Beowulf on Everything
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THUS seethed unceasing the son of Healfdene
with the woe of these days; not wisest men
assuaged his sorrow; too sore the anguish,
loathly and long, that lay on his folk,
of burdens and bales of the night.
This heard in his home Hygelac
great among Geats
, of Grendel
He was the mightiest man of valor
in that same day of this our life,
. A stout wave-walker
he bade make ready. Yon battle-king, said he,
far o'er the swan-road he fain would seek,
the noble monarch who needed men!
The prince's journey by prudent folk
was little blamed, though they loved him dear;
they whetted the hero, and hailed good omens.
And now the bold one from bands of Geats
comrades chose, the keenest of warriors
e'er he could find; with fourteen men
the sea-wood (1) he sought, and, sailor proved,
led them on to the land's confines.
Time had now flown; (2) afloat
was the ship,
boat under bluff. On board they climbed,
ready; waves were churning
sea with sand; the sailors bore
on the breast of the bark their bright array,
their mail and weapons: the men pushed off,
on its willing way, the well-braced craft.
Then moved o'er the waters by might of the wind
that bark like a bird with breast of foam,
till in season due, on the second day,
the curved prow such course had run
that sailors now could see the land,
sea-cliffs shining, steep high hills,
headlands broad. Their haven was found,
ended. Up then quickly
' (3) clansmen climbed ashore,
anchored their sea-wood, with armor clashing
and gear of battle: God they thanked
for passing in peace o'er the paths of the sea.
Now saw from the cliff a Scylding clansman
a warden that watched the water-side,
how they bore o'er the gangway glittering shields,
in readiness; wonder seized him
to know what manner of men they were.
Straight to the strand his steed he rode,
; with hand of might
he shook his spear, and spake in parley.
"Who are ye, then, ye armed men,
mailed folk, that yon mighty vessel
have urged thus over the ocean ways,
here o'er the waters? A warden I,
set o'er the sea-march here,
lest any foe to the folk of Danes
with harrying fleet should harm the land.
ever at ease thus bore them,
linden-wielders: (4) yet word-of-leave
clearly ye lack from clansmen
's agreement. -- A greater ne'er saw I
of warriors in world than is one of you, --
yon hero in harness! No henchman he
worthied by weapons
, if witness his features,
his peerless presence! I pray you, though, tell
, lest hence ye fare
suspect to wander your way as spies
land. Now, dwellers afar,
, take from me
simple advice: the sooner the better
I hear of the country whence ye came."
(2) That is, since Beowulf
selected his ship and led his men to the harbor.
(3) One of the auxiliary names of the Geats
(4) Or: Not thus openly ever came warriors hither