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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Drápa about Haraldr harðráði — Bǫlv HardrII

Bǫlverkr Arnórsson

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Bǫlverkr Arnórsson, Drápa about Haraldr harðráði’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 286-93.

 

Mildingr, straukt of mækis
munn, es lézt af gunni;
holds vannt hrafn of fylldan
hrás; þaut vargr í ási.
En, gramr — né frák fremra
friðskerði þér verða —
austr vast ár it næsta,
ǫrðuglyndr, í Gǫrðum.
 
‘Generous one, you wiped the sword’s mouth when you had finished the fight; you filled the raven with raw flesh; the wolf howled on the hill. And, resolute ruler, the following year you were east in Russia; I never heard of a peace-diminisher [WARRIOR] becoming more distinguished than you.
Hart kníði svǫl svartan
snekkju brand fyr landi
skúr, en skrautla bôru
skeiðr brynjaðar reiði.
Mætr hilmir sá malma
Miklagarðs fyr barði;
mǫrg skriðu beit at borgar
barmfǫgr hôum armi.
 
‘The cool rain-shower drove the black prow of the warship strongly forward along the coast, and the armoured warships proudly bore their tackle. The glorious monarch saw metal-roofed Constantinople before the bow; many rim-fair ships advanced toward the tall rampart of the city.
Snjallr rauð í styr stillir
stôl ok gekk á mála;
háðisk hvert ár síðan
hildr, sem sjalfir vilduð.
 
‘The valiant ruler reddened swords in battle and entered paid service; war was waged every year thereafter, as you yourself wanted.
Súð varð, þars blés blóði,
— bǫrð renndusk at jǫrðu —
— vátt drengliga, dróttinn —
dreyrafull við eyri.
Vann und sik fyr sunnan
Sikiley liði miklu
sand, þars sveiti skyndi,
sokkit lík, of skokka.
 
‘The ship became gore-filled by the sandbank where blood gushed; bows glided toward land; lord, you fought valiantly. The sunken corpse conquered sand with a great host south of Sicily where blood rushed over bottom-boards.
Rétt við rausn at hætta,
reiðmæltr jǫfurr, skeiðum,
prýddr (lá byrr at breiddu)
Blálands á vit (stáli).
Laust, en lauka reisti
lofðungr við sæ þungan,
skúr á skjaldrim dýra
skokks mjǫll á þrǫm stokkinn.
 
‘Splendid, angry-spoken prince, you risked the warships with splendour on a visit to North Africa; a favourable wind pressed against the spread-out prow. The rain-shower struck at the precious shield-rail, the snow of the bottom-board [SEA-SPRAY] [struck] at the splattered rim, and the ruler raised the masts in heavy sea.
Gramr nenninn hefr gunni
— gekk ferð ok hjó sverðum —
— snǫrp háðisk þá síðan
snerra — gagn ór hverri.
 
‘The resolute ruler brings victory from every battle; the company advanced and slashed with swords; a sharp onslaught was then launched later.
Heimil varð, es heyrðak,
hoddstríðir, þér síðan
grœn, en gull bautt hônum,
grund, es Magnús funduð.
Endisk ykkar frænda
allfriðliga á miðli
sætt, en síðan vætti
Sveinn rómǫldu einnar.
 
‘Hoard-enemy [GENEROUS MAN], the green ground was later granted to you, as I heard, when you met Magnús and gave him gold. The accord was kept most peacefully between you two kinsmen, but from then on Sveinn could only expect war.
Leiðangr bjótt af láði
— lǫgr gekk of skip — fǫgru
— gjalfrstóðum reist grœði
glæstum — ár it næsta.
Skokkr lá dýrr á døkkri
(Danir vôru þá) bôru
— skeiðr sá herr fyr hauðri
hlaðnar — (illa staðnir).
 
‘You fitted out a fleet from the fair land the next year; the sea went over the ships; you carved the ocean with the splendid surge-steeds [SHIPS]. The precious bottom-board rested on the dark wave; people saw loaded warships off the shore; then the Danes were in a bad situation.
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