Wulfric and the Snow Elf, V. VII

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VII. The Curses
(In which Saarthal burns, Ysgramor vows vengeance, and curses are spoken.)

Sorrow! Sorrow! Dwarf-sword strikes true
Even when I do not wish it
Now my sword-tip flips up strikes true
To the snow-bent Stranger’s armpit

Shallow, shallow strikes the Dwarf-sword
Stranger Nerrem lord of Falmer
Slowly dying elf-lord outpoured
Frost-fire on the winter fodder

Wailing in the eerie elf-light
Over burning of his young-son
Even Saarthal’s stone-walls ignite
Now the city, once proud, undone

“Flee, oh flee my sons and servants
Flee, oh flee unto the wood-walls
To the safety of long serpents
Hear the cries as elder wood calls

“By the Falmer star-eye stolen
Solid words that will not alter
Next Ysgramor, word unbroken
Solid will be solemn promise

“Go back, go back, calls the man-half
Go back, go back, calls the drake-calf
Come back, come back, calls the man-half
Come back, come back, calls the drake-calf

“We return to tear asunder
Every elf and every glacier
My companions here are numbered
Once and twice for their two natures

“We return to bury Saarthal
Cities smothered never burn down
Make a barrow fit for elf-thrall
Fit for Kyne’s blood wearing no crown

“We return with our long serpents
Slay at last our fine scale brothers
Take elves with us in our descent
Sate at last our ordered hungers”

“Wulfric, Falmer princess cursed thus
Arkay’s mercy now divided*
Cursed they are to walk the Mundus
Cursed they are until united

“What chance they, when one a snail-man?
What chance they, when one a hill-witch?
What chance they, when one a snake-man?
What chance they, when one a fur-snitch?”
Translator’s Notes: Thus ends the epic of Wulfric and the Snow-Elf. Hopefully this translation helps future scholars and poets more perfectly reproduce the original epic in its full glory. This last section has some of the most clear to translate, but most controversial passages. Individually the words are plain, but the phrases are obscure or meaningless. Some debates are pointless (for instance, ‘long serpents’ clearly refers to ships, not sea monsters), but others are genuinely unresolved. As I have no strong opinion from a translator’s perspective, I will have to leave them unresolved.

*Literally, they were split from Arkay’s Law, and cannot die a natural death. Some more recent versions expand on the last verse, giving brief vignettes of Wulfric and Eormi born far apart and in different bodies such that they can never meet. The entirety of Kyne’s speech is a latter addition (perhaps as late as the middle of the Second Era, as is obvious with the reference to Arkay). In even more recent versions, Kyne’s speech is much longer with several verses condemning the Snow-Elves and justifying (or commanding) the Return. I omitted most of the more recent versions as they are poorly written and add little the tale.

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