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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

I. 4. Poem about Óláfr Tryggvason (Ól) - 7

2.1: Poem about Óláfr Tryggvason — Anon ÓlI

Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Poem about Óláfr Tryggvason’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1061.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7 

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: A. 9. Af et digt om Olaf Tryggvason (AII, 462-3, BII, 494-5)

SkP info: I, 1064

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Anon Ól 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Poem about Óláfr Tryggvason 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1064.

Fór í braut á báru
bauglestir af hesti
†… á … da …†
bekkjar herrekkir.
Satt var, að seggjum þótti
— sáz þeingils spor eingi —
— oft siez Ólafs gifta —
jöfurs ferð kynjum verða.

{Bauglestir} fór í braut á báru af hesti †… á … da …† bekkjar {herrekkir} … Satt var, að ferð jöfurs þótti seggjum verða kynjum; eingi spor þeingils sáz; gifta Ólafs siez oft.

{The ring-harmer} [GENEROUS MAN] went away on the wave from the horse … of the bench … {the troop-emboldener} [RULER] … It was true that the prince’s journey seemed to men to turn out miraculously; no footprints of the ruler were to be seen; Óláfr’s blessedness is often seen.

Mss: 61(71r) (ÓT)

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], A. 9. Af et digt om Olaf Tryggvason 3: AII, 462, BII, 494, Skald II, 270, NN §3346; Finnur Jónsson 1884-91, 115, 117-18, ÓT 1958-2000, III, xxxiii, AM 61 1982, 23-4.

Notes: [All]: The wording of the stanza is close to the prose (see Introduction), here especially to ÓTOdd (both have spor ‘footprint, track’), though this is presumably by chance as elsewhere the stanzas are much closer to ÓT. — [1] fór í braut á báru ‘went away on the wave’: This appears to suggest that Óláfr walked on the water. Given the poor state of the text and the fact that gekk ‘walked’ rather than fór ‘went, travelled’ might have been expected, this remains uncertain, and such a claim would be unique to this poem: ÓT (1958-2000, II, 231) only has engi uissi með hveriu moti hann for ꜳ land ‘no-one knew by what means he got to land’. Nevertheless, walking on water seems likely since it would match and justify the second helmingr and would allude to the Gospel story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. XIV. 22-33), with which the Þorkell episode shares several elements: Jesus/Óláfr is praying alone on land at night, while his companions are on a boat; Jesus/Óláfr walks on the water; Peter/Þorkell has to be rescued from the water by Jesus/Óláfr. A further possibility is that he was carried by an angel, as is reported elsewhere of Óláfr (cf. Flat 1860-8, I, 464). — [2] af hesti ... ‘from the horse ...’: Hesti ‘horse’ is certain, and in the context is most likely to be the base-word of a ship-kenning. The determinant may be a sea-kenning incorporating bekkjar ‘of the bench’ as determinant (see LP: 2. bekkr 1 for examples), or possibly bekkjar alone in the sense ‘ship’ (LP: 2. bekkr 2). Af ‘from’ is less clear: Finnur Jónsson reads ‘a’, which he takes as a scribal error for af, but Ólafur Halldórsson (AM 61 1982, 23) thinks the ms. has a ligature of ‘a’ + ‘f’, i.e. af. Kock (NN §3346) suggests emendation to ráhesti (m. dat. sg.) ‘sailyard-horse’, hence á ráhesti báru ‘on the sailyard-horse of the waves [SHIP]’, but this (overdetermined) kenning is not justified, given the fragmentary state of the text, and neither is his reading in Skald of af for á (l. 1). — [6-7]: The two intercalary sentences are paired to form an explanation of people’s conviction that Óláfr moved by supernatural means: while eingi spor sáz ‘no footprints were to be seen’, his blessedness siez oft ‘is often seen’. — [7] gifta ‘blessedness’: Here, as usual in late skaldic poetry (and in much prose devoted to the missionary kings), this word has specifically Christian connotations and means ‘grace, blessing from God’ (see Baetke 1951, 47-54; Lange 1958a, 50-2); the objections raised by Hallberg (1973) to this interpretation are not pertinent to the skaldic material.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated