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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Liðsmannaflokkr — Anon LiðsI

Anonymous Poems

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Liðsmannaflokkr’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Brepols, Turnhout, p. 1014.

 

Gǫngum upp, áðr Engla
ættlǫnd farin rǫndu
morðs ok miklar ferðir
malmregns stafar fregni.
Verum hugrakkir hlakkar;
hristum spjót ok skjótum;
leggr fyr órum eggjum
Engla gnótt á flótta.
 
‘Let us go ashore, before the staves of the metal-rain [BATTLE > WARRIORS] and large militias of killing learn that the ancestral lands of the English are traversed with the shield. Let us be brave-minded in battle; let us brandish spears and shoot [them]; an ample number of the English takes to flight before our blades.
Margr ferr Ullr í illan
oddsennu dag þenna
frár, þars fœddir órum,
fornan serk, ok bornir.
Enn á enskra manna
ǫlum gjóð Hnikars blóði;
vart mun skald í skyrtu
skreiðask hamri samða.
 
‘Many a fierce Ullr <god> of the point-quarrel [BATTLE > WARRIOR] gets this day into the foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]. Once again let us nourish the osprey of Hnikarr <= Óðinn> [RAVEN] on the blood of English men; the skald will scarcely creep into a shirt put together by the hammer.
Þollr mun glaums of grímu
gjarn síðarla arna
randar skóð at rjóða
rœðinn, sás mey fœðir.
Berr eigi sá sveigir
sára lauks í ári
reiðr til Rínar glóða
rǫnd upp á Englandi.
 
‘The talkative pine-tree of revelry [MAN] who brings up the maiden will gladly [lit. glad] rush tardily to redden the harm of the shield [SWORD] in darkness. That brandisher of the leek of wounds [SWORD > WARRIOR] does not carry the shield, enraged, up into England in a hurry, for the embers of the Rhine [GOLD].
Þóttut mér, es þáttak,
Þorkels liðar dvelja
— sôusk eigi þeir sverða
sǫng — í folk at ganga,
áðr an †hauðr† á heiði
hríð víkingar kníðu
— vér hlutum vápna skúrir —
— varð fylkt liði — harða.
 
‘Þorkell’s followers did not seem to me to delay in going into the engagement, when I saw [them] — they did not fear the song of swords [BATTLE] —, before the vikings pressed a hard onslaught on … heath; we came in for showers of weapons; the company was formed into battle order.
Hár þykki mér, hlýra,
hinn jarl, es brá snarla
— mær spyrr vitr, at væri
valkǫstr — ara fǫstu.
En þekkjǫndum þykkir
þunnblás meginásar
hǫrð, sús hilmir gerði,
hríð, á Tempsar síðu.
 
‘That jarl, who briskly broke the fast of the brother of the eagle [RAVEN/EAGLE], seems tall to me; the wise maiden hears that there was a heap of the slain. And the battle which the ruler waged on the bank of the Thames seems hard to knowers of the powerful pole of the thin linen cord [ARROW > BOWMEN].
Einráðit lét áðan
Ullkell, þars spjǫr gullu,
— hǫrð óx hildar garða
hríð — víkinga at bíða.
Ok, slíðrhugaðr, síðan
sátt á oss, hvé mátti
byggs við bitran skeggja
brunns; tveir hugir runnu.
 
‘Ullkell had beforehand resolved to await the vikings where spears screamed; a hard storm of enclosures of war [SHIELDS > BATTLE] swelled. And, ruthless-minded one, you saw on us afterwards how one [we] could prevail against the fierce denizen of the barley of the spring [STONE > ?= Ullkell]; two minds were competing.
Knútr réð ok bað bíða
(baugstalls) Dani alla;
(lundr gekk rǫskr und randir
ríkr) vá herr við díki.
Nær vas, sveit þars sóttum,
Syn, með hjalm ok brynju,
elds sem olmum heldi
elg Rennandi kennir.
 
‘Knútr decided and commanded all the Danes to wait; the mighty tree of the ring-support [SHIELD > WARRIOR = Knútr] went, brave, under the shields; the army fought by the moat. Syn [lady], it was nearly as if the master of the fire of Rennandi <river> [GOLD > MAN] were holding a maddened elk, where we attacked the army with helmet and mail-shirt.
Út mun ekkja líta
— opt glóa vôpn á lopti
of hjalmtǫmum hilmi —
hrein, sús býr í steini,
hvé sigrfíkinn sœkir
snarla borgar karla
— dynr á brezkum brynjum
blóðíss — Dana vísi.
 
‘The chaste widow who lives in stone will look out — weapons often glint in the air above the helmet-wearing ruler —, [seeing] how the victory-avid leader of the Danes [DANISH KING = Knútr] attacks sharply the men of the city; the blood-ice [SWORD] clangs against British mail-shirts.
Hvern morgin sér horna
Hlǫkk á Tempsar bakka
— skalat Hanga má hungra —
hjalmskóð roðin blóði.
Rýðr eigi sá sveigir
sára lauk í ári,
hinns Grjótvarar gætir,
gunnborðs, fyr Stað norðan.
 
‘Every morning the Hlǫkk <valkyrie> of drinking horns [WOMAN] sees the helmet-destroyers [SWORDS] reddened with blood on the bank of the Thames; the seagull of Hangi <= Óðinn> [RAVEN/EAGLE] must not go hungry. That brandisher of the battle-plank [SHIELD > WARRIOR] who watches over Grjótvǫr [Steinvǫr] to the north of Stad does not redden the leek of wounds [SWORD] in a hurry.
Dag vas hvern, þats Hǫgna
hurð rjóðask nam blóði,
ár, þars úti vôrum,
Ilmr, í fǫr með hilmi.
Kneigum vér, síz vígum
varð nýlokit hǫrðum,
fyllar dags, í fǫgrum,
fit, Lundúnum sitja.
 
‘Every day it came about that the door of Hǫgni <legendary hero> [SHIELD] was reddened with blood, the year when we were out, Ilmr [lady], on the expedition with the king. We are able, since hard battles have recently ended, meadow of the day of the sea [GOLD > WOMAN], to sit in pleasant London.
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