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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 16II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 16’ 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. 247-8.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonÞorfinnsdrápa

text and translation

Enn vas, sús Engla minnir,
egghríð, né mun síðan
hôr við helming meira
hringdrífr koma þingat.
Bitu sverð, en þar þurði,
þunngǫr, fyr Mǫn sunnan
Rǫgnvalds kind, und randir
ramlig folk, ins gamla.

Enn vas {egghríð}, sús Engla minnir, né mun {hôr hringdrífr} síðan koma þingat við meira helming. Þunngǫr sverð bitu ramlig folk und randir, en {kind Rǫgnvalds ins gamla} þurði þar fyr sunnan Mǫn.
‘Then came the edge-blizzard [BATTLE] which the English remember, and never after will a lofty ring-strewer [GENEROUS RULER] come there with a larger force. Slender-wrought swords bit the mighty troops beneath their shields, and the descendant of Rǫgnvaldr inn gamli (‘the Old’) [= Þorfinnr] rushed forth there south of Man.

notes and context

In Orkn, Þorfinnr successfully wins a grim battle in England, supported by Rǫgnvaldr Brúsason and troops from Orkney, Caithness and elsewhere in Scotland, Ireland and the Hebrides. The jarls then plunder, kill and burn widely. In SnE, the second helmingr occurs in the same context as Arn Rǫgndr 2 and Þorfdr 4, and is quoted to illustrate the kenning kind Rǫgnvalds ‘descendant of Rǫgnvaldr’.

SnE explicitly states that the st. concerns Þorfinnr jarl.



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 15: AI, 346, BI, 319, Skald I, 161-2, NN §832; Flat 1860-8, II, 412, Orkn 1913-16, 64, ÍF 34, 61 (ch. 24); SnE 1848-87, I, 462-3, II, 338, SnE 1931, 164, SnE 1998, I, 82-3, 206; Whaley 1998, 250-3.


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