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The Literature Collection

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

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XXXVIII

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2b2b I have heard that at once,
2e1a hearing these words,
+1a1a(i) the son of Weohstan
2b2a was swift to obey
+1a1a(i) his lord and master's
2c1- last wishes.
3b*1b As he entered the mound
5510 3b1b in his iron mail,
2b1a he passed the place
++1a1a(i) where the prince was sitting
+1a1a(i) and saw beyond it
3b1a the serpent's lair,
2b1a its home and hoard
2c1b with their huge riches:
1a1a(ii) gold was glittering
2b1b on the ground nearby
2b1b and on all the walls;
5520 2a1a(i) ancient goblets
2a1a(ii) stood there moldering,
1a1a(ii) stripped of ornaments,
+1a*1a(i) unpolished for ages;
1d1 proud mask-helmets,
1d1 old, rust-eaten,
2e1a arm-rings galore.
+1a1b(i) The hoard had been opened,
3b1a for heathen gold
3e1 easily thwarts
5530 2e1a efforts by men
+1a*1a(i) to hide it forever,
2b2- hard though they try.
2c1- Good Wiglaf
2c1b saw a great standard
2e1b blazing in the gloom
+1a1a(i) above the ring-hoard,
2c1a its gold streamers
2a1a(ii) gleaming brilliantly;
2c1a its light let him
5540 1a1b(i) look at the treasure
3b*1a untroubled by fear
3b2b of the terrible worm,
+1a1a(i) asleep from sword-wounds
+1a1a(i) outside the barrow.
2b2a At last, I have heard,
+1d1 this lone warrior
1a*1a(i) rifled the contents
2c1b of that rich grave-mound,
3e1 grabbing up all
5550 +2a1a(i) the golden trophies
2b2a his soul could desire
+1a*1a(i) and seizing the standard,
1a*1a(i) brightest of banners.
2b2a A blow from the sharp
2a1a(i) iron dagger
3f1b of his old king
+1a1a(i) had killed the creature
+1a1a(i) who kept those treasures
2b1b for a span of years,
5560 3e1 spewing out flame
+1a1a(i) and fire at midnight
2b2b in defense of its gold
3b1c until the destined day
2c1a when death took it.
1a*1a(i) Worried and anxious,
2e1a Wiglaf went back
2c1a outside, eager
2b2a to see if perhaps,
2b1b on the slab of stone
5570 +1a1a(i) beside the entrance
e1c where he had left
3b1b his beloved chief,
2c1b he would still find him
1a1a(i) strong and conscious.
2b1c As he approached the king
3b1b with the precious spoils
+1d1 he saw Beowulf
2e1a swimming in blood
3f1a and near death.
5580 ++1a1a(i) He renewed his efforts
+1a*1a(ii) to waken him with water
2b1b until, weak and faint,
2b2a there burst from his breast
3b1a some broken words
2b2b as he gazed at the gold
+1a1a(ii) in grief and agony:
a1b "I am grateful
+1a1a(i) to God almighty,
+1a*1a(i) the Keeper of heaven
5590 +1a1a(i) and King of glory,
3b1b for the lordly goods
3b1a I look on here,
2b1b and the grace to gain
+1a1b(i) such gifts for my people
e1c before the day
2b1b of my death arrived.
2b1b I have paid the price
3b1b for these priceless things,
2b1- life itself.
5600 1d1 Look faithfully
3b1b to the people's needs;
+1a1a(i) my part is finished.
2b1- Bid my thanes,
3b*1b after burning my corpse,
1a1a(i) build a barrow
2b2b on a bluff near the sea,
2e1a wide-walled and high
2c1a on Whale Headland,
3b*1c as a remembrance of me
5610 +1a1a(i) among my people;
+3e*1 in centuries to come
1a*1a(i) sailors will call it
2a1a(iii) Beowulf's barrow
2b1b when their boats come home
2c1a from far journeys
3b1b on the fog-grey sea."
+1d1 The king carefully
2b2a unclasped from his throat
2c1a his great neck-ring
5620 +1a*1a(i) and gave it to Wiglaf;
+1a*1a(i) he handed his helmet
2c1a and hard mailcoat
3f1b to the young thane
3b1d and told him to use them well:
+2a1a(i) "My loyal Wiglaf,
2b2c you are the last of our race,
d1a the WƦgmundings.
1a1a(i) War and ruin
3b*1c have swept my kinsmen away
5630 2b1c at the decree of fate,
2a1a(ii) awesome warriors,
+1a1a(ii) and I must follow them."
3b1a These labored words
++1a1a(i) were the last to issue
+3e1 from Beowulf's breast
2b1d before he embraced the pyre
3b1b and its searing flames;
+1a1b(i) his soul left his body
2b2a and went to obtain
5640 2b2b the reward of the just.

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