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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Liðs 1I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 1’ 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. 1016.

Anonymous PoemsLiðsmannaflokkr

text and translation

Gǫngum upp, áðr Engla
ættlǫnd farin rǫndu
morðs ok miklar ferðir
malmregns stafar fregni.
Verum hugrakkir hlakkar;
hristum spjót ok skjótum;
leggr fyr órum eggjum
Engla gnótt á flótta.

Gǫngum upp, áðr {stafar {malmregns}} ok miklar ferðir morðs fregni ættlǫnd Engla farin rǫndu. Verum hugrakkir hlakkar; hristum spjót ok skjótum; gnótt Engla leggr á flótta fyr eggjum órum.
‘Let us go ashore, before the staves of the metal-rain [BATTLE > WARRIORS] and large militias of killing learn that the ancestral lands of the English are traversed with the shield. Let us be brave-minded in battle; let us brandish spears and shoot [them]; an ample number of the English takes to flight before our blades.

notes and context

In ÓHLeg, the stanzas are said to have been composed by Óláfr at the end of Knútr’s campaign, at a point where the Danish king has won the submission of all England except London, whose garrison is stubbornly resisting him. Óláfr comes to his aid with a stratagem that delivers the city into his hands. In the Styrmir extract in Flat, there is an introductory sentence (see below) but no narrative.

In ÓHLeg, the stanzas are introduced, Þenna flocc orte Olafr æftir atlaguna ‘Óláfr composed this flokkr after the attack’. Following the stanzas is the sentence, Ðenna flocc ortte Olafr hinn hælgi, þa er hann var með Knuti kononge ‘S. Óláfr composed this flokkr when he was with King Knútr’ (ÓHLeg 1982, 48, 54). In Styrmir’s version, the stanzas are preceded by the sentence, Þenna flock orti Olafr konungr eftir er hann hafdi vnnit Lundunaborg ‘King Óláfr composed this flokkr after he had conquered London’ (Flat 1860-8, III, 237).



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 om historiske personer og begivenheder [XI], [2]. Liðsmannaflokkr 1: AI, 422, BI, 391, Skald I, 194; Flat 1860-8, III, 238, ÓH 1941, II, 684; ÓHLeg 1922, 11, ÓHLeg 1982, 48-9.


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