Old English




XXXVI - Beowulf and Wiglaf fight the dragon

lines 2602 - 2693

Wígláf wæs háten     Wéoxstánes sunu	
Wiglaf he was called,    son of Weohstan,
léoflíc lindwiga    léod Scylfinga	
noble shield-fighter,    man of the Scylfings,
maég Ælfheres·    geseah his mondryhten	
kinsman of Ælfhere;    he saw his liege-lord                                    2604
under heregríman    hát þrówian·	
under the war-mask    suffering heat;
gemunde ðá ðá áre    þé hé him aér forgeaf	
he remembered then the honour    that he had given him before,
wícstede weligne    Waégmundinga,	
lush dwelling-place    of the Waegmundings,
folcrihta gehwylc    swá his fæder áhte·	
to each folk-rights,    as his father had owned;
ne mihte ðá forhabban·    hond rond geféng	
then he could not hold back,    his hand seized his round shield,     2609
geolwe linde·    gomelswyrd getéah·	
yellow lindenwood,    he drew his ancient sword;
þæt wæs mid eldum    Éanmundes láf	
it was among men    the legacy of Eanmund,
suna Óhtere·    þám æt sæcce wearð	
son of Ohthere;    of him in battle was,
wræcca wineléasum    Wéohstánes bana	
of the friendless exile,    Weohstan his slayer
méces ecgum    ond his mágum ætbær	
by maiche's edges,    and to his kinsman he brought back               2614
brúnfágne helm    hringde byrnan	
bright-gleaming helm,    ringed byrnie,
ealdsweord etonisc·    þæt him Onela forgeaf	
an old ogrish sword;    that to him Onela returned,
his gædelinges    gúðgewaédu	
his kinsman's    war-garment,
fyrdsearo fúslíc·    nó ymbe ðá faéhðe spræc	
war-devised clothing;    he did not speak of the feud,
þéah ðe hé his bróðor bearn    ábredwade·	
though he his brother's son    had slain;                                           2619
hé frætwe gehéold    fela misséra	
he held the treasures    for many seasons,
bill ond byrnan    oð ðæt his byre mihte	
bill and byrnie,    until his son could
eorlscipe efnan    swá his aérfæder·	
accomplish noble deeds    like his old father;
geaf him ðá mid Géatum     gúðgewaéda	
then, among the Geats, he gave him     war-clothing,
aéghwæs unrím    þá hé of ealdre gewát	
of all kinds, in countless number,    then he went from life,            2624
fród on forðweg.    Þá wæs forma síð	
wise, on the way forth.    Then was the first time
geongan cempan     þæt hé gúðe raés	
for the young champion,    that he the rush of war
mid his fréodryhtne    fremman sceolde·	
with his noble lord    had to perform;
ne gemealt him se módsefa    né his mægenes láf	
his spirited heart in him did not melt away,    nor the remainder of his strength
gewác æt wíge·    þa se wyrm onfand	
fail in the fight;    then the wyrm had discovered,                            2629
syððan híe tógædre     gegán hæfdon.	
when they together    had come.
Wígláf maðelode·    wordrihta fela	
Wiglaf spoke,    many proper words
sægde gesíðum    --him wæs sefa geómor--:	
he said to his companions    --his heart was sad in him--:
'Ic ðæt maél geman     þaér wé medu þégun	
'I recall that time,     where we partook of mead,
þonne wé gehéton    ússum hláforde	
when we promised    to our lord                                                       2634
in bíorsele    ðé ús ðás béagas geaf	
in the beer-hall,    he who gave us rings,
þæt wé him ðá gúðgetawa    gyldan woldon	
that we to him for the war-gear    wished to repay,
gif him þyslicu    þearf gelumpe,	
if for him such    a need arose,
helmas ond heard sweord.    Ðé hé úsic on herge gecéas	
with helmets and hard swords.    Because of that he chose us from the army
tó ðyssum síðfate    sylfes willum·	
for this adventure    of his own desire;                                             2639
onmunde úsic maérða    ond mé þás máðmas geaf	
he deemed us worthy of renown,    and gave me these treasures,
þé hé úsic gárwígend    góde tealde	
because he us spear-warriors    considered excellent,
hwate helmberend    þéah ðe hláford ús	
bold helm-bearers,    though the lord for us
þis ellenweorc    áná áðóhte	
this valiant work    intended alone
tó gefremmanne,    folces hyrde,	
to perform,    the keeper of the folk,                                                 2644
forðán hé manna maést     maérða gefremede	
because he of men the most    glories has achieved,
daéda dollícra.    Nú is sé dæg cumen	
the most audacious deeds.    Now is the day come
þæt úre mandryhten    mægenes behófað	
that our liege-lord    has need of strength
gódra gúðrinca·    wutun gongan tó	
of good war-men;    let us go to,
helpan hildfruman    þenden hyt sÿ	
aid the battle-leader,    while the heat lasts,                                      2649
glédegesa grim.    God wát on mec	
the fierce fire-terror.    God knows of me
þæt mé is micle léofre     þæt mínne líchaman	
that to me it is much more agreeable,    that my body
mid mínne goldgyfan    gléd fæðmie·	
with my gold-giver    the fire embraces;
ne þynceð mé gerysne    þæt wé rondas beren	
it does not seem proper to me,    that we bear shields
eft tó earde    nemne we aéror mægen	
back to our land,    unless we first can                                             2654
fáne gefyllan,    feorh ealgian	
fell the foe,    defend the life
Wedra ðéodnes·    ic wát geare	
of the chief of the Wederas;    I know well,
þæt naéron ealdgewyrht     þæt hé ána scyle	
that his deeds of old are not such,    that he alone should
Géata duguðe    gnorn þrówian,	
of the Geats' retinue    sorrow suffer,
gesígan æt sæcce·    úrum sceal sweord ond helm	
to sink in strife;    for the two of us must sword and helm,              2659
byrne ond byrduscrúd    bám gemaéne.'	
byrnie and rich shroud    both share.'
Wód þá þurh þone wælréc·    wígheafolan bær	
Then he waded through the smoke of slaughter,     bore his war-head
fréan on fultum·    féa worda cwæð:	
to the support of his lord;    a few words he spoke:
'Léofa Bíowulf,    laést eall tela	
'Dear Beowulf,    carry out all well,
swá ðú on geoguðféore    geára gecwaéde	
as you in youth-life    long ago said,                                                2664
þæt ðú ne álaéte    be ðé lifigendum	
that you would not allow,    with you still living,
dóm gedréosan·    scealt nú daédum róf,	
glory to fail;    you must now in bold deeds,
æðeling anhýdig,    ealle mægene	
a noble firm in mind,    with all of your strength,
feorh ealgian·    ic ðé fullaéstu.'	
defend your life;     I shall support you.'
Æfter ðám wordum    wyrm yrre cwóm	
After those words    the wrathful wyrm came,                                2669
atol inwitgæst    óðre síðe	
awful cruel visitor    a second time,
fýrwylmum fáh    fíonda níosian	
with hostile, gleaming flood of fire    to seek his foes
láðra manna·sydaudio    líg ýðum for·	
the hated humans;    the flame came forth in waves,
born bord wið rond·    byrne ne meahte	
burned shield to the boss;    the byrnie could not
geongum gárwigan    géoce gefremman	
to the young spear-fighter    lend support                                        2674
ac se maga geonga    under his maéges scyld	
but the young man,    under his kinsman's shield
elne geéode    þá his ágen wæs	
courageously advanced,    when his own was
glédum forgrunden.    Þá gén gúðcyning	
consumed by fire.    Then again the war-king
miht gemunde·    mægenstrengo slóh	
remembered his strength,    with mighty force struck
hildebille    þæt hyt on heafolan stód	
with his battle-bill,    so that it stood in (the serpent's) head            2679
níþe genýded·    Nægling forbærst·	
driven by violence;    Naegling burst asunder,
geswác æt sæcce    sweord Bíowulfes	
failed in the fight    Beowulf's sword
gomol ond graégmaél·    him þæt gifeðe ne wæs	
ancient and silver-streaked;    it was not granted to him,
þæt him írenna    ecge mihton	
that for him irons'    edges could
helpan æt hilde:    wæs sío hond tó strong	
help in battle:    the hand was too strong,                                         2684
sé ðe méca gehwane    míne gefraége	
that each one of the blades     --I heard--
swenge ofersóhte    þonne hé tó sæcce bær	
in stroke he over-taxed;    when he bore to battle
waépen wundum heard    næs him wihte ðé sél.	
a weapon hardened by wounds,     it was not any better for him.
Þá wæs þéodsceaða    þriddan síðe	
Then the scourge of people     a third time,
frécne fýrdraca    faéhða gemyndig·	
the fierce fire-drake     enmity in mind,                                            2689
raésde on ðone rófan    þá him rúm ágeald	
rushed at the brave man,    when he was yielded space,
hát ond heaðogrim    heals ealne ymbeféng	
hot and battle-fierce,    (Beowulf's) whole neck he clamped
biteran bánum·    hé geblódegod wearð	
between sharp fangs;    he was drenched
sáwuldríore·     swát ýðum wéoll.	
in life-blood;    gore gushed in waves.