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The Literature Collection

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

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XL

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+1a1a(i) He told a horseman
2b1a to take the news
++1a1b(i) to the camp on the cliff-top,
2c1b where the king's army,
2e1b soldiers with their shields,
+1d1 had sat anxiously
3b1a the whole day through,
5790 +1a1a(i) their hearts suspended
+2a1a(i) in fitful balance
2b2b between fear of his death
2b2a and hope of his life.
+1a*1a(i) The herald who carried
2b2a the news up the bluff
+1a1a(i) was not reluctant
+1a1a(ii) to tell his terrible
1a*1a(i) tidings but shouted:
+1d1 "The lord Beowulf,
5800 3b2b our illustrious king
+2a1a(i) and loving leader,
3b1a is lying dead,
3e1 grievously killed
2c1b by the great dragon.
3e1 Next to him lies
3b1b the enormous foe,
1a1b(i) slain by his dagger.
+1a1a(ii) His sword was powerless,
+3e1 though potently swung,
5810 +1a1a(i) to pierce the armor
3b1b of that wicked worm.
2e1a Wiglaf, the son
3b1a of Weohstan, sits
1a*1a(i) weeping beside him,
3b*1a the living beside
+2a1a(ii) the lifeless warrior,
++1a1a(i) and his heart is heavy
2c1b as he holds death-watch
2b1b over friend and foe.
5820 2b2a I fear that our poor
1a*1a(i) people will suffer
2b1a the plagues of war
3b1b when our ruler's death
2e1a reaches the ears
++1a1a(i) of the Franks and Frisians.
+2a1a(iii) Our feud with them started
+1d1 when King Hygelac
2a1a(iii) carelessly raided
3b1a the Rhineland coast
5830 3b1c with a marauding fleet
+1a*2a(ii) and harried the Hetware,
2e1b hearth-friends of the Franks.
+1a*1a(i) They met him in battle
3b1b with a mighty host
+1a1b(i) and, far from rewarding
+1a*1a(i) his forces with plunder
2c1c after a fine triumph,
+3e1 our freebooting king
+1a1b(i) was slain with his army,
5840 2b1a and since that time
2b1c we have been viewed as foes
3b1d by the Merovingian king.
a1d And we are unlikely
2b1b to be left in peace
3b*1b by our neighbors the Swedes,
2b2b for we know to our grief
+3e*l how Ongentheow their king
++1a1a(i) made an end of Hæthcyn,
1a*1a(i) Hrethel's successor,
5850 d1a at Ravenswood,
3b1b when our fiery prince
3b1b in his foolish pride
1a*1a(i) rashly invaded
2b2a their realm with his troops.
1d1 Old Ongentheow,
2a1a(iii) Ohthere's father,
1a1b(ii) proud and impetuous,
2b1b made him pay for that;
+1a1b(i) he killed the marauder
5860 3b*1b who had kidnapped his wife,
3b*1a the wrinkled old queen,
+1a*1b and robbed her of her jewels,
+1d1 his heir Ohthere's
+2a1a(iii) and Onela's mother.
3b*1a His levies pursued
+3e1 the leaderless Geats,
+1a1a(i) who hoped by fleeing
+3e1 to hide themselves deep
+1d1 in dark Ravenswood
5870 2b2c after the death of their king.
2a1a(ii) Raging, Ongentheow
+1a*1a(i) surrounded the forest
2c1b with his vast army,
1a*1a(i) vowing destruction
3b1b to the helpless Geats
3b1a the whole night through,
1a*1b swearing that at sun-up
1a1b(i) some would be butchered
3b1a with iron swords
5880 3b1a and others hanged,
2e1b breakfast for the birds.
2b1a But break of day
3b1b brought returning hope
3b2b to the terrified Geats,
2b2b when they heard from afar
2a1a(iii) Hygelac's war-horns
+2a1a(i) and trumpets blowing
3b1c as the intrepid prince
+3e1 rode fearlessly up
5890 2b1c to reinforce his troops.

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