Beowulf

Anonymous

Preview: Issue 1 of 16

I. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SCYLD.

Lo! the Spear-Danes' glory through splendid achievements The folk-kings' former fame we have heard of, How princes displayed then their prowess-in-battle. Oft Scyld the Scefing from scathers in numbers From many a people their mead-benches tore. Since first he found him friendless and wretched, The earl had had terror: comfort he got for it, Waxed 'neath the welkin, world-honor gained, Till all his neighbors o'er sea were compelled to Bow to his bidding and bring him their tribute: An excellent atheling! After was borne him A son and heir, young in his dwelling, Whom God-Father sent to solace the people. He had marked the misery malice had caused them, That reaved of their rulers they wretched had erstwhile Long been afflicted. The Lord, in requital, Wielder of Glory, with world-honor blessed him. Famed was Beowulf, far spread the glory Of Scyld's great son in the lands of the Danemen. So the carle that is young, by kindnesses rendered The friends of his father, with fees in abundance Must be able to earn that when age approacheth Eager companions aid him requitingly, When war assaults him serve him as liegemen: By praise-worthy actions must honor be got 'Mong all of the races. At the hour that was fated Scyld then departed to the All-Father's keeping Warlike to wend him; away then they bare him To the flood of the current, his fond-loving comrades, As himself he had bidden, while the friend of the Scyldings Word-sway wielded, and the well-lovèd land-prince Long did rule them. The ring-stemmèd vessel, Bark of the atheling, lay there at anchor, Icy in glimmer and eager for sailing; The belovèd leader laid they down there, Giver of rings, on the breast of the vessel, The famed by the mainmast. A many of jewels, Of fretted embossings, from far-lands brought over, Was placed near at hand then; and heard I not ever That a folk ever furnished a float more superbly With weapons of warfare, weeds for the battle, Bills and burnies; on his bosom sparkled Many a jewel that with him must travel On the flush of the flood afar on the current. And favors no fewer they furnished him soothly, Excellent folk-gems, than others had given him Who when first he was born outward did send him Lone on the main, the merest of infants: And a gold-fashioned standard they stretched under heaven High o'er his head, let the holm-currents bear him, Seaward consigned him: sad was their spirit, Their mood very mournful. Men are not able Soothly to tell us, they in halls who reside, Heroes under heaven, to what haven he hied.

II. SCYLD'S SUCCESSORS.--HROTHGAR'S GREAT MEAD-HALL.

In the boroughs then Beowulf, bairn of the Scyldings, Belovèd land-prince, for long-lasting season Was famed mid the folk (his father departed, The prince from his dwelling), till afterward sprang Great-minded Healfdene; the Danes in his lifetime He graciously governed, grim-mooded, agèd. Four bairns of his body born in succession Woke in the world, war-troopers' leader Heorogar, Hrothgar, and Halga the good; Heard I that Elan was Ongentheow's consort, The well-beloved bedmate of the War-Scylfing leader. Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, Waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen Obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, A numerous band. It burned in his spirit To urge his folk to found a great building, A mead-hall grander than men of the era Ever had heard of, and in it to share With young and old all of the blessings The Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers. Then the work I find afar was assigned To many races in middle-earth's regions, To adorn the great folk-hall. In due time it happened Early 'mong men, that 'twas finished entirely, The greatest of hall-buildings; Heorot he named it Who wide-reaching word-sway wielded 'mong earlmen. His promise he brake not, rings he lavished, Treasure at banquet. Towered the hall up High and horn-crested, huge between antlers: It battle-waves bided, the blasting fire-demon; Ere long then from hottest hatred must sword-wrath Arise for a woman's husband and father. Then the mighty war-spirit endured for a season, Bore it bitterly, he who bided in darkness, That light-hearted laughter loud in the building Greeted him daily; there was dulcet harp-music, Clear song of the singer. He said that was able To tell from of old earthmen's beginnings, That Father Almighty earth had created, The winsome wold that the water encircleth, Set exultingly the sun's and the moon's beams To lavish their lustre on land-folk and races, And earth He embellished in all her regions With limbs and leaves; life He bestowed too On all the kindreds that live under heaven. So blessed with abundance, brimming with joyance, The warriors abided, till a certain one gan to Dog them with deeds of direfullest malice, A foe in the hall-building: this horrible stranger Was Grendel entitled, the march-stepper famous Who dwelt in the moor-fens, the marsh and the fastness; The wan-mooded being abode for a season In the land of the giants, when the Lord and Creator Had banned him and branded. For that bitter murder, The killing of Abel, all-ruling Father The kindred of Cain crushed with His vengeance; In the feud He rejoiced not, but far away drove him From kindred and kind, that crime to atone for, Meter of Justice. Thence ill-favored creatures, Elves and giants, monsters of ocean, Came into being, and the giants that longtime Grappled with God; He gave them requital.

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