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The Literature Collection

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

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XXXII

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+1a1b(i) But theft had not entered
2b2a the thoughts of the man
+1a1a(i) who robbed the ring-hoard
++1a1a(i) and enraged its keeper:
+3e1 a fugitive slave,
1a*1b fleeing from his master
3b1c because of heinous deeds
+2e1b and hoping to escape
2c1a a bad whipping,
4450 3b*1b he had bolted inside,
2a1a(i) seeking refuge.
+1a*1a(i) This sudden intruder
+2a1a(i) had hardly entered
+2a1a(i) the hollow darkness
2b1b when he saw the huge
3e1 slumbering form
2c1b of the dread dragon
3b*1a and darted away
2b2a as fast as he could,
4460 1a*1a(i) filching the goblet
+2a1a(i) in mindless terror.
3b1b There were many such
1d*1(ii) elegant ornaments
3b2b in that underground vault,
+1d1 the vast legacy
3b1b of a vanished race.
+3e1 A heart-heavy man
+3e1 had hidden them there
3b1b in a bygone age
4470 +2a1a(i) while brooding darkly
2c1b on those dear treasures.
1a1a(i) Death had taken
1a1a(i) all his kinsmen
+3e1 in earlier days,
2c1b and this lone relict
2c1b of a lost people,
+2e1b this watcher of the hoard,
+3e1 awaited it too,
2b2a aware he could keep
4480 +1a1a(i) his wealth for only
2b2a the blink of an eye.
+1a*1a(i) The barrow stood ready
2c1b on a wide headland
3b1b at the water's edge,
2b2a secured against thieves
+2a1a(ii) by cunning artifice.
+2e1b The keeper of the rings
1a*1a(i) carried inside it
1a*1b armful after armful
4490 +2a1a(iii) of opulent jewels
3b*1a resplendent with gold,
2b1a then spoke these words:
2b1- "Keep, O earth,
3b1a this kingly wealth,
+1a1b(i) since men may not have it.
3b*1a They mined it from you
2b2a in days that are gone;
+1a1a(i) now death and battle
+1a*1a(i) have claimed them forever,
4500 2e1a calling away
2c1a my sweet comrades;
2b1b they have seen the last
2b2a of mirth in the hall.
2b1b Not a man is left
3b*1a to brandish a sword
+1a*1a(i) or burnish a mead-cup;
1a1b(i) all have gone elsewhere,
2a1a(iii) eminent heroes.
2c1b Now the stout helmet
4510 3f1b must be stripped clean
2b1b of its plates of gold:
+3e1 the polishers sleep
2c1a who once furbished
d1a the war-bonnet;
2c1b and the staunch mailcoat
+3e*1 that sturdily endured
+1a1a(i) the crash of battle
d1c must not accompany
+2a1a(i) its owner farther:
4520 3b1a those iron rings
+1a1b(i) are barred from embarking
++1a1a(i) on that bleak last journey
3b1b by their master's side.
+1a*1a(i) The music of ringing
2b1- harps is still;
+1a1a(i) the hawk no longer
1a1b(i) swings through the rafters,
2c1c nor does the swift stallion
1a1a(i) paw the courtyard:
4530 +3e1 imperious death
3b*1a has silenced a world
+2a1a(i) of sentient beings."
2b1- So he mourned
d1a in solitude
+1a1a(i) for all the others,
1a*1a(i) anguished and grieving
2b1- day and night,
2c1b until death's surges
1a1a(i) hushed his heartbeats.
4540 +1a1b(i) The hoard was discovered
+1a*1a(i) unguarded and open
2c1b by a great dragon,
+2a1a(i) a smooth-skinned serpent
+1a1b(i) in search of a grave-mound,
1a*1a(i) winging its fiery
2b2- way through the night
3b*1a enveloped in flame,
+2a1a(iii) a violent portent
3b*1a for dwellers on earth.
4550 3b1e Although it is a dragon's style
3b1a to hunt out hoards
+2a1a(i) of heathen treasure,
+2a1a(i) they never bring it
+1a1a(i) an ounce of profit.
+1d1 This fierce, furious
2a1a(iii) fire-breathing reptile
3b*1b had been guarding its mound
2b2a of gold in the earth
+3e1 for three hundred years
4560 2c1b when the thief robbed it
2b1a and roused its wrath.
3b*1c When he had rifled the mound
+1a*1a(i) and taken the goblet,
+3e1 the terrified slave
1a*1a(i) carried the golden
1a1b(i) cup to his master,
1a*1a(i) earning a pardon
+1a1a(i) for old offences.
3b1b His astonished lord
4570 1a*1a(i) studied the treasure;
2e1b seldom in his life
2b2b had he seen such a thing.
1a*1a(i) Meanwhile the drowsing
2e1a monster awoke;
2e1a sniffing the ground,
2b1a it soon picked up
+1a1b(i) the scent of the stranger,
2b1b who had sneaked too close
3b1b to the dragon's head,
4580 +3e1 a dangerous act;
2b1b but a man whose death
d1b is not mandated,
3f1b and whom God guards
2b2a and guides, can survive
1a*1a(i) dozens of dangers.
3b1a The dragon combed
+1d*1(ii) the area anxiously,
2e1a avid to know
+1a1b(i) whose foot had approached it
4590 2b1c while it was fast asleep.
2e1a Sometimes, enraged,
3b*1a it circled the whole
2a1(2a1a) far-flung fastness, searching,
2c1b but it found no one
d1b in that wilderness;
++1a1a(i) it was wild with anger
+2a1a(i) and wanted vengeance.
2b2- Once it went back
+1a1b(i) to look for its goblet
4600 +1a1a(i) and learned that someone
+1a1a(i) had dared to ransack
+2a1a(i) its darling treasure,
+2a1a(i) its hidden gold-hoard.
3b1b It could hardly wait
2b2a for dusk to descend,
+1a*1b indignant and impatient;
3b1d it was in a frenzy now,
2e1a fiercely resolved
2b1b to repay its foes
4610 3b*1a with poison and flame
3b*1a for taking its cup.
3b1a When twilight came
a1c it was delighted;
+1a1a(i) it left the barrow
2c1a and soared skyward
+1a1a(i) in search of battle.
3b*1a Its onslaught would have
+1a1a(i) an ill beginning
2b2b for the folk in that land
4620 3b*1b and be followed at once
2c1b by an ill ending
3b1b for their ancient king.

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