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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ragnarsdrápa — Bragi RdrIII

Bragi inn gamli Boddason

Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Ragnarsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 27.

 

Vilið, Hrafnketill, heyra,
hvé hreingróit steini
Þrúðar skalk ok þengil
þjófs ilja blað leyfa?
 
‘Do you wish, Hrafnketill, to hear how I shall praise the leaf of the footsoles of the thief of Þrúðr <goddess> [= Hrungnir > SHIELD], bright-planted with colour, and the prince?
Nema svát góð ins gjalla
gjǫld baugnafaðs vildi
meyjar hjóls inn mæri
mǫgr Sigvarðar Hǫgna.
 
‘Unless in such a way that the famous son of Sigurðr [= Ragnarr loðbrók] should want good recompense for the resounding boss-hubbed wheel of the maid of Hǫgni <legendary king> [= Hildr > SHIELD].
Knátti eðr við illan
Jǫrmunrekkr at vakna
með dreyrfáar dróttir
draum í sverða flaumi.
Rósta varð í ranni
Randvés hǫfuðniðja,
þás hrafnbláir hefndu
harma Erps of barmar.
 
‘Jǫrmunrekkr then awakened with an evil dream among the blood-stained troops in the eddy of swords [BATTLE]. There was tumult in the hall of the chief kinsmen of Randvér [= the dynasty of the Goths], when the raven-black brothers of Erpr [= Hamðir and Sǫrli] avenged their injuries.
Flaut of set við sveita
sóknar alfs á golfi
hræva dǫgg, þars hǫggnar
hendr sem fœtr of kenndu.
Fell í blóði blandinn
brunn ǫlskakki — runna
þats á Leifa landa
laufi fátt — at haufði.
 
‘Dew of corpses [BLOOD] flowed over the bench together with the blood of the elf of attack [WARRIOR = Jǫrmunrekkr] on the floor, where people recognised hewn arms and legs. The ale-dispenser [RULER = Jǫrmunrekkr] fell head-first into a well mixed with blood; that is painted on the leaf of the trees of the lands of Leifi <sea-king> [SEA > SHIPS > SHIELD].
Þar, svát gerðu gyrðan
golfhǫlkvis sá fylkis,
segls naglfara siglur
saums andvanar standa.
Urðu snemst ok Sǫrli
samráða þeir Hamðir
hǫrðum herðimýlum
Hergauts vinu barðir.
 
‘There, so that they encircled the vat of the floor-steed [HOUSE > BED] of the ruler, the masts of the sail of the nail-studded one <ship’s planking> [SHIELD > WARRIORS], lacking nails, stand. Sǫrli and Hamðir were very soon pelted by common resolve with hard shoulder-lumps of the mistress of Hergautr <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’) > STONES].
Mjǫk lét stála støkkvir
styðja Gjúka niðja
flaums, þás fjǫrvi næma
Foglhildar mun vildu.
Ok bláserkjar birkis
ballfǫgr gǫtu allir
ennihǫgg ok eggjar
Jónakrs sonum launa.
 
‘The impeller of the eddy of steel [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Jǫrmunrekkr] caused the descendants of Gjúki <legendary king> [= Hamðir and Sǫrli] to be greatly pressed, when they intended to deprive the delight of Bird-hildr <= Svanhildr> [= Jǫrmunrekkr] of life. And all repay the sons of Jónakr <legendary king> [= Hamðir and Sǫrli] for the powerfully splendid forehead blows of the birch-branch of the dark shirt [SWORD] and the path of the sword-blade [WOUND].
Þat segik fall á fǫgrum
flotna randar botni.
Ræs gǫfumk reiðar mána
Ragnarr ok fjǫl sagna.
 
‘I relate that fall of men on the splendid base of the shield. Ragnarr gave me a moon of the chariot of Rær <sea-king> [SHIP > SHIELD] and a multitude of stories.
Ok ofþerris æða
ósk-Rôn at þat sínum
til fárhuga fœra
feðr veðr boga hugði,
þás hristi-Sif hringa
hals- in bǫls of fyllda
bar til byrjar drǫsla
-baug ørlygis draugi.
 
‘And the desiring-Rán <goddess> of the excessive drying of veins [VALKYRIE = Hildr] planned to bring the storm of bows [BATTLE] with hostile intentions against her father after that, when the shaking-Sif <goddess> of rings [VALKYRIE = Hildr], the one filled with malice, carried a neck-ring for the tree-trunk of battle [WARRIOR = Hǫgni] to the steeds of the fair wind [SHIPS].
Bauða sú til bleyði
bœti-Þrúðr at móti
malma mætum hilmi
men dreyrugra benja.
Svá lét ey, þótt etti,
sem orrostu letti,
jǫfrum ulfs at sinna
með algífris lifru.
 
‘That curing-Þrúðr <goddess> of bloody wounds [VALKYRIE = Hildr] did not offer the splendid ruler the neck-ring for the sake of cowardice at the assembly of weapons [BATTLE]. Thus she continually behaved as if she was hindering the battle, although she was inciting the princes to accompany the sister of the complete monster of a wolf [Fenrir] [= Hel].
Letrat lýða stillir
landa vanr á sandi
— þá svall heipt í Hǫgna —
hǫðglamma mun stǫðva,
es þrymregin þremja
þróttig Heðin* sóttu,
heldr an Hildar svíra
hringa þeir of fingi.
 
‘The controller of men [RULER], lacking lands, does not hold back from stopping the desire of battle-wolves [WARRIORS] on the sand – then hatred swelled in Hǫgni –, when the enduring gods of the noise of sword-edges [(lit. ‘noise-gods of sword-edges’) BATTLE > WARRIORS] attacked Heðinn, rather than accept the rings of the neck of Hildr.
Ok fyr hǫnd í holmi
Hveðru brynju Viðris
fengeyðandi fljóða
fordæða nam ráða.
Allr gekk herr und hurðir
Hjarranda framm kyrrar
reiðr af Reifnis skeiði
ráðalfs af mar brôðum.
 
‘And the booty-destroying evil-doer among women [= Hildr] took control on the island on behalf of the Viðrir <= Óðinn> of the Hveðra <troll-woman> of the mail-coat [AXE > WARRIOR = Hǫgni]. All the army of the control-elf [RULER = Hǫgni (?)] went forward quickly, enraged, from the ground of Reifnir <sea-king> [SEA], from the sea, beneath unwavering hurdles of Hjarrandi <= Óðinn> [SHIELDS].
Þá má sókn á Svǫlnis
salpenningi kenna.
Ræs gǫfumk reiðar mána
Ragnarr ok fjǫl sagna.
 
‘That attack can be recognised on the penny of the hall of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘hall-penny of Svǫlnir’) = Valhǫll > SHIELD]. Ragnarr gave me a moon of the chariot of Rær <sea-king> [SHIP > SHIELD] and a multitude of stories.
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