Beowulf 2231-2266: Lament of the Last Survivor (From Old English)

Lament of the Last Survivor 
(Beowulf 2231-2266)
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

  That earth-house teemed with ancient treasures.  
In days long gone a forgotten man,
brooding and prudent, buried dear riches,
the heaped legacy of a highborn race,
in this undervault.  Vulturing death
had taken them all in times gone by,
and left only one who walked there still,
the last survivor of a vanished tribe,
a friend-grieving watchman, awaiting their fate,
hoping to relish these rare hallgifts
in his brief last days. The barrow was ready
built on the plain by breaking sea,
secured by hardcraft set on the headland.
That ring-keeper  carried inside
all the gold-plated  goods that he had
worth protecting.  His words were these few:
  "Hold now, O earth what heroes cannot,
the wealth of earls. Men of honor
first delved it from you.  Deathblow battle
has wrung them down, ruinous carnage
and mortal evil took every mortal
man of my clan. They quit this life
and its meadhall mirth. For me there are none
to bear a sword  or burnish the cup's
meadgold. My glory of men has left.
The hard helmet hasped in goldwork
must lose its hoop. The helm-shiner sleeps
who once burnished my battle-mask. 
The war-mantle that weathered brawls
through the burst of shields  and the bite of steel
decays with the warrior. The whorled hauberk
will wander no more on the warchief's shoulders
beside his braves.  No more brilliant harps'
tune of timber, no trained falcon
swooping the songhall, no swiftfoot horse 
pawing the courtgrounds. Plunder and slaughter
oust whole peoples out of existence."

The Original:

      þēr wæs swelcrā felā
in þām eorðhūsǣ  ǣrġistrēonā,
swē hīo on ġeārdagum  gumænā nāthwelċ,
eorminlāfǣ  æðilan cynnæs,
þanchycgændi  þēr gihȳddǣ,
dīorǣ māðmas.  Allǣ hīo dēaþ fornam
ǣrran mēlum,  ond se ān þā gēn
līodā duguðǣ  se þēr lengist hwearf,
weard winigēomor,  wēndǣ þæs ylcan,
þæt hē lȳtil fæc  longġistrēonā
brūcan mōstī.  Beorh allgearu 
wunudǣ on wongǣ,  wæterȳðum neah
nīowi bi næssǣ  nearucræftum fæst. 
þēr on innan bær  eorlgistrēonā
hringā hirdi,  handwiorðnǣ dǣl,
fǣttan goldæs,  fēaw wordā cwæþ:

Hald þū nū, hrūsǣ, nū hæliþ ni mōtun,
eorlā ǣhti. Hwæt hit ǣr on þē
gōdǣ biġeātun; gūðdēaþ fornam,
feorhbealu frœ̄cni fȳrā ġihwelċnǣ,
līodā mīnrā,  þārā þi þis līf ofġeaf,
ġisēgun selidrēamas. Nāh hwā sweord weġǣ
oþþe forþ berǣ fǣtid wēġǣ,
drynċfæt dīori: duguþ ellor scōc.
Sċeal se heardā helm hyrstidgoldǣ
fǣtum bifallæn: feormiænd swefaþ,
þā þe beadugrīman bīowan sċeoldun,
ġē swelċǣ sīo heripād, sīo æt hildi ġibād
ofer bordā ġibræc bitī īsernā,
brosnaþ æfter beornǣ. Ni mæġ byrnan hring
æfter wīġfruman wīdǣ fēran,
hæliðum bi halfǣ; næs hearpan wyn,
gomæn glīwbēamæs, nē gōd heafuc
ġeond sæl swingiþ, nē se swiftā mearh
burhstedi bēatiþ. Bealucwealm hafaþ
felā feorhcynnā forþ onsendid!

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