by Anonymous

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

XVI - Hrothgar Lavishes Gifts Upon His Deliverer

{Heorot is adorned with hands.}

          Then straight was ordered that Heorot inside[1]
          With hands be embellished: a host of them gathered,
          Of men and women, who the wassailing-building
          The guest-hall begeared. Gold-flashing sparkled
        5 Webs on the walls then, of wonders a many
          To each of the heroes that look on such objects.

{The hall is defaced, however.}

          The beautiful building was broken to pieces
          Which all within with irons was fastened,
          Its hinges torn off: only the roof was
       10 Whole and uninjured when the horrible creature
          Outlawed for evil off had betaken him,
          Hopeless of living. 'Tis hard to avoid it

{[A vague passage of five verses.]}

          (Whoever will do it!); but he doubtless must come to[2]
          The place awaiting, as Wyrd hath appointed,
       15 Soul-bearers, earth-dwellers, earls under heaven,
          Where bound on its bed his body shall slumber

{Hrothgar goes to the banquet.}

          When feasting is finished. Full was the time then
          That the son of Healfdene went to the building;
[36]      The excellent atheling would eat of the banquet.
       20 Ne'er heard I that people with hero-band larger
          Bare them better tow'rds their bracelet-bestower.
          The laden-with-glory stooped to the bench then
          (Their kinsmen-companions in plenty were joyful,
          Many a cupful quaffing complaisantly),
       25 Doughty of spirit in the high-tow'ring palace,

{Hrothgar's nephew, Hrothulf, is present.}

          Hrothgar and Hrothulf. Heorot then inside
          Was filled with friendly ones; falsehood and treachery
          The Folk-Scyldings now nowise did practise.

{Hrothgar lavishes gifts upon Beowulf.}

          Then the offspring of Healfdene offered to Beowulf
       30 A golden standard, as reward for the victory,
          A banner embossed, burnie and helmet;
          Many men saw then a song-famous weapon
          Borne 'fore the hero. Beowulf drank of
          The cup in the building; that treasure-bestowing
       35 He needed not blush for in battle-men's presence.

{Four handsomer gifts were never presented.}

          Ne'er heard I that many men on the ale-bench
          In friendlier fashion to their fellows presented
          Four bright jewels with gold-work embellished.
          'Round the roof of the helmet a head-guarder outside
       40 Braided with wires, with bosses was furnished,
          That swords-for-the-battle fight-hardened might fail
          Boldly to harm him, when the hero proceeded

{Hrothgar commands that eight finely caparisoned steeds be brought to

          Forth against foemen. The defender of earls then
          Commanded that eight steeds with bridles
       45 Gold-plated, gleaming, be guided to hallward,
          Inside the building; on one of them stood then
          An art-broidered saddle embellished with jewels;
          'Twas the sovereign's seat, when the son of King Healfdene
          Was pleased to take part in the play of the edges;
       50 The famous one's valor ne'er failed at the front when
          Slain ones were bowing. And to Beowulf granted
          The prince of the Ingwins, power over both,
          O'er war-steeds and weapons; bade him well to enjoy them.
          In so manly a manner the mighty-famed chieftain,
[37]   55 Hoard-ward of heroes, with horses and jewels
          War-storms requited, that none e'er condemneth
          Who willeth to tell truth with full justice.

    [1] Kl. suggests 'hroden' for 'háten,' and renders: _Then quickly was
    Heorot adorned within, with hands bedecked_.--B. suggests 'gefrætwon'
    instead of 'gefrætwod,' and renders: _Then was it commanded to adorn
    Heorot within quickly with hands_.--The former has the advantage of
    affording a parallel to 'gefrætwod': both have the disadvantage of
    altering the text.

    [2] The passage 1005-1009 seems to be hopeless. One difficult point is
    to find a subject for 'gesacan.' Some say 'he'; others supply 'each,'
    _i.e., every soul-bearer ... must gain the inevitable place_. The
    genitives in this case are partitive.--If 'he' be subj., the genitives
    are dependent on 'gearwe' (= prepared).--The 'he' itself is disputed,
    some referring it to Grendel; but B. takes it as involved in the

Return to the Beowulf Summary Return to the Anonymous Library

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson