VIII

HROTHGAR AND BEOWULF—Continued

          Hrothgar discoursed, helm of the Scyldings:
          "To defend our folk and to furnish assistance,
          Thou soughtest us hither, good friend Beowulf.
          The fiercest of feuds thy father engaged in,
5       Heatholaf killed he in hand-to-hand conflict
          'Mid Wilfingish warriors; then the Wederish people
          For fear of a feud were forced to disown him.
          Thence flying he fled to the folk of the South-Danes,
          The race of the Scyldings, o'er the roll of the waters;
10      I had lately begun then to govern the Danemen,
          The hoard-seat of heroes held in my youth,
          Rich in its jewels: dead was Heregar,
          My kinsman and elder had earth-joys forsaken,
          Healfdene his bairn. He was better than I am!
15      That feud thereafter for a fee I compounded;
          O'er the weltering waters to the Wilfings I sent
          Ornaments old; oaths did he swear me.
          It pains me in spirit to any to tell it,
          What grief in Heorot Grendel hath caused me,
20      What horror unlooked-for, by hatred unceasing.
          Waned is my war-band, wasted my hall-troop;
          Weird hath offcast them to the clutches of Grendel.
          God can easily hinder the scather
          From deeds so direful. Oft drunken with beer
25      O'er the ale-vessel promised warriors in armor
          They would willingly wait on the wassailing-benches
          A grapple with Grendel, with grimmest of edges.
          Then this mead-hall at morning with murder was reeking,
          The building was bloody at breaking of daylight,
30      The bench-deals all flooded, dripping and bloodied,
          The folk-hall was gory: I had fewer retainers,
          Dear-beloved warriors, whom death had laid hold of.
          Sit at the feast now, thy intents unto heroes,
          Thy victor-fame show, as thy spirit doth urge thee!"
35      For the men of the Geats then together assembled,
          In the beer-hall blithesome a bench was made ready;
          There warlike in spirit they went to be seated,
          Proud and exultant. A liegeman did service,
          Who a beaker embellished bore with decorum,
40      And gleaming-drink poured. The gleeman sang whilom
          Hearty in Heorot; there was heroes' rejoicing,
          A numerous war-band of Weders and Danemen.