From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is a stub and thus not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
Excerpt [?]
More information relevant to Beowulf.

Translation of lines 1700—1768.

Hrothgar addresses Beowulf:

As realm-holder, speaking truth, doing right, and truly

Recalling the past, I may declare before all
That this my noble brother has spread his renown
Throughout the nations, steadily nurturing
The way of wisdom, my friend, my Beowulf.
I shall fulfil the promises my friendship has made.
And you, you are to be, to all your people
Strong consolation, a support to warriors.
Not so was Heremod to Ecgwela's sons,
Nor did his prospering aid his people,
But led to Danes' slaughter, deaths of his companions.
Raging he slew those sitting nearest,
Till leaving manly delights he died all alone,
Whom God had granted greatness of place,
Mightiness of strength, more than any man –
So it was brought about. But there grew in his breast
Moods that thirsted for blood, were backward in rewarding
The Danes for their deeds of glory, enduring joyless,
So that he suffered the toll of that struggle,
Personal, longdrawn ruin. You learn from this,
And develop generosity. Such my advice,
From my wisdom of many winters.
A marvel it is
To tell how the Almighty hands out wisdom
And large-mindedness and lands
To human kindreds, just as he may decide.
At whiles, out of love he lets a high-born lord
Rest happy in thought, happy in rule,
Grants him wide regions within his strong realm
So he fails to think about what fortune awaits.
That man lives in feasting, not enfeebled
By sickness or age; nor does harsh sorrow
Obscure his heart, nor does savagery
Reveal deadly hate; but the whole of the world
Becomes delightful, without any alloy.
And so within him a lofty spirit
Flourishes and grows, while the guardian dozes,
The soul's shepherd sleeps too soundly,
Protected from cares; then the close-living killer
Villainously bends his bow and shoots.
So the shaft's bitterness strikes beneath his defences.
The monstrous biddings from a demon of malice
Tell him his possessions are small, too small.
Fiercely he grasps, and has no pride in giving
Reward-rings of gold. Then he forgets
The rules of the world, that the Ruler had given him,
Apportioning honour. In the end it happens
That the body, as always fated, goes feebly to death.
Another inherits, uncaring, handing out heirlooms,
The ancient treasures, wholly unawed.
Keep yourself, my Beowulf, from this baleful course.
Pick the best choice, the path of the hero,
As ever has been counselled. Abandon arrogance.
Now, famed warrior, for a while you are strong;
But soon after, maybe, sword or a sickness,
Or the searing of fire, or the whelming sea,
Or the sword's dealings, or the spear's swiftness
Will separate you from your famed strength,
Or hateful old age will darken you eyes.
Suddenly it happens, that in an instant
Death overcomes you, you the hero.