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wounds and knew that he had not long to live. He commanded Wiglaf to bring forth the treasure that he might gaze upon the hoard, — jewel work and twisted gold, — that he had wrested from the fire-drake.
The den was filled with rings of gold, cups, banners, jewels, dishes, and the arms of the old owner of the treas
All these did Wiglaf bear forth to his lord, who surveyed them, and uttered thanks to his Maker, that he could win such a treasure. Then, turning to Wiglaf, he said, “ Now I die. Build for me upon the lofty shore a bright mound that shall ever remind my people of me. Far in the distance their ships shall descry it, and they shall call it Beowulf's mound.” Then, giving his arms to Wiglaf, he bade him enjoy them. “ Thou art the last of our race. All save us, fate-driven, are gone to doom. Thither go I too."
Bitterly did Wiglaf denounce his comrades when he saw them steal from their hiding-places. “Well may it be said of you that he who gave you your arms threw them away. No thanks deserve ye for the slaughter of the dragon! I did my little, but it was not in my power to save my kins
Too few helpers stood about him! Now shall your kin be wanting in gifts. Void are ye of land-rights! Better is it for an earl to die than to live with a blasted name !"
Sorrowful were the people when they heard of the death of Beowulf. Full well they knew with what joy the tidings would be hailed by their enemies, who would hasten to harry the land, now that their great leader was gone. The Frisians, the Merovingians, the Franks, the Swedes, - all had their grievances, which they would hasten to wreak on the Goths when they learned that the dreaded king was gone. Dreary would be the land of the Goths; on its battle-fields the wolves would batten; the ravens would call to the eagles as they feasted on the slain.
Straight to the Eagle's Nest went the band, and found their dead monarch; there, too, lay the loathsome firedrake, full fifty feet long, and between them the great hoard, rust-eaten from long dwelling in the earth. Ever had that hoard brought ill with it.
Down from the cliff they thrust the dragon into the deep, and carried their chief to Hronésness. There they built a lofty pile, decked it with his armor, and burned thereon the body of their glorious ruler. According to his wish, they reared on the cliff a broad, high barrow, surrounded it with a wall, and laid within it the treasure. There yet it lies, of little worth to men !
Then around the barrow rode twelve of the bravest, boldest nobles, mourning their king, singing his praises, chanting a dirge, telling of his glorious deeds, while over the broad land the Gothic folk lamented the death of their tender prince, their noble king, Beowulf.
THERE was great rejoicing in Heorot when Beowulf slew Grendel, and at night the earls again slept in the hall as they had not dared to do since the coming of the fiend. But Grendel's mother came to avenge her son's death and slew Æschere, a favorite liegeman of Hrothgar's. In the morning, Beowulf, who had slept in another part of the palace, was sent for and greeted Hrothgar, unaware of his loss.
Hrothgar rejoined, helm of the Scyldings:
“Ask not of joyance! Grief is renewed to
The folk of the Danemen. Dead is Æschere,
Yrmenlaf's brother, older than he,
My true-hearted counsellor, trusty adviser,
Shoulder-companion, when fighting in battle
Our heads we protected, when troopers were clashing,
And heroes were dashing ; such an earl should be ever,
An erst-worthy atheling, as Æschere proved him.
The flickering death-spirit became in Heorot
His hand-to-hand murderer ; I cannot tell whither
The cruel one turned, in the carcass exulting,
By cramming discovered. The quarrel she wreaked then,
The last night igone Grendel thou killedst
In grewsomest manner, with grim-holding clutches,
Since too long he had lessened my liege-troop and wasted
My folk-men so foully. He fell in the battle
With forfeit of life, and another has followed,
A mighty crime-worker, her kinsman avenging,
And henceforth hath 'stablished her hatred unyielding,
As it well may appear to many a liegeman,
Who mourneth in spirit the treasure-bestower,
Her heavy heart-sorrow; the hand is now lifeless
Which availed you in every wish that you cherished.
Land-people heard I, liegemen, this saying,
Dwellers in halls, they had seen very often
A pair of such mighty march-striding creatures,
Far-dwelling spirits, holding the moorlands :
One of them wore, as well they might notice,
The image of woman, the other one wretched
In guise of a man wandered in exile,
Except that he was huger than any of earthmen ;
Earth-dwelling people entitled him Grendel
In days of yore; they knew not their father,
Whe'r ill-going spirits any were borne him
Ever before. They guard the wolf-coverts,
Lands inaccessible, wind-beaten nesses,
Fearfullest fen-deeps, where a flood from the mountains
'Neath mists of the nesses netherward rattles,
The stream under earth: not far is it henceward
Measured by mile-lengths that the mere-water standeth,
Which forests hang over, with frost-whiting covered,
A firm-rooted forest, the foods overshadow.
There ever at night one an ill-meaning portent
A fire-flood may see; 'mong children of men
None liveth so wise that wot of the bottom ;
Though harassed by hounds the heath-stepper seek for,
Fly to the forest, firm-antlered he-deer,
Spurred from afar, his spirit he yieldeth,
His life on the shore, ere in he will venture
To cover his head. Uncanny the place is:
Thence upward ascendeth the surging of waters,
Wan to the welkin, when the wind is stirring
The weathers unpleasing, till the air groweth gloomy,
And the heavens lower. Now is help to be gotten
From thee and thee only! The abode thou know'st not,
The dangerous place where thou 'rt able to meet with
The sin-laden hero: seek if thou darest!
For the feud I will fully fee thee with money,
With old-time treasure, as erstwhile I did thee,
With well-twisted jewels, if away thou shalt get thee."
Beowulf answered, Ecgtheow's son :
“Grieve not, O wise one! for each it is better,
His friend to avenge than with vehemence wail him;
Each of us must the end-day abide of
His earthly existence; who is able accomplish
Glory ere death! To battle-thane noble
Lifeless lying, 't is at last most fitting.
Arise, O king: quick let us hasten
To look at the footprint of the kinsman of Grendel !
I promise thee this now: to his place he 'll escape not,
To embrace of the earth, nor to mountainous forest,
Nor to depths of the ocean, wherever he wanders.
Practice thou now patient endurance
Of each of thy sorrows, as I hope for thee soothly !"
Then up sprang the old one, the All-Wielder thanked he,
Ruler Almighty, that the man had outspoken.
Then for Hrothgar a war-horse was decked with a bridle,
Curly-maned courser. The clever folk-leader
Stately proceeded : stepped then an earl-troop
Of linden-wood bearers. Her foot-prints were seen then
Widely in wood-paths, her way o'er the bottoms,
Where she far-away fared o'er fen-country murky,
Bore away breathless the best of retainers
Who pondered with Hrothgar the welfare of country.
The son of the athelings then went o'er the stony,
Declivitous cliffs, the close-covered passes,
Narrow passages, paths unfrequented,
Nesses abrupt, nicker-haunts many;
One of a few of wise-mooded heroes,
He onward advanced to view the surroundings,
Till he found unawares woods of the mountain
O'er hoar-stones hanging, holt-wood unjoyful;
The water stood under, welling and gory.
'T was irksome in spirit to all of the Danemen,
Friends of the Scyldings, to many a liegeman
Sad to be suffered, a sorrow unlittle
To each of the earlmen, when to Æschere's head they
Came on the cliff. The current was seething
With blood and with gore (the troopers gazed on it).
The horn anon sang the battle-song ready.
The troop were all seated; they saw 'long the water then
Many a serpent, mere-dragons wondrous
Trying the waters, nickers a-lying
On the cliffs of the nesses, which at noonday full often
Go on the sea-deeps their sorrowful journey,
Wild-beasts and worm-kind; away then they hastened
Hot-mooded, hateful, they heard the great clamor,
The war-trumpet winding. One did the Geat-prince
Sunder from earth-joys, with arrow from bowstring,
From his sea-struggle tore him, that the trusty war-missile
Pierced to his vitals; he proved in the currents
Less doughty at swimming whom death had off-carried.
Soon in the waters the wonderful swimmer
Was straitened most sorely and pulled to the cliff-edge;
The liegemen then looked on the loath-fashioned stranger.
Beowulf donned then his battle-equipments,
Cared little for life; inlaid and most ample,
The hand-woven corselet which could cover his body,
Must the wave-deeps explore, that war might be powerless
To harm the great hero, and the hating one's grasp might
Not peril his safety ; his head was protected
By the light-flashing helmet that should mix with the bottoms,
Trying the eddies, treasure-emblazoned,
Encircled with jewels, as in seasons long past
The weapon-smith worked it, wondrously made it,
With swine-bodies fashioned it, that thenceforward no longer
Brand might bite it, and battle-sword hurt it.
And that was not least of helpers in prowess
That Hrothgar's spokesman had lent him when straitened;
And the hilted hand-sword was Hrunting entitled,
Old and most excellent ’mong all of the treasures ;
Its blade was of iron, blotted with poison,
Hardened with gore; it failed not in battle
Any hero under heaven in hand who it brandished,
Who ventured to take the terrible journeys,
The battle-field sought; not the earliest occasion
That deeds of daring 't was destined to 'complish.
Ecglaf's kinsman minded not soothly,
Exulting in strength, what erst he had spoken
Drunken with wine, when the weapon he lent to
A sword-hero bolder ; himself did not venture
'Neath the strife of the currents his life to endanger,
To fame-deeds perform; there he forfeited glory,
Repute for his strength. Not so with the other
When he, clad in his corselet, had equipped him for battle.
Beowulf spoke, Ecgtheow's son:
" Recall now, oh, famous kinsman of Healfdene,
Prince very prudent, now to part I am ready,
Gold-friend of earl-men, what erst we agreed on,
Should I lay down my life in lending thee assistance,
When my earth-joys were over, thou wouldst evermore serve me
In stead of a father ; my faithful thanemen,
My trusty retainers, protect thou and care for,
Fall I in battle: and, Hrothgar beloved,
Send unto Higelac the high-valued jewels
Thou to me hast allotted. The lord of the Geatmen
May perceive from the gold, the Hrethling may see it
When he looks on the jewels, that a gem-giver found I
Good over-measure, enjoyed him while able.
And the ancient heirloom Unferth permit thou,
The famed one to have, the heavy-sword splendid,
The hard-edged weapon ; with Hrunting to aid me,
I shall gain me glory, or grim death shall take me.”
The atheling of Geatmen uttered these words and
Heroic did hasten, not any rejoinder
Was willing to wait for; the wave-current swallowed
The doughty-in-battle. Then a day's-length elapsed ere
He was able to see the sea at its bottom.