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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 21II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 21’ 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. 254-5.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonÞorfinnsdrápa

text and translation

Hvárntveggja sák hǫggva
hirð á Péttlandsfirði
— ór þrifusk mein at meiri —
mínn auðgjafa sína.
Sær blezk, en dreif dreyri
døkkr á saumfǫr kløkkva;
skaut á skjaldrim sveita;
skokkr vas blóði stokkinn.

Sák {hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn} hǫggva hirð sína á Péttlandsfirði; mein ór þrifusk at meiri. Sær blezk, en døkkr dreyri dreif á kløkkva saumfǫr; sveita skaut á skjaldrim; skokkr vas stokkinn blóði.
‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers in the Pentland Firth; our [my] pain grew the more. The sea churned, and dark blood dashed on the pliant nail-row; gore spurted on the shield-rail; decking was spattered with blood.

notes and context

Þorfinnr, hard pressed in the battle off Rauðabjǫrg, retires for a short time and then rejoins the fighting, now with the support of Kálfr Árnason and his six crews. He brings up his ship against Rǫgnvaldr’s in a fierce struggle.

Uncharacteristically, R702ˣ contains many nonsensical readings while Flat has a superior text and is therefore adopted as the main ms.



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 21: AI, 347-8, BI, 320-1, Skald I, 162; Flat 1860-8, II, 415, Orkn 1913-16, 71, ÍF 34, 68-9 (ch. 26); Whaley 1998, 260-2.


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