Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem from the Old English canon originating between 521 AD and 1026 AD. Authorship is unknown thus attributed in this edition to “an unknown Anglo Saxon poet.” Scholars continue to hotly debate single authorship versus communal authorship or transcriptions over time of orally transmitted legend. Likewise, it is also unknown the exact location in England where the poem was composed. The Nowell codex (likely the first “written” copy of Beowulf) containing the first 85 pages of Beowulf is believed to originated in an unknown West Saxon Kingdom and is attributed to the transcription of two scribes.
Table of ContentsForeword: Why Does Beowulf Endure?
The Story of Beowulf
i. And First of the Kindred of Hrothgar.
ii. Concerning Hrothgar, and How he Built the House Called Hart. Also Grendel is Told of.
iii. How Grendel Fell Upon Hart and Wasted it.
iv. Now Comes Beowulf Ecgtheow's Son to the Land of the Danes, and the Wall-Warden Speaketh with Him.
v. Here Beowulf Makes Answer to the Land-Warden, who Showeth Him the Way to the King's Abode.
vi. Beowulf and the Geats Come into Hart.
vii. Beowulf Speaketh with Hrothgar, and Telleth How he Will Meet Grendel.
viii. Hrothgar Answereth Beowulf and Biddeth Him Sit to the Feast.
ix. Unferth Contendeth in Words with Beowulf.
x. Beowulf Makes an End of His Tale of the Swimming. Wealhtheow, Hrothgar's Queen, Greets Him; and Hrothgar Delivers to Him the Warding of the Hall.
xi. Now is Beowulf Left in the Hall Alone with His Men.
xii. Grendel Cometh into Hart: Of the Strife Betwixt Him and Beowulf.
xiii. Beowulf Hath the Victory: Grendel is Hurt Deadly and Leaveth Hand and Arm in the Hall.
xiv. The Danes Rejoice; They Go to Look on the Slot of Grendel, and Come Back to Hart, and on the Way Make Merry with Racing and the Telling of Tales.
xv. King Hrothgar and His Thanes Look on the Arm of Grendel. Converse Betwixt Hrothgar and Beowulf Concerning the Battle.
xvi. Hrothgar Giveth Gifts to Beowulf.
xvii. They Feast in Hart. The Gleeman Sings of Finn and Hengest.
xviii. The Ending of the Tale of Finn.
xix. More Gifts are Given to Beowulf. The Brising Collar Told of.
xx. Grendel's Dam Breaks into Hart and Bears off Aeschere.
xxi. Hrothgar Laments the Slaying of Aeschere, and Tells of Grendel's Mother and Her Den.
xxii. They Follow Grendel's Dam to Her Lair.
xxiii. Beowulf Reacheth the Mere-Bottom in a Day's While, and Contends with Grendel's Dam.
xxiv. Beowulf Slayeth Grendel's Dam, Smiteth off Grendel's Head, and Cometh Back with His Thanes to Hart.
xxv. Converse of Hrothgar with Beowulf.
xxvi. More Converse of Hrothgar and Beowulf: The Geats Make Them Ready for Departure.
xxvii. Beowulf Bids Hrothgar Farewell: The Geats Fare to Ship.
xxviii. Beowulf Comes Back to His Land. Of the Tale of Thrytho.
xxix. Beowulf Tells Hygelac of Hrothgar: Also of Freawaru His Daughter.
xxx. Beowulf Forebodes ill from the Wedding of Freawaru: He Tells of Grendel and His Dam.
xxxi. Beowulf Gives Hrothgar's Gifts to Hygelac, and by Him is Rewarded. Of the Death of Hygelac and of Heardred His Son, and How Beowulf is King of the Geats: The Worm is First Told of.
xxxii. How the Worm Came to the Howe, and How he was Robbed of a Cup; and How he Fell on the Folk.
xxxiii. The Worm Burns Beowulf's House, and Beowulf Gets Ready to Go Against Him. Beowulf's Early Deeds in Battle with The Hetware Told of.
xxxiv. Beowulf Goes Against the Worm. He Tells of Herebeald and HÆThcyn.
xxxv. Beowulf Tells of Past Feuds, and Bids Farewell to His Fellows: He Falls on the Worm, and the Battle of Them Begins.
xxxvi. Wiglaf Son of Weohstan Goes to the Help of Beowulf: NÆGling, Beowulf's Sword, is Broken on the Worm.
xxxvii. They Two Slay the Worm. Beowulf is Wounded Deadly: He Biddeth Wiglaf Bear Out the Treasure.
xxxviii. Beowulf Beholdeth the Treasure and Passeth Away.
xxxix. Wiglaf Casteth Shame on Those Fleers.
xl. Wiglaf Sendeth Tiding to the Host: The Words of the Messenger.
xli. More Words of the Messenger. How he Fears the Swedes when They Wot of Beowulf Dead.
xlii. They Go to Look on the Field of Deed.
xliii. Of the Burial of Beowulf.