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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 31VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 31’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 32.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli
303132

Gutthormr ‘Gutthormr’

Guthormr: Gutthormr, Guthormr

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grundar ‘of the land’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

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sléttan ‘the flat’

sléttr (adj.): level, smooth

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áðr ‘previously’

áðr (adv.; °//): before

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Óláfs ‘Óláfr’

Óláfr (noun m.): Óláfr

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prýðask ‘to be adorned’

prýða (verb): adorn

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í ‘in’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[7, 8] í Ǫngulseyjarsundi: ‘in the sound of Angelsey’, the Menai Strait, between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. It would be nearly impossible to use a word this long (six syllables, the length of an entire l.) in dróttkvætt without tmesis.

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Ǫngulseyjar ‘the Menai’

Ǫngulsey (noun f.): [Menai]

notes

[7, 8] í Ǫngulseyjarsundi: ‘in the sound of Angelsey’, the Menai Strait, between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. It would be nearly impossible to use a word this long (six syllables, the length of an entire l.) in dróttkvætt without tmesis.

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und ‘wound’

1. und (noun f.; °; -ir): wound < undreyr (noun n.)

kennings

undreyr
‘wound-reeds ’
   = ARROWS

wound-reeds → ARROWS
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reyr ‘reeds’

2. reyr (noun n.): reed < undreyr (noun n.)

kennings

undreyr
‘wound-reeds ’
   = ARROWS

wound-reeds → ARROWS
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sundi ‘Strait’

sund (noun n.; °-s; -): sound, strait; swimming

notes

[7, 8] í Ǫngulseyjarsundi: ‘in the sound of Angelsey’, the Menai Strait, between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. It would be nearly impossible to use a word this long (six syllables, the length of an entire l.) in dróttkvætt without tmesis.

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

The story of Gutthormr Gunnhildarson occupies sts 31-4. This man was S. Óláfr’s nephew, son of his half-sister Gunnhildr. After a raid on the island of Angelsey, Gutthormr quarrelled with his Irish raiding partner Margaðr over the spoils and a fight ensued. Although Gutthormr’s war-band was the weaker, he prayed to Óláfr on the evening before the fight (which took place on S. Óláfr’s feast day, 29 July) and Óláfr helped him to win. In gratitude he donated a silver cross to the saint, which would have been visible in the cathedral at Trondheim as Einarr recited his drápa. The story of Gutthormr appears in numerous versions of the Óláfr-legend (Louis-Jensen 1970, 35; ÓHLeg 1982, 210-12; Hkr, ÍF 28, 135-7; ÓH 1941, 631-3; for further details, see Chase 2005, 39 and 227 n. 107; Gade 2004, 218-20). Sts 31-3 are missing from the Flat text, probably due to the scribe’s carelessness. St. 30 lies at the end of a column in the ms., and the following column begins with st. 34. Both sts 30 and 33 have the stef as the second helmingr, and when the scribe shifted columns he probably mistook the conclusion of st. 33 for st. 30. The inclusion of st. 34 proves that the scribe’s exemplar contained the story of Gutthormr. The missing sts are supplied from the Bb text, the only witness. — [1-4]: The syntax of the first helmingr is slightly awkward. Finnur Jónsson construes Gutthormr reyndi við sléttan þrǫm grundar, hvat bænir alkæns Óláfs téðu við goð; hann gat áðr rétt ‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr prevailed with God; he had guessed correctly previously’ (Skj B). Kock takes gat hann rétt ‘he guessed correctly’ as a parenthesis and reads áðr hvat as hvat áðr, arguing convincingly that such transposition in correlative constructions was an accepted technique (NN §§937 and 246D). His interpretation makes better sense: ‘Gutthormr proved on the flat coast of the land how previously the prayers of much-skilled Óláfr prevailed with God; he guessed correctly’.

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