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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 20I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 20’ 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. 833.

Þormóðr KolbrúnarskáldLausavísur
19x2021x

Þér ‘your’

þú (pron.; °gen. þín, dat. þér, acc. þik): you

[1] Þér: nær DG8, ‘ytr’ 142ˣ(104), yðr 761bˣmarg

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munk ‘I shall’

munu (verb): will, must

[1] munk (‘mvn ec’): mun 321ˣ

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eðr ‘still’

eðr (adv.): still

notes

[1] eðr ‘still’: This older form of enn (the reading of the mss), used in verse only, is required by the skothending, as first noted by Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 71); also Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson (Nj 1875-8, II, 563).

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all ‘mighty’

all- ((prefix)): very < allvaldr (noun m.): mighty ruler

[2] all‑: al‑ Flat, Tóm, 142ˣ(104), alls papp4ˣ

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náir ‘you get’

1. ná (verb): reach, get, manage

[2] náir: so J2ˣ, Bæb, 68, Holm4, 61, 75e 4, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Hb, 142ˣ(103), 566aˣ, papp4ˣ, náit Holm2, 972ˣ, Tóm, Kˣ, DG8

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skǫldum ‘skalds’

skáld (noun n.; °-s; -): poet

[2] skǫldum: skaldi 75e 4, skalda 325V

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nær ‘when’

nær (adv.): near, almost; when

[3] nær: nærr 61, ‘cnǽr’ 325VII, mér papp4ˣ

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vættir ‘expect’

vætta (verb): expect

[3] vættir: veitir Holm4

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þú ‘you’

þú (pron.; °gen. þín, dat. þér, acc. þik): you

[3] þú þeirra: ‘[…]’ 75e 4, þú þróttar 325VII

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þeirra ‘them’

hann (pron.; °gen. hans, dat. honum; f. hon, gen. hennar, acc. hana): he, she, it, they, them...

[3] þú þeirra: ‘[…]’ 75e 4, þú þróttar 325VII

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þing ‘assembly’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < þingdjarfr (adj.)

notes

[4] þingdjarfr ‘assembly-bold’: The sense is ‘bold in legal assemblies’. Grammatically, the word could instead refer to the poet himself.

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djarfr ‘bold’

djarfr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bold < þingdjarfr (adj.)

[4] ‑djarfr: ‑djarfir Kˣ

notes

[4] þingdjarfr ‘assembly-bold’: The sense is ‘bold in legal assemblies’. Grammatically, the word could instead refer to the poet himself.

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fyr ‘before’

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

[4] fyr: so 972ˣ, J2ˣ, Bæb, 68, 61, Bb, Hb, 142ˣ(104), papp4ˣ, um Holm2, Holm4, 75e 4, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, Kˣ, DG8, 566aˣ

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hvarfa ‘pace about’

2. hvarfa (verb): stroll, wander

[4] hvarfa: hvarfla Bb, Flat, 142ˣ(104), 566aˣ

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Braut ‘away’

1. braut (noun f.; °dat. -/-u; -ir): path, way; away

[5] Braut: brott 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, Bb, Hb, burt 325V

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komumk ‘shall come’

koma (verb; kem, kom/kvam, kominn): come

[5] komumk: ‘kommz’ Holm4, komum DG8

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þótt ‘even if’

þótt (conj.): although

[5] þótt veitim: þótt veittim 972ˣ, þótt veitum 325V, Tóm, papp4ˣ, ‘þott veiteím’ Bb, þó veitim Flat, en vættir Hb, ef veitum 142ˣ(103), 566aˣ, 761bˣmarg

notes

[5] þótt veitim ‘even if we provide’: Fbr 1852, 109 and ÍF 6 read, with Hb, en veitum ‘but we shall provide’ (indic. rather than subj.), and indeed, this makes for clearer sense. Yet the ms. evidence strongly favours the present reading.

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veitim ‘we provide’

2. veita (verb): grant, give

[5] þótt veitim: þótt veittim 972ˣ, þótt veitum 325V, Tóm, papp4ˣ, ‘þott veiteím’ Bb, þó veitim Flat, en vættir Hb, ef veitum 142ˣ(103), 566aˣ, 761bˣmarg

notes

[5] þótt veitim ‘even if we provide’: Fbr 1852, 109 and ÍF 6 read, with Hb, en veitum ‘but we shall provide’ (indic. rather than subj.), and indeed, this makes for clearer sense. Yet the ms. evidence strongly favours the present reading.

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víksk ‘fail’

víkja (verb): turn

[7] víksk: so J2ˣ, ‘vizk’ Holm2, 321ˣ, 68, Holm4, 61, 75e 4, 325VII, Bb, Kˣ, 142ˣ(103), víst 972ˣ, Flat, DG8, 566aˣ, papp4ˣ, ‘vínnz’ Bæb, veizt 325V, Tóm, vex Hb, ‘vikz’ ‘vist’ and ‘vizk’ 761bˣmarg

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eigi ‘not’

3. eigi (adv.): not

[7] eigi: eigum Flat, 142ˣ(103), 566aˣ, papp4ˣ, 761bˣmarg, eigu DG8

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vága ‘of the waves’

vágr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): sea, wave

[7] vága: unga DG8

kennings

vága viggruðr.
‘steed-bush of the waves’
   = SEAFARER = Óláfr

the steed of the waves. → SHIP
bush of the SHIP → SEAFARER = Óláfr

notes

[7-8] vága viggruðr ‘bush of the steed of the waves [(lit. 'steed-bush of the waves’) SHIP > SEAFARER = Óláfr]’: The vocative is construed here with the intercalary clause. An intercalary occupying the third line of a helmingr and the beginning of the fourth is common in Þormóðr’s poetry; see Note to Lv 23/7-8. Previous eds have generally construed the vocative with the first clause of the helmingr, though ÍS is an exception.

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vága ‘of the waves’

vágr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): sea, wave

[7] vága: unga DG8

kennings

vága viggruðr.
‘steed-bush of the waves’
   = SEAFARER = Óláfr

the steed of the waves. → SHIP
bush of the SHIP → SEAFARER = Óláfr

notes

[7-8] vága viggruðr ‘bush of the steed of the waves [(lit. 'steed-bush of the waves’) SHIP > SEAFARER = Óláfr]’: The vocative is construed here with the intercalary clause. An intercalary occupying the third line of a helmingr and the beginning of the fourth is common in Þormóðr’s poetry; see Note to Lv 23/7-8. Previous eds have generally construed the vocative with the first clause of the helmingr, though ÍS is an exception.

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vigg ‘of the steed’

viggr (noun m.): horse < viggrunnr (noun m.)

[8] vigg‑: víg‑ 68, Bb, papp4ˣ

kennings

vága viggruðr.
‘steed-bush of the waves’
   = SEAFARER = Óláfr

the steed of the waves. → SHIP
bush of the SHIP → SEAFARER = Óláfr

notes

[7-8] vága viggruðr ‘bush of the steed of the waves [(lit. 'steed-bush of the waves’) SHIP > SEAFARER = Óláfr]’: The vocative is construed here with the intercalary clause. An intercalary occupying the third line of a helmingr and the beginning of the fourth is common in Þormóðr’s poetry; see Note to Lv 23/7-8. Previous eds have generally construed the vocative with the first clause of the helmingr, though ÍS is an exception.

Close

vigg ‘of the steed’

viggr (noun m.): horse < viggrunnr (noun m.)

[8] vigg‑: víg‑ 68, Bb, papp4ˣ

kennings

vága viggruðr.
‘steed-bush of the waves’
   = SEAFARER = Óláfr

the steed of the waves. → SHIP
bush of the SHIP → SEAFARER = Óláfr

notes

[7-8] vága viggruðr ‘bush of the steed of the waves [(lit. 'steed-bush of the waves’) SHIP > SEAFARER = Óláfr]’: The vocative is construed here with the intercalary clause. An intercalary occupying the third line of a helmingr and the beginning of the fourth is common in Þormóðr’s poetry; see Note to Lv 23/7-8. Previous eds have generally construed the vocative with the first clause of the helmingr, though ÍS is an exception.

Close

ruðr ‘bush’

runnr (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): bush, tree < viggrunnr (noun m.)

[8] ‑ruðr: ‑runnr 61, ‑roðr Tóm

kennings

vága viggruðr.
‘steed-bush of the waves’
   = SEAFARER = Óláfr

the steed of the waves. → SHIP
bush of the SHIP → SEAFARER = Óláfr

notes

[7-8] vága viggruðr ‘bush of the steed of the waves [(lit. 'steed-bush of the waves’) SHIP > SEAFARER = Óláfr]’: The vocative is construed here with the intercalary clause. An intercalary occupying the third line of a helmingr and the beginning of the fourth is common in Þormóðr’s poetry; see Note to Lv 23/7-8. Previous eds have generally construed the vocative with the first clause of the helmingr, though ÍS is an exception.

Close

eða ‘or’

eða (conj.): or

notes

[8] eða liggjum hér ‘or we shall lie here’: I.e. ‘lie dead’. (a) This edn, like most others, assumes that the alternative is vér komumk braut ‘we shall come away’ in l. 5, with þat víksk eigi ‘that will not fail’ an intercalary clause, an arrangement that is encouraged by the Context provided in Fbr (see above). The helmingr thus states ‘we shall either live or die’: not a very acute observation, in Finnur Jónsson’s view (1932-3), yet a plausible variant on the theme of ‘victory or death’, in which the þótt-clause may imply that if the skald’s side get away alive it will not be before they have slain some of the enemy. (b) Under the other main arrangement, the alternative to eða hér liggjum is þat víksk eigi. The point is then that either they will show their mettle on the battlefield by feeding the ravens on their enemies’ corpses or they will die trying. The alternative to dying is thus not simply living, but acting boldly (and, as a result, living).

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hér ‘here’

hér (adv.): here

[8] hér: so Bæb, 68, Holm4, 325V, Tóm, Kˣ, DG8, Hb, 142ˣ(103), 566aˣ, papp4ˣ, þar Holm2, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 75e 4, Bb, Flat, ‘har’ 325VII

notes

[8] eða liggjum hér ‘or we shall lie here’: I.e. ‘lie dead’. (a) This edn, like most others, assumes that the alternative is vér komumk braut ‘we shall come away’ in l. 5, with þat víksk eigi ‘that will not fail’ an intercalary clause, an arrangement that is encouraged by the Context provided in Fbr (see above). The helmingr thus states ‘we shall either live or die’: not a very acute observation, in Finnur Jónsson’s view (1932-3), yet a plausible variant on the theme of ‘victory or death’, in which the þótt-clause may imply that if the skald’s side get away alive it will not be before they have slain some of the enemy. (b) Under the other main arrangement, the alternative to eða hér liggjum is þat víksk eigi. The point is then that either they will show their mettle on the battlefield by feeding the ravens on their enemies’ corpses or they will die trying. The alternative to dying is thus not simply living, but acting boldly (and, as a result, living).

Close

liggjum ‘we shall lie’

liggja (verb): lie

notes

[8] eða liggjum hér ‘or we shall lie here’: I.e. ‘lie dead’. (a) This edn, like most others, assumes that the alternative is vér komumk braut ‘we shall come away’ in l. 5, with þat víksk eigi ‘that will not fail’ an intercalary clause, an arrangement that is encouraged by the Context provided in Fbr (see above). The helmingr thus states ‘we shall either live or die’: not a very acute observation, in Finnur Jónsson’s view (1932-3), yet a plausible variant on the theme of ‘victory or death’, in which the þótt-clause may imply that if the skald’s side get away alive it will not be before they have slain some of the enemy. (b) Under the other main arrangement, the alternative to eða hér liggjum is þat víksk eigi. The point is then that either they will show their mettle on the battlefield by feeding the ravens on their enemies’ corpses or they will die trying. The alternative to dying is thus not simply living, but acting boldly (and, as a result, living).

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

In ÓH and Hkr, Þormóðr before the battle reiterates his determination to remain with King Óláfr, and he wonders aloud about the whereabouts of the king’s skald Sigvatr Þórðarson (who was at this time in Rome with Óttarr svarti). In ÓHLeg, the stanza follows Lv 19. In Fbr, the king responds briefly to the second helmingr of the preceding vísa (Lv 20/5-8; see Note to Lv 20/8), saying it is true that the men assembled will either come through the battle or lie here afterwards. Then the poet delivers the vísa (i.e. Lv 20/1-4 + 15/5-8).

In the mss of Fbr, ll. 5-8 are found instead as ll. 5-8 of Lv 19. In their place stand ll. 5-8 of Lv 15. Gaertner (1907, 341-2) seems to be alone in his belief that the arrangement in Fbr is correct. Certainly the arrangement in ÓH is correct if Finnur Jónsson is right that ok Finni is the original reading in Lv 15/6 (to which see the Note), as seems most probable. Finnur (1932-3) also points out that the clause in Lv 15/7-8 exhorting men to board ships is not pertinent to the present context, where seafaring is irrelevant.

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