Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar – The Lay of Helgi Hjörvardsson

(III)

Atli spake:

21. “A stallion I seem | if thou seekest to try me,
And I leap to land from the sea;
I shall smite thee to bits, | if so I will,
And heavy sinks Hrimgerth’s tail.”

Hrimgerth spake:

22. “Go ashore then, Atli, | if sure of thy might,
Let us come to Varin’s cove;
Straight shall thy rounded | ribs be made
If thou comest within my claws.”

Atli spake:

23. “I will not go | till the warriors wake,
Again their chief to guard;
I should wonder not, | foul witch, if up
From beneath our keel thou shouldst come.”

Hrimgerth spake:

24. “Awake now, Helgi, | and Hrimgerth requite,
That Hati to death thou didst hew;
If a single night | she can sleep by the prince,
Then requited are all her ills.”

Helgi spake:

25. ” ‘Tis Lothin shall have thee,– | thou’rt loathsome to men,–
His home in Tholley he has;
Of the wild-dwellers worst | is the giant wise,
He is meet as a mate for thee.”

(III)

Hrimgerth spake:

26. “More thou lovest her | who scanned the harbor,
Last night among the men;
(The gold-decked maid | bore magic, rnethinks,
When the land from the sea she sought,
And fast she kept your fleet;)
She alone is to blame | that I may not bring
Death to the monarch’s men.”

Helgi spake:

27. “Hrimgerth, mark, | if thy hurts I requite,
Tell now the truth to the king;
Was there one who the ships | of the warrior warded,
Or did many together go?”

Hrimgerth spake:

28. “Thrice nine there were, | but one rode first,
A helmed maid white of hue;
Their horses quivered, | there came from their manes
Dew in the dales so deep,
(Hail on the woods so high,
Thence men their harvest have,
But ill was the sight I saw.)”

Atli spake:

29. “Look eastward, Hrimgerth, | for Helgi has struck thee
Down with the runes of death;
Safe in harbor floats | the prince’s fleet,
And safe are the monarch’s men.”

Helgi spake:

30. “It is day, Hrimgerth, | for Atli held thee
Till now thy life thou must lose;
As a harbor mark | men shall mock at thee,
Where in stone thou shalt ever stand.”


22. Varin’s cove: the name of Varin appears twice in place names in Helgakvitha Hundingsbana I (stanzas 27 and 39). The sagas mention a mythical King Varin who lived at Skorustrond in Rogaland (Norway).

25. Of the giant Lothin (“The Shaggy”) and his home in Tholley (“Pine Island”) nothing is known. Cf. Skirnismol, 35.

26. Something is clearly wrong with this stanza, and the manuscript indicates line 6 as the beginning of a new one. Perhaps a line (between lines 4 and 5) has been lost, or perhaps the lines in parenthesis are interpolations. Hrimgerth here refers to Svava, or to the protectress with whom the annotator has identified her, as having saved Helgi and his, ships from the vengeance of the giantesses. In the original line 1 includes Helgi’s name, which makes it metrically incorrect.

28. Again something is clearly wrong, and the last three lines look like interpolations, though some editors have tried to reconstruct two full stanzas. The passage suggests the identification of the Valkyries with the clouds.

29. Some editions give this speech to Helgi. Eastward: Atli and Helgi have held Hrimgerth in talk till sunrise, and the sun’s rays turn her into stone. But dwarfs rather than giants were the victims of sunlight; cf. Alvissmol, stanzas 16 and 35. 30. Most editions give this stanza to Atli. With this the Hrimgertharmol ends, and after the next prose passage the meter reverts to that of the earlier sections.

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