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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 9II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 9’ 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. 240-1.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonÞorfinnsdrápa

text and translation

Ulfs tuggu rauð eggjar,
eitt þars Torfnes heitir,
— ungr olli því þengill —
— þat vas mánadag — fránar.
Sungu þar, til þinga,
þunn fyr Ekkjal sunnan
sverð, es siklingr barðisk
snarr við Skotlands harra.

Fránar eggjar rauð {tuggu ulfs}, þars eitt heitir Torfnes; ungr þengill olli því; þat vas mánadag. Þunn sverð sungu þar fyr sunnan Ekkjal, es siklingr, snarr til þinga, barðisk við harra Skotlands.
‘Bright blades grew red on the wolf’s mouthful [CORPSE], at a place called Tarbatness (Torfnes); young, the ruler caused that; it was a Monday. Slender swords sang there south of the Oykell, as the princeling, swift into conflict, fought with Scotland’s lord.

notes and context

In the land battle at Tarbatness (Torfnes), Þorfinnr and his men attack, and Karl’s Irish division is thrown into disarray. Karl then advances his standard against Þorfinnr in a grim struggle. He eventually flees, though some say that he fell.



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 9: AI, 345, BI, 317-18, Skald I, 161, NN §§830, 2495D; Flat 1860-8, II, 407, Orkn 1913-16, 50, ÍF 34, 50 (ch. 20); Whaley 1998, 236-8.


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