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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr — ÞjóðA HarII

Þjóðólfr Arnórsson

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr’ 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. 147-58.

 

Skeið sák framm at flœði,
fagrt sprund, ór ô hrundit;
kennd, hvar liggr fyr landi
lǫng súð dreka ins prúða.
Orms glóa fǫx of farmi
frôn, sízt ýtt vas hônum
— bôru búnir svírar
brunnit goll — af hlunni.
 
‘I saw the warship, beautiful lady, propelled out of the river onto the ocean; look where the long side-planking of the splendid dragon-ship lies offshore. The gleaming manes of the serpent [dragon-ship] shine out above the cargo, since it was launched from the rollers; the decorated necks bore burnished gold.
Slyngr laugardag lǫngu
lið-Baldr af sér tjaldi,
út þars ekkjur líta
orms súð ór bœ prúðar.
Vestr réð ór Nið næsta
nýri skeið at stýra
ungr, en árar drengja,
allvaldr, í sæ falla.
 
‘The troop-Baldr <god> [RULER] throws, on a Saturday, the long awning off [lit. off himself], where fine women gaze at the side-planking of the serpent [dragon-ship], [looking] out from the town. The youthful overlord set about steering the brand-new longship west out of Nidelven (Nið), and the oars of the warriors plunge into the sea.
Rétt kann rœði slíta
ræsis herr ór verri;
ekkja stendr ok undrask
ára burð sem furðu.
Ært mun, snót, áðr sortuð
sæfǫng í tvau ganga
(þǫll leggr við frið fullan)
ferkleyf (á þat leyfi).
 
‘The prince’s troop know how to whip the oars expertly up from the stroke; the woman stands and wonders at the handling of the oars, as a marvel. There’ll be rowing [enough], lady, before the tarred sea-gear [oars], splittable in four, break in two; the fir-tree <woman> gives her approval to this in complete peace.
Sorgar veit, áðr slíti
sæfang ór mar strǫngum
herr, þars heldr til varra,
hár sjau tøgum ára.
Norðmeðr róa naðri
neglðum straum inn heglða
— úts, sem innan líti
arnarvæng — með jarni.
 
‘Anguish will be felt, before the troop whips the sea-gear [oar] out of the powerful sea, where the oarport holds [each of] the seventy oars in place for the stroke [lit. strokes]. The Norwegians row the snake [ship] nailed with iron on the hail-beaten current; [looking] out, it is like seeing an eagle’s wing from within.
Eigu skjól und skógi
skafnir snekkju stafnar;
læsir leiðangrs vísi
lǫnd herskipa brǫndum.
Almenningr liggr innan
— eið láta sér skeiðar
hábrynjaðar hlýja —
hverja vík í skerjum.
 
‘The planed stems of the vessel get shelter in the lee of the wood; the fleet’s prince encloses the lands with the prows of warships. The host lies at anchor in every bay in the skerries; the longships, armoured around the oarports, let the headland protect them.
Hléseyjar lemr hôvan
hryngarð konungr barði;
neytir þá til þrautar
þengill snekkju strengja.
Eigis jarni bjúgu
indæll skaði lindis;
gnegr af gaddi digrum
grjót ok veðr in ljótu.
 
‘The king strikes the high roaring enclosure of Læsø [SEA] with the prow; the prince then uses the warship’s cables to the limit. Not at all is the harmer of the lime-tree [WIND] easy on the curved iron [anchor]; rocks and the foul weather gnaw at the stout anchor-fluke.
Haraldr þeysti nú hraustla
helming sinn at Elfi;
náttar Nóregs dróttinn
nær at landamæri.
Gramr á þing við Þumla;
þars eindagaðr Sveini
hrafni skyldr, nema haldi,
hans fundr, Danir undan.
 
‘Haraldr has now rushed his troop boldly towards the Götaälv (Elfr); the lord of Norway [= Haraldr] overnights close to the lands’ boundary. The prince holds an assembly off Þumli; there a meeting with him, owed to the raven, is appointed for Sveinn, unless the Danes head away.
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