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The Literature Collection

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

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XXIII

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2c1a His eye, darting
3e*1 eagerly about,
3b1b glimpsed a heavy sword
2e1b hanging on the wall,
+2a1a(i) a massive weapon
1a1b(i) made by the giants,
1a*1a(i) huger than any
3120 2a1a(i) human being
2b1a besides himself
+1a1a(i) could swing in battle,
1a1b(i) forged in the giants'
2a1a(iii) fabulous smithy.
+1a*1a(i) The slayer of Grendel
2e1b seized it by the hilt
+2a1a(iii) and flourished it fiercely,
2e1b fighting for his life;
+1a1a(ii) he swung the snake-patterned
3130 1d1 sword forcefully
+1a1a(i) and hit the sea-hag
3b2b on her hideous neck,
2e1a smashing her spine;
2b1a the sword drove on
2c1b through her doomed body
2b2b and she dropped to the ground.
2b2a His blade dripping blood,
3e*1 Beowulf rejoiced.
3b1a He noticed, now,
3140 3b2c in that unnatural hall,
2c1- fire burning
2b2- fierce as the sun,
2a1a(i) heaven's candle.
3e1 Hygelac's thane
3e1 hastily searched
+1d1 the whole area,
2e1b keeping to the walls
3b*1a and clutching the sword
2e1b tightly by the hilt:
3150 +1a*1a(i) he trusted its edges
2b1a to work his will
3b*1a and wanted to give
1a*1a(i) Grendel a final
1a1a(i) grim requital
3b*1b for his killings on more
3b*1a occasions than one,
+3e1 that murderous first
2a1a(i) midnight visit
2c1b when he slew Hrothgar's
3160 2e1a soldiers and thanes
3e*1 brutally in bed:
3b1a he bolted down
1a*1a(i) fifteen retainers
2b1c who had been fast asleep,
2b2a then fled to the fens
3b1a with fifteen more,
+2a1a(i) a horrid booty.
+1a*1a(i) The hero had given
3b1a that cruel foe
3170 +1a*1a(i) his quittance in Heorot,
+2a1a(ii) a fatal injury,
3b1a and found him now
2b1- dead in bed,
1a1a(i) drained forever
3b1b of his ruthless strength.
+2a1a(i) The rotten carcass
2c1- burst open
+2a1a(iii) when Beowulf struck it
3f1a a last blow
3180 3b*1a and lopped off its head.
2b1- Soon the Danes
2e1b sitting up above
+1a1a(i) on land with Hrothgar
+2e1b and looking at the waves,
1a1b(i) saw that the surges
++1a1a(i) of the sea were turning
3b1a a ghastly red.
2a1a(ii) Grey-haired counselors
2e1a blindly assumed
3190 +3e*1 that Beowulf was dead;
+1a1b(i) they said men would never
2e1a see him again
1a*1a(i) walking in triumph
+1a1a(i) to wait on Hrothgar,
3b1a their ancient king;
3f1a they all thought
+2e1b the she-wolf of the deep
+1a1b(i) was sure to have killed him.
2b2a In late afternoon
3200 +1a1a(i) they left the headland,
2a1a(iii) care-stricken comrades,
2c1b and the king with them,
+3e1 their bountiful lord.
+3e1 But Beowulf's men
2a1a(ii) stayed there, heartbroken,
1a*1b staring at the water,
2e1a longing to look
++1a1a(i) on their lord but never
+3e*1 imagining they would.
3210 2e1b Meanwhile, down below,
3b1b that gigantic blade
2b1b had begun to melt
3b1b in the demon's blood,
2e1b dripping to the earth
d1a like icicles
++1a1a(i) at the end of winter,
2c1b when the Lord loosens
+3e*1 the ligatures of frost
3b*1a that fetter the waves,
3220 +1a*1a(i) our Father, the Maker
+1a1a(i) of times and seasons,
+1a1a(i) the true Creator.
3e*1 Beowulf disdained
2b2a to bear from that place
2e1b any of the spoils
++1a1a(i) lying all around him
3b1c except for Grendel's head
3b1b and the golden hilt,
1a*1a(i) ancient and awesome;
3230 2b2b it was all that was left
3f1b of that huge sword,
2b2a so hot was the blood,
+3e*1 so poisonous the fiend
d1b who had perished there.
+3e1 When Beowulf saw
+1a1a(ii) that both his enemies
+1a1b(i) were dead, he swam upward,
1a*1b diving through the water.
3b1a The ocean depths
3240 d1b had been exorcised,
1a1a(i) cleansed of evil,
3b1b when the cruel fiend
1a1a(i) left this transient
3b1b and delusive world.
1d1 Soon Beowulf,
2a1a(ii) swimming steadily,
1a1a(i) breached the surface,
2e1a bearing the great
1a*1a(i) burden of booty
3250 3b*1b he was bringing to land.
+1a1b(i) His men ran to meet him,
3b2b a tumultuous throng
+1a1a(i) of thanes, rejoicing
3b1a and thanking God
3b*1b that they saw him again,
1a1a(i) safe among them.
3b*1b They unbuckled their lord's
2a1a(i) bloodstained mailcoat
2c1a and white helmet,
3260 3b1b while the waters drowsed,
2a1a(i) curdling thickly,
2e1a clabbered with gore.
1d*1(ii) Frolicking fearlessly,
3e1 footsoldiers trooped
3b1b from that fateful tarn,
3e*1 following the now
3b1a familiar track;
3e1 mettlesome youths,
3e1 four of them, lugged
3270 2c1a the fiend's severed
3b1a unsightly head
3b1b from that seaside cliff,
+2a1a(i) a taxing business
3b*1b for the two pairs of men
1a*1a(i) chosen to carry
+2a1a(i) the chilling burden
2c1b to the tall meadhall
2b2- trussed to their spears.
2b1- Soon they neared
3280 +2a1a(iii) the sumptuous building,
1a*1a(i) fourteen exulting
2a1a(ii) foreign warriors
1a*1a(i) marching together,
2b1b in their midst their lord,
1a*1a(i) pacing the well-known
1a1a(i) path to Heorot.
+1a1b(ii) At last the illustrious
2e1b leader of the Geats,
2e1b honored by his acts,
3290 1a*1a(i) entered the precincts
2b1b of the hall itself
2b1a to hail the king.
3b1a The demon's head
2b2a was dragged by its hair
2b2a and dumped on the floor
3b1b where the drinkers sat,
3b1a a dreadful sight
2b2b for the Danes and their queen;
+1a1a(i) they gazed in terror
3300 3b1b at the grisly thing.

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