19 March 2012

Fifth Chunk of Fitt XXXV: The battle against the dragon continues

Once again, here it is in first draft. This brings the translation to 80% complete. The battle of Beowulf and the dragon is in full swing here.


The serpent came--coiling, burning--
rushing to its fate. The famous ruler
had body and soul safe for a while
in the shield's shelter, though a shorter time
than he had wished, when it was tested
that first trial. But fate withheld
glory in battle. The Geats' leader
lifted his hand to the loathesomely-hued
with his heirloom sword so the edge weakened,
bright on the bone. It bit less fiercely
than men's master demanded of it,
goaded by need. The guard of the barrow,
after the battle-blow, was bloody-minded,
He spewed deadly fire that spread out far,
a battle light. No boast was made
by the Geats' gold-friend. His good sword failed
naked in battle, as it never should,
that wonderful weapon. Nor was it easy
for the honoured son of Ecgtheow
to willingly hazard the whole world.
Against his will, he would soon enter
a distant dwelling, as does each man
when his loaned days end. Not long after,
the fierce fighters faced each other.
The hoard-guard took heart, heaved in a breath
another time. He knew torture,
folded in flames, who formerly ruled.
Not in the least did his loyal companions
sons of nobles, stand around him
brave in battle. They backed off to the trees
to save their lives. One soul alone
was filled with care. Kinship can never
weaken at all in one who thinks well.

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