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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gráfeldardrápa — Glúmr GráfI

Glúmr Geirason

Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa’ 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. 245.

 

Hlýði! Hapta beiðis
hefk mildinga gildi;
því biðjum vér þagnar,
þegna tjón at fregnum.
 
‘Listen! I begin the banquet of the ruler of the gods [= Óðinn > POETRY] of princes; we [I] ask for silence because we [I] have heard of the loss of the man.
Hafði fǫr til ferju
fróðr Skáneyjar góða
blakkríðandi bakka
barnungr þaðan farna.
Rógeisu vann ræsir
ráðvandr á Skotlandi;
sendi seggja kindar
sverðbautinn her Gauti.
 
‘The rider of the steed of the bank [(lit. ‘steed-rider of the bank’) SHIP > SEAFARER], skilful in seafaring, had in early youth made a good voyage to Skåne from there. The judicious ruler attacked Scotland with strife-fire [SWORD]; he sent a sword-beaten host of the offspring of men [MEN] to Gautr [Óðinn].
Dolgeisu rak dísar
— drótt kom mǫrg á flótta —
gumna vinr at gamni
gjóðum írsk*ar þjóðir.
Foldar rauð, ok felldi,
Freyr í manna dreyra
sverð, — vas sigr of orðinn —
seggi, mækis eggjar.
 
‘The friend of men [RULER = Haraldr] pursued Irish troops to the enjoyment of ospreys of the goddess of the battle-fire [SWORD > VALKYRIE > RAVENS/EAGLES]; many a war-band took to flight. The Freyr <god> of the land of the blade of the sword [SHIELD > WARRIOR] reddened the sword in the blood of men and killed warriors; victory came about.
Austrlǫndum fórsk undir
allvaldr, sás gaf skǫldum
— hann fekk gagn at gunni —
gunnhǫrga slǫg mǫrgum.
Slíðrtungur lét syngva
sverðleiks reginn — ferðir
sendi gramr at grundu
gollvarpaða* — snarpar.
 
‘The mighty ruler, who gave many poets strikers of battle-temples [SHIELDS > WEAPONS], subdued eastern lands; he gained success in war. The god of sword-play [BATTLE > WARRIOR] made keen scabbard-tongues [SWORDS] sing; the prince sent troops of gold-throwers [GENEROUS MEN] to the ground.
Hilmir rauð und hjalmi
heina laut á Gautum;
þar varð í gný geira
grundar vǫrðr of fundinn.
 
‘The king reddened the dell of whetstones [SWORD] on the Gautar, wearing a helmet; there the guardian of ground [RULER = Haraldr] was to be found in the din of spears [BATTLE].
Austr rauð jǫfra þrýstir
orðrakkr fyr bý norðan
brand, þars bjarmskar kindir,
brinnanda, sák rinna.
Gótt hlaut gumna sættir
(geirveðr) í fǫr þeiri
(ǫðlingi fekksk ungum)
orð (á Vínu borði).
 
‘The word-bold crusher of princes [KING = Haraldr] reddened the flashing sword in the east, north of the settlement, where I saw Permian people flee. The reconciler of men [KING = Haraldr] gained a good reputation on that expedition; a spear-storm [BATTLE] was granted to the young prince on the banks of the Dvina.
Braut við brynju njóta
bág rifjunga Sôgu
— naddskúrar vas nœrir —
Nóregs konungr stóra.
Valgaltar lét velta
vargfœðandi marga
— ofvægjum réð jǫfri —
jafnborna sér þorna.
 
‘The king of Norway [= Haraldr] waged the strife of the Sága <goddess> of swords [VALKYRIE > BATTLE] against mighty users of the mail-shirt [WARRIORS]; he was a nourisher of the point-shower [BATTLE > WARRIOR]. The wolf-feeder [WARRIOR] made many thorn-trees of the slaughter-boar [HELMET > WARRIORS], as well-born as he, topple; he overwhelmed the very powerful prince.
Mælti mætra hjalta
malm-Óðinn sá, blóði,
þróttarorð, es þorði
þjóðum vǫll at rjóða.
Víðlendr of bað vinda
verðung Haraldr sverðum
— frægt þótti þat flotnum
fylkis orð — at morði.
 
‘That Óðinn <god> of the metal of the splendid hilt [(lit. ‘metal-Óðinn of the splendid hilt’) SWORD > WARRIOR], who dared to redden the field with the blood of troops, spoke forceful words. Ruling extensive lands, Haraldr bade the retinue draw swords in battle; that speech of the leader seemed glorious to seafarers.
Heinþynntan lét hvína
hrynjeld at þat brynju
foldar vǫrðr, sás fyrðum,
fjǫrnharðan, sik varði.
 
‘The guardian of the land [RULER], who defended himself against men, made the whetstone-sharpened, amazingly hard resounding fire of the mail-shirt [SWORD] whistle at that.
Hjoggusk hvárirtveggja
heggir mækis eggja;
varð í gǫgn at ganga
geirdrótt Haraldr þeiri.
 
‘Each of the two groups of cherry-trees of the sword’s blades [WARRIORS] struck the other; Haraldr had to advance against that spear-troop.
Varð á víðu borði
viggjum hollr at liggja
gætir Glamma sóta
garðs Eylimafjarðar.
Sendir fell á sandi
sævar báls at Halsi;
olli jǫfra spjalli
orðheppinn því morði.
 
‘The guardian of the fence of the steed of Glammi <sea-king> [SHIP > SHIELD > WARRIOR], benevolent to horses, had to lie on the wide shore of Eylimi’s fjord [Limfjorden]. The dispenser of the fire of the sea [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Haraldr] fell on the sand at Hals; the speech-blessed confidant of princes [JARL = Hákon] caused that killing.
Fellumk hǫlf, þás hilmis
hjǫrdrífa brá lífi,
(réðat oss til auðar)
auðvôn (Haralds dauði).
En veitk, at hefr heitit
hans bróðir mér góðu
— sjá getr þar til sælu
seggfjǫlð — hvaðarrtveggi.
 
‘Half my expectation of wealth fell from me when the sword-blizzard [BATTLE] ended the life of the ruler; Haraldr’s death did not bring about wealth for us [me]. But I know that both of his brothers have promised me good things; a multitude of men can look there for prosperity.
Þar vas — þrafna byrjar
þeim stýrðu goð Beima —
sjalfr í sœkialfi
sigtýr Atals dýra.
 
‘There the victory-god [= Óðinn] himself was in the attacking elf of the animals of Atall <sea-king> [SHIPS > SEA-WARRIOR = Haraldr]; the gods guided that Beimi <sea-king> of the stave of the fair wind [SHIP > SEA-WARRIOR = Haraldr].
Kunni tolf, sás, tanna,
tíðum, Hallinskíða
ógnarstafr, of jǫfra,
íþróttir, framm sótti.
 
‘The terror-stave of the teeth of Hallinskíði <= Heimdallr> [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN], who often launched attacks on princes, had twelve skills.
Vígôsu tekr vísa
valfall Haralds alla.
 
‘Haraldr’s death in battle affects all the battle-gods [WARRIORS] of the leader.
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