Beowulf: An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem PDF By Lesslie Hall

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Beowulf Epic Poem

Hrothgar, king of the Danes, or Scyldings, builds a great mead-hall, or palace, in which he hopes to feast his liegemen and to give them presents.

The joy of king and retainers is, however, of short duration. Grendel, the monster, is seized with hateful jealousy.

He cannot brook the sounds of joyance that reach him down in his fen-dwelling near the hall. Oft and anon he goes to the joyous building, bent on direful mischief.

Thane after thane is ruthlessly carried off and devoured, while no one is found strong enough and bold enough to cope with the monster. For twelve years he persecutes Hrothgar and his vassals.

Oversea, a day’s voyage off, Beowulf, of the Geats, nephew of Higelac, king of the Geats, hears of Grendel’s doings and of Hrothgar’s misery.

He resolves to crush the fell monster and relieve the aged king.

With fourteen chosen companions, he sets sail for Dane-land. Reaching that country, he soon persuades Hrothgar of his ability to help him.

The hours that elapse before night are spent in beer-drinking and conversation.

When Hrothgar’s bedtime comes he leaves the hall in charge of Beowulf, telling him that never before has he given to another the absolute wardship of his palace.

All retire to rest, Beowulf, as it were, sleeping upon his arms.

Grendel comes, the great march-stepper, bearing God’s anger. He seizes and kills one of the sleeping warriors. Then he advances towards Beowulf.

A fierce and desperate hand-to-hand struggle ensues. No arms are used, both combatants trusting to strength and hand-grip.

Beowulf tears Grendel’s shoulder from its socket, and the monster retreats to his den, howling and yelling with agony and fury. The wound is fatal.

Battle-shields sturdy ; benchward they turned then ; Their battle-sarks rattled, the gear of the heroes :

10 The lances stood up then, all in a cluster,

The arms of the seamen, ashen-shafts mounted

With edges of iron : the armor-clad troopers

Were decked with weapons. Then a proud-mooded hero

Asked of the champions questions of lineage :

15 ” From what borders bear ye your battle-shields plated, Gilded and gleaming, your gray-colored burnies, Helmets with visors and heap of war-lances ? — To Hrothgar the king I am servant and liegeman. ‘Mong folk from far-lands found I have never

20 Men so many of mien more courageous. I ween that from valor, nowise as outlaws, But from greatness of soul ye sought for King Hrothgar.” Then the strength-famous earlman answer rendered, The proud-mooded Wederchief replied to his question,

25 Hardy ‘neath helmet : ” Higelac’s mates are we ; Beowulf hight I. To the bairn of Healfdene, The famous folk-leader, I freely will tell To thy prince my commission, if pleasantly hearing He’ll grant we may greet him so gracious to all men.”

30 Wulfgar replied then (he was prince of the Wendels, His boldness of spirit was known unto many, His prowess and prudence) : ” The prince of the Scyldings, The friend-lord of Danemen, I will ask of thy journey, The giver of rings, as thou urgest me do it,The folk-chief famous, and inform thee early

What answer the good one mindeth to render me.” He turned then hurriedly where Hrothgar was sitting, 1 Old and hoary, his earlmen attending him ; The strength-famous went till he stood at the shoulder

40 Of the lord of the Danemen, of courteous thanemen The custom he minded. Wulfgar addressed then His friendly liegelord : ” Folk of the Geatmen

Wulfgar went then, this word-message shouted :

20 ” My victorious liegelord bade me to tell you,

The East-Danes’ atheling, that your origin knows he, And o’er wave-billows wafted ye welcome are hither, Valiant of spirit. Ye straightway may enter Clad in corslets, cased in your helmets,

25 To see King Hrothgar. Here let your battle-boards, Wood-spears and war-shafts, await your conferring.” The mighty one rose then, with many a liegeman, An excellent thane-group ; some there did await them, And as bid of the brave one the battle-gear guarded.

30 Together they hied them, while the hero did guide them, ‘Neath Heorot’s roof; the high-minded went then Sturdy ‘neath helmet till he stood in the building. Beowulf spake (his burnie did glisten, His armor seamed over by the art of the craftsman) :

35 ” Hail thou, Hrothgar ! I am Higelac’s kinsman And vassal forsooth ; many a wonder I dared as a stripling. The doings of Grendel, In far-off fatherland I fully did know of : Sea-farers tell us, this hall-building standeth,

40 Excellent edifice, empty and useless

To all the earlmen after evenlight’s glimmer ‘Neath heaven’s bright hues hath hidden its glory. This my earls then urged me, the most excellent of them, Carles very clever, to come and assist thee,

45 Folk-leader Hrothgar ; fully they knew of

The strength of my body. Themselves they beheld me When I came from the contest, when covered with gore Foes I escaped from, where five 1 I had bound.

AuthorLesslie Hall
Language English
No. of Pages136
PDF Size6.9 MB

Beowulf, An Anglo-Saxon epic poem Book PDF Free Download

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