1st of the Final Translation, More or Less Done

Then Hrothgar, the helm of the Shieldings,
went out of the hall with his troop.
The war-chief wished to seek Welltheow,
the queen for his bedmate. The king of glory,
so men heard, had a hall-guard set against Grendel;
they held special service around the protector of the Danes,
and offered protection from man-eaters.

However, the Geat people trusted in a brave one’s might,
and the measurer’s grace. He took off the metal mailcoat,
his helmet from his head, and gave his hursted sword,
made of the choicest iron, and battle-gear to a vassal to hold.

He said just then, that man of goodness,
Beowulf of the Geats, some boastful words
before he bedded down. “In prowess,
I do not consider myself any less battle-keen
than the Grendel himself. Therefore, I will not
have him put to sleep by the sword,
though I might deprive him of his life in that way.

He knows nothing of good things, that he strikes against me,
hews the shield’s edge, though strong in spite he may be.
Tonight the two of us shall forgo the blade,
if he seeks plain war over weapondry.
Afterward, God, in his wisdom, puts in the hand
the glory of whomever he wills,
and so to that man it is given properly, I should think.”

He bowed down, the battle-brave one.
A cheek-cushion took the man’s face,
and those nearby, those many seamen,
lied down quickly for a sheltered rest.

Not one of them thought he would ever look
upon the land he loved thereafter, the folk
or the freetown where he was raised,
for in that wine-hall, they’d heard, death by slaughter
had pillaged too many of the Danish tribe.

But the Lord wove for the Weeder’s tribesman
war-success, solace and support,
so through one’s craft they all overcame their fiend,
through his own might. The truth is well known
that mighty God wields mankind for the long life of the soul.

It came then on the waning night
gliding, the shadow-walker.
The shooters slept, those who had to hold
that horn-gabled house, all but one —

ancestors knew that a sin-scather could not,
when fate desired it not, braid them under shadows—
but still he kept a wrathful watch,
in anger he waited on the ends of battle
his mind bulging.

Then came off the moor under night-fog
Grendel, going, bearing God’s ire,
a man-scather intent on snaring
some of the race of men in the high hall.


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