by Anonymous

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XV - Hrothgar's Gratitude

Hrothgar discoursed (to the hall-building went he,
          He stood by the pillar,[1] saw the steep-rising hall-roof
          Gleaming with gold-gems, and Grendel his hand there):

{Hrothgar gives thanks for the overthrow of the monster.}

          "For the sight we behold now, thanks to the Wielder
        5 Early be offered! Much evil I bided,
          Snaring from Grendel:[2] God can e'er 'complish
          Wonder on wonder, Wielder of Glory!

{I had given up all hope, when this brave liegeman came to our aid.}

          But lately I reckoned ne'er under heaven
          Comfort to gain me for any of sorrows,
       10 While the handsomest of houses horrid with bloodstain
          Gory uptowered; grief had offfrightened[3]
          Each of the wise ones who weened not that ever
          The folk-troop's defences 'gainst foes they should strengthen,
          'Gainst sprites and monsters. Through the might of the Wielder
       15 A doughty retainer hath a deed now accomplished
          Which erstwhile we all with our excellent wisdom

{If his mother yet liveth, well may she thank God for this son.}

          Failed to perform. May affirm very truly
          What woman soever in all of the nations
          Gave birth to the child, if yet she surviveth,
       20 That the long-ruling Lord was lavish to herward
          In the birth of the bairn. Now, Beowulf dear,

{Hereafter, Beowulf, thou shalt be my son.}

          Most excellent hero, I'll love thee in spirit
          As bairn of my body; bear well henceforward
          The relationship new. No lack shall befall thee
       25 Of earth-joys any I ever can give thee.
          Full often for lesser service I've given
[34]      Hero less hardy hoard-treasure precious,

{Thou hast won immortal distinction.}

          To a weaker in war-strife. By works of distinction
          Thou hast gained for thyself now that thy glory shall flourish
       30 Forever and ever. The All-Ruler quite thee
          With good from His hand as He hitherto did thee!"

{Beowulf replies: I was most happy to render thee this service.}

          Beowulf answered, Ecgtheow's offspring:
          "That labor of glory most gladly achieved we,
          The combat accomplished, unquailing we ventured
       35 The enemy's grapple; I would grant it much rather
          Thou wert able to look at the creature in person,
          Faint unto falling, the foe in his trappings!
          On murder-bed quickly I minded to bind him,
          With firm-holding fetters, that forced by my grapple
       40 Low he should lie in life-and-death struggle
          'Less his body escape; I was wholly unable,

{I could not keep the monster from escaping, as God did not will that I

          Since God did not will it, to keep him from going,
          Not held him that firmly, hated opposer;
          Too swift was the foeman. Yet safety regarding
       45 He suffered his hand behind him to linger,
          His arm and shoulder, to act as watcher;

{He left his hand and arm behind.}

          No shadow of solace the woe-begone creature
          Found him there nathless: the hated destroyer
          Liveth no longer, lashed for his evils,
       50 But sorrow hath seized him, in snare-meshes hath him
          Close in its clutches, keepeth him writhing
          In baleful bonds: there banished for evil
          The man shall wait for the mighty tribunal,

{God will give him his deserts.}

          How the God of glory shall give him his earnings."
       55 Then the soldier kept silent, son of old Ecglaf,

{Unferth has nothing more to say, for Beowulf's actions speak louder than

          From boasting and bragging of battle-achievements,
          Since the princes beheld there the hand that depended
          'Neath the lofty hall-timbers by the might of the nobleman,
          Each one before him, the enemy's fingers;
       60 Each finger-nail strong steel most resembled,
          The heathen one's hand-spur, the hero-in-battle's
          Claw most uncanny; quoth they agreeing,


{No sword will harm the monster.}

          That not any excellent edges of brave ones
          Was willing to touch him, the terrible creature's
       65 Battle-hand bloody to bear away from him.

    [1] B. and t.B. read 'staþole,' and translate _stood on the floor_.

    [2] For 'snaring from Grendel,' 'sorrows at Grendel's hands' has been
    suggested. This gives a parallel to 'láðes.' 'Grynna' may well be gen.
    pl. of 'gyrn,' by a scribal slip.

    [3] The H.-So punctuation has been followed; but B. has been followed
    in understanding 'gehwylcne' as object of 'wíd-scofen (hæfde).' Gr.
    construes 'wéa' as nom abs.

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