The Northern Way

HelgakviÞa Hiörvarðs Sonar

The Lay of Helgi Hiörvard´s son.

Page 2

23. I will not come
before the men awake,
and o’er the king hold watch.
It would not surprise me,
if from beneath our ship
some hag arose.

24. Keep watch, Atli!
and to Hrímgerd pay the blood-fine
for Hati’s death.
If one night she may
sleep with the prince,
she for the slain will be indemnified.

25. Lodin is named he who shall thee possess,
thou to mankind art loathsome.
In Tholley dwells that Thurs,
that dog-wise Jötun,
of all rock-dwellers the worst:
he is a fitting man for thee.

26. Helgi would rather have
her who last night
guarded the port and men,
the gold-bright maiden.
She methought had strength,
she stept from port to land,
and so secured your fleet.
She was alone the cause
that I could not
the king’s men slay.

27. Hear now, Hrímgerd!
If I may indemnify thee,
say fully to the king:
was it one being only,
that saved the prince’s ships,
or went many together?

28. Three troops of maidens;
though one maid foremost rode,
bright, with helmed head.
Their horses shook themselves,
and from their manes there sprang
dew into the deep dales,
hail on the lofty trees,
whence comes fruitfulness to man.
To me all that I saw was hateful.

29. Look eastward now, Hrímgerd!
whether Helgi has not stricken thee
with death-bearing words.
By land and water
the king’s fleet is safe,
and the chief’s men also.

30. It is now day, Hrímgerd!
and Atli has the detained
to thy loss of life.
A ludicrous haven-mark
‘twill, indeed, be,
where thou a stone-image standest.

        King Helgi was a renowned warrior. He came to King Eylimi and demanded his daughter Svava. Helgi and Svava were united, and loved each other ardently. Svava remained at home with her father, but Helgi was engaged in warfare. Svava remained at home with her father, but Helgi was engaged in warfare. Svava was a Valkyria as before. Hedin was at home with his father, King Hiörvard in Norway. Returning home alone from the forest on a Yule-eve, Hedin met a troll-wife riding on a wolf, with serpents for reins, who offered to attend him, but he declined her offer; whereupon she said: “Thou shalt pay for this at the Bragi-cup.” In the evening solemn vows were made, and the són-hog was led forth, on which the guests laid their hands, and then made solemn vows at the Bragi-cup. Hedin bound himself by a vow to possess Svava, the beloved of his brother Helgi; but repented it so bitterly that he left home and wandered through wild paths to the southern lands, and there found his brother Helgi. Helgi said:

31. Welcome art thou, Hedin!
What new tidings
canst thou give
from Norway?
Why art thou, prince!
from the land driven,
and alone art come
to find us?

32. Of a much greater crime
I am guilty.
I have chosen
a royal daughter,
thy bride,
at the Bragi-cup.

33. Accuse not thyself;
true will prove
words at drinking uttered
by us both.
Me a chieftain has
to the strand summoned;
within three nights
I must be there.
‘Tis to me doubtful
whether I return;
then may well such befall,
is it so must be.

34. Thou saidst, Helgi!
that Hedin well
deserved of thee,
and great gifts:
It would beseem thee better
thy sword to redden,
than to grant
peace to thy foes.

        Helgi so spoke, for he had a foreboding that his death was at hand, and that his fylgiur (attendant spirit) had accosted Hedin, when he saw the woman riding on a wolf. There was a king named Alf, a son of Hródmar, who had appointed a place of combat with Helgi in Sigar´s plain within three days. Then said Helgi:

35. On a wolf rode,
at evening twilight,
a woman who him
offered to attend.
She well knew,
that the son of Sigrlinn
would be slain,
on Sigar’s plain.

        There was a great conflict, in which Helgi got his death-wound.

36. Helgi sent
Sigar riding,
after Eylimi’s
only daughter:
he bade her quickly
be in readiness,
if she would find
the king alive.

37. Helgi has me
hither sent,
with thee, Svava!
thyself to speak.
Thee, said the king,
he fain would see,
ere the noble-born
breathes forth his last.

38. What has befallen Helgi,
Hiörvard´s son?
I am sorely
by afflictions stricken.
Has the sea him deluded,
or the sword wounded?
On that man I will
harm inflict.

39. This morning fell,
at Frekastein,
the king who beneath the sun
was of all the best.
Alf has
complete victory,
though this time
it should not have been!

40. Hail to thee, Svava!
Thy love thou must divide;
this in this world, methinks,
is our last meeting.
They say the chieftain´s
wounds are bleeding.
The sword came
too near my heart.

41. I pray thee, Svava! -
weep not, my wife! -
if thou wilt
my voice obey
that for Hedin thou
a couch prepare,
and the young prince
in thy arms clasp.

42. I had said,
in our pleasant home,
when for me Helgi
rings selected,
that I would not gladly,
after my king’s departure,
an unknown prince
clasp in my arms.

43. Kiss me, Svava!
I will not return,
Rógheim to behold,
nor Rödulsfiöll,
before I have avenged
Hiörvard´s son,
who was of kings
under the sun the best.

        Helgi and Svava were, it is said, born again.


Index  |  helgakviŽa hiörvaršs sonar - the lay of helgi hiovards son page 1  |  helgakviša hundingsbana fyrri - the first lay of helgi hundingcide page 1