Beowulf (Opening Lines)

Hwæt! We Gar-Dena   in gear-dagum

þeod-cyninga,   þrym gefrunon,

hu ða æþelingas   ellen fremedon!

Oft Scyld Scefing   sceaþena þreatum

monegum mægþum   meodo-setla ofteah;

egsode eorl[as]   syððan ærest wearð

feasceaft funden;   he þæs frofre gebad,

weox under wolcnum,   weorð-myndum þah,

oðæt him æghwylc   þara ymb-sittendra

ofer hron-rade   hyran scolde,

gomban gyldan.   Þæt wæs god cyning!

And now, for you who cannot read old English…

What were we War-Danes in our yore-days?

Tribal-Kings! Truly cast that glory past,

how the counts had courage vast!

Oft Scyld Scefing shed Eotens’

many sons of mead-seats often.

Awesome Earl; since erst a whelp

fund-shorn found, was offered help.

Waxed under welkin, won worth-prestige

until all areas we edged with were beseiged

over the whale-road, wide wealth did they bring:

gave up their gold. That was a good king!


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