"Beowul Part Two" He saves a neighboring people from a monster, Grendel, eventually becomes the king of his own people, and dies defending them from a dragon.

Essay by EmperorOfWritingJunior High, 9th gradeA+, December 2003

download word file, 20 pages 4.3 1 reviews

Downloaded 85 times

--The Queen Speaks--

Then Wealhtheow came out

under a golden crown

to where the good men sat,

nephew and uncle (at that time

there was peace between the two,

each still true to the other).

Unferth the spokesman

sat at Hrothgar's feet--

everyone considered him

brave in spirit though

he had not been kind to

his kin at the sword's play.

Spoke then the queen of the Danes:

"Receive this cup,

my dear lord,

giver of treasure.

Be in joy,

gold friend of men,

and speak to these Geats

with kind words

as men should do.

Be gracious to the Geats

and mindful of the gifts

you have from near and far.

A man said to me

that he would have

this warrior for a son.

Herot, the bright ring hall,

is purged. Give while you can

many rewards and leave

to your kin people and land

when you must go

to learn fate's decree.

I know my nephew Hrothulf

will keep his honor

if you, king of the Danes,

leave this world earlier that he.

I know Hruthulf will remember

what we two wish

and the kindness we showed

when he was a child."

Wealhtheow turned then

to the bench where her sons

were, Hrethric and Hrothmund,

children of warriors,

the youth together.

There the good ones sat,

Beowulf of the Geats

and the two brothers.

To him the cup was carried

and friendship offered in words.

Wound gold was kindly bestowed:

two arm ornaments, shirts

of mail, rings, and the largest

neck ring I have heard

tell of on the earth.

I have not heard

of any greater hoard-treasures

under the sky since

Hama carried away

to his bright fortress

the necklace of the Brosings.

He fled a treacherous quarrel

from the king of the East Goths

with the ornament and its setting,

choosing everlasting gain.

(This is the ring Hygelac

of the Geats, grandson of Swerting,

uncle of Beowulf, would have near

when he guarded the battle-spoil

under his banner. Fate would take him

when he courted trouble--

out of pride--in a feud

with the Frisians. He would wear

those noble stones over

the cup of the waves. He would

fall beneath his shield. His body,

his armor, and the ring also, would

pass into the power of the Franks.

Bad warriors rifled the corpses

after the battle slaughter.

The Geat people remained

in the field of corpses.)

Music filled the hall. Wealhtheow

spoke before the company:

"Enjoy this neck-ring,

beloved Beowulf, young hero,

and use this armor, these

treasures of the people.

Thrive well, be known

for valor, and give kind

instruction to these two boys.

I will remember your deeds.

You have earned forever

the praise of men,

from near and far,

even to the home of the winds

and the walls of the sea.

Be blessed while you live, prince!

I wish you well with the treasures.

Be gentle, joyful one, to my sons.

In this place is each warrior

true to the other, mild

in spirit, an d faithful

to his king. The warriors

are united, the men drink

deep, and they do my biding."

She went to her seat.

There was a choice feast,

men drank wine.

They did not know

that grim fate

would come to many nobles

after evening fell

and powerful Hrothgar

went to his house to rest.

Countless warriors guarded the hall,

as they had often done:

they cleared the floor of benches,

spread out beds and cushions.

One of the beer drinkers,

doomed and fated,

lay on the couch.

They set by their heads

their war gear and bright

wood shields. There on the bench

over each warrior could be seen

a towering helmet, ringed armor,

and a huge wooden spear.

Their custom was that they were

always ready for war, both

in the field and at home, each

ready anytime his king needed him.

Those were good people.

end of episode six

Part Two: Grendel's Mother

--The Attack of Grendel's Mother--

They sank into sleep.

One paid dearly for

his evening's rest,

as had happened often

since Grendel had come

to the gold hall

performing his evil

until the end came to him,

death after his sins.

It was soon learned

and widely known among men

that an avenger yet lived

after that war-trouble:

Grendel's mother, a monster

woman, she who lived in

the terrible water,

the cold streams,

thought of her misery.

After Cain killed his brother,

his father's son,

he went in guilt,

marked by murder,

fleeing the joys of men

to occupy the waste land.

There awoke many fated spirits,

Grendel being one,

that savage, hateful outcast.

At Herot he found a man

awake and ready for war.

The monster laid hold of him,

but Beowulf kept in mind his

strength, the precious gift

God had granted, and God gave

him help and support.

Thus Beowulf overcame that enemy,

subdued that hellish demon.

Then Grendel went,

the enemy of mankind,

deprived of joy,

seeking his death place.

So his mother, greedy

and gloomy as the gallows,

went on a sorrowful journey

to avenge her son's death.

So she came to Herot where

the Danes slept in the hall.

The fortunes of the noble ones

changed when Grendel's mother

got inside: the terror was less

by just so much as

is the strength of a woman,

the war-horror of a woman,

is less than the horror of

a sword forged with hammer

and stained in blood

shearing the strong edges

of the boar on a helmet.

Hard edges were drawn in the hall,

swords off the benches,

and many broad shields fast in hand,

though they forgot about helmets

and broad mail shirts when

the terror seized them.

After they had seen her,

she was in haste

to get out of there

and save her life.

She quickly seized

one of the warriors

then headed back to the fens.

The warrior she killed,

in his sleep, was Hrothgar's

most trusted man, famous

between the two seas,

a glorious hero.

(Beowulf was not there,

for after the treasure-giving

the famous Geat had gone

to another house.)

She took her son's famous

blood-covered hand.

An outcry came from Herot,

care had been renewed

and returned to the dwelling

place--that was not a good

bargain, that both sides paid

with the lives of friends.

The wise old king,

the gray warrior,

was in a savage mood

when he heard his

chief warrior was dead.

Beowulf was quickly

fetched to the chamber.

As day broke the noble champion

together with his warriors

went to the wise ones, the hall's

wood floors resounding.

The wise ones all wondered

if ever the Almighty would

remove this woeful spell.

Beowulf asked with words

if the night had been

according to his desire

and all things agreeable.

Hrothgar, protector of the Danes, spoke:

"Don't ask about happiness!

Sorrow is renewed

among the Danish people.

Aeschere is dead, Yrmenlaf's

elder brother, my confidant,

the bearer of my advice, my

shoulder companion when troops

clash and boar helmets smashed.

As a noble prince should be,

such Aeschere was!

Now he has been slain

in Herot by the hands

of a restless, murderous spirit.

I do not know where

his carcass has gone

to be gladly feasted on.

She has avenged the feud

for your violent killing

with hard hand clasps

of Grendel yesternight

for diminishing and destroying

my people for so long.

Grendel fell in battle,

forfeited his life, and

now another has come,

a mighty man-eater

to avenge her kin,

as is seen by many

a warrior who mourns for me,

treasure giver, weeping in

their minds for my heavy

sorrow, a hand lying lifeless

who gave good things to you.

I have heard tell

among my people

and councilors that

they had seen two mighty

wanderers in the waste land

moors keeping guard,

alien spirits. One was,

as far as they could see,

the likeness of a woman.

The other miserable thing

in the stature of a man,

though he was larger

than any other man,

as they trod the paths of exiles.

In the days of old

earth dwellers called him Grendel.

We have no knowledge of a father,

of any forebears among evil spirits.

They occupied the secret land,

the wolf's retreat--

windy bluffs, perilous fens,

where a waterfall

darkens under bluffs

and goes down under the ground.

It is not far from here,

by measure of miles,

that the mere stands.

Over it hangs a frost-covered

grove, woods rooted deep-

shadowing the water.

There each night

a portent may be seen:

fire on the water.

No wise one among

the sons of men

knows the bottom.

Though the heath-stalker,

the strong-horned hart,

harassed by hounds, seeks

the forest in his flight,

he will give his life

rather than protect his head

by going there.

That is not a good place!

There water surges up,

black, to the clouds,

and the wind stirs up

hateful weather so that

the sky turns gloomy and weeps. . .

Again it has happened that

the remedy lies with you alone.

The land, the dangerous place

where you might find

this criminal is unexplored.

Seek it if you dare. . .

For that fight I will pay

as I did before with

wound gold and ancient

treasures. . .if you survive."

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, spoke:

"Do not sorrow, wise king!

It is better for a man

to avenge a friend

than mourn much. Each of us

must await the end of this

life. He who wishes will

work for glory before death.

That is best for the warrior

after he is gone.

Arise, guardian of the kingdom,

let us go quickly

to see Grendel's kin.

I promise you this:

she will not escape to shelter--

not into the earth's bosom,

not into the mountain's wood,

not into the sea's bottom,

go where she will!

For this day, have

patience in each woe."

The veteran leapt up then,

thanking God, the Mighty One,

that the man had so spoken.

A horse with plaited mane

was saddled for Hrothgar:

the wise king rode in splendor,

a band of men marching on foot.

Tracks were clearly visible

going over the ground

along the forest paths

where she had gone forth

over the murky moors

carrying the good warrior,

the best of men, lifeless,

a man who had helped

Hrothgar guard his home.

The noble Hrothgar passed

over narrows, lonely paths,

steep, stony slopes

on that unknown way

among steep bluffs

and the homes of water monsters.

He and the wise men

went before the rest

to scout the place,

and suddenly, he saw

a joyless woods leaning over

turbid and bloody water.

For all the Danes

it was grievous, and

the warriors suffered

when they on the sea

cliff saw Aeschere's head.

The water boiled with blood

and hot gore as the men watched.

Sometimes a horn sang out,

an eager war song, but

the troop all waited, watching

along the water the kin

of snakes, strange sea dragons,

swimming in the deep or

lying on the steep slopes--

water monsters, serpents, and

wild beasts, such as the ones

that appear on a dangerous

sea journey in the morning time.

When those creatures heard

the war horn's note

they hurried away

bitter and angry.

A man from the Geat

tribe with his bow

deprived of life, of

wave battle, one

of the monsters. An

arrow, war hard, stuck

in its heart, and it

swam more weakly

as death took it.

Quickly it was attacked

in the waves with barbed

spears and swords and

dragged by force to the

bluff, a wondrous sea roamer.

Warriors examined

the terrible stranger.

Beowulf arrayed himself

in armor, not at all

worrying about his life,

putting on his mail shirt,

large and decorated,

woven by hand so that

it could protect his chest

as he tried the water,

so that hostile grips,

the fury's malicious grasps,

might not scathe his life.

A shiny helmet protected the head

that would go to the watery depths.

It was adorned with treasures,

encircled with splendid chains--

in the old days weapon-smiths

formed it wondrously, setting

on it boar figures so that

no sword could bite it in battle.

And it was not the weakest of helps

Unferth, Hrothgar's spokesman,

loaned: the hilted sword called

Hrunting, an ancient treasure

with edges of iron and adorned

with poison strips. That sword,

hardened in blood, had never failed

a man who grasped it in hand

and dared a terrible journey,

battles in a hostile place.

This would not be the first time

it had gone to do brave work.

Unferth, great of strength,

did not remember what he had

said, drunk on wine, but loaned

his weapon to a better sword

warrior: he himself did not

dare venture his life

under the terrible waves

to perform a deed of valor.

There he lost his fame,

his renown for valor.

This was not so for that other man,

he who prepared himself for war.

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, spoke:

"Remember, Hrothgar, kin of Healfdene,

gold friend of men, wise king,

now that I am ready to start,

what we have spoken of--

if I, in your service,

lose my life, that you

will be in position of my father.

Be a protector of my warriors,

my comrades, if war takes me.

Also, beloved Hrothgar,

send the treasure you gave me

to Hygelac, king of the Geats,

that he may perceive from the gold,

beholding the treasure,

that I found a virtuous ring giver

who I enjoyed while I could.

And give Unferth my old heirloom,

my splendid wavy sword

widely known among men

to have a hard edge.

I will do my glory work

with Hrunting--or

death will take me. . ."

With these words

the chief of the Geats,

waiting for no reply,

hastened with bravery.

The surging water took

the warrior, and it was

a good part of a day

before he found the bottom.

She who had fiercely guarded,

grim and greedy, that water

for a hundred half-years

quickly saw that some man

from above was exploring

the monsters' home. Then

the enemy seized the warrior

in her horrid clutches, yet

he was not injured--the ringed

armor protected him, and she

could not break his mail shirt

with her hostile claws.

The sea wolf bore

the armored warrior

down to her dwelling

at the bottom. He could not,

despite his bravery, command

his weapons--many a sea beast

harassed him with battle tusks,

trying to cut his armor.

Then the chief found

that he was with someone

in a hostile hall.

The flood's rush

could not harm him there

because of the hall's roof.

He saw a firelight shine

in a brilliant flame.

Then the warrior saw

that monster of the deep,

the mighty mere-woman.

He swung his battle sword

quickly--he did not hold

back--and the ringed blade

sang a greedy war song

on her head. But the guest

found that the flashing

sword would not bite,

could not harm her life--

the edge failed him at need.

(It had endured many

combats, often slashed helmets

and fated war garments. . .

This was the first time

that precious treasure

failed in its glory.)

But Beowulf was resolute,

by no means slow in valor,

still thinking of daring deeds.

The angry warrior threw

the carved sword covered

in ornaments, stiff and edged

in iron, to the floor

and trusted in his powerful

hand grip. (So must a man do

when he wishes for enduring

fame at war: he cannot

The lord of the Geats

did not grieve at the battle

but seized Grendel's mother

by the shoulder.

Now he was enraged

and flung his deadly foe

to the ground.

She paid him back quickly

with angry claws and

clutched him against her.

At that moment

the strongest of warriors

felt sick at heart:

he fell. She sat

on her hall guest

and drew a dagger,

wide and brown-edged--

she would avenge her son,

her only offspring.

On his shoulder lay

the woven mail shirt.

It protected his life,

withstood the entrance

of point and edge.

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow,

champion of the Geats,

would have perished then

under the wide ground

had not his armor,

his hard war net, helped

him (and Holy God, who

brought about war victory).

The wise ruler of the skies

decided justice easily when

Beowulf stood up again:

there among the weapons

he saw a victory-blessed sword,

an old sword made by giants

with strong edges, the glory

of warriors. It was

the choicest of weapons,

good and majestical,

the work of giants, but

larger than any other man

could carry to battle sport.

He who fought for the Danes,

fierce and sword grim,

despairing of life,

seized the chain-wound hilt,

drew the ringed sword,

and angrily struck--

It grasped her neck hard

and her bone rings broke.

The blade entered

the fated body.

She fell to the ground.

The sword was bloody,

and the warrior rejoiced

in his work.

Suddenly light glittered,

a light brightened within,

as bright and clear as

the candle of the sky.

He looked around the building,

walked around the walls.

He raised the weapon

hard by its hilt--

Beowulf was angry and resolute.

The edge was not useless

to the warrior--he wished

to requite Grendel for

the many attacks he

had made on the Danes,

much more often

than on one occasion,

when he had slain

Hrothgar's guests in their sleep.

Fifteen Danish men

he devoured while they slept,

and carried as many away,

hideous booty. The fierce

champion paid him his reward:

Beowulf saw Grendel in rest,

worn out with fighting,

lifeless from the hard wounds

he had gotten in battle

at Herot. The corpse

split when it suffered

that blow after death--

the hard sword stroke.

Beowulf cut off the head.

--Meanwhile, Up Above--

The wise men with Hrothgar

saw the surging water mingled

with blood. The old gray-hairs

spoke together, saying

they did not expect the famous

prince to be victorious.

To many it seemed the sea wolf

had destroyed him.

Then came noon of the day

and the valiant Danes left

the bluff. The king went

home. His guests sat down

sick at heart

and stared at he mere.

They wished, but did not hope,

that they would see

their dear lord again.

Back in the Cave

The sword, because of the blood,

began to fade--a battle icicle.

That was some wonder:

it all melted,

just like ice

when the Father--

who has power

over times and seasons--

loosens the bands

and unwinds the wave ropes.

(That is the True Maker.)

The leader of the Geats

took no more treasures

from the dwelling,

though he saw many,

except for the head

and the hilt decorated

with treasure. The blade

had melted. . .the

ornamented sword burned up--

so hot was the blood,

so poisonous the alien

spirit who died there.

Soon he was swimming;

his enemy had fallen in fight.

He swam up through the water--

the surging waters were purged,

all the broad expanse,

when the alien spirit

gave up her life days

on this loaned world.

Beowulf Comes Up

Came then to the land

the chief of the sailors,

boldly swimming. He rejoiced

in the sea-booty,

the mighty burden of things

he had with him.

His men rushed toward him,

thanking God they saw him

safe. The helmet and armor

were quickly loosed from

the strong man. The lake

grew calm, the water under

the clouds, stained with blood.

They went from there

on the forest paths

glad in mind.

The brave men measured

the well-known road

bearing the head

from the lake cliff

with difficulty--

it took four men

to bear the spear shaft

with Grendel's head

to the gold hall.

The fourteen brave

war-like Geats marched

straight to the hall

with the lord of men

proud among them.

He crossed the meadow,

then came inside,

the prince of warriors,

the man of daring deeds,

honored with glory,

a hero in battle,

to greet Hrothgar.

They carried Grendel's head

by its hair onto the floor

where the men were drinking--

a terrible sight before

the warriors and the women

with them, a wondrous sight.

The men looked at it.

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, spoke:

"Behold, son of Healfdene,

Lord of the Danes--we have brought

you with pleasure this sea booty,

as token of glory,

which you see here.

I hardly survived

the battle under the water,

engaged in that deed

with difficulty. The battle

would have ended quickly

if God had not protected me.

Nor could I accomplish anything

with Hrunting, that strong

weapon, but the ruler of men

granted me to see

a beautiful old mighty sword

hanging on the wall.

He often guides a man

devoid of friends.

I drew that weapon,

cut in that conflict

the house guardians

when I saw the chance.

That ornamented sword burned

up as the blood sprang.

I carried the hilt away

from the enemies.

The deeds of crime,

the slaughter of the Danes,

has been avenged

as it was right to do.

I promise you

that you and your warriors

may sleep in Herot

free from care

and every warrior

of your tribe,

old men and young--

you need not,

Prince of the Danes,

fear for them,

death of your warriors

from that side

as you did before."

Then was the golden hilt,

the ancient work of giants,

given to the hand

of the aged warrior,

the gray war leader.

The possession of it,

the wondrous work of smiths,

passed, after the deaths

of demons, to the king of the Danes.

When the grim-hearted being,

God's adversary, guilty of murder,

left this world,

and his mother also,

the hilt passed

into the power of the best

of the world's kings

between the seas

who dealt out treasure

in the Northland.

Hrothgar examined the hilt,

the old heirloom,

on which was written

in ancient runes

the story of the flood

which with rushing sea

slew the race of giants

with terrible suffering.

That was a race foreign

to the Eternal Lord.

The Almighty gave them

a final reward through

the water's surging.

Also on the sword guard

bright with gold

was rightly written--

in rune letters,

set and said--

for whom the sword

had been wrought,

this choicest of iron

with twisted hilt

and snake ornaments.

Hrothgar Expounds On How To Be A Good Warrior

Then the wise one,

son of Healfdene, spoke

(all were silent):

"Lo, this he may say

who does truth and right

among the people,

remembers things far distant,

an old guardian:

This is the best-born man!

My friend Beowulf,

your renown is established

beyond the wide ways,

yours over all the nations.

Hold it steady,

might with mind's wisdom.

I shall carry out

my friendship as

we two spoke before.

You shall prove

a long-lasting relief

to your people,

a help to fighters.

Heremod was not so

to the offspring of Ecgwela,

the honorable Danes.

He waxed not to their help

but to their slaughter,

for the destruction

of the Danish people.

Enraged, he cut down

his table companions,

his bosom friends,

until he went about alone,

away from the joy of life

among men, a notorious

prince, although Almighty God

had raised his strength,

advanced it over all men.

His spirit, his heart,

grew blood thirsty.

He gave no rings

to Danes who pursued glory.

Joyless he went on,

struggling on as a long-lasting

affliction. Learn from this

and understand manly virtues.

I, old and wise in winters,

tell you this

for your sake.

It is wonderful to say

how mighty God through

His wisdom and large heart

distributes land and rank

to the race of men.

He controls all.

Sometimes out of love

He gives a man wisdom,

great among his kin,

gives him a home,

the joy of the earth,

gives him control

of a fortress of men,

a wide kingdom in the world,

so that the man

in his un-wisdom

does not think about the end.

He lives in plenty;

neither disease nor age

live with him;

his mind is not darkened

with evil worries,

nor does enmity

bring about war.

All the world

turns to his will--

he does not know worse--

but then arrogance grows;

the guardian of his soul

sleeps. That sleep is

too heavy, bound with affliction,

and the killer very near

who shoots his bow

with evil intent.

Then he is hit

in the heart,

beneath his armor,

with a bitter arrow--

he cannot guard himself

against the perverse commands

of his accursed spirit.

Then what he has long held

seems too little; angry-minded,

he covets, never proudly giving

gold rings, and he forgets

and neglects the future

state because God the Ruler

of Glory has given him

a great deal of honors.

In the end it comes to pass

that the body, on loan,

declines, falls fated. Another,

who recklessly dispenses

treasure, one who does not

hold it in terror, seizes

the warrior's ancient possessions.

Beloved Beowulf, best of warriors,

protect yourself against that

wickedness and choose better,

eternal councils. Do not heed

arrogance, famous champion!

Now is your strength famous. . .

for awhile. Soon after

it shall happen that disease,

or the sword's edge, shall

cut off your strength.

Or maybe the fire's embrace,

or the flood's welling,

or the grip of the sword,

or the arrow's flight,

or dire age. . . Bright eyes

do diminish and go dark.

Straightway death will overpower you, warrior.

Thus I have ruled under the clouds

the prosperous Danes a hundred half-years,

and by war have protected them

against many nations

throughout this middle earth

with spears and edges,

so that under heaven's expanse

I could think of no enemies.

Lo, a reverse came to me--

in my home--sadness after joy

when the old adversary Grendel

invaded. I have continually

carried worry over that visitation.

Therefore, thanks to the Creator,

the Eternal Lord, that I have

remained in life to gaze with

my eyes at the blood-stained head

after that old contention!

Go now to your seat,

feast in joy, you who are

distinguished in battle.

We shall share

a great many treasures

before morning comes."

The Geat was glad in mind,

quickly seeking his seat

as the wise one bade.

Then again was the feast

prepared, as before, for

the courageous ones sitting

in the hall.

The helmet of night turned black,

dark over the warriors.

The men all arose.

The gray-haired one

would seek his bed,

the old Dane.

It pleased the Geat well,

the strong shield warrior,

that he should have rest.

A hall warrior guided

the man who was far from home,

tending to every courtesy, every

need of the warrior. Such

in those days could

a sea-fairer expect.

The great-hearted one then rested.

The hall reached high,

vaulted and adorned in gold.

The guest rested within

until the black raven

told heaven's joy

with a happy heart.

Then came the bright light,

hastening over the shadow.

The warriors hurried,

eager to go back

to their people.

The bold of spirit sought his ship.

--Beowulf Becomes King / The Dragon Attacks--

Later it happened,

after Hygelac fell

in the storm of war,

and his son, Heardred,

fell too under his shield,

killed by the sword

fighting the Swedes,

that the broad kingdom

came into Beowulf's hand.

He held it well, ruled

fifty winters; he was

an old land guardian.

Then in the dark nights

a dragon began to rule,

he who guarded a hoard,

a steep stone burial mound

high on the heath.

A path led underneath

unknown to men.

But a certain man

stumbled on it,

into the heathen hoard,

and took a cup,

a large, decorated treasure.

The dragon did not hide

his opinion of that deed;

the neighboring people

quickly learned his anger.

But the thief did not

of his own accord

plunder the treasure:

he was driven by need,

a fugitive from justice.

Fleeing hostile blows

and in need of a roof,

he stumbled in,

a man distressed.

He was amazed at what

he saw--a precious

hoard, cups and weapons.

There were many such

ancient treasures in

that earth house, for

in the old days a man

had hidden the riches

of a noble, dying tribe there.

He was the last; death

had taken the rest.

That lone survivor, knowing

death was near, mourning

his lost friends, kept

those treasures all alone.

The cave stood near the sea,

protected by secret spells.

He bore the treasures inside,

a huge and worthy hoard

of worked gold. He said,

"Hold you now, Earth, what

warriors could not. Lo,

from you first it was taken.

War-Death has seized my people;

none of them can bear a sword,

hold an ornamented cup. They

have gone elsewhere. Now shall

the hard helmet and its golden

ornaments fall. Their owners

sleep in death, those who

once wore the war-mask. So

it is with the coat of mail,

which stood amid crashing shields,

held off the bite of iron:

it lies, falling to pieces,

like the warrior who owned it.

Never again will that armor

travel far on a war chief

by the side of heroes.

There is no joy in the song,

no pleasure in the harp.

No hawk sweeps over the hall.

No horse gallops in the courtyard.

Death has sent off many men."

Thus, sad in mind,

he moaned his sorrow;

the lonely survivor moved

day and night in sadness

until the flood of death

surged into his heart.

The Dragon Attacks

An old night-ravager,

that one which, burning,

seeks a burial mound,

the smooth dragon of malice

who flies by night

encompassed in fire,

found the hoard

standing open.

Earth dwellers fear him much.

He must seek a hoard

in the earth, where,

old in winters, he

will guard heathen

gold, though he gains

nothing from it.

So that foe of the people,

exceedingly powerful,

guarded the cave

three hundred winters

until a man

angered his heart,

took a cup

to his master

asking for peace.

Peace was granted:

the lord examined

the cup, the ancient

work of men.

So was the hoard robbed,

ransacked of a treasure.

The dragon awoke,

and strife came: it

sniffed along the stones,

found an intruder's footprints.

The thief had stepped

with insidious craft

near the dragon's head.

(Thus may an undoomed man

survive danger

if the Almighty

holds him in favor.)

The hoard-keeper sought

eagerly along the ground,

looked for the man

who had robbed him

while he slept.

Hot and fierce he moved

about the cave. He

went completely around

the wasted place but

no man was there.

Eager for battle, he

turned and turned again

searching the cave,

but the golden cup was gone.

Anxiously he awaited

the fall of night;

enraged, the cave-keeper

would with fire avenge

the loss of his cup.

When the day was gone,

as the dragon wanted,

he no longer waited,

but went in flame,

prepared with fire.

The beginning was fearful

to people in the land,

as was the ending:

death for their king.

The fiend spouted fire,

burned bright houses--

the glow of fire stood out,

a horror to the people.

That terrible sky-flier

wished to leave

nothing alive.

Near and far was seen

the dragon's violence,

how that destroyer

hated and humbled the Geat

people. The people of the land

were enveloped in fire.

At dawn he darted

back into his cave.

He trusted in his war

and in his cavern.

But trust was to play him false.

Beowulf learned the terror

quickly, in truth:

the surging fires

burned his house,

the mead hall of the Geats.

That was sorrow

to the good man,

the greatest of sorrows:

the wise king feared

he'd enraged God,

broken a commandment.

His heart surged

with gloomy thoughts,

which was not

his usual way.

The flame-dragon had burned

the fortress of the people.

The war-king studied revenge.

--We Learn of Beowulf's Reign and he Prepares to Attack the Dragon--

That prince ordered

an iron shield:

he knew for a fact

that the best wood,

the very best linden,

couldn't help

against flame.

The good prince awaited

the last of his days,

the end of this world's life,

and the dragon with him,

no matter how long

he'd held the treasure.

Beowulf scorned a host,

a large army,

when he sought the dragon;

he didn't fear

the dragon's war;

he trusted his strength

and courage since he had

survived many battles,

the flashings of battle gleams,

since the time he'd cleared

Hrothgar's wine-hall

of Grendel's family,

that hateful race.

Nor was it a small battle

when the Geat king,

that lord of the folk,

Hygelac, attacked Fresland

and died there

of sword drinks,

beaten down by weapons.

Yet from that place Beowulf

came, down to the sea,

with thirty suits of battle

in his arms, and in his strength

was able to swim.

The Hetware had no cause

for joy among their soldiers--

few of those

who carried shields

left that battle

to seek their homes.

Beowulf swam the wide water,

wretched, solitary,

back to his people.

There Hygd, Hygelac's wife,

offered him treasure

and the kingdom,

rings and the throne,

because she did not

trust her son to keep them

from foreign armies.

But Beowulf would not

for any reason be

lord over his king's son,

so he protected the boy,

gave him good council

till Heardred became a man.

Banished men sought

Heardred over the sea,

sons of Othere,

king of the Swedes;

they had rebelled

against their lord,

the best of sea-kings.

That was Heardred's death-sentence,

the son of Hygelac:

for entertaining those men

he died of sword strokes.

Then Ongentheow's son

left for home, and Beowulf

held the gift seat,

ruled over the Geats.

He was a good king.

He avenged Heardred's death

in later days,

became to the wretched Eadgils

a friend, supported

that son of Ohthere

over the wide sea

with men and weapons.

On a cold expedition he

deprived king Onela of life.

Thus had that son of Ecgtheow

survived each battle, terrible

war, much courage-work,

until the day when

he fought the dragon.

Beowulf Visits the Dragon

Twelve enraged men

paid the dragon a visit.

The king had by then

learned how the feud arose,

this affliction of men:

to his possession had come,

through the hand of an informer,

the precious cup.

The thief, the cause of this

strife, made thirteen, a saddened

captive, abjectly showing the way.

He went against his will

to that earth-hall,

the one he'd found

near the surging sea,

by the tossing water.

The inside was full

of works of art.

The awful keeper,

alert fighter,

held those gold treasures,

old under the earth;

no man would buy them cheap.

The brave king,

gold-friend of the Geats,

sat down on the headland

and talked with his companions.

He was sad, restless,

and ready to die.

That fate was near

which the old man

would greet.

He would seek his reward,

life from body parted;

not for long

would the soul of the prince

stay wrapped in flesh.

Beowulf spoke:

"Often in youth

I survived

the storm of battle,

the time of war.

I remember all that.

I was seven winters old

when my father took me

to the king of the people.

Hrethal gave me treasure

and feasting, remembering kinship.

I wasn't more hateful

to him than any son

in his house--

than one of his children--

Herebeald, Haethcyn, or my Hygelac.

The eldest was,

by a kinsman's deed,

strewn on the bed of death--

Haethcyn struck his lord

and brother with the arrow

from a bow: missed the mark

and killed his kinsman

with a bloody arrow.

That was a feud that

couldn't be fought.

Weary it is to the heart:

That prince lost his life

. . .unavenged.

That felt just as it does

for an old man to await

the swinging of his son

on the gallows.

He sings a mournful song

when his son hangs

a feast to ravens

and, though old and wise,

he cannot help.

Every morning calls to mind

the journey of his son

to elsewhere--the father

cares not to wait

for the other heirs

when he has, through

an unavoidable death,

experienced an evil.

Sorrow is in the home,

the wine-hall abandoned,

bereft of joy.

The riders sleep,

warriors in the grave;

there is no harp song,

no joy in the court.

Not as there once was.

Comes then from the bedstead

a song of sorrow.

The house and fields

seem too large."

So Beowulf spoke

of his sorrow

for Herebeald.

He could not

for that murder

seek revenge,

though the doer

was not dear to him.

"When that sorrow befell Hrethal

he gave up the joys of men

and chose God's light.

He left to his offspring

a land and a people.

Then were accusations

across the water,

severe hostility

from the war-like sons

of Ongentheow. They would

have nothing of friendship,

but around Hreosnaburg

planned a terrible slaughter.

My kinsmen avenged that,

the feud and crime,

as is well known,

though one paid with his life,

a hard bargain:

for Haethcyn the battle was fatal.

And I've heard tell

how another kinsman

attacked his slayer

with sword's edge;

When Ongentheow sought Eofor

he found his helmet split,

fell down, battle pale.

I repaid Hygelac

for the favors he'd shown,

lands and a house,

with my bright sword.

(He needn't look

for a worse man).

I went alone in the front,

and will so ever,

as long as this sword lasts

which has served me so well.

I was the killer of Daghrefin,

the Huga champion.

He brought no treasures

back from the battle

to the Frisian king

but died in the fight,

that banner guardian,

a prince in bravery.

Nor was my sword his death,

but my hand grasp

broke his bone-house,

tore out his surging heart.

Now shall the sword's edge,

hands and hard sword,

fight over this hoard."

Then Beowulf made his last boast:

"I ventured many battles

in my youth; now, old,

I will seek another,

try again for glorious

deeds, if that avenger

will come out."

He spoke to each

of his brave companions

for the last time:

"I would not use a sword

against this monster

if I might otherwise fight,

as I did with Grendel.

But how else fight fire?

a breath of poison?

Therefore I wear shield and mail.

I will not back

a step away

from that hoard-guardian.

We two shall end

as fate decrees.

I am brave in mind,

so I go against the war-flyer

in no need

of further boasting.

You men wait on the hill,

protect the war-gear

and see which will,

after the death rush,

come away unwounded.

This is not your duty,

nor in the power of man.

No one but myself

can fight this monster.

Your lord shall either

win the treasure

or lose his life."

The brave in battle arose then,

bore his shield and mail,

trusting his strength

under the stone cliffs.

(This is not the coward's way).