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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Ól 3I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Poem about Óláfr Tryggvason 3’ 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. 1064.

Anonymous PoemsPoem about Óláfr Tryggvason
234

Fór ‘went’

fara (verb; ferr, fór, fóru, farinn): go, travel

notes

[1] fór í braut á báru ‘went away on the wave’: This appears to suggest that Óláfr walked on the water. Given the poor state of the text and the fact that gekk ‘walked’ rather than fór ‘went, travelled’ might have been expected, this remains uncertain, and such a claim would be unique to this poem: ÓT (1958-2000, II, 231) only has engi uissi með hveriu moti hann for ꜳ land ‘no-one knew by what means he got to land’. Nevertheless, walking on water seems likely since it would match and justify the second helmingr and would allude to the Gospel story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. XIV. 22-33), with which the Þorkell episode shares several elements: Jesus/Óláfr is praying alone on land at night, while his companions are on a boat; Jesus/Óláfr walks on the water; Peter/Þorkell has to be rescued from the water by Jesus/Óláfr. A further possibility is that he was carried by an angel, as is reported elsewhere of Óláfr (cf. Flat 1860-8, I, 464).

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í ‘’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[1] fór í braut á báru ‘went away on the wave’: This appears to suggest that Óláfr walked on the water. Given the poor state of the text and the fact that gekk ‘walked’ rather than fór ‘went, travelled’ might have been expected, this remains uncertain, and such a claim would be unique to this poem: ÓT (1958-2000, II, 231) only has engi uissi með hveriu moti hann for ꜳ land ‘no-one knew by what means he got to land’. Nevertheless, walking on water seems likely since it would match and justify the second helmingr and would allude to the Gospel story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. XIV. 22-33), with which the Þorkell episode shares several elements: Jesus/Óláfr is praying alone on land at night, while his companions are on a boat; Jesus/Óláfr walks on the water; Peter/Þorkell has to be rescued from the water by Jesus/Óláfr. A further possibility is that he was carried by an angel, as is reported elsewhere of Óláfr (cf. Flat 1860-8, I, 464).

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braut ‘away’

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

notes

[1] fór í braut á báru ‘went away on the wave’: This appears to suggest that Óláfr walked on the water. Given the poor state of the text and the fact that gekk ‘walked’ rather than fór ‘went, travelled’ might have been expected, this remains uncertain, and such a claim would be unique to this poem: ÓT (1958-2000, II, 231) only has engi uissi með hveriu moti hann for ꜳ land ‘no-one knew by what means he got to land’. Nevertheless, walking on water seems likely since it would match and justify the second helmingr and would allude to the Gospel story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. XIV. 22-33), with which the Þorkell episode shares several elements: Jesus/Óláfr is praying alone on land at night, while his companions are on a boat; Jesus/Óláfr walks on the water; Peter/Þorkell has to be rescued from the water by Jesus/Óláfr. A further possibility is that he was carried by an angel, as is reported elsewhere of Óláfr (cf. Flat 1860-8, I, 464).

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á ‘on’

3. á (prep.): on, at

notes

[1] fór í braut á báru ‘went away on the wave’: This appears to suggest that Óláfr walked on the water. Given the poor state of the text and the fact that gekk ‘walked’ rather than fór ‘went, travelled’ might have been expected, this remains uncertain, and such a claim would be unique to this poem: ÓT (1958-2000, II, 231) only has engi uissi með hveriu moti hann for ꜳ land ‘no-one knew by what means he got to land’. Nevertheless, walking on water seems likely since it would match and justify the second helmingr and would allude to the Gospel story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. XIV. 22-33), with which the Þorkell episode shares several elements: Jesus/Óláfr is praying alone on land at night, while his companions are on a boat; Jesus/Óláfr walks on the water; Peter/Þorkell has to be rescued from the water by Jesus/Óláfr. A further possibility is that he was carried by an angel, as is reported elsewhere of Óláfr (cf. Flat 1860-8, I, 464).

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báru ‘the wave’

1. bára (noun f.; °-u; -ur): wave

notes

[1] fór í braut á báru ‘went away on the wave’: This appears to suggest that Óláfr walked on the water. Given the poor state of the text and the fact that gekk ‘walked’ rather than fór ‘went, travelled’ might have been expected, this remains uncertain, and such a claim would be unique to this poem: ÓT (1958-2000, II, 231) only has engi uissi með hveriu moti hann for ꜳ land ‘no-one knew by what means he got to land’. Nevertheless, walking on water seems likely since it would match and justify the second helmingr and would allude to the Gospel story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. XIV. 22-33), with which the Þorkell episode shares several elements: Jesus/Óláfr is praying alone on land at night, while his companions are on a boat; Jesus/Óláfr walks on the water; Peter/Þorkell has to be rescued from the water by Jesus/Óláfr. A further possibility is that he was carried by an angel, as is reported elsewhere of Óláfr (cf. Flat 1860-8, I, 464).

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baug ‘The ring’

baugr (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): ring < bauglestir (noun m.)

kennings

Bauglestir
‘The ring-harmer ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

The ring-harmer → GENEROUS MAN
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lestir ‘harmer’

lestir (noun m.): damager, destroyer < bauglestir (noun m.)

kennings

Bauglestir
‘The ring-harmer ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

The ring-harmer → GENEROUS MAN
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af ‘from’

af (prep.): from

notes

[2] af hesti ... ‘from the horse ...’: Hesti ‘horse’ is certain, and in the context is most likely to be the base-word of a ship-kenning. The determinant may be a sea-kenning incorporating bekkjar ‘of the bench’ as determinant (see LP: 2. bekkr 1 for examples), or possibly bekkjar alone in the sense ‘ship’ (LP: 2. bekkr 2). Af ‘from’ is less clear: Finnur Jónsson reads ‘a’, which he takes as a scribal error for af, but Ólafur Halldórsson (AM 61 1982, 23) thinks the ms. has a ligature of ‘a’ + ‘f’, i.e. af. Kock (NN §3346) suggests emendation to ráhesti (m. dat. sg.) ‘sailyard-horse’, hence á ráhesti báru ‘on the sailyard-horse of the waves [SHIP]’, but this (overdetermined) kenning is not justified, given the fragmentary state of the text, and neither is his reading in Skald of af for á (l. 1).

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hesti ‘the horse’

hestr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): horse, stallion

notes

[2] af hesti ... ‘from the horse ...’: Hesti ‘horse’ is certain, and in the context is most likely to be the base-word of a ship-kenning. The determinant may be a sea-kenning incorporating bekkjar ‘of the bench’ as determinant (see LP: 2. bekkr 1 for examples), or possibly bekkjar alone in the sense ‘ship’ (LP: 2. bekkr 2). Af ‘from’ is less clear: Finnur Jónsson reads ‘a’, which he takes as a scribal error for af, but Ólafur Halldórsson (AM 61 1982, 23) thinks the ms. has a ligature of ‘a’ + ‘f’, i.e. af. Kock (NN §3346) suggests emendation to ráhesti (m. dat. sg.) ‘sailyard-horse’, hence á ráhesti báru ‘on the sailyard-horse of the waves [SHIP]’, but this (overdetermined) kenning is not justified, given the fragmentary state of the text, and neither is his reading in Skald of af for á (l. 1).

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†… ‘…’

(non-lexical)

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… da …† ‘’

(non-lexical)

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her ‘the troop’

herr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -jar, gen. -ja/herra): army, host < herrekkir (noun m.): [War-promoter]

kennings

herrekkir …
‘the troop-emboldener ’
   = RULER

the troop-emboldener → RULER
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rekkir ‘emboldener’

rekkir (noun m.): [emboldener] < herrekkir (noun m.): [War-promoter]

kennings

herrekkir …
‘the troop-emboldener ’
   = RULER

the troop-emboldener → RULER
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sáz ‘were to be seen’

2. sjá (verb): see

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þeingils ‘of the ruler’

þengill (noun m.): prince, ruler

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oft ‘often’

opt (adv.): often

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Ólafs ‘Óláfr’s’

Óláfr (noun m.): Óláfr

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gifta ‘blessedness’

1. gifta (noun f.): grace, fortune

notes

[7] gifta ‘blessedness’: Here, as usual in late skaldic poetry (and in much prose devoted to the missionary kings), this word has specifically Christian connotations and means ‘grace, blessing from God’ (see Baetke 1951, 47-54; Lange 1958a, 50-2); the objections raised by Hallberg (1973) to this interpretation are not pertinent to the skaldic material.

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jöfurs ‘the prince’s’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

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kynjum ‘miraculously’

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verða ‘to turn out’

1. verða (verb): become, be

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

The wording of the stanza is close to the prose (see Introduction), here especially to ÓTOdd (both have spor ‘footprint, track’), though this is presumably by chance as elsewhere the stanzas are much closer to ÓT. — [6-7]: The two intercalary sentences are paired to form an explanation of people’s conviction that Óláfr moved by supernatural means: while eingi spor sáz ‘no footprints were to be seen’, his blessedness siez oft ‘is often seen’.

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