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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þham Magndr 5II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorkell hamarskáld, Magnússdrápa 5’ 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. 413-14.

Þorkell hamarskáldMagnússdrápa

text and translation

Uppgǫngu réð yngvi
ítr með helming lítinn;
áræði hykk áðan
Eysteins fǫður treystask.
Hôtt gall hjǫrr, en sótti
— hneit egg við fjǫr seggja —
— malmsœkir rauð mæki —
Magnús í lið gǫgnum.

Ítr yngvi réð uppgǫngu með lítinn helming; hykk {fǫður Eysteins} áðan treystask áræði. Hjǫrr gall hôtt, en Magnús sótti í gǫgnum lið; egg hneit við fjǫr seggja; {malmsœkir} rauð mæki.
‘The splendid king advanced ashore with a small unit; I believe Eysteinn’s father [= Magnús] earlier put faith in his courage. The sword resounded loudly, and Magnús advanced through the troop; the blade thrust at the lives of men; the weapon-attacker [WARRIOR] reddened the sword.

notes and context

Magnús’s last stand in Ulster on 24 August 1103. The Norw. troops had disembarked from their ships and advanced inland to meet a unit of their men who were bringing supplies from Connacht. They came under a surprise attack by the men of Ulster, and a mighty battle ensued.

[1-2]: These two ll. echo Arn Hardr 10/1-2. That poem was composed in memory of Magnús’s grandfather, Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, who fell at the battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066. Þorkell must have known Arnórr’s encomium and been struck by the similarities of the circumstances surrounding the two battles (leaving the ships, advancing inland and being unprepared for battle). Hence the borrowing was likely intentional.



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: Þórkell hamarskáld, 1. Magnúsdrápa 5: AI, 439, BI, 408, Skald I, 201, NN §806; Mork 1867, 155, Mork 1928-32, 335-6, Andersson and Gade 2000, 312, 488 (Mberf); Fms 7, 71 (Mberf ch. 36).


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