KING EYSTEIN'S WESTERN VOYAGE
After that king Eystein began his voyage out of the land west across the sea, and sailed to Caithness. He heard that earl Harold Maddad's son was in Thurso. He ran in with three small cutters, and came upon them unawares. But the earl had a ship of thirty benches and eighty men aboard her. But as they were unready, then king Eystein and his men were able to board the ship at once, and they took the earl prisoner, and carried him off to their ships. He ransomed himself with three marks of gold. And they parted as things stood. So says Einar Skuli's son.
"Eighty men by Maddad's son
Stood while Sogn's king came on;
The glory of the ocean lord
That sates the sea mew blazed abroad:
With cutters three the prince that teazes
Sea Horses (2) the proud earl seizes;
He that erns hath often fed,
Gave back to noble chief his head."
King Eystein sailed thence south along the coast of Scotland, and came off that town in Scotland which is called Aberdeen, and slew there many men, and plundered the town. So says Einar Skuli's son.
"I have heard that prince so keen
Wasted peace at Aberdeen;
There before him warriors fell,
And swords were shivered, as they tell."
Another battle he had south at Hartlepool with a band of horsemen, and he put them to flight, and cleared there the decks of some ships. So says Einar.
"The king's blade bit well,
On spear point blood fell,
His comrades stood cool,
Hot rivers of blood
Gladdened ravens so good,
And wolf's wine (3) rose red,
As the English ships fled."
Then he held on south to England, and had a third battle at Whitby, and got the victory, but burnt the town. So says Einar.
"The hero waged war,
Swords sung from afar,
And war clouds (4) were cleft,
Ere Whitby was left:
Over roof trees the hound
Of the pine-wood (5) did bound;
And wolves' fangs were red
As folk in fear fled."
After that he harried far and wide in England. Stephen was then king in England. Next after that king Eystein had a battle at Skarp-skerry with some knights. So says Einar.
"By Skerry of Scarp,
While string-rain (6) flew sharp,
The king fought his way
Through a shielded array."
Then next he fought at Pilawick, and got the victory. So says Einar.
"The chief dyed his sword
In Pila-wick's firth,
While Odin's grim horde (7)
Tore tall corses from Perth:
West o'er the sea waves
On foreheads brand crashes,
When Langton the king takes
And lays it in ashes."
There they burnt Langton, a great thorpe; and men says that town has raised its head little since. After that king Eystein fared away from England, and in the autumn back to Norway. And men spoke of this voyage in very different ways.
1. "Wights who sate the eagles," a periphrase for warriors.
2. "That teazes sea-horses" that wearies his ship by fast sailing.
3. "Wolf's wine," a periphrase for blood.
4. "War clouds," a periphrase for shields.
5. "Hound of the pine-wood," a periphrase for fire.
6. "String-rain," bowstring rain, a periphrase for arrows.
7. "Odin's horde," a periphrase for wolves.