The hardest thing to do when translating ballads into another language is trying to keep the rhyme and rhythm of the ballad without losing the original meanings during the translations. Ian Cumpstey’s little collective of Scandinavian ballads, Warrior Lore, mostly finds a comfortable medium between the two.
Before each ballad, Cumpstey takes time to introduce the story and the characters involved; taking time to explain the different ways the names may be spelled or pronounced. This is very helpful for anyone who just wants a quick read and doesn’t want to think through the ballad on their own, or for beginners reading ballads (or for those brain dead moments where you just plain don’t get it. Admit it, we all have those).
The ballads themselves are full of heroes, tragedy, kings, and romance (with an appearance by a cross dressing Thor). Sadly my namesake didn’t make the list, but there is a good grab bag of stories in this book to shovel through.
Overall it’s a good read for a rainy day for those who read ballads, and a good starter book for those who haven’t yet discovered them.