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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Lausavísur — Eyv LvI

Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur’ 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. 213.

 

Blóðøxar téa beiða
brynþings fetilstinga
(oss gerask hneppt) ins hvassa
hefnendr (setuefni).
Heldr es vant, en vildak
veg þinn, konungr, segja
— fôum til fornra vápna
fljótt — hersǫgu dróttni.
 
‘The avengers of the keen [Eiríkr] Blóðøx (‘Blood-axe’) are asking for a mail-shirt-assembly [BATTLE] with the sword-belt-stabber [SWORD]; the chances of peace are becoming scant for us. It is rather difficult to tell a lord a tale of war, but I wished for your honour, king; let us quickly reach for our old weapons.
Samira, Njǫrðr, enn norðar,
naddregns, hvǫtum þegni
— vér getum bili at bǫlva —
borðmœrar skæ fœra.
Nús, þats rekr á Rakna
rymleið flota breiðan
— grípum vér í greipar
gunnborð — Haraldr sunnan.
 
‘ It does not befit a brave man, Njǫrðr <god> of the spear-rain [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon], to take the horse of the gunwale-land [SEA > SHIP] still further north; we curse delay. Now it is coming about that Haraldr drives his broad fleet from the south on the roaring path of Rakni <sea-king> [SEA]; let us grasp the battle-board [SHIELD] in our hands.
Lýtr fyr lǫngum spjótum
landsfolk; bifask randir;
kveðr oddviti oddum
Eyvindar lið skreyju.
 
‘The land-army sinks before the long spears; shields tremble; the leader [Hákon] greets the following of Eyvindr skreyja (‘Wretch’) with spear-points.
Baðat valgrindar vinda
veðrheyjandi Skreyju
gumnum hollr né golli
Gefnar sinni stefnu:
‘Ef søkkspenni svinnan,
sigrminnigr, vilt finna,
framm halt, njótr, at nýtum
Norðmanna gram, hranna.’
 
‘The enacter of the storm of the Gefn <= Freyja> of the slaughter-gate [(lit. ‘storm-enacter of the Gefn of the slaughter-gate’) SHIELD > VALKYRIE > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon], loyal to men, not to gold, did not bid [Eyvindr] Skreyja (‘Wretch’) to alter his course: ‘If, mindful of victory, you wish to meet a wise treasure-grasper [RULER], keep straight ahead to the capable king of the Norwegians [= Hákon], user of the waves [SWIMMER = Eyvindr skreyja].’
Veitk, at beit inn bitri
byggving meðaldyggvan
bulka skíðs ór bôðum
benvǫndr konungs hǫndum.
Ófælinn klauf Ála
éldraugr skarar hauga
gollhjǫltuðum galtar
grandaðr Dana brandi.
 
‘I know that the biting wound-wand [SWORD] bit the middling-valiant inhabiter of the ski of cargo [SHIP > SEAFARER] from both the king’s hands. The log of the storm of the boar of Áli <legendary king> [(lit. ‘storm-log of the boar of Áli’) HELMET > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon], injurer of the Danes [= Hákon], cleft, unflinching, the burial-mounds of hair [HEADS] with his gold-hilted sword.
Fyrr rauð Fenris varra
flugvarr konungr sparra
— malmhríðar svall meiðum
móðr — í Gamla blóði,
þás óstirfinn arfa
Eiríks of rak — geira
nú tregr gæti-Gauta
grams fall — á sæ alla.
 
‘Earlier the flight-reluctant king [Hákon] reddened the prop of the lips of Fenrir <wolf> [SWORD] in Gamli’s blood; courage swelled in the trees of the metal-storm [BATTLE > WARRIORS], when, agreeable, he drove all Eiríkr’s heirs to sea; now the fall of the king distresses the guarding Gautar <= Óðinn’s> of spears [WARRIORS].
Lítt kvôðu þik láta,
landvǫrðr, es brast, Hǫrða,
benja hagl á brynjum,
— bugusk almar — geð falma,
þás ófolgin ylgjar
endr ór þinni hendi
fetla svell til fyllar
fullegg, Haraldr, gullu.
 
‘Little did people say you let your courage falter, land-guardian of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING = Haraldr], when the hail of wounds [ARROWS] burst on the mail-shirts; bows were bent, when the unconcealed fully edged icicles of sword-belts [SWORDS] resounded once more from your hand, Haraldr, providing the she-wolf with its fill.
Bôrum, Ullr, of alla,
ímunlauks, á hauka
fjǫllum Fýrisvalla
fræ Hôkunar ævi.
Nú hefr folkstríðir Fróða
fáglýjaðra þýja
meldr í móður holdi
mellu dolgs of folginn.
 
‘We bore the seed of Fýrisvellir [GOLD] on the mountains of hawks [HANDS] during the whole of Hákon’s lifetime, Ullr <god> of the battle-leek [SWORD > WARRIOR]. Now the afflicter of the people [= Haraldr] has hidden the flour of the little-satisfied bondswomen of Fróði <legendary king> [= Fenja and Menja > GOLD] in the flesh of the mother of the enemy of the giantess [= Þórr > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)].
Fullu skein á fjǫllum
fallsól bráa vallar
Ullar kjóls of allan
aldr Hôkonar skǫldum.
Nús alfrǫðull elfar
jǫtna dolgs of folginn
— rôð eru rammrar þjóðar
rík — í móður líki.
 
‘ The setting sun of the plain of the brows of Fulla <goddess> [FOREHEAD > GOLD] shone on the mountains of the ship of Ullr <god> [SHIELD > ARMS/HANDS] of skalds throughout Hákon’s whole lifetime. Now the sun of the river [GOLD] is hidden in the body of the mother of the enemy of the giants [= Þórr > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)]; the resolutions of the mighty people are powerful.
Einn dróttin hefk áttan,
jǫfurr dýrr, an þik fyrra;
bellir, bragningr, elli;
biðkat mér ins þriðja.
Trúr vask tyggja dýrum;
tveim skjǫldum lékk aldri;
fyllik flokk þinn, stillir;
fellr á hendr mér elli.
 
‘I have had one lord before you, dear king; old age presses, prince; I do not ask for a third for myself. I was true to the prized leader; I never played with two shields; I fill up your following, ruler; old age descends on me.
Skyldak, skerja foldar
skíðrennandi, síðan
þursa týs frá þvísa
þinn góðan byr finna,
es, valjarðar, verðum,
veljandi, þér selja
lyngva mens, þats lengi,
látr, minn faðir átti.
 
‘ Runner of the ski of the land of skerries [(lit. ‘ski-runner of the land of skerries’) SEA > SHIP > SEAFARER], I should from this time on meet with your good wind of the bondwoman of giants [GIANTESS > THOUGHT], when, chooser of the battlefield [RULER], we [I] have to give you the resting-place of the necklace of heathers [SNAKE > GOLD] which my father long owned.
Snýr á Svǫlnis vôru
— svá hǫfum inn sem Finnar
birkihind of bundit
brums — at miðju sumri.
 
‘It is snowing on the spouse of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)] in the middle of summer; we have tied up the bark-stripping hind of the bud [GOAT] inside just like the Saami.
Lôtum langra nóta
lǫgsóta verfótum
at spáþernum sporna
sporðfjǫðruðum norðan,
vita, ef akrmurur jǫkla,
ǫl-Gerðr, falar verði,
ítr, þærs upp of róta
unnsvín, vinum mínum.
 
‘Let us make the ocean-steed [SHIP] pace with sea-feet [OARS] from the north to the tailfin-feathered prophesying terns of the long nets [HERRINGS], to see if the silverweeds of the field of ice-floes [(lit. ‘field-silverweeds of ice-floes’) SEA > HERRINGS] that the wave-swine [SHIPS] root up will prove marketable for my friends, splendid ale-Gerðr <goddess> [WOMAN].
Fengum feldarstinga,
fjǫrð- ok galt við -hjǫrðu,
þanns álhimins útan
oss lendingar sendu.
Mest selda ek mínar
við mævǫrum sævar
— hallæri veldr hvôru —
hlaupsildr Egils gaupna.
 
‘We [I] received a cloak-pin, which the landsmen of the channel-sky [ICE > ICELANDERS] sent us [me] from abroad [Iceland], and I spent it on fjord-herds [HERRINGS]. Most of all I sold my leaping herrings of Egill’s <legendary hero’s> palms [ARROWS] for the slender arrows of the sea [HERRINGS]; the famine causes both things.
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