by Anonymous

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XX - The Mother of Grendel

They sank then to slumber. With sorrow one paid for
          His evening repose, as often betid them
          While Grendel was holding[1] the gold-bedecked palace,
          Ill-deeds performing, till his end overtook him,
        5 Death for his sins. 'Twas seen very clearly,

{Grendel's mother is known to be thirsting for revenge.}

          Known unto earth-folk, that still an avenger
          Outlived the loathed one, long since the sorrow
          Caused by the struggle; the mother of Grendel,
          Devil-shaped woman, her woe ever minded,
       10 Who was held to inhabit the horrible waters,

{[Grendel's progenitor, Cain, is again referred to.]}

          The cold-flowing currents, after Cain had become a
          Slayer-with-edges to his one only brother,
          The son of his sire; he set out then banished,
          Marked as a murderer, man-joys avoiding,
       15 Lived in the desert. Thence demons unnumbered

{The poet again magnifies Beowulf's valor.}

          Fate-sent awoke; one of them Grendel,
          Sword-cursèd, hateful, who at Heorot met with
          A man that was watching, waiting the struggle,
          Where a horrid one held him with hand-grapple sturdy;
       20 Nathless he minded the might of his body,
          The glorious gift God had allowed him,
          And folk-ruling Father's favor relied on,
          His help and His comfort: so he conquered the foeman,
          The hell-spirit humbled: he unhappy departed then,
       25 Reaved of his joyance, journeying to death-haunts,
          Foeman of man. His mother moreover

{Grendel's mother comes to avenge her son.}

          Eager and gloomy was anxious to go on
          Her mournful mission, mindful of vengeance
          For the death of her son. She came then to Heorot
[45]   30 Where the Armor-Dane earlmen all through the building
          Were lying in slumber. Soon there became then
          Return[2] to the nobles, when the mother of Grendel
          Entered the folk-hall; the fear was less grievous
          By even so much as the vigor of maidens,
       35 War-strength of women, by warrior is reckoned,
          When well-carved weapon, worked with the hammer,
          Blade very bloody, brave with its edges,
          Strikes down the boar-sign that stands on the helmet.
          Then the hard-edgèd weapon was heaved in the building,[3]
       40 The brand o'er the benches, broad-lindens many
          Hand-fast were lifted; for helmet he recked not,
          For armor-net broad, whom terror laid hold of.
          She went then hastily, outward would get her
          Her life for to save, when some one did spy her;

{She seizes a favorite liegemen of Hrothgar's.}

       45 Soon she had grappled one of the athelings
          Fast and firmly, when fenward she hied her;
          That one to Hrothgar was liefest of heroes
          In rank of retainer where waters encircle,
          A mighty shield-warrior, whom she murdered at slumber,
       50 A broadly-famed battle-knight. Beowulf was absent,

{Beowulf was asleep in another part of the palace.}

          But another apartment was erstwhile devoted
          To the glory-decked Geatman when gold was distributed.
          There was hubbub in Heorot. The hand that was famous
          She grasped in its gore;[4] grief was renewed then
[46]   55 In homes and houses: 'twas no happy arrangement
          In both of the quarters to barter and purchase
          With lives of their friends. Then the well-agèd ruler,
          The gray-headed war-thane, was woful in spirit,
          When his long-trusted liegeman lifeless he knew of,

{Beowulf is sent for.}

       60 His dearest one gone. Quick from a room was
          Beowulf brought, brave and triumphant.
          As day was dawning in the dusk of the morning,

{He comes at Hrothgar's summons.}

          Went then that earlman, champion noble,
          Came with comrades, where the clever one bided
       65 Whether God all gracious would grant him a respite
          After the woe he had suffered. The war-worthy hero
          With a troop of retainers trod then the pavement
          (The hall-building groaned), till he greeted the wise one,

{Beowulf inquires how Hrothgar had enjoyed his night's rest.}

          The earl of the Ingwins;[5] asked if the night had
       70 Fully refreshed him, as fain he would have it.

    [1] Several eminent authorities either read or emend the MS. so as to
    make this verse read, _While Grendel was wasting the gold-bedecked
    palace_. So 20_15 below: _ravaged the desert_.

    [2] For 'sóna' (1281), t.B. suggests 'sára,' limiting 'edhwyrft.' Read
    then: _Return of sorrows to the nobles, etc_. This emendation supplies
    the syntactical gap after 'edhwyrft.'

    [3] Some authorities follow Grein's lexicon in treating 'heard ecg' as
    an adj. limiting 'sweord': H.-So. renders it as a subst. (So v. 1491.)
    The sense of the translation would be the same.

    [4] B. suggests 'under hróf genam' (v. 1303). This emendation, as well
    as an emendation with (?) to v. 739, he offers, because 'under'
    baffles him in both passages. All we need is to take 'under' in its
    secondary meaning of 'in,' which, though not given by Grein, occurs in
    the literature. Cf. Chron. 876 (March's A.-S. Gram. § 355) and Oro.
    Amaz. I. 10, where 'under' = _in the midst of_. Cf. modern Eng. 'in
    such circumstances,' which interchanges in good usage with 'under such

    [5] For 'néod-laðu' (1321) C. suggests 'néad-láðum,' and translates:
    _asked whether the night had been pleasant to him after

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