Friday, August 17, 2012

It's a beginning

I'm working on a new project, a series of three songs that will go with a story an SCA friend tells. In the story she speaks of a skaldr singing a song that moves a valkyrie to action. But, being a good storyteller, she doesn't tell us the contents of the song.

This is where my impertinence comes into play.

So, here is the first verse. The poem/song is in a "non-skaldic" form called ríma. My analysis of the major example of ríma: Óláfs ríma Haraldssonar seems to show that there are four requirements:

  • four lines to a verse
  • six to eight syllable in each line
  • alliteration in odd-to-even lines
  • a rhyme scheme of abab


Original Word-for-Word Poetic Translation
Gæzku-fullr jarl gǫfgastr -
glaðar eyðendr geimar -
til frænda vartu trúfastr
ok trǫlltrygða til þín beimar
Gracious jarl faithful -
horses clearer of the seas
to kinsmen were you faithful
and troll-true to your men.
Gracious faithful jarl -
clearer of the seas horses -
to kinsmen were you faithful
and to your men troll-true.


Kennings used:

glaðar eyðendr geimar > clearer of the horses of the sea > clearer of ships > SEA-WARRIOR

trǫllatrygða > troll-true > loyal til death

The second kenning, trǫlltrygða, is a very interesting one. Cleasby-Vigfusson has the following explanation:
In one single instance the trolls, strange to say, play a good part, viz. as being grateful and faithful; trolls and giants were the old dwellers on the earth, whom the gods drove out and extirpated, replacing them by man, yet a few remained haunting lonely places in wildernesses and mountains; these trolls, if they meet with a good turn from man, are said to remain thankful for ever, and shew their gratitude; hence the phrases, tryggr sem tröll, faithful as a troll; and trygða-tröll, hann er mesta trygða-tröll, a faithful soul, faithful person; trölla-trygð, 'trolls-trust,' faithfulness to death;
For me, it is a wonderful image.


I hope to continue this first song for about eight verses. I'll post more as I finish them. Please, leave comments below, or send them to me.

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