from "BEOWULF" - lines 320-370BEOWULF COMES TO HROTHGAR'S COURT
trans. Louis J. Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
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Stræt wæs stanfah, stig wisode
gumum ætgædere. Guðbyrnescan
heard hondlocen, hringiren scir
song in searwum, þa hie to sele furðum
in hyra gryregeatwum gangan cwomon.
Setton sæme þe side scyldas,
rondas regnhearde wið þæs recedes weal;
bugon þa to bence,- byrnan hringdon,
guðsearo gumena; garas stodon,
sæmanna searo, samod ætgædere,
æscholt ufan græg; wæs se irenþreat
wæpnum gewurþad.
řa ðær wlonc hæleð
oretmecgas æfter æþelum frægn:
`Hwanon ferigeað ge fætte scyldas,
græge syrcan ond grimhelmas,
heresceafta heap? Ic eom Hroðgares
ar ond ombiht. Ne seah ic elþeodige
þus manige men modiglicran.
Wen' ic þæt ge for wlenco, nalles for wræcsiðum,
ac for higeþrymmum Hroðgar sohton.'
Himþa ellenrof andswarode,
wlanc Wedera leod, word æfter spræc
heard under helme: `We synt Higelaces
beodgeneatas; Beowulf is min nama.
Wille ic asecgan sunu Healfdenes,
mærum þeodne, min ærende,
aldre þinum, gif he us geunnan wile,
þæt we hine swa godne gretan moton.'
Wulfgar maþelode - þæt wæs Wendla leod,
wæs his modsefa manegumgecyðed,
wig ond wisdom-: `Ic þæs wineDeniga,
frean Scildinga frinan wille,
beaga bryttan, swa þu bena eart,
þeoden mærne, ymb þinne sið,
ond þe þa andsware ædre gecyðan,
ðe me se goda agifan þenceð.'
Hwearf þa hrædlice þær Hroðgar sæt
eald ond anhar mid his eorla gedriht;
eode ellenrof, þæt he for eaxlum gestod
Deniga frean; cuþe he duguðe þeaw.
Wulfgar maðelode to his winedrihtne:
`Her syndon geferede, feorran cumene
ofer geofenes begang Geata leode;
þone yldestan oretmecgas
Beowulf nemnað. Hy benan synt,
þæt hie, þeoden min,wið þe moton
wordum wrixlan; no ðu him wearne geteoh
ðinra gegncwida, glædman Hroðar!
Hy on wiggetawum wyrðe þinceað
eorla geæhtlan; huru se aldor deah,
se þæm heaðorincum hider wisade.'

The way was paved, the path led
the men together. War-mail shone,
hard hand-linked, bright iron rings
clinked in their armour, when they first came
striding up to the hall in their grim gear.
Sea-weary, they laid broad shields,
wondrous shield-bosses, against the building wall;
then they sank on the bench - byrnies rang out,
war-shirts of men. Spears stood,
stacked together, seamen's arms,
grey-topped ash-wood; the armed troop
was worthy of its weapons.
Then a proud hero there
questioned the warriors about their lineage:
'Whence bring ye these gold-plated shields,
grey mail-shirts and visored helms,
this heap of battle-shafts? I am Hrothgar's
herald and officer. I have never seen
so many foreigners braver in appearance.
I imagine it is from daring, not from exile,
but greatness of heart, that ye sought Hrothgar.'
Then the proud prince of the Weders renowned for courage,
answered him, stern beneath his helm,
spoke these words in reply: 'We are Hygelac's
table-companions; Beowulf is my name.
I will declare my mission to the son
of Healfdene, the famous prince,
thy lord, if he will grant us
that we might address his gracious self.'
Wulfgar spoke - he was a man of the Wendels;
his spirit known to many,
his prowess in war and his wisdom -: 'I will ask
the friend of the Danes, the lord of the Scyldings,
bestower of rings, renowned prince,
concerning thy venture, as thou desirest,
and speedily make known to thee the answer
which the gracious one thinks fit to give me.'
Then he turned swiftly to where Hrothgar sat,
old and quite grey, with his retinue of eorls;
the brave one went forward till he stood squarely before
the lord of the Danes; he knew the custom of the company.
Wulfgar spoke to his friend and lord:
'Men of the Geats, come from afar,
have travelled here over the sea's expanse;
the warriors call the chief
Beowulf. They request
that they, my prince, may bc permitted
to exchange words with thee; refuse them not
thy answer, gracious Hrothgar.
In their war-gear they appear worthy
Of the esteem of eorls; valiant indeed is the chief
Who has led these warriors hither.'
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Trans. copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues 2002 - publ. Runetree Press


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