The Northern Way

Helgakviða Hundingsbana Fyrri

The First Lay of Helgi Hundingcide.

Page 1

1. It was in the times of yore,
when the eagles screamed,
holy waters fell
from the heavenly hills;
then to Helgi,
the great of soul,
Borghild gave birth
in Brálund.

2. In the mansion it was night:
the Norns came,
who should the prince’s
life determine.
They him decreed
a prince most famed to be,
and of leaders
accounted best.

3. With all their might they span
the fatal threads,
when that (he) burghs should overthrow
in Brálund.
They stretched out
the golden cord,
and beneath the middle
of the moon´s mansion fixed it.

4. East and west
they hid the ends,
where the prince had
lands between;
towards the north
Neri’s sister
cast a chain,
which she bade last for ever.

5. One this disquieted
the Ylfing’s offspring,
and the woman
who had the child brought forth.
Sitting on a lofty tree,
on prey intent,
a raven to a raven said:
“I know something.

6. Stands cased in mail
Sigmund’s son,
on day old:
now is our day come.
His eyes are piercing
as a warrior’s;
a wolf’s friend is he:
we shall rejoice!”

7. He to the folk appeared
a noble chief to be;
among men ‘twas said
that happy times were come;
went the king himself
from the din of war,
noble garlic to bring
to the young prince;

8. Gave him the name of Helgi,
and Hringstadir,
Sólfiöll, Snæfiöll,
and Sigarsvellir,
Hringstäd, Hátún,
and Himinvangar,
a sword ornate,
to Sinfiölti´s brother.

9. Then grew up,
in his friends´bosom,
the high-born youth,
in joyous splendour.
He paid and gave
gold for deserts;
nor spared the chief
the blood-stained sword.

10. A short time only the leader let
warfare cease.
When the prince was
fifteen winters old,
he caused the fierce
Hunding to fall,
who long had ruled
over lands and people.

11. The sons of Hunding
afterwards demanded
from Sigmund’s son
treasure and rings;
because they had
on the prince to avenge
their great loss of wealth,
and their father’s death.

12. The prince would neither
the blood-fine pay,
nor for the slain
indemnity would give.
They might expect, he said,
a terrific storm
of grey arrows,
and Odin’s ire.

13. The warriors went
to the trysting place of swords,
which they had appointed
at Logafiöll.
Broken was Frodi´s peace
between the foes:
Vidrir’s hounds went
about the isle

14. The leader sat
under the Arastein,
after he had slain
Alf and Eyiólf,
Hiörvard and Hávard,
sons of Hunding:
he had destroyed all
Geirmimir’s race.

15. Then gleamed a ray
from Logafiöll,
and from that ray
lightnings issued;
then appeared,
in the field of air,
a helmed band
of Valkyriur:
their corslets were
with blood besprinkled,
and from their spears
shone beams of light.

16. Forthwith inquired
the chieftain bold,
from the wolf-congress
of the southern Dísir,
whether they would,
with the warriors,
that night go home? -
then was a clash of arms!

17. One from her horse,
Högni´s daughter,
stilled the crash of shields,
and to the leader said:
“We have, I ween,
other objects
than with princely warriors
to drink beer.

18. My father has
his daughter promised
to the fierce
son of Granmar;
but I have, Helgi!
Declared Hödbrodd,
the proud prince,
like to a cat´s son.

19. That chief will come
in a few days,
unless thou him call
to a hostile meeting;
or the maiden take
from the prince.”

20. Fear thou not
Isung’s slayer;
there shall be first a clash of foes,
unless I am dead.

21. Thence sent messengers
the potent prince
through air and over water,
succours to demand,
and abundance
of ocean’s gleam
to men to offer,
and to their sons.

22. “Bid them speedily
to the ships to go,
and those from Brandey
to hold them ready.”
There the king abode,
until thither came
warriors in hundreds
from Hedinsey.

23. From the strands also,
and from Stafnsnes,
a naval force went out,
with gold adorned.
Helgi then of Hiörleif asked:
“Hast thou mustered
the valiant people?”

24. But the young king
the other answered:
“Slowly” said he “are counted
from Trönuey
the long-beaked ships,
under the seafarers,
which sail without
in Öresund, -

25. Twelve hundred
faithful men;
though in Hátún
there is more than half
of the king´s host -
We are to war inured.”

26. Then the steersman threw
the ship’s tents aside,
that the princes’
people might awake,
and the noble chiefs
the dawn might see;
and the warriors
hauled the sails
up to the mast
in Varinsfiörd.

27. There was a dash of oars,
and clash of iron,
shield against shield resounded;
the vikings rowed;
roaring went,
under the chieftains
the royal fleet
far from the land.


Index  |  helgakviŽa hiörvaršs sonar - the lay of helgi hiovards son page 2  |  helgakviša hundingsbana fyrri - the first lay of helgi hundingcide page 2