Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar I – The First Lay of Helgi the Hunding

Gothmund spake:

36. “Hero, the ancient | sayings heed,
And bring not lies | to the nobly born.
. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
“Thou hast eaten | the entrails of wolves,
And of thy brothers | the slayer been;
Oft wounds to suck | thy cold mouth sought,
And loathed in rocky | dens didst lurk.”

Sinfjotli spake:

37. “A witch in Varin’s | isle thou wast,
A woman false, | and lies didst fashion;
Of the mail-clad heroes | thou wouldst have
No other, thou saidst, | save Sinfjotli only.

38. “A Valkyrie wast thou, | loathly Witch,
Evil and base, | in Allfather’s home;
The warriors all | must ever fight,
Woman subtle, | for sake of thee.

39. “. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
Nine did we | in Sogunes
Of wolf-cubs have; | I their father was.”

Gothmund spake:

40. Though older thou art | than all I know;
For they gelded thee | in Gnipalund,
The giant-women | at Thorsnes once.

36. The manuscript does not name the speakers in this dialogue. No gap indicated in the manuscript, and editors have attempted various combinations of stanzas {37 and 38 in Bellows original transcirption here they have been combined for consistancy}. Wolves: the Volsungasaga tells that Sigmund and Sinfjotli lived in the woods for a time as werewolves. Brothers: Sinfjotli killed the two sons of his mother, Signy, and her husband, Siggeir, as part of the vengeance wreaked on Siggeir for the treacherous murder of Sigmund’s father, Volsung, and nine of his brothers (cf. Fra Dautha Sinfjotla and note). The manuscript marks line 3 as the beginning of a new stanza.

37. Varin’s isle: cf. stanza 27 and note, and Helgakvitha Hjorvarthssonar, 22. Reproaching a man with having been a woman and borne children was not uncommon.

38. This stanza may be an interpolation in the dialogue passage. Allfather: Othin. We have no information regarding Gothmund’s career, but it looks as though Sinfjotli were drawing solely on his imagination for his taunts, whereas Gothmund’s insults have a basis in Sinfjotli’s previous life.

39. No gap indicated in the manuscript; some editors combine the two lines with stanza 40, some regard them as the first instead of the last lines of a separate stanza, and some assume the lacuna here indicated. Sogunes (“Saga’s Cape”): of the goddess Saga little is known; cf. Grimnismol, 7.

40. Fenrir’s-wolves: wolves in general. Thorsnes: “Thor’s Cape.”