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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Hardr 11II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 11’ 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. 272-3.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonHaraldsdrápa
101112

Hafðit ‘had no’

hafa (verb): have

[1] Hafðit: so Mork, Flat, H, Hr, Hafði Kˣ, F, E, J2ˣ, ‘Hafðeð’ FskAˣ

notes

[1, 4] hafðit lítit brjóst fyr sér ‘had no small courage in himself’: Brjóst can mean ‘breast, chest’, hence figuratively ‘courage’ or ‘defence, defender(s)’, and fyr sér can mean ‘in front of him(self)’, or ‘in, of him(self)’ as in the phrase mikill/lítill fyrir sér ‘great/insignificant in himself’. These alternative senses combine with the alternative readings hafði and hafðit to yield several possible interpretations of this st., the most satisfactory of which are: (a) The reading adopted here (and so Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 41, and Skj B), with the suffix -t negating lítit. (b) Reading hafði: ‘He had little defence in front of him’ (so ÍF 28), implying that Haraldr was in the forefront of the fighting.

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brjóst ‘courage’

brjóst (noun n.; °-s; -): breast, chest

notes

[1, 4] hafðit lítit brjóst fyr sér ‘had no small courage in himself’: Brjóst can mean ‘breast, chest’, hence figuratively ‘courage’ or ‘defence, defender(s)’, and fyr sér can mean ‘in front of him(self)’, or ‘in, of him(self)’ as in the phrase mikill/lítill fyrir sér ‘great/insignificant in himself’. These alternative senses combine with the alternative readings hafði and hafðit to yield several possible interpretations of this st., the most satisfactory of which are: (a) The reading adopted here (and so Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 41, and Skj B), with the suffix -t negating lítit. (b) Reading hafði: ‘He had little defence in front of him’ (so ÍF 28), implying that Haraldr was in the forefront of the fighting.

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bifðisk ‘did not tremble’

2. bifa (verb; °-að-): shudder, tremble

[1] bifðisk: bifðusk Hr

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snart ‘swift’

snarr (adj.): gallant, bold < bǫðsnarr (adj.)

[2] ‑snart: ‑svart FskAˣ

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hjalm ‘the helmet’

1. hjalmr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): helmet < hjalmþrima (noun f.): [helmet-crash]

kennings

hjalmþrimu,
‘the helmet-din, ’
   = BATTLE

the helmet-din, → BATTLE
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þrimu ‘din’

þrima (noun f.): battle < hjalmþrima (noun f.): [helmet-crash]

[3] ‑þrimu: ‑þrumu FskAˣ

kennings

hjalmþrimu,
‘the helmet-din, ’
   = BATTLE

the helmet-din, → BATTLE
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hilmir ‘The prince’

hilmir (noun m.): prince, protector

[3] hilmir: fylkir FskAˣ

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hlít ‘shunning’

hlít (noun f.; °-ar): sufficiency < hlítstyggr (adj.)

[4] hlít‑: lið‑ FskAˣ

notes

[4] hlítstyggr ‘shunning mediocrity’: This cpd adj. occurs in only one other context, Steinþ Frag l. 4III, where it is applied to Óðinn. Styggr ‘shy of, shunning’ is recorded in compounds with first elements meaning ‘delay’ (bilstyggr), ‘flight’ (flóttstyggr, flugstyggr) or ‘guile/harm’ (læstyggr, meinstyggr). The meaning of hlít- is more elusive. (a) Hlít f. ‘sufficiency’ and hlíta við ‘suffice, do’ suggest the meaning ‘shunning (mere) sufficiency, mediocrity’, i.e. ‘energetic, zealous’, adopted above for hlítstyggr, and this finds support in the adj. óhlítuligr ‘not trivial, great’ applied to the battle of Århus (Áróss) in Okík Magn 1/6. (b) The verb hlíta, governing the dat., can mean ‘rely on’. Hlítstyggr could therefore mean ‘shunning reliance (on others), relying solely on himself’, as in the adj. einhlítr, lit. ‘one-reliant, sole-relying’.

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styggr ‘mediocrity’

styggr (adj.): shy < hlítstyggr (adj.)

notes

[4] hlítstyggr ‘shunning mediocrity’: This cpd adj. occurs in only one other context, Steinþ Frag l. 4III, where it is applied to Óðinn. Styggr ‘shy of, shunning’ is recorded in compounds with first elements meaning ‘delay’ (bilstyggr), ‘flight’ (flóttstyggr, flugstyggr) or ‘guile/harm’ (læstyggr, meinstyggr). The meaning of hlít- is more elusive. (a) Hlít f. ‘sufficiency’ and hlíta við ‘suffice, do’ suggest the meaning ‘shunning (mere) sufficiency, mediocrity’, i.e. ‘energetic, zealous’, adopted above for hlítstyggr, and this finds support in the adj. óhlítuligr ‘not trivial, great’ applied to the battle of Århus (Áróss) in Okík Magn 1/6. (b) The verb hlíta, governing the dat., can mean ‘rely on’. Hlítstyggr could therefore mean ‘shunning reliance (on others), relying solely on himself’, as in the adj. einhlítr, lit. ‘one-reliant, sole-relying’.

Close

fyr ‘in’

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

[4] fyr sér: ok þó Flat

notes

[1, 4] hafðit lítit brjóst fyr sér ‘had no small courage in himself’: Brjóst can mean ‘breast, chest’, hence figuratively ‘courage’ or ‘defence, defender(s)’, and fyr sér can mean ‘in front of him(self)’, or ‘in, of him(self)’ as in the phrase mikill/lítill fyrir sér ‘great/insignificant in himself’. These alternative senses combine with the alternative readings hafði and hafðit to yield several possible interpretations of this st., the most satisfactory of which are: (a) The reading adopted here (and so Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 41, and Skj B), with the suffix -t negating lítit. (b) Reading hafði: ‘He had little defence in front of him’ (so ÍF 28), implying that Haraldr was in the forefront of the fighting.

Close

sér ‘himself’

sik (pron.; °gen. sín, dat. sér): (refl. pron.)

[4] fyr sér: ok þó Flat

notes

[1, 4] hafðit lítit brjóst fyr sér ‘had no small courage in himself’: Brjóst can mean ‘breast, chest’, hence figuratively ‘courage’ or ‘defence, defender(s)’, and fyr sér can mean ‘in front of him(self)’, or ‘in, of him(self)’ as in the phrase mikill/lítill fyrir sér ‘great/insignificant in himself’. These alternative senses combine with the alternative readings hafði and hafðit to yield several possible interpretations of this st., the most satisfactory of which are: (a) The reading adopted here (and so Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 41, and Skj B), with the suffix -t negating lítit. (b) Reading hafði: ‘He had little defence in front of him’ (so ÍF 28), implying that Haraldr was in the forefront of the fighting.

Close

lítit ‘small’

lítill (adj.; °lítinn): little

notes

[1, 4] hafðit lítit brjóst fyr sér ‘had no small courage in himself’: Brjóst can mean ‘breast, chest’, hence figuratively ‘courage’ or ‘defence, defender(s)’, and fyr sér can mean ‘in front of him(self)’, or ‘in, of him(self)’ as in the phrase mikill/lítill fyrir sér ‘great/insignificant in himself’. These alternative senses combine with the alternative readings hafði and hafðit to yield several possible interpretations of this st., the most satisfactory of which are: (a) The reading adopted here (and so Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 41, and Skj B), with the suffix -t negating lítit. (b) Reading hafði: ‘He had little defence in front of him’ (so ÍF 28), implying that Haraldr was in the forefront of the fighting.

Close

þars ‘where’

2. er (conj.): who, which, when

[5] þars: ‘þas er’ Flat

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til ‘’

til (prep.): to

[5] til: er Flat, því at Hr

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þengils ‘the lord’

þengill (noun m.): prince, ruler

[5] þengils: þarfar Mork, Flat, H, Hr

kennings

þengils hersa,
‘the lord of hersar, ’
   = RULER

the lord of hersar, → RULER
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hersa ‘of hersar

hersir (noun m.; °-is; -ar): cheiftan

[5] hersa: herjar F

kennings

þengils hersa,
‘the lord of hersar, ’
   = RULER

the lord of hersar, → RULER
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‘saw’

2. sjá (verb): see

[6] herr at: ‘siatnade’ Hr

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herr ‘the army’

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

[6] herr at: ‘siatnade’ Hr;    herr: menn Mork, Flat, H

Close

at ‘that’

4. at (conj.): that

[6] herr at: ‘siatnade’ Hr

Close

ins ‘of the’

2. inn (art.): the

[7] ins: en Hr

kennings

ins barra hneitis dǫglinga
‘of the zealous subduer of princes ’
   = RULER

the zealous subduer of princes → RULER
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barra ‘zealous’

3. barr (adj.): ready

[7] barra: bara Flat

kennings

ins barra hneitis dǫglinga
‘of the zealous subduer of princes ’
   = RULER

the zealous subduer of princes → RULER
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dǫglinga ‘of princes’

dǫglingr (noun m.; °; -ar): king, ruler

kennings

ins barra hneitis dǫglinga
‘of the zealous subduer of princes ’
   = RULER

the zealous subduer of princes → RULER
Close

hneitis ‘subduer’

hneitir (noun m.): sword

kennings

ins barra hneitis dǫglinga
‘of the zealous subduer of princes ’
   = RULER

the zealous subduer of princes → RULER
Close

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

In Hkr and H-Hr, the Norwegians are deceived by the apparent flight of the English into breaking their shield-wall. Seeing what straits his men are in, Haraldr plunges into the thick of the fighting with such vigour that the English (in Hkr) are on the point of fleeing. In Fsk, Mork and Flat, the Engl. cavalry gain the upper hand by sheer force of numbers, so that the Norwegians break ranks.

The st. is attributed in Mork and Flat to Arnórr ‘in his poem’ (í sínu kvæði).

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