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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eiríksmál — Anon EirmI

Anonymous Poems

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Eiríksmál’ 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. 1003.

 

‘Hvat es þat drauma *,         es ek hugðumk fyr dag lítlu
Valhǫll ryðja         fyr vegnu folki?
Vakða ek einherja,         bað ek upp rísa
bekki at stráa,         borðker at leyðra,
valkyrjur vín bera,         sem vísi komi.
 
‘‘What kind of dream is this, that I thought that a little before daybreak I was preparing Valhǫll for a slain army? I awakened the einherjar, I asked them to get up to strew the benches, to rinse the drinking cups, [I asked] valkyries to bring wine, as if a leader should come.
‘Es mér ór heimi         hǫlða vánir
gǫfugra nǫkkurra,         svá es mér glatt hjarta.’
 
‘‘I expect certain glorious men from the world [of the living], so my heart is glad.’
‘Hvat þrymr þar *,         sem þúsund bifisk
        eða mengi til mikit?
Braka ǫll bekkþili,         sem myni Baldr koma
        eptir í Óðins sali.’
 
‘‘What is making a din there, as if a thousand were in motion, or an exceedingly great throng? All the bench-planks creak, as if Baldr were coming back into Óðinn’s residence.’
‘Heimsku mæla *         skalat inn horski Bragi,
        þó at þú vel hvat vitir:
fyr Eireki glymr,         es hér mun inn koma
        jǫfurr í Óðins sali.
 
‘‘The wise Bragi must not talk nonsense, though you know well why: the clangour is made for Eiríkr, who must be coming in here, a prince into Óðinn’s residence.
‘Sigmundr ok Sinfjǫtli,         rísið snarliga
        ok gangið í gǫgn grami.
Inn þú bjóð,         ef Eirekr séi;
        hans es mér nú vôn vituð.’
 
‘‘Sigmundr and Sinfjǫtli, rise quickly and go to meet the prince. Invite [him] in, if it is Eiríkr; it is he I am expecting now.’
‘Hví es þér Eireks vôn *         heldr an annarra konunga?’
‘Því at mǫrgu landi *         hann hefr mæki roðit
        ok blóðugt sverð borit.’
 
‘‘Why do you expect Eiríkr rather than other kings?’ ‘Because he has reddened his blade in many a land and borne a bloody sword.’
‘Hví namt þú hann sigri þá,         es þér þótti hann snjallr vesa?’
‘Því at óvíst es at vita *,         nær ulfr inn hǫsvi
        sœkir á sjǫt goða.’
 
‘‘Why did you deprive him of victory then, when he seemed to you to be valiant?’ ‘Because it cannot be known for certain when the grey wolf will attack the home of the gods.’
‘Heill þú nú, Eirekr *;         vel skalt þú hér kominn,
        ok gakk í hǫll horskr.
Hins vil ek þik fregna:         hvat fylgir þér
        jǫfra frá eggþrimu?’
 
‘‘Good fortune to you now, Eiríkr; you will be welcome here, and go, wise, into the hall. One thing I want to ask you: what princes accompany you from the edge-thunder [BATTLE]?’
‘Konungar eru fimm *;         kenni ek þér nafn allra;
        ek em inn sétti sjalfr.’
 
‘‘There are five kings ; I shall identify for you the names of all; I am myself the sixth.’
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