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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Krákumál — Anon KrmVIII (Ragn)

Anonymous Poems

Rory McTurk 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Krákumál’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 706. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1020> (accessed 27 September 2021)

 

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hitt var ei fyr löngu,
er á Gautlandi gengum
at grafvitnis morði.
Þá fengu vér Þóru;
þaðan hétu mik fyrðar,
þá er ek lyngölun lagðak,
Loðbrók, at því vígi.
Stakk ek á storðar lykkju
stáli bjartra mála.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. It was not long ago when we set about the slaying of the digging-wolf [SNAKE] in Götaland. That was when we married Þóra; people have called me Loðbrók (‘Hairy-breeches’) from the time when I stabbed the heather-fish [SNAKE] to death in that fight. I thrust the blade with bright ornaments at the loop of the earth [SNAKE].
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Heldr var ek ungr, þá er skífðum
austr í Eyrasundi
undurn frekum vargi,
ok fótgulum fugli
fengu vér, þar er sungu
við háseymða hjálma
hörð járn, mikils verðar.
Allr var ægir sollinn;
óð rafn í valblóði.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. I was very young when we chopped up a breakfast for the greedy wolf east in the Øresund, and we provided a massive meal for the yellow-footed bird where tough swords sang on rivet-studded helmets. All the sea was troubled; the raven waded in corpse-blood.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hátt bárum þá geira,
er tvítugir tölðumz
ok tr ruðum víða.
Unnum átta jarla
austr fyr Dínu mynni;
gera fengum þá gnóga
gisting at því vígi.
Sveiti fell í sollinn
sæ; týndi lið ævi.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. We bore spears aloft when we reached twenty years of age, and we reddened the sword far and wide. We vanquished eight jarls out east off the mouth of the Dvina; then we gave the greedy one <wolf> ample sustenance in that battle. Blood fell into a troubled sea; troops lost their lives.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Heðins kvánar varð auðit,
þá er vér Helsingja heimtum
til heimsala Óðins.
Lögðum upp í Ívu;
oddr náði þá bíta;
öll var unda gjálfri
á sú roðin heitu.
Grenjaði brandr við brynjur
bensildr; klufuz skildir.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. The woman of Heðinn <legendary hero> [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’)] was at hand when we brought the people of Hälsingland to the dwellings of Óðinn <god> [= Valhǫll]. We proceeded up the Ífa <river>; then the sword-point managed to bite; that whole river was reddened by a hot surge of wounds [BLOOD]. The sword roared on coats of mail, [as did] wound-herrings [ARROWS/SPEARS]; shields were cloven.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hygg engan þá frýðu,
áðr en á Heflis hestum
Herruðr í styr felli.
Klýfr eigi ægis öndrum
annarr jarl in frægri
lunda völl til lægis
á langskipum síðan.
Sá bar siklingr víða
snart fram í styr hjarta.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. No one found fault with us then, I reckon, before Herruðr fell in battle on the horses of Heflir <sea-king> [SHIPS]. No other, more famous jarl will ever again cleave the plain of puffins [SEA] with skis of the sea [SHIPS], on longships, heading into harbour. That leader carried a stout heart far and wide forward into battle.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Herr kastaði skjöldum,
þá er rægagarr rendi
ræstr at gumna brjóstum.
Beit í Skarpaskerjum
skærubíldr at hjaldri;
roðinn var randar máni,
áðr Rafn konungr felli.
Dreif ór hölða hausum
heitr á brynjur sveiti.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. An army cast shields away when the drawn corpse-hound [SWORD] ran at the breasts of men. The battle-lancet [SWORD] bit in the conflict at Skarpasker; the moon of the shield-rim [SWORD] was reddened before King Rafn fell. Hot blood gushed from heads of men onto mail-coats.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hátt grenjuðu rottar,
áðr en á Ullarakri
Eysteinn konungr felli.
Gengum gulli fáðir
grundar vals af bröndum
— rækyndill smaug rauðar
rítr — at hjálma móti.
Svíra virtr ór sárum
sveif of hjarna kleifar.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. Swords roared loudly before King Eysteinn fell at Ullarakr. We proceeded to a meeting of helmets [BATTLE], decked with gold from the flames of the landing place of the falcon [ARM > GOLD RINGS]; the corpse-candle [SWORD] penetrated red shields. The wort of the neck [BLOOD] flowed from wounds over the cliffs of the brain [SHOULDERS].
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hafa gátu þá rafnar
fyrir Inndyriseyju
ærna bráð at slíta.
Fengum fálu hestum
fullan verð at sinni
— ilt var eins at gæta —
með uppruna sólar.
Strenghömlur sá ek stíga;
stökk málmr á skör hjálmi.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. Ravens then obtained plenty of flesh to tear off Inndyrisey. We provided horses of the giantess [WOLVES] with a full meal on that occasion at the rising of the sun; it was hard to keep track of individuals. I saw bow-stringsticks [ARROWS] ascending; metal leapt at rim of helmet.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Háðum rendr í dreyra,
þá er benstara bræddum
fyr Borgundarhólmi.
Hreggský slituz hringa;
hratt álmr af sér málmi;
Völnir fell at vígi;
varat einn konungr meiri.
Val rak vítt of strandir;
vargr fagnaði tafni.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. We steeped shields in blood when we fed the wound-starling [RAVEN/EAGLE] off Bornholm. Storm-clouds of swords [SHIELDS] were destroyed; the bow thrust forth metal; Vǫlnir fell in the battle; not a single king was greater. The slain were scattered far and wide over the beaches; the wolf rejoiced in its prey.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hildr var sýnt í vexti,
áðr Freyr konungr felli
í Flæmingjaveldi.
Náði blár at bíta
blóði smeltr í gyltan
Högna kufl at hjaldri
harðr bengrefill forðum.
Mær grét morginskæru
mörg, þá er tafn fekkz vörgum.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. The battle was clearly well advanced before King Freyr fell in the realm of the Flemings. The tough, blue wound-digger [SWORD], dripping with blood, succeeded long ago in biting into the gilded cowl of Hǫgni <legendary hero> [ARMOUR] in the conflict. Many a maiden wept early that morning, when prey was obtained for wolves.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hundruðum frá ek liggja
á Eynæfis öndrum,
þar er Englanes heitir.
Siglðu vér til snerru
sex dægr, áðr lið felli;
áttum odda messu
við uppruna sólar.
Varð fyr várum sverðum
Valþjófr í styr hníga.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. I heard that they lay in hundreds on the skis of Eynæfir <sea-king> [SHIPS] at the place named Englanes. We were sailing into battle for three days before the troop fell; we conducted a chant of sword-points [BATTLE] at the rising of the sun. Valþjófr had to fall in battle before our swords.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hrunði dögg af sverðum
brún í Barðafirði
bleika* ná- fyrir -hauka.
Umði álmr, þá er oddar
allhratt slitu skyrtur
at slíðrloga sennu
Svölnis hamri þæfðar.
Rendi ormr til unda
eitrhvass drifinn sveita.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. Brown dew <blood> splashed down from swords before pale corpse-hawks [RAVENS/EAGLES] in Barðafjǫrðr. The bow twanged when arrow-points tore very swiftly the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [MAIL-COATS] in the quarrel of sheath-flames [SWORDS > BATTLE]. The poison-sharp serpent <spear>, soaked in blood, forced its way into wounds.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Heldum Lakkar tjöldum
hátt at Hildar leiki
fyrir Hjaðningavági.
Sjá knáttu þá seggir,
er sundruðum skjöldu
at hræsíldar hjaldri,
hjálm slitnaðan gotna.
Varat, sem bjarta brúði
í bing hjá sér leggja.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. We held high the canopies of Hlǫkk <valkyrie> [SHIELDS] in the game of Hildr <valkyrie> [BATTLE] off Hjaðningavágr. Men could then see [many a] helmet of warriors broken when we sundered shields in the conflict of the corpse-herring [SPEAR]. It was not like placing a fair maiden in a bed beside one.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hörð kom ríð á skjöldu;
nár fell niðr til jarðar
á Norðimbralandi.
Varat um eina óttu
öldum þörf at frýja
Hildar leiks, þar er hvassir
hjálmstofn bitu skjómar.
Benmána sá ek bresta;
brá því fira lífi.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. A hard storm assailed shields; a corpse fell down to earth in Northumbria. Once, at daybreak there was no cause to reproach people over the game of Hildr <valkyrie> [BATTLE], where sharp shiners <swords> bit [many a] helmet-peg [HEAD]. I saw wound-moons [SHIELDS] break; men’s lives ceased as a result.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Herþjófi varð auðit
í Suðreyjum sjálfum
sigrs á órum mönnum.
Varð í randar regni
Rögnvaldr fyrir hníga;
sá kom hæstr of hölða
harmr at sverða gusti.
Hvast kastaði hristir
hjálms strengflaugar pálmi.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. Herþjófr was granted victory over our men in the Hebrides themselves. Rǫgnvaldr had to yield in the rain of the shield [BATTLE]; that greatest sorrow came upon men in the breeze of swords [BATTLE]. The shaker of the helmet [WARRIOR] vigorously propelled the palm-tree of the bowstring’s groove [ARROW].
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hverr lá þverr um annan;
glaðr varð geira hríðar
gaukr at sverða leiki.
Lét ei örn né ylgi,
sá er Írlandi stýrði,
— mót varð málms ok rítar —
Marstan konungr fasta.
Varð í Veðrarfirði
valtafn gefit hrafni.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. Each man lay athwart another; the cuckoo of the storm of spears [BATTLE > RAVEN/EAGLE] became happy in the game of swords [BATTLE]. King Marstan, who ruled over Ireland, did not allow eagle or she-wolf to fast; a meeting of metal and shield came about. Corpse-prey was given to the raven in Waterford.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hundmargan sá ek falla
morginstund fyrir mæki
mann í odda sennu.
Syni mínum hneit snimma
slíðra þorn við hjarta;
Egill lét Agnar ræntan
óblauðan hal lífi.
Glumði geirr við Hamðis
gránserk; bliku merki.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. I saw very many a man fall before the sword at morning-time in the quarrel of weapon-points [BATTLE]. The thorn of scabbards [SWORD] struck early at the heart of my son; Egill caused Agnarr, an uncowardly man, to be deprived of life. The spear resounded against the grey shirt of Hamðir <legendary hero> [MAIL-COAT]; banners gleamed.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Haldorða sá ek brytja
ekki smátt fyr úlfa
Endils niðja bröndum.
Varat á Víkarskeiði,
sem vín konur bæri;
roðinn var Ægis asni
ófár í dyn geira.
Skorin var Sköglar kápa
at skjöldunga hjaldri.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. I saw the trusty kinsmen of Endill <sea-king> [SEAFARERS] chop up [helpings] of no small size for wolves with swords. On Víkarskeið it was not as if women were serving wine; not a few asses of Ægir <sea-giant> [SHIPS] were emptied in the din of spears [BATTLE]. The cloak of Skögul <valkyrie> [MAIL-COAT] was cut in the conflict of shield-bearers [BATTLE].
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Háðum sverðs at morni
leik fyr Lindiseyri
við lofðunga þrenna.
Fár átti því fagna
— fell margr í gin vargi —
— haukr sleit hold með úlfi —
at heill þaðan kæmi.
Íra blóð í ægi
ærit fell um skæru.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. We engaged in the game of the sword [BATTLE] in the morning with three chieftains off Lindiseyrr. Hardly anyone could rejoice that he came back from there unharmed; many a man fell into the wolf’s gaping mouth; the hawk, along with the wolf, tore flesh. Abundant blood of the Irish flowed into the sea during the battle.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hárfagran sá ek røkkva
meyjar dreng at morni
ok málvini ekkju.
Varat, sem varmar laugar
vínkers Njörun bæri
oss í Álasundi,
áðr en Örn konungr felli.
Varat, sem unga ekkju
í öndvegi kyssa.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. I saw the fine-haired young knight of a maiden [LOVER] and the close friends of a widow [LOVERS] weaken in the morning. It was not as if a Njǫrun <goddess> of the wine-vessel [WOMAN] were carrying hot baths for us in Álasund, before King Ǫrn fell. It was not like kissing a young woman in the high seat.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Há sverð bitu skjöldu,
þar er gullroðinn glumði
geirr við Hildar ræfri.
Sjá mun í Öngulseyju
of aldr mega síðan,
hversu at lögðis leiki
lofðungar fram gengu.
Roðinn var út fyrir eyri
ár flugdreki sára.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. Long swords bit shields, where the gold-ornamented spear resounded against the roof of Hildr <valkyrie> [SHIELD]. It may be seen ever afterwards on Anglesey how chieftains went forward in the game of the sword [BATTLE]. The flying dragon of wounds [SPEAR] was reddened early off the sand-bank.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hví sé drengr at feigri,
at hann í odda éli
öndurðr látinn verði?
Opt sýtir sá ævi,
er aldrigi nistir
— ilt kveða argan eggja —
örn at sverða leiki.
Hugblauðum kemr hvergi
hjarta sitt at gagni.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. Why should a fellow be any the more likely to die, because he is placed in the front line in the shower of spear-points [BATTLE]? He who never feeds the eagle in the game of swords [BATTLE] often regrets his life; they say it’s a troublesome business egging on a coward. The heart of a cowardly man is never of any use to him.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hitt tel ek jafnt, at gangi
at samtogi sverða
sveinn í móti einum.
Hrøkkvi ei þegn fyrir þegni;
þat var drengs aðal lengi;
æ skal ástvinr meyja
einarðr í dyn sverða.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. This I consider fair, that one lad should go against another at the drawing together of swords [BATTLE]. One warrior should not give way to another; that was always the nature of a hero; the dear friend of maidens [LOVER] should always be resolute in the din of swords [BATTLE].
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hitt sýniz mér raunar,
at forlögum fylgjum;
fár gengr um sköp norna.
Eigi hugðak Ellu
at aldrlagi mínu,
þá er ek blóðvali brædda
ok borð á lög keyrðak.
Vítt fengum þá vargi
verð í Skotlandsfjörðum.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. It appears to me indeed that we must submit to fate; few escape the decree of the norns. I did not think Ælle <Northumbrian king> would be the cause of my death when I fed the blood-falcons [RAVENS/EAGLES] and drove ships out to sea. Then we provided a meal for the wolf far and wide in Scotland’s firths.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hitt lægir mik jafnan,
at Baldrs föður bekki
búna veit ek at sumblum.
Drekkum bjór af bragði
ór bjúgviðum hausa;
sýtir ei drengr við dauða
dýrs at Fjölnis húsum.
Eigi kem ek með æðru
orð til Viðris hallar.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. It always makes me laugh to know that the benches of the father of Baldr <god> [= Óðinn] are prepared for banquets. We’ll soon be drinking beer out of the curved trees of skulls [DRINKING HORNS]; a fellow does not regret death in the dwellings of glorious Fjǫlnir <= Óðinn> [= Valhǫll]. I do not come with words of fear to the hall of Viðrir <= Óðinn> [= Valhǫll].
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hér mundu nú allir
burir Áslaugar bröndum
bitrum hildi vekja,
ef vandliga vissi
um viðfarar ossar,
hvé ófáir ormar
eitrfullir mik slíta.
Móðernis fekk ek mínum
mögum, svá at hjörtun dugðu.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. All the sons of Áslaug would now start a battle here with sharp swords, if they knew fully about our treatment, how numerous poisonous snakes are tearing at me. I gave my sons such a mother that their hearts stood firm.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Harðla líðr at ævi:
grimt stendr grand af naðri;
góinn byggvir sal hjarta.
Væntum hins, at Viðris
vöndr í Ellu standi;
sonum mínum mun svella
sinn föður ráðinn verða.
Ei munu snarpir sveinar
sitt kyrt vera láta.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. My life is drawing very much to to its end: grim danger emanates from the serpent; the snake occupies the hall of my heart [BREAST]. We expect this, that the staff of Viðrir <= Óðinn> [SPEAR] will become lodged in Ella <Northumbrian king>; the slaying of their father will cause my sons’ hearts to swell with rage. Those bold boys will not let this concern of theirs rest.
Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hef ek fimm tigum sinna
fólkorrostur framðar
fleinþings boði ok eina.
Minnst hugða ek manna,
at mér vera skyldi
— ungr nam ek odd at rjóða —
annarr konungr fremri.
Oss munu æsir bjóða;
era sýtandi dauði.
 
‘We hewed with the sword. I, the instigator of the spear-assembly [BATTLE > WARRIOR], have conducted five times ten battles between peoples, and one more. I least of [all] people thought that another king would prove superior to me; I began at a young age to redden the sword-point. The gods will invite us; death is not to be feared.
Fýsumz hins at hætta.
Heim bjóða mér dísir,
þær er frá Herjans höllu
hefr Óðinn mér sendar.
Glaðr skal ek öl með ásum
í öndvegi drekka;
lífs eru liðnar vánir;
læjandi skal ek deyja.
 
‘I wish to make an end. Dísir <minor female deities> are welcoming me home, the ones Óðinn has sent me from the hall of Herjan <= Óðinn [= Valhǫll]. I shall gladly drink ale with the gods in the high seat; hopes of life are past; I’ll die laughing.
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