The Opening of Beowulf

(Old English with word-for-word Mod English translation)


Lo! We Spear-Danes in days-of-yore

Hwt! Gār-Dena         in ġeārdagum,

of-kings of the people glory have heard-of

ēod-cyninga,         rym ġefrūnon,

how those princes deeds-of-courage accomplished.

ā elingas         ellen fremedon.

Often Scyld Scefing of-foes hosts

Oft Sċyld Sċefing         sċeaena rēatum,

many peoples of-mead-beaches deprived

monegum mǽgum,         meodo-setla oftēah,

terrified warriors, after he first was

egsode eorlas,         syan ǽrest wear

destitute discovered; he awaited comfort for this,

fēasċeaft funden;         s frōfre gebād,

grew under the clouds, in-glory prospered

wēox under wolcnum,         weormyndum āh,

until to him each of those neighbors

ot him ǽġhwylc         āra ymbsittendra

over the whales-riding obey had-to

ofer hron-rāde         hran scolde,

pay tribute. That was a good king.

gomban gyldan.         t ws gōd cyning.