The chief of the strangers rendered him answer,
          War-troopers' leader, and word-treasure opened:
          "We are sprung from the lineage of the people of Geatland,
          And Higelac's hearth-friends. To heroes unnumbered
5       My father was known, a noble head-warrior
          Ecgtheow titled; many a winter
          He lived with the people, ere he passed on his journey,
          Old from his dwelling; each of the counsellors
          Widely mid world-folk well remembers him.
10      We, kindly of spirit, the lord of thy people,
          The son of King Healfdene, have come here to visit,
          Folk-troop's defender: be free in thy counsels!
          To the noble one bear we a weighty commission,
          The helm of the Danemen; we shall hide, I ween,
15      Naught of our message. Thou know'st if it happen,
          As we soothly heard say, that some savage despoiler,
          Some hidden pursuer, on nights that are murky
          By deeds very direful 'mid the Danemen exhibits
          Hatred unheard of, horrid destruction
20      And the falling of dead. From feelings least selfish
          I am able to render counsel to Hrothgar,
          How he, wise and worthy, may worst the destroyer,
          If the anguish of sorrow should ever be lessened,
          Comfort come to him, and care-waves grow cooler,
25      Or ever hereafter he agony suffer
          And troublous distress, while towereth upward
          The handsomest of houses high on the summit."
          Bestriding his stallion, the strand-watchman answered,
          The doughty retainer: "The difference surely
30      'Twixt words and works, the warlike shield-bearer
          Who judgeth wisely well shall determine.
          This band, I hear, beareth no malice
          To the prince of the Scyldings. Pass ye then onward
          With weapons and armor. I shall lead you in person;
35      To my war-trusty vassals command I shall issue
          To keep from all injury your excellent vessel,
          Your fresh-tarred craft, 'gainst every opposer
          Close by the sea-shore, till the curved-neckèd bark shall
          Waft back again the well-beloved hero
40      O'er the way of the water to Weder dominions.
          To warrior so great 'twill be granted sure
          In the storm of strife to stand secure."
          Onward they fared then (the vessel lay quiet,
          The broad-bosomed bark was bound by its cable,
45      Firmly at anchor); the boar-signs glistened
          Bright on the visors vivid with gilding,
          Blaze-hardened, brilliant; the boar acted warden.
          The heroes hastened, hurried the liegemen,
          Descended together, till they saw the great palace,
50      The well-fashioned wassail-hall wondrous and gleaming:
          'Mid world-folk and kindreds that was widest reputed
          Of halls under heaven which the hero abode in;
          Its lustre enlightened lands without number.
          Then the battle-brave hero showed them the glittering
55      Court of the bold ones, that they easily thither
          Might fare on their journey; the aforementioned warrior
          Turning his courser, quoth as he left them:
          "'Tis time I were faring; Father Almighty
          Grant you His grace, and give you to journey
60      Safe on your mission! To the sea I will get me
          'Gainst hostile warriors as warden to stand."


  1. Another kenning, to unlock one's “word-treasure” is a very common formulaic phrase in Old English or Anglo-Saxon. It refers to one’s personal vocabulary. Often one unlocks one’s “word-hoard” before delivering a formal, ceremonial speech. In answering the guard's question, the still-unnamed hero of the Geats conforms to such expected conventions to explain his unexpected presence in Hrothgar's territory. In doing so, we not only learn more about the hero's respect for the customs of the land, but we also are able to see how eloquent of a speaker he is.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor