Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar I – The First Lay of Helgi the Hunding

Gothmund spake:

41. “Under houses the stepson | of Siggeir lay,
Fain of the wolf’s cry | out in the woods;
Evil came then all | to thy hands,
When thy brothers’ | breasts thou didst redden,
Fame didst thou win | for foulest deeds.

Sinfjotli spake:

42. “In Bravoll wast thou | Grani’s bride,
Golden-bitted | and ready to gallop;
I rode thee many | a mile, and down
Didst sink, thou giantess, | under the saddle.”

Gothmund spake:

43. “A brainless fellow | didst seem to be,
When once for Gollnir | goats didst milk,
And another time | when as Imth’s daughter
In rags thou wentest; | wilt longer wrangle?”

Sinfjotli spake:

44. “Sooner would I | at Frekastein
Feed the ravens | with flesh of thine
Than send your bitches | to seek their swill,
Or feed the swine; | may the fiends take you!”

Helgi spake:

45. “Better, Sinfjotli, | thee ‘twould beseem
Battle to give | and eagles to gladden,
Than vain and empty | words to utter,
Though ring-breakers oft | in speech do wrangle.


41. The phrase “under houses,” which follows the manuscript, may be an error for “in wolf-caves.” Line 3 (or 4) may be an interpolation. The manuscript indicates line 5 as the beginning of a new stanza. Siggeir: cf. stanza 38, note.

42. Several editions assign this stanza to Sinfjotli instead of to Gothmund. Bravoll (“Field of the Brow”): not elsewhere mentioned in the poems. Grani: Sigurth’s horse (cf. Völundarkvitha, 16 and note); Gothmund means that Sinfjotli had turned into a mare, after the fashion of Loki (cf. Grimnismol, 44, note). The meaning of line 4 in the original is uncertain.

43. A few editions give this stanza to Gothmund. Gollnir: [fp. 304] possibly a giant. Imth: nothing is known of him or his daughter.

44. A few editions give this stanza to Sinfjotli. Frekastein: cf. Helgakvitha Hjorvarthssonar, 39 and note. A stanza may have been lost after stanza 44, parallel to stanza 25 of the second Helgi Hundingsbane lay.

45. Ring-breakers: cf. stanza 17 and note.

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