lrc wordmark

Beowulf: the Funeral

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 ðā         Wedra lēode
hlǣw on hliðe,         sē wæs hēah ond brād,
wæglīðendum         wīde gesȳne,

ond betimbredon         on tȳn dagum
beadurōfes bēcn,         bronda lāfe
wealle beworhton,         swā hyt weorðlīcost
foresnotre men         findan mihton.

Hī on beorg dydon         bēg ond siglu,
eall swylce hyrsta,         swylce on horde ǣr
nīðhēdige men         genumen hæfdon;

forlēton eorla gestrēon         eorðan healdan,
gold on grēote,         þær hit nū gēn lifað
eldum swā unnyt,         swā hit ǣror wæs.

Þā ymbe hlǣw riodan         hildedēore,
æþelinga bearn,         ealra twelfe,

woldon care cwīðan,         ond kyning mǣnan,
wordgyd wrecan,         ond ymb wer sprecan;

eahtodan eorlscipe         ond his ellenweorc
duguðum dēmdon,
—         swā hit gedēfe bið,
þæt mon his winedryhten         wordum herge,
ferhðum frēoge,         þonne hē forð scile
of lichaman         lǣded weorðan.

Swā begnornodon         Gēata lēode
hlāfordes hryre,         heorðgenēatas;

cwǣdon þæt hē wǣre         wyruldcyninga
manna mildust         ond monðwǣrust,
lēodum līðost         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.

  •   Map
  • Linguistics Research Center

    University of Texas at Austin
    PCL 5.556
    Mailcode S5490
    Austin, Texas 78712