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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 28VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 28’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 774.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál

text and translation

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hef ek fimm tigum sinna
fólkorrostur framðar
fleinþings boði ok eina.
Minnst hugða ek manna,
at mér vera skyldi
— ungr nam ek odd at rjóða —
annarr konungr fremri.
Oss munu æsir bjóða;
era sýtandi dauði.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. Ek, {boði {fleinþings}}, hef framðar fólkorrostur fimm tigum sinna ok eina. Ek hugða minnst manna, at annarr konungr skyldi vera fremri mér; ungr namk at rjóða odd. Æsir munu bjóða oss; era sýtandi dauði.
‘We hewed with the sword. I, the instigator of the spear-assembly [BATTLE > WARRIOR], have conducted five times ten battles between peoples, and one more. I least of [all] people thought that another king would prove superior to me; I began at a young age to redden the sword-point. The gods will invite us; death is not to be feared.

notes and context

Lines 2-8 bear a striking resemblance to Ragn 26/1-6 and some resemblance (in ll. 5-6, 8) to st. 24/5-6, above; cf. Note to st. 24/5-6 above and McTurk (2012b, 376-8). — [1-3]: See Note to st. 27/7-10, above for an account of the arrangement of these lines in 147. — [2-4]: The present ed. takes boði in l. 4 as nom. sg. of boði ‘offerer, instigator’, and as the base-word in a warrior-kenning boði fleinþings ‘instigator of the spear-assembly’, standing in apposition to ek ‘I’ as the subject of the sentence. Some eds (Krm 1891; Finnur Jónsson 1893b; Finnur Jónsson 1905; Skj B; Skald) emend hef ek ‘I have’ in l. 2 to 3rd pers. sg. hefir, hefr ‘has’, thus making the warrior-kenning in l. 4 the sole grammatical subject of the sentence, and producing the meaning ‘the warrior has conducted …’, i.e., presenting the speaker of the poem as referring to himself in the 3rd pers. This emendation seems unnecessary. — [2-4]: The speaker of the poem claims here to have been involved in fifty-one battles (‘five times ten ... and one more’) during his lifetime. In none of the surviving accounts of Ragnarr loðbrók can as many battles as this in which he takes part be counted. In popular narrative, as Olrik (1921, 75; 1992, 52) has indicated, the number five tends to signify ‘many’. It seems likely that the number fifty, as it occurs here and in Ragn 26, was originally chosen to suggest a large number, and that ok eina ‘and one more’ has been added in each case to fill out an even-numbered line with a rhyming cadence. The addition of ok eina ‘and one more (battle)’ is syntactically awkward here, since fimm tigum sinna, lit. ‘five tens of times’, is an adverbial phrase of time of the kind illustrated in NS §118, with tigum dat. pl. of tigr ‘(unit of) ten’, here governing the gen. pl. sinna of sinn ‘time, occasion’ (see NS §118, and cf. §§128-30 and 127). The sentence thus means lit. ‘I have conducted battles between peoples five tens of times, and one more (battle)’. — [5-6, 8]: The king (annarr konungr ‘another king’) referred to in l. 8, is Ella (OE Ælle), mentioned by name in sts 24/5 and 27/6.



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 28: AI, 649, BI, 655-6, Skald I, 320-1; Rafn 1826, 24-5, 150-1, Pfeiffer 1860, 127, CPB II, 345, Wisén 1886-9, I, 66, Krm 1891, 228, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 90-1, Finnur Jónsson 1905, 157; Ragn 1906-8, 189.


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