by Anonymous

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II - Skyld's Successors, Hrothgar's Great Mead-Hall

{Beowulf succeeds his father Scyld}

          In the boroughs then Beowulf, bairn of the Scyldings,
          Belovèd land-prince, for long-lasting season
          Was famed mid the folk (his father departed,
          The prince from his dwelling), till afterward sprang
        5 Great-minded Healfdene; the Danes in his lifetime
          He graciously governed, grim-mooded, agèd.

{Healfdene's birth.}

          Four bairns of his body born in succession
          Woke in the world, war-troopers' leader
          Heorogar, Hrothgar, and Halga the good;
       10 Heard I that Elan was Ongentheow's consort,

{He has three sons--one of them, Hrothgar--and a daughter named Elan.
Hrothgar becomes a mighty king.}

          The well-beloved bedmate of the War-Scylfing leader.
          Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given,
          Waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen
          Obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood,
       15 A numerous band.  It burned in his spirit
          To urge his folk to found a great building,
          A mead-hall grander than men of the era

{He is eager to build a great hall in which he may feast his retainers}

          Ever had heard of, and in it to share
          With young and old all of the blessings
       20 The Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers.
          Then the work I find afar was assigned
[4]       To many races in middle-earth's regions,
          To adorn the great folk-hall. In due time it happened
          Early 'mong men, that 'twas finished entirely,
       25 The greatest of hall-buildings; Heorot he named it

{The hall is completed, and is called Heort, or Heorot.}

          Who wide-reaching word-sway wielded 'mong earlmen.
          His promise he brake not, rings he lavished,
          Treasure at banquet. Towered the hall up
          High and horn-crested, huge between antlers:
       30 It battle-waves bided, the blasting fire-demon;
          Ere long then from hottest hatred must sword-wrath
          Arise for a woman's husband and father.
          Then the mighty war-spirit[1] endured for a season,

{The Monster Grendel is madly envious of the Danemen's joy.}

          Bore it bitterly, he who bided in darkness,
       35 That light-hearted laughter loud in the building
          Greeted him daily; there was dulcet harp-music,
          Clear song of the singer. He said that was able

{[The course of the story is interrupted by a short reference to some old
account of the creation.]}

          To tell from of old earthmen's beginnings,
          That Father Almighty earth had created,
       40 The winsome wold that the water encircleth,
          Set exultingly the sun's and the moon's beams
          To lavish their lustre on land-folk and races,
          And earth He embellished in all her regions
          With limbs and leaves; life He bestowed too
       45 On all the kindreds that live under heaven.

{The glee of the warriors is overcast by a horrible dread.}

          So blessed with abundance, brimming with joyance,
          The warriors abided, till a certain one gan to
          Dog them with deeds of direfullest malice,
          A foe in the hall-building: this horrible stranger[2]
       50 Was Grendel entitled, the march-stepper famous
          Who[3] dwelt in the moor-fens, the marsh and the fastness;
          The wan-mooded being abode for a season
[5]       In the land of the giants, when the Lord and Creator
          Had banned him and branded. For that bitter murder,
       55 The killing of Abel, all-ruling Father

{Cain is referred to as a progenitor of Grendel, and of monsters in

          The kindred of Cain crushed with His vengeance;
          In the feud He rejoiced not, but far away drove him
          From kindred and kind, that crime to atone for,
          Meter of Justice. Thence ill-favored creatures,
       60 Elves and giants, monsters of ocean,
          Came into being, and the giants that longtime
          Grappled with God; He gave them requital.

    [1] R. and t. B. prefer 'ellor-gæst' to 'ellen-gæst' (86): _Then the
    stranger from afar endured, etc._

    [2] Some authorities would translate '_demon_' instead of

    [3] Some authorities arrange differently, and render: _Who dwelt in
    the moor-fens, the marsh and the fastness, the land of the

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