The Haunting of Heorot Hall
Hwæt! Wé Gárdena in géardagum
þéodcyninga þrym gefrúnon·
hú ðá æþelingas ellen fremedon.
We have learned of the War Danes in the olden days,
Of their clan kings, their bravery,
How those heroes did deeds of glory.
King Hrothgar was given such success in battle,
honour in war, that his men eagerly served him
until the young band of warriors grew
into a mighty host; It came into Hrothgar’s mind
that a hall-house, be built by men.
þæt wæs gód cyning. --That was a good king!
He wished to command a great mead-hall,
which the sons of men should hear of forever,
and within it to share out
to young and old, all God gave him,
except the common land and the lives of men.
Then, I heard, the work was commissioned widely
From peoples in many lands throughout this middle-earth, to furnish this hall for his folk.
Soon it came to pass, that it was fully finished,
the best of royal halls; Hrothgar named it Heorot,
he whose words had command everywhere.
Hrothgar kept his vows; béagas daélde--rings he dealt out, riches at his feasts. The hall towered, high and horn-gabled.
Block and Strum chords here, upbeat music.
So the lord's men lived in joys, happily,
Stark shift in tone/music
--Until one began
to execute atrocities, a fiend in hell;
That ellengaést, impatiently endured a dreary time,
he who dwelt in darkness,
he that heard happiness loud in the hall every day;
The harmony of the harp,
the sweet song of the poet
This grimma gaést was called Grendel,
Infamous mearcstapa, he who held the moors,
fen and desolate strong-hold; the lands of the fivel-kin.
The wretched creature ruled for a while
since the Creator had condemned
him with the clan of Cain; because Cain slew Abel
Cain did not enjoy that fued,
For his crime the Ruler
drove him far away from mankind;
The eternal Lord avenged that killing.
From Cain awoke misbegotten offspring:
Eotenas ond ylfe
Ond orcnéäs also gigantes, who strove with God for a long time; He gave them their reward for that.
When night came he went to visit and see
the high house, how they fared,
the Ring-Danes after the beer-feast,
He found then therein the noble company
slumbering after the feast; they knew no sorrow,
the misery of men.
That damned creature, savage and cruel
grim ond graédig -- was soon ready,
and from their rest seized
thirty thanes; from there he went
to his home, proud in plunder
Heading back slaughter-full to seek his shelter.
Then in the dark of dawn before the day
Grendel's gúðcræft was revealed to the men;
so after their evening joy they raised up lament
a great cry in the morning. The mighty chieftain,
the prince, old and good, sat in sorrow.
The great mighty one suffered, felt sorrow for his thanes;
when they beheld the tracks of the foe,
of the wicked ghoul; that hardship was too strong,
láð ond longsum. Nor was it a longer time
but after a single night that Grendel did greater slaughter violence and viciousness,
and it grieved him not, he was too intent on it.
Then it was easy to find the man who would seek rest somewhere else, further away, a bed among the outbuildings, when it was made clear to him, told by clear proof, the enmity of he who controlled the hall. A man kept himself further and safer, he who shunned that fiend.
(Grendel theme x2, under)
Thus Grendel ruled and fought against right,
one against all, until that finest of houses stood empty.
Mournful ballads made it known to men of many kingdoms of Grendel’s long persecution of King Hrothgar.
Transition to Hero (Beowulf vamp and theme)
A hero among the Geatish people heard of Grendel’s crimes
He was at that time the strongest man on earth--
noble and mighty;
he ordered a wave-crosser be prepared
--a good one--;
He said he wished to seek King Hrothgar
that mighty clan-chief, over the swan-road
Urged by the wind it flew like a bird.
The worthy one had, chosen champions from the Geatish peoples, the boldest he could find; fifteen together, the men bore into the bosom of boat
bright arms and armour,
the fellows shoved off, in a well-braced ship.
They came marching straight to Heorot hall
in their grim gear, sea-weary;
Then the renowned one, that proud prince of the Geatish nation, spoke
“We are King Hygelac's table companions
Beowulf is my name and now against Grendel I am bound, to settle the affair with the troll, with that terrible creature.
I request one favor that you do not refuse me, king of the Danes
That I alone, with my company of heroes, cleanse Heorot.
Beowulf theme, no vamp
Then treasure-giving king with wizened hair was joyful the guardian of the folk, heard in Beowulf firmly-resolved intent;
he accepted Beowulf’s offer. There was the laughter of heroes, the noise made melody, words were joyful.
'Since I was able to raise hand and shield
I never before entrusted, to any man
this best of houses, Keep it now and hold it.
Focus on glory, show great valour,
keep watch against the enemy;
If you survive this bold task with your life.
your desires will lack nothing.
Then Hrothgar the protector of the Scyldings,
went with his band of heroes, out of the hall;
The glorious king had appointed a special hall guardian,
eotonweard' ábéad. Beowulf kept the ogre-watch.
Indeed the prince of the Geats keenly trusted
in his prodigious power, his Maker's favour,
when he took from himself burnished-corslet,
helm from head, gave his adorned sword,
the choicest of irons, to his retainer,
and commanded him to guard his battle-gear;
the good man then spoke words of oath.
Nó ic mé an herewæsmun hnágran talige
gúþgeweorca þonne Grendel hine·
'I don’t count myself poorer
in works of war then Grendel himself;
He knows not the fine art of armed combat that he may strike me back, hew my rimmed-shield, although he is renowned for malicious works.
Therefore I shall not slay him with my sword
deprive of life, though I am fully able.
The holy Lord will allot glory, as seems fitting to Him.'
The war-bold one then bent himself down
The bolster received the earl’s cheek and round him many brave seaman sank down in hall-slumber;
Ðá cóm of móre under misthleoþum
Grendel gongan· godes yrre bær·
Then from the moor under the misty cliffs
Grendel came, Bearing God's ire.
The vile ravager meant to snare a sample
of mankind in the high hall;
Wód under wolcnum
He waded under the clouds until he saw it shining,
--the gold-hall of men--
It was not the first time that
he had sought Hrothgar's home;
But never in his life, before or after,
Did he find harder luck, hardier hall thanes.
He came then to the hall who had been barred from its merriment;
Now the iron-banded door rushed open at a tap of his hands;
Enraged he ripped open the mouth of that building
advancing angrily on the patterned floor;
From his eyes issued, léoht unfaéger
an unlovely light; more like a flame,
he saw many warriors in the hall
a sleeping company of kinsmen
a great host of warriors gathered together.
Then his heart laughed:
now that a hope of a full feast had befallen him.
The cruel beast,
intended to deprive, life from body
from each one ere the day came,
It was not his fate after that night
to partake of mankind again.
The kinsman of Hygelac,
that mighty man beheld, how the cruel killer
Would act by means of a sudden attack
that the monster did not think to delay,
but at the first occasion, he quickly grasped,
a sleeping warrior, rended him without restraint,
bát bánlocan· blód édrum dranc·
Bit into the bone-locks, from the veins drank blood,
swallowed great chunks; soon he had
the unliving one all devoured,
fét ond folma feet and hands;
Then he stepped closer,
taking with his hands the stout-hearted
warrior from his rest, reached towards him
the foe with his palm; Beowulf grasped
Grendel’s evil intentions and grabbed Grendel’s arm.
At once that shepherd of atrocities discovered,
that he had not met in middle-earth,
in the expanse of the world,
a greater hand-grip in another man;
in his heart grew a fear for his life
He was eager to leave, to flee into the darkness,
to seek the devils' concourse; But he couldn’t get away sooner;
His situation was not
like any he ever met in the days of his life.
The kinsman of Hygelac, that good man, then remembered,
his vow to the king; He stood up
and held him fast; fingers burst;
The troll was striving to get out, but the earl stepped forward.
The infamous one meant to escape anywhere he might,
away from there flee to his secret places in the fen;
he knew his fingers' might was in his enemy's power,
That was a bitter journey the harm-scatha
had taken to Heorot,
The noble hall broke into a din;
enraged were both fierce hall-wards; the hall resounded.
Then it was a great wonder that the wine-hall
withstood the war-fighters, that it did not fall to the ground, the fair hold, but it was so firm
So skilfully smithed; inside and out with iron-bands
Many mead-benches, adorned with gold,
broke away from the floor
where the enemies struggled;
I heard, it was not thought before,
by the sages of the Scyldings,
that by any means any men could break it up,
So splendid and bone-adorned,
cleverly cleave it asunder;
not unless fire's embrace
swallowed it in inferno.
A sound rose up,
the North-Danes stood
in ghastly horror,
in each one of
them who heard the weeping,
the terrible screaming,
a joyless song,
godes andsacen, Helle hæfton
bewailing his wound;
He held him fast,
who was of men in might strongest
in this life on that day.
The protector of earls had no wish for any reason
to release alive the murderous guest ,
nor allow his life-days counted as advantage
to any people
There many warriors of Beowulf brandished
their ancestral blades,
and on each side thought to hew,
to seek the soul:
they wished to defend their lord's life,
that legendary leader's,
if they could do so;
they did not know,
when they joined the fray,
the bold-minded, battle-men,
That the troll had cursed victory-weapons
the choicest of irons,
None at all could greet Grendel
the sin-scather had charmed the cutting edge of every blade.
His life-severing was bound to
be wretched, on that day
and the strange one would journey far away;
into the administration of fiends
Then he, miseries in his mind,
he who before many atrocities committed on mankind
--he, who fought with God--
Found that his limb would not obey,
but that the daring kinsman of Hygelac
had him by the hand;
each was by the other loathed while living;
body-pain he felt, the awful ogre tormenter;
on his shoulder a great wound appeared,
seonowe onsprungon, burston bánlocan
The sinews unsprung , the bone-locks burst;
To Beowulf was given war-glory.
Grendel had to
flee from there, sick unto death
under the hills of the fen,
to seek his joyless abode;
He knew it more surely
that was his life's end had arrived,
the day-count of his days.
For the Danes were all wishes come to pass:
after that bloody onslaught.
He had then cleansed,
He who had come from afar,
shrewd and strong-minded,
rescued from ruin the hall of Hrothgar,
he rejoiced in his night's work,
in valour from great deeds; the Geatmen's leader,
had fulfilled his oath to the East-Danes;
So too anguish all remedied,
grievous sorrow, that they had ere endured,
and in hard distress had to suffer,
no small misery; It was a clear sign,
when the battle-bold one placed
hond, earm ond eaxle, Grendles grápe
the hand, arm and shoulder
-- Grendel’s grip--
under the gaping roof.