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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
202122

Hvárntveggja ‘both’

hvárrtveggi (pron.): both

[1] Hvárntveggja: Hvortveggi R702ˣ

kennings

hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn
‘both my wealth-givers ’
   = GENEROUS MEN

both my wealth-givers → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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sák ‘I watched’

2. sjá (verb): see

[1] sák (‘sa ek’): sá R702ˣ

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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hǫggva ‘hack down’

hǫggva (verb): to strike, put to death, cut, hew

[1] hǫggva: ‘ho᷎gna’ R702ˣ

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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hirð ‘retainers’

hirð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir/-ar(FskB— 53‡)): retinue

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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Péttlands ‘the Pentland’

[2] Péttlands‑: ‘fetlandz’ R702ˣ

notes

[2] Péttlandsfirði ‘Pentland Firth’: This is the first record of the name Péttlandsfjǫrðr in ON, which commemorates the Picts, the early inhabitants of mainland Scotland, south across the Firth from Orkney.

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firði ‘ Firth’

fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < Pettlandsfjǫrðr (noun m.)

notes

[2] Péttlandsfirði ‘Pentland Firth’: This is the first record of the name Péttlandsfjǫrðr in ON, which commemorates the Picts, the early inhabitants of mainland Scotland, south across the Firth from Orkney.

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ór ‘our [my]’

várr (pron.; °f. ór/vár; pl. órir/várir): our

[3] ór (‘uor’): mér R702ˣ

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mínn ‘my’

minn (pron.; °f. mín, n. mitt): my

kennings

hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn
‘both my wealth-givers ’
   = GENEROUS MEN

both my wealth-givers → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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auð ‘wealth’

1. auðr (noun m.; °-s/-ar, dat. -i/-): wealth < auðgjafi (noun m.): [wealth-giver]

kennings

hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn
‘both my wealth-givers ’
   = GENEROUS MEN

both my wealth-givers → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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gjafa ‘givers’

gjafi (noun m.): giver < auðgjafi (noun m.): [wealth-giver]

[4] ‑gjafa: ‑gjafi R702ˣ

kennings

hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn
‘both my wealth-givers ’
   = GENEROUS MEN

both my wealth-givers → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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sína ‘their own’

3. sinn (pron.; °f. sín, n. sitt): (refl. poss. pron.)

notes

[1-2, 4] sák hvárntveggja auðgjafa mínn hǫggva hirð sína ‘I watched both my wealth-givers [GENEROUS MEN] hack down their own retainers’: (a) The 1st-pers. mode of the Flat reading matches that of l. 3 and Arnórr’s known presence at this battle; this is also adopted in Skj B. (b) The R702ˣ readings are also viable, giving ‘each of my wealth-givers watched his retainers being hacked down’.

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Sær ‘The sea’

sjór (noun m.): sea

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blezk ‘churned’

2. blanda (verb; °blendr; blett, blendu; blandinn): mix, blend (strong)

[5] blezk: so R702ˣ, ‘blerr’ Flat

notes

[5] blezk ‘churned’: Flat’s ‘blerr’ is not a known verbal form; but the R702ˣ variant blezk (‘blezt’) would be 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of blandask ‘mix’ and would give good sense. The usual construction is blandask e-u or blandask við e-t, so that here one must assume either that blóði ‘with blood’ is implied, or that blezk simply means ‘blended with itself, churned’.

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á ‘on’

3. á (prep.): on, at

notes

[6] á kløkkva saumfǫr ‘on the pliant nail-row’: (a) Saumfǫr, lit. ‘stitch-row’, the row of nails along each strake, is recorded in ON prose although not elsewhere in poetry, and it occurs in ModIcel. It is kløkkr ‘pliant’ in the sense that it gives with the motion of the ship in heavy seas. Lie (1954, 158-9 and n. 7) took saumfǫr as a pars-pro-toto expression for ‘ship’ here, which may be justified since, as Jesch points out (2001, 140), it is the wood rather than the nails that give pliability. (b) The R702ˣ variant ‘rvmspo᷎r’ is obscure, though rúm n. is a compartment of a ship, the space given to each pair of oars.

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saumfǫr ‘nail-row’

saumfǫr (noun f.): [nail-row]

[6] saumfǫr: ‘rvmspo᷎r’ R702ˣ

notes

[6] á kløkkva saumfǫr ‘on the pliant nail-row’: (a) Saumfǫr, lit. ‘stitch-row’, the row of nails along each strake, is recorded in ON prose although not elsewhere in poetry, and it occurs in ModIcel. It is kløkkr ‘pliant’ in the sense that it gives with the motion of the ship in heavy seas. Lie (1954, 158-9 and n. 7) took saumfǫr as a pars-pro-toto expression for ‘ship’ here, which may be justified since, as Jesch points out (2001, 140), it is the wood rather than the nails that give pliability. (b) The R702ˣ variant ‘rvmspo᷎r’ is obscure, though rúm n. is a compartment of a ship, the space given to each pair of oars.

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kløkkva ‘the pliant’

kløkkr (adj.): flexible, humble

[6] kløkkva (‘klocka’): ‘klockri’ or ‘klockvi’ R702ˣ

notes

[6] á kløkkva saumfǫr ‘on the pliant nail-row’: (a) Saumfǫr, lit. ‘stitch-row’, the row of nails along each strake, is recorded in ON prose although not elsewhere in poetry, and it occurs in ModIcel. It is kløkkr ‘pliant’ in the sense that it gives with the motion of the ship in heavy seas. Lie (1954, 158-9 and n. 7) took saumfǫr as a pars-pro-toto expression for ‘ship’ here, which may be justified since, as Jesch points out (2001, 140), it is the wood rather than the nails that give pliability. (b) The R702ˣ variant ‘rvmspo᷎r’ is obscure, though rúm n. is a compartment of a ship, the space given to each pair of oars.

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skaut ‘spurted’

skjóta (verb): shoot

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skjaldrim ‘the shield-rail’

skjaldrim (noun f.): [shield-rail]

[7] skjaldrim sveita: skjǫldin hvíta R702ˣ

notes

[7] skjaldrim ‘the shield-rail’: The outside of the gunwale, on which shields were hung. On the evidence of the Gokstad and Skuldelev 5 ships, it seems that this was a narrow ledge attached to the top strake (Jesch 2001a, 141).

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sveita ‘gore’

sveiti (noun m.; °-a): blood

[7] skjaldrim sveita: skjǫldin hvíta R702ˣ

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skokkr ‘decking’

skokkr (noun m.): bottom-board

[8] skokkr: skokk R702ˣ

notes

[8] skokkr ‘decking’: As a nautical term, skokkr is confined to skaldic poetry, and in none of the six contexts in which it occurs is its precise reference clear. But, partly on the basis of etymology and partly by inference from the use of skokk in Swed. dialect, it appears that skokkr is virtually synonymous with þiljur, designating the loose decking planks on the bottom of the ship (see Lindquist 1928; Ljunggren 1939, 26-8; Jesch 2001a, 151-3). See also Bǫlv Hardr 4/8, 5/8, 8/5 and Kolli Ingdr 4/7.

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blóði ‘with blood’

blóð (noun n.; °-s): blood

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stokkinn ‘spattered’

stokkinn (adj./verb p.p.): spattered, splattered

[8] stokkinn: stokkin R702ˣ

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

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.

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