Rolandskvadet (English translation)

English translationEnglish

Lay of Roland

Versions: #1#2#3
Six of my earls were at home, guarded the shining gold
another six in heathen lands brandished the iron cold
- They rode out of the Frankish land on saddled beasts
blew in the horn Olivant at Roncesvalles
They ran up their silken sail high on the mast
sailed out to th heathens' land in one and two wooden ships
The oars and anchor bit into the white sand
it was Roland, the king's man, stepped through the foam on land
They battled at Ronvesvalles for two days and three
the blue-men fell before Roland's sword that behaved like a scythe
Forward thrusted the blue-men's spears, blotted out the sun
one comrade became afraid, asked Roland to blow his horn
Roland set the horn to his bloodied mouth, blew it with wrath
The sound bore over sea and mountain as far as three days' travel
There was Charlemagne King, began to cry:
what might my kinsman be in want of? I hear the horn sounding!
There was Charlemagne King, hurried to his man:
dead lay Roland, king's man, held his sword in hand
Home came Charlemagne King, buried them all unwillingly
The ship was full of silver and gold
and the heathens lay in death.
thanked 23 times
Submitted by SkirnirSkirnir on Mon, 27/02/2012 - 20:23
Author's comments:

I felt I had to post an improved version of the translation because the one commonly found on the internet is full of errors. (cf xkcd.... "someone is wrong on the internet!")

"dyre dros i sadel": "dyr" as in sw. "djur", not as in en. "dear". So, animals. The line is a bit tricky, but literally it means "beasts drawn in saddles". Yes, Norwegian can be a bitch with its homonyms due to streamlined orthography.

"virkevikune" is a so-called kenning; virke means wood and the whole thing has nothing to do with weeks, instead it simply means ships.

One rather ambiguous word is "fred(en)", which Glittertind pronounces "frend(en)". In Scandinavian, "frende" means "kin, relation" and NOT "friend"! However, it might also denote a special position of honour, so I went with "King's Man" most of the time.

"Jamninge" is an interesting word, literally it means "an equal (man)". So not just a footman, but a person of similar rank. (In fact, it was Roland's friend Olivier.)

The rest should be pretty straightforward, simple dictionary work.

I hope this clears things up a little.



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