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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 24VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 24’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 765.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál

text and translation

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hitt sýniz mér raunar,
at forlögum fylgjum;
fár gengr um sköp norna.
Eigi hugðak Ellu
at aldrlagi mínu,
þá er ek blóðvali brædda
ok borð á lög keyrðak.
Vítt fengum þá vargi
verð í Skotlandsfjörðum.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. Hitt sýniz mér raunar, at fylgjum forlögum; fár gengr um sköp norna. Hugðak eigi Ellu at aldrlagi mínu, þá er ek brædda {blóðvali} ok keyrðak borð á lög. Þá fengum vargi verð vítt í Skotlandsfjörðum.
‘We hewed with the sword. It appears to me indeed that we must submit to fate; few escape the decree of the norns. I did not think Ælle <Northumbrian king> would be the cause of my death when I fed the blood-falcons [RAVENS/EAGLES] and drove ships out to sea. Then we provided a meal for the wolf far and wide in Scotland’s firths.

notes and context

[5-6]: These lines contain an acc. and inf. construction, with Ellu as the subject acc. and inf. vera ‘be’ omitted, meaning: ‘I did not imagine Ælle (to be) in the role of my slayer (i.e. the cause of my death)’; for at ‘in the role of’ (l. 6) cf. LP: 1. at 7. The lines resemble Ragn 26/5-6, and bear some resemblance to st. 28, ll. 5-6, 8, below, as Olrik (1892-4, II, 97) and de Vries (1927a, 53) noted. Line 6 is the same as Ragn 26/6, also in the context of Ragnarr’s death in King Ælle’s snake-pit, and the word aldrlag ‘death’, lit. ‘laying down of life’, also occurs in RvHbreiðm Hl 15/7III, apparently in the context of the slaying of Ælle by Ragnarr’s son Ívarr in revenge for Ragnarr’s death. There is likely to be a relationship of some kind, beyond their shared subject, between the present stanza and the one in Ragn, though the nature of that relationship has been disputed (cf. McTurk 1991a, 127-31; 2012b, 376-81). See further the Notes to st. 28 [All] and 5-6, 8, below.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], H. Krákumál 24: AI, 648, BI, 654-5, Skald I, 320; Rafn 1826, 20-1, 143-4, Pfeiffer 1860, 126-7, CPB II, 344, Wisén 1886-9, I, 65, Krm 1891, 228, Finnur Jónsson1893b, 90, Finnur Jónsson 1905, 156; Ragn 1906-8, 189.


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