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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 20I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 20’ 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. 429.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar
192021

†Samr† ‘…’

(non-lexical)

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vas ‘was’

2. vera (verb): be, is, was, were, are, am

[1] vas ôrr (‘var arr’): so Kˣ, 22ˣmarg, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, varrar FskAˣ

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ôrr ‘The envoy’

1. árr (noun m.; °dat. ár; ǽrir/árar, acc. áru): messenger

[1] vas ôrr (‘var arr’): so Kˣ, 22ˣmarg, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, varrar FskAˣ

kennings

Ôrr oddbragðs,
‘The envoy of the point-thrust, ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-thrust, → BATTLE
The envoy of the BATTLE → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] ôrr oddbragðs ‘the envoy of the point-thrust [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: The base-word ôrr is particularly appropriate here because of its associations with verbal communication, in what is clearly a warrior-kenning with a kenning for ‘battle’ or a weapon as a determinant. No ms. has oddbragðs, but its constituent elements are represented in the paradosis, and HSt Rst 18/1 has the very similar kenning ærir ǫrbragðs ‘envoys of arrow-thrust’ alongside other echoes from ErfÓl, suggesting that Hallar-Steinn knew a version of this stanza which contained oddbragðs. It is the only acceptable kenning which gives aðalhending (ÓT’s ôrr oddflagðs ‘envoy of the point-trollwife [AXE > WARRIOR]’ lacks close parallels), and bragðs (attested in J1ˣ, J2ˣ) is a plausible starting-point for the readings brags, -flagðs and -braks.

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odd ‘of the point’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddbragð (noun n.)oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddbrak (noun n.): [point-crash]oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddbragð (noun n.)oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddflagð (noun n.)oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddflagð (noun n.)

[2] odd‑: ‘oð‑’ J1ˣ, J2ˣ

kennings

Ôrr oddbragðs,
‘The envoy of the point-thrust, ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-thrust, → BATTLE
The envoy of the BATTLE → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] ôrr oddbragðs ‘the envoy of the point-thrust [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: The base-word ôrr is particularly appropriate here because of its associations with verbal communication, in what is clearly a warrior-kenning with a kenning for ‘battle’ or a weapon as a determinant. No ms. has oddbragðs, but its constituent elements are represented in the paradosis, and HSt Rst 18/1 has the very similar kenning ærir ǫrbragðs ‘envoys of arrow-thrust’ alongside other echoes from ErfÓl, suggesting that Hallar-Steinn knew a version of this stanza which contained oddbragðs. It is the only acceptable kenning which gives aðalhending (ÓT’s ôrr oddflagðs ‘envoy of the point-trollwife [AXE > WARRIOR]’ lacks close parallels), and bragðs (attested in J1ˣ, J2ˣ) is a plausible starting-point for the readings brags, -flagðs and -braks.

Close

odd ‘of the point’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddbragð (noun n.)oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddbrak (noun n.): [point-crash]oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddbragð (noun n.)oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddflagð (noun n.)oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddflagð (noun n.)

[2] odd‑: ‘oð‑’ J1ˣ, J2ˣ

kennings

Ôrr oddbragðs,
‘The envoy of the point-thrust, ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-thrust, → BATTLE
The envoy of the BATTLE → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] ôrr oddbragðs ‘the envoy of the point-thrust [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: The base-word ôrr is particularly appropriate here because of its associations with verbal communication, in what is clearly a warrior-kenning with a kenning for ‘battle’ or a weapon as a determinant. No ms. has oddbragðs, but its constituent elements are represented in the paradosis, and HSt Rst 18/1 has the very similar kenning ærir ǫrbragðs ‘envoys of arrow-thrust’ alongside other echoes from ErfÓl, suggesting that Hallar-Steinn knew a version of this stanza which contained oddbragðs. It is the only acceptable kenning which gives aðalhending (ÓT’s ôrr oddflagðs ‘envoy of the point-trollwife [AXE > WARRIOR]’ lacks close parallels), and bragðs (attested in J1ˣ, J2ˣ) is a plausible starting-point for the readings brags, -flagðs and -braks.

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bragðs ‘thrust’

bragð (noun n.; °-s; *-): action, movement, trick < oddbragð (noun n.)bragð (noun n.; °-s; *-): action, movement, trick

[2] ‑bragðs: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘‑flaghs’ FskAˣ, ‑brags Kˣ, 22ˣmarg, ‑braks F, ‑flagðs 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb

kennings

Ôrr oddbragðs,
‘The envoy of the point-thrust, ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-thrust, → BATTLE
The envoy of the BATTLE → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] ôrr oddbragðs ‘the envoy of the point-thrust [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: The base-word ôrr is particularly appropriate here because of its associations with verbal communication, in what is clearly a warrior-kenning with a kenning for ‘battle’ or a weapon as a determinant. No ms. has oddbragðs, but its constituent elements are represented in the paradosis, and HSt Rst 18/1 has the very similar kenning ærir ǫrbragðs ‘envoys of arrow-thrust’ alongside other echoes from ErfÓl, suggesting that Hallar-Steinn knew a version of this stanza which contained oddbragðs. It is the only acceptable kenning which gives aðalhending (ÓT’s ôrr oddflagðs ‘envoy of the point-trollwife [AXE > WARRIOR]’ lacks close parallels), and bragðs (attested in J1ˣ, J2ˣ) is a plausible starting-point for the readings brags, -flagðs and -braks.

Close

bragðs ‘thrust’

bragð (noun n.; °-s; *-): action, movement, trick < oddbragð (noun n.)bragð (noun n.; °-s; *-): action, movement, trick

[2] ‑bragðs: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘‑flaghs’ FskAˣ, ‑brags Kˣ, 22ˣmarg, ‑braks F, ‑flagðs 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb

kennings

Ôrr oddbragðs,
‘The envoy of the point-thrust, ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-thrust, → BATTLE
The envoy of the BATTLE → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] ôrr oddbragðs ‘the envoy of the point-thrust [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: The base-word ôrr is particularly appropriate here because of its associations with verbal communication, in what is clearly a warrior-kenning with a kenning for ‘battle’ or a weapon as a determinant. No ms. has oddbragðs, but its constituent elements are represented in the paradosis, and HSt Rst 18/1 has the very similar kenning ærir ǫrbragðs ‘envoys of arrow-thrust’ alongside other echoes from ErfÓl, suggesting that Hallar-Steinn knew a version of this stanza which contained oddbragðs. It is the only acceptable kenning which gives aðalhending (ÓT’s ôrr oddflagðs ‘envoy of the point-trollwife [AXE > WARRIOR]’ lacks close parallels), and bragðs (attested in J1ˣ, J2ˣ) is a plausible starting-point for the readings brags, -flagðs and -braks.

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hinns ‘who’

2. er (conj.): who, which, when

[2] hinns (‘hinn er’): er 53

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lofða ‘of warriors’

lofði (noun m.; °; -ar): man

kennings

gramr lofða
‘the ruler of warriors ’
   = Óláfr

the ruler of warriors → Óláfr
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gramr ‘the ruler’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

kennings

gramr lofða
‘the ruler of warriors ’
   = Óláfr

the ruler of warriors → Óláfr
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lifði ‘was alive’

lifa (verb): live

[3] lifði: ‘liðe’ Kˣ

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læstyggs ‘of the deceit-shunning’

læstyggr (adj.): [deceit-shunning]

kennings

læstyggs burar Tryggva.
‘of the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi. ’
   = Óláfr

the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi. → Óláfr

notes

[4] læstyggs burar Tryggva ‘of the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi [= Óláfr]’: Cf. st. 13/2 hugdyggvan son Tryggva ‘steadfast son of Tryggvi’; sts 23/8, 28/4 flugstyggs sonar Tryggva ‘of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi’. Hkr and ÓT’s sonar ‘son’ gives equally good sense here.

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burar ‘son’

burr (noun m.; °; -ir): son

[4] burar: sonr or sonar Kˣ, sonar J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb

kennings

læstyggs burar Tryggva.
‘of the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi. ’
   = Óláfr

the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi. → Óláfr

notes

[4] læstyggs burar Tryggva ‘of the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi [= Óláfr]’: Cf. st. 13/2 hugdyggvan son Tryggva ‘steadfast son of Tryggvi’; sts 23/8, 28/4 flugstyggs sonar Tryggva ‘of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi’. Hkr and ÓT’s sonar ‘son’ gives equally good sense here.

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Tryggva ‘of Tryggvi’

Tryggvi (noun m.): Tryggvi

kennings

læstyggs burar Tryggva.
‘of the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi. ’
   = Óláfr

the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi. → Óláfr

notes

[4] læstyggs burar Tryggva ‘of the deceit-shunning son of Tryggvi [= Óláfr]’: Cf. st. 13/2 hugdyggvan son Tryggva ‘steadfast son of Tryggvi’; sts 23/8, 28/4 flugstyggs sonar Tryggva ‘of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi’. Hkr and ÓT’s sonar ‘son’ gives equally good sense here.

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kveðr ‘say’

2. kveðja (verb): say, greet

[5] kveðr: kveða 22ˣmarg, F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 53

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ǫld ‘People’

ǫld (noun f.; °; aldir): people, age

[5] ǫld: hǫlð 22ˣmarg, ‘áls’ F

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éli ‘the blizzard’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

kennings

éli stála;
‘the blizzard of steel weapons; ’
   = BATTLE

the blizzard of steel weapons; → BATTLE
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stála ‘of steel weapons’

1. stál (noun n.; °-s; -): steel, weapon, prow

kennings

éli stála;
‘the blizzard of steel weapons; ’
   = BATTLE

the blizzard of steel weapons; → BATTLE
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geta ‘guess’

2. geta (verb): to beget, give birth to, mention, speak of; to think well of, like, love

[7] geta: gefa 22ˣmarg, akta 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb

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milin ‘’

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máli ‘story’

1. mál (noun n.; °-s; -): speech, matter

[7] máli: ‘mal̄’ J1ˣ, J2ˣ, málin 61, 53, 54, Bb, ‘milín’ 325VIII 2 g

notes

[7, 8] ferri sǫnnu máli ‘further from the true story’: Máli (n. dat. sg.) ‘story, speech’ cannot be the object of geta ‘create’, which takes acc. or gen., so this phrase must be governed by the comp. adj. ferri ‘farther from’. 

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sǫnnu ‘from the true’

1. sannr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i;): true

notes

[7, 8] ferri sǫnnu máli ‘further from the true story’: Máli (n. dat. sg.) ‘story, speech’ cannot be the object of geta ‘create’, which takes acc. or gen., so this phrase must be governed by the comp. adj. ferri ‘farther from’. 

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mjǫks ‘much’

mjǫk (adv.): very, much

notes

[8] mjǫks verr ‘it is much worse’: Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson (Nj 1875-8, II, 243-4) object to mjǫk before a comp. adj. (verr ‘worse’) and suggest attaching mjǫk to the main clause in ll. 7-8 rather than the intercalary. Finnur Jónsson follows them (Hkr 1893-1901, IV, 102; Fsk 1902-3, 132; Skj B), but more recent eds accept mjǫks verr without comment (ÍF 26; ÍF 29; Hkr 1991; see also NS §61 Anm.). The statement mjǫks verr an svá, lit. ‘it is much worse than so’, presumably expresses disbelief at the optimistic rumour, reported in the stanza, about Óláfr having escaped.

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verr ‘worse’

verri (adj. comp.): worse, worst

[8] verr an svá: verr ek var 61, ‘[…] sva’ 325VIII 2 g

notes

[8] mjǫks verr ‘it is much worse’: Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson (Nj 1875-8, II, 243-4) object to mjǫk before a comp. adj. (verr ‘worse’) and suggest attaching mjǫk to the main clause in ll. 7-8 rather than the intercalary. Finnur Jónsson follows them (Hkr 1893-1901, IV, 102; Fsk 1902-3, 132; Skj B), but more recent eds accept mjǫks verr without comment (ÍF 26; ÍF 29; Hkr 1991; see also NS §61 Anm.). The statement mjǫks verr an svá, lit. ‘it is much worse than so’, presumably expresses disbelief at the optimistic rumour, reported in the stanza, about Óláfr having escaped.

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an ‘than’

2. an (conj.): than

[8] verr an svá: verr ek var 61, ‘[…] sva’ 325VIII 2 g

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svá ‘that’

svá (adv.): so, thus

[8] verr an svá: verr ek var 61, ‘[…] sva’ 325VIII 2 g

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ferri ‘further’

ferri (adv.): far, further

[8] ferri: færi J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb

notes

[7, 8] ferri sǫnnu máli ‘further from the true story’: Máli (n. dat. sg.) ‘story, speech’ cannot be the object of geta ‘create’, which takes acc. or gen., so this phrase must be governed by the comp. adj. ferri ‘farther from’.  — [8] ferri ‘further’: On this form, see Note to st. 25/2.

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ferri ‘further’

ferri (adv.): far, further

[8] ferri: færi J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb

notes

[7, 8] ferri sǫnnu máli ‘further from the true story’: Máli (n. dat. sg.) ‘story, speech’ cannot be the object of geta ‘create’, which takes acc. or gen., so this phrase must be governed by the comp. adj. ferri ‘farther from’.  — [8] ferri ‘further’: On this form, see Note to st. 25/2.

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

All three prose sources cite this stanza after their description of the battle of Svǫlðr, as part of a group of stanzas attributed to Hallfreðr and concerned with the question of whether or not King Óláfr survived the defeat of his force.

[1-4]: The helmingr is syntactically difficult and the unanimously attested samr resists explanation. As none of the proposed interpretations is satisfactory and no alternative ms. readings for samr exist, it has been obelised in the Text. Most previous eds emend samr: (a) to sumr ‘some (envoy …)’ (Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 63); (b) to ‘that (envoy …)’ (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B), though it is unclear to whom this would refer; (c) or most audaciously to the rare adj. svífr ‘unreliable’ (Skald; NN §2757), giving svífr vas ôrr ‘the envoy was unreliable’. Other scholars avoid emendation by ingenious interpretations of samr. (d) ÍF 26 construes samr as an attributive adj., ‘seemly, worthy’ from sama ‘to suit, befit’, qualifying ôrr oddbraks ‘the envoy of the point-clash [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’, and similarly ÍF 29, Hkr 1991, with variants on ‑braks. But such an adj. is not well attested in verse or prose; the single, later skaldic parallel is breks ósamr ‘disinclined to treachery’ GunnLeif Merl I 2/7VIII. (e) Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SHI 3) suggests samr meaning ‘constant’, hence hinn ... var um æfi samr oddflagðs árr ‘that one ... was [his] whole life an envoy of the point-trollwife [AXE > WARRIOR] devoted (to Óláfr)’. (f) Kock, as an alternative to his construal in Skald, also proposes a tmesis, óðbragðssamr vas ôrr ‘the envoy was very deceitful’ (NN §512). — [1] samr vas ôrr of ævi ‘the envoy ... was ... about the life’: The line lacks skothending. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of Samr to ‘that’ gives a so-called empty rhyme, in which vowels rhyme without the participation of following consonants, here : ævi (Kuhn 1983, 76; Kristján Árnason 1991, 99-102, 107-10; Gade 1995a, 5-6, 32).

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