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

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XII

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The noble hero
had no intention
of letting the monster
leave the meadhall:
he valued that vicious
violent life
at next to nothing.
And now, at last,
Beowulf's men
brandished their swords
and tried to protect
their protector's life
with their own dear blood,
if only they might.
But how could those hardy
heroes have known,
as they swung their bright
swords and crowded
the evil creature
on every side,
straining to strike him,
that their strokes were useless,
that no weapon
known among men,
no iron on earth
could ever touch him:
with his magic spells
he had made them all blunt
and thus useless.
And therefore his death
on that day
in this world
was destined to be vile,
and his damned spirit
to fall afterward
into fiends' clutches.
The scourge who had slain
such scores of victims
with mirthful murderous
mind in his feud
with God, now perceived
with gathering dismay
that his vast body
availed him nothing,
now that Hygelac's
hard-bitten nephew
held him by the hand.
Their hatred for each other
was boundless. And now
the brute's shoulder
could stand the enormous
strain no longer;
his muscles gave way
and massive stress
snapped his sinews.
Success in battle
was given Beowulf
and Grendel fled,
mortally hurt,
to his marsh hideout,
his dismal abode,
doomed and despairing;
he knew that his hours
were numbered and felt
death upon him.
The Danes, however,
were filled with delight
when the fight was over.
Wise and worshipful,
the warrior prince
who had come from afar
had cleansed the great
hall of Hrothgar.
The hero was pleased
with his night's labors;
he had now fulfilled
the mighty promise
he had made the Danes,
ending their years
of agony
and wreaking ready
and rough vengeance
for the violence
and vast cruelty
they had suffered so long,
as could be seen by them all
when the noble Geat
nailed Grendel's
arm and shoulder,
all of the monster's
hideous grip,
to Heorot's gable.

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