Na þu minne þearft
hafalan hydan, ac he me habban wile
dreore fahne, gif mec deað nimeð.
Byreð blodig wæl, byrgean þenceð,
eteð angenga unmurnlice,
mearcað morhopu; no ðu ymb mines ne þearft
lices feorme leng sorgian.
Onsend Higelace, gif mec hild nime,
beaduscruda betst, þæt mine breost wereð,
hrægla selest; þæt is Hrædlan laf,
Welandes geweorc. Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel.
Hroðgar maþelode, helm Scyldinga:
For gewyrhtum þu, wine min Beowulf,
ond for arstafum usic sohtest.
Gesloh þin fæder fæhðe mæste;
wearþ he Heaþolafe to handbonan
mid Wilfingum; ða hine Wedera cyn
for herebrogan habban ne mihte.
þanon he gesohte Suðdena folc
ofer yða gewealc, Arscyldinga.
ða ic furþum weold folce Deniga
ond on geogoðe heold ginne rice,
hordburh hæleþa; ða wæs Heregar dead,
min yldra mæg unlifigende,
bearn Healfdenes; se wæs betera ðonne ic.
Siððan þa fæhðe feo þingode;
sende ic Wylfingum ofer wæteres hrycg
ealde madmas; he me aþas swor.
Sorh is me to secganne on sefan minum
gumena ængum hwæt me Grendel hafað
hynðo on Heorote mid his heteþancum,
færniða gefremed. Is min fletwerod,
wigheap gewanod; hie wyrd forsweop
on Grendles gryre. God eaþe mæg
þone dolsceaðan dæda getwæfan.
Ful oft gebeotedon beore druncne
ofer ealowæge oretmecgas
þæt hie in beorsele bidan woldon
Grendles guþe mid gryrum ecga.
And here la, sure there’ll be no need for ye to bury my head anyway, because himself will have me all bloody and manky if Death decides to catch me. He’ll be off with my bloody corpse, meaning to bury it in his gob, hound into it all alone, no shame on him, making a bloody mess of the shop*, y’know. There’ll be no worrying now about caring for my corpse, alright? And if war does be getting me, send on to Hygelac my battlegarments that are the best at protecting this chest, the finest piece of clothing. This here is Hrethel’s heirloom, dy’know, the work of Weland himself! Sure lookit, that’s it isn’t it.**
Hrothgar spoke, “Beowulf lad, for a bit of fightin’ and also out of a bit of kindness, I suppose, you’ve come to us. Your father, God he was some shit stirrer so he was. He murdered Heatholaf the Wylfing dead, and sure then for the fear of some more crapiola, the Weder bais couldn’t be harbouring him, y’know. So what did he do now, he sought out the South-Danes over the big mouldy waves***, the Pure Sound Scyldings. It was myself who had started ruling the Danish folk back then, and when I was a younger lad I held a massive amount of land, a rich city of legends, now Heregar was dead, that would be my older brother, and a better man no doubt about it, cold as stone, Halfdane’s youngfella. After that I had to pay out big time to settle the feud. On the Selkie’s back**** I sent the Wylfings a load of old shite. He, your auld fella, made some swears to me.
And I’m absolutely morto now when I think of it, or say it to any feen, like, now this Grendel lad has banjaxed Heorot, cause he’s lost the rag of himself, and with his mad knawvshawling*****. I’m losing lads by the minute here, like, I dunno if fate is sweeping them into Grendel’s shite or what. And y’know what bai, God could easily put a stop to all this messalling. And you’d get sick of it, like, hearing these warriors and what comes out of them, absolutely langers off a rake of pints, full of it going on over their cups about how they’ll stall on there in the beer-hall for Grendel’s attack, ready to knife the fucker.
*”the shop” is often used to refer to anywhere in Hiberno-English.
** This is my translation for Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, “fate goes ever as it must”. It’s a nice Cork phrase where we just throw it all to the wind and say, sure we can’t do anything about it can we. No. We cannot.
*** I chose the term “mouldy” here for the waves, because it’s a Cork phrase for being drunk, and I thought it would have a nicer ring to it than “rolling” or “tumultuous”
**** A Selkie is an Irish and Scottish folkloric sea creature.
***** Knawvshawling means “quarreling” and is a bit of an older Cork slang term, not used so much anymore. From Irish cnáibhseáil, “grumbing, complaining”>