Cite as: Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 15 (Kráka/Áslaug Sigurðardóttir, Lausavísur 5)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 655.
The following eight stanzas, spoken by Kráka-Áslaug (Ragn 15, 17-18), a messenger (Ragn 16), and Áslaug’s sons Sigurðr (Ragn 19), Bjǫrn (Ragn 20), Hvítserkr (Ragn 21) and Ívarr (Ragn 22), are presented in Skj and Skald as forming, together with Ragn 11-14, a twelve-stanza unit, but are treated here as having a unity of their own and forming a sequence which might be entitled ‘Vengeance for Eiríkr and Agnarr’. The sequence begins with Áslaug asking the messenger for news (Ragn 15), which he provides, reporting the deaths of her stepsons (Ragn 16). Then, after receiving the news of Rǫgnvaldr’s death (cf. Ragn 7, above), she recites two stanzas, one praising the heroism of Rǫgnvaldr, her son (Ragn 17), and the other that of Eiríkr and Agnarr, her stepsons (Ragn 18). Her words have the effect of stimulating in her youngest son, Sigurðr, a resolve to take revenge, which he expresses in Ragn 19, thus inspiring his elder brothers to do the same, one after the other, in Ragn 20-22. All eight stanzas are preserved in both 1824b and 147, albeit very fragmentarily in the latter ms., and five of them, Ragn 18-22, are also preserved in Hb.
|Hvat segið ér ór yðru,
— eru Svíar í landi
eða elligar úti? —
allnýtr konungs spjalli?
|Fregit hefi ek hitt, at fóru, |
— en fremr vitum eigi —
ok hildingar höfðu
hlunnroð, Danir sunnan.
Hvat segið ér ór yðru, allnýtr spjalli konungs? Eru Svíar í landi eða elligar úti? Ek hefi fregit hitt, at Danir fóru sunnan, ok hildingar höfðu hlunnroð; en fremr vitum eigi.
What have you to relate for your part, most worthy friend of the king? Are Swedes in the land, or, on the other hand, abroad? What I have heard is that the Danes travelled from the south and the warriors experienced a roller-reddening; but we know no more.
Mss: 1824b(64v), 147(107v) (Ragn)
Readings:  segið ér (‘sege þer’): ‘se(git) v(i)er’(?) 147; ór yðru: ‘ú(r ydru)’(?) 147  eru Svíar í landi: ‘eru (suiar i) […]’(?) 147  eða elligar úti: ‘(eda elligar vt) […]’(?) 147  allnýtr: ‘all ny’ 1824b, ‘[…]’ 147; konungs spjalli: ‘[…]’ 147  Fregit hefi ek hitt at fóru: ‘[…] (hef eg hitt) […]’(?) 147  en fremr vitum eigi: ‘(frem) […]’(?) 147  ok hildingar höfðu: ‘[…] (hillding) […] höfðu’(?) 147  hlunnroð Danir sunnan: ‘(hlunro)d danir sunna(n)’(?) 147
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 2. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ragnarssaga loðbrókar V 5: AII, 235, BII, 255, Skald II, 132, NN §1457; FSN 1, 264 (Ragn ch. 9), Ragn 1891, 197 (ch. 9), Ragn 1906-8, 141, 182, 206 (ch. 10), Ragn 1944, 66-7, 69 (ch. 10), FSGJ 1, 251 (Ragn ch. 10), Ragn 1985, 125 (ch. 10), Ragn 2003, 36-7 (ch. 10), CPB II, 348-9.
Context: In the absence of her husband and her sons,
apart from Sigurðr, Áslaug questions the spokesman of Eiríkr’s messengers,
claiming to know no more about her stepsons’ Swedish expedition than that, when
they set off (as recorded in the prose), the launching roller of Agnarr’s ship
was reddened with blood when the ship slid from it, killing a man standing in
front of it.
Notes: : The alliteration in this line becomes apparent if the initial þ of þér in the 1824b reading segi þér is apprehended as merging in sound with the terminal ð of segið, and the two words are read as segið ér; cf. ANG §465 Anm. 5. —  ór yðru ‘for your part’: Neuter sg. of pl. poss. adj. yð(v)arr. Those eds who have translated this phrase, Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 206), Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), Eskeland (Ragn 1944) and Örnólfur Thorsson (Ragn 1985) take it as meaning ‘from your land’ (i.e. ‘What news from/of your land?’). So also Schlauch’s (1930, 220) translation. This might imply that the messengers and their spokesman, who is here addressed (see Ragn 1906-8, 141), were Swedish, whereas the saga prose seems to indicate that they were followers of Eiríkr and Agnarr (Ragn 1906-08, 139-40) and hence presumably Danish. The phrase is probably to be understood as meaning ‘for your part, from your perspective’. —  úti ‘abroad’: It is possible, in view of the contrast here between úti and í landi ‘in the land’ (l. 2), that úti here means ‘at sea’ (cf. LP: úti 2) rather than, more generally, ‘abroad’. —  allnýtr spjalli konungs ‘most worthy friend of the king’: The present edn follows Kock in adopting the emended form allnýtr ‘most worthy, capable’, and understanding it as used attributively with spjalli, thus avoiding the syntactic leap from l. 1 to l. 4 that all other editorial readings make necessary. For ‘all ný’ of 1824b, Rafn (FSN), and Valdimar Ásmundarson (Ragn 1891) read allný, making one word of the 1824b reading and following it with a comma, thus presumably taking it as n. acc. pl. of allnýr ‘very new’ and as substantival and the object of segið þér in l. 1, with the sense: ‘what very new items (of news) have you to relate?’ This is how Örnólfur Thorsson (Ragn 1985) understands the word and its place in the sentence, taking it however as n. acc. sg. and accordingly emending to allnýtt ‘what very new item (of news) …’. CPB also has allnýtt, though without clarifying its place in the sentence. All other eds (with the exception of Kock) emend to n. gen. sg. allnýs, taking it as a partitive gen. (or gen. of respect) and linking it to Hvat ‘What’ in l. 1, in the sense ‘What (in the way) of news …’. The phrase spjalli konungs ‘friend of the king’ is to be taken as a courteous greeting, and the king in question as the one whose (Danish) court the messengers are entering, i.e. the currently absent Ragnarr, as opposed to King Eysteinn of Sweden. There is no need to follow Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 206), Eskeland (Ragn 1944), and Ebel (Ragn 2003) in emending spjalli to the nom. pl. form spjallar; the 2nd pers. pl. form segið ér in l. 1 may be taken as honorific, and addressed to a single person. —  hlunnroð ‘a roller-reddening’: This translation reflects the explanation of the term given under LP: hlunnroð, i.e. the reddening with blood of a launching roller that could occur when someone was killed by accident as a result of happening to be in front of a ship when it was pushed on rollers out to sea. Blood is not actually mentioned in the prose passage to which this stanza ostensibly refers (or indeed in the LP entry), though the spilling of blood seems to be implied. The passage in question, occurring near the beginning of ch. 10 of Ragn, in which Ragn 11-22 are quoted, offers an explanation of the word hlunnroð, indicating that it was a term with which the saga writer did not expect his audience to be familiar. The passage is (Ragn 1906-8, 137): Nu verdr þat, at skip Agnars skauzt af lunne, ok vard þar madr fyrir, ok fęʀ sa bana, ok kaulludu þeir þat hlunrod ‘What now occurred was that Agnarr’s ship started from its launching-roller, and a man happened to be in the way, and he met his death; and they called that a roller-reddening’. Vigfusson and Powell, who translate ‘sacrificial-launch’ here (CPB II, 349), see this kind of killing (in CPB I, 410) as part of a blood-sprinkling consecration ritual carried out at the launching of a new ship or when the ship was setting out on an important voyage. Falk (1912, 28-9), on the other hand, relates the ‑roð element in hlunnroð not to ON rjóða ‘redden’, but rather to a Norwegian dialect word rod, meaning ‘slippage’, and to the ‑roð element in ON flóttaroð ‘scattering of troops in flight’, seeing hlunnroð as referring to the accidental slipping away of one or more rollers under a ship, which might well have fatal results. Dillmann (2009) has since called into question both Falk’s view and the idea that hlunnroð in this instance has to do with sacrifice.