from "BEOWULF" - lines 1251-1309THE VENGEANCE OF GRENDEL'S MOTHER
trans. Louis J. Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
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Sigon þa to slæpe. Sum we angeald
æfenræste, swa him ful oft gelamp,
siþõan goldsele Grendel warode,
unriht æfnde, oþ þæt ende becwom.
swylt æfter synnum. Þæt gesyne wearþ,
widcuþ werum, þætte wrecend þa gyt
lifdle æfter laþum, lange þrage
æfter guõceare; Grendles modor,
ides, aglæcwif, yrmþe gemunde,
se þe wæteregesan wunian scolde,
cealde streamas. siþõan Cain wearõ
to ecgbanan angan breþer,
fæderenmæge. he þa fag gewat,
morþre gemearcod, mandream fleon,
westen warode. Þanon woc fela
geocsceaftgasta; wæs þæra Grendel sum,
heorowearh hetelic. se æt Heorote fand
wæccendne wer wiges bidan;
þær him aglæca ætgræpe wearõ
hwæþre he gemunde mægenes strenge,
gimfæste gife, õe him God sealde,
ond him to Anwaldan are gelyfde,
frofre ond fultum; õy he þone feond ofercwom,
gehnægde helle gast. Þa he hean gewat,
dreame bedæled, deaþwic seon,
mancynnes feond. Ond his modor þa gyt
gifre ond gaIgmod gegan wolde
sorhfulne siõ, sunu deoõ wrecan.
Com þa to Heorote, õær Hring-Dene
geond þæt sæld swæfun. Þa õær sona wearõ
edhwyrft eorlum, siþõan inne fealh
Grendles modor. Wæs se gryre læssa
efne swa micle, swa biõ mægþa cræft,
wiggryre wifes, be wæpnedmen,
þonne heoru bunden, hamere geþruen
sweord swate fah, swin ofer helme
ecgum dyhtig andweard scireõ.
Ða wæs on healle heardecg togen
sweord ofer setlum, sidrand manig
hafen handa fæst; helm ne gemunde,
byrnan side, þa hine se broga angeat.
Heo wæs on ofste, wolde ut þanon
feore beorgan, þa heo onfunden wæs;
hraõe heo æþelinga anne hæfde
fæste befangen, þa heo to fenne gang.
Se wæs Hroþgare hæleþa leofost
on gesiões had be sæm tweonum,
rice randwiga, þone õe heo on ræste abreat,
blædfæstne beorn. Næs Beowulf õær,
ac wæs oþer in ær geteohhod
æfter maþõumgife mærum Geate.
Hream wearõ in Heorote; heo under heolfre genam
cuþe folme; cearu wæs geniwod,
geworden in wicun. Ne wæs þæt gewrixle til,
þæt hie on ba healfa bicgan scoldon
freonda feorum!
Þa wæs frod cyning,
har hilderinc, on hreon mode,
syõþan he aldorþegn unlyfigendne,
þone deorestan deadne wisse.

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Then they sank to sleep. One paid sorely
for his evening's rest, as had oft befallen them
since Grendel guarded the gold-hall,
wrought wrong, until the end came -
death after misdeeds. It came to be seen,
wide-known to men, that an avenger still
lived after the hateful foe - a long time
after the grievous strife. Grendel's mother,
woman, monster-wife, mindful of her misery,
she who had to dwell in the dread waters,
cold streams, after Cain became
the sword-slayer of his only brother,
his father's son, had gone forth guilty,
marked for his murder, fled the joys of men,
inhabited the wilderness. From him sprang many
fated spirits, of whom Grendel was one,
a hateful outcast, who at Heorot found
a watching man awaiting the fray.
The monster there had laid hold of him;
yet he was mindful of the mighty strength.
the lavish gift which God had given him,
and counted on the Lord for kindness,
comfort and help. Hence he overcame the foe,
subdued the hell-spirit. Then he departed abject
. deprived of joy, to seek his death-place,
mankind's enemy. And his mother. still
greedy and gallows-grim, would go
on a sorrowful venture. avenge her son's death.
Then she came to Heorot, where the Ring-Danes
slept throughout the hall. Then soon there came
a change for the eorls, when Grendel's mother
made her way in. The attack was less terrible
by just so much as is women's strength.
a wife's war-terror, than that of weaponed-men.
when the bound, hammer-forged blade,
blood-stained sword. doughty of edge,
cleaves the boar on the opposing helm.
Then in the hall was hard-edged sword
drawn over the seats, many a broad shield
heaved firmly in hand. None thought of helm,
or of wide byrny, when the terror seized him.
She was in haste, would depart thence,
protect her life after she was perceived.
Swiftly she seized one of the warriors
firmly before she fled to the fen.
To Hrothgar he was the most loved of heroes
between the seas of the rank of retainer,
a mighty shield-warrior, a well-known man,
whom she slew at his rest. Beowulf was not there,
for earlier another lodging had been allotted
the glorious Geat, after the treasure-giving.
Outcry rose in Heorot; she had seized the well-known hand
covered in gore, sorrow was renewed,
settled on the dwelling. That was no good bargain
that on both sides they had to pay
with the lives of friends!
Then was the wise old king,
the hoary warrior, sad at heart,
when he learned that his counsellor was lifeless,
his dearest man dead.

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Transl. copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues 1997 - publ. Llanerch Publishers


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