Meanwhile Up Above

The wise men with Hrothgar<br>
saw the surging water mingled<br>
with blood. The old gray-hairs <br>
spoke together, saying<br>
they did not expect the famous <br>
prince to be victorious. <br>
To many it seemed the sea wolf <br>
had destroyed him.<br>
Then came noon of the day<br>
and the valiant Danes left<br>
the bluff. The king went<br>
home. His guests sat down<br>
sick at heart<br>
and stared at he mere.<br>
They wished, but did not hope,<br>
that they would see <br>
their dear lord again.<br>
Back in the Cave<br>
The sword, because of the blood,<br>
began to fade–a battle icicle.<br>
That was some wonder:<br>
it all melted,<br>
just like ice<br>
when the Father–<br>
who has power<br>
over times and seasons–<br>
loosens the bands<br>
and unwinds the wave ropes.<br>
(That is the True Maker.)<br>
The leader of the Geats<br>
took no more treasures<br>
from the dwelling,<br>
though he saw many,<br>
except for the head<br>
and the hilt decorated<br>
with treasure. The blade<br>
had melted. . .the <br>
ornamented sword burned up–<br>
so hot was the blood,<br>
so poisonous the alien <br>
spirit who died there.<br>
Soon he was swimming;<br>
his enemy had fallen in fight.<br>
He swam up through the water–<br>
the surging waters were purged,<br>
all the broad expanse,<br>
when the alien spirit<br>
gave up her life days<br>
on this loaned world.<br>
Beowulf Comes Up<br>
Came then to the land<br>
the chief of the sailors,<br>
boldly swimming. He rejoiced<br>
in the sea-booty,<br>
the mighty burden of things<br>
he had with him.<br>
His men rushed toward him,<br>
thanking God they saw him <br>
safe. The helmet and armor <br>
were quickly loosed from <br>
the strong man. The lake <br>
grew calm, the water under <br>
the clouds, stained with blood.<br>
They went from there<br>
on the forest paths<br>
glad in mind.<br>
The brave men measured<br>
the well-known road<br>
bearing the head<br>
from the lake cliff<br>
with difficulty–<br>
it took four men<br>
to bear the spear shaft<br>
with Grendel’s head<br>
to the gold hall.<br>
The fourteen brave<br>
war-like Geats marched<br>
straight to the hall<br>
with the lord of men<br>
proud among them.<br>
He crossed the meadow,<br>
then came inside, <br>
the prince of warriors,<br>
the man of daring deeds,<br>
honored with glory,<br>
a hero in battle,<br>
to greet Hrothgar.<br>
They carried Grendel’s head<br>
by its hair onto the floor<br>
where the men were drinking–<br>
a terrible sight before <br>
the warriors and the women<br>
with them, a wondrous sight.<br>
The men looked at it.<br>
Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, spoke:<br>
“Behold, son of Healfdene,<br>
Lord of the Danes–we have brought<br>
you with pleasure this sea booty,<br>
as token of glory,<br>
which you see here.<br>
I hardly survived<br>
the battle under the water,<br>
engaged in that deed<br>
with difficulty. The battle <br>
would have ended quickly <br>
if God had not protected me. <br>
Nor could I accomplish anything <br>
with Hrunting, that strong <br>
weapon, but the ruler of men<br>
granted me to see<br>
a beautiful old mighty sword<br>
hanging on the wall.<br>
He often guides a man<br>
devoid of friends.<br>
I drew that weapon,<br>
cut in that conflict<br>
the house guardians<br>
when I saw the chance.<br>
That ornamented sword burned <br>
up as the blood sprang.<br>
I carried the hilt away<br>
from the enemies.<br>
The deeds of crime,<br>
the slaughter of the Danes,<br>
has been avenged<br>
as it was right to do.<br>
I promise you<br>
that you and your warriors<br>
may sleep in Herot<br>
free from care<br>
and every warrior <br>
of your tribe,<br>
old men and young–<br>
you need not,<br>
Prince of the Danes,<br>
fear for them,<br>
death of your warriors<br>
from that side<br>
as you did before.”<br>
Then was the golden hilt,<br>
the ancient work of giants,<br>
given to the hand<br>
of the aged warrior,<br>
the gray war leader.<br>
The possession of it,<br>
the wondrous work of smiths,<br>
passed, after the deaths <br>
of demons, to the king of the Danes.<br>
When the grim-hearted being,<br>
God’s adversary, guilty of murder,<br>
left this world,<br>
and his mother also,<br>
the hilt passed<br>
into the power of the best<br>
of the world’s kings<br>
between the seas <br>
who dealt out treasure<br>
in the Northland.<br>
Hrothgar examined the hilt,<br>
the old heirloom,<br>
on which was written<br>
in ancient runes<br>
the story of the flood<br>
which with rushing sea<br>
slew the race of giants<br>
with terrible suffering.<br>
That was a race foreign <br>
to the Eternal Lord.<br>
The Almighty gave them<br>
a final reward through <br>
the water’s surging.<br>
Also on the sword guard<br>
bright with gold<br>
was rightly written–<br>
in rune letters,<br>
set and said–<br>
for whom the sword<br>
had been wrought,<br>
this choicest of iron<br>
with twisted hilt <br>
and snake ornaments.<br>
Hrothgar Expounds On How To Be A Good Warrior<br>
Then the wise one,<br>
son of Healfdene, spoke<br>
(all were silent):<br>
“Lo, this he may say<br>
who does truth and right<br>
among the people,<br>
remembers things far distant,<br>
an old guardian:<br>
This is the best-born man!<br>
My friend Beowulf,<br>
your renown is established<br>
beyond the wide ways,<br>
yours over all the nations.<br>
Hold it steady,<br>
might with mind’s wisdom.<br>
I shall carry out<br>
my friendship as<br>
we two spoke before.<br>
You shall prove <br>
a long-lasting relief<br>
to your people,<br>
a help to fighters.<br>
Heremod was not so<br>
to the offspring of Ecgwela,<br>
the honorable Danes.<br>
He waxed not to their help<br>
but to their slaughter,<br>
for the destruction <br>
of the Danish people.<br>
Enraged, he cut down<br>
his table companions,<br>
his bosom friends,<br>
until he went about alone,<br>
away from the joy of life<br>
among men, a notorious<br>
prince, although Almighty God<br>
had raised his strength,<br>
advanced it over all men.<br>
His spirit, his heart,<br>
grew blood thirsty.<br>
He gave no rings<br>
to Danes who pursued glory.<br>
Joyless he went on,<br>
struggling on as a long-lasting<br>
affliction. Learn from this<br>
and understand manly virtues.<br>
I, old and wise in winters,<br>
tell you this<br>
for your sake.<br>
It is wonderful to say<br>
how mighty God through<br>
His wisdom and large heart<br>
distributes land and rank<br>
to the race of men.<br>
He controls all.<br>
Sometimes out of love<br>
He gives a man wisdom,<br>
great among his kin,<br>
gives him a home,<br>
the joy of the earth,<br>
gives him control<br>
of a fortress of men,<br>
a wide kingdom in the world,<br>
so that the man<br>
in his un-wisdom<br>
does not think about the end.<br>
He lives in plenty;<br>
neither disease nor age<br>
live with him;<br>
his mind is not darkened<br>
with evil worries,<br>
nor does enmity<br>
bring about war.<br>
All the world <br>
turns to his will–<br>
he does not know worse–<br>
but then arrogance grows;<br>
the guardian of his soul<br>
sleeps. That sleep is <br>
too heavy, bound with affliction,<br>
and the killer very near<br>
who shoots his bow<br>
with evil intent.<br>
Then he is hit <br>
in the heart,<br>
beneath his armor,<br>
with a bitter arrow–<br>
he cannot guard himself<br>
against the perverse commands<br>
of his accursed spirit.<br>
Then what he has long held<br>
seems too little; angry-minded, <br>
he covets, never proudly giving <br>
gold rings, and he forgets<br>
and neglects the future <br>
state because God the Ruler <br>
of Glory has given him<br>
a great deal of honors.<br>
In the end it comes to pass<br>
that the body, on loan, <br>
declines, falls fated. Another,<br>
who recklessly dispenses <br>
treasure, one who does not <br>
hold it in terror, seizes <br>
the warrior’s ancient possessions.<br>
Beloved Beowulf, best of warriors,<br>
protect yourself against that<br>
wickedness and choose better,<br>
eternal councils. Do not heed<br>
arrogance, famous champion!<br>
Now is your strength famous. . .<br>
for awhile. Soon after <br>
it shall happen that disease,<br>
or the sword’s edge, shall<br>
cut off your strength.<br>
Or maybe the fire’s embrace,<br>
or the flood’s welling,<br>
or the grip of the sword,<br>
or the arrow’s flight,<br>
or dire age. . . Bright eyes <br>
do diminish and go dark. <br>
Straightway death will overpower you, warrior.<br>
Thus I have ruled under the clouds<br>
the prosperous Danes a hundred half-years,<br>
and by war have protected them<br>
against many nations<br>
throughout this middle earth<br>
with spears and edges,<br>
so that under heaven’s expanse<br>
I could think of no enemies.<br>
Lo, a reverse came to me–<br>
in my home–sadness after joy<br>
when the old adversary Grendel<br>
invaded. I have continually <br>
carried worry over that visitation.<br>
Therefore, thanks to the Creator,<br>
the Eternal Lord, that I have <br>
remained in life to gaze with<br>
my eyes at the blood-stained head<br>
after that old contention!<br>
Go now to your seat,<br>
feast in joy, you who are<br>
distinguished in battle.<br>
We shall share<br>
a great many treasures<br>
before morning comes.”<br>
The Geat was glad in mind,<br>
quickly seeking his seat<br>
as the wise one bade.<br>
Then again was the feast <br>
prepared, as before, for <br>
the courageous ones sitting<br>
in the hall.<br>
The helmet of night turned black,<br>
dark over the warriors.<br>
The men all arose.<br>
The gray-haired one<br>
would seek his bed,<br>
the old Dane.<br>
It pleased the Geat well,<br>
the strong shield warrior,<br>
that he should have rest.<br>
A hall warrior guided <br>
the man who was far from home, <br>
tending to every courtesy, every <br>
need of the warrior. Such<br>
in those days could<br>
a sea-fairer expect.<br>
The great-hearted one then rested.<br>
The hall reached high,<br>
vaulted and adorned in gold.<br>
The guest rested within<br>
until the black raven<br>
told heaven’s joy<br>
with a happy heart.<br>
Then came the bright light,<br>
hastening over the shadow.<br>
The warriors hurried,<br>
eager to go back<br>
to their people.<br>
The bold of spirit sought his ship.<br>