Beowulf XIX

Beowulf book cover
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          A beaker was borne him, and bidding to quaff it
          Graciously given, and gold that was twisted
          Pleasantly proffered, a pair of arm-jewels,
          Rings and corslet, of collars the greatest
5       I've heard of 'neath heaven. Of heroes not any
          More splendid from jewels have I heard 'neath the welkin,
          Since Hama off bore the Brosingmen's necklace,
          The bracteates and jewels, from the bright-shining city,
          Eormenric's cunning craftiness fled from,
10      Chose gain everlasting. Geatish Higelac,
          Grandson of Swerting, last had this jewel
          When tramping 'neath banner the treasure he guarded,
          The field-spoil defended; Fate offcarried him
          When for deeds of daring he endured tribulation,
15      Hate from the Frisians; the ornaments bare he
          O'er the cup of the currents, costly gem-treasures,
          Mighty folk-leader, he fell 'neath his target;
          The corpse of the king then came into charge of
          The race of the Frankmen, the mail-shirt and collar:
20      Warmen less noble plundered the fallen,
          When the fight was finished; the folk of the Geatmen
          The field of the dead held in possession.
          The choicest of mead-halls with cheering resounded.
          Wealhtheo discoursed, the war-troop addressed she:
25      "This collar enjoy thou, Beowulf worthy,
          Young man, in safety, and use thou this armor,
          Gems of the people, and prosper thou fully,
          Show thyself sturdy and be to these liegemen
          Mild with instruction! I'll mind thy requital.
30      Thou hast brought it to pass that far and near
          Forever and ever earthmen shall honor thee,
          Even so widely as ocean surroundeth
          The blustering bluffs. Be, while thou livest,
          A wealth-blessèd atheling. I wish thee most truly
35      Jewels and treasure. Be kind to my son, thou
          Living in joyance! Here each of the nobles
          Is true unto other, gentle in spirit,
          Loyal to leader. The liegemen are peaceful,
          The war-troops ready: well-drunken heroes,
40      Do as I bid ye." Then she went to the settle.
          There was choicest of banquets, wine drank the heroes:
          Weird they knew not, destiny cruel,
          As to many an earlman early it happened,
          When evening had come and Hrothgar had parted
45      Off to his manor, the mighty to slumber.
          Warriors unnumbered warded the building
          As erst they did often: the ale-settle bared they,
          'Twas covered all over with beds and pillows.
          Doomed unto death, down to his slumber
50      Bowed then a beer-thane. Their battle-shields placed they,
          Bright-shining targets, up by their heads then;
          O'er the atheling on ale-bench 'twas easy to see there
          Battle-high helmet, burnie of ring-mail,
          And mighty war-spear. 'Twas the wont of that people
55      To constantly keep them equipped for the battle,
          At home or marching--in either condition--
          At seasons just such as necessity ordered
          As best for their ruler; that people was worthy.