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Thread: rsdrpa (A Poem from the Edda)

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    rsdrpa (A Poem from the Edda)

    This poem, from the Edda, is well-known for being particularly obscure. Written by the poet Eilfr Gornarson, it is supposed to have been written approximately in the year 1000. It contains many kennings that are complex images, difficult to interpret.

    Each kenning can be replaced by its meaning, but a good poet doesn't choose his kennings for superficial reasons, but because they evoke a myth that is required for understanding the poem. All pictures contained in kennings provide a reading that leans on the unconscious memories of the Nordic man of the year one thousand, a time where grandma still told all these tales speaking of the Gods and heroes. I attempt, although it's impossible in principle, to provide a version that shows the beauty of the poem to someone who knows little about the Nordic myths, but who, at least, is also interested in them.



    1

    Loki, father of the belt of the world,
    Buried under the ocean's depth,
    Shook his hands in hot air,
    Such a powerful liar he is,
    And said to Thor: "You feller of the canvas of
    The cliff gods' destiny, you Thor!
    Follow the green paths leading
    To Geirrod's home, dug in the wall
    That raises above the sea."
    Such were the lies of the warrior's friend,
    So lied the thunderer's mind tester.

    2

    In spite of Loki's stinking words,
    Thor set his mind on this journey:
    He had to crush that folk
    Sprouting from a brutish and monstrous seed.
    The tamer of the belt of the world,
    Stronger than any oversea giant,
    Departed towards Ymir's kin, Ymir
    Whose remains made the world,
    The very first thorn, the first of the Giants.
    Thor left once more the third God's home.

    3

    Loki, an opprobrious deceiver,
    Arm-load of the galdr howling goddess,
    Seemed to show little eagerness
    To join the master of the army moves.
    He was less eager than Thialfi,
    Yet another master of the battle.
    Out of my lips, stream out the words
    Of the tortured God, Grimnir.
    Eagles shriek on the heights
    Chapped by the caves of the sea gods,
    Where the Giantesses live, nothing but game
    For Thor who made his feet-palms span the heath.

    4

    As so many old battle Gods, Thor and Thialfi
    Walked so much as to reach the ocean,
    Made of the blood of the first Giant.
    Thor will reduce the number of maiden
    Serving that wolf who steadily chases the sun.
    Quick to anger, Thor, able to mend Loki's meanness,
    Wanted to fight against the girls married
    To monsters, within the family of the sedge elk,
    Within the monstrous wolf's family.

    5

    And Thor who increases the young giantess' shame,
    This Nanna living on pommels thrashed at by the waters,
    Thor crossed the furious icy currents on foot
    Running around the earth,
    Where the lynx lives, twisting like an earthy salmon.
    He went forward quickly, him a furious scatterer
    Of crowds living by the stone flood,
    He rushed along the sticks marking the large path
    Where mighty currents spit poison.

    6

    Their spears, snakes biting the foe's flesh,
    They soaked them in water,
    They pushed them against the trees of the sea.
    They fought currents howling among seaweed.
    The rounded and slippery nuggets
    Never were near to sleeping down there.
    Their spears were beaten by stones,
    Water fell as waterfalls roaring down the cliff,
    And sleet stormed down
    On reefs as hammer on anvil

    7

    He could but let the mightily swollen waves
    Fall on him, he who clung
    To Thor's belt of strength, Thialfi.
    And Thor, shaker of the stone sharpened swords,
    Shrinker of Morn's children number,
    Himself was drenched by the waves.
    That raised his anger and he threatened
    To raise up his strength
    Until the roof of the earth,
    Unless shrunk the waters of the ocean,
    Blood gushing from the throat
    Of Ymir, very first Thorn, ancient Giant.

    8

    The two Aesir, Vikings oath-bound
    To the warrior's home, to Odin's,
    As much great warriors they might be,
    Waded hard through the swamp
    Of swords flowing around them.
    Waves rose as dunes of snow,
    Winds clashed on Thor, who
    Increases the woe of the dwellers
    Of caves cut under the ridge,

    9

    until Thialfi, friend of the friend
    Of the humans, jumped out
    Of the water to grip the shield-strap
    Of the sky lord, Thor.
    That was a mighty achievement!
    Geirrod's daughters, giantesses
    Ready to mate the basest ones,
    Any Mimir of malignancy,
    Aimed a strong stream
    That rushed at the spear-ends
    Of the two heroes.
    Thus, the giantess's feller, Thor,
    Feller of the she-porpoise of the uneven slopes,
    Heavily leaned upon Grid's pole.

    10

    Strong as young oaks, their hearts,
    Strong at confronting evil,
    Didn't miss a beat at the surge
    Of the falling flows of the sea monster's home.
    Thor, son of the Earth,
    Such as Attila starting a battle,
    Didn't flinch facing the terror of the wooden ships,
    Tossed around in the fjord.
    He kept a bold stony heart,
    Thor, he did not give a quiver,
    Neither Thialfi's heart quivered.

    11

    Then these two who despise a sword's help,
    The two young heroes,
    Started a din, beating the boards
    That are fettered to the warrior,
    Aimed at the people of the slope.
    So they did, before they, pool-riders,
    Started fighting in earnest those of the cave,
    Before they would start nodding
    The headgear of Hedin, husband of the battle.

    12

    The people of the hills by the sea
    Scattered in fright, and took flight
    Toward their shelter, their crashers
    Following at their heels.
    The Danes of the faraway shelter,
    Nearby the jagged rib of the high tide,
    Bowed their heads to the stolid
    Kindred of Jolnir who wields
    A high-swirling fire-made sword.

    13

    The Welsh of the cylinder,
    Hollowed in the cliff,
    Loudly uproared when the valorous
    Chief-warriors bore their way
    Into the thorny giants' dwelling.
    The bellicose slayer of the monstrous beasts,
    Elks of the mountains of Norway
    Was brought into dire straits,
    When he sat on the grim giantess' hat,
    On the chair under which she crouched.

    14

    The nasty girls pushed up, tried to crush
    On the roof beams of the shed
    Thor's forehead, towering above
    Flaming eyes, moons under the lashes crest.
    They failed and collapsed on the scattered
    Rocks on the ground of the cave.
    The godly driver of the chariot hovering in thunder,
    Thor, broke the two cave girls' backbones,
    Breaking their chuckle beam,
    Breaking the spine of their laughter-shaken hull.

    15

    Thor, son of Iord, the Earth, taught there
    An unusual lesson, but
    In spite of it, the boys of the cave,
    Settled above the reefs of the fjord,
    Sustained their beer drinking feast.
    The gigantic archer shot a strange arrow.
    The bowman, who frightens the thread
    Bound to both ends of the elm stick,
    Picked a piece cooked in the fire of the forge,
    Clutched it between clamps to throw it
    Towards the mouth of Odin's grief thief, Thor.

    16

    The forestaller of the witches' freedom,
    Witches running in the darkening evening,
    Thor, caught the red heavy lump
    That hanged from the tongs as red seaweed.
    He caught it in his opened hand,
    Gaping as a gaping mouth.

    17

    Thus, Thor who speeds up battle,
    And a woman chaser as well, Freya's old friend,
    Swallowed in the aperture of his fast hands,
    The toast that was raised to him,
    While the sparkling ember
    Darted from the chest of Geirrod's hostile grasp:
    Geirrod who is madly in love with his wife,
    Thrust the missile towards Thor
    Who is sorely mourning his daughter Thrud.

    18

    The hall of the giant Thrasir shook
    When Heidrek, the moor king, Geirrod,
    As a cub finding shelter between mother's legs,
    Had is huge head lowered under the cave pillar,
    Large as the paws of a bear.
    Ull's splendid stepfather, Thor,
    Propelled back the sharp jewel,
    Downwards and at full strength.
    It pierced right through the belt
    Of the dreadful one, dweller of sea teeth.

    19

    Furiously, Thor slaughtered giants, Glaum's children,
    Helped by his bloody hammer.
    He won, the killer of the customer of Syn's home,
    Stone goddess. Straight as an erected pole
    Joining the bow butts, this bowman didn't lack help,
    The triumphant God of the chariot,
    And stinging was the defeat brought
    To the drinking-buddies of the giant.

    20

    Worthy of the worship he receives,
    Thor, Hell supplier for his enemies,
    Using his hammer "easy crusher," helped by the elf,
    Crushed the monsters, these mountain calves
    That hide in mountain caves
    From the beams of the Elf world.
    The Norwegians of the falcon's Norwegian realm,
    Giants dwelling in the Northern mountains,
    Had to give up when facing Thor's daring mate,
    Who shortens the lifespan of the rock kings
    Living far away beyond the ocean.



    rsdrpa
    Lk brn leika best.

  2. #2
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    Is this your own translation?

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    Just follow the Source (see link in the first post) and you'll see where it is taken from.


    By the way, Bennett, it would be very kind of you if you could write a short introduction of yourselfe here...
    Lk brn leika best.

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    I am already familiar with the Eysteinn/Eybjorn. The translation you have posted here is quite different, which is why I want to know if it is yours. Or do you refer to the website as the source of the edition from which you have potentially made this translation?

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    Perhaps you have misunderstood me. The link you have provided below the translation is to a different translation which accompanies a scholarly edition of the original text. The translation you have posted is in verse, while the other is in a literal prose, being meant as an aid.

    Please provide me with a link to the translation you have posted here.

    Thanks

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    Not, it's not mine; I'm not very good with Old Norse. Here you go: click
    Lk brn leika best.

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    Thanks

    This is the first "verse" translation of the rsdrpa I have seen. I will contact the translator. It may be useful as an introduction to skaldic poetry for students in the Old Norse Literature (in translation) class offered at this college.

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    Ive never seen that translation before either. Thanks Blutwölfin
    E-mail: odalist@gmail.com
    AOL IM: Blood Und Soil

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