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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 2I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 2’ 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. 404.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar
123

Fylg ‘’

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Flug ‘flight’

flugr (noun m.): [flight] < flugþverrir (noun m.): [flight-diminisher]

[1] Flugþverrir: ‘Flygþverrir’ 54, Bb, ‘Fylg þyrrir’ Flat

kennings

Frægr flugþverrir
‘The famous flight-diminisher ’
   = WARRIOR

The famous flight-diminisher → WARRIOR

notes

[1] flugþverrir ‘flight-diminisher [WARRIOR]’: As Jesch (2001a, 243-7) observes, this topos is often a litotes in skaldic verse, as here: not only does Óláfr not flee, he fights valiantly to the bitter end.

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þyrrir ‘’

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þverrir ‘diminisher’

þverrir (noun m.): dminisher < flugþverrir (noun m.): [flight-diminisher]þverrir (noun m.): dminisher

[1] Flugþverrir: ‘Flygþverrir’ 54, Bb, ‘Fylg þyrrir’ Flat

kennings

Frægr flugþverrir
‘The famous flight-diminisher ’
   = WARRIOR

The famous flight-diminisher → WARRIOR

notes

[1] flugþverrir ‘flight-diminisher [WARRIOR]’: As Jesch (2001a, 243-7) observes, this topos is often a litotes in skaldic verse, as here: not only does Óláfr not flee, he fights valiantly to the bitter end.

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frægr ‘The famous’

frægr (adj.; °-jan/-an; compar. -ri, superl. -jastr/-astr/-str): famous, renowned

kennings

Frægr flugþverrir
‘The famous flight-diminisher ’
   = WARRIOR

The famous flight-diminisher → WARRIOR
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aldrigi ‘never’

aldrigi (adv.): never

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vægja ‘yielded’

1. vægja (verb): yield

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heldr ‘rather’

heldr (adv.): rather

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hauka ‘of hawks’

1. haukr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): hawk

[3] hauka: hǫlða 54, Bb

kennings

skyldir hauka
‘the commander of hawks ’
   = RULER

the commander of hawks → RULER

notes

[3] skyldir hauka ‘the commander of hawks [RULER]’: Hauka, the reading of the main ms., is both the lectio difficilior and supported by the stemmatically distant Flat, although it is unparalleled as a determinant in a ruler- or man-kenning. If skyldir hauka is a ruler-kenning, the reference must be to the king as director of his warriors; cf. Arn Magndr 18/8II herskyldir ‘troop-commander’, and for haukr meaning ‘man’, see Arn Hryn 3/5II and Note; also ÞjóðA Lv 10/7II. Alternatively, this could be a man-kenning referring to hunting with hawks.

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skyldir ‘the commander’

skyldir (noun m.): commander

[3] skyldir: ‘bæítir’ Flat

kennings

skyldir hauka
‘the commander of hawks ’
   = RULER

the commander of hawks → RULER

notes

[3] skyldir hauka ‘the commander of hawks [RULER]’: Hauka, the reading of the main ms., is both the lectio difficilior and supported by the stemmatically distant Flat, although it is unparalleled as a determinant in a ruler- or man-kenning. If skyldir hauka is a ruler-kenning, the reference must be to the king as director of his warriors; cf. Arn Magndr 18/8II herskyldir ‘troop-commander’, and for haukr meaning ‘man’, see Arn Hryn 3/5II and Note; also ÞjóðA Lv 10/7II. Alternatively, this could be a man-kenning referring to hunting with hawks.

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þekkja ‘dear’

þekkr (adj.): pleasing

notes

[4] þekkja ‘dear’: As a ja-/jō-stem adj. þekkr has the normalised f. acc. sg. form þekkja, which is the form found in Flat, but 61, 54 and Bb have þekka, an alternative declensional form which occurs by analogy with a-stem adjectives (ANG §431). The word is taken here as an adj. agreeing with hugrekki ‘courage’ (so LP: þekkr). The form þekkja could alternatively be an inf. verb, hence lét þekkja sér hugrekki ‘allowed himself to be pleased with courage’ though the m. v. þekkjask would be more usual in this sense.

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

This helmingr is the first quotation from ErfÓl in ÓT, at the beginning of the saga’s account of the battle of Svǫlðr. Óláfr, urged by his wavering troops to retreat, has just made a rousing speech affirming his intention to stand and fight and never to flee.

Mss 54 and Bb attribute this and st. 7 (see Note to st. 7 [All]) to the C12th skald Hallar-Steinn, from whose Rekstefja (HSt Rst), in honour of Óláfr, ÓT frequently quotes; but the agreement of 61 and Flat is probably decisive in favour of Hallfreðr. Further, Rst is in tvískelft metre, while the present stanza is in conventional dróttkvætt. — [1, 2] nam vægja ‘yielded’: Nam, lit. ‘took’, is a pleonastic auxiliary here.

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