They sank then to slumber. With sorrow one paid for
          His evening repose, as often betid them
          While Grendel was holding the gold-bedecked palace,
          Ill-deeds performing, till his end overtook him,
5       Death for his sins. 'Twas seen very clearly,
          Known unto earth-folk, that still an avenger
          Outlived the loathed one, long since the sorrow
          Caused by the struggle; the mother of Grendel,
          Devil-shaped woman, her woe ever minded,
10      Who was held to inhabit the horrible waters,
          The cold-flowing currents, after Cain had become a
          Slayer-with-edges to his one only brother,
          The son of his sire; he set out then banished,
          Marked as a murderer, man-joys avoiding,
15      Lived in the desert. Thence demons unnumbered
          Fate-sent awoke; one of them Grendel,
          Sword-cursèd, hateful, who at Heorot met with
          A man that was watching, waiting the struggle,
          Where a horrid one held him with hand-grapple sturdy;
20      Nathless he minded the might of his body,
          The glorious gift God had allowed him,
          And folk-ruling Father's favor relied on,
          His help and His comfort: so he conquered the foeman,
          The hell-spirit humbled: he unhappy departed then,
25      Reaved of his joyance, journeying to death-haunts,
          Foeman of man. His mother moreover
          Eager and gloomy was anxious to go on
          Her mournful mission, mindful of vengeance
          For the death of her son. She came then to Heorot
30      Where the Armor-Dane earlmen all through the building
          Were lying in slumber. Soon there became then
          Return to the nobles, when the mother of Grendel
          Entered the folk-hall; the fear was less grievous
          By even so much as the vigor of maidens,
35      War-strength of women, by warrior is reckoned,
          When well-carved weapon, worked with the hammer,
          Blade very bloody, brave with its edges,
          Strikes down the boar-sign that stands on the helmet.
          Then the hard-edgèd weapon was heaved in the building,
40      The brand o'er the benches, broad-lindens many
          Hand-fast were lifted; for helmet he recked not,
          For armor-net broad, whom terror laid hold of.
          She went then hastily, outward would get her
          Her life for to save, when some one did spy her;
45      Soon she had grappled one of the athelings
          Fast and firmly, when fenward she hied her;
          That one to Hrothgar was liefest of heroes
          In rank of retainer where waters encircle,
          A mighty shield-warrior, whom she murdered at slumber,
50      A broadly-famed battle-knight. Beowulf was absent,
          But another apartment was erstwhile devoted
          To the glory-decked Geatman when gold was distributed.
          There was hubbub in Heorot. The hand that was famous
          She grasped in its gore; grief was renewed then
55      In homes and houses: 'twas no happy arrangement
          In both of the quarters to barter and purchase
          With lives of their friends. Then the well-agèd ruler,
          The gray-headed war-thane, was woful in spirit,
          When his long-trusted liegeman lifeless he knew of,
60      His dearest one gone. Quick from a room was
          Beowulf brought, brave and triumphant.
          As day was dawning in the dusk of the morning,
          Went then that earlman, champion noble,
          Came with comrades, where the clever one bided
65      Whether God all gracious would grant him a respite
          After the woe he had suffered. The war-worthy hero
          With a troop of retainers trod then the pavement
          (The hall-building groaned), till he greeted the wise one,
          The earl of the Ingwins; asked if the night had
70      Fully refreshed him, as fain he would have it.


  1. Grendel's mother's attack on Heorot essentially reverses Beowulf's defeat of Grendel. The Danes' sorrows are renewed, and they wonder if God will ever grant Heorot peace. Note how the poet uses the Christian God in the Danes’ pleas for salvation, but he often uses Fate or cruel destiny, as he did earlier, to foreshadow unpleasant occurrences—such as the death of Aeschere.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. Despite her desire to avenge her son's death, Grendel's mother doesn't try to kill as many of the warriors as she can; rather, her main purpose appears to be recovering Grendel's arm. However, in her rage and haste to leave, she does exact small revenge on one of Hrothgar's dearest friends, whom we later find out is named Aeschere.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. The poet describes a cultural reality for Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon societies at the time: women are viewed as peace-makers, not peace-breakers. As terrible as Grendel's mother is, she is not as powerful or threatening as Grendel was.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. The poet briefly retells the story of Grendel, likely to remind his audience, and includes evidence that Grendel and his mother were once human. Grendel's mother's desire for revenge also represents a human, rather than beastial, trait. Christian translators inserted the notion that Grendel and his mother are descended from Cain, a biblical figure who slew his brother, Abel. This not only associates them with humanity but also with monsters and sin.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. The repetition of all the initial h sounds is a good example of alliteration. A commonly used device in Old English and other poetry, some believe that techniques like this help both the poet and the audience remember the words.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor