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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 18I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 18’ 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. 829.

Þormóðr KolbrúnarskáldLausavísur
171819x

Brennum ‘Let’s burn’

3. brenna (verb; (weak, transitive)): to burn (weak, intr.)

[1] Brennum: ‘S rænnum’ DG8

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ǫll ‘all’

allr (adj.): all

[1] ǫll: alls 325V

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fyr ‘’

fyr (prep.): for, over, because of, etc.

notes

[1, 4] fyr innan Hverbjǫrg ‘inside Hverbjǫrg’: The prepositional phrase could alternatively modify finnum ‘find’ (l. 2). See further Note to l. 4, Hverbjǫrg.

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innan ‘inside’

innan (prep.): inside, within

notes

[1, 4] fyr innan Hverbjǫrg ‘inside Hverbjǫrg’: The prepositional phrase could alternatively modify finnum ‘find’ (l. 2). See further Note to l. 4, Hverbjǫrg.

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inni ‘the dwellings’

1. inni (noun n.; °-s; -): house

[2] inni: so Holm4, 325V, Bb, Tóm, papp4ˣ, 761bˣmarg, inney Holm2, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 68, 325VII, Kˣ, DG8, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, 141ˣ, innin 73aˣ, Flat, Hb, innan ey 61

notes

[2] inni ‘dwellings’: ÍF 6 reads innin ‘the houses’ with 73aˣ, Flat and Hb, but Þormóðr is not otherwise known to use the postpositive article. The variant Inney presumably refers to Inderøya in Nord-Trøndelag (Hb 1892-6, 411 n. 1), and it is adopted in ÍF 27. Gaertner (1907, 340-1), on the basis of a reconstructed *Innir in reference to the inhabitants of a portion of Verdalen, would read Brennum ǫll lǫnd fyr innan Inni ‘Let’s burn all the lands as far as the Innir’. This desperate remedy appears to be motivated by the far remove of Hverbjǫrg from fyr innan. The present interpretation was first proposed by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SHI V, 59 n.).

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land ‘the land’

land (noun n.; °-s; *-): land

[3] land: so 73aˣ, 68, Holm4, 61, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, Kˣ, Hb, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, 141ˣ, papp4ˣ, lǫnd Holm2, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 325V, DG8

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tegask ‘show themselves ready’

tega (verb): prove ready

[3] tegask: tregask 972ˣ, skulum Flat, skal Hb, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, 141ˣ, papp4ˣ, 761bˣmarg

notes

[3] tegask ‘show themselves ready’: So (with minor variations) read the mss of the sagas of Óláfr helgi, and the reading is adopted in Fbr 1852, 108, Skj B and Skald (see also Finnur Jónsson 1912, 44), while the Fbr mss read skal ‘shall/intends to’. Tegask, being the lectio difficilior, would appear to be the more original reading. It may be, however, that the two are oral variants.

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herr ‘the people’

herr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -jar, gen. -ja/herra): army, host

[3] herr: her 972ˣ, Bb, hver Flat, heim 142ˣ, 566aˣ, 141ˣ, hér papp4ˣ

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hjǫrvi ‘the sword’

hjǫrr (noun m.): sword

[3] hjǫrvi: fjǫrvi Bb

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Hver ‘Hver’

2. hverr (pron.): who, whom, each, every < Hverbjǫrg (noun n.)

[4] Hver‑: Her‑ 972ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm, ‘hun’ papp4ˣ

notes

[1, 4] fyr innan Hverbjǫrg ‘inside Hverbjǫrg’: The prepositional phrase could alternatively modify finnum ‘find’ (l. 2). See further Note to l. 4, Hverbjǫrg. — [4] Hverbjǫrg ‘Hverbjǫrg’: (a) If indeed this is a p. n. (and the elements would be rare in Norway), the site is now unidentifiable, though presumably it was in Verdalen (ON Veradalr) near Stiklestad. (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) instead took hverbjǫrg as ‘kettle-crag’, a kenning for ‘house’. (c) The variant herbjǫrg (so Fms 12, 97; LP (1860)) would give ‘army crags’ and herborg (so Fms 5, 55) ‘army strongholds'.

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Hver ‘Hver’

2. hverr (pron.): who, whom, each, every < Hverbjǫrg (noun n.)

[4] Hver‑: Her‑ 972ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm, ‘hun’ papp4ˣ

notes

[1, 4] fyr innan Hverbjǫrg ‘inside Hverbjǫrg’: The prepositional phrase could alternatively modify finnum ‘find’ (l. 2). See further Note to l. 4, Hverbjǫrg. — [4] Hverbjǫrg ‘Hverbjǫrg’: (a) If indeed this is a p. n. (and the elements would be rare in Norway), the site is now unidentifiable, though presumably it was in Verdalen (ON Veradalr) near Stiklestad. (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) instead took hverbjǫrg as ‘kettle-crag’, a kenning for ‘house’. (c) The variant herbjǫrg (so Fms 12, 97; LP (1860)) would give ‘army crags’ and herborg (so Fms 5, 55) ‘army strongholds'.

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bjǫrg ‘bjǫrg’

bjarg (noun n.; °-s; *-): mountain, cliff < Hverbjǫrg (noun n.)

[4] ‑bjǫrg: ‑djǫrf 68, ‑borg 61, Bb, Tóm, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, bær 141ˣ, ‘‑bjorg’ and ‘‑borg’ 761bˣmarg

notes

[1, 4] fyr innan Hverbjǫrg ‘inside Hverbjǫrg’: The prepositional phrase could alternatively modify finnum ‘find’ (l. 2). See further Note to l. 4, Hverbjǫrg. — [4] Hverbjǫrg ‘Hverbjǫrg’: (a) If indeed this is a p. n. (and the elements would be rare in Norway), the site is now unidentifiable, though presumably it was in Verdalen (ON Veradalr) near Stiklestad. (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) instead took hverbjǫrg as ‘kettle-crag’, a kenning for ‘house’. (c) The variant herbjǫrg (so Fms 12, 97; LP (1860)) would give ‘army crags’ and herborg (so Fms 5, 55) ‘army strongholds'.

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bjǫrg ‘bjǫrg’

bjarg (noun n.; °-s; *-): mountain, cliff < Hverbjǫrg (noun n.)

[4] ‑bjǫrg: ‑djǫrf 68, ‑borg 61, Bb, Tóm, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, bær 141ˣ, ‘‑bjorg’ and ‘‑borg’ 761bˣmarg

notes

[1, 4] fyr innan Hverbjǫrg ‘inside Hverbjǫrg’: The prepositional phrase could alternatively modify finnum ‘find’ (l. 2). See further Note to l. 4, Hverbjǫrg. — [4] Hverbjǫrg ‘Hverbjǫrg’: (a) If indeed this is a p. n. (and the elements would be rare in Norway), the site is now unidentifiable, though presumably it was in Verdalen (ON Veradalr) near Stiklestad. (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) instead took hverbjǫrg as ‘kettle-crag’, a kenning for ‘house’. (c) The variant herbjǫrg (so Fms 12, 97; LP (1860)) would give ‘army crags’ and herborg (so Fms 5, 55) ‘army strongholds'.

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fyr ‘against’

fyr (prep.): for, over, because of, etc.

[4] fyr: ‑um 68, Flat, papp4ˣ

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gram ‘the king’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

[4] gram: ‘garam’ Bb, grams Flat, svá papp4ˣ

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verja ‘to defend’

3. verja (verb): defend

[4] verja: ‘v[…]’ 325VII, vera Kˣ

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Ýs ‘of the yew’

ýr (noun m.): yew, yew-bow, bow

[5] Ýs: ‘Uss’ 972ˣ, ýss 325V, Flat, papp4ˣ, ‘hyss’ DG8

kennings

angr ýs
‘the sorrow of the yew ’
   = FIRE

the sorrow of the yew → FIRE
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hafi ‘have’

2. taka (verb): take

[5] hafi: hafa 972ˣ, taki 73aˣ, 68, Hb, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, papp4ˣ, ‘[…]afi’ 325VII, taka 141ˣ, hafir 761bˣmarg

notes

[5] hafi ‘let ... have’: Hafi is also adopted in Skj B and Skald. The variant taki ‘let ... take’ is also possible, though it has less strong ms. support and is slightly less idiomatic.

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allra ‘of all’

allr (adj.): all

[5] allra: so all others, allir Holm2

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húsa ‘houses’

hús (noun n.; °-s; -): house

[5] húsa: so 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, Kˣ, Hb, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, 141ˣ, papp4ˣ, om. Holm2, ‘—’ DG8, ‘husu’ 761bˣmarg

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Inn ‘Inn’

1. inn (adv.): in, inside < innþrœndr (noun m.): one of the Innþrœndir

notes

[6] Innþrœndir: The people of Inntrøndelag, the north-easternmost region of the Trondheim district. Zimmerling (1997), discussing this stanza, argues that the portrayal of these people ‘as prototypical public enemies’ is developed in later prose narratives but is not part of skaldic tradition.

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þrœndir ‘þrœndir’

Þrœndr (noun m.; °; þrǿndir/þrǿndr): people from Tröndelag < innþrœndr (noun m.): one of the Innþrœndir

[6] ‑þrœndir: ‑þrændr 972ˣ, Flat

notes

[6] Innþrœndir: The people of Inntrøndelag, the north-easternmost region of the Trondheim district. Zimmerling (1997), discussing this stanza, argues that the portrayal of these people ‘as prototypical public enemies’ is developed in later prose narratives but is not part of skaldic tradition.

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kol ‘coals’

kol (noun n.; °; -): coal

[6] kol sinna: kvǫl finna Bb, ‘kolsvinna’ 141ˣ

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sinna ‘their’

3. sinn (pron.; °f. sín, n. sitt): (refl. poss. pron.)

[6] kol sinna: kvǫl finna Bb, ‘kolsvinna’ 141ˣ

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angr ‘the sorrow’

1. angr (noun m.; °angrs, dat. angri/angr): grief

kennings

angr ýs
‘the sorrow of the yew ’
   = FIRE

the sorrow of the yew → FIRE
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skal ‘shall’

skulu (verb): shall, should, must

[7] skal: mun 972ˣ, 73aˣ, 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm, Hb, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, 141ˣ, skulu 325V

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kveykt ‘be ignited’

kveykja (noun f.): [be ignited]

[7] kveykt: ‘kveik’ or ‘kveck’ 61, ‘kvekt’ 325V

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kǫld ‘the cold’

kaldr (adj.; °compar. -ari): cold

[8] kǫld: kald 972ˣ, Flat, ‘kuld’ Tóm, kǫll Kˣ

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ef ‘if’

3. ef (conj.): if

[8] ef: er DG8

notes

[8] ef ek má valda ‘if I can have my way’: Previous eds have generally construed this, as here, with the second of the two clauses in the second helmingr, though it seems to make little sense for the poet to say so emphatically that he wishes to burn down thorns, and Finnur Jónsson (1932-3, 72) later changed his mind and took the ef-clause with the taki-clause. Possibly klungri ‘thorns’ had some specific sense more related to settlements, such as ‘enclosure’, or else a figurative sense relating to the throng of hostile farmers and the problem they present. Such a reading might be supported by the proverbial ring of skal ‘shall’ in l. 7.

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ek ‘I’

ek (pron.; °mín, dat. mér, acc. mik): I, me

notes

[8] ef ek má valda ‘if I can have my way’: Previous eds have generally construed this, as here, with the second of the two clauses in the second helmingr, though it seems to make little sense for the poet to say so emphatically that he wishes to burn down thorns, and Finnur Jónsson (1932-3, 72) later changed his mind and took the ef-clause with the taki-clause. Possibly klungri ‘thorns’ had some specific sense more related to settlements, such as ‘enclosure’, or else a figurative sense relating to the throng of hostile farmers and the problem they present. Such a reading might be supported by the proverbial ring of skal ‘shall’ in l. 7.

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‘can have’

mega (verb): may, might

notes

[8] ef ek má valda ‘if I can have my way’: Previous eds have generally construed this, as here, with the second of the two clauses in the second helmingr, though it seems to make little sense for the poet to say so emphatically that he wishes to burn down thorns, and Finnur Jónsson (1932-3, 72) later changed his mind and took the ef-clause with the taki-clause. Possibly klungri ‘thorns’ had some specific sense more related to settlements, such as ‘enclosure’, or else a figurative sense relating to the throng of hostile farmers and the problem they present. Such a reading might be supported by the proverbial ring of skal ‘shall’ in l. 7.

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valda ‘my way’

valda (verb): cause

[8] valda: ‘gvallda’ corrected from ‘giallda’ Bb, ráða Tóm

notes

[8] ef ek má valda ‘if I can have my way’: Previous eds have generally construed this, as here, with the second of the two clauses in the second helmingr, though it seems to make little sense for the poet to say so emphatically that he wishes to burn down thorns, and Finnur Jónsson (1932-3, 72) later changed his mind and took the ef-clause with the taki-clause. Possibly klungri ‘thorns’ had some specific sense more related to settlements, such as ‘enclosure’, or else a figurative sense relating to the throng of hostile farmers and the problem they present. Such a reading might be supported by the proverbial ring of skal ‘shall’ in l. 7.

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

In ÓH and Hkr, when the king faces an army of farmers from Veradalr (Verdalen), Finnr Árnason advises that they burn the farmers’ houses in order to get them to break ranks and desert. Þormóðr then recites the stanza. In ÓHLeg and Fbr, the king asks Þormóðr his opinion, and he responds with this stanza.

This is the first of the stanzas dealing with events related to the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad), which took place on 29 July 1030 near Verdalsøra, about 70 kilometres north-east of Trondheim. For the battle and other skaldic poetry associated with it, see the entry on Óláfr Haraldsson in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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