Beowulf on Everything
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spake, the son of Ecglaf
who sat at the feet of the Scyldings
unbound the battle-runes. (1) -- Beowulf
's, sorely galled him;
ever he envied that other men
should more achieve in middle-earth
of fame under heaven than he himself. --
"Art thou that Beowulf
swam on the open sea,
when for pride the pair of you proved the floods,
and wantonly dared in waters deep
to risk your lives? No living man,
, from your labor dire
could you dissuade, from swimming the main.
Ocean-tides with your arms ye covered,
with strenuous hands the sea-streets measured,
swam o'er the waters. Winter's storm
rolled the rough waves. In realm of sea
a sennight strove ye. In swimming he topped thee,
had more of main! Him at morning-tide
billows bore to the Battling Reamas,
whence he hied to his home so dear
beloved of his liegemen
, to land of Brondings,
fastness fair, where his folk he ruled,
town and treasure. In triumph o'er thee
(2) his boast achieved.
So ween I for thee a worse adventure
-- though in buffet of battle thou brave hast been,
in struggle grim, -- if Grendel
thou darst await through the watch of night!"
"What a deal hast uttered, dear my Unferth
drunken with beer, of Breca
told of his triumph
! Truth I claim it,
that I had more of might in the sea
than any man else, more ocean
We twain had talked, in time of youth,
and made our boast, -- we were merely boys,
still, -- to stake our lives
far at sea: and so we performed it.
, as we swam along,
we held in hand, with hope to guard us
against the whales. Not a whit from me
could he float afar o'er the flood of waves,
haste o'er the billows; nor him I abandoned.
Together we twain on the tides abode
five nights full till the flood
churning waves and chillest weather,
darkling night, and the northern wind
ruthless rushed on us: rough was the surge.
Now the wrath of the sea-fish rose apace;
yet me 'gainst the monsters my mailed coat,
hard and hand-linked, help afforded, --
battle-sark braided my breast to ward,
garnished with gold. There grasped me firm
and haled me to bottom the hated foe,
with grimmest gripe. 'Twas granted me, though,
to pierce the monster
with point of sword,
with blade of battle: huge beast of the sea
was whelmed by the hurly through hand of mine.
(1) "Began the fight."