from "BEOWULF" - lines 1-46PRELUDE - OF SCYLD SCEFING
trans. Louis J. Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
Hwæt, we gar-Dena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon!
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas, syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden; he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum weorðmyndum þah,
oð þæt him æghwylc ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan; þæt wæs god cyning!
Ðæm eafera wæs æfter cenned
geong in geardum, þone God sende
folce to frofre; fyrenðearfe ongeat,
þe hie ær drugon aldorlease
lange hwile; him þæs Liffrea,
wuldres Wealdend woroldare forgeaf,
Beowulf wæs breme - blæd wide sprang-
Scyldes eafera Scedelandum in.
Swa sceal geong guma gode gewyrcean,
fromum feohgiftum on fæder bearme,
þæt hine on ylde eft gewunigen
wilgesiþas, þonne wig cume,
leode gelæsten; lofdædum sceal
in mægþa gehwære man geþeon.
Him ða Scyld gewat to gescæphwile
felahror feran on Frean wære;
hi hyne þa ætbæron to brimes faroðe,
swæse gesiþas, swa he selfa bæd,
þenden wordum weold wine Scyldinga,
leof landfruma lange ahte.
Þær æt hyðe stod hringedstefna
isig ond utfus, æþelinges fær;
aledon þa leofne þeoden,
beaga bryttan on bearm scipes,
mærne be mæste. þær wæs madma fela
of feorwegum frætwa gelæded;
ne hyrde ic cymlicor ceol gegyrwan
hildewæpnum ond heaðowædum,
billum ond byrnum; him on bearme læg
madma mænigo, þa him mid scoldon
on flodes æht feor gewitan.
Nalæs hi hine læssan lacum teodan,
þeodgestreonum, þon þa dydon,
þe hine æt frumsceafte forð onsendon
ænne ofer yðe umborwesende.
Well, we have heard tell of the glory of the kings
of the Spear-Danes, how in former times
those princes performed courageous deeds.
Oft Scyld Scefing seized mead-benches
from troops of foes, from many tribes,
terrified their eorls, after he was first
found destitute; he was comforted for that,
thrived under the heavens, prospered in honour,
until each one of the neighbouring nations,
over the whale-road, had to obey him,
yield tribute. He was an able king!
Later, an infant son was born to him,
in his dwelling, whom God had sent
to comfort the folk; he saw the sore need
which they formerly suffered, lacking a lord,
for a long while. To him, therefore, the Lord of life,
the Ruler of glory, gave worldly renown;
Beowulf was renowned, widespread the fame
of the son of Scyld in the Northlands.
So ought a young man by good deeds,
generous gifts in his father's house,
to ensure that afterwards, in later life,
dear friends stand by him, people serve
him when war comes; by worthy deeds
a man shall thrive in every tribe.
Then, at his fated hour, Scyld, full of strength,
passed on into the Lord's protection.
Beloved comrades bore him down to the sea,
as he himself had bidden them do, when he,
the Scyldings' friend, still ruled with words;
dear lord of the land for long he reigned.
There, in the harbour, the prince's ring-prowed
ship stood, ice-covered and ready to set out;
then they laid down their beloved lord,
bestower of rings, in the bosom of the barge,
renowned by the mast. Much treasure there was,
precious gear fetched from distant parts;
I have not heard of a comelier keel adorned
with weapons of war and battle gear,
blades and byrnies; on his breast lay
a multitude of treasures, that were to go far
with him into the power of the flood.
They provided him with no lesser gifts,
and royal treasures, than did those
who, in the beginning, sent him forth
alone over the waves, child as he was.
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Trans. copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues 2002 - publ. The Runetree Press


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