The Troubadour’s Song (Trubaduurin Laulu), from The Devil’s Sword (Hiiden miekka), Eino Leino

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This is the second of three translations from Leino’s libretto for Melartin‘s Hiiden Miekka. The others are “A Mother’s Sorrows” (Äidin surut) and “Sukkamieli’s Rod” (Sukkamielen sauva). “A Mother’s Sorrows” has a regular metre. This one doesn’t. I took the decision to impose a metre devised from the first stanza to aid reading – but also decided it should not be easy. It’s important to convey something of Leino’s complex sound. It may repay reading aloud – but will need some concentration…

Leino uses many archaic and dialectal words. There is some guesswork here – let me know if there are any glaring errors, please!

I have been unable to find a recording of Melartin’s oratorio. Please let me know if you know of one. This is what you find on YouTube if you search for Trubaduurin Laula – a version by one of Finland’s most venerable crooners, Vesa-Matti Loiri. Rather odd – but I think I’m warming to it. It proved quite helpful when I was trying to work out some of the more complex stress of the piece.

Fortress strong a knight lowly came to, bold –
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
“Whence, hajdúk, arrive, pray? I will be told.”
“Bounds of earth on foot do I wander.”

“Spit it out, you bold honest fighting man,”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
“Grasp adventure’s quest’s end indeed you can.”
“Now my wage receive I’ll, and squander.”

“Proper order, wage knight he now receives.”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
“Half a dozen crowns yearly, want relieves?”
“More, O noble Lord, must you tender.”

“Thus reply you mad fool? Retrieve your sense!”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
“Maybe seven crowns cover fair expense,
sword is worth it – brave land has defended.”

“Noble Lord, the sword I’m not selling, so,”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda,
“Crown for crown its worth God alone may know,
For in devil’s forge was it fashioned.

But I might for king’s daughter sell my sword.”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
“I’m a royal man, wage is king’s reward.”
“Off with knight! Again march, you blockhead!”

Pressing foe’s advance threatened freedom’s choke –
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
Now our troops have won, thwarted thraldom’s yoke.
Look! He’s come, our bold hero valiant.

Knight arrived as if stoking smoking flames –
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
Victims many knight slew – who knows his claims?
War was ended, land freedom gaining.

“So perhaps my wage now may be received,”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
“Pretty hand of king’s daughter I’ve achieved,”
Blood his spurs they traced – deathly dalliance.

“Proper order, wage knight may now receive,”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
answered thus the King. “But I do believe
soon enough you’ll chuck king and country.

So your sword you can sell me, knight so brave.”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
Blazed the royal flame, bright to ceiling’s stave.
Gallant knight was great – answered he, hero:

“Lot is mine a knight’s fortune, and although,”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
Sword I’ll sell – alone granted God to know –
but a single King’s daughter price is.

Life of knight enough pleasure can afford,”
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda –
“such opinion’s shared truly by sword,
for in devil’s forge was it fashioned.”

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Tuli linnahan köyhä sotamies–
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»Hei, heitukka, kustapa kulkee ties?»
Minä maailman matkoja astun.»

»Ja jos olet suora sotamies–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»niin tännekin loppua voi sinun ties».
»Sama mulle, mut palkan ma tahdon.»

»On oikein, palkkansa saa sotamies–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»kuus riksiä vuodessa riittää kenties?»
»Ei, herrani, enempi ma vaadin.»

»Mitä hulluja? Hallitse järkesi mies–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»mut varro, saat seitsemänkin kukaties,
jos miekkasi totta voi tehdä».

»En myö minä miekkaani, hovimies–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»riikin rikseihin, se on jumal’ ties
itse Hiidessä kuuraeltu.

Mut kuninkaan tyttären jos kukaties–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»saan palkaksein, olen kuninkaan mies».
»Huuti, tolvana, matkaasi marssi!»

Ja ryntäsi päälle vihamies–
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
voitti joukkomme, uhkasi orjuuden ies.
Kas, silloinpa sankari saapui.

Hän tuli kuin liekkien liehtoma mies–
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
hän löi, joka iskunsa kuoloa ties,
sota päättyi, maa oli vapaa.

»Ja saanko mä palkkani nyt kukaties–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»olla tahtoisin kuninkaan tyttären mies».
Verijälkiä kannukset jätti.

»On oikein, palkkansa saa sotamies–»
Kunigunda, ah Kunigunda–
näin lausui kuningas, »mut kukaties
jätät sitten sa maan ja minut.

Siis myö mulle miekkasi sotamies–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
Ja korkeelle leimusi kuninkaan lies,
mut vastasi sankari suuri:

»Ja vaikka mä vaan olen sotamies»–
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»niin myö minä miekkaani en jumal’ ties
itse kuninkaan tyttärihinkään.

Mun onneni olla on sotamies–»
Kunigunda, ah, Kunigunda–
»sama, luulenpa, tahto on miekkani myös,
se on Hiidessä kuuraeltu».

Translation by Rupert Moreton

3 thoughts on “The Troubadour’s Song (Trubaduurin Laulu), from The Devil’s Sword (Hiiden miekka), Eino Leino

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