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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

I. 3. Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar (Óldr) - 28

not in Skj

2.1: Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar (‘Drápa about Óláfr Tryggvason’) — Anon ÓldrI

Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar’ 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. 1031.

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XII]: [1]. Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar, ‘er Halfredr orti vandræda skalld’, et digt fra det 12. årh. (AI, 573-8, BI, 567-74)

SkP info: I, 1058

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

27 — Anon Óldr 27I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 27’ 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. 1058.

Fyrr létu frœknan gørva
fenskúfs vala benja
fríðri skǫld of fœði
fagrbjór*, an vér tókumsk.
†Eygi† fleygs fyr því þeygi
þann vissak hlyn manna
geirs frá geymiôrum

Fyrr létu fríðri skǫld gørva fagrbjór* of {frœknan {{{benja vala} fen}skúfs} fœði} an vér tókumsk. Vissak þeygi þann hlyn … frá {geymiôrum fleygs geirs} †eygi† … fyr því … manna …

Finer poets caused beautiful beer [poetry] to be made about {the valiant feeder {of the skua {of the fen {of the falcons of wounds}}}} [(lit. ‘feeder of the fen-skua of the falcons of wounds’) RAVENS/EAGLES > BLOOD > RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR], before we [I] began. I have not known of that maple … from {guarding-envoys of the flying spear … because of that … of men …

Mss: Bb(113rb)

Readings: [1] frœknan: frœkna Bb    [2] benja: beima Bb    [3] skǫld: skald Bb    [4] ‑bjór*: bjórs Bb    [8] …: line om. Bb

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XII], [1]. Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 27: AI, 578, BI, 574, Skald I, 278, NN §2117.

Notes: [All]: Formal irregularities (hypermetrical l. 1, lack of hending in ll. 2 and 4, three rhyming syllables in l. 5, missing l. 8), coupled with unconventional syntax and kenning construction, indicate this stanza is corrupt, and there is no attempt to edit it in Munch and Unger (1847) or Gullberg (1875). The text presented here is an attempt to interpret the ms. readings with minimal emendation, in accordance with the practice of the present edn, but should be regarded as more than usually provisional. — [1] frœknan ‘the valiant’: All previous eds emend, as here, to frœknan (acc. sg.) to agree with fœði ‘feeder’. While ms. frœkna beima could conceivably be m. gen. pl. ‘of valiant warriors’, referring to the people for whom the poetic fagrbjór ‘beautiful beer’ has been made, this assumes an unusual use of gen. case (a dat. of advantage would be normal), and there are other problems with beima (see Note to l. 2 benja below). — [2] fenskúfs ‘of the fen-skua’: The bird-name skúfr m. occurs elsewhere only in the poetry of Einarr Skúlason (ESk Eystdr 1/7II, ESk Frag 17/4III) and in the þulur (Þul Fugla 3/5III). It may be the same word as skúfr m. ‘tassel, tuft’, which could refer to the white patch on the underside of the skua’s wing (ÍO: skúfur 2). — [2] benja ‘of wounds’: As it stands in the ms., l. 2 lacks aðalhending. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1832, 18), followed by subsequent eds, emended beima to benja (gen. pl. of ben f. ‘wound’), which provides hending (with fen-) and forms part of the main warrior-kenning. — [3] skǫld ‘poets’: Ms. skald n. ‘poet’ is sg., but the pl. adj. fríðri ‘finer’ and verb létu ‘caused’ necessitate emendation to pl. skǫld. — [4] fagrbjór* ‘beautiful beer [poetry]’: The mention of skǫld ‘poets’ in l. 3 suggests the metaphor ‘poetry as alcoholic drink’ is intended here, so the gen. sg. ms. reading ‘fagr biors’ is unlikely to be correct, as bjórr m. ‘beer’ would be the base-word of any such kenning. (a) Emendation to acc. sg. fagrbjór yields a half-kenning for ‘poetry’, albeit unparalleled, and this is tentatively adopted here. (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B (followed by Kock in Skald) emends tókumsk ‘began’ to Rǫgnis. This produces a conventional poetry-kenning, fagrbjór Rǫgnis ‘beautiful beer of Rǫgnir <= Óðinn>’, and supplies a hending, albeit only inexact (fag- : Rǫg-). An vér in l. 4 must then be taken with friðri skǫld: ‘finer poets than we’. — [4] an vér tókumsk ‘before we [I] began’: The m. v. takask in the sense ‘begin, get under way, arise’ is normally predicated to abstract subjects rather than human ones (as in Sigv Tryggfl 1/2 morð tóksk ‘killing arose’, and cf. Anon Mv I 4/8VII). However, it also occurs in the idiom takask orðum ‘begin to speak, begin in/with words’ (cf. Þfagr Sveinn 9/6II), and in the present helmingr it is possible that fagrbjór ‘beautiful beer [poetry]’, as well as being the object to the first clause, is understood (now in the dat.) as a counterpart to orðum. Such a dual role, a kind of apo koinou, is rare, but for possible parallels see Notes to Eyv Hál 11/7-8, Sigv Austv 6/2, Þorm Lv 10/4.  — [5] †eygi†: Although this word could possibly be part of the verb eygja ‘to see, glimpse’, it is almost certainly a scribal error, as the line is both hypermetric and has three fully rhyming syllables, a feature with no parallel outside the clavis metrica genre (Kuhn 1983, 87; Ht 2007, 80; RvHbreiðm Hl 17-18III, SnSt Ht 37, 38III). Kock (NN §2117) suggests eyfleygs ‘of the ever-flying’, which is attractive, but finally implausible, as the overwhelming majority of ey- compounds involve ey f. ‘island’ rather than ey adv. ‘ever’.

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