Reginsmál (Sigurðarkviða Fáfnisbana II) – The Lay of Regin

Hnikar spake:

21. “Another it is | if out thou art come,
And art ready forth to fare,
To behold on the path | before thy house
Two fighters greedy of fame.

22. “Third it is well | if a howling wolf
Thou hearest under the ash;
And fortune comes | if thy foe thou seest
Ere thee the hero beholds.

23. “A man shall fight not | when he must face
The moon’s bright sister setting late;
Win he shall | who well can see,
And wedge-like forms | his men for the fray.

24. “Foul is the sign | if thy foot shall stumble
As thou goest forth to fight;
Goddesses baneful | at both thy sides
Will that wounds thou shalt get.

25. “Combed and washed | shall the wise man go,
And a meal at mom shall take;
For unknown it is | where at eve he may be;
It is ill thy luck to lose.”

Sigurth had a great battle with Lyngvi, the son of Hunding, and his brothers; there Lyngvi fell, and his two brothers with him. After the battle Regin said:

26. “Now the bloody eagle | with biting sword
Is carved on the back | of Sigmund’s killer;
Few were more fierce | in fight than his son,
Who reddened the earth | and gladdened the ravens.”

Sigurth went home to Hjalprek’s house; thereupon Regin egged him on to fight with Fafnir.

23. This stanza is clearly an interpolation, drawn in by the common-sense advice, as distinct from omens, given in the last lines of stanza 22. Moon’s sister: the sun; cf. Vafthruthnismol, 23 and note. Wedge-like: the wedge formation (prescribed anew in 1920 for the United States Army under certain circumstances) was said to have been invented by Othin himself, and taught by him only to the most favored warriors.

24. Goddesses: Norse mythology included an almost limitless number of minor deities, the female ones, both kind and unkind, being generally classed among the lesser Norns.

25. This stanza almost certainly had nothing originally to do with the others in this passage; it may have been taken from a longer version of the Hovamol itself.

Prose. Lyngvi: the son of Hunding who killed Sigmund in jealousy of his marriage with Hjordis; cf. Fra Dautha Sinfjotla and note. The Volsungasaga names one brother who was with Lyngvi in the battle, Hjorvarth, and Sigurth kills him as readily as if he had not already been killed long before by Helgi. But, as has been seen, it was nothing for a man to be killed in two or three different ways.

26. Bloody eagle, etc.: the Nornageststhattr describes the manner in which the captured Lyngvi was put to death. “Regin advised that they should carve the bloody eagle on his back. So Regin took his sword and cleft Lyngvi’s back so that he severed his back from his ribs, and then drew out his lungs. So died Lyngvi with great courage.”

Prose. In Regius there is no break of any kind between this prose passage and the prose introduction to the Fafnismol (cf. Introductory Note).

Source


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