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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hák 8I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 8’ 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. 183.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHákonarmál

text and translation

Blendusk við roðnar         und randar himni;
Skǫglar veðr léku         við ský* of bauga.
Umðu oddláar         í Óðins veðri;
hné mart manna         fyr mækis straumi.

Roðnar blendusk við und {himni randar}; {veðr Skǫglar} léku við {ský* of bauga}. {Oddláar} umðu í {veðri Óðins}; mart manna hné fyr {straumi mækis}.
‘Red colours mingled beneath the sky of the shield-rim [SHIELD]; the storms of Skǫgul <valkyrie> [BATTLE] played against the clouds of shield-rings [SHIELDS]. Point-waves [BLOOD] roared in the storm of Óðinn [BATTLE]; many people sank down before the tide of the sword [BLOOD].

notes and context

As for st. 1.

J1ˣ and J2ˣ cite only the first word of this stanza; F omits it altogether.  — [1-2]: The lines, and particularly the form roðnar, are problematic. (a) Roðnar is here taken as a noun: an archaic pl. to *roði, a nomen agentis to rjóða ‘redden’ (Noreen 1921, 55), or possibly the pl. of a word roði, roðmi or roðni meaning ‘red sheen’ (so NN §1054). The image could be of the red of the men’s blood and of the shields blending with each other (so Lindquist 1929, 14-15), or of a red effect in the sky, as in en er orrostan tokzst þa laust roda a himininn ok a solina ‘and when the battle began, a red colour appeared in the sky and against the sun’ (Flat 1860-8, II, 354, describing the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad, 1030)). Construed thus, ll. 2 and 4 are elegantly patterned, with a prep. and similar shield-kenning occupying each one. (b) Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B emends to p. p. roðnum ‘reddened’, taken to qualify himni ‘sky’ with veðr ‘storms, winds’ as the subject of both blendusk ‘had dealings’ and léku ‘played’. (c) CPB I, 266 emends við roðnar to vígroðar ‘halos of war’, which Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 156) approves, though he would give the form as vígroðnar. (d) Wimmer (1903, 129) would emend randar to randa. (e) Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 65-8) would reverse the position of randar with that of bauga in l. 4, on the basis of comparison to the alliteration in st. 9/1-2.



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.

editions and texts

Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 8: AI, 66, BI, 58, Skald I, 36, NN §§1054, 1903A, 3097B; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 220, IV, 59-60, ÍF 26, 194, Hkr 1991, I, 126 (HákGóð ch. 31/32); Möbius 1860, 233, Jón Helgason 1968, 26, Krause 1990, 80-3.


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