Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Árm Lv 2II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Ármóðr, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 621-2.


Hrǫnns fyr Humru mynni
háleit, þars vér beitum;
sveigir lauk, en lægjask
lǫnd fyr Veslu sǫndum.
Eigi drífr í augu
alda lauðri faldin
— drengr ríðr þurr af þingi —
þeim, es nú sitr heima.

Hrǫnns háleit fyr mynni Humru, þars vér beitum; lauk sveigir, en lǫnd lægjask fyr sǫndum Veslu. Alda, faldin lauðri, drífr eigi í augu þeim, es nú sitr heima; drengr ríðr þurr af þingi.

The swell is lofty before Humber’s mouth, where we are tacking; the mast sways, and lands become lower off Vesla’s sands. The wave, capped with foam, is not driving into the eyes of the one who is sitting at home now; the fellow rides dry from the assembly.

Mss: 325I(12r), Flat(139vb), R702ˣ(45v) (Orkn)

Readings: [1] Hrǫnns (‘Hro᷎nn er’): so R702ˣ, Hrǫnn var 325I, Hrǫnn Flat;    Humru: ‘hueru’ Flat    [2] beitum: beittum Flat    [4] Veslu: veizlu Flat, ‘vetu’ R702ˣ    [7] þurr: þrátt Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 530-1, Skj BI, 511, Skald I, 250, NN §3119A; Flat 1860-8, II, 478, Orkn 1887, 159, Orkn 1913-16, 231, ÍF 34, 208-9 (ch. 86), Bibire 1988, 232.

Context: Rǫgnvaldr leaves Orkney with fifteen ships on his crusade to the Holy Land. As they sail along the Northumbrian coast, Ármóðr declaims this st.

Notes: [All]: The crusaders set out in the summer of 1151 (ÍF 34, lxxxviii). — [1] hrǫnns ‘the swell is’: The reading of R702ˣ is chosen as that of the main ms. gives too many syllables (NN §3119A). — [1, 4] mynni Humru; sǫndum Veslu ‘Humber’s mouth; Vesla’s sands’: Both of these place names have been treated here as genitival phrases rather than true compounds because that is how they are presented in all of the mss. Townend (1998, 74-6, 79-81) adopts a middle course by hyphenating both, although he notes (1998, 81) that ‘OE Humbra mūþa, a parallel phrase ... may have been a well-established compound’. — [4] Veslu ‘Vesla’s’: ÍF 34, 209 reports an unpublished suggestion by A. B. Taylor that ‘Vesla’s sands’ refer to Wallsend, also discussed by Townend (1998, 76) who finds it philologically unsatisfactory though geographically possible, while Bibire (1988, 232) finds it ‘topographically odd’. — [8]: Echoes Sigm Lv 2/2.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  5. ÍF = Íslenzk fornrit.
  6. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  7. Orkn 1913-16 = Sigurður Nordal, ed. 1913-16. Orkneyinga saga. SUGNL 40. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Townend, Matthew. 1998. English Place-Names in Skaldic Verse. English Place-Name Society extra ser. 1. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society.
  9. Bibire, Paul. 1988. ‘The Poetry of Earl Rǫgnvaldr’s Court’. In Crawford 1988, 208-40.
  10. Orkn 1887 = Gudbrand Vigfusson 1887-94, I.
  11. Internal references
  12. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Sigmundr ǫngull, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 627-8.

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