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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigurðarbálkr — Ív SigII

Ívarr Ingimundarson

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Ívarr Ingimundarson, Sigurðarbálkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 501-27.

 

Óx í œsku        við Aðalbrikti.
 
‘He grew up in his youth with Aðalbriktr.
Vas með jarli        afkárlyndum
vargs verðgjafi        vestr í eyjum,
unz siklingar        sóknar hvattir
Fóstra…        …rufu.
 
‘The wolf’s meal-giver [WARRIOR] stayed with the obstinate-minded jarl west in the isles, until the chieftains, urged to fighting, …Fóstri (‘the Fosterer’).
Sótti síðan        Sigurðr ór eyjum
dýrr at rôðum        Dávíð konung.
Vas með vísa        Vilhjalms bani
fleinþingasamr        fimm misseri.
 
‘Then splendid Sigurðr went from the isles to seek counsel from King David. The slayer of Vilhjálmr [= Sigurðr], eager for spear-assemblies [BATTLES], stayed with the ruler for five winters.
Þótti dýrum        Dáfinns liðum
engr maðr kominn        œðri þangat.
Bœtti vísi        verðungar lið;
hafði ungr konungr        almanna lof.
 
‘It seemed to the splendid companions of David that no more distinguished man had [ever] come there. The ruler improved the host of retainers; the young king gained the praise of all men.
Ól hertogi        hrafna í fjǫrðum;
skulfu skeyti        í Skota blóði,
þars fyr jǫfri        austan komnum
morðáls metendr        merki bôru.
 
‘The army-leader nourished ravens in the fjords; arrows shook in the blood of the Scots, where the testers of the battle-eel [SWORD > WARRIORS] bore the standards before the prince who had come from the east.
Bar Sigurði        sigr at hendi
ór orrostu        inn frá Stauri.
 
‘Victory came to Sigurðr from the battle on the inner side of Point of Stoer.
Háði hilmir        hervíg fjogur
skýrstr at ǫllu        í Skotaveldi.
 
‘The lord, most accomplished in all respects, fought four battles in the realm of the Scots.
Vann Róms gǫtu        ræsir Þrœnda
fœti farna,        sás frama drýgði.
Sótti síðan        ok synðum hrauð
hers oddviti        helga dóma.
 
‘The ruler of the Þrœndir [NORWEGIAN KING = Sigurðr], who increased his honour, travelled the road to Rome on foot. Then the leader of the army visited holy shrines and expiated his sins.
Sótti breiða        borg Jórsala
ǫrr oddviti        út í lǫndum,
áðr í vatni,        þvís vígði guð,
Sigurðr af sér        synðir þvægi.
 
‘The brave leader visited the large city of Jerusalem in distant lands, before Sigurðr washed away his sins in the water which God had consecrated.
Gerðu skírslu        of skjǫldungs kyn
fimm byskupar,        þeirs framarst þóttu.
Svá bar raunir,        at ríks konungs
þess vas inn mildi        Magnús faðir.
 
‘Five bishops, who were deemed most distinguished, conducted the ordeal concerning the lord’s kinship. Proofs were given that the generous Magnús was the father of that mighty king.
Létu síðan        súðvigg búin
— œstisk ægir —        útan ór Grikkjum.
Sótti Frakka        fremðar ræsir,
áðr Saxa sjǫt        Sigurðr kannaði.
 
‘They then made the steeds of ship-planking [SHIPS] ready [to return] from the Greeks; the sea raged. The advancer of honour [KING] visited the Franks, before Sigurðr explored the dwellings of the Saxons.
Helt snarr konungr        snekkju einni
vígligr of ver        vestr í eyjar.
 
‘The valiant king steered one warship, warlike, across the sea west to the isles.
Tóku við mildum        Magnúss syni
Hǫrðar ok Sygnir        at Harald fallinn.
Sórusk margir        menn á þingi
buðlungs syni        í bróður stað.
 
‘The Hǫrðar and Sygnir accepted the generous son of Magnús [= Sigurðr] after the fall of Haraldr. Many men at the assembly swore to be like a brother to the sovereign’s son [= Sigurðr].
Risu við vísa        vestan komnum
Þrœndr ok Mœrir,        þeirs þrifum níttu.
Brugðusk hǫlðar        í huga sínum
mennsku mildum        Magnúss syni.
 
‘The Þrœndir and the Mœrir, who rejected their well-being, rose against the ruler who had arrived from the west. Men deserted in their mind the son of Magnús [= Sigurðr], abounding in human virtues.
Drifu til reipa        í rotuveðri
reyndir at risnu        ræsis þegnar.
Urðu seggir        segls at gæta,
— þá vas svalt á sæ —        en sumir jósu.
 
‘The ruler’s retainers, tested in magnanimity, rushed to the ropes in the roaring rainstorm. Men had to tend the sail and some bailed; then it was cold at sea.
Skók veðrvita        í vôtum byr
gulli glæstan        of grams skipi.
Kløkkar urðu,        en konungr stýrði,
snekkju sneisar        of Sigurði.
 
‘The weather-vane shook in the wet wind, adorned with gold, above the lord’s ship. The thin planks of the warship became pliable around Sigurðr, and the king was steering.
Hratt hvasst skipi        í hvǫtu veðri
rǫst ríðandi        ok ramir straumar.
Festu seggir        snekkju langa
kynstórs jǫfurs        við Kalmarnes.
 
‘The whirling maelstrom and the strong currents pushed the ship fiercely in the piercing wind. Men moored the long warship of the highborn prince by the headland of Kalmar.
Sér framliga        friðar leitaði
ilrjóðr ara        við Jóta gram.
 
‘The reddener of eagles’ foot-soles [WARRIOR] boldly sought peace for himself from the lord of the Jótar [DANISH KING = Eiríkr].
Mœtti Vinðum,        sás vega þorði,
sókndjarfr Sigurðr        suðr við Erri.
 
‘Battle-brave Sigurðr, who dared to fight, met the Wends south near Ærø.
Hrauð ungr konungr        átta snekkjur
— vargr gein of val —        Vinða ferðar.
Hné fyr eggju        óþjóðar lið.
 
‘The young king cleared eight warships of the force of the Wends; the wolf gaped over carrion. The host of evildoers fell before the sword-edge.
Enn lét aðra        austr fyr Mœri
gramr geirþorinn        gunni háða.
Neytti vápna,        þás Vinðr hnigu,
ǫrr oddviti        ǫðru sinni.
 
‘The spear-fierce lord let yet another battle be fought in the east off Möre. The valiant leader wielded his weapons for a second time when Wends fell.
Vann í Elfi,        þars jǫfurr barðisk,
fall folkstara,        til fǫðurleifðar.
Skulfu skeyti;        skot mǫgnuðusk;
hnigu hringviðir        hvárratveggju.
 
‘He furnished slaughter for the battle-starling [RAVEN] in the Götaälv, where the prince fought for his patrimony. Arrows shook; shots intensified; sword-trees [WARRIORS] fell on both sides.
Vann leyfðr konungr        af liði Þóris
þríu skip hroðin        í þeiri fǫr.
Settu undan        Óláfs liðar,
þeirs ór Elfi        eltir vôru.
 
‘The celebrated king cleared three ships from Þórir’s troop on that expedition. Óláfr’s companions, who had been chased out of the Götaälv, rushed away.
Helt á Lista        lofðungr skipum
ǫrr fyr Agðir        austan af Nesjum.
Hné hersa kyn;        herr vas í landi;
brunnu byggðir        fyr buðlungi.
 
‘The valiant lord steered the ships to Lista past Agder east from Nesjar. The kin of hersar fell; an army was in the land; settlements burned before the ruler.
Dreif til skógar        fyr skjǫldungi
landmanna lið,        þars logar brunnu.
Vǫkðu drengir        með dǫrr roðin
blóð Benteini,        áðr bana fengi.
 
‘The host of countrymen rushed to the forest ahead of the ruler, where fires burned. Warriors drew Benteinn’s blood with reddened spears, before he received his death blow.
Þann vas inn næsta        naðra deyði
hugfullr konungr        með Háleygjum.
Olli falli        feðga þriggja
ulfs angrtǫpuðr        út í Vôgum.
 
‘That next slayer of snakes [WINTER] the high-mettled king was among the Háleygjar. The anguish-suppressor [GLADDENER] of the wolf [WARRIOR] caused the death of a father and two sons out in Vågan.
Þat vas it næsta        norðr í Vôgum
vápnaskipti,        es Vilhjalmr fell.
 
‘That was the next weapon-exchange north in Vågan, when Vilhjálmr fell.
Mœtti síðan        suðr við Byrðu
gramr gunnþorinn        Glæsirófu.
Olli stillir        Styrkárs bana;
bar benþiðurr        blóðga vængi.
 
‘The battle-brave lord then encountered Glæsirófa (‘Show-tail’) south near Børøya. The ruler caused Styrkárr’s death; the wound-grouse [RAVEN/EAGLE] bore bloody wings.
Veitti vísi        fyr Valsnesi
sókn snarpliga        Svína-Grími.
Hann lét missa        mildings *nefa
hœgri handar,        áðr hjaldr lykisk.
 
‘The leader made a vigorous attack on Svína-Grímr (‘Pig-Grímr’) off Valsneset. He caused the nephew of the generous one [= Svína-Grímr] to lose his right hand before the fighting came to a close.
Mœtti Finni        fremðargjǫrnum
ǫrr oddviti        austr á Kvildrum.
Létu nýtan        naddveðrs boða
Ulfs arfþega        ǫndu týna.
 
‘The valiant leader met ambition-eager Finnr east at Kville. They caused the able offerer of the spear-storm [BATTLE > WARRIOR], Úlfr’s inheritor [= Finnr], to lose his life.
Vann fyr Mœri        mildingr tekinn
Heðin með hǫndum        ok hans liða.
Hann lét Kalfi        klingruauga
heldr harðliga        heiptir goldnar.
 
‘The generous ruler captured Heðinn and his companions off Møre. He let Kálfr klingruauga (‘Round-eye’) be repaid quite brutally for his belligerence.
Herskildi fór        harri Sygna
allt it ýtra        eyjar ok strandir.
 
‘The lord of the Sygnir [NORWEGIAN KING = Sigurðr] went with the war-shield on the outer course all the way beyond islands and shores.
Séa knátti þar        fyr Sigurði
bitra branda,         brynjur hǫggnar,
skarða skjǫldu,         skǫpt blóðroðin,
veðrblásin vé        of vegǫndum.
 
‘There one could see before Sigurðr sharp swords, sundered byrnies, chipped shields, blood-reddened spear-shafts, storm-swept banners above the fighting troops.
Fýstisk sunnan        Sigurðr á lesti
með lítit lið        lǫnd at sœkja.
Bjósk með hônum        til herfarar
margs andvani        Magnús konungr.
 
‘In the end, Sigurðr was eager [to travel] from the south with a small force to conquer the lands. King Magnús, deprived of much, prepared to join him on the war-expedition.
Helt þrim tøgum        þjóðnýtr konungr
snekkjum sunnan        við sókn búinn.
Uggðu lýðir        lið Sigurðar;
lék skjǫldr við skjǫld        á skipum vísa.
 
‘The very able king, ready for battle, steered thirty warships from the south. People feared Sigurðr’s troop; shield played against shield on the leader’s ships.
Fóru leyfðir        með liði miklu
Haralds hróðrsynir        herstefnu til,
þás at mildum        Magnúss syni
atróðr á sæ        Ingi knúði.
 
‘The celebrated, famous sons of Haraldr [= Ingi and Sigurðr] went to the army-meeting [BATTLE] with a large force, when Ingi hastened the rowing at sea toward the generous son of Magnús [= Sigurðr].
Hraut í stǫngum,        þars hildingar
við víg vanir        vápna neyttu.
Friðr slitnaði        frænda á millum;
guðr geisaði;        gekk hildr saman.
 
‘There was a crash among the standard-poles where the heroes, experienced in war, wielded weapons. Peace was broken between kinsmen; battle raged; the onslaught commenced.
Stunðu seggir;        stôl roðnuðu;
skaut bjartr konungr        bôðum hǫndum.
Hǫrð spjót bitu;        benjar svíddu;
herskip hruðusk        hvárratveggju.
 
‘Men moaned; weapons were reddened; the bright king shot with both hands. Hard spears bit; wounds smarted; warships were cleared on both sides.
Flugu hundruðum        herstefnu til
sárgǫgl of sæ        sveita at drekka.
Eyddu oddar        jǫfurs fulltrúum,
— morð miklaðisk —        þás Magnús fell.
 
‘Wound-goslings [RAVENS/EAGLES] flew in hundreds across the sea to the army-meeting [BATTLE] to drink blood. Spear-points destroyed the prince’s confidants when Magnús fell; fighting intensified.
Flýðu Jótar        átján skipum,
þeirs Sigurði        sunnan fylgðu.
Raufsk ræsis lið,        þás ríkr konungr
vanr vásfǫrum        vápna neytti.
 
‘The Jótar, who had accompanied Sigurðr from the south, fled with eighteen ships. The ruler’s troop scattered when the mighty king, accustomed to hard journeys, wielded his weapons.
Hrauzk und jǫfri        austan komnum
— bitu slǫg suðrœn —        snekkja með stǫfnum,
þás skjǫldungs sonr        af skipi sínu
sóknfœrr á sæ        sunds kostaði.
 
‘The warship was cleared from stem to stern beneath the prince who had arrived from the east—southern weapons bit—, when the battle-able son of the king [= Sigurðr] tried swimming in the sea [by leaping] from his ship.
Varð á vatni        víkingr tekinn,
sás manna vas        mestr fullhugi.
 
‘The viking, who was the most high-mettled of men, was captured in the water.
Þat telk illa,        es jǫfurr skyldi
kynstórr koma        í kvalar slíkar.
Tekr Sigurði        síðan engi
maðr rǫskvari        of meðalkafla.
 
‘I declare it a disaster that a highborn prince should undergo such torments. No man bolder than Sigurðr will ever grasp a sword-hilt.
Sǫng saltara,        meðan Sigurð pínðu
jǫfurs óvinir,        ýta dróttinn.
Bað fyr brǫgnum        bǫðfrœkn jǫfurr,
þeims vellskata        veittu píslir.
 
‘The lord of men [KING = Sigurðr] sang the psalter while the prince’s enemies tortured Sigurðr. The battle-brave prince prayed for the men who inflicted torments upon the generous chieftain.
Frák, at léti        líf sitt konungr,
þás saltara        sungit hafði.
Vildi ganga        gramr til skriptar,
en því þjóðkonungr        þeygi náði.
 
‘I heard that the king gave up his life when he had sung the psalter. The lord wished to be shriven, but the mighty king by no means achieved that.
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