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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vestrfararvísur — Sigv VestvI

Sigvatr Þórðarson

Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Vestrfararvísur’ 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. 615.

 

Bergr, hǫfum minnzk, hvé margan
morgun Rúðu borgar
bǫrð létk í fǫr fyrða
fest við arm inn vestra.
 
‘Bergr, we have remembered how, many a morning, I caused the stem to be moored to the western rampart of Rouen’s fortifications in the company of men.
Útan varðk, áðr Jóta
andspilli fekk’k stillis,
— melld sák hús fyr hauldi —
húsdyrr fyrir spyrjask.
En eyrendi óru
ôttungr í sal knátti
Gorms — berk opt á armi
járnstúkur — vel lúka.
 
‘I had to make enquiries from outside the main door before I got an audience with the ruler of the Jótar [DANISH KING = Knútr]; I saw a locked building in front of the man [me]. But the descendant of Gormr [DANISH KING = Knútr] was able to conclude our [my] errand well in the hall; I often wear iron sleeves on my arm.
Ǫrr tegask Ôleif gerva
(allt hefr sá*) fjǫrvaltan
— konungs dauða munk kvíða —
Knútr ok Hôkun (úti).
Haldisk vǫrðr, þótt vildit
varla Knútr ok jarlar,
(dælla es) fyrst á fjalli
(fundr, ef sjalfr kømsk undan).
 
‘Bold Knútr and Hákon prove themselves ready to put Óláfr in danger of his life; he [Knútr] has all [his forces] out; I will dread the death of the king. The guardian [Óláfr] should in the first instance keep himself in the mountains, even though Knútr and the jarls hardly wanted [that]; it is easier, a meeting, if he himself gets away.
Átti jarl at sætta
allframr búendr gamla
ok, þeirs optast tóku,
Ôleif, at því máli.
Þeir hafa fyrr af fári
— framts Eireks kyn — meira
hǫfðum keypt an heiptir
Hôkun saman mundi.
 
‘The most excellent jarl was to reconcile the old farmers, who most often brought up that matter, and Óláfr. They have previously dealt in heads out of rage, to a greater degree than Hákon was able to cancel out the animosities; Eiríkr’s kin [= Hákon] is outstanding.
Knútr hefr okkr inn ítri
alldáðgǫfugr bôðum
hendr, es hilmi fundum,
Húnn, skrautliga búnar.
Þér gaf hann mǫrk eða meira
margvitr ok hjǫr bitran
golls — ræðr gǫrva ǫllu
goð sjalfr — en mér halfa.
 
‘The excellent Knútr, highly renowned for deeds, has adorned both our arms splendidly, Húnn (‘Bear-Cub’) [Bersi], when we met the ruler. To you he, wise in many ways, gave a mark or more of gold and a sharp sword, and to me half [a mark]; God himself decides everything completely.
Heim erum hingat komnir
— hygg at, jǫfurr skatna —
— menn nemi môl, sem innik,
mín — stallarar þínir.
Seg, hvar sess hafið hugðan
seims, þjóðkonungr, beimum
(allr es þekkr) með þollum
(þinn skáli mér innan).
 
‘We have come home here, your marshals; consider [that], prince of men [Óláfr]; let people take note of my words as I utter them. Say, mighty king, where you have decided on a seat for men [us] among the firs of gold [MEN]; all the inside of your hall is agreeable to me.
Knútr spurði mik mæta
mildr, ef hônum vildak
hendilangr sem hringa
hugreifum Ôleifi.
Einn kvaðk senn, en sǫnnu
svara þóttumk ek, dróttinn
— gefin eru gumna hverjum
góð dœmi — mér sœma.
 
‘Knútr, generous with treasures, asked me if I wanted [to be] of service to him as to Óláfr, bountiful with rings. I declared that one lord at a time was fitting for me, and I thought I answered truthfully; good examples are given to every man.
Eið láta þú, ýtir,
einn þótt værak seinni,
jarðar, allan verðask,
auðar mildr, an vildak.
Esa fyr mál, þats mála
mann þú lætr hér vanðan;
lǫng þǫrf mun gram gengis
— gestr Knúts vas ek — flestum.
 
‘Impeller of land [RULER], generous with wealth, do not let the whole oath be forgotten, though I alone was later than I wished. It is not because of an agreement that you allow a hired soldier to become accustomed here; most kings will have a long-lasting need for a following; I was Knútr’s hired man.
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