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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 7II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 7’ 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. 237-8.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonÞorfinnsdrápa
678

At lǫgðu skip skatnar
skilit; fell herr á þiljur;
svômu jôrn í ômu
óðhǫrð Skota blóði.
Stall drapa — strengir gullu;
stál beit, en rann sveiti;
broddr fló; bifðusk oddar
bjartir — þengils hjarta.

Skatnar lǫgðu skip skilit at; herr fell á þiljur; óðhǫrð jôrn svômu í ômu blóði Skota. Hjarta þengils drapa stall; strengir gullu; stál beit, en sveiti rann; broddr fló; bjartir oddar bifðusk.

Men steered ships decisively to the attack; troops slumped to the decking; rage-hard iron blades swam in the dark blood of Scots. The ruler’s heart was not struck with terror; bow-strings shrilled; steel bit, and gore flowed; the spear-head flew; shining sword-points quivered.

Mss: 332ˣ(23), Flat(131ra), R702ˣ(37v), 48ˣ(344v marg) (Orkn)

Readings: [2] skilit: ‘skilid’ R702ˣ    [3] ômu: aumu Flat, mu 48ˣmarg    [4] ‑hǫrð: borð Flat, horð 48ˣmarg    [5] drapa: drepa Flat, drapa 48ˣmarg

Editions: Skj AI, 345, Skj BI, 317, Skald I, 161; Flat 1860-8, II, 405, Orkn 1913-16, 47, ÍF 34, 47 (ch. 20); Whaley 1998, 232-4.

Context: As for st. 6, which st. 7 follows directly.

Notes: [1] skatnar ‘men’: Since the remainder of the helmingr describes the shedding of Scottish blood it seems probable that the skatnar who steered ships into the attack (lǫgðu at) are the men of Orkney and that the troops who fell (fell) (l. 2) are the Scots. — [2] skilit ‘decisively’: The ms. form ‘skilit’ in 332ˣ and Flat is most likely to be n. nom./acc. sg. of the p. p. from skilja ‘separate, discern’. ‘Skilid’ in R702ˣ is ambiguous, since in the orthography of that ms. it could represent either -it or -. (a) Skilit is taken here as an adverbial use of the n. sg. p. p. of skilja. This usually has the sense ‘clearly, distinctly’ and occurs in phrases involving ‘distinct’ hearing or telling, e.g. Hfr ErfÓl 12/7I skilit frá ek ‘I heard clearly’. The adj. skilinn, however, can be applied to human actions as well as words in the sense ‘astute, reasonable’ (see Fritzner: skilinn 2), and this supports the interpretation ‘decisively, unhesitatingly’ adopted here (so also Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Finnbogi Guðmundsson in ÍF 34, 47 n.). (b) Skilið, if n. acc. pl. applied to skip ‘ships’ would mean ‘separate’, i.e. not linked together. But the writer of Orkn (ch. 20) certainly did not understand the words thus, for he states that both leaders tied their fleets together. — [5, 8] hjarta þengils drapa stall ‘the ruler’s heart was not struck with terror’: Drapa is 3rd sg. pret. indic. of drepa ‘strike’ with the suffixed negative -a. The idiom, which also appears c. 1000 in Eil Þdr 11/1, 4III and in Arn Hryn 12/7-8 (and see Note), probably means ‘the heart stops beating’, with drepa stall meaning ‘stop, make halt’ (Halldór Halldórsson 1965, 38-64). See also Sturl Hákkv 38/1, 4.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Halldór Halldórsson. 1965. ‘Hjarta drepr stall and some other Icelandic Metaphorical Phrases Pertaining to the Heart and Courage’. Íslenzk tunga 6, 38-70.
  5. Whaley, Diana, ed. and trans. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  9. Orkn 1913-16 = Sigurður Nordal, ed. 1913-16. Orkneyinga saga. SUGNL 40. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Internal references
  11. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Orkneyinga saga (Orkn)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  12. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 12’ 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. 197-8.
  13. Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 99.
  14. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 12’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 418.
  15. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða 38’ 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. 726-7.
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