Listen! We --of the Spear-Danes in the days of yore,
of those clan-kings-- heard of their glory.
how those nobles performed courageous deeds.
Often Scyld, Scef's son, from enemy hosts
5 from many peoples seized mead-benches;
and terrorised the fearsome Heruli after first he was
found helpless and destitute, he then knew recompense for that:-
he waxed under the clouds, throve in honours,
until to him each of the bordering tribes
10 beyond the whale-road had to submit,
and yield tribute:- that was a good king!
To him an heir was born then
young in the yards, God sent him
to comfort the people; He had seen the dire distress 15 that they suffered before, leader-less
a long while; them for that the Life-Lord,
Ruler of Glory, granted honour on earth:
Beowulf (Beaw) was famed --his renown spread wide-- Scyld's heir, in Northern lands.
20 So ought a young man by good deeds deserve,
(and) by fine treasure-gifts, while in his father's keeping, that him in old age shall again stand by,
willing companions, when war comes,
people serve him: by glorious deeds must,
25 amongst his people, everywhere, one prosper.
Then Scyld departed at the destined time,
still in his full-strength, to fare in the protection of the Lord Frea;
he they carried to the sea's surf,
his dear comrades, as he himself had bid,
30 when he yet wielded words, that friend of the Scyldings,
beloved ruler of the land, had ruled for a long time;
there at the harbour stood with a ringed-prow,
icy and keen to sail, a hero's vessel;
they then laid down the beloved prince,
35 the giver of rings and treasure, in the bosom of the boat, the mighty by the mast; many riches were there,
from far-off lands ornate armour and baubles were brought;
I have not heard of a comelier keel adorned
with weapons of battle and war-dress,
40 bill-blades and byrnies; there lay on his breast
many treasures, which with him must,
in the power of the waves, drift far off;
in no way had they upon him fewer gifts bestowed
with the wealth of a nation, than those did
45 who him in the beginning had sent forth
alone upon the waves being but a child;
yet then they set up the standard of gold,
high over head; they let the sea bear,
gave to the ocean, in them were troubled hearts,
50 mourning minds; men cannot
say for certain, (neither) court-counsellors
(nor) heroes under heaven, who received that cargo.
Then was in boroughs, Beowulf the Scylding (Beaw), beloved king of the people a long age
55 famed among the folk --his father having gone elsewhere, elder on earth-- until unto him in turn was born high Half-Dane, he ruled so long as he lived
old and battle-fierce, the glad Scyldings;
to him four sons in succession
60 woke in the world, the leader of the legions:
Heorogar and Hrothgar and good Halga;
I heard that Yrse was Onela's queen,
the War-Scylfing's beloved embraced in bed.
Then was to Hrothgar success in warcraft given, 65 honour in war, so that his retainers
eagerly served him until the young war-band grew into a mighty battalion; it came into his mind
that a hall-house, he wished to command,
a grand mead-hall, be built by men
70 which the sons of men should hear of forever,
and there within share out all
to young and old, such as God gave him,
except the common land and the lives of men;
Then, I heard, widely was the work commissioned 75 from many peoples throughout this...