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Eyrbyggja Saga 28 part 4 -- Rob's Translation

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  • rob13567
    Þá kvað Halli vísu þessa: Then Halli recited this verse: Hvert hafið, Gerðr, of görva, Who had, Gerdr, of clearly, gangfögr liðar hanga,
    Message 1 of 2 , May 23, 2013
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      Þá kvað Halli vísu þessa:
      Then Halli recited this verse:

      Hvert hafið, Gerðr, of görva,
      Who had, Gerdr, of clearly,

      gangfögr liðar hanga,
      walking-beautiful hangs a follower,

      ljúg vætr að mér, leygjar,
      lies nought to me, of a flame,

      línbundin, för þína,
      a linen-sheaf, for you,

      því að í vetr, hin vitra,
      because in winter, the wisdom,

      vangs, sákat þig ganga,
      of a field, blamed you go,

      hirðidís, frá húsi,
      hidden, from a case,

      húns, skrautlegar búna.
      A boy's, fitted out showy.

      Þá kvað Leiknir:
      Then Leiknir said:

      Sólgrund Siggjar linda
      Solgrund Siggjar belt

      sjaldan hefr of faldið
      seldom has folded of

      jafnhátt, öglis stéttar
      (jafnhátt?), a hawk's stepping stones

      elds nú er skart á þellu.
      now of a fire which finery at fine wood.

      Hoddgrund, hvað býr undir,
      Treasure-land, what dresses under,

      Hlín, oflæti þínu,
      Hlin, your (oflæti?),

      hýrmælt, hóti fleira,
      smiling-spoken (?), several whits,

      hvítings, en vér lítum?
      Of a whale, and we look?
    • Brian M. Scott
      I’m just going to translate the two vísur. I’m giving them in an older orthography. Halli and Læknir are flattering Ásdís with the kind of difficult
      Message 2 of 2 , May 24, 2013
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        I’m just going to translate the two vísur. I’m giving them
        in an older orthography.

        Halli and Læknir are flattering Ásdís with the kind of
        difficult verse usually used to praise a ruler or the like.

        Hvert hefr, Gerðr, of gǫrva,
        gangfǫgr liðar hanga
        (ljúg vætr at mér) leygjar,
        línbunden, fǫr þína?
        þvít í vetr, hin vitra
        {vangs}, sákak þik ganga,
        {hirðidís}, frá húsi,
        {húns}, skrautligar búna.

        Whither have you made, Gerð
        fair-gaited of joint’s hanging
        (lie not to me) fire,
        linen-wrapped, your journey?
        for this winter, {the wise}
        {field’s}, I did not see you go,
        {guardian maid}, from (the) house,
        {of the game piece}, more richly attired.

        The particle <of> before the verb contributes little or
        nothing to the sense and can be ignored in translation.
        <Gǫrva> is the past participle of <gǫra> ~ <gera>. <Liðar>
        is the gen. sing. of <liðr> 'a joint', and <leygjar> is the
        gen. sing. of <leygr> 'a fire, a flame' (CV). <Hanga> is
        hanging there in limbo; various sources agree that we’re
        dealing with a compound, <hangaleygr> 'a hanging fire or
        flame', that’s been artificially split here by the
        admonition <ljúg vætr at mér>. <Gerðr> is the name of a
        goddess, Frey’s wife, and should be understood simply as
        'goddess'. The whole expression <Gerðr liðar hangaleygjar>
        'goddess of joint’s hanging fire' is a kenning for 'woman':
        the joint in question is the arm, its hanging fire is gold
        rings, and the goddess of gold rings is a woman. Halli is
        using the kenning, further modified by <gangfǫgr>
        'fair-gaited', to address Ásdís. He also calls her
        'linen-wrapped'; in view of Læknir’s description in the next
        vísa, I suspect that this refers to her headdress.

        <Vætr> is 'nothing, nought', but <lie> isn’t transitive, so
        English pretty much requires 'not'.

        The second four lines are harder, because the bits in curly
        braces belong together as another description of Ásdís: she
        is ‘the wise guardian-maid of the field of the game piece =
        the wise guardian-maid of the gaming board = woman’.
        <Hirðidís> 'guardian maid' is a compound, <hirði-dís>; both
        elements are in CV. <Húns> is the gen. sing. of <húnn> 'a
        knob, a game piece' (CV).

        <Sákat> is <sá-ek-at> 'I did not see'. <Skrautligar> is the
        comparative of the adverb <skrautliga>, not a form of the
        adjective <skrautligr>. Although <í vetr> can be 'in
        winter', it’s also 'this winter', which is the intended
        sense here.

        Whither have you made, Gerð
        fair-gaited of joint’s hanging
        (lie nought to me) fire,
        linen-wrapped, your journey?
        for this winter, {the wise}
        {field’s}, I did not see you go,
        {guardian maid}, from (the) house,
        {of the game piece}, more richly attired.

        Whither have you made your journey, fair-gaited,
        linen-wrapped Gerð of the joint’s hanging fire? Don’t lie
        to me. For this winter I have not seen you go more richly
        attired from the house, wise guardian maid of the field of
        the game piece.

        Where are you going, fair-gaited, linen-wrapped woman?
        Don’t lie to me. For this winter, woman, I have not seen
        you go more richly dressed from home.


        Sólgrund Siggjar linda
        sjaldan hefr of faldet
        jafnhǭtt; øglis stéttar
        elds nú ’s skart á þellu;
        hoddgrund, hvat býr undir,
        Hlín, oflæti þínu,
        hýrmælt, hóti fleira
        hvítings, en vér lítum?

        Sun-field of Sigg’s belts,
        seldom have you hooded
        so high; on hawk’s support’s
        fire’s young pine is now finery;
        treasure-field, what lies hidden under
        {Hlín} your pride,
        {sweet-spoken} more
        {of [the] (white) drinking-horn} than we see?

        Sigg is a small island off the west coast of Norway; it has
        an entry in CV, though only identifying it as an island.
        ‘Sigg’s belts’ is to be understood as ‘island’s belts’, a
        kenning for the sea. The sea’s sun is gold, and its field
        is a wearer of gold, i.e., a woman: <sólgrund Siggjar linda>
        is one complex kenning for 'woman'. ‘Hooded so high’
        follows the Old Norse pretty literally; ‘worn so tall a
        headdress’ is the intended sense. Here again the particle
        <of> before the verb contributes little or nothing to the
        sense.

        Rob, you’ll find <öglir> in CV as a poetic term for a kind
        of hawk. The hawk’s support is the hand, and its fire is of
        course gold. <Þellu> is the oblique case of <þella> 'a
        young pine' (CV), common in kennings for 'woman'; here we
        have ‘hawk’s support’s fire’s young pine = hand’s fire’s
        young pine = gold’s young pine = woman’. The ‘on’ in the
        third line of my translation represents the <á> in the
        fourth line of the Old Norse: I couldn’t find any way to
        keep it in its proper place and make the syntax work in
        English. The actual subject of this clause is <skart>
        'finery': <nú er skart á øglis stéttar elds þellu> 'now is
        finery on ...'.

        Grace, <hoddgrund> is in CV s.v. <hodd> as a kenning for
        'woman'; Læknir is using it as a term of address to Ásdís.
        The bits that I enclosed in curly braces are also addressing
        her. Hlín is a goddess, and <Hlín> is to be interpreted
        simply as 'goddess'; ‘goddess of the drinking-horn’ is
        another kenning for 'woman', and the whole is ‘sweet-spoken
        woman’. Zoëga doesn’t actually have <búa undir e-u> 'to be
        hidden under something', though some of his glosses at <búa
        undir> at least suggest this sort of sense; in any case it’s
        a natural extension of the rather literal 'dwell under'.

        <Hóti meiri> is 'a bit more' or perhaps 'rather more', but
        <hóti> serves no real purpose in English, so I translated
        the phrase simply as 'more'. CV mentions that <hvítingr> is
        a name for a drinking-horn, and in this context that’s the
        only meaning that makes sense; the word is literally just
        '(the) white' and was applied to several white things.

        Sun-field of Sigg’s belts,
        seldom have you hooded
        so high; on hawk’s support’s
        fire’s young pine is now finery;
        treasure-field, what lies hidden under
        {Hlín} your pride,
        {sweet-spoken} more
        {of [the] (white) drinking-horn} than we see?

        Sun-field of Sigg’s belts, seldom have you worn so tall a
        headdress; now finery is on the young pine of the hawk’s
        support’s fire; treasure-field, what more than we see lies
        hidden under your pride, sweet-spoken Hlín of the (white)
        drinking-horn?

        Woman, seldom have you worn so tall a headdress; now the
        woman wears finery; woman, what more than we see lies
        hidden under your pride, sweet-spoken woman?

        Oof! I still find it amazing that people could compose
        those things, never mind actually understand them when they
        were recited! I suspect that this bit of the saga is
        intended to be humorous: savage berserks flattering farm
        girl as if they were court poets and she a queen.

        Brian
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