Darraðarljóð – Hardcore Sampled, Apparently

For obvious reasons, one would presume there’s often quite the dysjunction between my research areas of expertise and my music taste. Yet art not so. Not so long ago I had cause to look over sections of Burnt Njal’s Saga – a rather famous Icelandic text.

I was specifically looking at the Darraðarljóð – the Song (Ljóð) of the Darraðr (Battle-Standard; although also interpreted perhaps non-exclusively, as ‘Web of Arrows / Darts’) with a view to substantiating an element of Odin as Valkjosandi in terms of Saxo Grammaticus’ referencing of Odin as Pluto.

The section of poetry in question is in the voices of the Valkyries – Twelve of Whom have met in blood-spattered congress to ‘weave the web’ of fate for an upcoming battle. Often taken (although not uncritically) to be the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 at which near ten thousand men may have perished – the majority, as Fate would have it, upon the (Hiberno-)Viking side.

Then, quite by chance, a few days later I heard this track and … something about the voice sample used in it sounded … familiar. It would turn out to be two verses from the Song. Sampled into a relatively recent (2019) hardcore track.

In any case, the full Song in Hollander’s translation:

1 Widely is flung, / warning of slaughter,
the weaver’s-beam’s-web: / ’t is wet with blood;
is spread now, grey, / the spear-thing before,
the woof-of-the-warriors / which valkyries fill
with the red-warp-of- / Randvér’s-banesman.

2 Is this web woven / and wound of entrails,
and heavy weighted with heads of slain;
are blood-bespattered spears the treadles,
iron-bound the beams, the battens, arrows:
let us weave with our swords this web of victory!

3 Goes Hild to weave, /and Hiorthrimul,
Sangrith and Svipul, / with swords brandished:
shields will be shattered, /shafts will be splintered,
will the hound-of-helmets / the hauberks bite.

4 Wind we, wind we / the-web-of-darts,
and follow the atheling / after to war!
Will men behold shields / hewn and bloody
where Gunn and Gondul / have guarded the thane.

5 Wind we, wind we / such web-of-darts
as the young war-worker / waged afore-time!

10 Forth shall we fare / where the fray is thickest,
where friends and fellows / ’gainst foemen battle!

6 Wind we, wind we / the web-of-darts
where float the flags / of unflinching men!
Let not the liege’s / life be taken:
valkyries award / the weird of battle.

7 Will seafaring men / hold sway over lands,
who erstwhile dwelled / on outer nesses;
is doomed to die / a doughty king,
lies slain an earl / by swords e’en now

8 Will Irish men eke / much ill abide:
’t will not ever after / be out of men’s minds.
Now the web is woven, / and weapons reddened—
in all lands will be heard / the heroes’ fall.

9 Now awful is it / to be without,
as blood-red rack / races overhead;
is the welkin gory / with warriors’ blood
as we valkyries / war-songs chanted.

10 Well have we chanted / charms full many
about the king’s son: / may it bode him well!
Let him learn them / who listens to us,
and speak these spells / to spearmen after.

11 Start we swiftly / with steeds unsaddled—
hence to battle / with brandished swords!

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