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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Geisli — ESk GeislVII

Einarr Skúlason

Martin Chase 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Geisli’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 5-65.

 

Eins má óð ok bœnir
— alls ráðanda ins snjalla
vels fróðr, sás getr góða —
guðs þrenning mér kenna.
Gǫfugt ljós boðar geisli
gunnǫflugr miskunnar
— ágætan býðk ítrum
Óláfi brag — sólar,
 
‘The Trinity of one God can teach me poetry and prayers; he is indeed wise who gets the goodwill of the eloquent ruler of all [= God > = God > = God]. The battle-strong beam of the sun of mercy [= God > = Christ/Óláfr] proclaims a splendid light — I offer the excellent poem to glorious Óláfr —,
þeirars heims (í heimi)
(heims) myrkrum brá (þeima)
ok (ljós meðan) var vísi
veðr- (kallaðisk) -hallar.
Sá lét bjartr frá bjartri
berask maðr und skýjaðri
(frægr stóð af því) flœðar
(fǫrnuðr) rǫðull stjǫrnu.
 
‘of that [sun] which destroyed the darkness of the world, and was the prince of the wind-hall [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], while he called himself the light of the world in this world. That man, the bright sun, caused himself to be born from the bright star of the sea under the cloud-rim [SKY/HEAVEN]; renowned prosperity proceeded from that.
Siðar heilags brá sólar
— setrs vas þat fyr betra
auðfinnǫndum annars
ómjós rǫðuls — ljósi.
Œztr þrifnuðr réð efnask
oss, þás líf á krossi
jarðar allra fyrða
ónauðigr tók dauða.
 
‘The light of the sun of holy faith [= God > = Christ] was extinguished; for finders of riches [MEN] that preceded the better [light] of the not-small abode of another sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]. The best prosperity decided to bring itself to us when he, willing, won the life of all the men of earth through death on a cross.
Upp rann allrar skepnu
iðvandr á dag þriðja
Kristr með krapti hæstum
kunnr réttlætis sunnu.
Veitk, at mildr frá moldu
meginfjǫlði reis hǫlða
— iflaust má þat efla
ossa vôn — með hônum.
 
‘Carefully-acting Christ, known to all creation, rose up with the utmost strength of the sun of righteousness on the third day. I know that a worthy great assembly of men rose from earth with him; beyond doubt that can strengthen our hope.
Sonr sté upp með ynði
auðar mildr frá hauðri,
jǫfra beztr, til œztrar
alls ráðanda hallar.
Lofaðr sitr englum efri
— ǫðlinga hnígr þingat
dǫglings hirð — á dýrðar
dagbóls konungr stóli.
 
‘The son of the ruler of all [= God], generous with riches [= Christ], the best of princes, ascended with joy from earth to the highest hall. The praised king of the day-home [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] sits above the angels on the throne of majesty; the cohort of the prince of princes [= God > THE BLESSED] bows down to him [lit. to there, to it].
Veitti dýrðar dróttinn
dáðvandr gjafar anda;
(môl kynnask þau) mǫnnum
máttigs (framir vátta).
Þá reis upp, sús einum,
alþýð, guði hlýðir,
— hæstr skjǫldungr býðr hauldum
himinvistar til — kristni.
 
‘The carefully-acting lord of glory [= God] gave to men the gifts of the mighty spirit; excellent men study those sayings of witnesses [SCRIPTURES]. Then universal Christendom rose up, that obeys one God; the highest prince invites men to heavenly hospitality.
Nú skulum gǫfgan geisla
guðs hallar vér allir,
ítr þanns Óláfr heitir,
alstyrkan vel dyrka.
Þjóð veit hann und heiða
hríðblôsnum sal víða
— menn nemi môl, sem innik,
mín — jartegnum skína.
 
‘Now we all should honour well the splendid light-beam of God’s hall [HEAVEN > = Óláfr], the all-strong one, who is called glorious Óláfr. People know he shines with miracles widely beneath the storm-blown hall of heaths [SKY/HEAVEN]; may men understand my words as I tell them.
Heyrðu til afreks orða,
Eysteinn konungr beinna!
Sigurðr, hygg at því, snøggum,
sóknsterkr, hvé ferk verka.
Drengr berr óð fyr Inga;
yðart biðk magnit styðja
mærð, þás miklu varðar,
máttig hǫfuð áttar.
 
‘King Eysteinn, listen to straightforward words of great deeds! Battle-strong Sigurðr, consider this, how I deliver the swift work! The man bears [I bear] poetry before Ingi; I ask that your power support the praise, which is of great importance, mighty heads of the nation [= Eysteinn, Sigurðr, Ingi].
Yfirmanni býðk — unnin
upps mærð borin — lærðra
— Jóan kǫllum svá — allrar
alþýðu brag hlýða.
Hefjum hendr, en leyfa
hyggk vin rǫðuls tyggja
— stóls vex hæð, þars hvílir
heilagr konungr — fagran.
 
‘I ask the superior of the whole multitude of learned men [CLERICS > BISHOP] — thus we [I] call Jón — to listen to the poetry; the finished poem is offered up. We lift up our hands, and I intend to praise the beautiful friend of the king of the sun [= God > = Óláfr]; the eminence of the [bishop’s] seat increases, where the holy king rests.
Ǫld samir Óláfs gilda
— orðgnóttar biðk dróttin —
oss at óðgerð þessi
ítrgeðs lofi kveðja.
Fannk aldri val vildra
— vallrjóðanda allra
raun samir — rétt í einu
ranni fremðarmanna.
 
‘It is fitting for us [me] to summon able men to this poetry-making, to the praise of high-minded Óláfr; I ask the Lord for word-wealth. I never found a more agreeable selection of men of accomplishment right in one house; it befits the experience of all field-reddeners [WARRIORS].
Þreklynds skulu Þrœndir
þegns prýðibrag hlýða
Krists — lifir hann í hæstri
hǫll — ok Norðmenn allir.
Dýrð es ágæt orðin
eljunhress í þessu
— þjóð né þengill fœðisk
þvílíkr — konungs ríki.
 
‘The Þrœndir and all Norwegians should listen to the splendid poem of the strong-minded thane of Christ [= Óláfr]; he lives in the highest hall. Energetic fame has become renowned in this king’s realm; neither people nor such a prince will be born [again].
Sigvatr, frák, at segði
sóknbráðs konungs dáðir;
spurt hefr ǫld, at orti
Óttarr um gram dróttar.
Þeir hafa þengils Mœra
— þvís sýst — frama lýstan,
(helgum lýtk) es hétu
hǫfuðskǫld (fira jǫfri).
 
‘I heard that Sigvatr told the deeds of the battle-quick king; men have learnt that Óttarr composed [poetry] about the king of the court. They who were called the chief skalds have proclaimed the courage of the lord of the Mœrir [= Óláfr]; that has been done; I do homage to the holy king of men [= Óláfr].
Móðr vann margar dáðir
munnrjóðr Hugins gunna;
satt vas, at siklingr bœtti
sín mein guði einum.
Leyndi lofðungr Þrœnda
liðgegn snara þegna
— fár gramr hefir fremri
fœzk — hôleitri gœzku.
 
‘The brave mouth-reddener of Huginn <raven> [WARRIOR] accomplished many deeds of battles; it was true that the king made atonement for his wrongdoing to God alone. The prince of the Þrœndir, fair with men [= Óláfr], concealed sublime goodness from able thanes; not many a king has been born more distinguished.
Réð um tolf, sás trúði,
tírbráðr, á guð, láði
(þjóð muna þegna* fœða)
þría vetr (konung betra),
áðr fullhugaðr felli
folkvaldr í dyn skjalda
(hann speni oss) fyr innan
Ǫlvishaug (frá bǫlvi).
 
‘The fame-eager one, who believed in God, ruled the land for three winters beyond twelve — the people will not raise a better king of thanes —, before the very wise army-ruler [= Óláfr] fell in the din of shields [BATTLE] on the inner side of Alstahaugen; may he guide us away from evil.
Fregit hefk satt, at sagði
snjallri ferð, áðr berðisk
— drótt nýtr dǫglings máttar —
draum sinn konungr Rauma.
Stiga sá standa fagran
stjórnar fimr til himna
— rausn dugir hans at hrósa —
Hǫrða gramr af jǫrðu.
 
‘I have heard truly that the king of the Raumar [= Óláfr] told the clever band his dream before they fought; the court enjoys the prince’s might. The king of the Hǫrðar [= Óláfr], adept at leadership, saw a beautiful ladder ascending from earth to the heavens; it is fitting to praise his greatness.
Ok hagliga hugðisk
hrøkkviseiðs ins døkkva
lyngs í lopt upp ganga
látrs stríðandi síðan.
Lét, sás landfolks gætir,
líknframr himinríki
umgeypnandi opnask
alls heims fyr gram snjǫllum.
 
‘And the enemy of the lair of the dark coiling fish of the heather [SNAKE > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] thought then that he went easily up into the air. The outstandingly merciful encompasser [lit. holder in hand] of the whole world [= God], who watches over the people of the country, caused the kingdom of heaven to open before the clever king.
Vakit frák víg á Stikla-
(víðlendr) -stǫðum síðan
(Innþrœndum lét undir
almreyrs lituðr dreyra).
Heims þessa frák hvassan
— hvatir felldu gram skatnar —
— þeir drýgðu bǫl — brigðu
branddríf numinn lífi.
 
‘Then I heard that a battle broke out at Stiklestad; the widely-landed reddener of the elm-reed [ARROW > WARRIOR] caused the wounds of the Innþrœndir to bleed. I heard that the brave sword-driver [WARRIOR] was taken from the transitory life of this world; rash men killed the king; they committed evil.
Fúss emk, þvít vann vísir,
— vas hann mestr konungr flestra —
— drótt nemi mærð — ef mættak,
manndýrðir, stef vanda.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘I am eager to compose a refrain, if I can, because the prince attained manly qualities; he was the greatest king among most [rulers]; may the court receive the praise poem. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Náðit bjartr, þás beiðir
baugskjalda lauk aldri
— sýndi salvǫrðr grundar
sín tôkn — rǫðull skína.
Fyrr vas hitt, at harra
hauðrtjalda brá dauða
happ- (nýtask mér) -mætu
(máltól) skini sólar.
 
‘The bright sun was unable to shine when the desirer of ring-shields [WARRIOR] ended his life; the guardian of the hall of earth [(lit. ‘hall-guardian of earth’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God] showed his signs. It happened previously that the excellently fortunate shining of the sun ceased through the death of the lord of earth-tents [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]; speech-tools [ORGANS OF SPEECH] are of use to me.
Gerðusk brátt, þás barðisk
broddrjóðr við kyn þjóðar,
— gramr vanðit sá synðum
sik — jartegnir miklar.
Ljós brann líki vísa
lǫgskíðs yfir síðan,
þás ǫnd með sér sendis
samdœgris guð framði.
 
‘Great miracles were wrought immediately, when the point-reddener [WARRIOR] had fought with the family of the people; that king did not accustom himself to sins. Then light burned over the body of the prince, when God raised the soul of the sender of the sea-ski [SHIP > SEAFARER] to himself on the same day.
Dýrð lætr dróttins Hǫrða
— dragisk mærð þin*ig — hrœrða
ítr (munat ǫðlingr betri)
alls grœðari (fœðask).
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘The glorious healer of all [= God] causes the fame of the lord of the Hǫrðar [= Óláfr] to be disseminated; may the praise poem turn itself hither; a better prince will not be born. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Drótt þó dýran sveita
dǫglings ríks af líki
(vôn gleðr hug) með hreinu
(hans batnaðar) vatni.
Satts, at Sygna dróttin*
særendr guði kæran
hrings — megu heyra drengir
hans brǫgð — í grǫf lǫgðu.
 
‘The retainers washed precious blood from the body of the powerful prince with pure water; anticipation of his improvement gladdens the mind. It is true that the wounders of the ring [GENEROUS MEN] laid the lord of the Sygnir [= Óláfr], dear to God, in the grave; men can hear of his deeds.
Þar kom blindr — en byrjak
blíð verk — muni síðar
auðar njótr, es ýtar
jǫfurs bein þvegit hǫfðu.
Sjónbrautir þó sínar,
seggjum kunns, í brunni
ôrr, þeims Óláfs dreyra,
orms landa, vas blandinn.
 
‘A blind enjoyer of wealth [MAN] came there somewhat later, where men had washed the prince’s bones; and I will begin the happy work. The messenger of the serpent’s lands [GOLD > MAN] washed his sight-paths [EYES] in the spring which was blended with the blood of Óláfr, known to men.
Sjón fekk seggr af hreinu
(sú dýrð munat fyrðum)
(fǫrnuðr mun þat) (fyrnask)
(fjǫlgóðr) konungs blóði.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘The man received sight from the pure blood of the king; that will be good fortune; the fame [of it] will not be forgotten by men. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Tolf mônuðr vas týnir
tandrauðs huliðr sandi
fremðar lystr ok fasta
fimm nætr vala strætis,
áðr an upp ór víðu
ulfs nistanda kistu
dýrr lét dróttinn harra
dáðmilds koma láði.
 
‘Desirous of fame, the destroyer of the flame-red fire of the street of hawks [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] was covered with sand for twelve months and five nights, before the dear lord of princes [= God] caused the coffin of the good-performing feeder of the wolf [WARRIOR = Óláfr] to come up out of the wide land.
Mál fekk maðr, þars hvílir
margfríðr jǫfurr, síðan,
áðr sás orða hlýru
afskurðr farit hafði.
Frægð ríðr fylkis Egða
folksterks af því verki;
jǫfurs snilli fremsk alla
ungs á danska tungu.
 
‘Then a man gained speech, where the very beautiful king rests, whose cut-off piece of the ship-bow of words [TONGUE] had earlier been destroyed. The fame of the army-strong leader of the Egðir [= Óláfr] travels because of that deed; the honour of the young king is advanced in the whole Norse tongue.
Fǫður skulum fultings biðja
(fremðarþjóð) ins góða
(mœðir mart á láði)
Magnúss hvatir bragnar.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘We brave men should pray for help to the father of Magnús the Good [= Óláfr]; much afflicts the valiant people in the land. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Gekk sínum bur søkkvir
sólar straums í drauma,
— vald lézk fylgja foldar
framlyndum gram myndu —
áðr á Hlýrskógsheiði
harðgeðr konungr barðisk
— góðs eldis naut gyldir
gnótt — við heiðnar dróttir.
 
‘The enemy of the sun of the stream [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] appeared to his son in a dream — the strength of the land [= Óláfr] said he would help the forward-striving prince — before the hard-minded king fought against the heathen hosts at Lyrskovshede; the wolf enjoyed an abundance of good food.
Lét jarplitan ôtu
(arnar jóðs) inn góði
(munn rauð malmþings kennir)
Magnús Hugins fagna.
Hrætt varð folk á flótta
— frôn beit egg — at leggja;
sorg biðu víf, en vargar,
vinðversk, of hræ ginðu.
 
‘Magnús the Good made the brown-coloured one rejoice with the food of Huginn <raven> [CORPSES]; the tester of the weapon-meeting [BATTLE > WARRIOR] reddened the mouth of the eagle’s offspring. The frightened army had to take to flight; the sharp blade bit; Wendish women experienced sorrow, and wolves gaped over carrion.
Rauns, at sigr gaf sínum
snjallr lausnara spjalli
— hrósak verkum vísa
vígdjarfs — frǫmum arfa.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari * stríðum
rǫskr þiggr allt, þats œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘It is a fact that the brave confidant of the Saviour [= Óláfr] gave his distinguished heir victory; I praise the deeds of the battle-bold prince. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate the afflictions of men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Reyndi Gutthormr grundar
— gat rétt — við þrǫm sléttan,
áðr hvat Óláfs téðu
alkœns við guð bœnir.
Dag lét sinn með sigri
sóknþýðr jǫfurr prýðask,
þás í Ǫngulseyjar-
undreyr bitu -sundi.
 
‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr previously prevailed with God; he guessed correctly. The battle-happy king caused his day to be adorned with victory, when wound-reeds [ARROWS] bit in the Menai Strait.
Víst hafði lið lestir
linns þrimr hlutum minna
heiptar mildr at hjaldri
— harðr fundr vas sá — grundar.
Þó réð hann at hvôru
(hǫnum tjóði vel móður)
(hôr feksk af því) (hlýri)
(hagnaðr) ór styr gagni.
 
‘Clearly the strife-generous damager of the snake’s land [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Gutthormr] had three times fewer men at the battle; that meeting was hard. Yet notwithstanding he won victory in the battle; great advantage was gained from that; the brother of [his] mother [= Óláfr] helped him well.
Ǫld hefr opt inn mildi
unnar bliks frá miklum
— Krists mærik lim — leysta
litrauðs konungr nauðum.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘The king, generous with the red-coloured light of the wave [GOLD], has often rescued men from great need; I praise the limb of Christ [SAINT = Óláfr]. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Satts, at silfri skreytta
seggjum hollr ok golli
hér lét Gutthormr gerva
— grams hróðr vas þat — róðu.
Þat hafa menn at minnum
meir; jartegna þeira
mark stendr Krists í kirkju
— konungs niðr gaf þat — miðri.
 
‘It is true that Gutthormr, devoted to men, here had an image made, ornamented with silver and gold; that was praise of the king. Men have that still as a reminder: the mark of those miracles stands in the middle of Kristkirken; the king’s relative [= Gutthormr] gave that.
Menn hafa sagt, at svanni
sunnr, Skônungum kunnir,
oss, um Óláfs messu
almilds baka vildi.
Enn þás brúðr at brauði
brennheitu tók leita,
þá varð grjón at grônu
grjóti danskrar snótar.
 
‘Men, known to the Skônungar, have told us that a woman in the south wanted to bake on all-generous Óláfr’s feast day. Yet, when the woman went to seek the burning-hot bread, then the dough of the Danish woman had become a grey stone.
Hildings hefir haldin
hôtíð verit síðan
— sannspurt es þat sunnan —
snjalls of Danmǫrk alla.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘Since then the feast of the clever warrior has been observed throughout all Denmark; that is truly learned from the south. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Gǫfug réð Hǫrn ór hǫfði
hvítings um sǫk lítla
auðar aumum beiði
ungs manns skera tungu.
Þann sôm vér, es vôrum,
válaust numinn máli
hodda njót, þars heitir
Hlíð, fôm vikum síðan.
 
‘A noble Hǫrn <= Freyja> of the drinking horn [WOMAN] decided to cut the tongue out of the head of a poor seeker of riches [MAN] for little fault of the young man. We [I] saw that user of treasure [MAN], without doubt deprived of speech, when we were [I was] a few weeks later at the place called Lia.
Frétt hefk, at sá sótti
síðan malma stríðir
heim, þanns hjǫlp gefr aumum
harmskerðanda, ferðum.
Hér fekk hann — en byrja
hôtt kvæði skalk — bæði
snáka vangs of sløngvi
slungins mál ok tungu.
 
‘I have heard, that that enemy of weapons [WARRIOR = Kolbeinn] then sought the home of the harm-diminisher [SAINT = Óláfr], the one who gives help to wretched men. Here he received both speech and tongue; and I shall deliver an elevated poem about the distributor of the field of the coiled snake [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].
Dýrð es ágæt orðin
ǫðlings ríks af slíku;
mærð ríðr mildings Hǫrða
mest um heims byggð flesta.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘The fame of the powerful nobleman has become renowned from such things; the greatest praise of the king of the Hǫrðar [= Óláfr] travels over the whole [lit. the most] dwelling of the world. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Veitk, at Vinðr fyr skauti
(verðr bragr af því) skerði
gjalfrs Niðbranda grundar
(greiddr) sárliga meiddu,
ok endr frá trú týndir
tírar sterks ór kverkum
auðskýfanda óðar
ôr grimmliga skôru.
 
‘I know that the Wends mutilated the diminisher of Nið <river>-flames [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] painfully by the edge of the land of ocean-din [SEA]; poetry is made from that; and [men] lost long ago from the faith cut horribly the oar of poetry [TONGUE] from the throat of the distributor of riches [GENEROUS MAN], strong in honour.
Sótti skrín it skreytta
skíðrennandi síðan
— orð finnask mér — unnar
Óláfs dreka bóli,
ok þeim, es vel vakði
(veitk sǫnn) Hugins teiti,
máls fekk hilmir heilsu
heilagr (á því deili).
 
‘The runner of the ski of the wave [(lit. ‘ski-runner of the wave’) SHIP > SEAFARER] then sought Óláfr’s shrine, the one ornamented with the dwelling of the dragon [GOLD]; words come to me; and the holy prince got the health of speech for that man who had well aroused the gladness of Huginn <raven>; I know true proof of that.
Hô*s lætr helgan ræsi
heims dómari sóma
— fyllir framlyndr stillir
ferð himneska — verðan.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘The judge of the world [= God] causes the holy king to be worthy of high honour; the bold-minded king completes the heavenly band. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Hneitir, frák, at héti,
hjaldrs at vápna galdri,
Óláfs hjǫrr, þess’s orra
ilbleikum gaf steikar.
Þeim klauf þengill Rauma
þunnvaxin ský gunnar
— rekin bitu stôl — á Stikla-
stǫðum valbastar rǫðli.
 
‘I heard that the sword of Óláfr, who gave meat to the pale-footed blackcock of battle [RAVEN] at the chant of weapons [BATTLE], was called Hneitir. With that sun of the sword-hilt [SWORD] the king of the Raumar [= Óláfr] clove the thin-grown clouds of battle [SHIELDS] at Stiklestad; inlaid steel weapons bit.
Tók, þás fell inn frœkni
fylkis kundr til grundar,
sverð, es sókn vas orðin,
sœnskr maðr af gram þrœnzkum.
Sá vas hjǫrr ins hôva
hrings stríðanda síðan
gulli merktr í Girkja
gunndjarfs liði fundinn.
 
‘A Swedish man took the sword from the king from Trøndelag when the brave descendant of a king [= Óláfr] fell to the ground, when the battle was over. That sword, decorated with gold, of the tall, battle-eager enemy of the ring [GENEROUS MAN = Óláfr] was later found in the army of the Greeks.
Nú fremr, þanns gaf gumnum,
gǫfug dyrð jǫfur fyrða,
(slǫng Eindriði ungi)
armglœðr (í brag rœðu).
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.
 
‘Now excellent fame promotes the prince of men [= Óláfr], the one who gave men arm-embers [GOLD]; Eindriði ungi (‘the Young’) cast the story into the poem. God’s knight [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from the king of the sun [= God].
Mérs — því mærð skal skýra
mildings, þess’s gaf hringa,
styrjar snjalls — of stilli
styrkjan vant at yrkja,
þvít tôkn, þess’s lið læknar,
lofðungs himintungla
— ljós kemr raun of ræsi —
ranns ferr hvert á annat.
 
‘It is difficult for me to compose [poetry] about the strong ruler — therefore I shall make clear the praise of the clever-in-battle prince who gave rings — because miracles of the prince of the house of heavenly bodies [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], who heals men, go one after another; clear proof appears about the king.
Gyrðisk hála herðum
heldr síðarla á kveldi
glaumkennandi gunnar
glaðr véttrima* naðri.
Drengr réð dýrr á vangi
— dagr rofnaðisk — sofna
ítrs landreka undir
ógnfimr berum himni.
 
‘The happy noise-tester of battle [WARRIOR] girded himself with the well-hardened snake of sword-rings [SWORD] rather late in the evening. The valuable, battle-deft soldier of the splendid land-ruler [= Byzantine emperor] decided to sleep in a field in the open air [lit. under the bare sky]; the day was waning.
Missti maðr, es lýsti,
— morginn vas þá — borgar
styrks mundriða steindrar
styrsnjallr roðins galla.
Nýtr gat séð á sléttri
seimþiggjandi liggja
grundu gylðis kindar
gómsparra sér fjarri.
 
‘The battle-bold man missed the strong, reddened destruction of the stained stronghold of the sword-hilt [SHIELD > SWORD] when it grew light; it was morning then. The useful gold-receiver [MAN] was able to see the gum-spar of the wolf’s offspring [SWORD] lying far from him on the flat ground.
Þríar grímur vann þeima
þjóðnýtr Haralds bróðir
rauknstefnanda Reifnis
ríkr bendingar slíkar,
áðr þrekhvǫssum þessar
(þingdjarfs) firar inga
(bjǫrt eru bauga snyrtis
brǫgð) jartegnir sǫgðu.
 
‘The powerful, very bountiful brother of Haraldr [= Óláfr] gave such signs to that driver of the ox of Reifnir <sea-king> [(lit. ‘to that ox-driver of Reifnir’) SHIP > SEAFARER] for three nights, before men told these miracles to the strength-keen ingi <king>; the deeds of the battle-brave polisher of rings [MAN = Óláfr] are bright.
Môs frák jarðar eisu
alls vald fyr hjǫr gjalda,
(sléttik óð) þanns átti
Óláfr (bragar tólum).
Yfirskjǫldungr lét jǫfra
oddhríðar þar síðan
garðs of golli vǫrðu
grand altári standa.
 
‘I heard [that] the ruler of all [= Byzantine emperor] paid with the fire of the gull’s land [SEA > GOLD] for the sword which Óláfr had owned; I smooth [my] poem with the tools of poetry [ORGANS OF SPEECH]. The supreme king of princes [= Byzantine emperor] then caused the harm of the yard of the point-storm [BATTLE > SHIELD > SWORD] to stand there over the altar adorned with gold.
Tôkn gerir bjǫrt, þaus birta
brandél á Girklandi,
— mál finnsk of þat mǫnnum —
margþarfr Haralds arfi.
Fregnk, at allt (né ógnar
innendr, meguð finna)
dýrð Óláfs ríðr dála
dagræfrs (konung hæfra).
 
‘Haraldr’s very useful heir [= Óláfr] makes clear signs, which sword-showers [BATTLES] manifest in Greece; talk arises among men about that. I hear that Óláfr’s fame rides all across the day-roof [SKY/HEAVEN]; you, doers of battle, will not be able to find a more worthy king.
Háðisk hjaldr á víðum
— hungr sløkði vel þungan
gunnar môr í geira
gǫll — Pézínavǫllum.
Þar, svát þjóð fyr hjǫrvi
þúsundum laut, undan
— hríð óx Hamðis klæða
hjalmskœð — Grikir flœðu.
 
‘A battle was held on the wide Pezina plains; the gull of battle [RAVEN] slaked well [its] heavy hunger in the noise of spears [BATTLE]. There the Greeks fled away, so that people sank by the thousands before the sword; the helmet-harming storm of Hamðir’s <warrior> clothing [ARMOUR > BATTLE] increased.
Myndi mest und fjǫndum
Miklagarðr ok jarðir
(hryggs dugði lið) liggja
(lagar eldbrota) veldi,
nema rǫnd í byr branda
(barðraukns) fáir harða
(rǫðuls bliku vôpn í veðri)
Væringjar framm bæri.
 
‘Most of the kingdom, Constantinople and the territories, would have lain under enemies — the army of the sorrowful breaker of the flame of the sea [(lit. ‘sorrowful flame-breaker of the sea’) GOLD > GENEROUS RULER = Byzantine king] did well —, except that a very few Varangians pushed [their] shields forward in the fair breeze of swords [BATTLE]; weapons gleamed in the storm of the sun of the prow-ox [SHIP > SHIELD > BATTLE].
Hétu hart á ítran
hraustir menn af trausti
— stríð svall ógnar eyðis —
Ôláf í gný stála,
þars of einn í ǫrva
(undbôru) flug vôru
(roðin klofnuðu Reifnis
rǫnn) sex tigir manna.
 
‘Strong men called hard with confidence on glorious Óláfr in the noise of steel weapons [BATTLE] — the distress of the destroyer of terror [RULER = Byzantine emperor] increased —, where sixty men [lit. six tens of men] were against one in the flight of arrows [BATTLE]; Reifnir’s <sea-king> houses [SHIELDS], reddened with the wound-wave [BLOOD], were cloven.
Vas, sem reyk (af ríki
regn dreif stáls) í gegnum
hjalm-Njǫrðungum, harðan,
heiðingja lið, gingi.
Halft fimta vann heimtan
hundrað, brimi*s sunda,
nýztan tír, þars nœra,
Norðmanna, val þorðu.
 
‘The host of heathens was to the helmet-Nirðir <gods> [WARRIORS] as if they were going hard through smoke; the rain of steel [BATTLE] drove mightily. Four and a half hundreds of Norwegians laid claim to very useful honour, where they dared to feed the falcon of the bays of the sword [BLOOD > RAVEN].
Ruddu gumnar gladdir
— gǫfugr þengill barg drengjum —
vagna borg, þars vargar
vápnsundrat hræ fundu.
Nennir ǫll at inna
øngr brimloga sløngvir
dǫglings verk, þess’s dýrkar,
dáðsnjalls, alla.
 
‘The happy warriors cleared the fortress of wagons, where wolves found the weapon-torn carrion; the noble king saved men. No slinger of sea-fire [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] is minded to tell all the deeds of the quick-acting ruler, the one who glorifies the whole
Nús oss, þaus vann vísir,
verk fyr þjóð at merkja
nauðr í nýjum óði,
næst; ríðrat þat smæstu.
Krapt skulum guðs, en er giptu,
gunnstyrks lofi dýrka,
lér hjaldrfrǫmum hôrar
heims læknir gram þeima.
 
‘Now it is a necessity for us [me] to make known to people, in new poetry, the deeds which the king accomplished next; that is not least important. We should honour with praise the power of the battle-strong God, for is the healer of the world [= God] grants great fortune to the battle-prominent king.
Angrfyldrar varð aldar
(illr gerisk hugr af villu)
mildings þjónn fyr manna
(margfaldr) ǫfund kaldri.
Lygi hefr bragna brugðit
(brýtr stundum frið) nýtra
(hermðar kraptr) til heiptar
hjaldrstríð skapi blíðu.
 
‘The servant of the king of sinful humankind [= God > PRIEST = Ríkarðr] was up against the cold hatred of men; the many-sided mind becomes evil from delusion. Battle-hard lying has turned the happy mind of able men to hatred; the power of anger sometimes breaks the peace.
Lustu sundr á sandi
seggs marglitendr eggja
(hǫrð grœr fjón af fyrða)
fót (aldrtrega rótum);
ok prest, þeirs lǫg lestu
líknar krǫfð, ór hǫfði
— hætt mál vas þat — heila
himintungl firar stungu.
 
‘Frequent-stainers of blades [WARRIORS = Einarr and Andréas] broke the man’s leg on the beach; hard hatred grows from the roots of the lifelong sorrows of men; and men, those who broke the law, from which mercy was demanded, struck the heavenly bodies of the brain [EYES] from the head of the priest; that was a dangerous undertaking.
Tungan vas með tangar
tírkunns numin munni
(vasa sem vænst) ok þrysvar
(viðrlíf) skorin knífi.
Auðskiptir lá eptir
(ǫnd lætr maðr) á strǫndu
(margr of minni sorgir)
meinsamliga hamlaðr.
 
‘The tongue of the one accustomed to praise was taken by the tong’s mouth and cut three times with a knife; that was not a very hopeful treatment. The wealth-distributor [MAN] remained lying on the beach painfully mutilated; many a man gives up the ghost from fewer afflictions.
Leyfðrs, sás lét of stýfðrar
lamins fótar, gramr, njóta
ítran þegn sem augna
út stunginna ok tungu.
Hǫnd Óláfs vann heilan
hreins gǫrvallra meina
(gǫr munu gjǫld, þeims byrja)
guðs þræl (ǫfugmæli).
 
‘Praised is the king who let the excellent man enjoy his lame leg, as well as his stabbed-out eyes and cut-off tongue. The hand of pure Óláfr healed God’s servant [PRIEST] of all his injuries; ample will be the payments for those who spread slander.
Bíðr allskonar œðri
— øruggt mælik þat — sælu
dýrðar váttr með dróttni
dyggr, an þjóð of hyggi,
þvít lausnara lýsir
(liðs valdr) numinn aldri
vinr (firði sik synðum)
slík verk á jarðríki.
 
‘The valiant witness of glory [MARTYR] experiences with the Lord all kinds of blessedness, higher than people can imagine — I say that fearlessly —, because the friend of the Saviour [SAINT], taken from life, proclaims such works in the earthly kingdom; the ruler of men kept himself from sin.
Heðan vas ungr frá angri
— alls mest vini flesta
guð reynir svá sína —
siklingr numinn miklu.
Nú lifir hraustr í hæstri
himna valds, þars aldri,
fárskerðandi fyrða
friðarsýn, gleði týnisk.
 
‘The king was taken young from here, from great affliction; God tests thus most of his friends very frequently. Now the valiant misfortune-diminisher of men [SAINT] lives in the highest vision of peace of the ruler of the heavens [= God], where joy never ceases.
Hverrs svá horskr, at byrjar
hans vegs megi of segja
ljóss í lífi þessu
lofðungs gjafar tunga,
þars hreggsalar hyggjum
heitfastr jǫfurr veitir
— skreytt megu skatnar líta
skrín — dýrðar vin sínum?
 
‘Who is so wise that his tongue can tell of the gifts of the prince of the bright path of fair wind [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] in this life, where we think [that] the oath-firm king of the storm-hall [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] gives honours to his friend? Men can see the ornamented shrine.
Heims hykk hingat kvômu
hǫfuðsmenn í stað þenna
— snarr tyggi bergr seggjum
sólar — erkistóli.
Hérs af himna gervis
heilagr viðr — sem biðjum,
yfirskjǫldungr, bjarg, aldar,
oss — píningar krossi.
 
‘I know that the rulers of the world brought an archbishopric here to this place; the quick prince of the sun [= God (= Christ)] saves men. Here there is holy wood from the Cross of torture of the maker of the heavens [= God (= Christ)]; supreme king of men [= God], protect us as we pray.
Ǫld nýtr Óláfs mildi
— jǫfurs dýrð hǫfum skýrða —
þróttar hvass at þessum
þreksnjǫll frama ǫllum.
Lúti landsfolk ítrum
lim salkonungs himna;
sæll es hverr, es hollan
hann gervir sér, manna.
 
‘Strong and bold mankind enjoys the mercy of Óláfr, keen of strength with regard to all these [instances of] honour; we [I] have made clear the fame of the king. Let the people of the land bow before the bright limb of the king of the hall of the heavens [(lit. ‘the bright limb of the hall-king of the heavens’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ) > SAINT = Óláfr]; blessed is every man who makes him friendly to himself.
Talðak fátt ór fjǫlða
friðgegns af jartegnum
(ber koma orð frá órum)
Óláfs (bragar stóli).
Bóls fái seggr, hverrs sólar
siklings, þess’s guð miklar,
hilmis ôst ins hæsta,
heiðbjartrar lof reiðir,
 
‘I have told little from the multitude of miracles of peace-loving Óláfr; clear words come from our [my] seat of poetry [MOUTH]. May each man who spreads the praise of the lord of the dwelling-place of the cloud-free sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = Óláfr], whom God makes great, receive the love of the highest Lord,
svát lausnara leysi
langvinr frá kvǫl strangri
nýta þjóð ór nauðum
nafnkuðr við trú jafnan,
víga skýs, þeirs vísa,
veljendr, framan telja
ǫflugs Krists af ôstum
alnennins brag þenna.
 
‘so that the well-known old friend of the Saviour [= Óláfr] might constantly release able people from the great torment, from distress on account of the faith, those choosers of the cloud of battle [SHIELD > WARRIORS] who tell this splendid poem of the energetic prince about the love of mighty Christ.
Óláfs hǫfum jǫfra
orðhags kyni sagðar
(fylgir hugr) ins helga
happsdáðir (því ráði).
Laun fôm holl, ef hônum
(hræsíks þrimu) líkar,
gǫfugs óðar (hjalp gœðum
guðs blessan) lofs þessa.
 
‘We [I] have told the family of the kings the blessed deeds of eloquent Óláfr the holy; the mind supports that undertaking. We [I] shall receive a kind reward for the splendid poem, this praise, if it pleases him [Óláfr]; God’s blessing, help the increasers of the storm of the corpse-fish [SWORD > BATTLE > WARRIORS].
Myndi bragr nú brǫndum
baugness vesa þessi
— kannk rausnarskap ræsis —
raundýrliga launaðr,
ef lofða gramr lifði
leikmildr Sigurðr Hildar
— þess lýsik veg vísa —
vellum grimmr inn ellri.
 
‘This poem would now be magnificently rewarded with the fires of the bracelet-headland [ARM > GOLD] — I know the munificence of the king —, if Sigurðr the elder, king of men, fierce to gold, generous with the play of Hildr [BATTLE] [lit. play-generous of Hildr] were alive; I praise the honour of this king.
Bœn hefk, þengill, þína,
þrekrammr, stoðat framla;
iflaust hǫfum jǫfri
unnit mærð, sem kunnum.
Ágætr, segið, ítran,
Eysteinn, hvé brag leystak
— hôs elskið veg vísa
vagnræfrs — en ek þagna.
 
‘Courage-strong prince, I have excellently fulfilled your request; without a doubt we [I] have made praise to the king as we are [I am] able. Excellent Eysteinn, say how I have delivered the outstanding poem; love the honour of the king of the high wagon-roof [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]; and I fall silent.
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