Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race

Page: 24

Beowulf’s resolve to return to his king and his native land.

When Beowulf had come to this decision he went to Hrothgar and said:

“Now we sea-voyagers come hither from afar
Must utter our intent to seek King Hygelac.
Here were we well received, well hast thou treated us.
If on this earth I can do more to win thy love,
O prince of warriors, than I have wrought as yet,
Here stand I ready now weapons to wield for thee.
If I shall ever hear o’er the encircling flood
That any neighbouring foes threaten thy nation’s fall,
As Grendel grim before, swift will I bring to thee
Thousands of noble thanes, heroes to help thee.
I know of Hygelac, King of the Geat folk,
That he will strengthen me (though he is young in years)
[Pg 29] In words and warlike deeds to bear my warrior-spear
Over the ocean surge, when arms would serve thy need,
Swift to thine aid. If thy son Hrethric young
Comes to the Geat court, there to gain skill in arms,
Then will he surely find many friends waiting him:
Better in distant lands learneth by journeying
He who is valiant.”

Hrothgar was greatly moved by the words of the Geat hero and his promise of future help. He wondered to find such wisdom in so young a warrior, and felt that the Geats could never choose a better king if battle should cut off the son of Hygelac, and he renewed his assurance of continual friendship between the two countries and of enduring personal affection. Finally, with fresh gifts of treasure and with tears of regret Hrothgar embraced