Ráðumk segja sundbáls viðum
spár spakligar spámanns gǫfugs,
þess’s á breiðu Bretlandi sat;
hét Merlínus margvitr gumi.
‘I resolve to tell the trees of the channel-fire [GOLD > MEN] the wise prophecies of the noble prophet, who resided in extensive Britain; the man wise in many things was called Merlin. ’
Sagðr vas lýðum ok landrekum
myrk* at ráða mǫrg rǫk fyrir.
Kærr vas hann kristnu kynni þjóðar;
vasat á moldu maðr vitrari.
‘He was said to interpret many obscure signs before the people and rulers. He was dear to the Christian family of people; there was not a wiser man on earth. ’
Leita ýtir orð at vanda
— viti flotnar þat — frœðis þessa.
Heldr fýsumk nú fornra minna
miðsamlig rǫk mǫnnum segja.
‘Men seek to elaborate on the words of this lore; let people realise that. Rather, I now hasten to tell men of momentous signs from ancient memories. ’
Ljós mun lýðum ljóðbók vesa;
þós í frœði flest at ráða,
þats fyrir jǫfurr ǫldum sagði
brezkri þjóðu; nú skal brag kveða.
‘The song-book will be clear to men; yet most [of it] is to be interpreted by means of wisdom that ages ago the leader imparted to the British people; now the poem shall be recited. ’
‘Vella í víðri Vintónía
— þats borgar nafn — brunnar þrennir.
Þeir munu láði lœkjum skipta
þrír óglíkir í þrjá staði.
‘‘Triple springs will well up in broad Winchester; that is the name of the city. Those three, [each] unlike [the others], will divide the land with their streams into three parts. ’
‘Einn es brunna beztr at reyna;
eykr auðstǫfum aldr, ef drekka.
Né sótt hǫfug sœkir hǫlða,
þás bergt hafa beisku vatni.
‘‘One of the springs is best to try; it will increase the life-span for wealth-staves [MEN], if they drink it. Nor will grievous sickness afflict men who have tasted the bitter water. ’
‘Illr es annarr; allir svelta,
þeirs af bekki bergja drekku.
Þós inn þriðja þyngst at reyna;
deyja þeir allir, es þar drekka af;
né hræ guma hyljask foldu.
‘‘The second is bad; all those who taste a drink from the stream will die. Yet the third is most grievous to try; all those who drink from it will die; nor will men’s corpses be covered with earth. ’
‘Vilja hǫlðar hylja brunna,
þás flestum hal fjǫrspell gera.
En, þats lýðir á lǫg bera,
alt verðr at ǫðru, en áðr séi:
grund at grjóti, grjót at vatni,
viðr at ǫsku, en af ǫsku vatn.
‘‘Men will want to cover up the springs that cause death for most people. But all that men carry to the water will turn to something other than it was previously: earth to stone, stone to water, wood to ash, and water from ash. ’
‘Farit es at meyju margfróðastri
í kappsauðga Knútsskógar borg,
at hon lækningar leiti þjóðum
ok firri menn fári slíku.
‘‘A maiden most wise about many things will be approached in the exceedingly prosperous city of Canute’s wood, so that she may seek remedies for the people and rescue men from such peril. ’
‘Tekr hon at reyna ok at ráða fjǫlð;
tekr hon íþróttir allar fremja.
Andar síðan snót á brunna,
ok brúðr þurra báða gervir.
‘‘She will start to test and devise a great many [remedies]; she will start practising all her arts. Then the woman will breathe on the springs and the lady will make them both dry. ’
‘Hon þá drekkr it dýra vatn,
ok máttr við þat magnask brúðar.
Berr hon í hœgri hendi sinni,
kynstór kona, Kolídónis skóg,
en í lófa man Lundúna borg.
‘‘She will then drink the precious water and the woman’s strength will increase with that. She, the woman of high lineage, will bear the forest of Colidon in her right hand and the maiden [will bear] the city of London in her palm. ’
‘Gengr hon síðan gótt frón yfir,
svát ór sporum snótar sprettr upp logi.
Með rǫmmum reyk Rúténéos
sá vekr ok verð verþjóðu gerr.
‘‘Then she will walk over the good land, so that flame springs up from the footsteps of the woman. It will wake up the Ruteni with the powerful smoke, and make a meal for the sea-people. ’
‘Gerisk ógurligt óp í landi,
es gull-Skǫgul grætr hástǫfum.
Ok þjóta tekr þjóð með henni
innan of alla ey með hringum.
‘‘A terrible cry will be made in the land, when the Skǫgul <valkyrie> of gold [WOMAN] weeps loudly. And people therein will start wailing with her throughout the entire island. ’
‘Hjǫrtr drepr hana, hinns tvenna fimm
hvassa hausi hornkvistu berr.
En hafa kórónu kvistir fjórir,
en sex aðrir sjalfir verða
at vísundar verstum hornum.
‘‘A hart will slay her, he who bears twice five sharp antler-branches on his head. And four branches will have a crown while the other six for their part will turn into the worst horns of a bison. ’
‘Þeir þjótandi þrjár of hrœra
búnir at berjask Bretlands eyjar.
Þá mun vakna viðr inn danski
ok manns rǫddu mæla sjalfri.
‘‘Wailing, prepared to fight, they will stir up the three islands of Britain. Then the Danish wood will awake and speak with a man’s actual voice. ’
‘“Kom Kambría með Kornbretum,
seg Vintóni: ‘Vǫllr þik gleypir.
Fœr hirðis sjǫt hinig, es leggja
lung at láði; munu liðir allir
hǫfði fylgja; þats hjǫlp guma.’
‘‘“Come Cambria, along with the Cornish Britons, say to Winchester: ‘The plain will swallow you up. Move the shepherd’s settlement here, where ships make for the land; all limbs will follow the head; that is the salvation of men.’ ’
‘En sæti hans sunddýr fagna;
hans mun stóll vesa yfir stoðum tvennum.
Þó hefr gumnum grandat mǫrgum
hvítrar ullar hvers kyns litir.
‘‘But his seats gladden sound-animals [SHIPS]; his throne will rest on two columns. Yet dyes of every kind for white wool have harmed many men. ’
‘Borg mun falla, — veitk bana þjóðum —
þvíat hon eiðrofa áðr of gerðisk.
Munu griðbítar gǫrla drepnir;
geldr Vintóna vándra manna.
‘‘The city will fall, because it had previously perjured itself; I know of death for the people. The breakers of the truce will [be] comprehensively put to death; Winchester will pay for the wicked men. ’
‘Mun bjarnígull borg upp gera;
smíðar hæsta hǫll landreki.
Hana mun remma ríkr oddviti
fimm hundruðum fagra turna.
‘‘A hedgehog will restore the city; the ruler will build the highest hall. The mighty leader will strengthen it with five hundred fine towers. ’
‘Þat Lundúnum líkar illa;
eykr hon þrimr hlutum þykka veggi.
Kostar hon keppa við konungíðnir;
ferr suðr of fjall frægð af smíði,
en* Tems of borg tekr at geisa.
‘‘That will displease London; she will increase her thick walls threefold. She will attempt to compete with the king’s exploits; news of the work will travel south over the mountain and the Thames will start to surge around the city. ’
‘En it horska dýr hlezk aldini
harðla góðu, þvís hilmir velr.
Koma foglar þar fljúgandi til
af viðum víða vitja epla.
‘‘And the wise beast will load himself with very good fruit, which the king selects. There birds will come flying up, far and wide from the woods, to visit the apples. ’
‘En bjarnígull býr of vélar;
leynir hann eplum Lundúnum í.
Grefr í grundu gǫtur háligar
fýstr til fengjar fláráðugt dýr.
‘‘But the hedgehog will engineer contrivances; he will hide the apples in London. The treacherous beast, eager for booty, will dig lofty passages in the ground. ’
‘Þá munu ór moldu mæla steinar
ok verþjóðar vél upp koma.
Ey mun víðask, en Valir skjalfa,
ok sær saman sœkja fíkjum,
svát millim landa mál of heyri.
‘‘Then stones will speak from the earth and the machinations of the sea-people be revealed. The island will be widened, and the French will tremble, and the sea will come together greatly so that speech can be heard between the lands. ’
‘Kemr ór skógi Kalatérío
fogl fljúgandi, sás fira villir.
Flýgr of nôttum, nýsir gǫrla;
kallar hegri hvern fogl til sín;
es um tvívetri tálráð samit.
‘‘From the forest of Calaterium a bird will come flying that will lead men astray. It will fly at night, spy thoroughly; the heron will call every bird to itself; treachery will be devised over a two-year span. ’
‘Flykkjask foglar; fara þeir í sæði;
eyða þeir ǫkrum ok aldini.
Sultr verðr ok sótt — sék mart fyrir —
manndauðr mikill; mein gengr of þjóð.
‘‘The birds will flock together; they will go into the crops; they will devastate the fields and fruit. Famine will develop, also sickness, great mortality of men; I see many things to come; harm will afflict the people. ’
‘En fogl ept þat ferr vestr í dal,
þanns Gálábes gumnar kalla.
Hann mun hefjask í it hæsta fjall,
ok þar uppi í eikr limum
hreiðrask hegri; hann es fogla verstr.
‘‘But after that the bird will go westwards into the valley that people call Galabes. It [the valley] will raise itself into the highest mountain and up there the heron will nest on the branches of an oak; it is the worst of birds. ’
‘Þrjá klekr hann unga því hreiðri í;
eigi es hegra kyn hugþekkt firum.
Þars vargr ok bjǫrn ok at vísu refr
slœgr ok sínum sjaldan verr alinn.
‘‘It will hatch three young in that nest; the offspring of the heron is not loved by men. A wolf will be there, also a bear and assuredly a fox sly and seldom born [one] worse to its own [kind]. ’
‘Vaxa þar allir upp brœðr saman;
erut gjarnir þeir gótt at vinna.
Refr á móður ræðr grimmliga;
tapar henni sá týnir sauða;
es grenbúi gjarn á ríki.
‘‘The brothers will all grow up together there; they will not be eager to do good. The fox will attack its mother savagely; that destroyer of sheep [FOX] will kill her; the lair-dweller [FOX] will be eager for power. ’
‘Brœðr vill hann sína beita vélum;
tekr horshǫfuð hildingr á sik.
En hoddskata hræðask báðir;
flýja barmar brott ór landi.
‘‘It will attack its brothers with tricks; the ruler will put on a horse’s head. And both [brothers] will fear the treasure-chieftain [MAN]; the brothers will flee from the land. ’
‘Ok suðr skulu þeir sveitar leita;
vekr vargr ok bjǫrn villigalta.
En galti þeim gengi sínu
heitr hvatliga, þvít hann hug trúir.
‘‘And they will have to seek for an army in the south; the wolf and the bear will rouse a wild boar. And the boar will promise them his support with alacrity, since he trusts in his [own] courage. ’
‘Þeir snarliga sundraukn búa;
dragask lítinn þeir landher saman.
Gnýr es manna, gengr lið róa;
hylr Hǫgna sjǫt †herkorn† skipa.
‘‘They will rapidly equip the draught animals of the sea [SHIPS]; they will bring a small land-army together. There will be a commotion of men, the army will set to rowing; †…† of ships covers the seat of Hǫgni <sea-king> [SEA]. ’
‘Halda þeir sunnan of svalan ægi
Bretlands á vit; búask til rómu.
En refr hinig með rekka lið
ferr fráliga fold at verja.
‘‘They will hold their course from the south across the cold sea towards Wales; they will prepare for battle. But the fox will go there swiftly to defend the land with a band of men. ’
‘Hríð gerisk hjalma, hlífar klofna;
eru rammliga randir kníðar.
Gnesta geirar, es guðr vakin;
verðr víða lið at vallroði.
‘‘The storm of helmets [BATTLE] arises, shields are split; the shields are battered powerfully. Spears clatter, battle is awakened; far and wide the army is made to redden the battlefield. ’
‘Dregr él yfir ógnar ljóma;
gerir drjúgan dyn dýrra malma.
Gnýr es á glæstum Gǫndlar himni
ok í hǫrðum hlam Hlakkar tjǫldum.
Erut skjólsamar Skǫglar kápur;
hrýtr hagl boga hlíf í gegnum.
‘‘A blizzard of the light of terror [SWORD > BATTLE] is blowing; it causes a mighty din of precious weapons. There is a clashing on the shining heaven of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [SHIELD] and a thudding against the tough awnings of Hlǫkk <valkyrie> [SHIELDS]. The capes of Skǫgul <valkyrie> [MAIL-SHIRTS] are not protective; the hail of bows [ARROWS] pierces through armour. ’
‘Grenja gránir garmar slíðra;
bítr fránn freki ferð halsgerðar.
Rýfr gramr guma gollorhallir;
bregðr benlogi byggðum hjarna;
eru brotnar mjǫk borgir heila.
‘‘The grey dogs of scabbards [SWORDS] growl; the piercing wolf of the neck-strap [SWORD] bites the army. The cruel one <sword> breaks men’s halls of the pericardium [BREASTS]; the wound-flame [SWORD] topples the settlements of brains [HEADS]; the strongholds of brains [HEADS] are smashed to pieces. ’
‘Sék vé vaða, verðr †mitt† skaða;
syngr sára klungr snyrtidrengjum.
En á leið fara lægjǫrn ara
jóð ok ylgjar enn til sylgjar;
hrapa hernumin hvártveggja bǫrn.
‘‘I see the standards advance, … will harm; the thorn of wounds [SWORD] sings to brave men. And the treacherous children of the eagle and the she-wolf go on their way to the drinking once more; the offspring of both will tumble down, taken in battle. ’
‘En refr gerir ráða á galta;
þvíat hann reisa mát rǫnd við hánum,
svá lætr dǫglingr, sem hann dauðr séi;
esat lík hulit lofðungs Breta.
‘‘But the fox will prepare to attack the boar; the ruler [the fox] will act as if he were dead, because he [the fox] is unable to raise a shield against him [the boar]; the body of the prince of the Britons [the fox] will not be buried. ’
‘En galti þat gengr at reyna;
blæss hann í andlit ok í augu gram.
En refr við þat ræðr á galta;
fær hann af hánum fót inn vinstra
hlust ina hœgri ok hryggjar nes.
‘‘And the boar will go to test that; he will blow in the face and eyes of the ruler. But thereupon the fox will attack the boar; he will take from him the left foot, the right ear, and the headland of the back [TAIL]. ’
‘En í fjalli felsk fádyggt hǫfuð;
hyggr færtǫpuðr flærð at œxla.
En villigǫltr vargi ok birni
segir sárliga sorg ok missu.
‘‘But the untrustworthy person will hide in the mountain; the sheep-destroyer [FOX] will intend to add to his deception. And the wild boar will tell the wolf and the bear of his grievous sorrow and loss. ’
‘En hraustir brœðr hugga galta;
kveðask sár munu sjalfir grœða.
“Fara skulum báðir fótar at leita
hlustar ok hala þér; hér bíð þú, galti!”
‘‘But the brave brothers will comfort the boar; they will say they themselves will heal its wounds. “We will both go to find your foot, ear, and tail; you wait here, boar!” ’
‘En refr ofan renn ór fjalli;
ferr fárhugaðr finna galta.
Hann býðr sættir af svikum einum;
kvezk hann mart við svín mæla vilja.
‘‘But the fox will run down from the mountain; the baleful one will go to meet the boar. He will offer a settlement out of pure treachery; he will say he wishes to discuss many things with the pig. ’
‘“Trú mér, galti! Munk heill vesa;
svík ek aldregi svín í tryggðum.
Fund skulum leggja ok frið gera;
skaltu einn gera okkar í millim.”
‘‘“Trust me, boar! I will be honourable; I will never deceive the pig in truces. We will set a meeting and devise a safe-conduct; you alone will determine between us two.” ’
‘Es fundr lagiðr ok friðr samiðr;
koma mildingar málstefnu til.
En á fundi þeim flærðir reynask;
banar hertoga brezkr landreki.
‘‘A meeting will be set and a safe-conduct concluded; the leaders will come to the council. But at that meeting treacheries will come to pass; the British ruler will slay the war-leader. ’
‘Ok svíns at þat á sik hami
brigðr ok brœðra bíðr slœgliga.
En, es þeir koma kosti at fœra,
bítr hann báða tvá ok banar hlýrum.
‘‘And with that he will take on the form of the boar and wait slyly for the brothers. But when they come to bring their offerings he will bite both of them and will slay the siblings. ’
‘Ok á sjalfan sik síðan festir
léparðs hǫfuð lofðungr at þat.
Ræðr hann lýðum ok lofða fjǫlð;
þar þrýtr þessa þengils sǫgu.
‘‘And with that the ruler will then fix a leopard’s head on himself. He will rule over peoples and a multitude of men; there is the end of this story of the king. ’
‘Es á hans dǫgum hǫggormr alinn,
sás fyrðum vill fjǫrspell gera.
Svá es hann langr, at of Lundúnir
heiðar hvalr hring of mælir
ok svá óðr, at urðar sigðr
umlíðendr alla gleypir.
‘‘In his days a serpent will be born who will bring about an end to life for men. It is so long that the whale of the heath [SNAKE] will measure a circle around London and so ferocious that the sickle of the cairn [SNAKE] will devour all passers-by. ’
‘Hann Kambríe kallar sveitir
ok Norðhumru nánar hjarðir.
Ok ótrautt Tems at þurru
drengs dolgþorins drekka lýðir.
‘‘It will summon the bands of Cambria and the herds near Northumbria. And without reluctance the people of the battle-resolute warrior will drink the Thames dry. ’
‘Verða síðar á sama landi
léparðar sjau linni bornir.
Þeir hafa brúsa bǫlgjǫrn hǫfuð;
eru dáðlausir dǫglings synir.
‘‘Seven leopards will be born to the snake later in that same land. They will have the baleful heads of he-goats; the king’s sons will be bereft of [noble] deeds. ’
‘Þeir flest taka fljóða sveita
hervígssamir ok hóra mengi.
Ok sameignar sín*ar kvánir
gera geirvanir; geigr es í slíku.’
‘‘Belligerent, they will take most bands of women and a multitude of whores. And the spear-accustomed ones will have their women in common; peril lies in that.’ ’
Langt es at tína, þats lofða vinr
of aldar far ýtum sagði.
Es fæst í því fagrt at heyra;
lætk líða þat ok lok segja.
‘It is long to compile what the friend of the people told men concerning the course of the age. Very little of it is pleasant to hear; I will let it go by and tell the conclusion. ’
‘Verðr á foldu,’ kvað inn fróði halr,
‘styrjǫld mikil, stórar ógnir,
víg ok vélar, vargǫld ok kǫld
hrími hvers konar hjǫrtu lýða.
‘‘A great war will come to pass on the earth, great terrors, battle and treacheries, the time of the wolf and hearts of men [will grow] cold with frost of every kind,’ said the wise man. ’
‘Þá munu gleymask gálausir menn,
ok sællífir seggir drekka,
leita at fagna ok við fé una,
vell at œxla ok vegsmuni.
‘‘Then feckless men will make merry, and pleasure-seeking men take to drink, seek to rejoice and take pleasure in property, to increase their gold and distinctions. ’
‘Hagr gerisk hǫlða hættr í mǫrgu;
munat fyrða ráð fagrt at reyna.
Dyljask drjúgum draums ívaðendr;
við sjalfa sik sjásk ekki at.
‘‘The state of men will become perilous in many ways; it will not be good to test the conduct of men. Wanderers in a dream, they will be massively deluded; they will not take heed about themselves. ’
‘Verst es í heimi; veitat sonr fǫður;
slíta þeir sifjum svá synir við feðr.
Kannask engi við kunna menn
né nána frændr Nirðir bauga.
‘‘It will be worst in the world; the son will not know the father; the sons will thus break the bonds of kinship with fathers. No one will recognise familiar people, nor will the Nirðir <gods> of rings [MEN] [recognise] any kinsmen. ’
‘Hǫfugt es at heyra, þats of her gerisk;
lifa fénaðar fyrðar lífi.
Hyggja á þennan þrágjarnan heim
ok hvers konar hafna gœzku.
‘‘It is grievous to hear what becomes of the people; men will live the life of beasts. They will think of this obdurate world and forsake goodness of every kind. ’
‘Mun it hvíta silfr hǫlðum granda,
ok gull gera gumna blinda.
Himni hafna en á hauðr séa;
svíkr ofdrykkja ýta mengi.
‘‘The white silver will harm men, and gold make men blind. They will forsake heaven and look on the earth; excessive drinking will undo a multitude of men. ’
‘Lifir in danska drótt at holdi,
gerir eyvit sér ǫlðri at móti.
Því munu in tígnu tíðmǫrk himins
ljósi sínu frá lýð snúa.
‘‘The Danish people will live on meat, do nothing to resist ale-drinking. Therefore the glorious time-markers of heaven [HEAVENLY BODIES] will turn their light away from the nation. ’
‘En grund ept þat gróða hafnar;
né skúr ofan ór skýjum kemr.
Sól ok máni sjǫlf annan veg
fara fagrskǫpuð, en þau fyrr hafi.
‘‘But the earth will lose its fecundity after that; nor will the shower descend from the clouds. The sun and the moon themselves, beautifully created, will take a different path from the one they have [taken] previously. ’
‘Ok þar á hlýrni heiðar stjǫrnur
má marka því moldar hvergi.
Sumar fara ǫfgar, sumar annan veg
af inni gǫmlu gǫngu sinni.
‘‘And for that cause it will not be possible anywhere on earth to distinguish the bright stars there in heaven. Some will go backwards, some on a different path away from their ancient course. ’
‘Sumar sœkjask at, en sumar firrask;
bregða ljósi ok litum fǫgrum.
Berjask vindar — þau eru veðr mikil —
ok hljóm gera meðal himintungla.
‘‘Some will approach each other and some draw away; change their light and their beautiful colours. The winds will contend and cause tumult between the heavenly bodies; those are great storms. ’
‘Geisar geimi; gengr hann upp í lopt;
slíkt es ógurligt ýta bǫrnum.
Slíkt es ógurligt upp at telja;
mun in forna mold af firum verða.’
‘‘The sea will surge; it will go up into the sky; such [a thing] is terrifying for the children of men [MANKIND]. Such [a thing] is terrifying to recount; the ancient earth will be emptied of men.’ ’
Væri mart mǫnnum kynna
ór folkstafs fornu kvæði.
Ek mun þó þeygi fleira
Þróttar þings þollum segja.
‘There would be many things to inform men [about] from the old poem of the people-stave [LEADER = Merlin]. I will however not say more to the fir-trees of the assembly of Þróttr <= Óðinn> [BATTLE > WARRIORS]. ’
Þó hefk sagt seggja kindum
slíkt, es bók brǫgnum kynnir.
Nýti sér njótar stála
slíka sǫgn, ok sésk fyrir.
‘Yet I have told the children of men such [things] as the book teaches men. Let the users of weapons [WARRIORS] avail themselves of such sayings and take heed. ’
Sjám við synð ok svikaráðum
ok alls kyns illum verkum.
Drýgjum dôð, dróttin elskum,
hrindum ǫrt illu ráði.
‘Let us eschew sin and treacherous counsels and all kinds of evil deeds. Let us practise [good] works, love the Lord, reject evil counsel forthwith. ’
Skrjúpt es líf lýða barna
und hreggská heiðar tjaldi.
En lífs lau*n líða eigi
góð eða ill gumna mengis.
‘Brittle is the life of the children of men [MANKIND] under the storm-worn awning of heaven [SKY/HEAVEN]. But the rewards, good or evil, of the life of the multitude of men [MANKIND] do not pass away. ’
Gleðjumk ǫll í góðum hug
ok við ván vegs ok dýrðar.
Gætum góðs, gleymum illu,
eflum opt andar prýði.
‘Let us all rejoice in good heart and with the expectation of honour and renown. Let us heed the good, forget the bad, often strengthen the glory of the soul. ’
Biðjum opt bragna stilli
œztan eflð ǫllu hjarta,
at víðfrægr virða stjóri
dœgr ok dag dróttar gæti.
‘Let us often pray to the Lord of men [= God], highest power, with all our heart that the widely-renowned governor of men [= God] may watch over his following night and day. ’
Ok herþarfr hrindi gǫrla
gumna liðs grandi hverju,
svát til lífs leiði gǫrva
þjóðar vǫrðr þetta mengi.
‘And may the one beneficent to his people utterly avert all harm to the host of men, so that the protector of the people [= God] may fully lead this multitude to life. ’