Lines 778a-780b

'þæs ne wendon ær ... tobrecan meahte' - þæs is the object of wendon, which takes the genitive. It anticipates the noun clause beginning þæt. Translate 'the wise men of the Scyldings did not before think this (þæs), that any man, by any ordinary means, might destroy it [the hall], excellent and adorned with bone'.