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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hókr Eirfl 3I

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 3’ 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. 475.

Halldórr ókristniEiríksflokkr
234

Fjǫrð kom heldr í harða
— hnitu reyr saman dreyra;
tungl skôrusk þá tingla
tangar — Ormr inn langi,
þás borðmikinn Barða
brynflagðs Reginn lagði
— jarl vann hjalms at holmi
hríð — við Fáfnis síðu.

Fjǫrð kom Ormr inn langi í heldr harða — {reyr dreyra} hnitu saman; {tungl tangar tingla} skôrusk þá —, þás {Reginn {brynflagðs}} lagði borðmikinn Barða við síðu Fáfnis; jarl vann {hríð hjalms} at holmi.

Last year Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’) underwent a rather harsh [trial] — {reeds of gore} [SWORDS] crashed together; {moons of the tongs of prow-boards} [SHIELDS] were cut then —, when {the Reginn <dwarf> {of the byrnie-troll-woman}} [AXE > WARRIOR = Eiríkr] brought the high-sided Barði (‘Prow’) alongside Fáfnir; the jarl fought {a storm of the helmet} [BATTLE] near the island.

Mss: (212r-v), F(36ra), J1ˣ(131v), J2ˣ(114v-115r), 325VIII 1(5rb) (Hkr); 53(64va), 54(64vb), Bb(100rb), Flat(64vb) (ÓT); FskAˣ(138-139) (Fsk); Holm18(53r), 310(89), 4-7(1rb) (ÓTOdd)

Readings: [1] Fjǫrð: ferð 53, Flat, 310;    harða: harðan 53, 54, Bb, Flat, Holm18, 310, 4‑7    [2] hnitu: hnigu F, Holm18, 4‑7, ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1, hitta 54, hina Bb;    reyr: ‘reyrv’ Bb    [3] skôrusk: corrected from ‘skarðz’ Bb;    þá: þar 53, 54, Bb, Flat, 310;    tingla: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1    [4] tangar: ‘tangri’ 54, tangi Bb;    Ormr inn langi: orminn langa J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Holm18, 4‑7    [5] ‑mikinn: mikin J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Bb, 4‑7, ‘‑miki[…]’ 325VIII 1, mikil FskAˣ;    Barða: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1    [6] bryn‑: brim‑ 54, Bb;    ‑flagðs: flags J2ˣ, Flat, FskAˣ;    Reginn: regin J2ˣ, 53, Flat, FskAˣ, Holm18, rekinn 4‑7;    lagði: hafði Bb    [7] hjalms: ‘hia[…]’ 325VIII 1, ‘hiams’ 53;    at: und Flat, FskAˣ, Holm18, 310, 4‑7    [8] Fáfnis: ‘famnes’ FskAˣ, faðmis 310, ‘faðmes’ 4‑7

Editions: Skj AI, 203, Skj BI, 193, Skald I, 102, NN §3219; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 446, IV, 98, ÍF 26, 360-1 (ÓTHkr ch. 106), F 1871, 163; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 273 (ch. 251), Flat 1860-8, I, 485; Fsk 1902-3, 127 (ch. 22), ÍF 29, 155 (ch. 24); ÓTOdd 1932, 222, ÍF 25, 337.

Context: Towards the end of the battle of Svǫlðr, all of Óláfr Tryggvason’s ships have been cleared except for Ormr inn langi, and all of Óláfr’s men who are still able to fight have gathered there. Eiríkr jarl brings his ship, Barði (‘Prow’) or Járnbarði (‘Iron-prow’), alongside Ormr inn langi, and a hard fight ensues.

Notes: [All]: In Hkr and ÓT, sts 3-4 are given in reverse order (see Introduction above). — [1] fjǫrð … harða ‘last year … harsh [trial]’: (a) The present edn follows ÍF 26 and ÍF 29 and assumes a suppressed noun raun (f. acc. sg.), lit. ‘trial, test’, after the adj. harða (f. acc. sg.) ‘hard, harsh’. The adv. fjǫrð is not unproblematic. ONP: fjǫrð gives nine citations of the word, the earliest from 1316, but it is unequivocally attested in C11th skaldic poetry (see Note to ÞjóðA Magn 13/1II and LP: fjǫrð), and there are other possible poetic occurrences of the word as well (see Notes to Eyv Lv 14/2 and Bragi Lv 1a/8IV). (b) Skj B and Skald adopt the reading of the ÓT and ÓTOdd mss, harðan (m. acc. sg.), which they construe with fjǫrð (m. acc. sg.), taken as the noun meaning ‘fjord’ rather than as the adv. fjǫrð ‘last year’, hence Ormr inn langi kom í harðan fjǫrð lit. ‘Ormr inn langi came into a harsh fjord’, i.e. ‘in a difficult position’. That interpretation is also possible, but all Hkr mss and FskAˣ have harða and harðan looks like a lectio facilior. Cf. also fjǫrð ‘last year’ (st. 5/3) and Introduction above. — [2] reyr dreyra ‘reeds of gore [SWORDS]’: Taken here as a kenning for ‘swords’ with reyr (n. nom. pl.) ‘reeds’ as the base-word (so also LP: 1. reyr and ÍF 29, and cf. KormǪ Lv 50/6V (Korm 71); ÍF 26 translates it as vopn ‘weapons’). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) gives the referent pilene ‘the arrows’, which is also possible, but the prose of Hkr specifies that the battle was a hǫggorrosta lit. ‘blow-battle’, i.e. hand to hand fighting with swords, axes and halberds. — [3-4] tungl tangar tingla ‘moons of the tongs of prow-boards [SHIELDS]’: This is clearly a shield-kenning, but the exact meaning of tǫng tingla ‘the tongs of prow-boards’ is debated. Tingl ‘prow-boards’ were two boards at the prow of a ship, which could be engraved or decorated (see Gsind Hákdr 2/3, Jór Send 4/3, Note to Þhorn Harkv 7/8 and Jesch 2001a, 148-9). The ‘tongs’ of these plates could have been the wooden pieces that surrounded the prow-boards (see Falk 1912, 43-4; Jesch 2001a, 148). The rhyming and alliterating words tungl and tingl are also found in Jór Send 4/3. — [3] þá ‘then’: The adv. þar ‘there’ (so 53, 54, Bb, Flat, 310) is an equally good reading. — [4] Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’): Óláfr Tryggvason’s famous warship and the focus of attention in the present poem. The phrase reappears in stef-like fashion in sts 4/4, 5/8 and 8/4 (see Introduction). Hkr (ÍF 26, 336) describes the ship as follows: Á Orminum langa váru fjǫgur rúm ok þrír tigir. Hǫfuðin ok krókrinn var allt gullbúit. Svá váru há borðin sem á hafskip. Þat hefir skip verit bezt gǫrt ok með mestum kostnaði í Nóregi ‘There were thirty-four rowing stations on Ormr inn langi. The heads and the curved stem and stern were all adorned with gold. The sides were as high as on an ocean-going ship. That was the best-made and mostly costly ship ever to be built in Norway’. The name Ormr appears frequently in skaldic poetry, both directly and through word-play: see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 10/1. — [5] borðmikinn Barða ‘the high-sided Barði (“Prow”)’: Barði, a derivative of barð ‘prow, stem’, is also recorded as a ship-heiti in Þul Skipa 3/3III. Eiríkr jarl’s ship was variously called Barði or Járnbarði(nn) ‘(the) Iron-prow’, which could indicate that the stem had been fortified for ramming (so Falk 1912, 43-4; but see Jesch 2001a, 159). Cf. the (probably unhistorical) description of this ship in Flat 1860-8, I, 481: þar var skegg a ofanverdu bardinu huorotueggia en nidr fra skegginu iarnnspaung breid ok þykk sem bardit ok tok allt j sio ofan ‘There was a beak on top of the prow on both sides and down from the beak an iron rod as broad and thick as the prow and it went all the way down into the sea’. See also Note to Þul Skipa 3/3III. The rhyming and alliterating pair borð- and barð- is also found (in identical positions) in Bragi Þórr 4/1III and Eskál Lv 2b/3V (Eg 125). — [6] Reginn ‘the Reginn <dwarf>’: Reginn is listed in the þulur as the name of a dwarf (see Note to Þul Dverga 6/4III), and it is also the name of Fáfnir’s brother, Reginn Hreiðmarsson in the eddic Sigurðr cycle (see Reg). Dwarf-names are not usual as the base-word of man-kennings, and where Reginn occurs it can be interpreted either as the dwarf-name or the sg. of regin ‘gods’ (Meissner 264), but in this case the choice of Reginn as a base-word with the sense ‘dwarf’ appears to have been prompted by association with Fáfnir (l. 8). — [7] at holmi ‘near the island’: Und holmi, lit. ‘below the island’ (so Flat, FskAˣ, Holm18, 310, 4-7), is also possible, and would imply that the island had steep cliff-sides. For the debate about the possible location of Svǫlðr (and whether it was an island, a river or a bay), see entry for Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — [8]: This line recalls Egill Lv 10/2V (Eg 15) hríð fyr Jótlands síðu. — [8] Fáfnis ‘Fáfnir’: The dragon Fáfnir (Reginn Hreiðmarsson’s brother; see Note to l. 6 above), who was killed by Sigurðr Fáfnisbani ‘Slayer of Fáfnir’ (see Fáfn, Þorf Lv 1). It is used here as a synonym for ormr ‘serpent’, i.e. the ship Ormr inn langi (see also Notes to st. 2/1 above and Hfr ErfÓl 10/1). The variant (normalised) faðmis (nom. faðmir) in FskAˣ, 310, and 4-7 is a Norwegian form of this name (see Note to Anon Nkt 21/4II, as well as RvHbreiðm Hl 7/3III and 47/3III).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  8. Falk, Hjalmar. 1912. Altnordisches Seewesen. Wörter und Sachen 4. Heidelberg: Winter.
  9. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  11. ÓTOdd 1932 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1932. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar af Oddr Snorrason munk. Copenhagen: Gad.
  12. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  13. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  14. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  15. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  16. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  17. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  18. ÍF 25 = Færeyinga saga; Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar eptir Odd munk Snorrason. Ed. Ólafur Halldórsson. 2006.
  19. Internal references
  20. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  21. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason / Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta (ÓT)’ 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, pp. clxiii-clxvi.
  22. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)’ 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, pp. clxxiv-clxxv.
  23. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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. 383.
  24. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nóregs konungatal 21’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 775.
  25. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Dverga heiti 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 704.
  26. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Skipa heiti 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 865.
  27. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Þórr’s fishing 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 50.
  28. Not published: do not cite (Bragi Lv 1aIV)
  29. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 8V (Eg 12))
  30. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 10V (Eg 15))
  31. Not published: do not cite (Eskál Lv 2bV (Eg 125 [b]))
  32. Not published: do not cite ()
  33. 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.
  34. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 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. 159.
  35. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 10’ 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. 415.
  36. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Jórunn skáldmær, Sendibítr 4’ 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. 148.
  37. Not published: do not cite (KormǪ Lv 50V (Korm 71))
  38. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1015.
  39. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 7’ 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. 100.
  40. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi 13’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 101.
  41. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorfinnr munnr, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 845.
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