Grendel's Raid

Grendel’s Raid

(From Beowulf)

Then came Grendel, advancing from the moor, under the misty slopes; God’s anger rested on him. The deadly foe thought to entrap one of the human race in the high Hall: he strode beneath the clouds in such wise that he might best discern the wine-building, the gold chamber of men, resplendent with adornment. Nor was that the first time that he had visited Hrothgar’s home. Never in the days of his life, before or since, did he discover a braver warrior and hall-guards.

So this creature, deprived of joys, came journeying to the hall. The door, fastened by four bands, opened straightway, when he touched it with his hand. Thus, bent on destruction, for he was swollen with rage, he tore away the entrance of the building.

Quickly, after that, the fiend stepped onto the fair-paved floor, advanced in angry mood; out of his eyes there started a weird light, most like a flame. He saw many men in the hall, a troop of kinsmen, a band of warriors, sleeping all together. Then his spirit exulted; he, the cruel monster, resolved that he would sever the soul of every one of them from his body before day came; for the hope of feasting full had come to him. That was no longer his fortune, that he should devour more of human kind after that night. Hygelac’s mighty kinsman kept watching how the murderous foe would set to work with his sudden snatchings. The monster was not minded to put it off, but quickly seized a sleeping warrior as a first start, rent him undisturbed, bit his sinews, drank the blood from his veins, swallowed bite after bite, and soon he had eaten up all of the dead man, even his feet and hands.

Forward and nearer he advanced, and then seized with his hands the doughty warrior on his bed—the fiend reached out towards him with his claw. He (Beowulf) at once took in his evil plans, and pressed heavily on his (Grendel’s) arm. Instantly the master of crimes realized that never in this middle-world, these regions of earth, had he met with a mightier hand-grip in any other man. He became affrighted in soul and spirit, but he could get away no faster for all that. His mind was bent on getting off,—he wished to flee into the darkness and go back to the herd of devils. His case was unlike anything he had met with in his lifetime there before. Then Hygelac’s brave kinsman was mindful of his evening speech: he stood erect and grasped him tight,—his fingers burst. The monster was moving out; the chief stepped forward too. The infamous creature thought to slip further off, wheresoever he could, and to flee away thence to his fen-refuge; he knew the power of his fingers was in the foeman’s grip. That was a sorry journey which the baleful fiend had made to Heorot!

The warrior’s hall resounded, there was panic among all the Danes, the castle-dwellers, the nobles and the heroes every one. Both the raging wardens of the house were furious; the building rang again. Then was it a great wonder that the wine-hall was proof against the savage fighters,—that the fair earthly dwelling did not fall to the ground; yet it was (made) firm enough for it, inside and out, by means of iron clamps, forged with curious art. There, where the foemen fought, many a mead-bench adorned with gilding, started from the sill, as I have heard. Before that, veterans of the Scyldings weened that no man could shatter it, splendid and horn-bedecked, in any wise, or ruin it by craft, although the embrace of fire might swallow it in smoke.

A sound arose, startling enough; a horrible fear clung to the North Danes, to everyone who heard the shrieking from the wall—(heard) the adversary of God chant his grisly lay, his song of non-success,—the prisoner of hell wailing over his wound. He held him fast who was strongest of men in might in this life’s day!

The defender of nobles would not by any means let the murderous visitor escape alive,—he did not count his (Grendel’s) life (-days) of use to any of the people. There many a noble of Beowulf’s company brandished an old ancestral weapon—they wished to protect the life of their lord, of their famous chief, if so be they might. They did not know, brave-minded men of war, when they took part in the contest, and thought to hew at him on every side, and to hunt out his life, that no war-bill on earth, no best of sabers,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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