Cormac And Bersis Stray Verses

The Stray Verses (Lausa-vfsor) of Cormac are given here. What we know of his regular compositions and of his life is said above in § a. They rest upon a Saga only, for not one of them is cited by Snorri though there are so many of them, while the Sigrodar-drapa is quoted several times; nay even, strange to say, Olaf gives one line, v. 4a, which is not found in the Saga. At first sight there are several suspicious points in them; for instance, the repeated use of the word 'borda,' embroider, a modern kind of sentiment, many ' half-kennings,' and the too perfect metre. But one is loath to give them up; there is an extravagant but passionate force about some of them, especially those addressed to Steingerd, which makes one accept them as genuine at any rate. And on closer examination one sees that there are evident marks of ' over-working ' and ' repainting ' about the greater number of them. Even well-known verses like 8 have suffered, for under 1 handan ' must stand some synonym for Norwegian, 'Heina' or 'Horda,' and surely under 'svinna' lies ' Svia,' for otherwise 'ok ' has no raison d'être in the verse. We can see here and there that Cormac's lines must have been like Thiodwolfs or Bragi's rather than Sighwat's, and that these irregular lines have often been remodelled.

Those verses which are absolutely corrupt or meaningless have not been printed here; but the rest are given, with such translation as seemed most tenable. Were they perfect, they would probably be the finest of all Northern classic love-poetry.

Bersi the Duellist, the scarred old veteran, whose coolness and trained courage is contrasted with the violence and rage of the young Cormac, is a good specimen of the heroic age, and no mean poet.

There is a simple straightforward force in his verses which makes them tell, and heightens one's interest in their author. There must have been a separate Saga on him, but we only know him from that part of it which is wedged into Cormac's Saga and from a few scattered notices elsewhere. The way he got protection from Olaf the Peacock when he was harassed by his enemies in his old age, and the verse he made on himself and his baby foster-son, will be found in the Reader ; the ditty we have given in Book vi, no. a5.

Several of Bersi's verses deal with his life of combat, some are laments over his declining strength and the loss of friends, and recall Egil's feelings in like case, though they are not so thoughtful or pathetic. The Editor has only given those which bear most marks of authenticity (formany have been tampered with, some may even be forged); these bave a rougher and more unsophisticated appearance than Cormac's. Eddaand Skalda cite three lines of Bersi (5, 6, 15). A new edition of Cormac's Saga in which all these verses are found would be welcome.

varô mer í mino, men-reií, iaotuns leiôi réttomk risti snótar ramma sost fyrir skaommo:

ft* fir it tight qf Steingerd. I saw the lady's feet just now, mighty

Jjeir muno foGtr at foári fall-gerôar mer verôa (allz ekki veit-ek ella) optarr an nu svarra.

2. Brunno beggja kinna biaort liós á mik drósar 5 (oss hlœgir {>at eigi) eld-huss of viô felldan :

enn til aokla svanna ítr-vaxins gat-ek lita (J>ra6 monat oss um aevi eldask) hiá J>reskeldi.

3. Brá-máni skein bruna brims und liósom himni hristar haurvi glœstrar hauk-fránn á mik lauka: 10 enn sá geisli s^slir siôan goll-hrings Friôar hvarma tungls ok hringa Hlínar ój)urft mina.

4. Hófat lind (né ek leynda) liôs hyrjar (f>ví stridi) [bandz man-ek beiôa Rindi] baug-sœm af mer augo: J>a-es hum knarrar hiarra happ J)aegi-bil krappra 15 helsis scém á halsi Hagbordz á mik storôi.

5. Eitt \fû kvezk 'ita eld bekks' á mer Jjykkja eir um aptan-skaeror all-hvit, ok J)ó litiô : hauk-mœrar kvaô hári HI in vel-borin mino

({)at skylda-ek kyn kvinna kenna) sveip Í enni. 20

6. Svaort augo ber-ek Sága snyrti-grund til fundar Jjykkir erma Ilmi all-faolr * er la sa)lva : '

j>ó hefi-ek mer hiá meyjom men-grund komit stundom hrings viô HaDrn at manga hagr sem drengr in fegri.

7. Ól-Sa6go met-ek auga annat beôjar Naonno, 25 J>at es i lióso líki liggr, hundraôa J)rigo:ja :

J>ann met-ek hadd es (hodda) haor beiôi-Sif greiôir (dfr verôr faegi-Freyja) fimm hundraôa snimma.

8. Allz met-ek auôar-^ello Islandz, f)á-es mer grandar, Huna-landz ok ' handan ' hug-sterkr sem Danmarkar : 30

love is roused within me; those ancles of hers will some day be a stumbling-block to me; though when, I know not. The bright beams of both of her cheeks shone on me from behind the plank [shutter], it bodes no good to me; I saw the feet of the fair-formed damsel on the threshold, I shall never lack pain therefore as long as I live. The keen stars of her brows shone on me from the heaven of her face; this beam from her eyes will hereafter work my woe. The ring-dight one never raised her eyes from me, nor do I hide my pain: what time the maid of the house looked on me in the dusk from behind Hagbard's neck [the pillar carved caryatid-wise]. Fair in the even-gloom, she said that I had but one blemish in me, and that a small one: she declared that there was a curl in the hair on my forehead. Black are my eyes and very pale she thinks me. Yet I have won favour with ladies, for I am as skilled to please them as any fairer man.

Her worth. One eye of hers, that lies in her fair face, I value at three hundreds. The locks she is combing (she is a costly thing) I value at five hundreds. The whole body of her that makes my misery I value at Iceland, Hunland, the land of the Hords [Norway], and Denmark.

20. Or sveipt, Cd. 24. fagri, Cd. 30. Read, verö-ek Engla iaröar Eir h«l-f>ymis geira, sól-gunni met-ek Svia sundz ok íra grundar.

9. 'Heitast' hellor flióta hvatt sem korn á vatni (enn em-ek auö-spaong ungri ó{>ekkr) enn bia>ö soekkva, fcerask fiaoll in stóro ' fraeg' Í diupan aegi: 35 dör iafn-faogr 'trööa' alin veröi Steingeröi.

10. Létt-faTan skaltú láta (lióstu vendi mar Tosti) 'möör of' miklar hciöar mínn hest und £er renna: makara es mer at macla, an mórauda sauöi of afrétto elta, orö mart viö Steingeröi. 40

11. Braut hvarf or sal saeta (sunnz eromk hugr d gunni) [hvat merkir nú] (herkis) haoll Jjverligar alla: rennda-ek allt iö iöra Eiri gollz at peiri

(hlins erom haorn at finna) hús brá-geislom (fúsir).

12. Sitja sverö ok hvetja sin andskotar minir 45 eins karls synir inni, eroö jjeir banar minir:

enn ef á vföom velli vega tveir at mer einom {)á-es sem aer at ulfi óvaegnom fiaor soúki.

13. Sitja menn ok meina mer eina Gnao Steina,

J>eir hafa vil at vinna es mer varöa Gnao boröa: 50 l>vf meira skal-ek {xiiri es J)eir ala stctri a>fund um okkrar gaongor unna soerva Gunni. 14- Sitja menn ok meina mer eina Gnao Steina, {)eir hafa 4 laagöis loddo' linna fottr at vinna: J)vi-at upp skolo aliar a)l-stafns dör ek J>er hafna 55 Wsi-grund í landi linnz f)ió0-ár renna.

1 value her at England, Sweden, and Ireland too. The slates shall float as light as corn on the water, and the earth shall sink, the huge mountains shall drop into the deep sea ere a lady so fair as Steingerd shall he born. Yet she loves me not!

bis friend. O Tostig, strike thy steed, and let the swift horse sPeed panting across the wide heaths. 1 had sooner hold long parley *ith Steingerd, than chase black sheep over the pasture.

0« Steingerd. My lady is clean vanished out of the hall; eager to find her I have scoured the whole house with the glances of my eyes.

His constancy. My enemies, the sons of one man, sit within and whet their swords, but should they come against me in open field, it would be, 45 'twere, ewe sheep seeking the life of a fierce wolf. They sit on the *atch and forbid me her company, they have a hard task to win, for '»ore they nurse envy of our meetings, the more shall I love her. "ty sit on the watch and forbid me her company: they might as *ell fit legs to a snake! Every river in the land shall run backward ere 1 forsake thee.

3*. Emend.; svina, Cd. 38. Read, inóftan? 43- eirar, Cd.

44- Read, Hlin . . . horns? 48. ouiseknom, 162 ; oraeknom, Cd. 51.

Kormak :

15. Hvern mundir pu 'grundar* Hlin skap-fraomuô lino, 'likn s^-nir mer luka,' liés per at ver kiôsa?

Brœôr munda-ek « blindom' baug-lestir mik festa, yrôi goô sem gœrôisk gôô mer ok skaup, Frôôa. 60

16. Brott hefir Bersi setta (beiôisk hann dreiôa val-kiôsandi at viso vins) heit-kono mina:

fd-es unni mer manna (mist hef-ek fliôôs ins tvista) pd kysta-ek mey miôva] mest [dag-lengis flestan].

17. At em-ek Yggjar gauta ullr at Sva)lnis fulli 65 um reiôi-sif riôôa runnr sem vffl at brunni : . . .

18. D^rt verôr daoggvar kerti Draupnis mart at kaupa, primr aurom skal petta tôrveigar skip leiga: . . .

19. Pu telr H6s of logna lin-gefn viô pik stefno;

enn ek gœrôa mia)k môôan minn fdk um sa)k pina : ;o heldr vildag ha>lfo, hring-eir, at mar spryngi (sparôa-ek i6 pannz cottom all-litt) an 4 pik grafna.'

20. Mdka-ek hitt of hyggja, hve pu skyldir verôa goll-hlaôz geymi-pella gcfin Tin-dràttar manni:

traulla md-ek of tœja tanna silki-nanna 75

sizt pik fastnaôi fraegja faôir pinn blota-manni. ai. Parftattu hvit at hœta Hlin skrautligrar lino (ver kunnom skil skepja) Skiôunga mer nfôi : nadd-hriôar skal-ek niôa niôt 'sva-at steinar fliôti;' nû hefi ek illan enda Eysteins sonom leystan. 80

22. Skaka verôo vit, Skarôi (skald d buô til kalda),

To bis love. Whom wouldst thou choose for a husband, fair lady ?

Her answer. Were the gods and the Fates duly propitious I would wed the black-eyed lad, the brother of Frodi (Gormac).

Loss of ber. Bersi has taken away my betrothed, she that loved me best. 1 have lost the maid I kissed many a long day.

1 am like a bucking-hat at the brook, I ... my song.

I must pay dearly for much. I am forced to take Thorweig's ship and pay three ounces for my berth.

To Steingerd. Thou say est, lady, I have broken my tryst with thee; the truth is, I have foundered my steed for thy sake. I would far rather my steed should fail dead than miss thee. I have not spared my horse.

On ber wedding. I cannot think of it, how thou, lady, couldst be given to a tin-drawer! I can hardly smile since thy father gave thee to a loon. Thou needst not threaten me with the Skidung's libels (I know the poet's craft), I will lampoon them so that... I have made an ill knot for Eystein's sons to loosen.

59. Emend.; braôr, Cd. 72. Read, an ek J>er hafna? 75. tçia, Cd.

[fiaoll ero fiaröar 'kelli* faidin] hrim af tialdi: vilda-ek 'at raeöar' valdi vaeri engo haera, hann es 'latr fra' liössi lin beöjar gnd sinni. 2 3« Uggi-ek litt \)6 leggi land vaorör saman randir 85 'varat' viröar stceri vell-auöigr mer dauöa : meöan sker-iaröar, Skaröi, skorö man-ek fyr noröan (hvaoss of angrar sü, sessi, sött) fcorketils döttor.

24. Skiött munom, Skaröi,4 hernir,' skolom tveir banar f>eira, allz andskotom Mirinda hiaor-drifr' nio fiaorvi: 90 meÖan goöleiöom gdöa grunnleit, sü-es mer unni, gengr at glurstom bingi goll seim-niorunn beima.

25. Brim gny-r bratta hamra bldlandz Haka strandar, 4 allt gialfr' eyja Jrialfa 'üt lför i staö viöiss:'

mer kveö-ek heldr of hildi hrann-bliks an per miklo 95 svefn-fatt, saorva gefnar sakna mon-ek es ek vakna.

26. Esa mer sem Tinteini (trauör es vdsfara kauöi) ['skiarrer' hann viö \>ys J>enna] priötr myk-sleöa briöti: \rk es al-sniallir allir odd-regns stafar fregni i S61unda-sundi sund-faxa rd bundinn. 100

27. Veit hinn es tin tannar, trauör saefara inn blauöi, (staondomk llmr fyr yndi) ögaorva f>at saorva:

hvar eld-faldin alda opt gengr of skaor drengjom, hann d vifs at vitja varma büö d armi.

28. Svsofom hress i hüsi horn-J>eyjar viö Freyja, 105 fiaröar-leygs ins fraegja fimm naetr saman grimmar:

ok hyr-ketils hverja hrafns aevi gnoö stafna lags d litt of hugsi la-ek andvana banda.

29. Sva ber mer i mina men-gefn of {)at svefna,

On a voyage, to bis brother Skardi. We two have to shake, Skardi, the *Vost off the awning. The poet has a cold berth, the firths are hooded ^vith ice. 1 would he were no better off that is slinking to his lady's bed.

I care little though they threaten me with death, Skardi, as long as I *kink on the daughter of Thorkettle in the north (that is the sickness fcliat ails me). We shall be hard put to it, Skardi; we two must be fighting nine men, while the fair lady that loves me is going to the ^ed of the god-accursed loon, Tintein.

The surf is dashing on the steep cliffs, the brine [lit. the trench of Vhe islands] is stirred ... I sleep less than the . . . and miss her >*?hen I wake.

The yard springs in a gale. It is not as if a slave broke the pole of Tintein's dung-sled, when our sail-yard snaps in Solund-sound. The vile Tin-gnawer little knows how the fire-tipped wave breaks over the men's heads, where he, the wretch, lies warm in his wife's arms.

To Steingerd. We two slept five cruel nights together ... I lay . .. It comes before me in my dream, lady, unless I am much mistaken, that your arms, fair one, shall at last be clasped about my neck.

82. af] 4, Cd. 84. Read, latrar at? 88. hvess, Cd. 93. brattir hamrar. Cd. 96. samna, Cd. es] ef, Cd. 101. Read, veitat.

104. baud, Cd. Read, inn armi? 109. sv&] sv, Cd.

nema fdgi dul dritiga drengr ofraflar lengi: 110

at axl-limar yflrar aufi-Frigg mani liggja hrund £ heidis landi hliflar mer um sifiir.

30. 'Digla bau8-ek vifl dregla dagtdla J)vi mali' 'mer vasa dagr sa es dugfli drif-gagl af J>vi vffi'

enn blffi-hugufl baefti 'baufi gyls' 'maran' (audar 115 mitt vfllat f6 fylla) fingr-goll gefit trollom.

31. Vilda-ek hitt at vaeri vald-eir gaomul ialda stceri-ldt i st68i Steingerflr, enn ek reini: vaera-ek '{)rd8a t>ni8i J>eiri sta>8var geira' gunn-aor8igra garBa gaup-ellz a bak hlaupinn. 120

32. Seinn J>ykki mer scekkvi snyrti-ni6tz or Fli6tom sd-es dtt-grennir unnar orfl sendi mer norflan: hring-snyrtir J>arf hiarta 4 hafaerr' i sik fcura

J>6 es 'men gunnar' manni merar vant or leiri.

33. Ek verfl opt f)viat {)ikkjom a)rr6ttr af mer J>erra 125 (gollz hlitk af J>er J)ella J)raut) 4 maottuls skauti:

{>vf ldttu i set snauta saur-reifii bragar greifli (m£r hefir steypt i sturo Steingerfir) bana verftan.

34. Hefik £ holm um gengit hald-eir um {>ik faoldo (hvat megi okkrom custom) annat sinn (of renna ?): 130 ok vig-sakar vak8ar Var hefk um £ik bsuro

(|)vi skal mer an Tin-teini) tvaer (unnasta»in naeri).

35. Hins mun haor-gefn spyrja, es ifl heim komit bdflir 'mefi bl6t-ro6in beifii ben-hlunnz* su-es mer unni: hvar es nu baugr enn brendi; brol olitifl hefir 135 hann nu sveinn inn svarti, sonr Ogmundar skaldit.

36. Baugi var6-ek at bceta brun-leggs hvaflran tveggia 'guldot fe fyrir biartrar' hals-fang 'mvils spangar'

I offered the lady gold as a recompense; but the merry lady would not take my gift, and wished my ring were given to the Trolls, fiends.

I would the proud Steingerd were an old mare, and I a stallion, I should soon be on her back.

At bis wager of battle for Steingerd <witb Tmtein. He of Fleet, that sent me word out of the north, is slow of coming: the huge Mud-man has a mare's heart in his breast. (See p. 12.)

I have often to wipe my face in the skirt of my mantle .. . Steingerd has put me in sore stead. I have fought a second wager of battle for her sake. After two deadly combats for her sake she should be nearer me than Tintein.

He sells a sacrificial bull for a ring of Steingerd's. The lady will ask when we both come back with the sacrificial bull, Where is now the ring of pure gold? What has he done with it, the swarthy lad, the son of Ogmund the poet ?

He pays for kissing Steingerd. I had to pay a fine for both of my kisses; there never were costlier kisses. I have lost by my love.

119. t>eiri cr, Cd. 121. sœkkva, Cd. 124. merar] emend.; mcira,Cd.

gsotoft 'giallar maeta gollz laufgoñom polli'

(tal hefik teiti-mála) tveir kossar fé-meiri. 140

37. Viso mon-ek of vinna á6r ver til skips gangim, senda saorva Rindi til Svínadals mina:

koma skolo aoll til eyrna oró mín Skaogul borfla, betr ann-ek silki-Saogo an siaolfom mer haolfo.

38. Fekk sa-es faogro vífi fór naer an ver stórom 145 hoegg af hialmar skíñi í hattar-stall mi&jan :

Eysteins hratar arfi á Elliña stafni;

styrftu ekki á mik, Steingerñr, pótt \>ú steigorliga látir.

39. Drengr ungr stal mik dalki J>a-es drakk á mey rakka, vió skolom dalkinn deila sem drengir tveir ungir: 150 vel hefir Vigr of skepta, varñ-ek í griót at skióta, víst es at mannzins misstag, mosinn varó upp at losna.

-40. Runno randar linna rógendr at mer gnógir, pa-es ver of fen fórom flokkom, díkis bokkar : Gautz mondi pá gáttar gunn-svellz ef ek J>ar féllag 155 lundr kom-ek litio sprundi laongom munar aongom.

-41. N at mál-vino minnar mildr fcorketill vildi.

-42. Vasa sem flióñ í fadmi pá es fangremi 'mcétask' vid streng-mara st^ri Steingerói mer hefóak: myndag aol at ÓSins iaondugi drekka 160

(skiótt segig til t>ess skaotnom) ef mer Skrymir lid veittió.

43. Vasa mefl mer í morgin ma&r {>inn konan svinna roñinn vas hiaor til hodda hand-faogr á Irlandi: pá es slífir-dregin Sága saong um mínom vanga Hlakkar trafr, enn hrafni heitr fell á nef sveiti. 165

Again on a journey. I will make a verse ere I go aboard, and send it to lady in Swinedale. All my words shall reach her ears! I love her t.'wice as much as myself.

Cormac strikes Tint cm <witb the tiller, upon which Steingerd grasps the redder. He, that goes nearer to the fair wife than I may, got a stroke to the middle of his pate; see how Eystein's son, Tmtein, staggers in the *>ows of his bark. Do not steer athwart me, Steingerd, though thou Nearest thyself so proudly.

Hm brooch is stolen. The young fellow stole my brooch while I was drinking with my love. My spear, Wig, was ... I shot into the rock ...

At he wades, eels wind round bis legs. The eels swarm at me . . .

Of Steingerd. Because the goodly Thorketill father of my love . . .

Of bis last battle. It was not as if I had my lady Steingerd in my J^s, when I grappled with the champion, the sea-steed's steerer. 1 should have been drinking ale in the high seat at Woden's, if Skrymi, jAr s<wordhad not lent his aid. It was not like playing with a fair-wnded lady this morning when we fought in Ireland, when the sheath-d^n blade whistled about my cheeks and the hot blood fell on the

Foröomk vaetr, J>viat veröa vig-naörs stafar aörir (snertomk hiaorr viö hiarta) helnauö 'ok,' kaor dauöa.

0 0

Post a comment