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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Ól 5I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Poem about Óláfr Tryggvason 5’ 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. 1066.

Anonymous PoemsPoem about Óláfr Tryggvason

text and translation

Varð ei varr fyrr sverða
valdr, en steyft var Baldri
baugs af byrjar faxa
braut á sildar lautir.
Þar var í lund af landi
lastvarr kominn harri;
‘seggr, gjalt,’ sonr kvað Tryggva,
‘svinnr, forvitni þinnar.’

{Valdr sverða} varð ei varr fyrr en {Baldri baugs} var steyft braut af {faxa byrjar} á {lautir sildar}. Þar var harri, lastvarr í lund, kominn af landi; ‘gjalt, svinnr seggr,’ kvað {sonr Tryggva}, ‘forvitni þinnar.’
‘The ruler of swords [WARRIOR = Þorkell] did not become aware until the Baldr <god> of the ring [MAN = Þorkell] was toppled down off the steed of the breeze [SHIP] into the hollows of the herring [SEA]. There was the lord, faultless in temperament, come from the land; ‘pay, clever fellow,’ said Tryggvi’s son [= Óláfr], ‘for your curiosity.’

notes and context

[1-4]: The man- and warrior-kennings both refer to Þorkell. Judging from the prose sources he seems to have been sitting at the landward end of the gang-plank facing Ormr inn langi, hoping to catch sight of Óláfr leaving the ship. This event is also mentioned in HSt Rst 29.


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 og vers XIV], A. 9. Af et digt om Olaf Tryggvason 5: AII, 462, BII, 495, Skald II, 270; Finnur Jónsson 1884-91, 115, 119-20, ÓT 1958-2000, III, xxxiii, AM 61 1982, 22-5.


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