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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Lausavísur — ÞjóðA LvII

Þjóðólfr Arnórsson

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur’ 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. 163-76.

 

Leiða langar dauða
limar illa mik stillis;
bôrut menn inn mæra
Magnús í grǫf fúsir.
 
‘The long branches of the death of the ruler affect me grievously; men did not carry the glorious Magnús gladly [lit. glad] into the grave.
Sumar annat skal sunnar
— segik eina spô — fleini
— vér aukum kaf króki —
kaldnefr furu halda.
 
‘Next summer shall cold-beak [the anchor] hold the fir vessel with its fluke further south; I speak a prophecy; we will increase the plunging of the hook.
[Logit hefr Baldr at Baldri]
brynþings fetilstinga,
linns, sás land á sunnar,
láðbrjótr, fyrir ráða.
Sjá mun Njǫrðr inn nørðri
(norðr) glymhríðar borða
(gramr est frœkn) ok fremri
fastmálari hôla.
 
‘[The Baldr <god>] of the byrnie-assembly [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Sveinn] [has broken faith with the Baldr <god>] of sword-belt stabbers [SWORDS > WARRIOR = Haraldr (= me)], the breaker of the land of the snake [(lit. ‘snake’s land-breaker’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Sveinn] who has a land farther south to rule over. That, the more northerly, Njǫrðr <god> of the clashing storm of shields [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Haraldr] must be vastly more true to his word and more outstanding; lord, you are bold in the north.
Mildingr rauð í móðu
— mót hart vas þar — spjóta
(Dǫnum vôru goð) geira,
(grǫm) en þat vas skǫmmu.
Setti niðr á sléttu
Serklandi gramr merki;
— stóð at stillis ráði
stǫng — en þat vas lǫngu.
 
‘The gracious ruler reddened lances in the river of spears [BLOOD]; a harsh encounter took place there; and that was a short time ago; the gods were wrathful towards the Danes. The lord planted his banner on level Serkland; the standard stood [high] at the command of the ruler; but that was a long time ago.
Varp ór þrætu þorpi
Þórr smiðbelgja stórra
hvapteldingum hǫldnum
hafra kjǫts at jǫtni.
Hljóðgreipum tók húða
hrøkkviskafls af afli
glaðr við galdra smiðju
Geirrøðr síu þeiri.
 
‘The Þórr <god> of huge forge-bellows [SMITH] flung jaw-lightnings [INSULTS] from his quarrel hamlet [MOUTH] at the proud giant of goats’ flesh [TANNER]. The cheerful Geirrøðr <giant> of the curving scraper of hides [TANNER] took in with his sound-grabbers [EARS] that molten substance of the smithy of spells [MOUTH > INSULTS], powerfully.
Sigurðr eggjaði sleggju
snák váligrar brákar,
en skafdreki skinna
skreið of leista heiði.
Menn sôusk orm, áðr ynni,
ilvegs búinn kilju,
nautaleðrs á naðri
neflangr konungr tangar.
 
‘The Sigurðr of the sledge-hammer [SMITH] incited the snake of the dangerous tanning tool [TANNER], and the scraping-dragon of skins [TANNER] slithered across the heath of feet [FLOOR]. People were afraid of the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE], before the long-nosed king of tongs [SMITH] overcame the serpent of ox-leather [TANNER].
Haddan skall, en Halli
hlaut offylli grautar;
hornspônu kveðk hônum
hlýða betr an prýði.
 
‘The pot-handle clattered, and Halli got more than his fill of porridge; I declare that a horn spoon suits him better than finery.
Út stendr undan báti
ilfat; munt nú gilja?
 
‘A sole-vessel [SHOE/FOOT] is sticking out from under the boat; are you seducing someone now?
Ǫld es, sús jarli skyldi
ógnteitum lið veita,
— sterkr olli því stillir —
Steinkels gefin helju.
En, þvít illa reynðisk
aflsvôn þaðan hônum,
fyrir lét Hôkon hǫrfa,
hvat segr, hinns þat fegrir.
 
‘Steinkell’s men have been handed over to death’s realm, those who should have given support to the battle-joyous jarl; the mighty ruler [Haraldr] caused that. But, because the expectation of support from there turned out badly for him, Hákon effected a retreat, whatever anyone says who puts a gloss on it.
Skalka frá, þótt fylkir
falli sjalfr til vallar,
— gengr, sem goð vill — ungum
grams erfingjum hverfa.
Skínnat sól á sýnni
(snarráðs) an þá báða
(Haralds eru haukar gǫrvir
hefnendr) konungsefni.
 
‘I shall not desert the young heirs of the king, although the commander himself should fall to the ground; it will go as God wills. The sun will not shine on clearer material for kingship than those two; the avengers of swift-counselled Haraldr [= Magnús and Óláfr] are complete hawks.
Ǫld hefr afráð goldit
illt; nú kveðk her stilltan;
bauð þessa fǫr þjóðum
þarflaust Haraldr austan.
Svá lauk siklings ævi
snjalls, at vér ’róm allir
— lofðungr beið inn leyfði
lífs grand — í stað vǫndum.
 
‘People have paid a dire penalty; now I declare the host is quelled; Haraldr commanded troops onto this expedition westwards needlessly. The life of the bold prince ended in such a way that we are all in a difficult position; the praised sovereign endured destruction of life.
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