... In the black night it came,Wandering, the shadow-walker. Warriors sleptWho should have held · the antlered hall--All but one. Men knew well enoughThat if God willed it not, no ghostly fiendMight sweep them off · beneath the shadows:But he waited moodily, watching for a monsterTo rise angrily up, the issue of strife.Then, under misty ridges, from the moor, it came;Bearing God’s ire, Grendel prowled.The hate-scather meant · to ensnare some oneOf the line of men · in the lofty hall;It walked under clouds, nearer to the wine-hall,Until its glitter reached him, the golden shining:It knew it at once. For other timesIt had sought the home · of Hrothgar, the king;but never in his life-days · had luck been harder,Before nor since, when it found these hall-thanes.The creature came · journeying to the courtEmpty of all joys. Though fast with iron bands,The door tore open · when touched by its hand;Heaving it back · the hateful thing ragedThere at the chamber’s mouth. Savage in mine it went,The fiend trod forth · on the shining floor,Lunging quickly. A horrible lightMost like to fire · flowed from its eyes.By this it saw · many sleeping warriors,A band of kinsmen · couched and bedded,Youths lying still; and in its heart it laughed.Before the morning sun · it meant to suckThe blood of life · from every bodyWhen the hope befell · of his fill of feasting,The horrible monster. Yet by no means was fateTo allow such ravage · of the race of menAfter this night. Ample in his strength,Higelac’s kinsman · saw how the hate-scatherWould press ahead · with sudden attacks.The destroyer intended · no second of delay--Rather at first chance · it clutched closeA sleeping warrior, wrenched him greedily,Bit in two the bone-locker, speedily drank the blood,And swallowed huge morsels; this meal of the deadEnded quickly · as all was eaten,The feet and hands too. Then it stalked forth,Seized with hands · the strong-hearted one,The sleep-feigning warrior; it reached with fingersToward the ready foe, who quickly receivedThe vicious attack · and braced himself on his arm.At once the ward of sins · knew that in all the worldNever had it met · in any manA hand-grip stronger, in the stretches of earth.And its spirit fell · and fear grew in its heartUntil it scalded, it could not escape.Its spirit ached for freedom, to flee to hidingAnd seek the brotherhood of devils: for its duty thereHad utterly altered · from what it’d met with earlier.Then Higelac’s kinsman · recalled his evening speech;The sturdy one · stood uprightAnd seized the fiend firmly; fingers burst;The giant strove · as the warrior stepped closer.The hateful monster · meant to flee wherever able,Into the wide fens, to fly the woeful gripInto ferny bogs: relentless fingersTaught it their grasp. That was a grievous journeyThat the harm-wreaker · made to Heorot!The splendid hall resounded; terror struck the Danes,The town-dwellers, each of the doughtyAnd wary warriors. Both were wrathful,Raging house-guardians: the hall rang out.The wonder was · that the winehall stoodTo the furious fight: that it did not fall,The artful stronghold: but it stayed firm,Within and without, banded by ironsSkillfully made. Many a mead-benchBent away from the door, adorned with goldAs I have heard it, where the hostile ones fought.None of the Scyldings · thought to see,Or ever expected · that any manMight shatter the excellent hall, decked in antler and bone,Or cunningly gut it, unless the fire’s greedWould lick and swallow it. A sound rose upStartling and sheer: from the North-Danes shownA terrible awe, from each one aghastWho heard from the wall The wretch’s weeping,God’s enemy · issuing horrible screams,Cries of defeat · from hell’s captiveMoaning its agony. The man of all menWho in his time · was least timidHeld horror fast · in his fiercest grip.The protector of men · never meant to releaseThe death-bringer alive; nor were the days of its lifeIn any way · to any oneTo be thought of worth. There the warriors of BeowulfEarnestly drew · time-honored heirloomsTo defend the life · of their lord at combat,Their eminent prince, if able to do so.But the brave-hearted men, byrny-warriors,Saw no way with their skill · to seek the soul,Though they slashed and hewed · on every sideIn aid of their chief: for nowhere on earth,Not the choicest of swords · would sink into the fleshOf the hate-scather, nor the best of war-steel:A spell on their edges · made each one useless,Dire victory-weapons. Death must reach itIn this life · on this day alone,The spoil of misery; and the alien spiritMust range far · among the fiendish powers.When it found that out, who had formerlyAttacked and ravaged · the race of mankindWith a joyous heart -- he was hostile to God--His lunging body · brought little benefit,For the lord of courage, Higelac’s kinsman,Held him by the hand · hateful while living,Each foe was to the other. The ugly raiderFelt the searing pain · as its shoulder split,Muscles and sinews · sundered and sprangAs the bones burst out. To Beowulf aloneWas glory granted; and Grendel fled thenceTo the fen-slopes, slowed by hurt,To seek its joyless home -- for it knew most surelyThat life’s end · would overtake it,That number of days. All to the Danes,After the storm of slaughter, was exultant rejoicing,For the strong and clever man · who had come from afarHad cleansed Heorot, Hrothgar’s hall,Loosed its affliction. He laughed for his nightwork,For his heroic deeds. To the East-DanesThe man of the Geats · had made good his boast,Remedied all · of his alllies’ griefs,The wicked sorrows · that they had suffered,The dire hurts · they had had to endure,Not a little torture. The token was clear,The arm and shoulder · afterward laid downBy the battle-brave man -- all bloody there together,Grendel’s riven claw -- under the vaulted roof.