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.
Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf – already the greatest translation of anything I’d have even the pretense of boldness to judge the quality of – is made even better by his doing a reading himself.
It’s missing here but I feel the version I first listened to years ago – BBC radio, I think – also included a quality conversation on the process of translation, specifically his creation of archaizing/exoticizing effects through inclusion of Irish regional vocabulary remembered from his youth.