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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 24II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 24’ 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. 258-9.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonÞorfinnsdrápa
232425

text and translation

Bjǫrt verðr sól at svartri;
søkkr fold í mar døkkvan;
brestr erfiði Austra;
allr glymr sær á fjǫllum,
áðr at Eyjum fríðri
(inndróttar) Þórfinni
(þeim hjalpi goð geymi)
gœðingr myni fœðask.

Bjǫrt sól verðr at svartri; fold søkkr í døkkvan mar; {erfiði Austra} brestr; allr sær glymr á fjǫllum, áðr gœðingr fríðri Þórfinni myni fœðask at Eyjum; goð hjalpi {þeim geymi inndróttar}.
 
‘The bright sun will turn to black; the earth will sink in the dark ocean; the toil of Austri <dwarf> [SKY/HEAVEN] will split; all the sea will roar over the mountains, before a chieftain finer than Þorfinnr will be born on the Islands; God help that guardian of his retinue [RULER].

notes and context

In Orkn, the st. is first quoted in ch. 32 together with st. 20 (see Context). The introductory note that the sts were composed about the battle between Rǫgnvaldr and Þorfinnr is in fact only appropriate to st. 19. It is also, like sts 19 and 20 and Bj Hall Kálffl 8I, appended without comment and quite incongruously to Orkn ch. 56. In SnE, the first helmingr is cited to exemplify a sky-kenning, in this case erfiði Austra ‘Austri’s toil  or burden’ (so also in LaufE).

There are clear and probably deliberate echoes of Hfr ErfÓl 26, 27I. Particularly striking are the (otherwise unparalleled) sky-kennings: Arnórr’s erfiði Austra ‘the toil of Austri <dwarf>’ echoing Hallfreðr’s niðbyrðr Norðra ‘the burden of Norðri’s <dwarf’s> kin’, and the parallels in structure, imagery and wording between Hfr ErfÓl 27I and Þorfdr 24. Lines 1-2 also bear a striking resemblance to Vsp 57/1-2 Sól tér sortna, | sígr (variant søccr) fold í mar ‘The sun begins to blacken, the earth sinks into the ocean’ (NK 13-14), and to Vsp 41/5 svort verða sólscin ‘the sunshine will turn black’ (variant svart var þá sólscin) ‘the sunshine was black then’ (NK 10). — Flat(133ra), as the better of two Flat texts, is adopted as main ms. here, since only Flat has the complete st., but the SnE and LaufE readings for ll. 1-4 are superior to either Flat text. — In LaufE, the helmingr is written together with Balti Sigdr 4 as one st. — [3]: This l. has gained prominence in the title of an article by Kuhn (1969) in which it figures as a classic example of an C11th metrical innovation by which the first hending falls on a verb in low stress which unusually precedes the first alliterating syllable in a Type C l.

readings

sources

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 24: AI, 348, BI, 321, Skald I, 162-3; Flat 1860-8, II, 422, 440, Orkn 1913-16, 88, 131 n., ÍF 34, 83-4, 122 (chs 32, 56; st. not printed at repeat); SnE 1848-87, I, 316-17, II, 313, 526, SnE 1931, 113, SnE 1998, I, 33-4; LaufE 1979, 350; Whaley 1998, 264-7.

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