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Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar — Anon ÓldrI

Anonymous Poems

Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1031.

 

Yfirhilding biðk aldar
einn hróðtǫlu beina*
mér, þanns mestum stýrir
mætti, hverrar ættar,
þvít veglyndum vanda
vin þínum skalk, Rínar,
brag, þeims bjartleyg fǫgrum
bauð ótta, goð dróttinn.
 
‘I ask the sole overlord of every family of men [= God], he who wields most power, to set praiseful speech in motion for me, because I shall fashion poetry, Lord God, about your high-minded friend, he who struck fear into the beautiful bright flame of the Rhine [GOLD].
Mætr hefr minna látit
mik stólkonungr sólar
snjallr, an sómði þolli
sverðéls, bragar verðan.
Þó vilk Þróttar skýja,
þeim es engr vas beima,
eldveitanda ítrum,
alfríðri, lof smíða.
 
‘The excellent, valiant emperor of the sun [= God] has made me worthy of lesser poetry than befitted the fir-tree of the sword-storm [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Óláfr]. Nevertheless I will craft praise for the splendid offerer of the fire of the clouds of Þróttr <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘fire-offerer of the clouds of Þróttr’) SHIELDS > SWORD > WARRIOR = Óláfr], the one than whom no-one among men was finer in all respects.
Nefndr vas, ungr sás efndi,
ýta vǫrðr, í Gǫrðum,
œski-Baldr, við aldir,
Ôleifr fyr mér, stála.
Eldstøkkvir sásk ekki
(ǫll hugði vel snjǫllum)
hafs nema hilmi jǫfra
(heimsbyggð syni Tryggva).
 
‘The wishing Baldr of steel weapons [WARRIOR], guardian of men [RULER], who, [when] young, performed [deeds] against men in Russia, was named to me [as] Óláfr. The dispenser of the fire of the sea [(lit. ‘fire-dispenser of the sea’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] feared nothing except the ruler of princes [= God]; all the peopled world thought well of the valiant son of Tryggvi [= Óláfr].
Reggstrindar bað randir
ráðfimr bera snimma
jóskreytandi ýta
auðmildr á skip rauðar.
Frá reist framr, en s*ýjur
flóð kǫnnuðu góðar,
foldar hring til fengjar
fóstrjǫrð konungr bǫrðum.
 
‘The counsel-swift, wealth-generous adorner of the stallion of the boat-land [(lit. ‘stallion-adorner of the boat-land’) SEA > SHIP > SEAFARER] ordered men to carry red shields early on board ship. The outstanding king clove the ring of the earth [SEA] with prows from his foster-land for booty, and good vessels explored the flood.
Vestr helt varga nistir
víðfrægr lagar skíðum
(ár* rauð ungr í þeiri)
Englands á vit (branda).
Fyrr vann ǫðlingr errinn,
(engr) an Nóreg fengi,
hár* (vas hilmi dýrri)
hefnð síns fǫður efnða.
 
‘The wide-renowned wolves’ provider [WARRIOR] steered skis of the ocean [SHIPS] westwards towards England; young, he reddened swords early on that [journey]. The tall, vigorous prince succeeded in carrying out vengeance for his father before he would take Norway; no-one was worthier than the ruler.
Rak, sás rausn vann mikla,
rjóðr með gengi þjóðar
víga borðs, ok verðar,
vestr hernað, fekk erni.
Endr frák borgir brenndar
— brandr gall — á Írlandi,
— blésu vé — þars vísi
vígmóðr of kom, glóðum.
 
‘The reddener of the planking of battles [SHIELD > WARRIOR], he who achieved great magnificence, pursued a raiding campaign in the west with a company of men, and provided the eagle with food. I have heard of towns burned by fire in former times in Ireland, where the battle-furious prince came; the sword rang out; banners fluttered.
Brunnu ból, en runnu
(bǫl vann gnógr) til skógar
(lýða sveit, áðr létti,
limgarmr) Skotar armir,
ok hrynslóðar heiðinn
herr fyr elda þverri
vǫgnu vítt of eignaðr
vápnbautinn fell Gauti.
 
‘Dwellings burned, and the wretched Scots ran to the forest; a powerful branch-hound [FIRE] caused the crowd of folk disaster, before it stopped, and the heathen army fell widely, dedicated to Gautr [Óðinn], weapon-beaten before the diminisher of the fires of the rushing path of the orca [SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].
Snarr bar sigr ór hverri
sárlóms mǫtuðr rómu;
hæst gekk hreggbjóðr lista,
hvar lands es kom, randa.
Gnóg vas vist ok, vestan,
vel drengila fengin,
mærr áðr mildingr fœri
margspakr, grôum vargi.
 
‘The swift feeder of the wound-loon [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] bore off victory from every clash; the offerer of the storm of shields [(lit. ‘storm-offerer of shields’) BATTLE > WARRIOR] ranked highest in skills, whatever land he came to. The food was plentiful and very bravely provided for the grey wolf before the glorious, very wise prince travelled from the west.
Austr þingat kom yngvi;
áðr frák jarl af hjarli
— kœnn með krapti hreinum
Kristr tœði gram — flœðu.
Ógnmildr lét þá ǫldum
ǫðlingr, sás gaf hringa,
— þjóð tók glǫð við góðum
goðs ôr — trúu boðna.
 
‘The ruler [Óláfr] came east to there; I heard the jarl [Hákon] fled from [his] territory before; wise Christ helped the prince with pure power. The battle-liberal prince, who gave rings, then had the faith proclaimed to men; glad, the people received the good emissary of God [MISSIONARY].
Harðrôðum gekk heiðis
hjaldrmagnaði skjaldar
skatna ætt á skreytta
skotjǫrð loga fjarðar.
Lýð gat lofðungr ráða
— landherr frá sið vǫndum
þá hvarf allr —, ok illum,
ólítt, goðum nítti.
 
‘The kindred of men put themselves in the swaying earth of the hawk [HAND], adorned with the fire of the fjord [GOLD], of the hard-ruling increaser of the uproar of the shield [(lit. ‘uproar-increaser of the shield’) BATTLE > WARRIOR]. The king could rule people to no small degree; all the land’s people turned then from a wicked faith, and rejected bad gods.
Ok fimm, sás gaf gumnum
gló-Lista, vann kristin,
ljótbnanda lautar,
lǫnd élboði Gǫndlar.
Hvern viti hjalma þornar
— hann vas ríkstr konungmanna —
elda runn, es unni
eljun slíkt, at telja?
 
‘And the offerer of the storm of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [(lit. ‘storm-offerer of Gǫndul’) BATTLE > WARRIOR], he who gave men the gleaming Lista of the ugly edging of the dale [= Miðgarðsormr > GOLD], made five lands Christian. What bush of swords [WARRIOR] do thorn-trees of helmets [WARRIORS] know to mention, who loved enterprise in such a way? He was the mightiest of kingly men.
Hraustr vann Hjaltland kristnat
hlífar þeys sem Eyjar
stýrir støkkvifúra
stalls sem Nóreg allan.
Lét á Grœnland gætir
gunnblíðr komit síðan
vengis vallar hringa
vegsamr trúu ramri.
 
‘The bold controller of the stand of scattering flames of the breeze of the shield [BATTLE > SWORDS > SHIELD > WARRIOR] made Shetland Christian, and the Isles [Orkney], as well as all of Norway. The glorious, battle-joyful guardian of the field of the rings of the plain [SERPENTS > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] then had the powerful faith brought to Greenland.
Vítt stóð ógn af ýti
(íslenzkum her vísi)
orms vallar (bauð allan
aldr goðs lǫgum halda).
Svá lét rœtr, hinns rítar
rjóðendr of vann, góðar,
reyrs, und ráði vôru
réttdœmr konungr settar.
 
‘Dread emanated far and wide from the impeller of the plain of the serpent [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]; the leader ordered the Icelandic people to keep the laws of God for all time. Thus the righteous king, the one who conquered reddeners of the reed of the shield [SWORD > WARRIORS], let good roots be set under our condition.
Eigum (langa lœgis)
liðrœkjanda frœknum
(hyrstríðir braut heiðni)
hjalmraunar þat launa.
Hrings hefr þarfastr þengill
þrymdraugum sá bauga
— herr nýtr hodda þverris —
hingat norðr of orðit.
 
‘The opponent of the fire of the sea [(lit. ‘fire-opponent of the sea’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] destroyed longstanding heathendom; we have to repay the valiant carer of the snake of helmet-trial [(lit. ‘snake-carer of helmet-trial’) BATTLE > SWORD > WARRIOR] for that. He has become the most useful lord for logs of the din of the disk of shield-rings [(lit. ‘din-logs of the disk of shield-rings’) SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] up here in the north; the people benefit from the diminisher of hoards [GENEROUS MAN].
Ǫll vas hrædd við hollan
hrafni elgbjóð stafna
(vítt bauð ǫðlingr ýtum)
óþjóð (siðu góða).
Þann vissu gram gumnar,
grímu fárs þeirs vôru
sannmiðjungar, svinna
sér leiðastan, heiðnir.
 
‘The whole wicked tribe was afraid of the offerer of the elk of stems [(lit. ‘elk-offerer of stems’) SHIP > SEAFARER], gracious to the raven; the ruler proclaimed a good faith to people widely. Men who were heathen true giants of the harm of the helmet [SWORD > WARRIORS] knew that clever prince [to be] most hateful to them.
Hreinbyggvir lét hǫggva
hrófs af mǫrgum þjófi,
hinns of hvert ráð kunni,
hendr eða fœtr, at bœta.
Horvetna lét hjǫrva
hríðeflǫndum víða
austr, þeims unnu lǫstu,
ósið jǫfurr kviðjat.
 
‘The occupant of the reindeer of the boatshed [(lit. ‘reindeer-occupant of the boatshed’) SHIP > SEAFARER], the one who could reform every state of life, had hands or feet chopped off many a thief. Everywhere in the east the prince had immorality banned far and wide for strengtheners of the storm of swords [(lit. ‘storm-strengtheners of swords’) BATTLE > WARRIORS] who practised vice.
 
 
 
                     ... tafni.
Øx reið, en sveif síðan
sundvargs boða mǫrgum
— hæstr varð geirs at gusti
grams tírr — af bol svíri.
 
‘ ... carrion. The axe swung, and then neck swept from trunk for many an offerer of the sea-wolf [SHIP > SEAFARER]; the ruler’s glory became greatest in the gust of the spear [BATTLE].
Firrði hjǫrr við herðar
haus; sagði frið lausan
dylgju reyr it dýra;
drósk almr fyr grams hjalmi.
Norn kom flærð at fjǫrnis
(folktjald rufu) skjaldar;
sôr frák snǫrpum dreyra
seggjum (langbarðs eggjar).
 
‘Sword removed skull from shoulders; the precious reed of enmity [SPEAR] pronounced peace over; the bow was drawn before the lord’s helmet. The norn of the shield [AXE] came to deceit of the helmet [BATTLE]; the edges of the sword ripped the battle-tent [SHIELD]; I have heard that wounds bled on keen warriors.
Frægs stillis varð falla
ferð, en beitt vas sverðum;
endr kom brúnt á branda
blóð; varð autt um góðan.
Auk und jǫfri frœknum
Ormr hrauzk, en felt rauðu
Eireks hirð, áðr yrði
jarls ráð fyrir hjarli.
 
‘The troop of the famous ruler [Óláfr] had to fall, but swords were wielded; brown blood again came onto blades; it became empty around the good man [Óláfr]. Ormr (‘Serpent’) was also cleared under the bold prince, but Eiríkr’s retinue were hooded with red, before the jarl’s rule extended over the land.
Hrafngreddir stóð hoddum
hættastr*, jafnt sem ætti,
linns í lypting sinni
látrkennir, fjǫr þrenni.
Yggs þykkjumk ek ekki
ógnblíðustum síðan
hjaldrs frá horskum gildi
hafa sannfregit annat.
 
‘The raven-feeder [WARRIOR], most hazardous to hoards, master of the serpent’s lair [(lit. ‘lair-master of the serpent’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN], stood on his after-deck, just as if he had three lives. I seem not to have truly heard anything else since about the sage, most battle-delighting dispenser of the uproar of Yggr <= Óðinn> [BATTLE > WARRIOR].
Gladdr sté jarl á eyddan
— él vigra þraut — sigri
grimmr með gengi framligt
Grábak móins *akri.
Lét ófôum ýtis
elds lauðar hal dauðum
vitr af Vánar otrum
verðung á k*af slungit.
 
‘The jarl [Eiríkr], gladdened by victory, cruel to the field of the viper [GOLD], stepped aboard the cleared Grábak (‘Grey-back’) with a fine company; the blizzard of spears [BATTLE] ceased. The wise troop of the impeller of the fire of the draw-plate [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] had not a few dead men slung off the otters of Ván <river> [SHIPS] into the deep.
Skaut á grœnt með grjóti
grár ægir ná sôrum
(lôgu liðsmenn bjúgir)
land (sem brúk of strandir).
En fjaðrdøkkum flokkum
flugu hrafns at þat nafnar;
skygnum skœðasǫgnum
skógs fang gerðisk þangat.
 
‘The grey ocean cast a wounded corpse up with gravel on the green land; household troops lay twisted like heaps of seaweed across the beaches. And the namesakes of the raven [RAVENS] flew after that in feather-dark flocks; prey was produced there for the sharp-sighted harm-crew of the forest [WOLVES].
Ok andvǫnum Endils
ítrskíð á dreif síðan
sann-Njǫrðungum seima
sveif hundruðum undir,
svát glójarðar gerði
Gylfa skíðs of víði
— búkr hné margr fyr mæki —
meinfœrt of lǫg hreinum.
 
‘And life-lacking true Njǫrðungar <gods> of gold [MEN] drifted afterwards in hundreds, scattered under the glorious ski of Endill <sea-king> [SHIP], so that it made the going dangerous across the ocean for reindeer of the gleaming earth of the ski of Gylfi <sea-king> [SHIP > SEA > SHIPS] across the sea; many a body fell before the sword.
Slóð drap svangt til grœðis
— sá vargr rekinn margan
hǫggvinn mann ór hrǫnnum —
hlaupstóð jǫtuns móður.
Fœtr bar fôlu Sóti
(fjǫrrán) í val grána
(áðr beið hirð fyr hauðri)
hungrtrauðr, en frá rauða.
 
‘The starved loping stud-horses of the giant’s mother [GIANTESS > WOLVES] beat a path to the ocean; the wolf saw many a slain man cast up from the waves. The hunger-shunning Sóti <horse> of the troll-woman [WOLF] bore grey feet to the slain, but red away; earlier the retinue underwent life-robbing off the coast.
Náði jǫrð ept orðna
Eirekr þrimu geira;
hans rôðum varð hlýða
hverr brimrǫðuls þverrir.
Hnípði drótt ok drúpði,
— dǫpr þjóð vas þar — Fróða,
fold, þanns flest gaf hauldum
fagrbygg, of son Tryggva.
 
‘Eiríkr gained the land after the uproar of spears [BATTLE] was done; every diminisher of the surf-sun [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] had to heed his advice. The retinue was dejected and the land drooped over the son of Tryggvi [= Óláfr], who gave men most beautiful barley of Fróði <legendary king> [GOLD]; the people were downcast there.
Borit hefk hróðr enn hjǫrva
(hóf sœmði vel lófa
elda) þeys fyr ôsu
(ôr mest* at hlut flestum).
Áðr mun, óss an glóða
elris þrek, at virkum,
greppr megi ǫllum yppa
ǫrnfljótr, at brag þrjóta.
 
‘I have, further, borne praise before gods of the breeze of swords [BATTLE > WARRIORS]; the greatest restraint suited well the envoy of fires of the palm [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] in most respects. The poem for the dear one [Óláfr] will come to an end before the eagle-swift poet will be able to extol all the valour of the alder of the embers of the estuary [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].
Fyrr létu frœknan gørva
fenskúfs vala benja
fríðri skǫld of fœði
fagrbjór*, an vér tókumsk.
†Eygi† fleygs fyr því þeygi
þann vissak hlyn manna
geirs frá geymiôrum

 
‘Finer poets caused beautiful beer [poetry] to be made about the valiant feeder of the skua of the fen of the falcons of wounds [(lit. ‘feeder of the fen-skua of the falcons of wounds’) RAVENS/EAGLES > BLOOD > RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR], before we [I] began. I have not known of that maple … from guarding-envoys of the flying spear … because of that … of men …
Veit, þess’s víða bœtti
várt eðli, stað bjartan,
heilagr Kristr, ok hæsta
hlíf þjóðkonungs lífi,
þvít skýranna* skreytir
skíðs Ôleifi fríðri
vǫgnu láðs und víðu
verðr aldrigi tjaldi.
 
‘Holy Christ, give an illustrious place and the highest protection to the life of this mighty king, who reformed our nature far and wide, because there will never be an adorner of the ski of the land of the orca [SEA > SHIP > SEAFARER] finer than Óláfr under the wide awning of cloud-halls [SKY].
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