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Early Indo-European Texts

Old Norse

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Norse with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Norse Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Norse language and its speakers' culture.

from the Egils saga

segir Arinbjrn, "Ef , konungr, ok it Gunnhildr hafi at einrit, at Egill skal hr enga stt f, er at drengskapr, at gefa honum frest ok fararleyfi um viku sakar, at hann fori sr, hefir hann at sjlfvilja snum farit hingat fund yvarn, ok vnti sr at v friar. Fara enn skipti yur, sem vera m aan fr."

Gunnhildr mlti: "Sj kann ek essu, Arinbjrn, at ert hollari Agli en Eirki konungi. Ef Egill skal ra hean viku brott frii, mun hann kominn til Aalsteins konungs essi stundu. En Eirkr konungr arf n ekki at dyljask v, at honum vera n allir konungar ofreflismenn, en fyrir skmmu mundi at ekki glkligt, at Eirkr konungr mundi eigi hafa til ess vilja ok atfer, at hefna harma sinna hverjum manni slkum sem Egill er."

Arinbjrn segir, "Engi mar mun Eirk kalla at meira mann, at hann drepi einn bndason tlendan, ann er gengit hefir vald hans. En ef hann vill miklask at essu, skal ek at veita honum, at essi tindi skulu heldr ykkja frsagnarver, v at vit Egill munum n veitask at, sv at jafnsnimma skal okkr mta bum. Muntu, konungr, drt kaupa lf Egils, um at er vr erum allir at velli lagir, ek ok sveitungar mnir; mundi mik annars vara at yr, en mundir mik vilja leggja heldr at jru en lta mik iggja lf eins manns er ek bi."

segir konungr, "Allmikit kapp leggr etta, Arinbjrn, at veita Agli li. Traur mun ek til vera, at gra r skaa, ef v er at skipta, ef vill heldr leggja fram lf itt en hann s drepinn. En rnar eru sakar til vi Egil, hvat sem ek lt gra vi hann."

Ok er konungr hafi etta mlt, gekk Egill fyrir hann ok hf upp kvit ok kva htt ok fekk egar hlj:

Vestr frk of ver, en ek Viris ber
        munstrandar mar, svs mitt of far;
        drk eik flot vi sabrot,
        hlk mrar hlut munknarrar skut.

Buumk hilmi l k hrrs of kv,
        berk ins mj Engla bj.
        Lofat vsa vann, vst mrik ann,
        hljs bijum hann, vt hrr of fann.

Hygg vsi at, vel smir at,
        hv ylja fet, ef gn of get.
        Flestr mar of fr hvat fylkir v,
        en Virir s hvar valr of l.

x hjrva hlm vi hlfar rm,
        gur x of gram, gramr stti fram:
        ar heyrisk , aut mkis ,
        malmhrar sp, ss mest of l.


Then Arinbjorn says, 'If you, king, and you Gunnhild have decided that Egil should get no settlement here, then nobility demands giving him respite and leave to depart for a week, so that he save himself, since he has travelled here of his own accord to meet you, and should on this account expect peaceful intentions toward himself. Your dealings go the same way as it might turn out later.
Gunnhild said, 'I can see this, Arinbjorn, that you are more loyal to Egil than to King Eirik. If Egil should ride from here for a week in peace, then he might reach King Athalstan in that time. King Eirik need not deceive himself in this, that now all the kings have become more powerful than him; yet a short time ago that would not have been likely, that King Eirik should not have the desire or energy for this, to avenge his grievances on each man such as Egil is.'
Arinbjorn said, 'No man would call Eirik a greater man if he should kill a foreign farmer's son, who has come under his control. But if he wants to acquire fame from this, then I should assist him in this, so that these events will seem more worth telling, by the fact that Egil and I will now help each other, so that he shall deal equally with us both. You might, king, pay dearly for Egil's life, when we are all laid low, I and my followers; I would have expected different from you, than that you would be more willing to lay me on the ground than let me receive the life of one man which I request.'
Then the king says, 'You take great pains in this, Arinbjorn, to give Egil assistance. Reluctant might I be to do you harm, if it comes to that, if you would rather set aside your life than that he be killed. But there are sufficient causes against Egil, whatever I order to be done with him.'
And as the king had said that, Egil went before him and took up his poem and spoke loud and commanded silence:
Westward I rode out over the sea, and I bear the sea
of Odin's breast, as was my condition;
I dragged the oak afloat during the ice-breaking,
I loaded my mind's hold with a cargo of praise.
I offered myself to the king with hospitality, I have the duty of praise,
I bear Odin's mead to the lands of the Angles.
I have accomplished the prince's praise, certainly I should praise him,
I ask him for audience, since I have composed his praise.
Consider this, king, well would you do,
how I start to recite, if I obtain silence.
Many a man has heard what fights the king has fought,
and Odin saw where the slain lay.
The din grew of swords against the shield's rim,
the battle waxed round the king, the king pressed onward:
there was heard the prophecy of the metal-storm,
the sword's stream flowed, where it lay strongest.
[N.B. . In the end, Egil's poem wins him his life.]