Thursday, 19 December 2013

Advent Book Quiz Day 19

Day nineteen of our festive quiz

Another extract featuring Orkney today - we would like the title please with bonus points if you can identify the translators. Submit your answer as a comment by 1st January to be in with a chance of winning a fabulous prize! The winner, and answers, will be announced on 3rd January. 

The Earl spent some time in Shetland, but went south to Orkney in the autumn and took up residence in his own realm. That same autumn, two Icelanders visited the Earl, one a poet called Armod, and the other Oddi Glumsson the Little, who was also quite a versifier. The Earl admitted both of them to his court, and at Christmas held a great feast to which he invited people and handed out presents. To the poet Armod he gave a gold-inlaid spear and asked him to make a verse in return. This is what Armod said:
                                          Lavish must he be, the great
                                          lord, no laggard
                                          in paying the poet
                                         for his praise-song.
                                         Wisest in the world
                                         is he, our watchtower:
                                         his gift-blade for Armod.

One day over Christmas, people were seeing to the wall-hangings when the Earl turned to Oddi the Little. 'Make a verse,' he said, 'about the man pictured there on the hanging. Make it as quickly as I compose mine, and don't use any word in yours that I use.' Then the Earl said this:
                                         Age-worn, the warrior
                                         waits in the wall-drape,
                                         from his old shoulder down
                                         he lets the sword slide,
                                         bow-bent, his legs won't
                                         bear him again to battle,
                                         never again will he go,
                                         gold-rich to glory. 
Oddi said this:
                                         See how the swordsman
                                         squares himself to strike
                                         from the wall-hanging, 
                                         weapon raised in warning:
                                         make your settlement soon, 
                                         seamen - the back
                                         bends for the blow-
                                         quick, boys, make peace. 
The Earl entertained Bishop William and a good many of his chieftains at the feast over Christmas and it was there that he announced his plan to go abroad and visit the Holy Land, inviting the bishop, who had studied in Paris, to join him. The Earl wanted very much to have him as interpreter and the bishop promised to go with him.  

1 comment:

  1. Orkneyinga saga (translated by Hermann Palsson and Paul Geoffrey Edwards)


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