And here is the beginning of the poem read in Old English.
Heaney’s translation, by the way, is absolutely brilliant:
Countless small examples like this add up to a translation that manages to accomplish what before now had seemed impossible: a faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right.
A Better ‘Beowulf‘, by James Shaphiro (New York Times)
Here is a small sample of Heaney at work:
In off the moors, down through the mist-bands
God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.
The bane of the race of men roamed forth,
Hunting for a prey in the high hall.
Under the cloud-murk he moved towards it
Until it shone above him, a sheer keep
Of fortified gold.
And here is the entire translation:
Beowulf, Seamus Heaney translation.
Here’s more on the original manuscript.