Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Beowulf: Chapter 2

When night fell, he went to *Heorot, took thirty thanes who were sleeping off the reveling and brought them to his lair.
When morning came, the thanes then knew the might of *Grendel. *Hrothgar was saddened for this foe was not like any other feud or crime. The thanes soon made their beds elsewhere for fear of *Grendel's wrath. For twelve years he harassed *Hrothgar; refusing tribute or any agreement for peace. Hiding among the moors, he ambushed old and young relentlessly.
The evil one ruled over *Heorot such that *Hrothgar could no longer rule upon his throne for none would approach the hall for fear of the creature.
Living in misery, they may have thought to worship at heathen temples; without faith in God, men such as the *Scyldings would suffer without hope.

Old English Text - Chapter II
115 Gewat ða neosian, syþðan niht becom, hean huses, hu hit Hringdene æfter beorþege gebun hæfdon. Fand þa ðær inne æþelinga gedriht swefan æfter symble; sorge ne cuðon,
120 wonsceaft wera. Wiht unhælo, grim ond grædig, gearo sona wæs, reoc ond reþe, ond on ræste genam þritig þegna, þanon eft gewat huðe hremig to ham faran,
125 mid þære wælfylle wica neosan. ða wæs on uhtan mid ærdæge Grendles guðcræft gumum undyrne; þa wæs æfter wiste wop up ahafen, micel morgensweg. Mære þeoden,
130 æþeling ærgod, unbliðe sæt, þolode ðryðswyð, þegnsorge dreah, syðþan hie þæs laðan last sceawedon, wergan gastes; wæs þæt gewin to strang, lað ond longsum. Næs hit lengra fyrst,
135 ac ymb ane niht eft gefremede morðbeala mare ond no mearn fore, fæhðe ond fyrene; wæs to fæst on þam. þa wæs eaðfynde þe him elles hwær gerumlicor ræste sohte,
140 bed æfter burum, ða him gebeacnod wæs, gesægd soðlice sweotolan tacne healðegnes hete; heold hyne syðþan fyr ond fæstor se þæm feonde ætwand. Swa rixode ond wið rihte wan,
145 ana wið eallum, oðþæt idel stod husa selest. Wæs seo hwil micel; XII wintra tid torn geþolode wine Scyldinga, weana gehwelcne, sidra sorga. Forðam secgum wearð,
150 ylda bearnum, undyrne cuð, gyddum geomore, þætte Grendel wan hwile wið Hroþgar, heteniðas wæg, fyrene ond fæhðe fela missera, singale sæce, sibbe ne wolde
155 wið manna hwone mægenes Deniga, feorhbealo feorran, fea þingian, ne þær nænig witena wenan þorfte beorhtre bote to banan folmum, ac se æglæca ehtende wæs,
160 deorc deaþscua, duguþe ond geogoþe, seomade ond syrede, sinnihte heold mistige moras; men ne cunnon hwyder helrunan hwyrftum scriþað. Swa fela fyrena feond mancynnes,
165 atol angengea, oft gefremede, heardra hynða. Heorot eardode, sincfage sel sweartum nihtum; no he þone gifstol gretan moste, maþðum for metode, ne his myne wisse.
170 þæt wæs wræc micel wine Scyldinga, modes brecða. Monig oft gesæt rice to rune; ræd eahtedon hwæt swiðferhðum selest wære wið færgryrum to gefremmanne.
175 Hwilum hie geheton æt hærgtrafum wigweorþunga, wordum bædon þæt him gastbona geoce gefremede wið þeodþreaum. Swylc wæs þeaw hyra, hæþenra hyht; helle gemundon
180 in modsefan, metod hie ne cuþon, dæda demend, ne wiston hie drihten god, ne hie huru heofena helm herian ne cuþon, wuldres waldend. Wa bið þæm ðe sceal þurh sliðne nið sawle bescufan
185 in fyres fæþm, frofre ne wenan, wihte gewendan; wel bið þæm þe mot æfter deaðdæge drihten secean ond to fæder fæþmum freoðo wilnian.

Modern Text - Chapter II
WENT he forth to find at fall of night
that haughty house, and heed wherever
the Ring-Danes, outrevelled, to rest had gone.
Found within it the atheling band
asleep after feasting and fearless of sorrow,of human hardship.
Unhallowed wight,grim and greedy,
he grasped betimes,wrathful, reckless, from resting-places,
thirty of the thanes, and thence he rushed
fain of his fell spoil, faring homeward,laden with slaughter, his lair to seek.
Then at the dawning, as day was breaking,
the might of Grendel to men was known;
then after wassail was wail uplifted,loud moan in the morn.
The mighty chief,atheling excellent, unblithe sat,
labored in woe for the loss of his thanes,
when once had been traced the trail of the fiend,
spirit accurst: too cruel that sorrow,too long, too loathsome.
Not late the respite;with night returning,
anew began ruthless murder;
he recked no whit,firm in his guilt, of the feud and crime.
They were easy to find who elsewhere soughtin room remote
their rest at night,bed in the bowers,(1)
when that bale was shown,was seen in sooth, with surest token,
--the hall-thane's (2) hate.
Such held themselves far and fast who the fiend outran!
Thus ruled unrighteous and raged his fill
one against all; until empty stood that lordly building,
and long it bode so.
Twelve years' tide the trouble he bore,
sovran of Scyldings, sorrows in plenty,boundless cares.
There came unhidden tidings true to the tribes of men,
in sorrowful songs, how ceaselessly Grendel harassed Hrothgar,
what hate he bore him,what murder and massacre,
many a year,feud unfading, -- refused consent
to deal with any of Daneland's earls,
make pact of peace, or compound for gold:still
less did the wise men ween to get great fee for the feud from his fiendish hands.
But the evil one ambushed old and young
death-shadow dark, and dogged them still,
lured, or lurked in the livelong night
of misty moorlands: men may say not
where the haunts of these Hell-Runes(3) be.
Such heaping of horrors the hater of men,
lonely roamer, wrought unceasing,harassings heavy.
O'er Heorot he lorded,
gold-bright hall, in gloomy nights;
and ne'er could the prince(4) approach his throne,
-- 'twas judgment of God,
-- or have joy in his hall.
Sore was the sorrow to Scyldings'-friend,
heart-rending misery.
Many noblessat assembled, and searched out counsel
how it were best for bold-hearted men
against harassing terror to try their hand.
Whiles they vowed in their heathen fanesaltar-offerings,
asked with words(5)
that the slayer-of-souls would succor give them
for the pain of their people. Their practice this,
their heathen hope;
'twas Hell they thought ofin mood of their mind.
Almighty they knew not,
Doomsman of Deeds and dreadful Lord,
nor Heaven's-Helmet heeded they ever,
Wielder-of-Wonder. --
Woe for that man who in harm and hatred hales his soul
to fiery embraces; -- nor favor nor change awaits
he ever. But well for him
that after death-day may draw to his Lord,
and friendship find in the Father's arms!

Notes : chapter 2
1 The smaller buildings within the main enclosure but separate from the hall.
2 Grendel.
3 "Sorcerers-of-hell."
4 Hrothgar, who is the "Scyldings'-friend" of 170.
5 That is, in formal or prescribed phrase.

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