Every Scylding in Heorot liked mead a lot,
But Grendel the beast, roaring outside did not.
Grendel hated Scyldings, the whole Danish clan.
Can I say why? I don’t think I can.
He spied on the Scyldings, he fumed and he wailed.
He watched as in Heorot they drank mead and drank ale.
“How can I hurt them, the king and his thanes?”
Alone in his barrow, it drove him insane.
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
Grendel got a horrible, awful idea!
That fiendish old monster was up to no good.
He decided to kill them and gorge on their blood.
Outside the mead-hall, Cain-spawn raged and he roared,
And with his great strength he broke down the door.
The Scyldings lined up, their swords in a row.
“You warriors,” cried Grendel, “are the first ones to go.”
He slaughtered the Danes, ripped many apart.
He crunched on their bones and then ate their hearts.
He did the same thing the very next night,
And for twelve years more he continued to fight.
Every night he appeared, that hellbeast, that troll,
He’d kill some more Scyldings and retreat to his hole.
Of Hrothgar’s dilemma the news would soon spread,
And Beowulf in Geatland heard tales of the dead.
When word of the monster reached the valiant Swede’s ears,
He promised to save them and calm all their fears.
So he loaded his ship – fourteen brave men
Sailed to Daneland to serve Hrothgar the king.
Beowulf’s welcomed, though Unfurth’s suspicious,
“You’re young and you’re strong, but this creature is vicious.”
The warrior responded, “I see that you’re shaken,
But last time I went swimming, I dispatched nine kraken.”
“I’m here for the glory. If God’s will be granted,
I’ll kill off this fiend and I’ll do it bare-handed.”
That very night, Grendel stormed in from the moor,
The mead-hall’s entrance was destroyed with a roar.
He snatched up a Scylding and started to eat him,
When Beowulf bounded right up to meet him.
The two joined in battle, throwing benches and chairs.
Amidst all the chaos — the fiend was caught unawares.
The monster was fierce but suffered great harm,
When Beowulf grabbed him and ripped off his arm.
The pain tore though Grendel, it hurt like none other,
So he turned tail and ran back home to his mother.
The Danes gave a cheer, the ale started to flow,
“Hail Beowulf, a most righteous bro.”
The king gave a speech and handed out treasure,
Armbands, halberds, and gold without measure.
After a night of carousing, all were fêted and fed,
The queen blessed them all, “Now safely to bed.”
But out in the moor a dark phantom howled,
To revenge her dead son, Grendel’s mom prowled.
That fey creature too, stormed the king’s hall,
That uncanny wight grabbed a Scylding to maul.
In the darkness she vanished with carrion prey,
And the Danes set to mourning at the break of the day.
“Beowulf, help us,” the stricken king cried,
“A new monster plagues us. So many have died.”
So the Geat girded his armor and took Hrunting, his sword,
And followed the blood trail down to a fjord.
Beneath the dark waters the she-devil had fled,
And the horrified court shivered with dread.
“Send my gold to my father if I do not return,”
And Beowulf dove into waters that churned.
To an undersea lair the creature retreated,
And Beowulf followed, his quest uncompleted.
For nine solid days, a fierce battle raged,
The warrior determined, the monster enraged.
Beowulf slew her, and claimed as his prize,
The head of fierce Grendel, whose dead body lies
In the cave where he fled, now pale like his mother,
Beowulf’s lucky there’s no sister or brother.
Back on the land, Hrothgar’s men start to grieve,
Thinking Beowulf dead, and they’re ready to leave,
When suddenly, splashing his way to the shore
The warrior appears, covered in gore.
Spotting the fighter, the knights give a cheer,
“Our soldier, our valiant, a man without peer.”
Finally with victory, Daneland’s at peace,
The living can party, all battles have ceased.
Upon Beowulf’s shoulders more treasures are placed,
Our hero’s reward for the dangers he’s faced.
The queen gives him thanks, hurrahs fill the streets,
Beowulf returns to the land of the Geats.
He’s met with acclaim and amidst all the cheers,
The Swedes make him their king, he reigns fifty years.
(At the end of his life, one more adventure there’d be,
He died fighting a dragon and was buried at sea.)
It’s come to my attention that this is assigned reading for some of you. Please send me an email or add a comment with your school and course, I’d love to hear what you’re studying. Thanks!