Go on the bais, we have finally got to the part of the poem where Absolute Lad Grendel is introduced.
ða se ellengæst earfoðlice
þrage geþolode, se þe in þystrum bad,
þæt he dogora gehwam dream gehyrde
hludne in healle; þær wæs hearpan sweg,
swutol sang scopes. Sægde se þe cuþe
frumsceaft fira feorran reccan,
cwæð þæt se ælmihtiga eorðan worhte,
wlitebeorhtne wang, swa wæter bebugeð,
gesette sigehreþig sunnan ond monan
leoman to leohte landbuendum
ond gefrætwade foldan sceatas
leomum ond leafum, lif eac gesceop
cynna gehwylcum þara ðe cwice hwyrfaþ.
Swa ða drihtguman dreamum lifdon
eadiglice, oððæt an ongan
fyrene fremman feond on helle.
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold,
fen ond fæsten; fifelcynnes eard
wonsæli wer weardode hwile,
siþðan him scyppend forscrifen hæfde
in Caines cynne. þone cwealm gewræc
ece drihten, þæs þe he Abel slog;
ne gefeah he þære fæhðe, ac he hine feor forwræc,
metod for þy mane, mancynne fram.
þanon untydras ealle onwocon,
eotenas ond ylfe ond orcneas,
swylce gigantas, þa wið gode wunnon
lange þrage; he him ðæs lean forgeald.
Then some mad feen went through a time of shite craic, he who hung out in the pitch black, and who every feckin’ night heard the absolute racket from the huge gaff party in the hall. There was the harp’s noising and the poet lad’s singing as clear as anything. This lad, he had a way with words about him, and told that story from ages ago about the creation of mankind, y’know, and he said that the almighty God himself made the earth, this fuckin’ gorgeous gaff surrounded by water, and he placed – class man that he is – the big lights of the sun and moon, lamps for all the bais down below, and he adorned all the earth’s corners with branches and leaves, and gave life to all kinds of yokes that move about.
And so the people had a grand old time for a bit anyway, until this fella now, the absolute horrors in his mind*, began to commit some less than pleasant crimes. This pure mad feen was called Grendel, a notorious outsider – he ruled the marshes and the swampy land [if this isn’t Cork then I dunno where it is**]. This miserable boyo hung out for a while in thee home of the langers, ever since the Lord himself had had it up to here with these bloody relatives of Cain – the Eternal Lord (for ever and ever Amen) was getting back at him for murder after he gave Abel one too many clatters across the head.
And y’know, he didn’t enjoy one bit that feud, but God drove that pup away from mankind for that crime. And from him came about all sorts of gurriers; gombeens and loolas and absolute gowls, and also those big lads who, for a long time, would be startin’ on God – but he paid them a hefty price for that, y’know what I mean.
*feond on helle – Just gonna say here now, feond is not “fiend”, tis “enemy”, alright. I have decided to get around the awkward on helle by using one of the DOE’s definitions of “state of torment or misery on earth”, one of the fif onlicnessa her on worulde, “one of the five hells on earth” according to the Vercelli Homilies. Another interesting theory is that of Sophus Bugge, who contended that helle should be emended to healle, to mean “hall”.
**Cork city is built on a swamp – we are now claiming Grendel as our homeboy.