(a sonnet primarily in the Old Norse form of Dróttkvaett—
with some lines in Hyrnhent and some in Draughent)
All Hallows Eve. Hurry, harry the still-living,
Fell foes with Hell’s fury, freely roaming, laughing,
As mortal Man, failing, most feebly to resist
Potent attacks prevailing. Powers they might enlist
Are oft too long delayed. The Might of great Mages,
Some strong enough, indeed, schooled from the secret pages
Of grand grimoires, able, through lost incantations
When the World is unstable, to win o’er Mis-creations
Terrors, the Veil tearing, travel in our demesne.
Hostile the Host bearing Horrors of Halloween.
Legion of Evil laughing, at the Lost who disbelieve.
Most mortals keep scoffing; for many—no reprieve.
Wicked wights all wending—when that Great Gossamer tatters—
Into Our World
, sending such Things our sanity shatters.
* * *
DRÓTTKVATT and Variations (short for Dróttkvatt Háttr [“Court Poem”])
The meter used by the Drótt, the retainers of the king, the staple meter of skaldic poetry. Old Norse-Icelandic:
- Each stanza consists of 8 lines
- Each line is 6 syllables long
- Each line has 3 accented and 3 unaccented syllables
- Each line regularly ends with a trochee (/u), often a two-syllable feminine rhyme
- Every two lines are bound by alliteration, which MUST fall on the first stressed syllable of the second line—following at least two alliterations on that sound in the first line
- Heavy use of internal rhyme
- Full rhymes for the even lines
- Slant rhymes (assonance) for the odd lines
- Heavy use of kennings
This is the standard meter for the early ON poems in — DRAPA
Later ON poems used HYRNHENT/HYRNHENDA—same, but with 8-syllable lines.
Also another later variant (according to Snorri) is DRAUGHENT, the same using 7-syllable lines with the accent in the second line of each pair as the extra-metrical.