Then clattered the king, battle-young:
“This is no easterly dawning, no dragon flies out there,
nor here upon this hall will these horns ever burn,
yet they shall be borne aloft, while birds bicker,
grey-hamed guldering, the woods of war warbling,
the shield shall meet its shaft. Now shines the moon
a wanderer under the welkin. Now wax the deeds of woefare,
that mean to wreak this malice against our people.
So shake yourselves awake at once, yo,
loft your linden — hearken to heart,
flame up at the flame-point, make pride come true!”
Then many a gold-drenched thegn rose up,
strapped up with swords,
when the stolid soldiers ran to the door,
Sigeferth and Eaha both, tugging out the trenchant,
and at the opposite door, Ordlaf and Guthlaf
and even Hengest, turned themselves in their tracks.
Still Garulf kept Guthere back,
so that he so noble should not bear his living,
his fretments on his first foray to the hall doors —
when those hard with hatred yearned to snatch it away.
Yet he disingenuous inquired after them all
those beast-minded braves, how he could hold the doors.
“The name’s Sigeferth,” he was heard to say, “I’m of the Secgan,
an exile known widely — I’ve endured endless woes,
many savage battles — let it be known
what you seek from me can easily be yours!”
Then there erupted a shattering of slaughters
in the hall, there the bossy boards must burst,
keenly in clutches, the bone-guards as well —
drumming drumming on floor-boards —
until Garulf cringed in death, at the hand of war,
first of everyone folded up in earth,
Guthlaf’s son, about him many of the good ones,
corpses slow to turn tail. The raven hovered,
a darkness of many colors. Sword-beams slashed,
as if all of Finnsburh were blazing now.
I’ve never heard tell of a battle between men,
of sixty triumphant warriors bearing
themselves best, more praiseworthily,
nor ever swains better repaid with shining mead,
than Hnæf showered upon the boys in his band.
They fought five days long, and none of them were felled,
those brothers in battle, but they held that door.
Then the wounded warrior departed to death,
went his very own way —
he said that his breast-web might be broken,
what was sword-pointed now flaccid,
and also his helmet was shot through.
Then the watcher of his tribe learned at once
how those warriors wielded their wounds,
or whether those young stalwarts…