“It is a fair tale, though it is sad, as are all the tales of Middle Earth, and yet it may lift up your hearts.”
-Aragorn
The Fellowship of the Ring

The manuscript is badly damaged here (it’s been through a lot in its time), so the gaps I have represented with ellipses. It picks up with fragments about the slave’s finding of the cup that he steals from the dragon, moving in to the origins of the barrow’s hoard after an unknown number of lost lines. Since there are even more confusing literal translations in this passage than usual, I’ve switched the syntax around to make things match a bit better. If anything is confusing to you, please let me know, and I’ll go back and twiddle with it.

…when the sudden attack befell him.
The precious vessel…there were many of such
in that earth-house of ancient treasures,
which he in olden days, some one of men,
the immense legacy of a noble race,
deep in thought there hid,
dear treasures. All of them by death were carried off
in former times, and he [the] one then still [enduring],
tried warrior of his people, he there lived the longest,
became mourning for friends, expected the same,
that he a little time the ancient treasure
would be able to enjoy. The barrow fully ready
stood on open land near the ocean waves,
newly made by the headland, secured by the art of obfuscation.*
There to the inside he bore the warrior’s treasure,
the ring-guard, a quantity worthy of hoarding
plated with gold; He spoke a few words:
“Hold you now, Earth, now warriors may no longer,
the property of earls! Indeed, it before by those
worthy men attained; death in battle carried [them] off
by terrible mortal harm to each man
of my people, of whom this life have left:
saw the halljoy. There is none who carried the sword
or forth bore the plated cup,
dear drinking cup; tried warriors elsewhere passed
[now] shall from the hard helm’s gold adornments
the plating fall; burnishers sleep in death
that the battlemask should polish;
and so the mailcoat that at battle bore
over the clash of shields the cut of swords
decay as its warrior; nor may the ring of mail shirts
after the war-leader journeyed wide
by warriors’ sides. By no means the joy of the harp,
delight in an instrument, nor good hawk
flies through the hall, nor the swift steeds
stamp in the courtyard. Destructive death has
many a living race before sent off.”
So sad at heart the sorrow expressed,
one after all, joyless moved about
days and nights, ’til death’s surging
touched at his heart.

*literally, “the art of making things inaccessible,” or, perhaps, the art of obfuscation and secretiveness.

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