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

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XXXVI

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2e1b Wiglaf was his name,
1a*1a(i) Weohstan his father's;
3b*1b he was agile and bold,
2a1a(iii) Ælfhere's kinsman,
2b1b and a Swede by birth.
2a1a(ii) Seeing Beowulf
+1a1b(i) encased in his war-mask
5210 2b1c and overcome by heat,
2b1b he recalled the gifts
+1a1a(ii) the king had given him,
3b1a the wealthy lands
d1b of the Wægmundings,
2b2a the lands that had once
+1a1b(i) belonged to his father.
+1a1a(i) He knew his duty
2b1b and could not hold back,
+1a*1a(i) but lifted his yellow
5220 3e1 lindenwood shield
3b*1a and wielded the sword
2b1b that had once belonged
+1a*1a(i) to Eanmund the exile,
3e1 Ohthere's son.
2a1a(i) Wiglaf's father
2e1a Weohstan had killed
+2a1a(ii) that friendless wanderer
2c1a in fierce combat
3b*1b and had carried the spoils,
5230 +2a1a(i) the crested helmet,
3b*1a the mailcoat, the sword
1a1a(i) made by giants,
+2a1a(iii) to Onela, Eanmund's
1a*1a(i) uncle, who gave him
+2a1a(i) his nephew's armor
2b1b and did not protest
3b1b that the bloody corpse
3b1b was his brother's son.
2a1a(i) Weohstan cherished
5240 3b*1a that war-gear for years,
+1a1a(i) the sword and mailcoat,
2c1c until his son Wiglaf
++1a1a(i) was as swift a swordsman
++1a1a(i) as himself, then gave him
+1a*1a(i) the armor and many
2a1a(i) other treasures
2b2b in the land of the Geats,
2b2b where they lived at the time,
3f1c when he was near death.
5250 2e1a Never before
2c1b had the proud youngster
+1a1a(i) been proved in combat
2b1a or swung a sword
2b2b by the side of his chief.
++1a1b(i) But his faith did not falter,
3b1c nor did his father's blade
1a1a(i) flinch in battle,
3b1b as the firedrake learned
3f1b when the two foes
5260 1a*1a(i) tested each other.
1a1a(i) Filled with anger
2c1b toward his false comrades,
2a1a(i) Wiglaf shouted
2b2- words of reproach:
3b1b "I remember once
d1b at the mead-drinking,
2b1b while we swilled his beer,
3b2b how we solemnly vowed
2c1b to the great chieftain
5270 3b1a who gave us rings
3b1c that we would pay him back
3b1b for these precious gifts,
+2a1a(i) this dazzling war-gear,
+1a*1a(i) if danger should ever
3b*1a approach him. Today
3b1a he picked us out
2b1b from among his troops,
d1a imagining
3b1b we were loyal friends,
5280 +3e*1 and loaded us with gifts
3b1c because he thought us all
2b2- thanes he could trust,
3e1 honor-bound men,
3b*1c though it was always his hope,
+1a1b(i) as king of the country,
3b*1b to accomplish this feat
2b1- all alone,
2b1a for all our sakes,
e1d since he was aware
5290 3b2b of the wonderful deeds
2b2b he had done in the past.
2b1b Now the day has come
3b1b when our noble lord
2b2- needs the support
+1a1a(i) of good companions.
2c1b We must go forward
+1a1a(i) to help our leader
++1a1a(i) while this heat torments him,
2c1a this grim firestorm.
5300 3f1- God knows
2c1c it would be far better
+1a1b(i) that flames should devour me
e1e than that I should outlive
+1a1a(i) my lord and master.
a1c We would be cowards
3b*1a to carry our shields
1a1b(i) home to the loved ones
2b2b at our hearths, unless first
+1a1a(i) we slay this dragon
5310 2b1a and save the life
3b1c of our beloved king.
3b1c It would be little thanks
+1a1a(i) for all we owe him
3b1a if only he
2b2b of the folk of the Geats
+1a1a(i) should fall in battle,
2e1a suffer and die,
3b1d so I will assist him here
2c1c and we will share mailcoat,
5320 1a1a(i) shield, and broadsword."
2b2a He strode through the smoke
2b2a to stand by his lord,
+2a1a(i) his helmet gleaming
+2a1a(iii) and hailing him loudly:
3e*1 "Beowulf! My king!
+1a1a(ii) Be bold and resolute!
2b2a You vowed in your youth
3b1a with vaunting words
2b2b that as long as you lived
5330 2b1b you would let no chance
+1a*1a(i) for glory slip by you!
2c1b In this great contest
d1c you must unflinchingly
2b1a defend your life
3b1c with undiminished strength---
++1a1a(i) and with me to help you!"
3b1a These bracing words
+1a*1a(i) had barely been uttered
3b1b when the fearful worm
5340 +2a1a(i) came flying toward them,
2e1b swooping from the sky
3b*1b for a second attack.
2a1a(i) Loyal Wiglaf's
3e1 lindenwood shield
2b2b was consumed in a flash
2b2a except for its boss,
2c1b and his linked mailcoat
+1a*1a(i) gave little protection.
+1d1 He crept gratefully
5350 3f1c beneath the king's great
3e1 iron-forged shield
2b2b when his own had been burned
3b1b by those baleful flames.
3e*1 Beowulf, incensed,
1a1a(i) swung his gleaming
3c1- sword Nægling
3b1b with astounding strength,
1a*1a(i) striking the dragon
3b1b on its naked skull.
5360 +2a1a(i) But Nægling shattered;
d1a that excellent
2a1a(i) ancient weapon
1a1a(i) failed its master,
2b1b for his fate was such
3b1a that iron blades
+1a*1a(i) and edges could never
1a*1a(i) help him in combat;
+1a1b(i) his hand was too mighty,
e1c we have been told,
5370 3b*1b overtaxing the strength
+2a1a(i) of every weapon
3b1b he had ever borne
d1c against an enemy.
2c1a They all failed him.
1a*2a(ii) Meanwhile the murderous
2e1a monster unwound
3b1a its loathsome coils
2b1a and launched a third
2e1a grievous assault
5380 2b1b when it got the chance.
3e*1 Cruelly it clamped
3f1a the king's neck
3b1b in its bestial jaws
+2a1a(iii) and Beowulf's life-blood
2e1b spurted from his veins
2b2a and splashed on the ground.

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