Beowulf: Translated by William Ellery Leonard

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Date: 750 AD

CHAPTER XVIII

The Scop chants how Wealhtheow too gave presents to Beowulf, and how one of these presents was a collar which years thereafter Beowulf’s Uncle, King Hygelac, wore as he fell in a famous raid down the Frisian Coast. (That was a real raid, historians of the Teutonic tribes assure us; and Hygelac was a real historical personage who lived in the sixth century. Perhaps Beowulf once really lived too; yet I for one doubt if he really did all the big things our Scop tells about him- though it is pleasant and good for us to make-believe he did.) And after Wealhtheow’s gifting and speaking, Hrothgar and others, Beowulf and the Queen too, left the Hall for their rest, leaving behind many jarlmen. These jarlmen took down the feasting boards that had stood on moveable supports in front of the benches along the walls, and made ready for sleep, unwitting that new terror and woe lurked outside in the night.

To him she bare the goblet, and friendly words spake she,

And armlets twain of twisted gold she proffered graciously,

And rings and a war-coat, and best of collars too

That ever on earth I heard of.

[Nay, I never knew

Under heaven a hero’s treasure goodly more

Since Hama to his bright burg the Brisings’ necklace bore,

With clasp and costly setting. (He fled the wily mood

Of Eormenric, that angry King, and chose eternal good.)

This was the very collar that Hygelac had on,

The Geatman, scion of Swerting, his last of raids upon,

When he beneath his banner was fending booty won,

And spoils of war was warding. Wyrd took him at a stroke,

When in his pride he trouble sought and feud with Frisian folk.

Yea, he, the mighty Chieftain, these precious stones had ta’en,

These fair adornments, with him across the bowl-of-the-main;

And now that he had fallen beneath his shield at last,

His corpse, his mail and collar, unto the Frankmen passed.

The weaker host was reaving the spoils of warriors dead

After this battle-hewing; and this slaughter-stead

The Geatish men were holding.]

The hall rang out in glee;

Wealhtheow made a speech then; before the band spake she:

"Have joy of this collar, with weal, beloved Youth!

This war-coat use, my Beowulf- a royal gift in sooth-

Thrive thou well and show thee ever strong and free,

And unto these my boys here kind in counsels be:

For that will I be mindful of recompense to thee!

Thou hast done so doughtily that for many a year

Men shall do thee honor both from far and near,

As widely as the sea-waves wash each windy wall;

As long as ever thou livest to thee may good befall!

I wish thee well with treasures! Unto this my boy

In deeds of thine be helpful, guarding him his joy!

Here is each jarl to other true and mild of mood,

Faithful to his Overlord; all the thanes are good,

The folk at one and ready, the revelling fighters free.

Do thou as I bid thee."

Unto her seat went she.

Here was the best of feastings; here drank of wine the bold;

They wist not Wyrd was walking, this grim Fate of old,

Forth for many a jarl there. When the eve had come

And Hrothgar had hied him unto his own home-

Unto his rest, the Chieftain- then did guard the floor

A goodly count of jarlmen as oft they did before.

The bench-boards they bare off; and through the hall did strew

The beddings and the bolsters. And of that boisterous crew

Was one to rest who laid him- ne’er to wake anew.

At heads they set their bucklers their war-wood bright.

On bench above each aetheling there was plain to sight

The steep battle-helmets, the byrnies of rings,

The spear-shafts sturdy. For these aethelings

Were wont to be full often ready for the fray

At home or on a harrying,- be whichever it may,-

Even on such of seasons as when befell some stroke

Against their Lord and Master. That was a doughty folk

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Chicago: "Chapter XVIII," Beowulf: Translated by William Ellery Leonard Original Sources, accessed August 12, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4LT8DSBPXQC1XCA.

MLA: . "Chapter XVIII." Beowulf: Translated by William Ellery Leonard, Original Sources. 12 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4LT8DSBPXQC1XCA.

Harvard: , 'Chapter XVIII' in Beowulf: Translated by William Ellery Leonard. Original Sources, retrieved 12 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4LT8DSBPXQC1XCA.