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skaldic

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

Bjǫrt ‘The bright’

bjartr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bright

[1] Bjǫrt verðr: Brest varð Tˣ

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verðr ‘will turn’

1. verða (verb): become, be

[1] Bjǫrt verðr: Brest varð Tˣ

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at ‘to’

3. at (prep.): at, to

notes

[1] at svartri ‘to black’: The variant sortna ‘turn black’ appears only in Flat(133ra) and may be due to the influence of Vsp 57, cited above. A number of other readings in ll. 1-4 are rejected since they are peculiar to Flat.

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svartri ‘black’

svartr (adj.): black

[1] svartri: so all others, sortna Flat(133ra)

notes

[1] at svartri ‘to black’: The variant sortna ‘turn black’ appears only in Flat(133ra) and may be due to the influence of Vsp 57, cited above. A number of other readings in ll. 1-4 are rejected since they are peculiar to Flat.

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fold ‘the earth’

fold (noun f.): land

[2] fold: ‘[...]lld’ W

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mar ‘ocean’

1. marr (noun m.): sea

[2] mar: so all others, lǫg Flat(133ra)

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erfiði ‘the toil’

erfiði (noun n.; °-s): hardship

[3] erfiði: ‘erfuide’ 2368ˣ

kennings

erfiði Austra
‘the toil of Austri ’
   = SKY/HEAVEN

the toil of Austri → SKY/HEAVEN

notes

[3] erfiði Austra ‘the toil of Austri [SKY]’: Referring to the myth that the sky is held up by four dwarves, Austri, Vestri, Norðri and Suðri (SnE 1988, I, 16).

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Austra ‘of Austri’

Austri (noun m.): Austri

[3] Austra: so all others, it eystra Flat(133ra), Flat(135rb)

kennings

erfiði Austra
‘the toil of Austri ’
   = SKY/HEAVEN

the toil of Austri → SKY/HEAVEN

notes

[3] erfiði Austra ‘the toil of Austri [SKY]’: Referring to the myth that the sky is held up by four dwarves, Austri, Vestri, Norðri and Suðri (SnE 1988, I, 16).

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allr ‘all’

allr (adj.): all

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glymr ‘will roar’

glymja (verb): resound

[4] glymr: so all others, brunar Flat(133ra), Flat(135rb)

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sær ‘the sea’

sjór (noun m.): sea

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á ‘over’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[4] á: so R, Tˣ, W, B, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, með Flat(133ra), Flat(135rb), und U

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fjǫllum ‘the mountains’

1. fjall (noun n.): mountain

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Eyjum ‘the Islands’

1. ey (noun f.; °-jar, dat. -ju/-; -jar): island

notes

[5] Eyjum ‘Islands’: The Orkney Islands (Orkneyjar; cf. LP: 1. ey), or perhaps the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland.

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fríðri ‘finer’

fríðr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): beautiful, fair

[5] fríðri: fríðum Flat(133ra), Flat(135rb)

notes

[5] fríðri ‘finer’: The second helmingr does not make sense in either of its two appearances in Flat, and emendation of fríðum to fríðri is among the minor alterations necessary (so Gudbrand Vigfusson, Orkn 1887, 59 n. 9, and subsequent eds.) The supposed corruption could easily have taken place under influence of the following eyjum.

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inn ‘of his’

1. inn (adv.): in, inside < inndrótt (noun f.): retinue

kennings

þeim geymi inndróttar.
‘that guardian of his retinue.’
   = RULER

that guardian of his retinue. → RULER

notes

[6, 7] goð hjalpi þeim geymi inndróttar ‘God help that guardian of his retinue [RULER]’: One of five such prayers in Arnórr’s surviving work; see Note to Rǫgndr 3.

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dróttar ‘retinue’

1. drótt (noun f.): troop < inndrótt (noun f.): retinue

[6] ‑dróttar: ‘‑dro᷎tt’ Flat(135rb)

kennings

þeim geymi inndróttar.
‘that guardian of his retinue.’
   = RULER

that guardian of his retinue. → RULER

notes

[6, 7] goð hjalpi þeim geymi inndróttar ‘God help that guardian of his retinue [RULER]’: One of five such prayers in Arnórr’s surviving work; see Note to Rǫgndr 3.

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Þórfinni ‘than Þorfinnr’

Þórfinnr (noun m.): Þorfinnr

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þeim ‘that’

1. sá (pron.; °gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---): that (one), those

kennings

þeim geymi inndróttar.
‘that guardian of his retinue.’
   = RULER

that guardian of his retinue. → RULER

notes

[6, 7] goð hjalpi þeim geymi inndróttar ‘God help that guardian of his retinue [RULER]’: One of five such prayers in Arnórr’s surviving work; see Note to Rǫgndr 3.

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hjalpi ‘help’

1. hjalpa (verb): help

[7] hjalpi goð: hialp goð ok Flat(135rb)

notes

[6, 7] goð hjalpi þeim geymi inndróttar ‘God help that guardian of his retinue [RULER]’: One of five such prayers in Arnórr’s surviving work; see Note to Rǫgndr 3.

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goð ‘God’

1. guð (noun m.; °***guðrs, guðis, gus): (Christian) God

[7] hjalpi goð: hialp goð ok Flat(135rb)

notes

[6, 7] goð hjalpi þeim geymi inndróttar ‘God help that guardian of his retinue [RULER]’: One of five such prayers in Arnórr’s surviving work; see Note to Rǫgndr 3.

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geymi ‘guardian’

geymir (noun m.): guardian, keeper

kennings

þeim geymi inndróttar.
‘that guardian of his retinue.’
   = RULER

that guardian of his retinue. → RULER

notes

[6, 7] goð hjalpi þeim geymi inndróttar ‘God help that guardian of his retinue [RULER]’: One of five such prayers in Arnórr’s surviving work; see Note to Rǫgndr 3.

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gœðingr ‘a chieftain’

gœðingr (noun m.): chieftain

[8] gœðingr myni fœðask: ‘gædingar uel tædu’ Flat(133ra), ‘gædíngr minní fædaz’ Flat(135rb)

notes

[8] gœðingr myni fœðask ‘chieftain will be born’: (a) The reading of Flat(135rb) gives excellent sense with the minor emendation of minni to myni, hence ‘(the world will end before) a chieftain (finer than Þorfinnr) will be born’. (b) Flat(133ra)’s gœðingar vel tœðu ‘chieftains served well’ (from tœja ‘help, serve’), does not fit the sense of the st.

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myni ‘will’

munu (verb): will, must

[8] gœðingr myni fœðask: ‘gædingar uel tædu’ Flat(133ra), ‘gædíngr minní fædaz’ Flat(135rb)

notes

[8] gœðingr myni fœðask ‘chieftain will be born’: (a) The reading of Flat(135rb) gives excellent sense with the minor emendation of minni to myni, hence ‘(the world will end before) a chieftain (finer than Þorfinnr) will be born’. (b) Flat(133ra)’s gœðingar vel tœðu ‘chieftains served well’ (from tœja ‘help, serve’), does not fit the sense of the st.

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fœðask ‘be born’

2. fœða (verb): to feed, give food to, bring up, bear, give birth to

[8] gœðingr myni fœðask: ‘gædingar uel tædu’ Flat(133ra), ‘gædíngr minní fædaz’ Flat(135rb)

notes

[8] gœðingr myni fœðask ‘chieftain will be born’: (a) The reading of Flat(135rb) gives excellent sense with the minor emendation of minni to myni, hence ‘(the world will end before) a chieftain (finer than Þorfinnr) will be born’. (b) Flat(133ra)’s gœðingar vel tœðu ‘chieftains served well’ (from tœja ‘help, serve’), does not fit the sense of the st.

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

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.

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