University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Ringler, Dick / Beowulf: A New Translation for Oral Delivery (May 2005)

Previous Previous section

Next section Next



 

V

Listen to this section

A pathway with stone
paving guided
the marching men.
Their mailcoats gleamed,
and the hard rings
of handlocked iron
sang noisy war-songs
as they neared the hall
for the first time
in their fierce array.
Sea-weary sailors
unslung their shields
and leaned them slanting
against the long wall.
Mailcoats rustled
as men wearily
sank onto benches,
while their slim spear-shafts
still stood upright,
a stand of ash-trees
grey on top.
Those good weapons
were an honor to their owners.
An eagle-eyed sentry
who stood in the doorway
studied them closely.
"What country do you come from
with your curved shields,
your meshed war-shirts
and mask-helmets,
your iron spears?
I am the herald
of noble Hrothgar.
I have never seen
so bold or brave
a band of foreigners,
so it is less likely
that you are landless strays
than valiant adventurers
visiting my king."
The man of the Geats,
the mariners' chief,
presently replied
in the pride of his youth:
"In our homeland we sit
at Hygelac's table,
next to our master.
My name is Beowulf.
If you are curious
why I came to Denmark,
I would rather explain
to Hrothgar himself,
Healfdene's son,
if the high war-king
will only grant us
an audience."
The other answered,
an eminent Wendel
whose name, Wulfgar,
was known among men
for truth and wisdom:
"I will tell Hrothgar
my ring-giver,
ruler of the Scyldings,
about your visit here,
will convey the news
to my king
as you request me to,
and will come back at once
to bring you the reply
my dread master
deigns to give you."
He walked rapidly
to where the wise one sat,
immensely old
in the midst of his thanes;
he strode firmly
until he stood at last,
polite and proper,
in his lord's presence.
Wulfgar saluted
the war-king of Denmark:
"Mighty Hrothgar!
Men of the Geats
have come to our shores,
cruising the wide
waste of waters.
Warriors call
the leader Beowulf.
My lord Hrothgar!
Their only desire
is to ask humbly
to speak with you,
O splendor of kings.
Do not deny them
their deepest wish!
In their war-harness
they are worthy, I think,
of a prince's approval.
An impressive youth,
a hero, has led them
here to our land."

Previous Previous section

Next section Next




Go up to Top of Page