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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eldj Lv 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Eldjárn, Lausavísur 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. 406-7.


text and translation

Hví samir hitt at dúsa
hirðmanni geðstirðum?
Vest nú, þótt kjǫl kosti,
knár, riddari inn hári.
Þats satt, at býðk byttu
(breiðhúfuðum) reiða
(austrs til hár í hesti
hvaljarðar) Giffarði.

Hví samir hitt geðstirðum hirðmanni at dúsa? Vest nú knár, inn hári riddari, þótt kjǫl kosti. Þats satt, at býðk Giffarði reiða byttu; austrs til hár í {breiðhúfuðum hesti {hvaljarðar}}.
‘Why is it fitting for a strong-minded retainer to take it easy? Be active now, hoary knight, although the keel is sorely tried. It’s true that I tell Giffarðr to swing the bucket; the bilge-water is too high in the broad-hulled horse of the whale-land [SEA > SHIP].

notes and context

Eldjárn recites this st. on the journey to England to taunt the Norman knight Giffarðr. In LaufE, the second helmingr is used to illustrate that hestr hvaljarðar ‘horse of the whale-land’ is a kenning for ‘ship’.

[5-8]: The helmingr in LaufE must have been excerpted from a saga about Magnús berfœttr: skip heiter hestur hual jardar, so sem kuad Elldjarn jslendske, j sogu Magnusar kongs ‘a ship is called a horse of the whale-land, as Eldjárn the Icelander said in the saga of King Magnús’ (LaufE 1979, 395). — [8]: For Giffarðr, see Notes to Mberf Lv 2/2 and Anon (Mberf) 5/2.



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.

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