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21 Sep 2007

Darradtharljodth (Song of the Spear)

~ Poem from Njal’s Saga referred to in “Were Valkyrie’s Real?”

Blood rains from the cloudy web
On the broad loom of slaughter.
The web of man, grey as armour, is now being woven;
The Valkyries will cross it with a crimson weft.

The warp is made of human entrail;
Human heads are used a weights;
The heddle-rods are blood-wet spears;
the shafts are iron-bound, and arrows are the shuttles.
With swords we will weave this web of battle.

The Valkyries go weaving with drawn swords
Hild and Hjorthrimul, Sanngrid and Svipul,
Spears will shatter, Shields will splinter,
Swords will gnaw like wolves through armour.

Let us now wind the web of war
which the young king once waged
let us advance and wade through the ranks
where friends of ours are exchanging blows.

Let us now wind the web of war
and then follow the king to battle
Gunn and Gondul can see there
the blood-spattered shields that guarded the king.

Let us now wind the web of war
where the warrior banners are forging foreward
let his life not be taken;
Only the Valkyries can choose the slain.

Lands will be ruled by new peoples
who once inhabited the headlands,
We pronounce a great king destined to die;
Now an earl is felled by spears.

The men of Ireland will suffer a grief
that will never grow old in the minds of men.
The web is now woven and the battlefield reddened;
The news of disaster will spread through lands.

It is horrible now to look around,
As a blood-red cloud darkens the sky.
The heavens are stained with the blood of men,
As the Valkyries sing their song.

We sang well victory songs for the young king,
Hail to our singing!
Let him who listens to our Valkyrie song
Learn it well and tell it to others.

Let us ride our horses hard on the bare backs
With swords unsheathed away from here.

~ From Njal’s Saga trans. by Maggnuson & Palsson

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