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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Poem about Haraldr harðráði — Valg HarII

Valgarðr á Velli

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Valgarðr á Velli, Poem 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. 300-10.

 

Skilfingr, helzt, þars skulfu
skeiðr, fyr lǫnd in breiðu
— auð varð suðr of síðir
Sikiley — liði miklu.
 
‘Lord, you led a large host past the wide lands where warships shook; in the south Sicily was finally laid waste.
Snarla skaut ór sóti
— sveyk of hús ok reykir
stóðu stopðir síðan —
steinóðr logi glóðum.
 
‘The furious flame quickly shot embers from the soot, and straight columns of smoke then rose above tottering houses.
Bjartr sveimaði brími
(brutu víkingar fíkjum)
vísa styrks af virki
— varp sorg á mey — (borgar).
 
‘The bright fire of the strong leader surged from the rampart; vikings destroyed strongholds ferociously; grief afflicted the maiden.
Helmingi bautt hanga,
hilmis kundr, af stundu;
skipt hafið ér, svát eptir
eru Væringjar færi.
 
‘Descendant of a ruler [RULER = Haraldr], you ordered the unit to be hanged at once; you have acted in such a way that fewer Varangians are left.
Skauzt und farm inn frízta
— frami veitisk þér — beiti;
farðir goll ór Gǫrðum
grunlaust, Haraldr, austan.
Stýrðir hvatt í hǫrðu,
hugdyggr jǫfurr, glyggvi,
— sátt, þás sædrif létti,
Sigtún — en skip hnigðu.
 
‘You pushed a ship under the most splendid cargo; success is granted you; Haraldr, without a doubt you brought gold west from Russia. Loyal-minded prince, you steered vigorously in the hard storm, and the ships pitched; you sighted Sigtuna when the sea-spray eased.
Eik slǫng und þér, yngvi
ógnblíðr, í haf síðan
— rétt vas yðr of ætlat
óðal — frá Svíþjóðu.
Hýnd bar rif, þars rennduð
rétt á stag fyr slétta,
skeið, en skelkðuð brúðir,
Skáney, Dǫnum nánar.
 
‘Then the oak-ship sped beneath you into the ocean away from Sweden, battle-rejoicing lord; lawful inheritance awaited you. The warship carried a sail hoisted high where you scudded straight ahead past flat Skåne, and you scared women closely related to the Danes.
Haraldr, gǫrva lézt herjat
— hnyggr andskotum, tyggi —
— hvatt rann vargr at vitja
valfalls — Selund alla.
Gekk á Fjón, en fekkat,
fjǫlmennr konungr, hjǫlmum
— brast ríkula ristin
rít — erfiði lítit.
 
‘Haraldr, you thoroughly ravaged all Sjælland; you crush your enemies, lord; the wolf ran swiftly to visit the fallen carrion. The king advanced with strong numbers on Fyn and gave helmets no little hardship; the richly engraved shield split.
Brann í bœ fyr sunnan
bjartr eldr Hróiskeldu;
rǫnn lét ræsir nenninn
reykvell ofan fella.
Lôgu landsmenn gnógir;
ló hel sumum frelsi;
drósk harmvesalt hýski
hljótt til skógs á flótta.
 
‘Bright fire burned in the settlement south of Roskilde; the vigorous ruler caused smouldering buildings to collapse. Plenty of countrymen lay [dead]; death deprived some of their freedom; the grief-stricken household crawled silently to the forest in flight.
Dvalði daprt of skilða
(drifu, þeirs eptir lifðu)
ferð, en fengin urðu
fǫgr sprund (Danir undan).
Láss helt líki drósar;
leið fyr yðr til skeiða
(bitu fíkula fjǫtrar)
fljóð mart (hǫrund bjartir).
 
‘The pitifully scattered crowd was delayed; the Danes who were still alive fled away, but fair women were captured. A lock secured the girl’s body; many a maiden went before you to the warships; bright fetters bit greedily into the flesh.
Inn vas í, sem brynni,
iðglíkt séa miðjan,
eldr, þars yðrum helduð,
orms munn, skipum sunnan.
Skeið bar skolpt inn rauða;
skein af golli hreinu;
dreki fór dagleið mikla;
dúfu braut und húfi.
 
‘Looking into the middle of the dragon-ship’s mouth, it was just as if fire was burning where you steered your ships from the south. The warship carried its red skull; it glowed from the pure gold; the dragon-ship sailed a long day’s journey; the wave broke beneath the hull.
Lauðr vas lagt í beðja;
lék sollit haf golli,
enn herskipum hrannir
hǫfuð ógurlig þógu.
Ræðr, en ræsir œðri
rístr aldri sæ kaldan,
— sveit tér sínum dróttni
snjǫll — Nóregi ǫllum.
 
‘Foam was folded into layers; the swollen sea played with gold, and waves washed the terrifying heads of the warships. You rule all Norway, and a nobler regent will never carve the cold sea; the valiant company support their lord.
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