"The day is breaking, -- The house cock, shaking His rustling wings, While priest-bell rings, Crows up the morn, And touting horn Wakes thralls to work and weep; Ye sons of Adil, cast off sleep, Wake up! wake up! Nor wassail cup, Nor maiden's jeer, Awaits you here. Hrolf of the bow! Har of the blow! Up in your might! the day is breaking; 'Tis Hild's game (1) that bides your waking."
Then the troops awoke, and when the song was ended the people thanked him for it; and it pleased many, as it was suitable to the time and occasion, and they called it the house-carle's whet. The king thanked him for the pleasure, and took a gold ring that weighed half a mark and gave it him. Thormod thanked the king for the gift, and said, "We have a good king; but it is not easy to say how long the king's life may be. It is my prayer, sire, that thou shouldst never part from me either in life or death." The king replies, "We shall all go together so long as I rule, and as ye will follow me."
Thormod says, "I hope, sire, that whether in safety or danger I may stand near you as long as I can stand, whatever we may hear of Sigvat travelling with his gold-hilted sword." Then Thormod made these lines: --
"To thee, my king, I'll still be true, Until another skald I view, Here in the field with golden sword, As in thy hall, with flattering word. Thy skald shall never be a craven, Though he may feast the croaking raven, The warrior's fate unmoved I view, -- To thee, my king, I'll still be true."
ENDNOTES: (1) Hild's game is the battle, from the name of the war-goddess Hild. -- L.
221. KING OLAF COMES TO STIKLESTAD.
King O1af led his army farther down through the valley, and Dag and his men went another way, and the king did not halt until he came to Stiklestad. There he saw the bonde army spread out all around; and there were so great numbers that people were going on every footpath, and great crowds were collected far and near. They also saw there a troop which came down from Veradal, and had been out to spy. They came so close to the king's people that they knew each other. It was Hrut of Viggia, with thirty men. The king ordered his pursuivants to go out against Hrut, and make an end of him, to which his men were instantly ready. The king said to the Icelanders, "It is told me that in Iceland it is the custom that the bondes give their house-servants a sheep to slaughter; now I give you a ram to slaughter (1). The Icelanders were easily invited to this, and went out immediately with a few men against Hrut, and killed him and the troop that followed him. When the king came to Stiklestad he made a halt, and made the army stop, and told his people to alight from their horses and get ready for battle; and the people did as the king ordered. Then he placed his army in battle array, and raised his banner. Dag was not yet arrived with his men, so that his wing of the battle array was wanting. Then the king said the Upland men should go forward in their place, and raise their banner there. "It appears to me advisable," says the king, "that Harald my brother should not be in the battle, for he is still in the years of childhood only." Harald replies, "Certainly I shall be in the battle, for I am not so weak that I cannot handle the sword; and as to that, I have a notion of tying the sword-handle to my hand. None is more willing than I am to give the bondes a blow; so I shall go with my comrades." It is said that Harald made these lines: --
"Our army's wing, where I shall stand, I will hold good with heart and hand; My mother's eye shall joy to see A battered, blood-stained shield from me. The brisk young skald should gaily go Into the fray, give blow for blow, Cheer on his men, gain inch by inch, And from the spear-point never flinch."