Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 3. Magnússdrápa, 2 [Vol. 2, 209-10]

[8] brún veðr ‘sharp gales’: The vowel of the majority variant brún is established by the full rhyme with ‑tún-. (a) Brúnn has been taken by some scholars as an adj. meaning ‘sharp, prominent, direct’, derived from brún f. ‘sharp edge’ and interchangeable with the i-mutated adj. brýnn (see Fms 12, 126; Konráð Gíslason 1866, 282-3; Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and LP); cf. other pairs with and without i-mutation such as the f. nouns bón/bœn ‘prayer’, sjón/sýn ‘sight’ or cpd adjectives in ‑lægr beside the simplex lágr ‘low’. Brúnn in Sigv ErfÓl 14/8I, which also rhymes with ‑tún-, qualifies hjǫrr ‘sword’, so that it could well mean ‘sharp’ (so ÍF 27, 381 n.), and in two C13th sts, SnSt Ht 50/4III and Sturl Hrafn 20/2, it describes a weapon and again may mean ‘sharp’ (cited by Dal, 1938, 221). The postulated phrase brún veðr ‘sharp gales’ in the present st. is also semantically plausible. Brýnn is applied to a wind (byrr) in HSt Rst 15/3, 4I, and in FGT 1972a, 222. A final point in favour of the present interpretation is that Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, describing the same voyage, speaks of a ‘raging gale’ (ótt veðr, ÞjóðA Magnfl 2/6). (b) Brúnn ‘dark-brown, black’ is used in skaldic poetry to describe blood or, in SnSt Ht 3/4III, a ship. There is no other case in recorded ON where the epithet qualifies ‘wind’ or ‘weather’, although it might be a possible description if foam or clouds were darkening the air. (c) Brimveðr ‘surf-gales’ (so ) would give good sense, but it fails to provide a rhyme with -tún-, and is very much a minority reading. It is presumably a dittography of brim(logs) in l. 7.

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