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.