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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Lv 14I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 14’ 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. 234.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonLausavísur
1314

feldar ‘a cloak’

feldr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. -i; -ir): cloak < feldarstingr (noun m.)

[1] feldar‑: foldar J1ˣ

notes

[1] feldarstinga ‘a cloak-pin’: The form of the noun is acc. sg., with which þann(s) in l. 3 agrees, and this implies (here and in Lv 1/2) a weak m. stingi ‘stabber, pin, dagger’ alongside strong stingr: cf. stinga ‘to stab, sting’, stingr ‘rod, that which stabs’ (Ólhv Hryn 8/6II and Note), and see ONP: stingi, stingr for instances of both weak and strong forms in later prose in the sense ‘stitch, stinging pain’. These nouns are mostly attested in the gen. pl. form, making their declensional category uncertain. A pin was used as part of a brooch or clasp fastening the cloak at the shoulder (cf. Turville-Petre 1976, 45). Silver cloak-pins, often in the form of disc brooches, from this era are a common archaeological find (cf. Wilson and Klindt-Jensen 1980, plate LXVI; Graham-Campbell 2001a, 117) and can contain sufficient precious metal to give credence to the present story.

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stinga ‘pin’

stingr (noun m.; °; -ir): rod < feldarstingr (noun m.)stingr (noun m.; °; -ir): rod < foldarstingr (noun m.)

notes

[1] feldarstinga ‘a cloak-pin’: The form of the noun is acc. sg., with which þann(s) in l. 3 agrees, and this implies (here and in Lv 1/2) a weak m. stingi ‘stabber, pin, dagger’ alongside strong stingr: cf. stinga ‘to stab, sting’, stingr ‘rod, that which stabs’ (Ólhv Hryn 8/6II and Note), and see ONP: stingi, stingr for instances of both weak and strong forms in later prose in the sense ‘stitch, stinging pain’. These nouns are mostly attested in the gen. pl. form, making their declensional category uncertain. A pin was used as part of a brooch or clasp fastening the cloak at the shoulder (cf. Turville-Petre 1976, 45). Silver cloak-pins, often in the form of disc brooches, from this era are a common archaeological find (cf. Wilson and Klindt-Jensen 1980, plate LXVI; Graham-Campbell 2001a, 117) and can contain sufficient precious metal to give credence to the present story.

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fjǫrð ‘fjord’

fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjǫrðhjǫrð (noun f.)fjǫrðr (noun m.): fjord < fjorð (adv.)

kennings

fjǫrðhjǫrðu.
‘fjord-herds. ’
   = HERRINGS

fjord-herds. → HERRINGS

notes

[2] ok galt við fjǫrðhjǫrðu ‘and I spent it on fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’: A definitive interpretation has yet to emerge. (a) Adopted in this edn is the reading of Finnur Jónsson, which assumes the tmesis, fjǫrð-hjǫrðu ‘fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. Frank 1978, 115-16). On this reading the imagery of this witty stanza is wholly consistent. See Note to st. 13/5 on the specific sense ‘herrings’. (b) A widely-adopted alternative construal takes fjǫrð as meaning ‘last year’, thus leaving the noun hjǫrðu ‘herds’ free-standing and to be understood in its ordinary sense (CPB II, 37; ÍF 26; Turville-Petre 1976, 45). This analysis produces good sense and matches the prose narrative, which clearly understands Eyvindr as referring to livestock (bús), but possibly this reference is inferred from the stanzas themselves (cf. Olsen 1945b, 177-8). (c) Kock (NN §§1953A, 2905), reads fjarðar ‘of the fjord’ in place of fjǫrð ok, obtaining the same meaning, ‘herrings’, while avoiding tmesis, but a tmesis where the first (monosyllabic) word in a line is understood in combination with the last word of the line is a recognised type and quite prevalent in C10th skaldic style (Reichardt 1969).

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ok ‘and’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

notes

[2] ok galt við fjǫrðhjǫrðu ‘and I spent it on fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’: A definitive interpretation has yet to emerge. (a) Adopted in this edn is the reading of Finnur Jónsson, which assumes the tmesis, fjǫrð-hjǫrðu ‘fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. Frank 1978, 115-16). On this reading the imagery of this witty stanza is wholly consistent. See Note to st. 13/5 on the specific sense ‘herrings’. (b) A widely-adopted alternative construal takes fjǫrð as meaning ‘last year’, thus leaving the noun hjǫrðu ‘herds’ free-standing and to be understood in its ordinary sense (CPB II, 37; ÍF 26; Turville-Petre 1976, 45). This analysis produces good sense and matches the prose narrative, which clearly understands Eyvindr as referring to livestock (bús), but possibly this reference is inferred from the stanzas themselves (cf. Olsen 1945b, 177-8). (c) Kock (NN §§1953A, 2905), reads fjarðar ‘of the fjord’ in place of fjǫrð ok, obtaining the same meaning, ‘herrings’, while avoiding tmesis, but a tmesis where the first (monosyllabic) word in a line is understood in combination with the last word of the line is a recognised type and quite prevalent in C10th skaldic style (Reichardt 1969).

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dalk ‘’

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galt ‘I spent it’

1. gjalda (verb): pay, repay

[2] galt: dalk J1ˣ

notes

[2] ok galt við fjǫrðhjǫrðu ‘and I spent it on fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’: A definitive interpretation has yet to emerge. (a) Adopted in this edn is the reading of Finnur Jónsson, which assumes the tmesis, fjǫrð-hjǫrðu ‘fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. Frank 1978, 115-16). On this reading the imagery of this witty stanza is wholly consistent. See Note to st. 13/5 on the specific sense ‘herrings’. (b) A widely-adopted alternative construal takes fjǫrð as meaning ‘last year’, thus leaving the noun hjǫrðu ‘herds’ free-standing and to be understood in its ordinary sense (CPB II, 37; ÍF 26; Turville-Petre 1976, 45). This analysis produces good sense and matches the prose narrative, which clearly understands Eyvindr as referring to livestock (bús), but possibly this reference is inferred from the stanzas themselves (cf. Olsen 1945b, 177-8). (c) Kock (NN §§1953A, 2905), reads fjarðar ‘of the fjord’ in place of fjǫrð ok, obtaining the same meaning, ‘herrings’, while avoiding tmesis, but a tmesis where the first (monosyllabic) word in a line is understood in combination with the last word of the line is a recognised type and quite prevalent in C10th skaldic style (Reichardt 1969).

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við ‘on’

2. við (prep.): with, against

[2] við: fyr J1ˣ

notes

[2] ok galt við fjǫrðhjǫrðu ‘and I spent it on fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’: A definitive interpretation has yet to emerge. (a) Adopted in this edn is the reading of Finnur Jónsson, which assumes the tmesis, fjǫrð-hjǫrðu ‘fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. Frank 1978, 115-16). On this reading the imagery of this witty stanza is wholly consistent. See Note to st. 13/5 on the specific sense ‘herrings’. (b) A widely-adopted alternative construal takes fjǫrð as meaning ‘last year’, thus leaving the noun hjǫrðu ‘herds’ free-standing and to be understood in its ordinary sense (CPB II, 37; ÍF 26; Turville-Petre 1976, 45). This analysis produces good sense and matches the prose narrative, which clearly understands Eyvindr as referring to livestock (bús), but possibly this reference is inferred from the stanzas themselves (cf. Olsen 1945b, 177-8). (c) Kock (NN §§1953A, 2905), reads fjarðar ‘of the fjord’ in place of fjǫrð ok, obtaining the same meaning, ‘herrings’, while avoiding tmesis, but a tmesis where the first (monosyllabic) word in a line is understood in combination with the last word of the line is a recognised type and quite prevalent in C10th skaldic style (Reichardt 1969).

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hjǫrðu ‘herds’

hjǫrð (noun f.; °hjarðar, dat. -/-u; hjarðir/hjarðar): herd < fjǫrðhjǫrð (noun f.)

[2] hjǫrðu: jǫrðu F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ

kennings

fjǫrðhjǫrðu.
‘fjord-herds. ’
   = HERRINGS

fjord-herds. → HERRINGS

notes

[2] ok galt við fjǫrðhjǫrðu ‘and I spent it on fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’: A definitive interpretation has yet to emerge. (a) Adopted in this edn is the reading of Finnur Jónsson, which assumes the tmesis, fjǫrð-hjǫrðu ‘fjord-herds [HERRINGS]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. Frank 1978, 115-16). On this reading the imagery of this witty stanza is wholly consistent. See Note to st. 13/5 on the specific sense ‘herrings’. (b) A widely-adopted alternative construal takes fjǫrð as meaning ‘last year’, thus leaving the noun hjǫrðu ‘herds’ free-standing and to be understood in its ordinary sense (CPB II, 37; ÍF 26; Turville-Petre 1976, 45). This analysis produces good sense and matches the prose narrative, which clearly understands Eyvindr as referring to livestock (bús), but possibly this reference is inferred from the stanzas themselves (cf. Olsen 1945b, 177-8). (c) Kock (NN §§1953A, 2905), reads fjarðar ‘of the fjord’ in place of fjǫrð ok, obtaining the same meaning, ‘herrings’, while avoiding tmesis, but a tmesis where the first (monosyllabic) word in a line is understood in combination with the last word of the line is a recognised type and quite prevalent in C10th skaldic style (Reichardt 1969).

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ál ‘of the channel’

2. áll (noun m.): channel < álhiminn (noun m.)

kennings

lendingar álhimins
‘the landsmen of the channel-sky ’
   = ICELANDERS

the channel-sky → ICE
the landsmen of the ICE → ICELANDERS

notes

[3, 4] lendingar álhimins ‘the landsmen of the channel-sky [ICE > ICELANDERS]’: The determinant ál- is most straightforwardly explained as from áll ‘deep channel at sea’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; cf. Frank 1978, 106-7), though an alternative possibility is áll ‘eel’ (Turville-Petre 1976, 45), which continues the imagery of fish and fisheries. Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 47) notes the lack of hending in l. 3 and suggests emendation to otrhimins ‘heaven/sky of the otter [ICE]’, but this is unnecessary (cf. Note to Lv 1/7).

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ál ‘of the channel’

2. áll (noun m.): channel < álhiminn (noun m.)

kennings

lendingar álhimins
‘the landsmen of the channel-sky ’
   = ICELANDERS

the channel-sky → ICE
the landsmen of the ICE → ICELANDERS

notes

[3, 4] lendingar álhimins ‘the landsmen of the channel-sky [ICE > ICELANDERS]’: The determinant ál- is most straightforwardly explained as from áll ‘deep channel at sea’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; cf. Frank 1978, 106-7), though an alternative possibility is áll ‘eel’ (Turville-Petre 1976, 45), which continues the imagery of fish and fisheries. Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 47) notes the lack of hending in l. 3 and suggests emendation to otrhimins ‘heaven/sky of the otter [ICE]’, but this is unnecessary (cf. Note to Lv 1/7).

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himins ‘sky’

himinn (noun m.; °himins, dat. himni; himnar): heaven, sky < álhiminn (noun m.)

kennings

lendingar álhimins
‘the landsmen of the channel-sky ’
   = ICELANDERS

the channel-sky → ICE
the landsmen of the ICE → ICELANDERS

notes

[3, 4] lendingar álhimins ‘the landsmen of the channel-sky [ICE > ICELANDERS]’: The determinant ál- is most straightforwardly explained as from áll ‘deep channel at sea’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; cf. Frank 1978, 106-7), though an alternative possibility is áll ‘eel’ (Turville-Petre 1976, 45), which continues the imagery of fish and fisheries. Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 47) notes the lack of hending in l. 3 and suggests emendation to otrhimins ‘heaven/sky of the otter [ICE]’, but this is unnecessary (cf. Note to Lv 1/7).

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himins ‘sky’

himinn (noun m.; °himins, dat. himni; himnar): heaven, sky < álhiminn (noun m.)

kennings

lendingar álhimins
‘the landsmen of the channel-sky ’
   = ICELANDERS

the channel-sky → ICE
the landsmen of the ICE → ICELANDERS

notes

[3, 4] lendingar álhimins ‘the landsmen of the channel-sky [ICE > ICELANDERS]’: The determinant ál- is most straightforwardly explained as from áll ‘deep channel at sea’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; cf. Frank 1978, 106-7), though an alternative possibility is áll ‘eel’ (Turville-Petre 1976, 45), which continues the imagery of fish and fisheries. Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 47) notes the lack of hending in l. 3 and suggests emendation to otrhimins ‘heaven/sky of the otter [ICE]’, but this is unnecessary (cf. Note to Lv 1/7).

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útan ‘from abroad [Iceland]’

útan (prep.): outside, without

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lendingar ‘the landsmen’

lendingr (noun m.): landsman

kennings

lendingar álhimins
‘the landsmen of the channel-sky ’
   = ICELANDERS

the channel-sky → ICE
the landsmen of the ICE → ICELANDERS

notes

[3, 4] lendingar álhimins ‘the landsmen of the channel-sky [ICE > ICELANDERS]’: The determinant ál- is most straightforwardly explained as from áll ‘deep channel at sea’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; cf. Frank 1978, 106-7), though an alternative possibility is áll ‘eel’ (Turville-Petre 1976, 45), which continues the imagery of fish and fisheries. Jón Þorkelsson (1884, 47) notes the lack of hending in l. 3 and suggests emendation to otrhimins ‘heaven/sky of the otter [ICE]’, but this is unnecessary (cf. Note to Lv 1/7).

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sendu ‘sent’

senda (verb): send

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Mest ‘Most of all’

meiri (adj. comp.; °meiran; superl. mestr): more, most

notes

[5] mest selda ek ‘most of all I sold’: This assumes a well-attested sense for the adv. mest (so also Frank 1978, 116). Skj B treats it as if adjectival (hence ‘all my arrows’), while ÍF 26 suggests síðast ‘most recently’, on the analogy of meir ‘later’.

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selda ‘sold’

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

notes

[5] mest selda ek ‘most of all I sold’: This assumes a well-attested sense for the adv. mest (so also Frank 1978, 116). Skj B treats it as if adjectival (hence ‘all my arrows’), while ÍF 26 suggests síðast ‘most recently’, on the analogy of meir ‘later’.

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ek ‘I’

ek (pron.; °mín, dat. mér, acc. mik): I, me

notes

[5] mest selda ek ‘most of all I sold’: This assumes a well-attested sense for the adv. mest (so also Frank 1978, 116). Skj B treats it as if adjectival (hence ‘all my arrows’), while ÍF 26 suggests síðast ‘most recently’, on the analogy of meir ‘later’.

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mínar ‘my’

minn (pron.; °f. mín, n. mitt): my

[5] mínar: minnar J1ˣ

kennings

mínar hlaupsildr gaupna Egils
‘my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms ’
   = ARROWS

my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms → ARROWS
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mævǫrum ‘the slender arrows’

mævǫr (noun f.): [slender arrows]

kennings

mævǫrum sævar;
‘the slender arrows of the sea; ’
   = HERRINGS

the slender arrows of the sea; → HERRINGS
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sævar ‘of the sea’

sjór (noun m.): sea

kennings

mævǫrum sævar;
‘the slender arrows of the sea; ’
   = HERRINGS

the slender arrows of the sea; → HERRINGS
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hallæri ‘the famine’

hallæri (noun n.): [famine]

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veldr ‘causes’

valda (verb): cause

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hlaupsildr ‘leaping herrings’

hlaupsild (noun f.): [leaping herrings]

kennings

mínar hlaupsildr gaupna Egils
‘my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms ’
   = ARROWS

my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms → ARROWS

notes

[8] ‘leaping herrings of Egill’s <legendary hero’s> palms [ARROWS]’: The allusion is to Egill, the renowned archer; cf. Hfr Hákdr 8/4III for another arrow-kenning referring to him. Egill is associated in Vǫl 2/2, 4/7 with the legendary smith Vǫlundr, and see further Marold (1996).

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Egils ‘of Egill’s’

Egill (noun m.): Egill

kennings

mínar hlaupsildr gaupna Egils
‘my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms ’
   = ARROWS

my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms → ARROWS

notes

[8] ‘leaping herrings of Egill’s <legendary hero’s> palms [ARROWS]’: The allusion is to Egill, the renowned archer; cf. Hfr Hákdr 8/4III for another arrow-kenning referring to him. Egill is associated in Vǫl 2/2, 4/7 with the legendary smith Vǫlundr, and see further Marold (1996).

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gaupna ‘palms’

gaupn (noun f.): palm, hollow of hand

[8] gaupna: kaupa F

kennings

mínar hlaupsildr gaupna Egils
‘my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms ’
   = ARROWS

my leaping herrings of Egill’s palms → ARROWS

notes

[8] ‘leaping herrings of Egill’s <legendary hero’s> palms [ARROWS]’: The allusion is to Egill, the renowned archer; cf. Hfr Hákdr 8/4III for another arrow-kenning referring to him. Egill is associated in Vǫl 2/2, 4/7 with the legendary smith Vǫlundr, and see further Marold (1996).

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

The people of Iceland send Eyvindr a large silver cloak-pin, but he is obliged to break it up in order to purchase livestock. Eventually his means become so attenuated that he is forced to barter his arrows for herrings.

[5-8]: Notable is the interchange of herrings and arrows in the two kennings here, as well as in the literal transaction. See Note to st. 13/5 on the specific sense ‘herrings’ for the kenning mævǫrum sævar ‘slender arrows of the sea’ (l. 6).

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