Kormáks saga ( listen (help·info)) is one of the Icelanders' sagas. It tells of the tenth-century Icelandic poet, Kormákr Ögmundarson, and Steingerðr, the love of his life. The saga preserves a significant amount of poetry attributed to Kormákr, much of it dealing with his love for Steingerðr. Though the saga is believed to have been among the earliest sagas composed it is well preserved. The unknown author clearly relies on oral tradition and seems unwilling to add much of his own or even to fully integrate the different accounts he knew of Kormákr. Often he does little more than briefly set the scenes for Kormákr's stanzas.
The following stanzas represent some of Kormákr's love poetry. He tells us of the first time he met Steingerðr. Read aloud.
|Brunnu beggja kinna||The bright lights of both||Brightly beamed the lights-of-|
|bjǫrt ljós á mik drósar,||her cheeks burned onto me||both-her-cheeks upon me—|
|oss hlœgir þat eigi,||from the fire-hall's felled wood;||e'er will I recall it—|
|eldhúss of við felldan;||no cause of mirth for me in that.||o'er the heaped-up wood-pile;|
|enn til ǫkkla svanna||By the threshold I gained a glance||and the instep saw I|
|ítrvaxins gatk líta,||at the ankles of this girl||of the shapely woman—|
|þrǫ́ muna oss of ævi||of glorious shape; yet while I live||no laughing matter, lo! my|
|eldask, hjá þreskeldi.||that longing will never leave me.||longing—by the threshold.|
|Brámáni skein brúna||The moon of her eyelash—that valkyrie||Brightly shone the beaming|
|brims und ljósum himni||adorned with linen, server of herb-surf—||brow-moons of the goodly|
|Hristar hǫrvi glæstrar||shone hawk-sharp upon me||lady linen-dight, how|
|haukfránn á mik lauka;||beneath her brows' bright sky;||like a hawk's, upon me;|
|en sá geisli sýslir||but that beam from the eyelid-moon||but that beam from forehead's-|
|síðan gullmens Fríðar||of the goddess of the golden torque||bright-hued-orbs, I fear me,|
|hvarmatungls ok hringa||will later bring trouble to me||of the Eir-of-gold doth|
|Hlínar óþurft mína.||and to the ring goddess herself.||ill spell for us later.|
|— Einar Ól. Sveinsson's edition||— Rory McTurk's translation||— Lee M. Hollander's adaptation|
- Einar Ól. Sveinsson (Ed.) (1939). Íslenzk fornrit VIII - Vatnsdœla saga. Reykjavík: Hið íslenzka fornritafélag.
- Hollander, Lee M. (Ed.) (1949). The Sagas of Kormák and The Sworn Brothers. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Viðar Hreinsson (Ed.) (1997). The Complete Sagas of Icelanders - Volume I. Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing. ISBN 9979-9293-1-6.
- Full text of the saga in the original language
- Full text and translations at the Icelandic Saga Database
- All of Kormákr's poetry in the original language
- W. G. Collingwood and Jón Stefánsson, The Life and Death of Cormac the Skald, Viking Club Translation Series, 1 ([Ulverston: Holmes, 1902]), available as a pdf at http://vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/Cormac%20the%20Skald.pdf and as text at http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/lit/epics/LifeandDeathofCormactheSkald/Chap1.html
- Russell Poole, "Composition Transmission Performance: The First Ten lausavísur in Kormáks saga", Alvíssmál 7 (1997): 37–60.