It’s alive! No, wait…it’s just another biochemist that’s got it’s hands on a two-core tower of power (what can we say? They’re all broke until after the PhD). So, the story is that on the occasions when I had access to a computer over break I had no access to my translations. Now that I’m back, I have a fair amount of work, but also motivation in the form of wonderful, inquisitive family and friends. Here’s one of the woefully unpolished versions of a translation I meant to post over the holidays. Next up is the Lay of the Last Survivor. Enjoy.

Ordered he for him then be made, warriors’ protector,
all of iron, lord of earls,
a warboard wondrous; he knew well
that forest wood would not help him,
wood with fire. He must of his passing days
the prince of proven excellence experience the end
of the world’s life, and the worm also,
though the hoardwealth he had long held.
Disdained then the prince of rings
that he that far-flier with a host of men sought,
with large army; He did not fear for himself in battle,
nor to him the worm’s power anything did,
strength and courage, because he had done much before:
harsh straits risked, combat survived,
in the crash of battles, since he Hroðgar’s,
man blessed with victory, hall cleansed
and at combat crushed to death Grendel’s kindred,
hateful kind. Nor that the least was
in the hand-combat where a man slew Hygelac
after the king of the Geats in the onslaught of battle,
lord and friend of the folk, in Frisia
Hreðel’s son in the sword-drink died,
by the sword struck. From there Beowulf came
by his own strength, by the use of the sea;
he had on his arms thirty thanes’
battle gear when he went to the sea.
Not at all had the Hetwars** reason to exult
of the foot battle when he in front went forth
shield bearing; few afterwards came
from that warrior to go home.
Swam he then over the expanse of the sea, son of Ecgðeow,
wretched one alone, afterwards to his people,
there Hygd bade him take hoard and kingdom,
rings and royal throne; she didn’t trust her child
that he with foreign peoples the ancestral throne
would be able to hold, now that Hygelac was dead.
None the sooner, yet the destitute might not prevail upon
that prince in any way
that he to Heardred* lord would be,
or that royal kingdom would accept;
However he to him* in the fold in friendly counsel held,
with good will, with honor, until he* older became
and the Weather Geats ruled.

*Heardred, son of Hygelac and Hygd. Sorry, but it’s not much clearer (if anything, it’s murkier) in the Old English.
**The Hetwars were a Frankish tribe. Beowulf’s liege, Hygelac, died against them in battle in Frisia.

Advertisements