73. AGREEMENT BETWEEN KING HARALD AND KING SVEIN.
This winter messengers and ambassadors went between Norway and Denmark, whose errand was that both Northmen and Danes should make peace, and a league with each other. and to ask the kings to agree to it. These messages gave favourable hopes of a peace; and the matter proceeded so far that a meeting for peace was appointed at the Gaut river between King Harald and King Svein. When spring approached, both kings assembled many ships and people for this meeting. So says a skald in a poem on this expedition of the kings, which begins thus: --
"The king, who from the northern sound His land with war-ships girds around, The raven-feeder, filled the coast With his proud ships, a gallant host! The gold-tipped stems dash through the foam That shakes the seamen's planked home; The high wave breaks up to the mast, As west of Halland on they passed,
"Harald whose word is fixed and sure, Whose ships his land from foes secure, And Svein, whose isles maintain is fleet, Hasten as friends again to meet; And every creek with vessels teems, -- All Denmark men and shipping seems; And all rejoice that strife will cease, And men meet now but to make peace."
Here it is told that the two kings held the meeting that was agreed upon between them, and both came to the frontiers of their kingdoms. So says the skald: --
"To meet (since peace the Dane now craves) On to the south upon the waves Sailed forth our gallant northern king, Peace to the Danes with him to bring. Svein northward to his frontier hies To get the peace his people prize, And meet King Harald, whom he finds On land hard used by stormy winds."
When the kings found each other, people began at once to talk of their being reconciled. But as soon as peace was proposed, many began to complain of the damage they had sustained by harrying, robbing and killing men; and for a long time it did not look very like peace. It is here related: --
"Before this meeting of the kings Each bende his own losses brings, And loudly claims some recompense From his king's foes, at their expense. It is not easy to make peace, Where noise and talking never cease: The bondes' warmth may quickly spread, And kings be by the people led.