Selections from Beowulf Translated by Gummere N.B.: The text presented on these pages is derived from a source that is supposed to be currently clear of copyright. Should any person find this text to be still under copyright protection, please contact the owner of this website. (See also: Hamilton, pp. 443-465, the Norse/Germanic myths.) [The portion of the poem included here is the fight of Beowulf and Grendel and the death of the monster.]  . . . Then from the moorland, by misty crags, with God's wrath laden, Grendel came. The monster was minded of mankind now sundry to seize in the stately house. Under welkin he walked, till the wine-palace there, gold-hall of men, he gladly discerned, flashing with fretwork. Not first time, this, that he the home of Hrothgar sought, — yet ne'er in his life-day, late or early, such hardy heroes, such hall-thanes, found! To the house the warrior walked apace, parted from peace; the portal opened, though with forged bolts fast, when his fists had struck it, and baleful he burst in his blatant rage, the house's mouth. All hastily, then, o'er fair-paved floor the fiend trod on, ireful he strode; there streamed from his eyes fearful flashes, like flame to see. He spied in hall the hero-band, kin and clansmen clustered asleep, hardy liegemen. Then laughed his heart; for the monster was minded, ere morn should dawn, savage, to sever the soul of each, life from body, since lusty banquet waited his will! But Wyrd forbade him to seize any more of men on earth after that evening. Eagerly watched Hygelac's kinsman his cursed foe, how he would fare in fell attack. Not that the monster was minded to pause! Straightway he seized a sleeping warrior for the first, and tore him fiercely asunder, the bone-frame bit, drank blood in streams, swallowed him piecemeal: swiftly thus the lifeless corse was clear devoured, e'en feet and hands. Then farther he hied; for the hardy hero with hand he grasped, felt for the foe with fiendish claw, for the hero reclining,—who clutched it boldly, prompt to answer, propped on his arm. Soon then saw that shepherd-of-evils that never he met in this middle-world, in the ways of earth, another wight with heavier hand-gripe; at heart he feared, sorrowed in soul,—none the sooner escaped! Fain would he flee, his fastness seek, the den of devils: no doings now such as oft he had done in days of old! Then bethought him the hardy Hygelac-thane of his boast at evening: up he bounded, grasped firm his foe, whose fingers cracked. The fiend made off, but the earl close followed. The monster meant—if he might at all— to fling himself free, and far away fly to the fens,— knew his fingers' power in the gripe of the grim one. Gruesome march to Heorot this monster of harm had made! Din filled the room; the Danes were bereft, castle-dwellers and clansmen all, earls, of their ale. Angry were both those savage hall-guards: the house resounded. Wonder it was the wine-hall firm in the strain of their struggle stood, to earth the fair house fell not; too fast it was within and without by its iron bands craftily clamped; though there crashed from sill many a mead-bench—men have told me — gay with gold, where the grim foes wrestled. So well had weened the wisest Scyldings that not ever at all might any man that bone-decked, brave house break asunder, crush by craft,—unless clasp of fire in smoke engulfed it.—Again uprose din redoubled. Danes of the North with fear and frenzy were filled, each one, who from the wall that wailing heard, God's foe sounding his grisly song, cry of the conquered, clamorous pain from captive of hell. Too closely held him he who of men in might was strongest in that same day of this our life. . . . Not in any wise would the earls'-defence suffer that slaughterous stranger to live, useless deeming his days and years to men on earth. Now many an earl of Beowulf brandished blade ancestral, fain the life of their lord to shield, their praised prince, if power were theirs; never they knew,—as they neared the foe, hardy-hearted heroes of war, aiming their swords on every side the accursed to kill,—no keenest blade, no fairest of falchions fashioned on earth, could harm or hurt that hideous fiend! He was safe, by his spells, from sword of battle, from edge of iron. Yet his end and parting on that same day of this our life woeful should be, and his wandering soul far off flit to the fiends' domain. Soon he found, who in former days, harmful in heart and hated of God, on many a man such murder wrought, that the frame of his body failed him now. For him the keen-souled kinsman of Hygelac held in hand; hateful alive was each to other. The outlaw dire took mortal hurt; a mighty wound showed on his shoulder, and sinews cracked, and the bone- frame burst. To Beowulf now the glory was given, and Grendel thence death-sick his den in the dark moor sought, noisome abode: he knew too well that here was the last of life, an end of his days on earth.—To all the Danes by that bloody battle the boon had come. From ravage had rescued the roving stranger Hrothgar's hall; the hardy and wise one had purged it anew. His night-work pleased him, his deed and its honor. To Eastern Danes had the valiant Geat his vaunt made good, all their sorrow and ills assuaged, their bale of battle borne so long, and all the dole they erst endured pain a-plenty.—'Twas proof of this, when the hardy-in-fight a hand laid down, arm and shoulder,—all, indeed, of Grendel's gripe,—'neath the gabled roof. . . . Many at morning, as men have told me, warriors gathered the gift-hall round, folk-leaders faring from far and near, o'er wide-stretched ways, the wonder to view, trace of the traitor. Not troublous seemed the enemy's end to any man who saw by the gait of the graceless foe how the weary-hearted, away from thence, baffled in battle and banned, his steps death-marked dragged to the devils' mere. Bloody the billows were boiling there, turbid the tide of tumbling waves horribly seething, with sword-blood hot, by that doomed one dyed, who in den of the moor laid forlorn his life adown, his heathen soul, and hell received it. . . . Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily