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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 25I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 25’ 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. 436.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar
242526b

ulfa ‘of wolves’

1. ulfr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): wolf

kennings

optþverri sultar ulfa,
‘the frequent diminisher of the famine of wolves, ’
   = WARRIOR

the frequent diminisher of the famine of wolves, → WARRIOR
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sultar ‘of the famine’

sultr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. -i/-): famine, hunger

kennings

optþverri sultar ulfa,
‘the frequent diminisher of the famine of wolves, ’
   = WARRIOR

the frequent diminisher of the famine of wolves, → WARRIOR
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optþverri ‘the frequent diminisher’

oftþverrir (noun m.): frequent diminisher

[2] optþverri: opt þverri all

kennings

optþverri sultar ulfa,
‘the frequent diminisher of the famine of wolves, ’
   = WARRIOR

the frequent diminisher of the famine of wolves, → WARRIOR

notes

[2] optþverri ‘the frequent diminisher’: Reichardt (1928, 90-1) reads ‘opt þverrir’ in the mss as a cpd, which simplifies the helmingr’s syntax and has met with widespread approval (NN §1835; LP: optþverrir; Ohlmarks 1958, 463). The adverbial opt- ‘often’ seems plausible as a prefix to the agent noun þverrir, although seemingly without precise parallel (Skarp Lv 3/4V (Nj 18) optveitendr ‘frequent givers’ is editorial and unnecessary, cf. Meissner 63-4). Skj B awkwardly takes opt with þótt smátt sé und einum, hence ‘though one person often makes little difference’.

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stóðk ‘I stood’

standa (verb): stand

notes

[2] stóðk ferri ‘I stood far from’: As opposed to standa nær ‘stand by, support, back’. Hallfreðr missed the battle of Svǫlðr, having gone to Iceland. According to Hallfr (ÍF 8, 169), his bitter regret was predicted by Óláfr.

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férri ‘’

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ferri ‘far from’

ferri (adv.): far, further

[2] ferri (‘fjarri’): so all others, ‘fierri’ 61

notes

[2] ferri ‘far from’: Grammatically the comp. form ‘farther’. Ferri and the more usual fjarri are variant forms resulting from breaking and analogy (ANG §92). Most mss have ‘fiarri’ here, but normalised ferri is indicated by the aðalhending on þverri, as also in st. 20/8 ferri : verr, where some scribes seem to have been confused by the form (see Readings). — [2] stóðk ferri ‘I stood far from’: As opposed to standa nær ‘stand by, support, back’. Hallfreðr missed the battle of Svǫlðr, having gone to Iceland. According to Hallfr (ÍF 8, 169), his bitter regret was predicted by Óláfr.

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ferri ‘far from’

ferri (adv.): far, further

[2] ferri (‘fjarri’): so all others, ‘fierri’ 61

notes

[2] ferri ‘far from’: Grammatically the comp. form ‘farther’. Ferri and the more usual fjarri are variant forms resulting from breaking and analogy (ANG §92). Most mss have ‘fiarri’ here, but normalised ferri is indicated by the aðalhending on þverri, as also in st. 20/8 ferri : verr, where some scribes seem to have been confused by the form (see Readings). — [2] stóðk ferri ‘I stood far from’: As opposed to standa nær ‘stand by, support, back’. Hallfreðr missed the battle of Svǫlðr, having gone to Iceland. According to Hallfr (ÍF 8, 169), his bitter regret was predicted by Óláfr.

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þars ‘where’

þars (conj.): where

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þótt ‘though’

þótt (conj.): although

[4] þótt (‘þo at’): ‘þo et’ 53

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smátt ‘little’

smár (adj.): small

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skýlindr ‘’

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Skiliðr ‘separated’

1. skilja (verb): separate, understand

[5] Skiliðr: ‘skildr’ A, B, ‘skylíndr’ C

notes

[5]: The lexis and metrical pattern of this line echo st. 12/7; cf. Note there.

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em ‘am’

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

notes

[5]: The lexis and metrical pattern of this line echo st. 12/7; cf. Note there.

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ek ‘I’

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

notes

[5]: The lexis and metrical pattern of this line echo st. 12/7; cf. Note there.

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við ‘from’

2. við (prep.): with, against

notes

[5]: The lexis and metrical pattern of this line echo st. 12/7; cf. Note there.

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skyha ‘’

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skuha ‘’

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skylja ‘the ruler’

skyli (noun m.): lord

[5] skylja: ‘skyha’ 325VIII 2 g, ‘skvha’ Bb, ‘sk(yia)’(?) ‘sk[…]’ U

notes

[5]: The lexis and metrical pattern of this line echo st. 12/7; cf. Note there.

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skalm ‘a sword’

skalm (noun f.): sword < skalmǫld (noun f.): sword-age; Skálmǫld

[6] skalmǫld hefr því valdit: ‘ska[…]’ B, skalmǫld hefir því valdit 744ˣ;    skalm‑: ‘skam’ U

kennings

skalmǫld
‘a sword-age ’
   = BATTLE

a sword-age → BATTLE

notes

[6] skalmǫld ‘a sword-age [BATTLE]’: In Vsp 45/7, skalmǫld characterises the violence and chaos before the world plunges into Ragnarǫk, but in skaldic poems it is used in non-eschatological contexts, to mean ‘important, decisive battle’ (Þorm Lv 19/4V (Fbr 34), Anon (Stu) 40/8IV). The cpd is tentatively considered a kenning here (cf. Meissner 201), though the pattern is not typical.

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ǫld ‘age’

ǫld (noun f.; °; aldir): people, age < skalmǫld (noun f.): sword-age; Skálmǫldǫld (noun f.; °; aldir): people, age < skalmǫld (noun f.): sword-age; Skálmǫld

[6] skalmǫld hefr því valdit: ‘ska[…]’ B, skalmǫld hefir því valdit 744ˣ

kennings

skalmǫld
‘a sword-age ’
   = BATTLE

a sword-age → BATTLE

notes

[6] skalmǫld ‘a sword-age [BATTLE]’: In Vsp 45/7, skalmǫld characterises the violence and chaos before the world plunges into Ragnarǫk, but in skaldic poems it is used in non-eschatological contexts, to mean ‘important, decisive battle’ (Þorm Lv 19/4V (Fbr 34), Anon (Stu) 40/8IV). The cpd is tentatively considered a kenning here (cf. Meissner 201), though the pattern is not typical.

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hefr ‘has’

hafa (verb): have

[6] skalmǫld hefr því valdit: ‘ska[…]’ B, skalmǫld hefir því valdit 744ˣ

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valdit ‘caused’

valda (verb): cause

[6] skalmǫld hefr því valdit: ‘ska[…]’ B, skalmǫld hefir því valdit 744ˣ

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vetta ‘’

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vætti ‘hope for’

vætta (verb): expect

[7] vættik (‘vætti ek’): ‘uetta ec’ Tˣ, ‘v[…]ti […]’ B, vætti ek 744ˣ

notes

[7-8]: The sense of these lines is somewhat elusive, but seems to be ‘I hope for the ruler (Óláfr), but most people count that hope as a delusion’. As in sts 19-23, Hallfreðr seems to raise the possibility that Óláfr is alive only to reject it. Skj B emends vættik ‘I expect’ to vætta ‘(to) expect’ and construes ll. 7-8 as: flestum es mest vil ok dul vætta virða dróttins ‘for most it is the greatest wilfulness and delusion to expect the lord of men [RULER]’; so also Skald.

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k ‘I’

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

[7] vættik (‘vætti ek’): ‘uetta ec’ Tˣ, ‘v[…]ti […]’ B, vætti ek 744ˣ

notes

[7-8]: The sense of these lines is somewhat elusive, but seems to be ‘I hope for the ruler (Óláfr), but most people count that hope as a delusion’. As in sts 19-23, Hallfreðr seems to raise the possibility that Óláfr is alive only to reject it. Skj B emends vættik ‘I expect’ to vætta ‘(to) expect’ and construes ll. 7-8 as: flestum es mest vil ok dul vætta virða dróttins ‘for most it is the greatest wilfulness and delusion to expect the lord of men [RULER]’; so also Skald.

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virða ‘of men’

virðr (noun m.): man

[7] virða: ‘[…]’ B, virða 744ˣ, ‘vida’ C

kennings

dróttins virða;
‘the lord of men; ’
   = RULER

the lord of men; → RULER

notes

[7] dróttins virða ‘the lord of men [RULER]’: Ruler-kennings of this type are also used of God (Meissner 369-70), and this cannot be ruled out here, though see Note to ll. 7-8. The gen. case of dróttins is required by the verb vættik ‘I hope’.

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dróttins ‘the lord’

dróttinn (noun m.; °dróttins, dat. dróttni (drottini [$1049$]); dróttnar): lord, master

kennings

dróttins virða;
‘the lord of men; ’
   = RULER

the lord of men; → RULER

notes

[7] dróttins virða ‘the lord of men [RULER]’: Ruler-kennings of this type are also used of God (Meissner 369-70), and this cannot be ruled out here, though see Note to ll. 7-8. The gen. case of dróttins is required by the verb vættik ‘I hope’.

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vil ‘wilfulness’

1. vil (noun n.): desire, wilfulness < 1. vil (noun n.): desire, wilfulness

[8] vils (‘vil er’): vil ek 53, A, B, vilja 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, villa er U

notes

[8] [e]s mest vil ok dul ‘it [that hope] is the greatest wilfulness and delusion’: Vil ok dul is a standing phrase in both verse (LP: 2. vil) and prose (FGT 1972a, 220), and persists in ModIcel.

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s ‘is’

2. vera (verb): be, is, was, were, are, am < 1. vil (noun n.): desire, wilfulness

[8] vils (‘vil er’): vil ek 53, A, B, vilja 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, villa er U

notes

[8] [e]s mest vil ok dul ‘it [that hope] is the greatest wilfulness and delusion’: Vil ok dul is a standing phrase in both verse (LP: 2. vil) and prose (FGT 1972a, 220), and persists in ModIcel.

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mest ‘the greatest’

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

notes

[8] [e]s mest vil ok dul ‘it [that hope] is the greatest wilfulness and delusion’: Vil ok dul is a standing phrase in both verse (LP: 2. vil) and prose (FGT 1972a, 220), and persists in ModIcel.

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ok ‘and’

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

notes

[8] [e]s mest vil ok dul ‘it [that hope] is the greatest wilfulness and delusion’: Vil ok dul is a standing phrase in both verse (LP: 2. vil) and prose (FGT 1972a, 220), and persists in ModIcel.

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dul ‘delusion’

1. dul (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): delusion

[8] dul: ‘[…]vl’ U

notes

[8] [e]s mest vil ok dul ‘it [that hope] is the greatest wilfulness and delusion’: Vil ok dul is a standing phrase in both verse (LP: 2. vil) and prose (FGT 1972a, 220), and persists in ModIcel.

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

In ÓT, this follows st. 24 as part of a discussion of rumours about Óláfr’s fate after the battle. In the Skm section of SnE, ll. 5-8 come eighth in a series of nine helmingar exemplifying heiti for rulers, in this case skyli. The prose explains these heiti as the names of the last nine sons of Hálfdan gamli ‘the Old’.

Ms. 744ˣ, a copy of B by Jón Ólafsson, has been used selectively, to supply readings (whether these match or differ from the main text) where B is not legible. 

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