Loke Nyberg – Hjältekväde (Epic song of the hero) translation

One of my favourite songs by Loke Nyberg, the lyrics are brilliant! So full of humour.

The valiant Duke Kaspian went forth with his army
A mighty army of fifteen thousand men
It was from horizon to horizon as far as one could see
in organised rows shoulder to shoulder.

Furthest back walked men with bows made from agile yew
and before them marched sword-bearers forth
And before them with the sun’s rays like fire in tail and mane
paced horses in a could of gravel and dust.

Upon each steed with shield and pointy lance
there sat a proud and noble cavalier
and foremost in the breach clad in the suns gilded splendour
there rode our valiant Duke Kaspian… Aye!

Then they came to the flowery meadow where the battle would be held
and the army spread out, halted
and lo fifteen thousand warrior-hearts began to pound
while weapons, steel and gazes glimmered cold!

Then spake Duke Kaspian: Our border has been violated
by barbarians, a damned gang of robbers!
And lo this sword I raise, yes it was by my father bestowed (upon me)
and I shall wield it for heritage and fatherland!

Then came the enemy, a despicable sight,
with crooked swords and mallets made of stone
And with armours of hardened skin and paintings in their skin
did they let arrows fly from bows made of bone!

And the arrows fell like rain during a night of thunderstorms
but immovable stood Kaspian and smiled
it was a smile that burst into a victory-assured laughter
then he got an arrow in his forehead fell headlong and died!


Uhm, died the hero already? I must have sung wrong indeed
Well, let us say that out of nothing came a goose
that seated itself on the forehead of our Duke Kaspian
and got the arrow that I mentioned in its frill.

And Kaspian drew steel of inheritance and roared Attack!
And the army went forth with a booming roar
And Kaspian he sung, he jabbed and he stung,
then he was cut down by an old little man from behind.

Oh no now it got wrong again you wicked bard
No, once again our Duke went safe.
You can call it forward planning, destiny or luck
He had forgotten that he carried a large sack of potatoes on his back.

And the intruder weakened, now faltered his eastern flank
and the cavaliers stormed forth from the west
and Kaspian he savoured the battles turmoil, colour and stench
then he got crushed by tiny stray horse.


No, actually, the horse fell in love with an Elk
and baffled our good Duke stood still
and witnessed how horse and Elk disappeared in brushwood and sallow
And lived happily ever after.

At last stood Duke Kaspian eye to eye and sword against sword
with the chieftain of the enemy’s army
Who swung his crooked sword for all that he was worth
and turned Kaspian into brawn and fillet.

No, darn it what rubbish. Now it has gone too far.
Our Duke won the duel. But of course!
And the rest of the enemies fell like pines wherever he went
Soon stood he victorious in the flare of the summer sun.

For you see, no swords or arrows are allowed to wound the hero
and not even bruise him in the back a little.
He must never suffer nosebleeds or even lose a strand of hair
in the bard’s flattering song.

So here I complete my duty. The hero conquered in the end
as you have probably known since the first note.
And so did even this epic song become lacking in imagination, gawky and dull.
With the same old protagonist.

For the song must be just like the Duke ordered.
Expensively I sell my flattering lyricism.
But in secrecy I promise, goes a Duke into field(war)
has he the same fragile flesh as you
my unsung, forgotten audience.


About Fredrik Kayser

Everything is connected.
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