Re: [norse_course] Njall 155 beginning / Alan's Translation
- At 4:50:55 AM on Tuesday, November 17, 2009, AThompson
> Heres my translation. I will leave the verse for othersI've not looked at anything else yet, but I had a go at the
> to unravel :-)
verse. Out of habit I've used a more traditional
normalization, and I've changed the punctuation a bit.
Hrósa hildar fúsir,
hvat hafa til fregit skatnar
hvé, ráfáka, rákum,
rennendr Níals brennu;
víðeims at þat síðan
(hrátt gat hrafn at slíta
hold) slæliga goldit.
Here's a stab at a fairly literal translation, which I've
attempted to punctuate in such a way that it's not
*completely* unintelligible as English:
[They] boast, battle-eager --
what have men heard of
how we drove [them]? -- spar-horses'
drivers, of Njál's burning;
not were giving-Njörðs
of sea-fire after that
([the] raven could tear raw
flesh) listlessly repaid.
I'm interpreting it as if a prose version read something
Hildar fúsir rennendr ráfáka hrósa brennu Níals; hvat hafa
skatnar fregit til, hvé rákum? Viðeims veiti-Njörðum
varðat goldit slæliga síðan at þat: hrafn gat hrátt hold
<Hildar> is the gen. sing. of <hildr> 'battle' (poet.).
<Fúsir> is the nom. pl. of <fúss> 'eager'. <Rennendr> is
the nom. pl. of <rennandi> 'one who makes (something) run',
from the past part. of <renna> 'to make run'; it's the only
nom. pl. noun in sight, so it must be what <fúsir> modifies.
<Fákr> is 'horse' (poet.), and <rá> is 'a sail-yard, a
spar', so <ráfákr> is 'a sail-yard horse, a spar-horse',
i.e., a ship. <Ráfáka> can only be the gen. or acc. pl.;
here it seems to be a gen. pl., <rennendr ráfáka> being
'drivers of spar-horses', i.e., 'seamen', and by extension
simply 'men, warriors'. <Hrósa> is 'to praise', but CV
notes that it often has a sense of 'boast', which seems more
appropriate here; the thing praised or boasted of is in the
dative, here <brennu Níals> 'Njál's burning'. The first
clause is then:
Battle-eager men boast of Njál's burning.
<Skatnar> is the nom. pl. of <skati> 'man' (poet.).
<Fregit> is the past part. of <fregna> 'to hear of, be
informed of', in the neut. sing. acc. to agree with the
object <hvat>. <Rákum> is 3pl. pret. indic. of <reka> 'to
drive, to pursue'. The second clause is:
What have men heard of how we drove [them off]?
<Víðeims> is the gen. sing. of <víðeimr>, which seems to be
a compound of <víðir> 'the wide sea, the main' (poet.)
[found in CV but not in Z] and <eimr> 'reek, vapor' [in CV,
and in Z s.v. <eimi>], poetically used as a metaphor for
fire. <Víðeimr> 'sea-fire' is a kenning for gold. <Veiti->
appears to be from <veita> 'to give', and <Njörðr> is one of
the of the Vanir. The name is from PGmc. *Nerþuz, so it's a
u-stem, like <skjöldr> 'a shield', and declines similarly.
In particular, <Njörðum> is a dat. pl., so the nom. is
<veiti-Nirðir> 'giving-Njörðs', and <víðeims veiti-Nirðir>
are 'gold's giving-Njörðs', hence 'gold's giving-gods',
whence 'generous gods', 'generous men', and finally simply
'men'. <Slæliga> is 'without energy, slowly, dully'.
<Goldit> is the neut. nom. sing. past part. of <gjalda> 'to
(re)pay', and <varðat> seems to be <varð-at>, the past tense
of <verða> with the negative suffix <-at>. The third clause
Men were not repaid listlessly after that.
This looks like a fairly typical litotes, an understated way
of saying that they were vigorously repaid for the burning.
Finally, <hrafn gat hrátt hold at slíta> is straightforward:
[The] raven was able to tear raw flesh.
The overall sense seems to be:
The battle-eager warriors boast of Njál's burning, but
what have men heard of how we drove them off? They were
vigorously repaid for their eagerness: ravens feasted on
their raw flesh.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "AThompson" <athompso@...> wrote:
> Bar (bera) það saman og þá var Gunnar að að segja söguna
> That happened (see bera saman, Z.II.2) together and then (This
> event coincided with the moment?) Gunnar was busy at (see vera at,
> Z10) telling the story
I think that your eye slipped to the next entry: <bera saman> is
glossed 'to coincide'. (This of course makes your interpretation
basically right anyway: they arrived at the hall as G. was telling
> Urðu borðin í blóði einu
> The tables became (covered) in blood alone (?)
Compare <var þat raufar einar> 'it was all in holes, mere tatters'
(Zoëga s.v. <einn> (7); I make it 'the tables were all over blood'.
CV s.v. <einn> A.III.beta actually has this clause, glossing it
'the tables were bedabbled with blood all over'. (Tables that are
<í blóði einu> appear in other sagas, too.)
> Sigtryggur konungur mælti: "Þessi var herðimaður mikill fyrir sér
> King Sigtrygg spoke: `This was a great `king's-man' within himself
Zoëga s.v. <fyrir> (13): <mikill f[yrir] sér> 'strong, powerful'.