Beowulf - Anonymous - ebook

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative lines. The poem is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland (Götaland in modern Sweden) and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants cremate his body and erect a tower on a headland in his memory. The main protagonist Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, whose great hall, Heorot, is plagued by the monster Grendel. Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a giant's sword that he found in her lair. Later in his life, Beowulf becomes king of the Geats, and finds his realm terrorized by a dragon, some of whose treasure had been stolen from his hoard in a burial mound. He attacks the dragon with the help of his thegns or servants, but they do not succeed. Beowulf decides to follow the dragon to its lair at Earnanæs, but only his young Swedish relative Wiglaf, whose name means "remnant of valour",[a] dares to join him. Beowulf finally slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded in the struggle. He is cremated and a burial mound by the sea is erected in his honor. Beowulf is considered an epic poem in that the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts.

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Copyright © 2016 by Anonymous.

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations em- bodied in critical articles or reviews.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organiza- tions, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

For information contact :

Sheba Blake Publishing

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Book and Cover design by Sheba Blake Publishing

First Edition: January 2017







LO, praise of the prowess of people-kingsof spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore,awing the earls. Since erst he layfriendless, a foundling, fate repaid him:for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve,till before him the folk, both far and near,who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate,gave him gifts: a good king he!To him an heir was afterward born,a son in his halls, whom heaven sentto favor the folk, feeling their woethat erst they had lacked an earl for leaderso long a while; the Lord endowed him,the Wielder of Wonder, with world's renown.Famed was this Beowulf: {0a} far flew the boast of him,son of Scyld, in the Scandian lands.So becomes it a youth to quit him wellwith his father's friends, by fee and gift,that to aid him, aged, in after days,come warriors willing, should war draw nigh,liegemen loyal: by lauded deedsshall an earl have honor in every clan.

Forth he fared at the fated moment,sturdy Scyld to the shelter of God.Then they bore him over to ocean's billow,loving clansmen, as late he charged them,while wielded words the winsome Scyld,the leader beloved who long had ruled....In the roadstead rocked a ring-dight vessel,ice-flecked, outbound, atheling's barge:there laid they down their darling lordon the breast of the boat, the breaker-of-rings, {0b}by the mast the mighty one. Many a treasurefetched from far was freighted with him.No ship have I known so nobly dightwith weapons of war and weeds of battle,with breastplate and blade: on his bosom laya heaped hoard that hence should gofar o'er the flood with him floating away.No less these loaded the lordly gifts,thanes' huge treasure, than those had donewho in former time forth had sent himsole on the seas, a suckling child.High o'er his head they hoist the standard,a gold-wove banner; let billows take him,gave him to ocean. Grave were their spirits,mournful their mood. No man is ableto say in sooth, no son of the halls,no hero 'neath heaven, -- who harbored that freight!


Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings,leader beloved, and long he ruledin fame with all folk, since his father had goneaway from the world, till awoke an heir,haughty Healfdene, who held through life,sage and sturdy, the Scyldings glad.Then, one after one, there woke to him,to the chieftain of clansmen, children four:Heorogar, then Hrothgar, then Halga brave;and I heard that -- was -- 's queen,the Heathoscylfing's helpmate dear.To Hrothgar was given such glory of war,such honor of combat, that all his kinobeyed him gladly till great grew his bandof youthful comrades. It came in his mindto bid his henchmen a hall uprear,ia master mead-house, mightier farthan ever was seen by the sons of earth,and within it, then, to old and younghe would all allot that the Lord had sent him,save only the land and the lives of his men.Wide, I heard, was the work commanded,for many a tribe this mid-earth round,to fashion the folkstead. It fell, as he ordered,in rapid achievement that ready it stood there,of halls the noblest: Heorot {1a} he named itwhose message had might in many a land.Not reckless of promise, the rings he dealt,treasure at banquet: there towered the hall,high, gabled wide, the hot surge waitingof furious flame. {1b} Nor far was that daywhen father and son-in-law stood in feudfor warfare and hatred that woke again. {1c}With envy and anger an evil spiritendured the dole in his dark abode,that he heard each day the din of revelhigh in the hall: there harps rang out,clear song of the singer. He sang who knew {1d}tales of the early time of man,how the Almighty made the earth,fairest fields enfolded by water,set, triumphant, sun and moonfor a light to lighten the land-dwellers,and braided bright the breast of earthwith limbs and leaves, made life for allof mortal beings that breathe and move.So lived the clansmen in cheer and revela winsome life, till one beganto fashion evils, that field of hell.Grendel this monster grim was called,march-riever {1e} mighty, in moorland living,in fen and fastness; fief of the giantsthe hapless wight a while had keptsince the Creator his exile doomed.On kin of Cain was the killing avengedby sovran God for slaughtered Abel.Ill fared his feud, {1f} and far was he driven,for the slaughter's sake, from sight of men.Of Cain awoke all that woful breed,Etins {1g} and elves and evil-spirits,as well as the giants that warred with Godweary while: but their wage was paid them!


WENT he forth to find at fall of nightthat haughty house, and heed whereverthe Ring-Danes, outrevelled, to rest had gone.Found within it the atheling bandasleep 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 rushedfain 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 beganruthless 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, {2a} when that bale was shown,was seen in sooth, with surest token, --the hall-thane's {2b} hate. Such held themselvesfar and fast who the fiend outran!Thus ruled unrighteous and raged his fillone against all; until empty stoodthat lordly building, and long it bode so.Twelve years' tide the trouble he bore,sovran of Scyldings, sorrows in plenty,boundless cares. There came unhiddentidings true to the tribes of men,in sorrowful songs, how ceaselessly Grendelharassed Hrothgar, what hate he bore him,what murder and massacre, many a year,feud unfading, -- refused consentto deal with any of Daneland's earls,make pact of peace, or compound for gold:still less did the wise men ween to getgreat fee for the feud from his fiendish hands.But the evil one ambushed old and youngdeath-shadow dark, and dogged them still,lured, or lurked in the livelong nightof misty moorlands: men may say notwhere the haunts of these Hell-Runes {2c} 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 {2d} 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 counselhow it were best for bold-hearted menagainst harassing terror to try their hand.Whiles they vowed in their heathen fanesaltar-offerings, asked with words {2e}that the slayer-of-souls would succor give themfor 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 manwho in harm and hatred hales his soulto fiery embraces; -- nor favor nor changeawaits he ever. But well for himthat after death-day may draw to his Lord,and friendship find in the Father's arms!


THUS seethed unceasing the son of Healfdenewith the woe of these days; not wisest menassuaged his sorrow; too sore the anguish,loathly and long, that lay on his folk,most baneful of burdens and bales of the night.

This heard in his home Hygelac's thane,great among Geats, of Grendel's doings.He was the mightiest man of valorin that same day of this our life,stalwart and stately. A stout wave-walkerhe 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 folkwas little blamed, though they loved him dear;they whetted the hero, and hailed good omens.And now the bold one from bands of Geatscomrades chose, the keenest of warriorse'er he could find; with fourteen menthe sea-wood {3a} he sought, and, sailor proved,led them on to the land's confines.Time had now flown; {3b} afloat was the ship,boat under bluff. On board they climbed,warriors ready; waves were churningsea with sand; the sailors boreon 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 windthat bark like a bird with breast of foam,till in season due, on the second day,the curved prow such course had runthat sailors now could see the land,sea-cliffs shining, steep high hills,headlands broad. Their haven was found,their journey ended. Up then quicklythe Weders' {3c} clansmen climbed ashore,anchored their sea-wood, with armor clashingand gear of battle: God they thankedor 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,war-gear in readiness; wonder seized himto know what manner of men they were.Straight to the strand his steed he rode,Hrothgar's henchman; with hand of mighthe shook his spear, and spake in parley."Who are ye, then, ye armed men,mailed folk, that yon mighty vesselhave urged thus over the ocean ways,here o'er the waters? A warden I,sentinel set o'er the sea-march here,lest any foe to the folk of Daneswith harrying fleet should harm the land.No aliens ever at ease thus bore them,linden-wielders: {3d} yet word-of-leaveclearly ye lack from clansmen here,my folk's agreement. -- A greater ne'er saw Iof warriors in world than is one of you, --yon hero in harness! No henchman heworthied by weapons, if witness his features,his peerless presence! I pray you, though, tellyour folk and home, lest hence ye faresuspect to wander your way as spiesin Danish land. Now, dwellers afar,ocean-travellers, take from mesimple advice: the sooner the betterI hear of the country whence ye came."


To him the stateliest spake in answer;the warriors' leader his word-hoard unlocked: --"We are by kin of the clan of Geats,and Hygelac's own hearth-fellows we.To folk afar was my father known,noble atheling, Ecgtheow named.Full of winters, he fared awayaged from earth; he is honored stillthrough width of the world by wise men all.To thy lord and liege in loyal moodwe hasten hither, to Healfdene's son,people-protector: be pleased to advise us!To that mighty-one come we on mickle errand,to the lord of the Danes; nor deem I rightthat aught be hidden. We hear -- thou knowestif sooth it is -- the saying of men,that amid the Scyldings a scathing monster,dark ill-doer, in dusky nightsshows terrific his rage unmatched,hatred and murder. To Hrothgar Iin greatness of soul would succor bring,so the Wise-and-Brave {4a} may worst his foes, --if ever the end of ills is fated,of cruel contest, if cure shall follow,and the boiling care-waves cooler grow;else ever afterward anguish-dayshe shall suffer in sorrow while stands in placehigh on its hill that house unpeered!"Astride his steed, the strand-ward answered,clansman unquailing: "The keen-souled thanemust be skilled to sever and sunder dulywords and works, if he well intends.I gather, this band is graciously bentto the Scyldings' master. March, then, bearingweapons and weeds the way I show you.I will bid my men your boat meanwhileto guard for fear lest foemen come, --your new-tarred ship by shore of oceanfaithfully watching till once againit waft o'er the waters those well-loved thanes,-- winding-neck'd wood, -- to Weders' bounds,heroes such as the hest of fateshall succor and save from the shock of war."They bent them to march, -- the boat lay still,fettered by cable and fast at anchor,broad-bosomed ship. -- Then shone the boars {4b}over the cheek-guard; chased with gold,keen and gleaming, guard it kepto'er the man of war, as marched alongheroes in haste, till the hall they saw,broad of gable and bright with gold:that was the fairest, 'mid folk of earth,of houses 'neath heaven, where Hrothgar lived,and the gleam of it lightened o'er lands afar.The sturdy shieldsman showed that brightburg-of-the-boldest; bade them gostraightway thither; his steed then turned,hardy hero, and hailed them thus: --"'Tis time that I fare from you. Father Almightyin grace and mercy guard you well,safe in your seekings. Seaward I go,'gainst hostile warriors hold my watch."


STONE-BRIGHT the street: {5a} it showed the wayto the crowd of clansmen. Corselets glistenedhand-forged, hard; on their harness brightthe steel ring sang, as they strode alongin mail of battle, and marched to the hall.There, weary of ocean, the wall alongthey set their bucklers, their broad shields, down,and bowed them to bench: the breastplates clanged,war-gear of men; their weapons stacked,spears of the seafarers stood together,gray-tipped ash: that iron bandwas worthily weaponed! -- A warrior proudasked of the heroes their home and kin."Whence, now, bear ye burnished shields,harness gray and helmets grim,spears in multitude? Messenger, I,Hrothgar's herald! Heroes so manyne'er met I as strangers of mood so strong.'Tis plain that for prowess, not plunged into exile,for high-hearted valor, Hrothgar ye seek!"Him the sturdy-in-war bespake with words,proud earl of the Weders answer made,hardy 'neath helmet: -- "Hygelac's, we,fellows at board; I am Beowulf named.I am seeking to say to the son of Healfdenethis mission of mine, to thy master-lord,the doughty prince, if he deign at allgrace that we greet him, the good one, now."Wulfgar spake, the Wendles' chieftain,whose might of mind to many was known,