ll. 258-300

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a while. In fact, the last time I updated this blog was the 7th of July, and indeed, I deserve a special place in the liber monstrorum for such monstrous acts. But alas, life, and writing, and conferences got in the way, and I should hopefully have something to show for my inattentiveness (keep your eyes out for The Medieval Review!).

Anyway, so, last time, Beowulf and the lads had landed in Denmark and our friend the watchman (hwa wæceþ þa weardmenn?) was almost wetting himself at the size of Beowulf and was all like “sorrry, who are ye, like”…

Old English:

Him se yldesta ondswarode,
werodes wisa, wordhord onleac:
We synt gumcynnes Geata leode
ond Higelaces heorðgeneatas.
Wæs min fæder folcum gecyþed,
æþele ordfruma, Ecgþeow haten.
Gebad wintra worn, ær he on weg hwurfe,
gamol of geardum; hine gearwe geman
witena welhwylc wide geond eorþan.
We þurh holdne hige hlaford þinne,
sunu Healfdenes, secean cwomon,
leodgebyrgean; wes þu us larena god.
Habbað we to þæm mæran micel ærende,
Deniga frean, ne sceal þær dyrne sum
wesan, þæs ic wene. þu wast gif hit is
swa we soþlice secgan hyrdon
þæt mid Scyldingum sceaðona ic nat hwylc,
deogol dædhata, deorcum nihtum
eaweð þurh egsan uncuðne nið,
hynðu ond hrafyl. Ic þæs Hroðgar mæg
þurh rumne sefan ræd gelæran,
hu he frod ond god feond oferswyðeþ,
gyf him edwendan æfre scolde
bealuwa bisigu, bot eft cuman,
ond þa cearwylmas colran wurðaþ;
oððe a syþðan earfoðþrage,
þreanyd þolað, þenden þær wunað
on heahstede husa selest.
Weard maþelode, ðær on wicge sæt,
ombeht unforht: æghwæþres sceal
scearp scyldwiga gescad witan,
worda ond worca, se þe wel þenceð.
Ic þæt gehyre, þæt þis is hold weorod
frean Scyldinga. Gewitaþ forð beran
wæpen ond gewædu; ic eow wisige.
Swylce ic maguþegnas mine hate
wið feonda gehwone flotan eowerne,
niwtyrwydne nacan on sande
arum healdan, oþðæt eft byreð
ofer lagustreamas leofne mannan
wudu wundenhals to Wedermearce,
godfremmendra swylcum gifeþe bið
þæt þone hilderæs hal gedigeð.


Himself, the eldest of the lads and the leader, answered with a silver tongue, “Alrigh’ feeen, we’re some Geatish bais, hearth-companions of Huge-lad Hygelac*. My father had some name for himself also, so he did – Ecgtheow was that noble fella’s name. Oh he sat through many a winter before, aged as he was, off he went on his way** from the courts. Every lad worth his salt throughout this whole land remembers that man, not a bother on him.
We’re here to see the man himself, the son of Healfdane and pillar of the community, and no bullshittin’ us now alright, we’re here on a fierce important errand to the lord of the Danes, and here look, as far as I’m concerned there should be no secret about it. Ad c’mere to me now, you’ll know if this is true or what like, but we’ve been hearing these mad rumours that some sorta yoke***, don’t even ask me what like, is here amongst the Scyldings, some creepy gowl of a lad who goes about in the pitch black of night, whose terror causes mightty havoc, humiliation, and absolute carnage, the likes of which we’ve never heard of before!
And not being up myself now like or anything****, but I can offer some pretty daycent advice about how he, wise and great man that he is, can bate away this enemy, if ever he shall see change, and if relief should come and drown these awful happenings, and his surging fears be cooled (poor craytur). ‘Cause y’know, or else he’ll be left for God knows how long now in terribly hard times so he will, and fierce suffering altogether for as long as that grand old hall sitting up there is about.”
So the watchman, that bould officer sat up on his horse is all like, “Any shield-warrior with half his wits about him should know the difference if someone is all talk or not. And look, I’ll give it to ya, I hear ye are a sound bunch of lads when it comes to the lord of the Scyldings, so go on, off ya go ow with yer weapons and yer gear, and I’ll show you up to the gaff. And look, not only that, but I’ll get some of my own men there to keep a close (and honourable I tell ya!) eye on your ship – newly-tarred and all, bejaysus – on the sand against any dodgy fellas, until its lovely auld curvy prow bears ye back over the sea’s chops, good man yourself now. And may all ye brave lads make it out alive from the battle rush”.

*Hygelac also appears in the Liber Monstrorum, wherein it is said that no horse could carry him from the age of 12 – so basically, he was a big lad, hence the nickname “Huge-lad Hygelac” (the wealth of whose creativity I must also share with Niamh Kehoe, Rachel Burns, and Francis Leneghan). As well as offering some nice in-line alliteration, “Huge-lad” also conveniently encourages us to pronounce the y in “Hygelac” properly.
** I realised after I translated “off he went on his way” that this is also how Heaney translates it. Gwan the bais.
*** Terence Dolan in A Dictionary of Hiberno-English has an interesting entry on “yoke”, meaning “any contrivance or implement” which he states goes back to ME yokke and OE geoc. I also love that one of the examples for its usage that he gives is “Get out of my way, you big yoke! (Cavan)”. It seems possible that the term, while meaning a yoke for cattle in Old and Middle and Present Day English, may have widened its meaning to encompass pretty much anything in Ireland.
**** This is how I have decided to translate “Ic . . . mæg þurh rumne sefan”, “I. . . through gracious intent”.

ll. 190-216

It has been a few weeks since my last post, as I was busy gattin’ and moving into a new gaff. Anyway, here we first meet the leading man himself, and are subjected to numerous terms for ships.


Old English:

Swa ða mælceare maga Healfdenes 
singala seað, ne mihte snotor hæleð 
wean onwendan; wæs þæt gewin to swyð, 
laþ ond longsum, þe on ða leode becom, 
nydwracu niþgrim, nihtbealwa mæst. 
þæt fram ham gefrægn Higelaces þegn, 
god mid Geatum, Grendles dæda; 
se wæs moncynnes mægenes strengest 
on þæm dæge þysses lifes, 
æþele ond eacen. Het him yðlidan 
godne gegyrwan, cwæð, hu guðcyning 
ofer swanrade secean wolde, 
mærne þeoden, þa him wæs manna þearf. 
ðone siðfæt him snotere ceorlas 
lythwon logon, þeah he him leof wære; 
hwetton higerofne, hæl sceawedon. 
Hæfde se goda Geata leoda 
cempan gecorone þara þe he cenoste 
findan mihte; XVna sum 
sundwudu sohte; secg wisade, 
lagucræftig mon, landgemyrcu. 
Fyrst forð gewat. Flota wæs on yðum, 
bat under beorge. Beornas gearwe 
on stefn stigon; streamas wundon, 
sund wið sande; secgas bæron 
on bearm nacan beorhte frætwe, 
guðsearo geatolic; guman ut scufon, 
weras on wilsið, wudu bundenne. 


So Healfdane’s son had an awful bloody time of it, and he was constantly mee-awing*; that pure smart feen couldn’t stop thinking of this shitshow for how much of an absolute balls it was, full of hate, and so bloody long – a dire situation, these pure mad nightly attacks that all the locals found themselves in.
At home, one of Hygelac’s lads, fine Geatish man now, heard about this Grendel fella and what he was at. Out of everyone, he was the mightiest of ’em, pure strong fucker like, unlike anything you’ve seen in this life anyway, and from powerful good stock too so he was. He ordered that a boat – a good one now, alright – be prepared, said he wanted to have a word with this feen-king across the pond, pure legend of a man, to whom a time of shite craic was being dealt.
Any of the smart lads, they made very little fuss, dear and all as he was to them. If anything, they urged on this mad feen and kept watch for omens. This absolute lad so, he had some Geatish bais – fightin’ men – picked out, the keenest he could find, One of fifteen he was, and he sought out the boat, the strappin’ sea-crafty lad led the way to the edge of the land, down the docks. ‘Twas time to get going – the ship was on the waves, the boat under the cliffs. The lads anyway, rearin’ to go so they were, lepped onto the prow. The currents churned, the sea plámásing the sand. The lads hauled up a rake of class weapons and some unreal battle-gear, up onto the deck. The bais then gave the boat an old shove and off they set in the wooden yoke of a ship.

*”mee-awwing” is something I’ve heard my mother say a lot, or she would call people a “big mee-aww”, basically meaning a big whinger. I have been informed that it is from the Irish mí ádh, “bad luck”. There ya to now

ll. 164-188

Grendel has absolutely effed up the gaff, so now our poet takes some time to shit on the ways of the heathens.

Most of 133v
top of 134r

Old English:

Swa fela fyrena feond mancynnes, 
atol angengea, oft gefremede, 
heardra hynða. Heorot eardode, 
sincfage sel sweartum nihtum; 
no he þone gifstol gretan moste, 
maþðum for metode, ne his myne wisse. 
þæt wæs wræc micel wine Scyldinga, 
modes brecða. Monig oft gesæt 
rice to rune; ræd eahtedon 
hwæt swiðferhðum selest wære 
wið færgryrum to gefremmanne. 
Hwilum hie geheton æt hærgtrafum 
wigweorþunga, wordum bædon 
þæt him gastbona geoce gefremede 
wið þeodþreaum. Swylc wæs þeaw hyra, 
hæþenra hyht; helle gemundon 
in modsefan, metod hie ne cuþon, 
dæda demend, ne wiston hie drihten god, 
ne hie huru heofena helm herian ne cuþon, 
wuldres waldend. Wa bið þæm ðe sceal 
þurh sliðne nið sawle bescufan 
in fyres fæþm, frofre ne wenan, 
wihte gewendan; wel bið þæm þe mot 
æfter deaðdæge drihten secean 
ond to fæder fæþmum freoðo wilnian.


So a load of mad crimes were committed by this feen who everyone hated, this pure weird loner of a lad – he absolutely mortified them, like. And he took over the fancy lookin’ gaff, Heorot, in those pitch black nights. But here lah, he wasn’t able to get close to the big chair at all, or all those treasures, because of the Lord (bless us and save us), who had no love at all for that pup.
And jesus, that was a fierce amount of suffering for that fine strappin’ lord of the Scyldings – his heart was feckin’ broke from it, y’know what I mean, like. Loads of these counsellor lads, they often sat about wondering and pondering away about what in the hell should some of the more bould fellas do about these mad attacks.
Sometimes now they’d even promise feckin’ sacrifices and the whole lot at these heathen temples (‘the fuck, like) and ask the Devil himself to give them an old hand with this absolute paain of a curse of theirs. But sure look, such was their custom, this heathen hope. Hell was there in their minds, and they hadn’t a clue of God, the poor crayturs – and I’ll say it now lads, Only God Can Judge Me – they didn’t know the Lord our God at all at all, and sure jesus, they didn’t even know to pray to heaven’s king, that Wielder of Pure Classness. And isn’t it it awful, those who feck their souls into the flames of the big fire, expecting not a bit of comfort or anything at all to change. And its well now so it is for those who can seek the Lord our God (sound lad) and ask for a bit of protection in Our Father’s lapeen.

ll. 134b-163

132v (bottom)
to of 133v

Old English:

Næs hit lengra fyrst,
ac ymb ane niht eft gefremede 
morðbeala mare ond no mearn fore, 
fæhðe ond fyrene; wæs to fæst on þam. 
þa wæs eaðfynde þe him elles hwær 
gerumlicor ræste sohte, 
bed æfter burum, ða him gebeacnod wæs, 
gesægd soðlice sweotolan tacne 
healðegnes hete; heold hyne syðþan 
fyr ond fæstor se þæm feonde ætwand. 
Swa rixode ond wið rihte wan, 
ana wið eallum, oðþæt idel stod 
husa selest. Wæs seo hwil micel; 
XII wintra tid torn geþolode 
wine Scyldinga, weana gehwelcne, 
sidra sorga. Forðam [gesyne] wearð,
ylda bearnum, undyrne cuð, 
gyddum geomore, þætte Grendel wan 
hwile wið Hroþgar, heteniðas wæg, 
fyrene ond fæhðe fela missera, 
singale sæce, sibbe ne wolde 
wið manna hwone mægenes Deniga, 
feorhbealo feorran, fea þingian, 
ne þær nænig witena wenan þorfte 
beorhtre bote to banan folmum, 
ac se æglæca ehtende wæs, 
deorc deaþscua, duguþe ond geogoþe, 
seomade ond syrede, sinnihte heold 
mistige moras. men ne cunnon 
hwyder helrunan hwyrftum scriþað.


And it wasn’t much longer at all, but after just one night he killed some more dead, not a hint of remorse – he was stone mad for feud and crime. And by jesus, twasn’t hard to find someone who had their eye on a bed elsewhere, further away, a leaba* in some more private gaff, after that hall-feen’s hatred became so clear as bloody day it was that obvious. And these lads who avoided this mad feen stayed the absolute fuck away after that.
And so he ruled, fightin’ the law, one against all, until that banger of a gaff stood empty. It was a good while now, 12 feckin’ winters in fact, that the pure sound king of the Scyldings suffered grief and every sort of woe and fierce sorrow (awh lads, ’twas dreadful, like). And like, everyone, soon they all knew about it, and the sad stories became well-known, of this Grendel lad, who for a while now fought with Hrothgar (absolute bai), and of the hatred that was waged and of the crimes and feud that carried on for years and years – it was bloody constant like, this strife was. And there was no talking to him about making a pact with any of the Danish lads, or putting a stop to all this killing, he wouldn’t even settle for a bit of money, and the counsellors gave up on expecting any sort of compo from that gurrier’s hands, but that absolute feen**, pure dark thoughts in his head***, stalked auld and young fellas alike, skulked and plotted, holding those misty moors in a never-ending night. Nobody knows what circles these devilish lads move about in.

*leaba is Irish for “bed”, and probably one of the more common uses of Irish in everyday speech.
** “absolute feen” is what I have chosen to translate aglæca as – as a term that is used of Grendel, his mother, the dragon, Beowulf himself (with the dragon), Sigemund, and absolute lad Bede, the monstrous translations of this term in certain situations don’t reflect what I believe is the true meaning of the term, “formidable one” – see Sherman Kuhn for his study on this term, and also Elliot van Kirk Dobbie. See Middle English egleche, “brave, fearless” (Kurath and Kuhn)
*** this is the translation of deorc deaþscua – rather than translating as “dark death-shadow” I am taking the approach suggested by Joyce Hill that it is not a physical, spirit-like description of Grendel, but one that describes his state of mind, and his absence from God’s thoughts (no he … his [Metode] myne wise –he would never know his [God’s love]), and thus, in umbra mortis, or in the shadow of death. My translation is also influenced by Edwin Morgan’s rendition of this line as “dark with death’s shadow”, which doesn’t render him as a non-corporeal shadow thing.

ll. 86-114

Go on the bais, we have finally got to the part of the poem where Absolute Lad Grendel is introduced.

The bottom of 130v
Tippy top of 132v

Old English:

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.

ll. 53-85

Chapter four of our absolute langer, Boyo-wulf, is here! I want to preface this post by saying a huge thank you for all the support I have been getting with this translation – the positive feedback really makes it feel worthwhile. Ye’re a bunch of ledges!

Lower part of 130r
Upper part of 130v

Old English:

ða wæs on burgum Beowulf Scyldinga, 
leof leodcyning, longe þrage 
folcum gefræge fæder ellor hwearf, 
aldor of earde, oþþæt him eft onwoc 
heah Healfdene; heold þenden lifde, 
gamol ond guðreouw, glæde Scyldingas. 
ðæm feower bearn forð gerimed 
in worold wocun, weoroda ræswan, 
Heorogar ond Hroðgar ond Halga til; 
hyrde ic þæt wæs Onelan cwen, 
Heaðoscilfingas healsgebedda. 
þa wæs Hroðgare heresped gyfen, 
wiges weorðmynd, þæt him his winemagas 
georne hyrdon, oðð þæt seo geogoð geweox, 
magodriht micel. Him on mod bearn 
þæt healreced hatan wolde, 
medoærn micel, men gewyrcean 
þonne yldo bearn æfre gefrunon, 
ond þær on innan eall gedælan 
geongum ond ealdum, swylc him god sealde, 
buton folcscare ond feorum gumena. 
ða ic wide gefrægn weorc gebannan 
manigre mægþe geond þisne middangeard, 
folcstede frætwan. Him on fyrste gelomp, 
ædre mid yldum, þæt hit wearð ealgearo, 
healærna mæst; scop him Heort naman 
se þe his wordes geweald wide hæfde. 
He beot ne aleh, beagas dælde, 
sinc æt symle. Sele hlifade, 
heah ond horngeap, heaðowylma bad, 
laðan liges; ne wæs hit lenge þa gen 
þæt se ecghete aþumsweorum, 
æfter wælniðe wæcnan scolde.


Then it was up to the Scylding Beowulf (again, different fella), who the people were pure mad about and for a long time he was celebrated by the people – his father, that fine man (god rest his soul), had passed on – until to him then was born good old Healfdane; and then he was in charge of the Scyldings as long as he lived, absolutely ancient and mad in battle. And he, that leader of armies, had four babógs; Heorogar, Hrothgar, and Halga the Classss, and I’ve heard that […]* was Onela’s old doll, the Battle-Scylfing’s bed-fellow.

Hrothgar was given victory in war, he was pure class at it, like, so that all the lads gladly took his word and they grew from a bunch of young fellas into a mighty troop of absolute bais. And then it came to him, he’d get the men to throw up a hall, this mead-gaff, greater than all the children of men had ever even heard of, and there then inside it he would give to both the young and the old that which God himself (lord bless us and save us) had given him – that is, everything but the people’s land and the lives of men.

And I’ve heard from all over the place now that work was given to a load of feens across the land to do up that gaff. And sure it wasn’t long at all before it was ready, the most unreal of hall buildings. He named it Heorot, he whose word was law. And I’m tellin’ ya, he never forgot a promise, that lad; he dealt out rings and treasures at the feasts. The hall was huge, like, and bloody wide too; But it awaited fierce flames and the scutter of battle – and by God, it wasn’t long at all at all when the sword-hate of the son-in-law and the father-in-law** should come about, after a deadly hatred be woken.

*It’s unclear what’s going on in the MS here – the scribe wrote hyrde ic þæt elan cwen (you can see this about half way down the image of 130r), but it is generally assumed that there is text missing here, and that it should be rendered hyrde ic þæt [… was On]elan cwen. There have been suggestions of Yrse or Ursula, after comparisons with Norse sources. Kiernan suggests Hyrde ic þæt ides wæs æþelan cwen, “I heard that the woman was a glorious one’s queen”.

**the term used in the MS is aþum swerian, but this is mostly amended to aþumsweoran – probably a dvanda, or linguistic compound that includes multiple words which make a new word – aþum (son-in-law) and sweor (father-in-law). Kiernan appears to favour keeping the term as is and translating as “swear with oaths”. But we do know that it s referring to Hrothgar and Ingeld. Liuzza translates as “sword in-laws” which seems a nice middle-ground. I decided to go with the former, it being somewhat more straightforward, and it meant I got to use the definitive article, which is often used in Cork in front of these kind of familial terms, or at least in my family anyway.

ll. 34-52

Bottom half of 129v
Top of 130r

Old English:

Aledon þa leofne þeoden, 
beaga bryttan, on bearm scipes, 
mærne be mæste. þær wæs madma fela 
of feorwegum, frætwa, gelæded; 
ne hyrde ic cymlicor ceol gegyrwan 
hildewæpnum ond heaðowædum, 
billum ond byrnum; him on bearme læg 
madma mænigo, þa him mid scoldon 
on flodes æht feor gewitan. 
Nalæs hi hine læssan lacum teodan, 
þeodgestreonum, þon þa dydon 
þe hine æt frumsceafte forð onsendon 
ænne ofer yðe umborwesende. 
þa gyt hie him asetton segen geldenne 
heah ofer heafod, leton holm beran, 
geafon on garsecg; him wæs geomor sefa, 
murnende mod. Men ne cunnon 
secgan to soðe, selerædende, 
hæleð under heofenum, hwa þæm hlæste onfeng. 


They then laid down that fine man, pure generous as he was with the rings, down in the bosom of the ship, that legend by the mast. There was trinkets and treasures galore from way over the road brought there.

Never in my life had I heard the likes of it, this class ship, absolutely bate full of battle-weapons and battle-armour, swords and coats of mail. On his chest lay a rakeload of treasure, which would sail off with him in the flood’s grip.

And sure didn’t they go all out with the treasures, those locals, and no bloody less than those at the start,who cast him off into the waves when the poor craytur was just a small fella. And now they set a gold banner way up over his capeen, and let the ocean have him, gave him up to the Spear-Man* himself, their spirits full of misery and their hearts awailin’. There’s not nobody** that knows, from the bais in the halls to the feens under the heavens, who received that load.

*”Spear-man” from OE gar-secg – this appears to be a kenning for the ocean, and may represent some sort of sea deity (perhaps like Neptune or Poseidon), although the term is quite problematic for reasons concerning mythopoeia. Earl Anderson suggests it should be gares-ecg, syncopated to garsecg, and thus “edge of the promontory”. I may add, a certain Frederick Candelaria suggests “narwhal” (as mentioned in Klaeber 4), but I can’t find his article. But, honestly, I could get down with this.

**Just like in Old English, the double negative doesn’t really exist in Irish slang.

Boyo-wulf, ll. 1-19

A number of weeks ago, I got it into my head to start translating Beowulf after my good friend and colleague, Victoria Koivisto-Kokko, mentioned something about editions. I remembered my eternal desire to produce one in Cork slang, and thought, sure jaysus why not, and alas, Boyo-wulf (name courtesy of Ciarán Kavanagh) was conceived. 

While this is first and foremost a translation with a humorous intention, as someone who has studied translation theory and translations of Beowulf for four years, there is an element of seriousness to it. I am translating this from the Old English itself (generally using Klaeber’s edition for line numbers), and looking to R.D. Fulk’s and Kevin Kiernan’s editions for backup. 

Dictionary-wise, I am using the Bosworth-Toller and Clark-Hall dictionaries (both controversial in their own ways). Unfortunately I don’t have free access to the DOE. 

I have decided on a prose translation because, in short, it is quite loose in some places in order that it reflect the purity of the daycent Cork slang. 

Speaking of Cork slang, a dictionary of it can be found through the following links:

Boyo-wulf ll. 1-19

Old English:

Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyningas, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. 
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum, 
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah, 
egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð 
feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad, 
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah, 
oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra 
ofer hronrade hyran scolde, 
gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning. 
ðæm eafera wæs æfter cenned, 
geong in geardum, þone god sende 
folce to frofre; fyrenðearfe ongeat 
þe hie ær drugon aldorlease 
lange hwile. Him þæs liffrea, 
wuldres wealdend, woroldare forgeaf; 
Beowulf wæs breme blæd wide sprang, 
Scyldes eafera Scedelandum in. 


C’mere to me! Well we’ve all heard of those pure daycent kings of the Spear-Danes from donkeys’ years, and how the mad yokes of princes did alright for themselves. Sure half the time Scyld Scefing was off among a rake of enemies, pulling the mead-seats out from under their arses, scaring the shit out of the boss-men, ever since he was found skint as a young fella.

He then found joy, good man himself, did just mighty beneath the heavens, lapped up fierce respect ’til all the bais across the whale-road had to obey him and cough up a bit of moola – That was some class king, like. 

And so then came along a son, young fella bating around the gaff, sent from the lord himself (bless us and save us), to help the locals. God’d had an old gawkeen and saw they were up to bloody here with it without a king. So the Lord God Almighty (bless us and save us) granted him mighty respect, and Scyld’s son, Beowulf (this is a different fella now alright) was a pure ledge like, even the dogs on the street (or at least those in the southern regions of Scandinavia that is) knew who he was.