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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Blakkr Breiðdr 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Blakkr, Breiðskeggsdrápa 1’ 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. 647-8.

BlakkrBreiðskeggsdrápa
12

kveða ‘They say’

kveða (verb): say, recite

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Breiðskeggs ‘Breiðskeggr’s’

breiðskeggr (noun m.; °-s): breiðskeggr

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yfir ‘above’

yfir (prep.): over

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ljóss ‘in light’

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

[3] ljóss: ljós all others

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veitk ‘I know’

1. vita (verb): know

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missa ‘be lacking ’

2. missa (verb): lose, lack

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meir ‘rather’

meir (adv.): further, again

[4] meir hǫfðingi þeira: meiri þǫrf ok þeira 81a

notes

[4] meir (adv.) ‘rather’: This adv. can mean ‘rather, later, still’ (see Fritzner: meirr). Skj B translates it as senere ‘later’ and takes it to mean that Breiðskeggr will be deprived of heavenly light in the after-life. That interpretation is possible (referring to the impending Judgement day when Breiðskeggr will miss out on eternal life and go to the place of darkness). Alternatively, since he is already dead, the cl. can also refer to the fact that there is no light at the place he is currently (namely, in hell), and that is the interpretation adopted in the present edn.

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hǫfðingi ‘chieftain’

hǫfðingi (noun m.; °-ja; -jar): chieftain

[4] meir hǫfðingi þeira: meiri þǫrf ok þeira 81a

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þeira ‘their’

hann (pron.; °gen. hans, dat. honum; f. hon, gen. hennar, acc. hana): he, she, it, they, them...

[4] meir hǫfðingi þeira: meiri þǫrf ok þeira 81a

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Vitumat ‘We [I] do not know’

1. vita (verb): know

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vér ‘we [I]’

vér (pron.; °gen. vár, dat./acc. oss): we, us, our

notes

[6] vér hugðumk brugðit því ‘we [I] thought an end had been put to that’: I.e. an end to the talk about Breiðskeggr’s sanctity.

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hugðumk ‘thought’

2. hyggja (verb): think, consider

[6] hugðumk: hugðusk E, hugðum 325VIII 4 a

notes

[6] vér hugðumk brugðit því ‘we [I] thought an end had been put to that’: I.e. an end to the talk about Breiðskeggr’s sanctity.

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því ‘to 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

notes

[6] vér hugðumk brugðit því ‘we [I] thought an end had been put to that’: I.e. an end to the talk about Breiðskeggr’s sanctity.

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brugðit ‘an end had been put’

bregða (verb; °bregðr/brigðr; brá, brugðu; brugðinn/brogðinn): pull, jerk, break; change

[6] brugðit: so Flat, brugðumsk 8, 81a, brugðusk 327, E, 325VIII 4 a

notes

[6] vér hugðumk brugðit því ‘we [I] thought an end had been put to that’: I.e. an end to the talk about Breiðskeggr’s sanctity.

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þollr ‘the tree’

þollr (noun m.): fir-tree

kennings

þollr ǫrþings
‘the tree of the arrow-assembly ’
   = WARRIOR

the arrow-assembly → BATTLE
the tree of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
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ǫllu ‘in all respects’

allr (adj.): all

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ǫr ‘of the arrow’

ǫr (noun f.; °dat. -/-u; ǫrvar/ǫrar): arrow < ǫrþing (noun n.)

kennings

þollr ǫrþings
‘the tree of the arrow-assembly ’
   = WARRIOR

the arrow-assembly → BATTLE
the tree of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
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ǫr ‘of the arrow’

ǫr (noun f.; °dat. -/-u; ǫrvar/ǫrar): arrow < ǫrþing (noun n.)

kennings

þollr ǫrþings
‘the tree of the arrow-assembly ’
   = WARRIOR

the arrow-assembly → BATTLE
the tree of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
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þings ‘assembly’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < ǫrþing (noun n.)

kennings

þollr ǫrþings
‘the tree of the arrow-assembly ’
   = WARRIOR

the arrow-assembly → BATTLE
the tree of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
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þings ‘assembly’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < ǫrþing (noun n.)

kennings

þollr ǫrþings
‘the tree of the arrow-assembly ’
   = WARRIOR

the arrow-assembly → BATTLE
the tree of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
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gǫrningum ‘his undertakings’

gerning (noun f.): [his undertakings]

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

Blakkr speaks out against the sanctity of Þorleifr Breiðskeggr.

[1-2]: These ll. recall st. 20/5, 6 of Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli (GeislVII): Síðan brann ljós yfir líki vísa ‘Then light burned over the body of the prince’. Thus it appears that Blakkr is deliberately ridiculing the ‘sanctity’ of Breiðskeggr by alluding to the miracles connected with the sanctity of S. Óláfr.

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