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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 11II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 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. 242-3.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonÞorfinnsdrápa

text and translation

Týndusk ból, þás brenndi
— bráskat þat dœgr háski —
— stǫkk í reyr in roknu
rauðr eldr — Skotaveldi.
Morðkennir galt mǫnnum
mein; á sumri einu
fengu þeir við þengil
þrimr sinnum hlut minna.

Ból týndusk, þás brenndi Skotaveldi; rauðr eldr stǫkk í in roknu reyr; þat dœgr bráskat háski. {Morðkennir} galt mǫnnum mein; á einu sumri fengu þeir þrimr sinnum minna hlut við þengil.
‘Dwellings perished, as he burned the Scots’ realm; red fire leapt in the smoking thatch; that day peril did not cease. The battle-master [WARRIOR] paid men for their injuries; in a single summer they got three times over the poorer deal from the ruler.

notes and context

Þorfinnr pursues the fleeing Scots and subdues the populace as far south as Fife (Fífi). He then releases part of his troops, upon which the Scots plan to rise against him. Þorfinnr, furious, marches against them but they flee before battle is joined. The jarl’s order to burn the entire district is carried out ruthlessly. Men are slain, while the women and old folk escape to the woods, and others are captured.



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, 5. Þórfinnsdrápa 11: AI, 345-6, BI, 318, Skald I, 161; Flat 1860-8, II, 408, Orkn 1913-16, 52, ÍF 34, 51-2 (ch. 20); Whaley 1998, 240-2.


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