Anarcheologos

The Creative Exploration of Language

Monthly Archives: February 2020

Eiríksmál

Translation from Old Norse; source text from An Introduction to Old Norse by E.V. Gordon

Odin spoke:

What was I dreaming       when daylight broke?

To ready the hall             for the host of the slain.

I bade the Einherjar,        up they must rise,

To straw the benches       and the beer mugs wash.

Valkyries with wine          shall welcome a king!

At home I await              the hero’s coming,

The lordly man                who makes my heart glad.

Do you hear, Bragi?          A host of thousands

Hurries here to my hall.

Bragi:

The benches creak           as if Balder it was

Who sought the hall of Sigtýr.

Odin:

Your words are foolish      wisest Bragi,

And well you know why.

The clashing and clanging is for King Eirík;

It is he who comes to Odin’s hall.

Sigmund rise quickly!       Sinfjǫtli as well!

You must go to meet the king.

Bid him welcome             if it be Eirík.

I will await the hero here.

Sigmund:

Why await Eirík                if others may come?

Odin:

He has made red             many a land

And he bears a bloody sword.

Bragi:

If you thought him brave why thwart his deeds?

Odin:

Because I know not,

When the gray wolf comes to the gods’ abode.

Sigmund:

Hail now, Eirík!                Here you are welcome. 

Go into the hall, healthy in wisdom.

One thing I must ask:       what others follow,

Lords from the lightning-field?

Eirík:

Five kings there are          and all I can name;

I myself am the sixth.