The Northern Way


The Lay of Rig.

Page 2

24. He went in;
the floor was strewed,
a couple sat
facing each other,
Fadir and Modir,
with fingers playing.

25. The husband sat,
and twisted string,
bent his bow,
and arrow-shafts prepared;
but the housewife
looked on her arms,
smoothed her veil,
and her sleeves fastened;

26. her head-gear adjusted.
A clasp was on her breast;
ample her robe,
her sark was blue;
brighter was her brow,
her breast fairer,
her neck whiter
than driven snow.

27. Rig would counsel
give to them both,
and himself seated
on the middle seat,
having on either side
the domestic pair.

28. Then took Modir
a figured cloth
of white linen,
and the table decked.
She then took
thin cakes
of snow-white wheat,
and on the table laid.

29. She set forth salvers
full, adorned with silver,
on the table game and pork,
and roasted birds.
In a can was wine;
the cups were ornamented.
They drank and talked;
the day was fast departing,
Rig would counsel
give to them both.

30. Rig then rose,
the bed prepared;
there he then remained
three nights together,
then departed
on the mid-way.
Nine months after that
passed away.

31. Modir then brought forth a boy;
in silk they wrapped him,
with water sprinkled him,
and named him Jarl.
Light was his hair,
bright his cheeks,
his eyes piercing
as a young serpent’s.

32. There at home
Jarl grew up,
learned the shield to shake,
to fix the string,
the bow to bend,
arrows to shaft,
javelins to hurl,
spears to brandish,
horses to ride,
dogs to let slip,
swords to draw,
swimming to practice.

33. Thither from the forest came
Rig walking,
Rig walking:
runes he taught him,
and his own son declared him,
whom he bade possess
his alodial fields,
his alodial fields,
his ancient dwellings.

34. Jarl then rode thence,
through a murky way,
over humid fells,
till to a hall he came.
His spear he brandished,
his shield he shook,
made his horse curvet,
and his falchion drew,
strife began to raise,
the field to redden,
carnage to make;
and conquer lands.

35. Then he ruled alone
over eight vills,
riches distributed,
gave to all
treasures and precious things;
lank-sided horses,
rings he dispersed,
and collars cut in pieces.

36. The nobles drove
through humid ways,
came to a hall,
where Hersir dwelt;
there they found
a slender maiden,
fair and elegant,
Erna her name.

37. They demanded her,
and conveyed her home,
to Jarl espoused her;
she under the linen went.
They together lived,
and well throve,
had offspring,
and old age enjoyed.

38. Bur was the eldest,
Barn the second,
Jod and Adal,
Arfi, Mög,
Nid and Nidjung.
They learned games;
Son and Svein
swam and at tables played.
One was named Kund,
Kon was the youngest.

39. There grew up
Jarl’s progeny;
horses they broke,
curved shields,
cut arrows,
brandished spears.

40. But the young Kon
understood runes,
and aldr-runes;
he moreover knew
men to preserve,
edges to deaden,
the sea to calm.

41. He knew the voice of birds,
how fires to mitigate,
assuage and quench`
sorrows to allay.
He of eight men had
the strength and energy.

42. He with Rig Jarl
in runes contended,
artifices practiced,
and superior proved;
then acquired
Rig to be called,
and skilled in runes.

43. The young Kon rode
through swamps and forests,
hurled forth darts,
and tamed birds.

44. Then sang the crow,
sitting lonely on a bough!
“Why wilt thou, young Kon:
tame the birds?
Rather shouldst thou, young Kon!
on horses ride
and armies overcome.

45. Nor Dan nor Danp
halls more costly had,
nobler paternal seats,
then ye had.
They well knew how
the keel to ride,
the edge to prove,
wounds to inflict.
(The rest is wanting......)


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