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Produced by Karl Hagen and PG Distributed Proofreaders

** Preface to the Project Gutenberg Edition of Beowulf **

This text is a corrected version of the fourth edition of Harrison and
Sharp in its entirety. It comes in two basic versions. The base version,
available in 8-bit (Latin-1) text and HTML, presents the original text as
printed. This file contains the original version. It preserves the
source-text's idiosyncratic use of accented vowels with the exception of
y-circumflex, which is replaced by y-acute (ý) to fit within the Latin-1
character set. Manifestly unintentional errors in the text have been
corrected. In general, this has only been done when the text is internally
inconsistent (e.g., a quotation in the glossary does not match the main
text). Forms that represent deliberate editorial choice have not been
altered, even where they appear wrong. (For example, some of the markings
of vowel length do not reflect current scholarly consensus.) Where an
uncorrected problem may confuse the reader, I have inserted a note
explaining the difficulty, signed KTH. A complete list of the changes made
is appended at the end of the file. In order to make the text more useful
to modern readers, I have also produced a revised edition, available in
Unicode (UTF-8) and HTML. Notes from the source text that indicate changes
adopted in later editions have been incorporated directly into the text and
apparatus. Further, long vowels are indicated with macrons, as is the
common practice of most modern editions. Finally, the quantity of some
words has been altered to the values currently accepted as correct.
Quantities have not been changed when the difference is a matter of
editorial interpretation (e.g., gäst vs. gæst in l. 102, etc.) A list of
these altered quantities appears at the end of the list of corrections.
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Explanation of the Vowel Accenting

In general, Harrison and Sharp use circumflex accents over vowels to mark
long vowels. For ash, however, the actual character 'æ' represents the long
vowel. Short ash is rendered with a-umlaut (ä). The long diphthongs (eo,
ea, etc.) are indicated with an acute accent over the _second_ vowel (eó,
eá, etc.).

** End of PG Preface **















Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1883, by


in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.







The favor with which the successive editions of "Beówulf" have been
received during the past thirteen years emboldens the editors to continue
the work of revision in a fourth issue, the most noticeable feature of
which is a considerable body of explanatory Notes, now for the first time
added. These Notes mainly concern themselves with new textual readings,
with here and there grammatical, geographical, and archæological points
that seemed worthy of explanation. Parallelisms and parallel passages are
constantly compared, with the view of making the poem illustrate and
explain itself. A few emendations and textual changes are suggested by the
editors with all possible diffidence; numerous corrections have been made
in the Glossary and List of Names; and the valuable parts of former
Appendices have been embodied in the Notes.

For the Notes, the editors are much indebted to the various German
periodicals mentioned on page 116, to the recent publications of Professors
Earle and J. L. Hall, to Mr. S. A. Brooke, and to the Heyne-Socin edition
of "Beówulf." No change has been made in the system of accentuation, though
a few errors in quantity have been corrected. The editors are looking
forward to an eventual fifth edition, in which an entirely new text will be

October, 1893.


This third edition of the American issue of Beówulf will, the editors hope,
be found more accurate and useful than either of the preceding editions.
Further corrections in text and glossary have been made, and some
additional new readings and suggestions will be found in two brief
appendices at the back of the book. Students of the metrical system of
Beówulf will find ample material for their studies in Sievers' exhaustive
essay on that subject (Beiträge, X. 209-314).

Socin's edition of Heyne's Beówulf (called the fifth edition) has been
utilized to some extent in this edition, though it unfortunately came too
late to be freely used. While it repeats many of the omissions and
inaccuracies of Heyne's fourth edition, it contains much that is valuable
to the student, particularly in the notes and commentary. Students of the
poem, which has been subjected to much searching criticism during the last
decade, will also derive especial help from the contributions of Sievers
and Kluge on difficult questions appertaining to it. Wülker's new edition
(in the Grein _Bibliothek_) is of the highest value, however one may
dissent from particular textual views laid down in the 'Berichtigter Text.'
Paul and Braune's Beiträge contain a varied miscellany of hints,
corrections, and suggestions principally embodying the views of Kluge,
Cosijn, Sievers, and Bugge, some of the more important of which are found
in the appendices to the present and the preceding edition. Holder and
Zupitza, Sarrazin and Hermann Möller (Kiel, 1883), Heinzel (Anzeiger f.d.
Alterthum, X.), Gering (Zacher's Zeitschrift, XII.), Brenner (Eng. Studien,
IX.), and the contributors to Anglia, have assisted materially in the
textual and metrical interpretation of the poem.

The subject of Anglo-Saxon quantity has been discussed in several able
essays by Sievers, Sweet, Ten Brink (Anzeiger, f.d. Alterthum, V.), Kluge
(Beiträge, XI.), and others; but so much is uncertain in this field that
the editors have left undisturbed the marking of vowels found in the text
of their original edition, while indicating in the appendices the now
accepted views of scholars on the quantity of the personal pronouns (mê,
wê, þû, þê, gê, hê); the adverb nû, etc. Perhaps it would be best to banish
absolutely all attempts at marking quantities except in cases where the Ms.
has them marked.

An approximately complete Bibliography of Beówulf literature will be found
in Wülker's _Grundriss_ and in Garnett's translation of the poem.



LEXINGTON, VA., May, 1888.


The editors feel so encouraged at the kind reception accorded their edition
of Beówulf (1883), that, in spite of its many shortcomings, they have
determined to prepare a second revised edition of the book, and thus
endeavor to extend its sphere of usefulness. About twenty errors had,
notwithstanding a vigilant proof-reading, crept into the text, - errors in
single letters, accents, and punctuation. These have been corrected, and it
is hoped that the text has been rendered generally accurate and
trustworthy. In the List of Names one or two corrections have been made,
and in the Glossary numerous mistakes in gender, classification, and
translation, apparently unavoidable in a first edition, have been
rectified. Wherever these mistakes concern _single_ letters, or occupy very
small space, they have been corrected in the plates; where they are longer,
and the expense of correcting them in the plates would have been very
great, the editors have thought it best to include them in an Appendix of
Corrections and Additions, which will be found at the back of the book.
Students are accordingly referred to this Appendix for important longer
corrections and additions. It is believed that the value of the book has
been much enhanced by an Appendix of Recent Readings, based on late
criticisms and essays from the pens of Sievers, Kluge, Cosijn, Holder,
Wülker, and Sweet. A perplexed student, in turning to these suggested
readings, will often find great help in unravelling obscure or corrupt

The objectionable ä and æ, for the short and the long diphthong, have been
retained in the revised edition, owing to the impossibility of removing
them without entirely recasting the plates.

In conclusion, the editors would acknowledge their great indebtedness to
the friends and critics whose remarks and criticisms have materially aided
in the correction of the text, - particularly to Profs. C.P.G. Scott,
Baskervill, Price, and J.M. Hart; to Prof. J.W. Bright; and to the
authorities of Cornell University, for the loan of periodicals necessary to
the completeness of the revision. While the second revised edition still
contains much that might be improved, the editors cannot but hope that it
is an advance on its predecessor, and that it will continue its work of
extending the study of Old English throughout the land.

JUNE, 1885.


The present work, carefully edited from Heyne's fourth edition, (Paderborn,
1879), is designed primarily for college classes in Anglo-Saxon, rather
than for independent investigators or for seekers after a restored or ideal
text. The need of an American edition of "Beówulf" has long been felt, as,
hitherto, students have had either to send to Germany for a text, or
secure, with great trouble, one of the scarce and expensive English
editions. Heyne's first edition came out in 1863, and was followed in 1867
and 1873 by a second and a third edition, all three having essentially the
same text.

So many important contributions to the "Beówulf" literature were, however,
made between 1873 and 1879 that Heyne found it necessary to put forth a new
edition (1879). In this new, last edition, the text was subjected to a
careful revision, and was fortified by the views, contributions, and
criticisms of other zealous scholars. In it the collation of the unique
"Beówulf" Ms. (Vitellius A. 15: Cottonian Mss. of the British Museum), as
made by E. Kölbing in Herrig's _Archiv_ (Bd. 56; 1876), was followed
wherever the present condition of the Ms. had to be discussed; and the
researches of Bugge, Bieger, and others, on single passages, were made use
of. The discussion of the metrical structure of the poem, as occurring in
the second and third editions, was omitted in the fourth, owing to the many
controversies in which the subject is still involved. The present editor
has thought it best to do the same, though, happily, the subject of Old
English _Metrik_ is undergoing a steady illumination through the labors of
Schipper and others.

Some errors and misplaced accents in Heyne's text have been corrected in
the present edition, in which, as in the general revision of the text, the
editor has been most kindly aided by Prof. J.M. Garnett, late Principal of
St. John's College, Maryland.

In the preparation of the present school edition it has been thought best
to omit Heyne's notes, as they concern themselves principally with
conjectural emendations, substitutions of one reading for another, and
discussions of the condition of the Ms. Until Wülker's text and the
photographic fac-simile of the original Ms. are in the hands of all
scholars, it will be better not to introduce such matters in the school
room, where they would puzzle without instructing.

For convenience of reference, the editor has added a head-line to each
"fit" of the poem, with a view to facilitate a knowledge of its episodes.

LEXINGTON, VA., June, 1882.


The editors now have the pleasure of presenting to the public a complete
text and a tolerably complete glossary of "Beówulf." The edition is the
first published in America, and the first of its special kind presented to
the English public, and it is the initial volume of a "Library of
Anglo-Saxon Poetry," to be edited under the same auspices and with the
coöperation of distinguished scholars in this country. Among these scholars
may be mentioned Professors F.A. March of Lafayette College, T.K. Price of
Columbia College, and W.M. Baskervill of Vanderbilt University.

In the preparation of the Glossary the editors found it necessary to
abandon a literal and exact translation of Heyne for several reasons, and
among others from the fact that Heyne seems to be wrong in the translation
of some of his illustrative quotations, and even translates the same
passage in two or three different ways under different headings. The
orthography of his glossary differs considerably from the orthography of
his text. He fails to discriminate with due nicety the meanings of many of
the words in his vocabulary, while criticism more recent than his latest
edition (1879) has illustrated or overthrown several of his renderings. The
references were found to be incorrect in innumerable instances, and had to
be verified in every individual case so far as this was possible, a few
only, which resisted all efforts at verification, having to be indicated by
an interrogation point (?). The references are exceedingly numerous, and
the labor of verifying them was naturally great. To many passages in the
Glossary, where Heyne's translation could not be trusted with entire
certainty, the editors have added other translations of phrases and
sentences or of special words; and in this they have been aided by a
careful study of the text and a comparison and utilization of the views of
Kemble and Professor J.M. Garnett (who takes Grein for his foundation).
Many new references have been added; and the various passages in which
Heyne fails to indicate whether a given verb is weak or strong, or fails to
point out the number, etc., of the illustrative form, have been corrected
and made to harmonize with the general plan of the work. Numerous misprints
in the glossary have also been corrected, and a brief glossary to the
Finnsburh-fragment, prepared by Dr. Wm. Hand Browne, and supplemented and
adapted by the editor-in-chief, has been added.

The editors think that they may without immodesty put forth for themselves
something more than the claim of being re-translators of a translation: the
present edition is, so far as they were able to make it so, an adaptation,
correction, and extension of the work of the great German scholar to whose
loving appreciation of the Anglo-Saxon epic all students of Old English owe
a debt of gratitude. While following his usually sure and cautious
guidance, and in the main appropriating his results, they have thought it
best to deviate from him in the manner above indicated, whenever it seemed
that he was wrong. The careful reader will notice at once the marks of
interrogation which point out these deviations, or which introduce a point
of view illustrative of, or supplementary to, the one given by the German
editor. No doubt the editors are wrong themselves in many
places, - "Beówulf" is a most difficult poem, - but their view may at least
be defended by a reference to the original text, which they have faithfully
and constantly consulted.

A good many cognate Modern English words have been introduced here and
there in the Glossary with a view to illustration, and other addenda will
be found between brackets and parenthetical marks.

It is hoped that the present edition of the most famous of Old English
poems will do something to promote a valuable and interesting study.

_Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va._

_University of Louisiana, New Orleans_.

April, 1883.

The responsibility of the editors is as follows: H. is responsible for the
Text, and for the Glossary from hrînan on; S. for the List of Names, and
for the Glossary as far as hrînan.


The only national [Anglo-Saxon] epic which has been preserved entire is
Beówulf. Its argument is briefly as follows: - The poem opens with a few
verses in praise of the Danish Kings, especially Scild, the son of Sceaf.
His death is related, and his descendants briefly traced down to Hroðgar.
Hroðgar, elated with his prosperity and success in war, builds a
magnificent hall, which he calls Heorot. In this hall Hroðgar and his
retainers live in joy and festivity, until a malignant fiend, called
Grendel, jealous of their happiness, carries off by night thirty of
Hroðgar's men, and devours them in his moorland retreat. These ravages go
on for twelve years. Beówulf, a thane of Hygelac, King of the Goths,
hearing of Hroðgar's calamities, sails from Sweden with fourteen
warriors - to help him. They reach the Danish coast in safety; and, after an
animated parley with Hroðgar's coastguard, who at first takes them for
pirates, they are allowed to proceed to the royal hall, where they are well
received by Hroðgar. A banquet ensues, during which Beówulf is taunted by
the envious Hunferhð about his swimming-match with Breca, King of the
Brondings. Beówulf gives the true account of the contest, and silences
Hunferhð. At night-fall the King departs, leaving Beówulf in charge of the
hall. Grendel soon breaks in, seizes and devours one of Beówulf's
companions; is attacked by Beówulf, and, after losing an arm, which is torn
off by Beówulf, escapes to the fens. The joy of Hroðgar and the Danes, and
their festivities, are described, various episodes are introduced, and
Beówulf and his companions receive splendid gifts. The next night Grendel's
mother revenges her son by carrying off Æschere, the friend and councillor
of Hroðgar, during the absence of Beówulf. Hroðgar appeals to Beówulf for
vengeance, and describes the haunts of Grendel and his mother. They all
proceed thither; the scenery of the lake, and the monsters that dwell in
it, are described. Beówulf plunges into the water, and attacks Grendel's
mother in her dwelling at the bottom of the lake. He at length overcomes
her, and cuts off her head, together with that of Grendel, and brings the
heads to Hroðgar. He then takes leave of Hroðgar, sails back to Sweden, and
relates his adventures to Hygelac. Here the first half of the poem ends.
The second begins with the accession of Beówulf to the throne, after the
fall of Hygelac and his son Heardred. He rules prosperously for fifty
years, till a dragon, brooding over a hidden treasure, begins to ravage the
country, and destroys Beówulf's palace with fire. Beówulf sets out in quest
of its hiding-place, with twelve men. Having a presentiment of his
approaching end, he pauses and recalls to mind his past life and exploits.
He then takes leave of his followers, one by one, and advances alone to
attack the dragon. Unable, from the heat, to enter the cavern, he shouts
aloud, and the dragon comes forth. The dragon's scaly hide is proof against
Beówulf's sword, and he is reduced to great straits. Then Wiglaf, one of
his followers, advances to help him. Wiglaf's shield is consumed by the
dragon's fiery breath, and he is compelled to seek shelter under Beówulf's
shield of iron. Beówulf's sword snaps asunder, and he is seized by the
dragon. Wiglaf stabs the dragon from underneath, and Beówulf cuts it in two
with his dagger. Feeling that his end is near, he bids Wiglaf bring out the
treasures from the cavern, that he may see them before he dies. Wiglaf
enters the dragon's den, which is described, returns to Beówulf, and
receives his last commands. Beówulf dies, and Wiglaf bitterly reproaches
his companions for their cowardice. The disastrous consequences of
Beówulf's death are then foretold, and the poem ends with his funeral. - H.
Sweet, in Warton's _History of English Poetry_, Vol. II. (ed. 1871). Cf.
also Ten Brink's _History of English Literature_.



Hwät! we Gâr-Dena in geâr-dagum
þeód-cyninga þrym gefrunon,
hû þâ äðelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scêfing sceaðena þreátum,
5 monegum mægðum meodo-setla ofteáh.
Egsode eorl, syððan ærest wearð
feá-sceaft funden: he þäs frôfre gebâd,
weôx under wolcnum, weorð-myndum ðâh,
ôð þät him æghwylc þâra ymb-sittendra
10 ofer hron-râde hýran scolde,
gomban gyldan: þät wäs gôd cyning!
þäm eafera wäs äfter cenned
geong in geardum, þone god sende
folce tô frôfre; fyren-þearfe ongeat,
15 þät hie ær drugon aldor-leáse
lange hwîle. Him þäs lîf-freá,
wuldres wealdend, worold-âre forgeaf;
Beówulf wäs breme (blæd wîde sprang),
Scyldes eafera Scede-landum in.
20 Swâ sceal geong guma, gôde gewyrcean,
fromum feoh-giftum on fäder wine,
þät hine on ylde eft gewunigen
wil-gesîðas, þonne wîg cume,
leóde gelæsten: lof-dædum sceal
25 in mægða gehwære man geþeón.
Him þâ Scyld gewât tô gescäp-hwîle
fela-hrôr fêran on freán wære;
hi hyne þâ ätbæron tô brimes faroðe.
swæse gesîðas, swâ he selfa bäd,
30 þenden wordum weóld wine Scyldinga,
leóf land-fruma lange âhte.
Þær ät hýðe stôd hringed-stefna,
îsig and ûtfûs, äðelinges fär;
â-lêdon þâ leófne þeóden,
35 beága bryttan on bearm scipes,
mærne be mäste. Þær wäs mâdma fela,
of feor-wegum frätwa gelæded:
ne hýrde ic cymlîcor ceól gegyrwan
hilde-wæpnum and heaðo-wædum,
40 billum and byrnum; him on bearme läg
mâdma mänigo, þâ him mid scoldon
on flôdes æht feor gewîtan.
Nalas hi hine lässan lâcum teódan,
þeód-gestreónum, þonne þâ dydon,
45 þe hine ät frumsceafte forð onsendon
ænne ofer ýðe umbor wesende:
þâ gyt hie him âsetton segen gyldenne
heáh ofer heáfod, lêton holm beran,
geâfon on gâr-secg: him wäs geômor sefa,
50 murnende môd. Men ne cunnon
secgan tô soðe sele-rædende,
häleð under heofenum, hwâ þäm hläste onfêng.


Þâ wäs on burgum Beówulf Scyldinga,
leóf leód-cyning, longe þrage
55 folcum gefræge (fäder ellor hwearf,
aldor of earde), ôð þät him eft onwôc
heáh Healfdene; heóld þenden lifde,
gamol and gûð-reów, gläde Scyldingas.
Þäm feówer bearn forð-gerîmed
60 in worold wôcun, weoroda ræswan,
Heorogâr and Hrôðgâr and Hâlga til;
hýrde ic, þat Elan cwên Ongenþeówes wäs
Heaðoscilfinges heals-gebedde.
Þâ wäs Hrôðgâre here-spêd gyfen,
65 wîges weorð-mynd, þät him his wine-mâgas
georne hýrdon, ôð þät seó geogoð geweôx,
mago-driht micel. Him on môd bearn,
þät heal-reced hâtan wolde,
medo-ärn micel men gewyrcean,
70 þone yldo bearn æfre gefrunon,
and þær on innan eall gedælan
geongum and ealdum, swylc him god sealde,
bûton folc-scare and feorum gumena.
Þâ ic wîde gefrägn weorc gebannan
75 manigre mægðe geond þisne middan-geard,
folc-stede frätwan. Him on fyrste gelomp
ädre mid yldum, þät hit wearð eal gearo,
heal-ärna mæst; scôp him Heort naman,
se þe his wordes geweald wîde häfde.
80 He beót ne âlêh, beágas dælde,
sinc ät symle. Sele hlifade
heáh and horn-geáp: heaðo-wylma bâd,
lâðan lîges; ne wäs hit lenge þâ gen
þät se ecg-hete âðum-swerian
85 äfter wäl-nîðe wäcnan scolde.
Þâ se ellen-gæst earfoðlîce
þrage geþolode, se þe in þýstrum bâd,
þät he dôgora gehwâm dreám gehýrde
hlûdne in healle; þær wäs hearpan swêg,
90 swutol sang scôpes. Sägde se þe cûðe

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