Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhv Hryn 11II/1 — ísmǫl ‘pieces of ice’

Snǫrp bitu járn, sem ísmǫl yrpi
óðastraumr; með heitu blóði
herstefnir rauð hamri ofna
hildar serki framar merkjum.
Grimmum stóð á Gǫndlar himni
grár regnbogi Hnikars þegna;
harða lustu fylking fyrða
fáreldingar meginsára.

Snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl; herstefnir rauð hamri ofna serki hildar með heitu blóði framar merkjum. Grár regnbogi Hnikars stóð á grimmum himni Gǫndlar þegna; fáreldingar meginsára lustu harða fylking fyrða.

Sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice; the army-leader [WARRIOR = Hákon] reddened the hammer-woven shirts of battle [BYRNIES] with hot blood ahead of the standards. The grey rainbow of Hnikarr <= Óðinn> [SPEAR] stood in the men’s fierce sky of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [SHIELD]; the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds [SPEARS] powerfully struck the company of men.


[1] ísmǫl: om. 81a


[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.



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