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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Knútsdrápa — Sigv KnútdrI

Sigvatr Þórðarson

Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa’ 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. 649.

 

Ok Ellu bak,
at, lét, hinns sat,
Ívarr ara,
Jórvík, skorit.
 
‘And Ívarr, who resided at York, had Ælla’s back cut with an eagle.
Ok senn sonu
sló, hvern ok þó,
Aðalráðs eða
út flæmði Knútr.
 
‘And Knútr soon defeated or drove out the sons of Æthelred, and indeed, each one.
Knútr vas und himnum.
Hykk ætt at frétt
Haralds í her
hug vel duga.
Lét lýrgǫtu
lið suðr ór Nið
Óláfr jǫfurr
ársæll fara.
 
‘Knútr was under the heavens … I believe, according to reports, [his] courage served the descendant of Haraldr [= Óláfr] well in battle. Óláfr, the season-blessed prince, let his fleet travel the pollack-path [SEA] south from Nidelven.
Þurðu norðan
— namsk þat — með gram
til slétts svalir
Silunds kilir.
En með annan
Ǫnundr Dǫnum
á hendr at há
her sœnskan ferr.
 
‘Cool keels rushed from the north with the ruler [Óláfr] to level Zealand; that has been learned. And Ǫnundr travels with another, Swedish army at the oars against the Danes.
Lét * lǫnd lokit
liðs gramr saman
marbe*ðjum með
mǫrg nefbjǫrgum,
þars garðr fyr gnóð
grôum hjǫlmum lá
þornheims þrimu
Þundi at *undri.
 
‘The lord of the army [Knútr] had many lands along the sea-coasts enclosed together by nose-guards, where a wall of grey helmets lay before the ship to the wonder of the Þundr <= Óðinn> of the home of the thorn of battle [(lit. ‘thorn-home of battle’) SWORD > SHIELD > WARRIOR = Óláfr].
Gôtut dróttnar
Danmǫrk spanit
und sik sǫkum
snarir herfarar.
Þá lét skarpla
Skáney Dana
hlǫðr herjaða.
Hǫfuðfremstr jǫfurr.
 
‘The bold lords could not get Denmark lured under them because of warfare. Then the feller of the Danes [NORWEGIAN KING = Óláfr] had Skåne ravaged fiercely. …The most eminent prince.
Knútr vas und himnum.
Hann austan frá,
fríðr fylkis niðr
fráneygr Dana.
Skreið vestan viðr
varrglæstr, sás bar
út andskota
Aðalráðs þaðan.
 
‘Knútr was under the heavens … He learned [news] from the east, the handsome, bright-eyed descendant of the ruler of the Danes [= Sveinn > = Knútr]. The sea-splendid ship which carried the enemy of Æthelred [= Knútr] out from there glided from the west.
Ok bôru í byr
blô segl við rô
— dýr vas dǫglings fǫr —
drekar landreka.
En, þeirs kómu,
kilir, vestan til,
of leið liðu
Limafjarðar brim.
 
‘And the dragon-ships of the land-ruler [Knútr] carried dark sails against the yard in the favouring wind; the sovereign’s journey was glorious. And the keels which arrived there from the west travelled the surf of Limfjorden on their way.
Létat af jǫfurr
(ætt manna fannsk)
Jótlands etask
ílendr (at því).
Vildi foldar
fæst rôn Dana
hlífskjǫldr hafa.
Hǫfuðfremstr jǫfurr.
 
‘Arrived in his land, the lord of Jutland [DANISH KING = Knútr] did not let himself be deprived; the race of men were pleased at that. The protecting shield of the Danes [DANISH KING = Knútr] would allow minimal plundering of the land. … The most eminent prince.
Kom á fylki
farlyst, þeims bar
hervíg í hug,
hafanda staf.
Rauf ræsir af
Rúms veg suman
kærr keisara
klúss Pétrúsi.
 
‘Desire for a journey came upon the ruler bearing a staff, who bore warfare in his heart. The leader, dear to the emperor, close to Peter, enjoyed some of the glory of Rome.
Svá mun fár feril
fetum suðr metinn
hringdrífr hafa.
Hǫfuðfremstr jǫfurr.
 
‘Few ring-distributors [GENEROUS RULERS] will have thus measured the route south with their steps. The most eminent prince ...
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