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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Hryn 2II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 184-5.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonHrynhenda, Magnússdrápa

text and translation

Seinkun varð, þás hlébarðs hanka
hnikaði ôr in ljóta bára.

Seinkun varð, þás in ljóta bára hnikaði ôr {hlébarðs hanka}.
‘Delay came about, as the foul breaker drove against the oar of the bear of the cleat [SHIP].

notes and context

The ll. are used to illustrate macrologia, which Óláfr hvítaskáld defines as a long sentence containing matter irrelevant to the skald’s subject. Óláfr adds that the figure is common at the beginning of poems, and after the citation explains that Arnórr here tells of his own difficult journeys, which is not relevant to the praise of the king.

The st. is cited from Magnússdrápa in TGT. — (a) The analysis adopted here is syntactically the most straightforward (and was adopted by Kock, NN §810). The couplet could be construed in two other ways, both of which are less satisfactory since they assume a complex intertwining of clauses which is uncharacteristic of Hryn. (b) Seinkun varð r hlébarðs hanka, þás in ljóta bára hnikaði ‘There was delay on the oar of the bear of the cleat [SHIP], as the foul breaker tossed’. Here r is a dat. of respect or disadvantage and hnikaði is intransitive. (c) Seinkun hlébarðs hanka varð, þás in ljóta bára hnikaði r ‘There was delay on the bear of the cleat [SHIP] as the foul breaker drove against the oar’. In this construal, hlébarðs hanka ‘of the bear of the cleat [SHIP]’ is taken as an objective gen. governed by seinkun ‘delay’. It was adopted by Björn Magnússon Ólsen, TGT 1884, 192-3 (reading pres. verðr, hnikar), and by Finnur Jónsson in Skj B; it was rejected by Kock, NN §810.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 2. Hrynhenda, Magnúsdrápa 3: AI, 333, BI, 306, Skald I, 155, NN §810; SnE 1848-87, II, 126, 413, TGT 1884, 82, 19-20, TGT 1927, 57, TGT 1998, 152-3; Whaley 1998, 143-5.


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