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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Magndr 1II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 1’ 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. 207-9.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonMagnússdrápa

text and translation

Nú hykk rjóðanda reiðu
rógǫrs, þvít veitk gǫrva,
— þegi seimbrotar — segja
seggjum hneitis eggja.
Vasat ellifu allra
ormsetrs hati vetra,
hraustr þás herskip glæsti
Hǫrða vinr ór Gǫrðum.

Nú hykk segja seggjum reiðu {rógǫrs rjóðanda hneitis eggja}, þvít veitk gǫrva; {seimbrotar} þegi. {Hati {ormsetrs}} vasat allra ellifu vetra, þás {hraustr vinr Hǫrða} glæsti herskip ór Gǫrðum.
‘Now I mean to tell men of the career of the strife-quick reddener of the sword’s edges [WARRIOR], for I know it fully; let gold-breakers [GENEROUS MEN] be silent. The hater of the reptile’s home [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] was not fully eleven winters when [he], the valiant friend of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús], arrayed warships to leave Russia.

notes and context

Magnús Óláfsson journeys west from north-west Russia. The summary account in Fsk is brought to a close by st. 1. The others are more leisurely and incorporate at least one other st.

In Hkr and ÓH the st. is identified as being from Magnússdrápa. — [7-8]: These ll. are identical to the second couplet of a st. which is attributed in its sole ms. source, F, to Hallar-Steinn (HSt Frag 1I), the first couplet of which reads Tolf vas elds at aldri | ýsetrs hati vetra ‘The hater of the fire of the yew-bow’s rest [ARM/HAND > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] was twelve years in age’. That st. has been taken as belonging to the opening of Hallfreðr’s Óláfsdrápa (Hallfr ÓldrI), and since a st. by Hallfreðr influenced Arn Þorfdr 24 (see Note to [All]), one cannot rule out the possibility that Magndr 1 is composed in imitation of him (a view favoured by de Vries, 1952, 165). On the other hand, the scribe of one or other st., prompted by the similarity of the ll. ormsetrs hati vetra and ýsetrs hati vetra, may have unwittingly substituted hraustr ... Gǫrðum for its original couplet, which is now lost. If so, the likelihood is that hraustr ... Gǫrðum belongs to Arnórr’s st. rather than the other, since (i) it is found in all the diverse ms. texts of Magndr 1; (ii) the adj. hraustr ‘valiant, bold’ is also applied to Magnús in st. 2/6, where it stands at the corresponding point in the st.; and (iii) the doubtful attribution of the Hallar-Steinn/Hallfreðr st. Tolf vas elds... makes its text suspect also. Cf. Fidjestøl (1982, 107), who sees it as a spurious importation from the tradition about Magnús to that of Óláfr Tryggvason.



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: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 3. Magnúsdrápa 1: AI, 338, BI, 311, Skald I, 158; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 3, ÍF 28, 3, Hkr 1991, 557 (Mgóð ch. 1), F 1871, 168, E 1916, 7; ÓH 1941, I, 614 (ch. 252); Fsk 1902-3, 192-3 (ch. 38), ÍF 29, 208-9 (ch. 45); Fms 6, 21-2 (Mgóð ch. 10), Fms 12, 126; Flat 1860-8, III, 262, Andersson and Gade 2000, 99, 466 (MH); Whaley 1998, 182-4.


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