This page contains a text in Old English with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old English Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old English language and its speakers' culture.
HWÆT, WÉ GÁR-DEna in géardagum
þéodcyninga þrym gefrúnon,
hú ðá æþelingas ellen fremedon!
Oft Scyld Scéfing sceaþena þréatum,
monegum mægþum meodosetla oftéah,
egsode eorlas, syððan ærest wearð
féasceaft funden; hé þæs frófre gebád,
wéox under wolcnum weorðmyndum þáh,
oð þæt him æghwylc ymbsittendra
ofer hronráde hýran scolde,
gomban gyldan; þæt wæs gód cyning!
Ðæm eafera wæs æfter cenned
geong in geardum, þone God sende
folce tó frófre; fyrenðearfe ongeat,
þé híe ær drugon aldorléase
lange hwíle; him þæs Líffrea,
wuldres Wealdend woroldáre forgeaf,
Béowulf wæs bréme -- blæd wíde sprang --
Scyldes eafera Scedelandum in.
Swá sceal geong guma góde gewyrcean,
fromum feohgiftum on fæder bearme,
þæt hine on ylde eft gewunigen
wilgesíþas, þonne wíg cume,
léode gelæsten; lofdædum sceal
in mægþa gehwære man geþeon.
Lo, we have heard of Spear-Danes in days of yore, of folk-kings' prowness, how the princes wrought deeds of valor.
Often Scyld Scefing wrested mead-benches from bands of enemies from many tribes -- terrified earls -- since first he was found abandoned. (He received consolation for that.) He grew under the heavens, thrived with honors until all peoples across the sea had to obey: pay him tribute. That was a good king!
Then a child was born to him, a young man in the court; God sent him to the people for solace. He perceived the dire distress which they suffered before, lordless for a long time. For that the Lord of Light, the Wielder of Glory, gave him worldly honor. Beowulf was renowned; the fame of Scyld's son spread far in Danish lands. Thus should a young man accomplish good with splendid money-gifts while in his father's bosom, so that afterwards men stand by him, dear companions to serve the people when war comes. In all nations, a man is sure to prosper by praiseworthy deeds.