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Early Indo-European Texts

Old English

Jonathan Slocum

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.

Beowulf: the Funeral

Geworhton         Wedra lode
hlw on hlie,         s ws hah ond brd,
wglendum         wde gesne,

ond betimbredon         on tn dagum
beadurfes bcn,         bronda lfe
wealle beworhton,         sw hyt weorlcost
foresnotre men         findan mihton.

H on beorg dydon         bg ond siglu,
eall swylce hyrsta,         swylce on horde r
nhdige men         genumen hfdon;

forlton eorla gestron         eoran healdan,
gold on grote,         r hit n gn lifa
eldum sw unnyt,         sw hit ror ws.

ymbe hlw riodan         hildedore,
elinga bearn,         ealra twelfe,

woldon care cwan,         ond kyning mnan,
wordgyd wrecan,         ond ymb wer sprecan;

eahtodan eorlscipe         ond his ellenweorc
duguum dmdon,
--         sw hit gedfe bi,
t mon his winedryhten         wordum herge,
ferhum froge,         onne h for scile
of lichaman         lded weoran.

Sw begnornodon         Gata lode
hlfordes hryre,         heorgenatas;

cwdon t h wre         wyruldcyninga
manna mildust         ond monwrust,
lodum lost         ond lofgeornost.


The people of the Weders built upon the hill a mound, which was high and wide, visible to seafarers from afar, and they constructed in ten days the hero's beacon; they enclosed the ashes from the flames with a wall, as prudent men might most worthily devise it. They placed on the barrow a crown and jewels, all such accoutrements as hostile men had earlier seized; they let the earth hold the wealth of noblemen, gold in the dust, where it still remains as useless to men as it ere was.
Then around the mound rode (those) brave in battle, the sons of noblemen, twelve in all; they wished to voice (their) grief, and bemoan the king, to recite an elegy, and speak about the man; they exalted (his) nobility and highly praised his courageous deeds, -- thus it is fitting, that one should honor his lord in words, should love (him) in spirit, when he shall be led forth from the body. Thus the people of the Geats mourned the death of their lord, (his) friends; they said that he was of earthly kings of men the gentlest and kindest, to (his) people the most gracious and the most eager for praise.