Rgsula




Sv segja menn fornum sgum, at einnhverr af sum, s er Heimdallr ht, fr ferar sinnar ok fram me sjvarstrndu nkkurri, kom at einum hsab ok nefndist Rgr. Eftir eiri sgu er kvi etta:

 

So people say in old sagas, that one of the sir, who is called Heimdallr, was going on his way and [passing] along a certain seashore, came to a settlement and called himself Rgr. Following these stories there is this poem:


1. 1.

r kvu ganga In times of yore they say went

grnar brautir green ways

flgan ok aldinn a mighty and ancient

s kunnigan, wise god,

ramman ok rskvan the strong and doughty

Rg stganda. Rgr, striding.

 

2. 2.

Gekk hann meir at at He went further then(1)

mirar brautar; in mid-path;

kom hann at hsi, he came to a house,

hur var gtti; the door was ajar;(2)

inn nam at ganga, in he up and went,

eldr var golfi; a fire was on the floor;

hjn stu ar a couple sat there

hr at arni,(3) hoary, at the hearth,

i ok Edda, i and Edda,(4)

aldinfalda. with her oldfashioned headdress.

 

3. 3.

Rgr kunni eim Rgr knew how

r at segja; to give them advice:

meir settisk hann further he sat down

mira fletja, in mid-bench,

en hli hvra and on each side

hjn salkynna. the two householders.

 

4. 4.

tk Edda Then Edda took

kkvinn hleif, a lumpy loaf,

ungan ok ykkvan, heavy and thick,

runginn sum; stuffed with bran;

bar hon meir at at further she brought it

mira skutla, amidst dishes,

so var bolla, broth was in a bowl,

setti bj; she set it on the table;

var kalfr soinn a calf was boiled,

krsa beztr. best of delicacies.(5)

 

5. 5.

Rgr kunni eim Rgr knew how

r at segja; to give them advice;

reis hann upp aan, he rose up from there,

rsk at sofna;(6) readied himself to sleep;

meir lagisk hann further he lay down

mirar rekkju, in mid-bed,

en hli hvra and on each side

hjn salkynna. the two householders.

 

6. 6.

ar var hann at at There he was then

rar ntr saman, three nights together,

gekk hann meir at at he went further then

mirar brautar; in mid-path;

liu meir at at further passed then

mnur nu. nine months.

 

7. 7.

J l Edda A baby Edda bore,

jsu vatni, they sprinkled him with water,

hrvi svartan, with linen(7) swarthy,

htu rl. they called him rll.(8)

 

8. 8.

Hann nam at vaxa He up and grew

ok vel dafna; and thrived well;

var ar hndum there on his hands was

hrokkit skinn, the skin wrinkled,

kropnir knar, his knuckles swollen,

fingr digrir, his fingers thick,

flligt andlit, his face ugly,

lotr(9) hryggr, his back crooked,

langir hlar. his heels long.

 

9. 9.

Nam han meir at at Then further he up and

magns of kosta, tried his strength,

bast at binda, binding bast,

byrar gerva; making loads;

bar hann heim at at then he bore home

hrs gerstan dag. firewood [every] dreary day.

 

10. 10.

ar kom at gari There came to the garth

gengilbeina, a wandering-legged girl,(10)

aurr var iljum, earth was on her soles,

armr slbrunninn, her arm sunbrowned,

nirbjgt er nef, bent down her nose,(11)

nefndisk r. she called herself r.(12)

 

11. 11.

Mira fletja In mid-bench

meir settisk hon; she further sat down;

sat hj henni sat down beside her

sonr hss; the son of the house;

rddu ok rndu, they chatted and whispered,

rekkju geru readied a bed,

rll ok r rll and r,

rungin dgr. through crammed days.

 

12. 12.

Brn lu au, Children they had,

- bjuggu ok unu, - - they lived together and were happy -

hygg ek at hti I think they were called

Hreimr ok Fjsnir, Hreimr and Fjsnir,

Klrr ok Kleggi, Klrr and Kleggi,

Kefsir, Flnir, Kefsir, Flnir,

Drumbr, Digraldi, Drumbr, Digraldi,

Drttr ok Hsvir. Drǫttr and Hǫsvir,

Ltr ok Leggjaldi; Ltr and Leggjaldi;(13)

lgu gara, they set up fences,

akra tddu, manured fields,,

unnu at svnum, herded pigs,

geita gttu, tended goats,

grfu torf. [and] dug peat.

 

13. 13.

Dtr vru r Their daughters were

Drumba ok Kumba, Drumba and Kumba,

kkvinkalfa Ǫkkvinkalfa

ok Arinnefja, and Arinnefja,

Ysja ok Ambtt, Ysja and Ambtt,

Eikintjasna, Eikintjasna,

Ttrughypja Tǫtrughypja

ok Trnubeina. and Trǫnubeina.(14)

aan eru komnar From them have come

rla ttir. the families of thralls.

 

14. 14.

Gekk Rgr at at Rgr went then

rttar brautir, on right ways,

kom hann at hllu, he came to a hall,

hur var ski, the door was on the lintel beam,

inn nam at ganga, in he up and went,

eldr var golfi, a fire was on the floor,

hjn stu ar, a couple sat there,

heldu sslu. they were busily at work.

 

15. 15

Mar tegli ar There the man was cutting

mei til rifjar; wood for a loom beam;

var skegg skapat, his beard was trimmed,

skr var fyrir enni, there was a fringe on his forehead,

skyrtu rngva, his shirt [was] cinched,(15)

skokkr var golfi. a chest was on the floor.

 

16. 16.

Sat ar kona, There sat the woman,

sveigi rokk, twirling a distaff,

breiddi fam, parting her arms,

bj til var; preparing to make clothes;

sveigr var hfi, a snood was on her head,

smokkr var bringu, a smock was on her bosom,(16)

dkr var halsi, a cloth was on her throat,

dvergar xlum. dwarves on her shoulders.(17)

Afi ok Amma Afi and Amma(18)

ttu hs. owned the house.

 

17. 17.

Rgr kunni eim Rgr knew how

r at segja; to give them advice;

[meir settisk hann [further he sat down(19)

mira fletja, in mid-bench,

en hli hvra and on each side

hjn salkynna].::  the two householders].

 

18. 18.

[ tk Amma] [Then Amma took]

-- -- -- -- -- --

var kalfr soinn a calf was boiled,

krsa beztr. best of delicacies.

 

19. 19.

[Rgr kunni eim [Rgr knew how

r at segja] to give them advice;]

reis fr bori, he rose from the table,

r at sofna; readied himself to sleep;

meir lagisk hann further he lay down

mirar rekkju, in mid-bed,

en hli hvra and on each side

hjn salkynna. the two householders.

 

20. 20.

ar var hann at at There he was then

rar ntr saman; three nights together;

liu meir at at further passed then

mnur nu. nine months.

 

21. 21.

J l Amma A baby Amma bore,

jsu vatni, they sprinkled him with water,

klluu Karl, called him Karl,(20)

kona sveip rifti, the woman wrapped him in linen,

rauan ok rjan, red and ruddy,

riuu augu. his eyes rolled.

 

22. 22.

Hann nam at vaxa He up and grew

ok vel dafna, and thrived well;

xn nam at temja, he up and broke in oxen,

arr at gerva, fashioned ploughs,(21)

hs at timbra put up buildings

ok hlur sma, and barns he constructed,

karta at gerva made carts

ok keyra plg. and steered the plough.

 

23. 23.

Heim ku Then they drove home [with]

hanginluklu, a key-behung,

geitakyrtlu, goatskin-kirtled [girl],

giftu Karli; married her to Karl;

Snr heitir s, Snǫr(22) she is called,

settisk und rifti; she sat down under her [bridal] veil;

bjuggu hjn, they lived as a couple,

bauga deildu, dealt out rings,(23)

breiddu bljur spread sheets

ok b geru. and made a household.

 

24. 24.

Brn lu au, Children they had,

- bjuggu ok unu, - - they lived together and were happy -

ht Halr ok Drengr, called(24) Halr and Drengr,

Hlr, egn ok Smir, Hǫlr, egn and Smir,

Breir, Bndi, Breir, Bndi,

Bundinskeggi, Bundinskeggi,

Bi ok Boddi, Bi and Boddi,

Brattskeggr ok Seggr. Brattskeggr and Seggr.(25)

 

25. 25.

Enn htu sv So also were called

rum nfnum, by other names

Snt, Brr, Svanni, Snt, Brr, Svanni,

Svarri, Sprakki, Svarri, Sprakki,

Flj, Sprund ok Vf, Flj, Sprund and Vf,

Feima, Ristill. Feima [and] Ristill.(26)

aan eru komnar From them have come

karla ttir. the families of carls.(27)

 

26. 26.

Gekk Rgr aan Rgr went from there

rttar brautir; on right ways;

kom hann at sal, he came to a hall,

sur horfu dyrr, the doors faced south,

var hur hnigin, the door was lowered,(28)

hringr var gtti. a ring was in the doorpost.

 

27. 27.

Gekk hann inn at at, In he went then,

golf var strat; the floor was strewn;

stu hjn, a couple were sitting,

susk augu, looking in each others' eyes,

Fair ok Mir, Fair and Mir,(29)

fingrum at leika. playing with their fingers.(30)

 

28. 28.

Sat hsgumi The master of the house sat

ok sneri streng, and twisted a [bow]string,

alm of bendi, bent elm,

rvar skefti; shafted arrows;

en hskona and the mistress of the house

hugi at rmum, examined her arms,

strauk of rifti, smoothed her linen,

sterti ermar. stretched her sleeves.

 

29. 29.

Keisti fald, With her head-dress she towered,

kinga var bringu, there was a coin-brooch at her breast,

sar slur, her robes trailed,

serk blfan; her bodice dyed blue;

brn bjartari, her brow [was] brighter,

brjst ljsara, her breast lighter,

hals hvtari her neck whiter

hreinni mjllu. than driven snow.

 

30. 30.

Rgr kunni eim Rgr knew how

r at segja; to give them advice;

meir settisk hann further he sat down

mira fletja, in mid-bench,

en hli hvra and on each side

hjn salkynna. the two householders.

 

31. 31.

tk Mir Then Mir took

merkan dk, a figured cloth,(31)

hvtan af hrvi, white, of linen,

huli bj, covered the table,

hon tk at at she then took

hleifa unna, thin loaves,

hvta af hveiti, white, of wheat,

ok huli dk. and covered the cloth.

 

32.

Framm setti hon She set out

fulla skutla,(32) full dishes,

silfri vara, bj, mounted with silver, on the table,

fin fleski(33) streaky flesh

ok fugla steika, and roasted fowl,

vn var knnu, there was wine in a flagon,

varir klkar; decorated goblets;

drukku ok dmu, they drank and talked,

dagr var sinnum. the day was far gone.

 

33. 33.

Rgr kunni eim Rgr knew how

r at segja; to give them advice;

reis hann at at, he rose up then,

rekkju geri. made his bed.(34)

ar var hann at at There he was then

rar ntr saman; three nights together;

gekk hann meir at at he went further then

mirar brautar; in mid-path;

liu meir at at further passed then

mnur nu. nine months.

 

34. 34.

Svein l Mir, A boy Mir bore,

silki vafi, [and] wrapped in silk,

jsu vatni, they sprinkled him with water,

Jarl ltu heita; named him Jarl(35);

bleikt var hr, blond was his hair,

bjartir vangar, bright his cheeks,(36)

tul vru augu piercing were his eyes,

sem yrmlingi. like a young snake's.

 

35. 35.

Upp x ar He grew up there,

Jarl fletjum; Jarl, among the benches;

lind nam at skelfa, he up and shook shield,

leggja strengi, fixed [bow]string,

alm at beygja, bent elm,

rvar skefta, shafted arrows,

flein at fleygja, threw spear,

frkkur dja, shook lances(37),

hestum ra, rode horses,

hundum verpa, loosed hounds,(38)

sverum brega, brandished swords,

sund at fremja. did swimming.

 

36. 36.

Kom ar r runni Came from the thicket there

Rgr gangandi, Rgr, walking,

Rgr gangandi, Rgr, walking,

rnar kendi; taught [him] runes;

sitt gaf heiti, gave him his [own] name,

son kvesk eiga; declares he has a son(39);

ann ba hann eignask then he bade him make his own

alvllu, odal fields,

alvllu, odal fields

aldnar byggir. settled since olden days.

 

37. 37.

Rei hann meir aan Further he(40) rode from there

myrkvan vi, [through] a dark forest,

hlug fjll, [and] a frosty fell,

unz at hllu kom; until he came to a hall;

skaft nam at dja, he up and shook lance,

skelfi lind, shook shield,

hesti hleypi spurred his horse

ok hjrvi br; and drew his blade;

vg nam at vekja, up and raised war,

vll nam at rja, up and reddened field,

val nam at fella, up and laid low slain,

v til landa. won lands.

 

38. 38.

R hann einn at at He then ruled alone

tjn bum, eight settlements,

au nam skipta, he up and dealt out wealth,

llum veita granted to all

meimar ok msma, treasures and valuables,(41)

mara svangrifja, slim-ribbed steeds,

hringum hreytti, [and] scattered rings,

hj sundr baug. hewed bracelets asunder.

 

39. 39.

ku rir There drove envoys

rgar brautir, on wet ways,(42)

kmu at hllu, they came to a hall,

ar er Hersir bj; where Hersir lived;(43)

mey tti hann he had a maid,

mjfingraa, slender-fingered,

hvta ok horska, white and wise,(44)

htu Erna. she was called Erna.(45)

 

40. 40.

Bu hennar They asked for her

ok heim ku, and home they drove [her],

giftu Jarli, married [her] to Jarl,

gekk hon und lni; she went under linen;(46)

saman bjuggu au together they lived

ok sr unu, and were happy,

ttir jku increased their kindred

ok aldrs nutu. and enjoyed life.

 

41. 41.

Burr var inn ellsti, Burr was the eldest [son],

en Barn annat, and Barn second, (47)

J ok Aal, J and Aal,

Arfi, Mgr, Arfi, Mǫgr,

Nir ok Nijungr, Nir and Nijungr(48)

- nmu leika, - - they took up games -

Sonr ok Sveinn, Sonr and Sveinn,(49)

- sund ok tafl, - - swimming and tafl(50) -

Kundr ht enn, one was called Kundr,

Konr var inn yngsti. Konr was the youngest.(51)

 

42. 42.

Upp xu ar Up they grew there,

Jarli bornir, the sons of Jarl,

hesta tmu, horses they tamed,

hlfar bendu, bucklers they bent,

skeyti skfu, shafts they smoothed,

skelfu aska. ash [spears] they shook.

 

43. 43.

En Konr ungr(52) But Konr the Young

kunni rnar, knew runes,

vinrnar everlasting runes

ok aldrrnar; and life runes(53);

meir kunni hann further he could

mnnum bjarga, save people(54),

eggjar deyfa, blunt edges,

gi lgja. [and] still the ocean.

 

44. 44.

Klk nam fugla, He learnt the twittering of birds,

kyrra elda, how to quench fire,

sefa of svefja, calm down minds,(55)

sorgir lgja, still sorrow,

afl ok eljun the strength and doughtiness

tta manna. of eight men.

 

45. 45.

Hann vi Rg jarl With Jarl Rgr he

rnar deildi, traded runes,(56)

brgum beitti baited him with tricks

ok betr kunni; and was more able;

laisk then he came into his heritage

ok eiga gat and then got the right

Rgr at heita, to be called Rgr,

rnar kunna. runes [to] know.

 

46. 46.

Rei Konr ungr Konr the Young rode

kjrr ok skga, [through] thickets and forests,

kolfi fleygi, let fly the bolt,

kyrri fugla. stunned birds.(57)

 

47. 47.

kva at krka, Then the crow said this,

sat kvisti ein: [it] sat alone on a branch:

"Hvat skaltu, Konr ungr, "Why must you, Konr the Young,

kyrra fugla? stun birds?

Heldr mtti r Rather you(58) ought

hestum ra, to ride horses,

[hjrvi brega] [draw blade](59)

ok her fella. and fell armies.

 

48. 48.

Danr ok Danpr "Danr and Danpr have

drar hallir, costly halls,

ra al higher heritage

en r hafi; than you have;

eir kunnu vel they are well skilled

kjli at ra, in riding the ship,

egg at kenna, in teaching the edge,(60)

undir rjfa." ripping wounds."

 

49.(61) 49.

Brn bjartari, Her brow [was] brighter,

brjst ljsara, her breast lighter,

hals hvtari her neck whiter

hreinni mjllu. than driven snow.

 

50. 50.

Bjuggu hjn, They lived as a couple,

bauga deildu. dealt out rings.

 

 

Notes

 

1. To show the use of repetition and somewhat odd word choices in this poem, I have consistently rendered meir as "further", at at as "then", and nam at as "up and" with past tense (rather than "began to", the usual translation that does not always fit).

2. against the doorposts (gtti) but not closed. I follow Gubrandur Vigfsson in this. Ursula Dronke has "in the side-niche", i.e., wide open.

3. Emended from "af rni", which would mean something like "from toil".

4. Great-grandfather, Great-grandmother

5. These two lines about the calf are ill-suited to Edda's cooking style and are usually moved to Verse 18, about Amma's cooking; this editor, Guni Jnsson, has them in both places.

6. These two pairs of lines are in the reverse order in the manuscript.

7. Something has gone missing here.

8. Thrall.

9. Lotr is a hapax legomenon - a uniquely occurring word. It is presumably related to ltr, "stooping", which occurs in Verse 12 as a proper name.

10. Gengilbeina appears to mean she is always walking from place to place. "Gangly-legged" would not have quite the same meaning.

11. Omitting the awkward er, "is". Either a hook nose or a broken nose.

12. Bondswoman, Maidservant.

13. Noisy and Cowherd, Clumpy and Clod, Lewd, Foul, Stumpy, Fatty, Sluggard and Greyish, Stooper and Leggy. For these and the daughters' names, much guesswork is involved.

14. Stumpy and Cloggy, Lumpy-calves and Eaglenosed, Screecher and Bondmaid, Everchatter (or Oaken-pegged), Tattercoat and Craneshanks.

15. i.e, either a belted tunic or a garment sewn with a waist.

16. In ON smokkr is a hapax legomenon but seems clearly derived from the Anglo-Saxon ancestor of "smock", used of a shirt or a woman's shift, or undergarment.

17. The "dwarves" are presumably a metaphor for the straps holding up her apron-dress, or possibly the brooches that secure them at the front.

18. Grandfather, Grandmother, or as Gumundur Vigfsson calls them, Gaffer and Gammer.

19. Lacuna in the text filled with material from Verses 3 to 5. For the calf, see note 5.

20. Churl, carl: a free-born peasant or a yeoman; a member of the common people.

21. Arr is an older word for a plough than plgr; they were apparently used of different kinds.

22. Daughter-in-law.

23. i.e., spent money

24. This is actually a singular: "he was called".

25. Goodfellow and Doughty, Franklin, Thegn and Smith, Broadfellow, Peasant, Boundbeard, Farmer and Smallholder, Steepbeard and Man. Many of these are either old words for "man, warrior" or classes of free men.

26. Lass, Bride, Lady, Damsel, Finelooking, Mistress, Madam and Wife, Shy and Sharp. These are all heiti used in skaldic verse for "woman".

27. See note 20.

28. i.e., taken down, removed. The doors opened up rather than at one side, and were hung at the top.

29. Father and Mother

30. Dronke points to the expression at leika vi fingr sr, literally "to play with one's fingers" as meaning "to be blissfully unoccupied".

31. presumably embroidered

32. The manuscript has these 2 words reversed.

33. The manuscript has fn ok fleski.

34. Editors commonly insert here the second half of Verse 5:

meir lagisk hann further he lay down

mirar rekkju, in mid-bed,

en hli hvra and on each side

hjn salkynna. the two householders.

35. Jarl, the Scandinavian earl or chieftain

36. Presumably red

37. The frakki is specifically or originally a Frankish spear, a relatively rare word usually found in compounds. It seems to have been heavier and may have been barbed.

38. literally, threw dogs

39. i.e, acknowledges him as his son

40. What follows indicates this "he" is Jarl, not Rgr.

41. Mǫsmar is a hapax legomenon.

42. presumably with dew?

43. Literally "Ruler": a rank of landowner below a jarl, perhaps equal to squire.

44. Sophus Bugge's emendation; in the manuscript the three lines read "mtti hann | miofingardi |hvti ok horski", which means "he met a slender-fingered [woman], white and wise."

45. Following the traditional emendation to "Ht su". Erna is unexplained; Gubrandur Vigfsson substituted Erla, a feminine equivalent to Jarl's name.

46. The linen bridal headdress or veil.

47. Burr and Barn both mean "child"; Burr also occurs in Vǫlusp Verse 4 (perhaps the same as Buri).

48. Offspring and Nobility, Heir, Relative, Kin and Kinsman

49. Son and Swain

50. Tafl is an ancient board-game.

51. Kundr: Boychild. Konr: Scion.

52. A peculiarly structured formulation in order to appear to be the etymology of konungr, "king".

53. Both vinrnar and aldrrnar are hapax legomena. Of course all the mentions of "runes" here presumably refer to the spells as well as the symbols; the base meaning of the word is "mystery".

54. Dronke interprets this as birthing babies, based on Sigrdrfuml 9.

55. The manuscript has ok, "and". Many editors suspect this verse's genuineness.

56. i.e, in a contest or battle

57. The same verb as kyrra elda, quench fire, above; the bolt has a short shaft and blunt end used to bring birds down without killing them. "Silenced" is another possible translation.

58. Emended from the manuscript r for alliteration and to match Verse 48; the meaning is the same, strictly speaking plural "you".

59. Inserted based on Verse 37 and Helgakvia Hundingsbana I.

60. i.e., wielding the sword to instruct enemies using its edge.

61. These last two verses have been inserted by the editor based on Verses 29 and 23; the manuscript breaks off.