5th Part of the Final Translation, More or Less Done

11 Dec 2007

The splendid hall resounded, and to all Danes,
fortress-dwellers, every keen one,
and to heroes, was a bitter ale dispensed.
Ireful were both, furious guardians of the house.

The house over-echoed. There was much wonder
that the wine-hall withstood those battle-brave ones,
and that it fell not to the ground, that beautiful fold-building,
but it held fast, with iron bands inside,
so skillfully smithed. There fell away from the hall
many meed-benches, as I have heard,
gold adorned, where the grim ones fought.

Wisemen of the Shieldings had never expected that any man,
even the best and the bone-decorated, by common means
might break it, or wreck it with cunning,
unless flame’s embrace swallowed it in the heat.

Then a sound ascended upward,
altogether new, that direly stood the North-Danes
with fear. Everyone there in the walls heard weeping,
a terrible song to sing, the enemy of God
sang victoryless, sore he bewailed, as Hell’s captive.

He held him fast. He who was with might
the strongest of men on that day of this life.
The shelterer would not for anything
let that death bringer go alive,
nor did he consider his living days
otherwise useful to any of his tribesmen.


4th Part of the Final Translation, More or Less Done

11 Dec 2007

The soul was eager to get himself away.
It wished to flee into some hiding place,
to seek a devil’s hospice. It not was his experience there
such as in the days of his life before he ever met.

The good one, Higelach’s kinsman, remembered his evening-speech.
He stood upright and laid hold on him tightly.
Fingers burst. The man-eater made to throw himself out,
and so the hero stepped along with him.

The famous one thought of where he could so reach by flight (a more remote place)
and away there to flee into a fen-retreat.
He knew his fingers were in control of the hostile one’s claws.
What a sorrowful journey that the harm-giver made to Heorot.


3rd Part of the Final Translation, More or Less Done

11 Dec 2007

Not yet was to come his fate: that no more
could he consume mankind over this night.
Higelac’s muscle could behold how the man-scather
under the sudden grip would act.

The awesome one meant no delay, but he grasped
quickly at first chance a sleeping man,
rent him irresistibly, bit bone joints,
drank blood streams, swallowed huge morsels.
Soon he had consumed all the unliving thing,
the feet and the hands.

Near he stepped further, and took then,
with hands determine, one of the resting warriors.
He reached toward the enemy with his hand.

Quickly he seized with hostile purposes
and sat up against the arm. The keeper of sins
soon found that he had not met, not on middle-earth,
nor any other plane of the world, in another being
a greater handgrip. He became afraid
in his soul. He could not get away.


2nd Part of the Final Translation, More or Less Done

11 Dec 2007

He waded under billowing-clouds and came
into line of sight with the gilded wine-hall of men,
stained with shining gold. It was not the first time
he’d sought the home of Hrothgar,
but never, not in his living days before, and not since,
would he find harder luck or hall-holders.

He came then to the building, the warrior journeyed,
deprived of joy. The fire-tempered firm door
quickly gave out once his hands touched it.
It swung open to the malignant one,
and then he grew swollen, at the building’s mouth open.

Quickly after, on the shining floor,
the fiend treaded, moving angrily.
From his eyes arose, most like fire,
a light unbeautiful.

In the keep he saw many ranks,
a sleeping band of kinsmen gathered together,
a heap of soldier sons. Then his mind laughed.
He thought that before day came
he, the terrible, awesome one, would sever
each one’s life from his body,
as in him was arising a deep, eaters hunger.


1st of the Final Translation, More or Less Done

10 Dec 2007

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.


Outline for the Introduction

6 Dec 2007
  1. Sort summary/explication
  2. Philosophy of translation
    1. In general
    2. Relative to this text
      1. Formal elements
      2. Word choice
      3. Audience
      4. Personal relationship to the text
  3. Tools used in the translation
  4. Radical departures from orthodox translation
  5. Consequences, successes, failures
    1. Expectations as a translator
    2. Where I have ended up in the text

Rough translation of lines 841 – 852

5 Dec 2007

Not Nor thought he his parting from life sorelike methinks any of men (sword?/saw?) of he they who gloriless tred /track showed/saw looked upon the gloriless track, who how he wearyhearted on the way thence, ill-will overcome with enmity, in the kelpies meer fated and put to flight life-track he bore. There was in blood a sea-surge; terrible waves aswirl all mingled hot gore battle-blood welled. Death-fate It concealed the one death-fated one since when devoid of delight laid his life in the fen-haven life laid, laid his heathen soul, there hell received him.