ll. 484-528

It’s been quite some time since I last posted, but we are back on track! So here, we are in the midst of Hrothgar’s speech, but more importantly we are introduced to Unferth, who we all love to hate.

Old English

ðonne wæs þeos medoheal on morgentid,
drihtsele dreorfah, þonne dæg lixte,
eal bencþelu blode bestymed,
heall heorudreore; ahte ic holdra þy læs,
deorre duguðe, þe þa deað fornam.
Site nu to symle ond onsæl meoto,
sigehreð secgum, swa þin sefa hwette.
þa wæs Geatmæcgum geador ætsomne
on beorsele benc gerymed;
þær swiðferhþe sittan eodon,
þryðum dealle. þegn nytte beheold,
se þe on handa bær hroden ealowæge,
scencte scir wered. Scop hwilum sang
hador on Heorote. þær wæs hæleða dream,
duguð unlytel Dena ond Wedera.
Unferð maþelode, Ecglafes bearn,
þe æt fotum sæt frean Scyldinga,
onband beadurune wæs him Beowulfes sið,
modges merefaran, micel æfþunca,
forþon þe he ne uþe þæt ænig oðer man
æfre mærða þon ma middangeardes
gehedde under heofenum þonne he sylfa:
Eart þu se Beowulf, se þe wið Brecan wunne,
on sidne sæ ymb sund flite,
ðær git for wlence wada cunnedon
ond for dolgilpe on deop wæter
aldrum neþdon? Ne inc ænig mon,
ne leof ne lað, belean mihte
sorhfullne sið, þa git on sund reon.
þær git eagorstream earmum þehton,
mæton merestræta, mundum brugdon,
glidon ofer garsecg; geofon yþum weol,
wintrys wylmum. Git on wæteres æht
seofon niht swuncon; he þe æt sunde oferflat,
hæfde mare mægen. þa hine on morgentid
on Heaþoræmas holm up ætbær;
ðonon he gesohte swæsne eþel,
leof his leodum, lond Brondinga,
freoðoburh fægere, þær he folc ahte
burh ond beagas. Beot eal wið þe
sunu Beanstanes soðe gelæste.
ðonne wene ic to þe wyrsan geþingea,
ðeah þu heaðoræsa gehwær dohte,
grimre guðe, gif þu Grendles dearst
nihtlongne fyrst nean bidan.


And then the morning would fall over the hall and jesus, the gaff would be caked in manky shit when the day shone in, the benches pure drenched in blood, y’know, like blood from the fight all over the hall. I rule over fewer lads now, and good lads those were and all, scooped up by death. But sure, anyway, sit there now for a bit of a feast and loosen up a bit, bask in the victory of all these fine fellas.”
All the Geatish lads were together then in the beer-hall, and a bench was cleared and all those hard men went to it, big feckin’ heads on them with the pride. Some fella jumped to it and carried about this class lookin’ cupán, and poured out some sweet gatt. Every now and then the poet sang, belting it out in Heorot. There was absolute joy and devilry amongst the lads, and it wasn’t a small group of Danes and Weders now I’ll tell ya that for nothing.
Unferth, Eglaf’s son, spoke up. He was at the Scylding lord’s feet, and he wanted to stir some shite regarding some battle rumours. To him, Beowulf, that prideful gomie, his whole journey was a load of bollocks, ’cause he could not fuckin’ stand the thought that any other poor fecker under the heavens could ever be as absolutely daycent as himself (pure septic like).* So, he was all like, “Here la, are you that Beowulf feen who contended with Breca in the the sea, fought in the bay, where the two of ye, up yerselves as ye were, took on the waters and for some dopey prideful reason, risked yere lives in the deep water? And not a soul, neither those ye like or loathe, could dissuade ye from that absolutely lethal going on when ye two lads swam the sound. There ye opened up yere arms to the sea’s currents, measuring the sea paths, arms bating about, gliding over the sea’s edge**.
The ocean’s waves welled up in the winter’s madness, and there ye were in the water’s grip for seven nights. And sure then the sea carried himself, safe and sound, not a bother on him, up amongst the Heathoreams one morning, and off he mowsied on to his own home, back where he was popular out, in the land of the Brondings, this fortress – it’s actually me daza, like! – he ruled over all the shams there in this walled city (like Cork, boi!) full of treasures. The son of Beanstan truly claimed ya in this boast, boyo.
And I don’t have much feckin’ hope for you now so I don’t, despite how strong you may have been in past battles and in grim wars, if you dare bide your time waiting all night just over there la for Grendel.

*This is my own addition. Septic refers to someone who is vain.

** – garsecg – I previously translated this as “Spear-Man”, but here I said, I’d translate it as sea’s edge, sure why not.

6 thoughts on “ll. 484-528

  1. I have a theory about garsecg (with no real evidence). It has also been translated as sedge that looks like a spear, some special variety of sedge with a head that looks like a spear. However it could relate to the defensive barriers placed across the mouths of fjiords, stakes set into the river with the pointy bit sticking up to prevent hit and run raids. There were so many that the pointy bits sticking out of the water looked like sedge growing in the water so garsecg is spears that look like sedge (and of course would be at the seas edge).


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