11Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty Hills and bogs, bearing God’s hatredGrendel came, hoping to killAnyone he could trap on this trip to high Herot.He moved quickly through the cloudy night, 5Up from his swampland, sliding silentlyToward that gold-shining hall. He had visited Hrothgar’sHome before, knew the way -- But never, before nor after that night,Found Herot defended so firmly, his reception 10So harsh. He journeyed, forever joyless,Straight to the door, then snapped it open,Tore its iron fasteners with a touchAnd rushed angrily over the threshold.He strode quickly across the inlaid 15Floor, snarling and fierce: his eyesGleamed in the darkness, burned with a gruesomeLight. Then he stopped, seeing the hallCrowded with sleeping warriors, stuffedWith rows of young soldiers resting together. 20And his heart laughed, he relished the sight,Intended to tear the life from those bodiesBy morning; the monster’s mind was hotWith the thought of food and the feasting his bellyWould soon know. But fate, that night, intended 25Grendel to gnaw the broken bonesOf his last human supper. HumanEyes were watching his evil steps,Waiting to see his swift hard claws.Grendel snatched at the first Geat 30He came to, ripped him apart, cutHis body to bits with powerful jaws,Drank the blood from his veins and boltedHim down, hands and feet; deathAnd Grendel’s great teeth came together, 35Snapping life shut. Then he stepped to anotherStill body, clutched at Beowulf with his claws,Grasped at a strong-hearted wakeful sleeper-- And was instantly seized himself, clawsBent back as Beowulf leaned up on one arm. 40That shepherd of evil, guardian of crime,Knew at once that nowhere on earthHad he met a man whose hands were harder;His mind was flooded with fear -- but nothingCould take his talons and himself from that tight 45Hard grip. Grendel’s one thought was to runFrom Beowulf, flee back to his marsh and hide there:This was a different Herot than the hall he had emptied.But Higlac’s follower remembered his finalBoast and, standing erect, stopped 50The monster’s flight, fastened those clawsIn his fists till they cracked, clutched GrendelCloser. The infamous killer foughtFor his freedom, wanting no flesh but retreat,Desiring nothing but escape; his claws 55Had been caught, he was trapped. That trip to Herot.Was miserable journey for the writhing monster!The high hall rang, its roof boards swayed,And Danes shook with terror. DownThe aisles the battle swept, angry 60And wild. Herot trembled, wonderfullyBuilt to withstand the blows, the strugglingGreat bodies beating at its beautiful walls;Shaped and fastened with iron, insideAnd out, artfully worked, the building 65Stood firm. Its benches rattled, fellTo the floor, gold-covered boards gratingAs Grendel and Beowulf battled across them.Hrothgar’s wise men had fashioned Herot To stand forever; only fire, 70They had planned, could shatter what such skill had putTogether, swallow in hot flames such splendorOf ivory and iron and wood. SuddenlyThe sounds changed, the Danes startedIn new terror, cowering in their beds as the terrible 75Screams of the Almighty’s enemy sangIn the darkness, the horrible shrieks of painAnd defeat, the tears torn out of Grendel’s Taut throat, hell’s captive caught in the armsOf him who of all the men on earth 80Was the strongest.12That mighty protector of menMeant to hold the monster till its lifeLeaped out, knowing the fiend was no useTo anyone in Denmark. All of Beowulf’sBand had jumped from their beds, ancestral 5Swords raised and ready, determinedTo protect their prince if they could. Their courageWas great but all wasted: they could hack at GrendelFrom every side, trying to openA path for his evil soul, but their points 10Could not hurt him, the sharpest and hardest ironCould not scratch at his skin, for that sin-stained demonHad bewitched all men’s weapons, laid spellsThat blunted every mortal man’s blade.And yet his time had come, his days 15Were over, his death near; downTo hell he would go, swept groaning and helplessTo the waiting hands of still worse fiends.Now he discovered -- once the afflictorOf men, tormentor of their days -- what it meant 20 To feud with Almighty God: GrendelSaw that his strength was deserting him, his clawsBound fast, Higlac’s brave follower tearing atHis hands. The monster’s hatred rose higher,But his power had gone. He twisted in pain, 25And the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulderSnapped, muscle and bone splitAnd broke. The battle was over, BeowulfHad been granted new glory: Grendel escaped,But wounded as he was could flee to his den, 30His miserable hole at the bottom of the marsh,Only to die, to wait for the endOf all his days. And after that bloodyCombat the Danes laughed with delight.He who had come to them from across the sea, 35Bold and strong-minded, had driven afflictionOff, purged Herot clean. he was happy,Now, with that night’s fierce work; the Daneshad been served as he’d boasted he’d serve them; Beowulf,A prince of the Geats, had killed Grendel, 40Ended the grief, the sorrow, the sufferingForced on Hrothgar’s helpless peopleBy a bloodthirsty fiend. No Dane doubtedthe victory, for the proof, hanging highFrom the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster’s 45Arm, claw and shoulder and all.