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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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EValg Lv 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyjólfr Valgerðarson, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 276.

Eyjólfr ValgerðarsonLausavísa1

Selit ‘sell’

4. selja (verb): hand over, sell, give

notes

[1] selit maðr ‘may no man sell’: Lit. ‘may a man not sell’. 

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maðr ‘May no man’

maðr (noun m.): man, person

notes

[1] selit maðr ‘may no man sell’: Lit. ‘may a man not sell’. 

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verði ‘price’

verð (noun n.; °-s; dat. -um): worth, price

notes

[1] verði ‘a price’: The word is strikingly reinforced by repetition of the syllable verð- and by supporting assonance throughout the stanza, perhaps deliberately conveying the speaker’s disgust at the idea of selling out.

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verðr ‘will come about’

1. verða (verb): become, be

[2] verðr: verði 291

notes

[2] verðr (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘will come about’: The corresponding subj. form verði in the sole ms. makes the line hypermetric (as pointed out by Kock, NN §2435), and may well have resulted from mistaken repetition of the preceding word verði. Skj B on the other hand retains verði.

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dynr ‘a tumult’

dynr (noun m.; °dat. -; -ir): din

kennings

dynr sverða
‘a tumult of swords ’
   = BATTLE

a tumult of swords → BATTLE
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sverða ‘of swords’

sverð (noun n.; °-s; -): sword

kennings

dynr sverða
‘a tumult of swords ’
   = BATTLE

a tumult of swords → BATTLE
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Hropts ‘of Hroptr’

Hroptr (noun m.): [Hroptr, Hroptar]

[3] Hropts: ‘hǽ̨ft’ 291

kennings

hljóð Hropts;
‘the noise of Hroptr; ’
   = BATTLE

the noise of Hroptr; → BATTLE

notes

[3] Hropts ‘of Hroptr <= Óðinn>’: Ms. ‘hǽ̨ft’, normalised hæft ‘worthily’, makes sense in l. 3, modifying herða ‘harden, vigorously pursue’, which could be intransitive, and it may have been erroneously introduced for this reason, but this leaves hljóð ‘noise’ isolated. Emendation to Hropts (adopted in Skj B) produces a standard battle-kenning with hljóð ‘noise’ as base-word and an Óðinn-heiti as determinant (see Meissner 189). This also fits well in context, since herða very frequently has an expression for ‘battle’ as its object (see LP: 2. herða 2). It is therefore adopted here.

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hljóð ‘the noise’

hljóð (noun n.; °-s; -): sound, silence, a hearing

kennings

hljóð Hropts;
‘the noise of Hroptr; ’
   = BATTLE

the noise of Hroptr; → BATTLE
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rjóða ‘to redden’

rjóða (verb): to redden

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Gorms ‘of Gormr’

Gormr (noun m.): [Gormr, Gorms]

kennings

sonar Gorms
‘the son of Gormr ’
   = Haraldr

the son of Gormr → Haraldr

notes

[5] Gorms ‘of Gormr’: King Gormr inn gamli ‘the Old’, who ruled from a power-base at Jelling in Jutland in the mid ninth century and was buried there c. 958. The details of the emergence of his dynasty are unclear (Skovgaard-Petersen 2003, 168, 174).

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af ‘from’

af (prep.): from

notes

[5-6] af gǫmlu þokulandi Gandvíkr ‘from the ancient mist-land of Gandvík’: This is difficult to identify, not least because af ‘from’ could point either to the land from which Haraldr Gormsson is expected, or to the place from which the speaker is awaiting him. Gandvík (here gen. sg. Gandvíkr) normally refers to the White Sea, possibly because ‘magic staff or object’ is among the meanings of gandr m., and the Saami had a reputation for sorcery (LP, CVC: Gandvík). The þokuland ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík would therefore presumably be Norway (Fms 12, 289 suggests Finnmark standing for Norway), from where the Icelanders expect an attack by Haraldr. However, LP: Gandvík takes the ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík as Iceland (so also Fms 12, 237), suggesting that Gandvík in this instance denotes the Arctic Ocean in general. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 211) also takes this as a reference to Iceland, and emends af ‘from’ to ‘to, against’. He suggests (ibid., 211 n.) that þoku could be an error for þekju ‘thatch, roof’, and that the roof of Gandvík is ‘ice’.

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gǫmlu ‘the ancient’

gamall (adj.; °gamlan; compar. & superl. „ ellri adj.): old

notes

[5-6] af gǫmlu þokulandi Gandvíkr ‘from the ancient mist-land of Gandvík’: This is difficult to identify, not least because af ‘from’ could point either to the land from which Haraldr Gormsson is expected, or to the place from which the speaker is awaiting him. Gandvík (here gen. sg. Gandvíkr) normally refers to the White Sea, possibly because ‘magic staff or object’ is among the meanings of gandr m., and the Saami had a reputation for sorcery (LP, CVC: Gandvík). The þokuland ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík would therefore presumably be Norway (Fms 12, 289 suggests Finnmark standing for Norway), from where the Icelanders expect an attack by Haraldr. However, LP: Gandvík takes the ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík as Iceland (so also Fms 12, 237), suggesting that Gandvík in this instance denotes the Arctic Ocean in general. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 211) also takes this as a reference to Iceland, and emends af ‘from’ to ‘to, against’. He suggests (ibid., 211 n.) that þoku could be an error for þekju ‘thatch, roof’, and that the roof of Gandvík is ‘ice’.

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Gandvíkr ‘of Gandvík’

Gandvík (noun f.): White Sea

notes

[5-6] af gǫmlu þokulandi Gandvíkr ‘from the ancient mist-land of Gandvík’: This is difficult to identify, not least because af ‘from’ could point either to the land from which Haraldr Gormsson is expected, or to the place from which the speaker is awaiting him. Gandvík (here gen. sg. Gandvíkr) normally refers to the White Sea, possibly because ‘magic staff or object’ is among the meanings of gandr m., and the Saami had a reputation for sorcery (LP, CVC: Gandvík). The þokuland ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík would therefore presumably be Norway (Fms 12, 289 suggests Finnmark standing for Norway), from where the Icelanders expect an attack by Haraldr. However, LP: Gandvík takes the ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík as Iceland (so also Fms 12, 237), suggesting that Gandvík in this instance denotes the Arctic Ocean in general. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 211) also takes this as a reference to Iceland, and emends af ‘from’ to ‘to, against’. He suggests (ibid., 211 n.) that þoku could be an error for þekju ‘thatch, roof’, and that the roof of Gandvík is ‘ice’.

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þokulandi ‘mist-land’

þokuland (noun n.): [mist-land]

notes

[5-6] af gǫmlu þokulandi Gandvíkr ‘from the ancient mist-land of Gandvík’: This is difficult to identify, not least because af ‘from’ could point either to the land from which Haraldr Gormsson is expected, or to the place from which the speaker is awaiting him. Gandvík (here gen. sg. Gandvíkr) normally refers to the White Sea, possibly because ‘magic staff or object’ is among the meanings of gandr m., and the Saami had a reputation for sorcery (LP, CVC: Gandvík). The þokuland ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík would therefore presumably be Norway (Fms 12, 289 suggests Finnmark standing for Norway), from where the Icelanders expect an attack by Haraldr. However, LP: Gandvík takes the ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík as Iceland (so also Fms 12, 237), suggesting that Gandvík in this instance denotes the Arctic Ocean in general. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 211) also takes this as a reference to Iceland, and emends af ‘from’ to ‘to, against’. He suggests (ibid., 211 n.) that þoku could be an error for þekju ‘thatch, roof’, and that the roof of Gandvík is ‘ice’.

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hǫrð ‘a harsh’

harðr (adj.; °comp. -ari; superl. -astr): hard, harsh

kennings

hǫrð vápnhríð.
‘a harsh weapon-storm ’
   = BATTLE

a harsh weapon-storm → BATTLE

notes

[7-8] at verði hǫrð vápnhríð ‘that a harsh weapon-storm [BATTLE] will come about’: Cf. verðr ‘will come about’, which similarly anticipates conflict in l. 2. Alternatively, the adj. hǫrð could be understood as predicative, hence ‘that the weapon-storm will be(come) harsh’.

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at ‘that’

4. at (conj.): that

notes

[7-8] at verði hǫrð vápnhríð ‘that a harsh weapon-storm [BATTLE] will come about’: Cf. verðr ‘will come about’, which similarly anticipates conflict in l. 2. Alternatively, the adj. hǫrð could be understood as predicative, hence ‘that the weapon-storm will be(come) harsh’.

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verði ‘will come about’

1. verða (verb): become, be

notes

[7-8] at verði hǫrð vápnhríð ‘that a harsh weapon-storm [BATTLE] will come about’: Cf. verðr ‘will come about’, which similarly anticipates conflict in l. 2. Alternatively, the adj. hǫrð could be understood as predicative, hence ‘that the weapon-storm will be(come) harsh’.

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vápn ‘weapon’

vápn (noun n.; °-s; -): weapon < vápnhríð (noun f.): weapon-blizzard

kennings

hǫrð vápnhríð.
‘a harsh weapon-storm ’
   = BATTLE

a harsh weapon-storm → BATTLE

notes

[7-8] at verði hǫrð vápnhríð ‘that a harsh weapon-storm [BATTLE] will come about’: Cf. verðr ‘will come about’, which similarly anticipates conflict in l. 2. Alternatively, the adj. hǫrð could be understood as predicative, hence ‘that the weapon-storm will be(come) harsh’.

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hríð ‘storm’

hríð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): time, storm < vápnhríð (noun f.): weapon-blizzard

kennings

hǫrð vápnhríð.
‘a harsh weapon-storm ’
   = BATTLE

a harsh weapon-storm → BATTLE

notes

[7-8] at verði hǫrð vápnhríð ‘that a harsh weapon-storm [BATTLE] will come about’: Cf. verðr ‘will come about’, which similarly anticipates conflict in l. 2. Alternatively, the adj. hǫrð could be understood as predicative, hence ‘that the weapon-storm will be(come) harsh’.

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sonar ‘the son’

sonr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. syni; synir, acc. sonu, syni): son

kennings

sonar Gorms
‘the son of Gormr ’
   = Haraldr

the son of Gormr → Haraldr
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

King Haraldr Gormsson of Denmark brings a fleet against Norway but, once a formidable force has gathered around Hákon jarl Sigurðarson, decides against war and instead considers attacking Iceland in revenge for the níð stanza Anon (ÓTHkr). Eyjólfr Valgerðarson composes the present stanza when his retainer has sold his axe in exchange for a cloak, and when Haraldr’s hostile intention has become known in Iceland. After the stanza we are told that Haraldr sensibly accepted his counsellors’ advice to return to Denmark.

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