I

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SCYLD

          Lo! the Spear-Danes' glory through splendid achievements
          The folk-kings' former fame we have heard of,
          How princes displayed then their prowess-in-battle.
          Oft Scyld the Scefing from scathers in numbers
5       From many a people their mead-benches tore.
          Since first he found him friendless and wretched,
          The earl had had terror: comfort he got for it,
          Waxed 'neath the welkin, world-honor gained,
          Till all his neighbors o'er sea were compelled to
10      Bow to his bidding and bring him their tribute:
          An excellent atheling! After was borne him
          A son and heir, young in his dwelling,
          Whom God-Father sent to solace the people.
          He had marked the misery malice had caused them,
15      That reaved of their rulers they wretched had erstwhile
          Long been afflicted. The Lord, in requital,
          Wielder of Glory, with world-honor blessed him.
          Famed was Beowulf, far spread the glory
          Of Scyld's great son in the lands of the Danemen.
20      So the carle that is young, by kindnesses rendered
          The friends of his father, with fees in abundance
          Must be able to earn that when age approacheth
          Eager companions aid him requitingly,
          When war assaults him serve him as liegemen:
25      By praise-worthy actions must honor be got
          'Mong all of the races. At the hour that was fated
          Scyld then departed to the All-Father's keeping
          Warlike to wend him; away then they bare him
          To the flood of the current, his fond-loving comrades,
30      As himself he had bidden, while the friend of the Scyldings
          Word-sway wielded, and the well-lovèd land-prince
          Long did rule them. The ring-stemmèd vessel,
          Bark of the atheling, lay there at anchor,
          Icy in glimmer and eager for sailing;
35      The belovèd leader laid they down there,
          Giver of rings, on the breast of the vessel,
          The famed by the mainmast. A many of jewels,
          Of fretted embossings, from far-lands brought over,
          Was placed near at hand then; and heard I not ever
40      That a folk ever furnished a float more superbly
          With weapons of warfare, weeds for the battle,
          Bills and burnies; on his bosom sparkled
          Many a jewel that with him must travel
          On the flush of the flood afar on the current.
45      And favors no fewer they furnished him soothly,
          Excellent folk-gems, than others had given him
          Who when first he was born outward did send him
          Lone on the main, the merest of infants:
          And a gold-fashioned standard they stretched under heaven
50      High o'er his head, let the holm-currents bear him,
          Seaward consigned him: sad was their spirit,
          Their mood very mournful. Men are not able
          Soothly to tell us, they in halls who reside,
          Heroes under heaven, to what haven he hied.