The Northern Way

Beowulf in Old English

3035 ærran mælum; þa wæs endedæg
godum gegongen, þæt se guðcyning,
Wedra þeoden, wundordeaðe swealt.
ær hi þær gesegan syllicran wiht,
wyrm on wonge wiðerræhtes þær

3040 laðne licgean; wæs se legdraca
grimlic, gryrefah, gledum beswæled.
Se wæs fiftiges fotgemearces
lang on legere, lyftwynne heold
nihtes hwilum, nyðer eft gewat

3045 dennes niosian; wæs ða deaðe fæst,
hæfde eorðscrafa ende genyttod.
Him big stodan bunan ond orcas,
discas lagon ond dyre swyrd,
omige, þurhetone, swa hie wið eorðan fæðm

3050 þusend wintra þær eardodon.
þonne wæs þæt yrfe, eacencræftig,
iumonna gold galdre bewunden,
þæt ðam hringsele hrinan ne moste
gumena ænig, nefne god sylfa,

3055 sigora soðcyning, sealde þam ðe he wolde
(he is manna gehyld) hord openian,
efne swa hwylcum manna swa him gemet ðuhte.
þa wæs gesyne þæt se sið ne ðah
þam ðe unrihte inne gehydde

3060 wræte under wealle. Weard ær ofsloh
feara sumne; þa sio fæhð gewearð
gewrecen wraðlice. Wundur hwar þonne
eorl ellenrof ende gefere
lifgesceafta, þonne leng ne mæg

3065 mon mid his magum meduseld buan.
Swa wæs Biowulfe, þa he biorges weard
sohte, searoniðas; seolfa ne cuðe
þurh hwæt his worulde gedal weorðan sceolde.
Swa hit oð domes dæg diope benemdon

3070 þeodnas mære, þa ðæt þær dydon,
þæt se secg wære synnum scildig,
hergum geheaðerod, hellbendum fæst,
wommum gewitnad, se ðone wong strude,
næs he goldhwæte gearwor hæfde

3075 agendes est ær gesceawod.
Wiglaf maðelode, Wihstanes sunu:
"Oft sceall eorl monig anes willan
wræc adreogan, swa us geworden is.
Ne meahton we gelæran leofne þeoden,

3080 rices hyrde, ræd ænigne,
þæt he ne grette goldweard þone,
lete hyne licgean þær he longe wæs,
wicum wunian oð woruldende;
heold on heahgesceap. Hord ys gesceawod,

3085 grimme gegongen; wæs þæt gifeðe to swið
þe ðone þeodcyning þyder ontyhte.
Ic wæs þær inne ond þæt eall geondseh,
recedes geatwa, þa me gerymed wæs,
nealles swæslice sið alyfed

3090 inn under eorðweall. Ic on ofoste gefeng
micle mid mundum mægenbyrðenne
hordgestreona, hider ut ætbær
cyninge minum. Cwico wæs þa gena,
wis ond gewittig; worn eall gespræc

3095 gomol on gehðo ond eowic gretan het,
bæd þæt ge geworhton æfter wines dædum
in bælstede beorh þone hean,
micelne ond mærne, swa he manna wæs
wigend weorðfullost wide geond eorðan,

3100 þenden he burhwelan brucan moste.
Uton nu efstan oðre siðe,
seon ond secean searogimma geþræc,
wundur under wealle; ic eow wisige,
þæt ge genoge neon sceawiað

3105 beagas ond brad gold. Sie sio bær gearo,
ædre geæfned, þonne we ut cymen,
ond þonne geferian frean userne,
leofne mannan, þær he longe sceal
on ðæs waldendes wære geþolian."

3110 Het ða gebeodan byre Wihstanes,
hæle hildedior, hæleða monegum,
boldagendra, þæt hie bælwudu
feorran feredon, folcagende,
godum togenes: "Nu sceal gled fretan,

3115 weaxan wonna leg wigena strengel,
þone ðe oft gebad isernscure,
þonne stræla storm strengum gebæded
scoc ofer scildweall, sceft nytte heold,
feðergearwum fus flane fulleode."

3120 Huru se snotra sunu Wihstanes
acigde of corðre cyninges þegnas
syfone tosomne, þa selestan,
eode eahta sum under inwithrof
hilderinca; sum on handa bær

3125 æledleoman, se ðe on orde geong.
Næs ða on hlytme hwa þæt hord strude,
syððan orwearde ænigne dæl
secgas gesegon on sele wunian,
læne licgan; lyt ænig mearn

3130 þæt hi ofostlice ut geferedon
dyre maðmas. Dracan ec scufun,
wyrm ofer weallclif, leton weg niman,
flod fæðmian frætwa hyrde.
þa wæs wunden gold on wæn hladen,

3135 æghwæs unrim, æþeling boren,
har hilderinc to Hronesnæsse.
Him ða gegiredan Geata leode
ad on eorðan unwaclicne,
helmum behongen, hildebordum,

3140 beorhtum byrnum, swa he bena wæs;
alegdon ða tomiddes mærne þeoden
hæleð hiofende, hlaford leofne.
Ongunnon þa on beorge bælfyra mæst
wigend weccan; wudurec astah,

3145 sweart ofer swioðole, swogende leg
wope bewunden (windblond gelæg),
oðþæt he ða banhus gebrocen hæfde,
hat on hreðre. Higum unrote
modceare mændon, mondryhtnes cwealm;

3150 swylce giomorgyd Geatisc meowle
bundenheorde
song sorgcearig swiðe geneahhe
þæt hio hyre heofungdagas hearde ondrede,
wælfylla worn, werudes egesan,

3155 hynðo ond hæftnyd. Heofon rece swealg.
Geworhton ða Wedra leode
hleo on hoe, se wæs heah ond brad,
wægliðendum wide gesyne,
ond betimbredon on tyn dagum

3160 beadurofes becn, bronda lafe
wealle beworhton, swa hyt weorðlicost
foresnotre men findan mihton.
Hi on beorg dydon beg ond siglu,
eall swylce hyrsta, swylce on horde ær

3165 niðhedige men genumen hæfdon,
forleton eorla gestreon eorðan healdan,
gold on greote, þær hit nu gen lifað
eldum swa unnyt swa hit æror wæs.
þa ymbe hlæw riodan hildediore,

3170 æþelinga bearn, ealra twelfe,
woldon ceare cwiðan ond kyning mænan,
wordgyd wrecan ond ymb wer sprecan;
eahtodan eorlscipe ond his ellenweorc
duguðum demdon, swa hit gedefe bið

3175 þæt mon his winedryhten wordum herge,
ferhðum freoge, þonne he forð scile
of lichaman læded weorðan.
Swa begnornodon Geata leode
hlafordes hryre, heorðgeneatas,

3180 cwædon þæt he wære wyruldcyninga
manna mildust ond monðwærust,
leodum liðost ond lofgeornost.

 

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