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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson — Sigv ErlflI

Sigvatr Þórðarson

Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson’ 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. 629.

 

Út réð Erlingr skjóta
eik, sás rauð inn bleika,
— iflaust es þat — jǫfri,
arnar fót, at móti.
Skeið hans lá svá síðan
siklings í her miklum
(snarir bǫrðusk þar sverðum)
síbyrð við skip (fyrðar).
 
‘Erlingr, who reddened the pale foot of the eagle, caused the oak vessel to be launched against the ruler [Óláfr]; that is without doubt. His warship lay thus afterwards in the great host of the prince [Óláfr], alongside [his] ship; brisk men fought there with swords.
Rakkr þengill hjó rekka;
reiðr gekk hann of skeiðar;
valr lá þrǫngt á þiljum;
þung vas sókn fyr Tungum.
Bragningr rauð fyr breiðan
borðvǫll Jaðar norðan;
blóð kom varmt í víðan
— vá frægr konungr — ægi.
 
‘The bold lord [Óláfr] cut down warriors; he walked enraged across the warships; the slain lay tightly packed on the boards; the attack off Tunge was heavy. The ruler [Óláfr] reddened the plank-field [SEA] north of broad Jæren; warm blood fell into the wide ocean; the renowned king [Óláfr] fought.
Ǫll vas Erlings fallin
— ungr fyr norðan Tungur
skeið vann skjǫldungr auða —
skipsókn við þrǫm Bóknar.
Einn stóð sonr á sínu
snarr Skjalgs vinum fjarri
í lyptingu lengi
lætrauðr skipi auðu.
 
‘All of Erlingr’s ship-crew had fallen by the coast of Bokn; the young ruler [Óláfr] cleared [lit. made empty] the warship to the north of Tunge. The bold, deceit-shunning son of Skjálgr [= Erlingr] stood long alone, far from friends, in the after-deck of his empty ship.
Réð eigi grið, gýgjar,
geðstirðr konungs firða,
skers þótt skúrir þyrrit,
Skjalgs hefnir sér nefna.
En varðkeri virðir
víðbotn né kømr síðan
glyggs á gjalfri leygðan
geirs ofrhugi meiri.
 
‘The tough-minded avenger of Skjálgr [= Erlingr] did not ask for quarter from the king’s men, even though the showers of the skerry of the axe [SHIELD > BATTLE] did not let up. And a greater appreciator of the spear [WARRIOR], over-bold one, will not come afterwards onto the wide base of the guarding-vessel of the storm [SKY > EARTH], washed by the sea.
Ǫndurða bað, jarðar,
Erlingr, sás vel lengi
geymði lystr, — né lamðisk
landvǫrn — klóask ǫrnu,
þás hann at sig sǫnnum
— sá vas áðr búinn ráða
ats — við Útstein hizi
Ôleif of tók môlum.
 
‘Erlingr, who, joyful, ruled the land well for a long time — his defence of territory did not fail — said eagles should fight face to face, when he addressed Óláfr with true words after the battle there by Utstein; he was previously ready to carry out the attack.
Erlingr fell, en olli
allríkr skapat slíku
— bíðrat betri dauða —
bragna konr með gagni.
Mann veitk engi annan,
allbrátt þótt fjǫr láti,
enn sás allan kunni
aldr fullara at halda.
 
‘Erlingr fell, and the most powerful son of kings [RULER = Óláfr] caused such a thing to be brought about by [his] victory; no better man will experience death. I know of no other man who could maintain his standing all his life, even though he lost his life very early.
Áslákr hefr aukit
(es vǫrðr drepinn Hǫrða)
(fáir skyldu svá) (foldar)
frændsekju (styr vekja).
Ættvígi má eigi
(á líti þeir) níta
— frændr skyli bræði bindask
bornir — (môl in fornu).
 
‘Áslákr has increased crime against kindred; the guardian of the land of the Hǫrðar [= Hordaland > = Erlingr] has been killed; few should cause conflict in such a way. Kin-killing cannot be denied; those born as kinsmen should refrain from violence; let them look to the old sayings.
Drakk eigi ek drykkju
dag þann, es mér sǫgðu
Erlings tál, at jólum
allglaðr, þess’s réð Jaðri.
Hans mun dráp of drúpa
dýrmennis mér kenna;
hǫfuð bôrum vér hæra
— hart morð vas þat — forðum.
 
‘I did not drink my drink very happily [lit. happy] at Christmas on the day when they told me of the betrayal of Erlingr, the one who ruled Jæren. The killing of him, the splendid person, will cause me to droop; we [I] carried our head higher before; that was a harsh murder.
Erlingr vas svá at jarla
ôtt, es skjǫldungr máttit,
Ôleifs mágr, svát œgði,
aldyggs sonar Tryggva.
Næst gaf sína systur
snarr búþegna harri
(Ulfs feðr vas þat) aðra
(aldrgipta) Rǫgnvaldi.
 
‘Erlingr, brother-in-law of Óláfr, the very worthy son of Tryggvi, behaved in such a way against the kin of the jarls, that he terrified [them], which the king [Óláfr Tryggvason] could not. Next the keen chief of landowners [RULER = Óláfr] gave his other sister to Rǫgn valdr; that was the luck of his life for Úlfr’s father [= Rǫgnvaldr].
Erlingi varð engi
annarr lendra manna,
ǫrr sás átti fleiri
orrostur stoð þorrinn.
Þrek bar seggr við sóknir
sinn, þvít fyrst gekk innan,
mildr, í marga hildi,
mest, en ór á lesti.
 
‘There was no-one among district chieftains other than Erlingr, who, bold, deprived of support, held more battles. The generous man deployed his stamina to the utmost in onslaughts, because he went first into many a fight, and out as the last.
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