Þá var ek ungr, er inni brann
frækna fjölð með feðr …
þjóðnær vági fyr Þrumu innan.
‘I was young then, when a crowd of bold men burnt inside with … father very near the bay inside of Tromøy. ’
Herr tapaðiz Haralds ins egðska
ok menbrota mágar véltu,
Fjöri ok Fýri, Freka arfþegar,
Unnar bræðr eiðu minnar.
‘The army of Haraldr inn egðski (‘from Agder’) perished and the kinsmen, Fjǫri and Fýri, heirs of Freki, brothers of my mother Unnr, betrayed the necklace-breaker [GENEROUS MAN = Stórvirkr]. ’
Þá * Herþjófr Harald um vélti;
sér ójafnan sveik í trygðum,
Egða dróttin öndu rænti,
en hans sonum haptbönd sneri.
‘Then Herþjófr tricked Haraldr; he betrayed [a man] unequal to himself in his plighted oath, robbed the lord of the Egðir [= Haraldr] of life and twisted captive shackles for his sons. ’
Þrévetran mik þaðan af flutti
Hrosshárs-Grani til Hörðalands.
Nam ek á Aski upp at vaxa;
sákat niðja á níu vetrum.
‘Hrosshárs-Grani (‘Horse-hair Grani’) carried me off from there at the age of three years to Hordaland. I grew up at Ask; I did not see my kinsmen for nine winters. ’
Afl gat ek ærit, uxu tjálgur,
langir leggir ok ljótt höfuð.
En hímaldi af hugsi sat,
fás forvitinn í fleti niðri.
‘I gained plenty of strength, my branches grew, long legs and ugly head. But I was a layabout lost in thought, curious about little down on the hall-floor. ’
Unz Víkarr kom frá vita innan,
gísl Herþjófs, gekk inn í sal.
Hann kendi mik, hann kvaddi mik
upp at standa ok andsvara.
‘Until Víkarr, the hostage of Herþjófr, came from inside the beacon, went into the hall. He recognised me, he called on me to get up and answer. ’
Hann mældi mik mundum ok spönnum,
alla arma til úlfliða,
vaxit hári á höku niðri.
‘He measured me with hands and hand-breadths, all my arms to the wrists … grown with hair down on my chin. ’
Þá safnaði Sørkvi ok Gretti,
Haralds arfþegi Hildigrími,
Erp ok Úlfi, Áni ok Skúmi,
Hróa ok Hrotta, Herbrands syni,
‘Haraldr’s heir [= Víkarr] then gathered Sørkvir and Grettir, Hildigrímr, Erpr and Úlfr, Án and Skúmr, Hrói and Hrotti, son of Herbrandr, ’
Styr ok Steinþóri frá Staði norðan;
þar var inn gamli Gunnólfr blesi.
Þá váru vér þrettán saman;
fær varliga fríðri drengi.
‘Styrr and Steinþórr from north of Stadlandet; the old Gunnólfr blesi (‘Blaze’) was there. We were then thirteen together; finer fellows are scarcely to be had. ’
Svá kómu vér til konungs garða;
hristum grindr, hjuggum gætti,
brutum borglokur, brugðum sverðum,
þar er sjautigir seggir stóðu,
kostum góðir, fyr konungi.
Þó var um aukit öllum þrælum,
verkalýðum ok vatndrögum.
‘Thus we came to the king’s courts; we shook the gates, we hewed the door-frames, we broke the fortress-locks, we drew our swords, where seventy warriors of good quality stood before the king. Beside that, the number was increased with all slaves, workpeople and water-bearers. ’
Var Víkari vant at fylgja,
þvíat fremstr ok fyrstr í flokki stóð.
Hjuggum hjálma með höfuðgnípum,
brynjur sníddum ok brutum skjöldu.
‘It was difficult to follow Víkarr, because he stood foremost and first in the troop. We hewed helmets with head-peaks, we cut mail-coats and broke shields. ’
Var Víkari vegs um auðit,
en Herþjófi heiptir goldnar.
Særðum seggi en suma drápum;
stóðkat ek fjarri, þá er fell konungr.
‘Honour was ordained for Víkarr and hostilities repaid to Herþjófr. We wounded men and killed some; I was standing not far away when the king fell. ’
Vart þú eigi með Víkari
austr í Væni árdag snemma,
þá er sóttu vér Sísar á velli;
þat var þrekvirki þokks megnara.
‘You were not with Víkarr east on Vänern early in the day, when we attacked Sísarr on the [battle-]field; that was a still more powerful feat of strength. ’
Mik lét sverði hann sárum höggvinn
skarpeggjuðu skjöld í gegnum,
hjálm af höfði en haus skorat
ok kinnkjálka klofinn í jaxla
en it vinstra viðbein látit.
‘He caused me to be struck with wounds with a sharp-edged sword right through my shield, [he caused] the helmet [to be struck] from my head, and my skull broken, and my jawbone cloven to the molars, and my left collar-bone to be shattered. ’
Ok á síðu sverði beitti
mér öflugr fyr mjöðm ofan,
en í aðra atgeir lagði
köldum broddi, svá at á kafi yddi;
þau sér merki á mér gróin.
‘And the powerful one thrust his sword into my side above one hip and plunged his halberd into the other with its cold point, so that it penetrated right through [me]; those scars are visible healed on me. ’
Sneidda ek honum síðu aðra
bitrum brandi um búk þveran.
Svá ek af heiptum hjörvi beittak,
at alls megins áðr kostaðak.
‘I sliced off one side of him with my sharp blade right across the body. Thus I wielded my sword with such fury that I had already expended all my strength. ’
Lét þreksamr þriðja sinni
Hildar leik háðan verða,
áðr Upplönd unnin yrði
ok Geirþjófr um gefinn helju.
‘The powerful one had the play of Hildr <valkyrie> [BATTLE] held for a third time before Opplandene could be won and Geirþjófr given over to death. ’
Átti sér erfivörðu
tírsamr tvá tyggi alna.
Hét hans son Haraldr inn ellri;
setti þann at Þelamörku.
‘The fame-desiring ruler had two heirs born to him. The elder son of his was called Haraldr; he placed that one over Telemark. ’
Var sínkgjarn sagðr af gulli
Neri jarl, nýtr í ráðum,
Víkars sonr vanr í sóknum;
sá réð einn Upplendingum.
‘Jarl Neri was said to be covetous of gold, capable in counsels, Víkarr’s son, accustomed to fight; he ruled alone over the Upplendingar. ’
Réð Friðþjófr fyrst at senda
heiptarboð horskum jöfri,
hvárt Víkarr vildi gjalda
hilmi skatt eða her þola.
‘Friðþjófr first sent a message of hostility to the wise prince, [enquiring] whether Víkarr wanted to pay tribute to the ruler or suffer his army. ’
Réðum um … lengi;
urðum vit ekki dælir.
Þat kaus herr, at konungr skyldi
ríkr með her rómu knýja.
‘We debated … long; we were not easy to deal with. The army chose that the powerful king should press on with the battle with his troop. ’
Réð Óláfr austr inn skygni,
sældargramr, fyr Svíaríki.
Hann bauð út almenningi;
mikill var hans helmingr talinn.
‘Óláfr inn skygni (‘the Sharp-sighted’) ruled in the east, the prosperous ruler, over the kingdom of the Swedes. He ordered the conscripted army out; his division was reckoned great. ’
Gengum fram í glam vápna,
konungsmenn kappi gnægðir.
Þar var Úlfr ok Erpr lítinn;
hjó ek brynjulauss báðum höndum.
‘We advanced in the clash of weapons, the king’s men endowed with vigour. Úlfr was there and Erpr lítinn (‘the Small’); I hewed without a mail-coat with both hands. ’
Réð Friðþjófr friðar at biðja,
þvíat Víkarr vægði ekki,
ok Starkaðr Stórverksson
almátt fram allan lagði.
‘Friðþjófr had to sue for peace because Víkarr did not yield and Starkaðr Stórverksson exerted all his mighty strength. ’
Mér gaf Víkarr valamálm,
hring inn rauða, er ek á hendi ber,
mér þrímerking, en ek Þrumu honum;
fylgða ek fylki fimtán sumur.
‘Víkarr gave me costly metal, the red [gold] ring, which I wear on my arm, [a ring] three marks in weight for me, and I [gave] him Tromøy; I followed the ruler for fifteen summers. ’
Fylgða ek fylki, þeim er framast vissak,
— þá unða ek bezt ævi minni —
áðr fór †ór† — en því flögð ollu —
hinzta sinni til Hörðalands.
‘I followed the ruler, the one I knew [to be] most distinguished — then I enjoyed my life the best — before I went … for the last time to Hordaland; but demons caused that. ’
Þess eyrendis, at mér Þórr um skóp
níðings nafn, nauð margskonar;
hlaut ek óhróðingr ilt at vinna.
‘With this result, that Þórr shaped for me the name of traitor, distress of many kinds; inglorious, I was fated to perform evil deeds. ’
Skylda ek Víkar í viði hávum,
Geirþjófs bana, goðum um signa.
Lagða ek geiri gram til hjarta;
þat er mér hermast handaverka.
‘I was obliged to dedicate Víkarr, the slayer of Geirþjófr, to the gods on the high tree. I thrust with the spear to the ruler’s heart; that is for me the most regrettable of the deeds of my hands. ’
Þaðan vappaðak viltar brautir,
Hörðum leiðr, með huga illan,
hringa vanr ok hróðrkvæða,
dróttinlauss, dapr alls hugar.
‘From there I wandered bewildering ways, hateful to the Hǫrðar, with a dark mind, lacking in rings and poems of praise, lordless, depressed in my whole mind. ’
Nú sótta ek til Svíþjóðar,
Ynglinga sjöt, til Uppsala.
Hér láta mik, sem ek lengi mun,
þöglan þul, þjóðans synir.
‘I now sought the residence of the Ynglingar, [made my way] to Sweden, to Uppsala. The prince’s sons allow me [to stay] here [as] a silent poet, as I shall [be] for a long time. ’
Hér settu mik sveina milli,
heldr hæðinna ok hvítbránna.
Skelkja skatnar ok skaup draga,
ófs óframir, at jöfurs greppi.
‘Here they set me between serving men, rather mocking and white-eyelashed. The fellows mock and, exceedingly cautious, hold the prince’s poet up to ridicule. ’
Sjá þykkjaz þeir á sjálfum mér
jötunkuml átta handa,
er Hlórriði fyr hamar norðan
Hergríms bana höndum rænti.
‘They think they can see the giant-marks of the eight arms on myself where Hlórriði <= Þórr> tore off the arms of Hergrímr’s slayer [= Starkaðr] north of the crag. ’
Hlæja rekkar, er mik sjá,
ljótan skolt, langa trjónu,
hangar tjálgur, hár úlfgrátt,
hrjúfan háls, húð jótraða.
‘Men who see me laugh at [my] ugly snout, long muzzle, dangling branches, wolf-grey hair, scabby neck, scarred skin. ’