ll. 389b-426a

In which we start to find out that Beowulf is feckin’ septic, like shut up ya vain prick.

Also, I want to point out that I wrote an article for RTÉ Brainstorm about this translation, which can be found here, and also thank you to everyone for checking that out!

Old English:

word inne abead:
Eow het secgan sigedrihten min,
aldor Eastdena, þæt he eower æþelu can,
ond ge him syndon ofer sæwylmas
heardhicgende hider wilcuman.
Nu ge moton gangan in eowrum guðgeatawum
under heregriman Hroðgar geseon;
lætað hildebord her onbidan,
wudu, wælsceaftas, worda geþinges.
Aras þa se rica, ymb hine rinc manig,
þryðlic þegna heap; sume þær bidon,
heaðoreaf heoldon, swa him se hearda bebead.
Snyredon ætsomne, þa secg wisode,
under Heorotes hrof
heard under helme, þæt he on heoðe gestod.
Beowulf maðelode on him byrne scan,
searonet seowed smiþes orþancum:
Wæs þu, Hroðgar, hal. Ic eom Higelaces
mæg ond magoðegn; hæbbe ic mærða fela
ongunnen on geogoþe. Me wearð Grendles þing
on minre eþeltyrf undyrne cuð;
secgað sæliðend þæt þæs sele stande,
reced selesta, rinca gehwylcum
idel ond unnyt, siððan æfenleoht
under heofenes hador beholen weorþeð.
þa me þæt gelærdon leode mine
þa selestan, snotere ceorlas,
þeoden Hroðgar, þæt ic þe sohte,
forþan hie mægenes cræft minne cuþon,
selfe ofersawon, ða ic of searwum cwom,
fah from feondum. þær ic fife geband,
yðde eotena cyn ond on yðum slog
niceras nihtes, nearoþearfe dreah,
wræc Wedera nið wean ahsodon,
forgrand gramum, ond nu wið Grendel sceal,
wið þam aglæcan, ana gehegan
ðing wið þyrse.


Words were offered inside: “So, my lord, the leader of the Danes, and great man if I say so myself, has ordered me to tell you that he knows who you came from and that ye, brave lads that ye are after travelling over those waves, are welcome here. Ye can go in there now in your gear and those unreal helmets to see Hrothgar, but look lads, I’m going to ask ye there to leave yeer shields out here and also those spears – they could take an eye out!- until we’ve everything settled, okay.”

The hero got up then, surrounded by a load of lads, his grand old troop of bais. Some of them stayed put to keep an eye on all the battle-gear, as yet man had ordered. The rest of th blade shimmied on in under Heorot’s roof, led by yer man. The brave old fella himself anyway, big head on him* under the helmet, went on in so he was stood in the hall.

Beowulf spoke. His chainmail was all shiny, the coat of mail sewn by some pure legend of a Smith. “Alright feen. Story?! I’m ‘Huge Lad’ Hygelac’s kinsman and warrior. You would. Not. Believe the shit I’ve done when I was a young fella! This whole sca with Grendel is the talk of the town back in my country. The lads off the boats would be going on about how this hall here, this big mighty gaff altogehter, stands empty and useless after the heaven’s bright sky becomes hidden. So like, all these smart lads, the most respected people now like, said to me, what I should do now, I should go find yourself, because they know all about the pure skill of my strength. Sure haven’t they seen themselves that time when I got out of a fight, absolutely drenched in blood, after I tied up 5 of them and bate the heads off this family of gombeens, and sure didn’t I kill sea-serpents and all, in the waves, and it night on top of that! I’ve gone through a lot now like, avenged some of my Weder-Geat lads – they were feckin’ asking for it and by Christ I gave it to them! And now with Grendel, with that absolute feen*, I, by myself I might add, will take on this absolute giant of a prick!*

*I’ve used “big head on him” instead of heard, “hardy” just because I wanted to. Tis a nice Irish expression.

*”absolute feen”, as I’ve said previously, is my interpretation of aglæca

*so, I’ve decided to translate þyrse like this because it gets the essence of him being a big lad (without just saying “giant”) and also captures the negative connotations of this term, associated negatively in Old Norse texts.