
þeah ðe he dæda gehwæs dyrstig wære,
þæt he wið attorsceaðan oreðe geræsde,

2840 oððe hringsele hondum styrede,
gif he wæccende weard onfunde
buon on beorge. Biowulfe wearð
dryhtmaðma dæl deaðe forgolden;
hæfde æghwæðer ende gefered

2845 lænan lifes.
Næs ða lang to ðon
þæt ða hildlatan holt ofgefan,
tydre treowlogan tyne ætsomne.
ða ne dorston ær dareðum lacan
on hyra mandryhtnes miclan þearfe,

2850 ac hy scamiende scyldas bæran,
guðgewædu, þær se gomela læg,
wlitan on Wilaf. He gewergad sæt,
feðecempa, frean eaxlum neah,
wehte hyne wætre; him wiht ne speow.

2855 Ne meahte he on eorðan, ðeah he uðe wel,
on ðam frumgare feorh gehealdan,
ne ðæs wealdendes wiht oncirran;
wolde dom godes dædum rædan
gumena gehwylcum, swa he nu gen deð.

2860 þa wæs æt ðam geongan grim ondswaru
eðbegete þam ðe ær his elne forleas.
Wiglaf maðelode, Weohstanes sunu,
sec, sarigferð (seah on unleofe):
"þæt, la, mæg secgan se ðe wyle soð specan

 

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