XVI

HROTHGAR LAVISHES GIFTS UPON HIS DELIVERER

          Then straight was ordered that Heorot inside
          With hands be embellished: a host of them gathered,
          Of men and women, who the wassailing-building
          The guest-hall begeared. Gold-flashing sparkled
5       Webs on the walls then, of wonders a many
          To each of the heroes that look on such objects.
          The beautiful building was broken to pieces
          Which all within with irons was fastened,
          Its hinges torn off: only the roof was
10      Whole and uninjured when the horrible creature
          Outlawed for evil off had betaken him,
          Hopeless of living. 'Tis hard to avoid it
          (Whoever will do it!); but he doubtless must come to
          The place awaiting, as Wyrd hath appointed,
15      Soul-bearers, earth-dwellers, earls under heaven,
          Where bound on its bed his body shall slumber
          When feasting is finished. Full was the time then
          That the son of Healfdene went to the building;
          The excellent atheling would eat of the banquet.
20      Ne'er heard I that people with hero-band larger
          Bare them better tow'rds their bracelet-bestower.
          The laden-with-glory stooped to the bench then
          (Their kinsmen-companions in plenty were joyful,
          Many a cupful quaffing complaisantly),
25      Doughty of spirit in the high-tow'ring palace,
          Hrothgar and Hrothulf. Heorot then inside
          Was filled with friendly ones; falsehood and treachery
          The Folk-Scyldings now nowise did practise.
          Then the offspring of Healfdene offered to Beowulf
30      A golden standard, as reward for the victory,
          A banner embossed, burnie and helmet;
          Many men saw then a song-famous weapon
          Borne 'fore the hero. Beowulf drank of
          The cup in the building; that treasure-bestowing
35      He needed not blush for in battle-men's presence.
          Ne'er heard I that many men on the ale-bench
          In friendlier fashion to their fellows presented
          Four bright jewels with gold-work embellished.
          'Round the roof of the helmet a head-guarder outside
40      Braided with wires, with bosses was furnished,
          That swords-for-the-battle fight-hardened might fail
          Boldly to harm him, when the hero proceeded
          Forth against foemen. The defender of earls then
          Commanded that eight steeds with bridles
45      Gold-plated, gleaming, be guided to hallward,
          Inside the building; on one of them stood then
          An art-broidered saddle embellished with jewels;
          'Twas the sovereign's seat, when the son of King Healfdene
          Was pleased to take part in the play of the edges;
50      The famous one's valor ne'er failed at the front when
          Slain ones were bowing. And to Beowulf granted
          The prince of the Ingwins, power over both,
          O'er war-steeds and weapons; bade him well to enjoy them.
          In so manly a manner the mighty-famed chieftain,
55      Hoard-ward of heroes, with horses and jewels
          War-storms requited, that none e'er condemneth
          Who willeth to tell truth with full justice.