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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Magndr 6II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 6’ 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. 215-16.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonMagnússdrápa

text and translation

Segja munk, hvé Sygna
snarfengjan bar þengil
hallr ok hrími sollinn
hléborðs visundr norðan.
Setti bjóðr at breiðu
brynþings — fetilstinga
fús tók ǫld við œsi —
Jótlandi gramr branda.

Munk segja, hvé {visundr hléborðs}, hallr ok sollinn hrími, bar {snarfengjan þengil Sygna} norðan. {Bjóðr {brynþings}}, gramr, setti branda at breiðu Jótlandi; ǫld tók fús við {œsi {fetilstinga}}.
‘I will tell how the bison of the lee-side [SHIP], listing and encrusted with rime, carried the swift-acting lord of the Sygnir [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús] from the north. The convenor of the byrnie-assembly [BATTLE > WARRIOR], the monarch, steered his prows towards broad Jylland; people received, eager, the impeller of sword-belt stabbers [SWORDS > WARRIOR].

notes and context

All three prose works include sts 6 and 7 in their accounts of how Magnús assumed rule over Denmark. In Hkr and H-Hr, st. 6 appears early in the narrative, as Magnús sails to Jutland. In Flat it finishes off the brief account and st. 6 follows 7.

[5-7]: (a) The warrior-kenning bjóðr brynþings ‘the convenor of the byrnie-assembly’ assumed above is well paralleled, e.g. by brynþings boði ‘announcer of the byrnie-assembly [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’, ǪrvOdd Ævdr 8/3 and 34/3VIII. It is taken here as the subject to setti branda ‘steered his prows’. Fetilstinga œsi ‘the impeller of sword-belt stabbers [SWORDS > WARRIOR]’ is assumed to form another kenning, object to fús tók ǫld við... ‘eager, people received...’, and gramr ‘(fierce) monarch, sovereign’ in l. 8 is taken in apposition to bjóðr brynþings. This is also the analysis adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), by Kock (NN §1295), and by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 28, 35 n.) who, however, favours reading æsi ‘god’ (nom. sg. ss/áss) rather than œsi ‘impeller’ as the base-word of the kenning. (b) The variant ‘blidr’ (so H, Hr, Flat), i.e. the adj. blíðr ‘blithe’, could qualify gramr ‘monarch’ in l. 8, and the vowel of ms. bryn- would be long (the metrically preferable alternative), hence brýn- ‘pressing, urgent’. In this case brýnþings fetilstinga œsi is construed as a single kenning, hence fús tók ǫld við œsi fetilstinga brýnþings ‘eager, people received the impeller of the pressing assembly of sword-belt-stabbers [SWORDS > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’. Fetilstinga þing is fairly certainly attested in the C13th GunnHám Lv 5/8V, and the assumption of brýn- ‘pressing, urgent’ would find some support in kennings such as rammþing Glamma ‘mighty assembly of Glammi’ in st. 9/2 below. The l. brynþing fetilstinga occurs in Eyv Lv 1/2I, and the interpretation of that st. would be greatly helped by the assumption that bryn-, the reading of all mss, stands for brýn- ‘pressing’ rather than bryn- ‘byrnie’; cf. also ÞjóðA Lv 3. However, the contexts in which brynþing must mean ‘byrnie-assembly’ (including Mark Eirdr 7/1 and the eddic Sigrdr 5, NK 190) are numerous enough to suggest that (a) above is the safer alternative in the present context.



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 6: AI, 339-40, BI, 312, Skald I, 158-9, NN §§1295, 1853B; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 37-8, ÍF 28, 34-5, Hkr 1991, 578 (Mgóð ch. 19), F 1871, 179, E 1916, 20; Fms 6, 50-1 (Mgóð ch. 25), Fms 12, 131-2; Flat 1860-8, III, 273, Andersson and Gade 2000, 112, 468 (MH); Whaley 1998, 195-7.


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