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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 12VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 12’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 740.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál
111213

Hjuggu ‘hewed’

hǫggva (verb): to strike, put to death, cut, hew

[1] Hjuggu vér með hjörvi: abbrev. as ‘Hiug ver m. h᷎.’ 1824b, ‘[…]’ 147, Hjuggum vér með hjörvi 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, H v. m. h: R702ˣ

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vér ‘We’

vér (pron.; °gen. vár, dat./acc. oss): we, us, our

[1] Hjuggu vér með hjörvi: abbrev. as ‘Hiug ver m. h᷎.’ 1824b, ‘[…]’ 147, Hjuggum vér með hjörvi 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, H v. m. h: R702ˣ

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með ‘with’

með (prep.): with

[1] Hjuggu vér með hjörvi: abbrev. as ‘Hiug ver m. h᷎.’ 1824b, ‘[…]’ 147, Hjuggum vér með hjörvi 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, H v. m. h: R702ˣ

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hjörvi ‘the sword’

hjǫrr (noun m.): sword

[1] Hjuggu vér með hjörvi: abbrev. as ‘Hiug ver m. h᷎.’ 1824b, ‘[…]’ 147, Hjuggum vér með hjörvi 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, H v. m. h: R702ˣ

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Hrunði ‘splashed down’

hrynja (verb): fall, flow

[2] Hrunði dögg af sverðum: ‘[…]’ 147

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dögg ‘dew’

dǫgg (noun f.; °-var/-ar, dat. -/-u; -var/-ar/dǫggir/daggir (cf. [$1242$])): dew

[2] Hrunði dögg af sverðum: ‘[…]’ 147

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af ‘from’

af (prep.): from

[2] Hrunði dögg af sverðum: ‘[…]’ 147

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sverðum ‘swords’

sverð (noun n.; °-s; -): sword

[2] Hrunði dögg af sverðum: ‘[…]’ 147

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brún ‘Brown’

2. brúnn (adj.): brown, dark

[3] brún í Barðafirði: ‘bryn j barda firde’ 1824b, 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, ‘[…]’ 147, ‘i Brim barda firde’ with ‘Bryn i barda firdi’ written above the line R702ˣ

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í ‘in’

í (prep.): in, into

[3] brún í Barðafirði: ‘bryn j barda firde’ 1824b, 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, ‘[…]’ 147, ‘i Brim barda firde’ with ‘Bryn i barda firdi’ written above the line R702ˣ

notes

[3] í Barðafirði ‘in Barðafjǫrðr’: This place has not been identified with certainty, though several suggestions have been made. (a) Rafn (1826, 118) refers to Johnstone’s (1782, 99) suggestion that Barðafjǫrðr here is Perth, situated on the banks of the river Tay, which flows into the Firth of Tay in eastern Scotland, just south of Dundee. The name may originate in a P-Celtic (possibly Pictish) word cognate with Welsh perth ‘wood, copse’ (Johnston 1934, 272; Nicolaisen 1976, 164), while -fjǫrðr would refer to the Firth of Tay. The identification with Perth would be consistent with the claim in Krm 24/9-10 that the speaker of the poem was active in Scotland’s fjords (though see the second Note to st. 24/10, below). (b) Langenfelt (1920, 84 n. 1) suggested an identification with the English village of Bardney on the river Witham, some nine miles east of Lincoln. In the Anglo-Saxon period Bardney (OE Bardanege, Bardan ea ‘Bearda’s island’; Ekwall 1960, 25) was ‘effectively an island’ in the fens overlooking the river (Leahy 2007, 122). That the Old Norse name for a place situated some thirty-five miles inland should end in ‑fjǫrðr is not so surprising given that the word can refer to an inland lake with a watercourse opening out into it (see Fritzner: fjörðr; cf. Olsen 1939b, 52 n. 61). (c) Less convincing, given that in this part of the poem (sts 11-21) most of the places mentioned seem to be in the British Isles, is the suggestion from Rafn (1826, 118, following Suhm et al. 1782-1828, I, 556), that the place in question is the Barð(a)fjǫrðr twice mentioned as the site of major events in Hák (Hák 1977-82, 26, 163). The place has not been certainly identified, but both contexts indicate that it was in Halland, then part of Denmark but now a province of south-western Sweden, just north of Skåne.

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Barðafirði ‘Barðafjǫrðr’

Barðafjǫrðr (noun m.)

[3] brún í Barðafirði: ‘bryn j barda firde’ 1824b, 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, ‘[…]’ 147, ‘i Brim barda firde’ with ‘Bryn i barda firdi’ written above the line R702ˣ

notes

[3] í Barðafirði ‘in Barðafjǫrðr’: This place has not been identified with certainty, though several suggestions have been made. (a) Rafn (1826, 118) refers to Johnstone’s (1782, 99) suggestion that Barðafjǫrðr here is Perth, situated on the banks of the river Tay, which flows into the Firth of Tay in eastern Scotland, just south of Dundee. The name may originate in a P-Celtic (possibly Pictish) word cognate with Welsh perth ‘wood, copse’ (Johnston 1934, 272; Nicolaisen 1976, 164), while -fjǫrðr would refer to the Firth of Tay. The identification with Perth would be consistent with the claim in Krm 24/9-10 that the speaker of the poem was active in Scotland’s fjords (though see the second Note to st. 24/10, below). (b) Langenfelt (1920, 84 n. 1) suggested an identification with the English village of Bardney on the river Witham, some nine miles east of Lincoln. In the Anglo-Saxon period Bardney (OE Bardanege, Bardan ea ‘Bearda’s island’; Ekwall 1960, 25) was ‘effectively an island’ in the fens overlooking the river (Leahy 2007, 122). That the Old Norse name for a place situated some thirty-five miles inland should end in ‑fjǫrðr is not so surprising given that the word can refer to an inland lake with a watercourse opening out into it (see Fritzner: fjörðr; cf. Olsen 1939b, 52 n. 61). (c) Less convincing, given that in this part of the poem (sts 11-21) most of the places mentioned seem to be in the British Isles, is the suggestion from Rafn (1826, 118, following Suhm et al. 1782-1828, I, 556), that the place in question is the Barð(a)fjǫrðr twice mentioned as the site of major events in Hák (Hák 1977-82, 26, 163). The place has not been certainly identified, but both contexts indicate that it was in Halland, then part of Denmark but now a province of south-western Sweden, just north of Skåne.

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bleika* ‘pale’

2. bleikr (adj.): pale

[4] bleika* fyrir hauka: bleikan ná fyrir hauka 1824b, 6ˣ, R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, ‘[…]’ 147

kennings

bleika* náhauka
‘pale corpse-hawks ’
   = RAVENS/EAGLES

pale corpse-hawks → RAVENS/EAGLES
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‘corpse’

nár (noun m.; °-s; -ir): corpse

[4] bleika* fyrir hauka: bleikan ná fyrir hauka 1824b, 6ˣ, R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, ‘[…]’ 147

kennings

bleika* náhauka
‘pale corpse-hawks ’
   = RAVENS/EAGLES

pale corpse-hawks → RAVENS/EAGLES
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fyrir ‘before’

fyrir (prep.): for, before, because of

[4] bleika* fyrir hauka: bleikan ná fyrir hauka 1824b, 6ˣ, R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, ‘[…]’ 147

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hauka ‘hawks’

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

[4] bleika* fyrir hauka: bleikan ná fyrir hauka 1824b, 6ˣ, R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, ‘[…]’ 147

kennings

bleika* náhauka
‘pale corpse-hawks ’
   = RAVENS/EAGLES

pale corpse-hawks → RAVENS/EAGLES
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Umði ‘twanged’

ymja (verb): howl, resound

[5] Umði: ‘[…]’ 147

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álmr ‘The bow’

almr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): bow, elm-bow

[5] álmr: ‘[…]’ 147, ‘almu’ 6ˣ

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þá ‘when’

2. þá (adv.): then

[5] þá er: ‘[…]’ 147, þar 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, þar er R702ˣ

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er ‘’

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

[5] þá er: ‘[…]’ 147, þar 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, þar er R702ˣ

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oddar ‘arrow-points’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon

[5] oddar: ‘[…]’ 147

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allhratt ‘very swiftly’

allhraðr (adj.)

[6] allhratt slitu (‘allhrat slitu’): ‘[…]’ 147, allhratt skutu with ‘slitu’ corrected from skutu in left margin and ‘allstritt bitu W fors. allhart Val allsärt’ in right margin 6ˣ, ‘allstritt bitu’ R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ

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slitu ‘tore’

slíta (verb): to tear

[6] allhratt slitu (‘allhrat slitu’): ‘[…]’ 147, allhratt skutu with ‘slitu’ corrected from skutu in left margin and ‘allstritt bitu W fors. allhart Val allsärt’ in right margin 6ˣ, ‘allstritt bitu’ R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ

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skyrtur ‘shirts’

skyrta (noun f.; °-u; -ur): shirt

[6] skyrtur: ‘[…]y[…]tur’ 147, skyrtur Óðins R693ˣ

kennings

hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis
‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir ’
   = MAIL-COATS

the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir → MAIL-COATS

notes

[6, 8] hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis ‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [MAIL-COATS]’: The parallel phrase hamri þœfðar ‘hammer-struck’ lit. ‘beaten with a hammer’ occurs in Hfr ErfÓl 9/9-10I, where it qualifies the kenning skyrtur hrings ‘shirts of the ring [MAIL-SHIRTS]’, while the kenning skyrtur Svölnis is paralleled in Hfr Hákdr 2/3III, where the kenning skyrtur Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s <legendary hero’s> shirts [MAIL-SHIRTS]’ occurs; cf. de Vries (1964-7, II, 40 n. 68). On the legendary figure of Hamðir, see Note to st. 17/9 below.

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at ‘in’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[7] at slíðrloga sennu: ‘at […]lid […] (loga sen)[…]’(?) 147

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slíðr ‘of sheath’

1. slíðr (noun f.; °; slíðrir/slíðrar): [tough, sheath] < slíðrlogi (noun m.)

[7] at slíðrloga sennu: ‘at […]lid […] (loga sen)[…]’(?) 147

kennings

sennu slíðrloga.
‘the quarrel of sheath-flames. ’
   = BATTLE

sheath-flames. → SWORDS
the quarrel of SWORDS → BATTLE

notes

[7] slíðrloga ‘of sheath-flames [SWORDS]’: This kenning is paralleled in RvHbreiðm Hl 18/5III tunga slíðra ‘tongue of scabbards [SWORD]’, and in RvHbreiðm Hl 71/2III bryggjur slíðra ‘bridges of scabbards [SWORDS]’, as well as in st. 17/6 below.

Close

slíðr ‘of sheath’

1. slíðr (noun f.; °; slíðrir/slíðrar): [tough, sheath] < slíðrlogi (noun m.)

[7] at slíðrloga sennu: ‘at […]lid […] (loga sen)[…]’(?) 147

kennings

sennu slíðrloga.
‘the quarrel of sheath-flames. ’
   = BATTLE

sheath-flames. → SWORDS
the quarrel of SWORDS → BATTLE

notes

[7] slíðrloga ‘of sheath-flames [SWORDS]’: This kenning is paralleled in RvHbreiðm Hl 18/5III tunga slíðra ‘tongue of scabbards [SWORD]’, and in RvHbreiðm Hl 71/2III bryggjur slíðra ‘bridges of scabbards [SWORDS]’, as well as in st. 17/6 below.

Close

loga ‘flames’

logi (noun m.; °-a; -ar): flame < slíðrlogi (noun m.)

[7] at slíðrloga sennu: ‘at […]lid […] (loga sen)[…]’(?) 147

kennings

sennu slíðrloga.
‘the quarrel of sheath-flames. ’
   = BATTLE

sheath-flames. → SWORDS
the quarrel of SWORDS → BATTLE

notes

[7] slíðrloga ‘of sheath-flames [SWORDS]’: This kenning is paralleled in RvHbreiðm Hl 18/5III tunga slíðra ‘tongue of scabbards [SWORD]’, and in RvHbreiðm Hl 71/2III bryggjur slíðra ‘bridges of scabbards [SWORDS]’, as well as in st. 17/6 below.

Close

loga ‘flames’

logi (noun m.; °-a; -ar): flame < slíðrlogi (noun m.)

[7] at slíðrloga sennu: ‘at […]lid […] (loga sen)[…]’(?) 147

kennings

sennu slíðrloga.
‘the quarrel of sheath-flames. ’
   = BATTLE

sheath-flames. → SWORDS
the quarrel of SWORDS → BATTLE

notes

[7] slíðrloga ‘of sheath-flames [SWORDS]’: This kenning is paralleled in RvHbreiðm Hl 18/5III tunga slíðra ‘tongue of scabbards [SWORD]’, and in RvHbreiðm Hl 71/2III bryggjur slíðra ‘bridges of scabbards [SWORDS]’, as well as in st. 17/6 below.

Close

sennu ‘the quarrel’

1. senna (noun f.; °; -ur): quarrel

[7] at slíðrloga sennu: ‘at […]lid […] (loga sen)[…]’(?) 147

kennings

sennu slíðrloga.
‘the quarrel of sheath-flames. ’
   = BATTLE

sheath-flames. → SWORDS
the quarrel of SWORDS → BATTLE
Close

Svölnis ‘of Svǫlnir’

Svǫlnir (noun m.): Svǫlnir

[8] Svölnis hamri þæfðar (‘svelnís hamre þefdar’): ‘[…] þ[…]f(d)[…]’(?) 147, ‘Svelnis hanye þęfdar’ with ‘Svolnis hatti þæfdar W.’ in margin 6ˣ, ‘svolniz hatti þofdar’ R702ˣ, ‘svolnis hatte thoefdar’ LR, ‘Suolnis hatte þæfdar’ R693ˣ

kennings

hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis
‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir ’
   = MAIL-COATS

the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir → MAIL-COATS

notes

[6, 8] hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis ‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [MAIL-COATS]’: The parallel phrase hamri þœfðar ‘hammer-struck’ lit. ‘beaten with a hammer’ occurs in Hfr ErfÓl 9/9-10I, where it qualifies the kenning skyrtur hrings ‘shirts of the ring [MAIL-SHIRTS]’, while the kenning skyrtur Svölnis is paralleled in Hfr Hákdr 2/3III, where the kenning skyrtur Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s <legendary hero’s> shirts [MAIL-SHIRTS]’ occurs; cf. de Vries (1964-7, II, 40 n. 68). On the legendary figure of Hamðir, see Note to st. 17/9 below.

Close

hamri ‘the hammer’

1. hamarr (noun m.; °-s, dat. hamri; hamrar): hammer, cliff

[8] Svölnis hamri þæfðar (‘svelnís hamre þefdar’): ‘[…] þ[…]f(d)[…]’(?) 147, ‘Svelnis hanye þęfdar’ with ‘Svolnis hatti þæfdar W.’ in margin 6ˣ, ‘svolniz hatti þofdar’ R702ˣ, ‘svolnis hatte thoefdar’ LR, ‘Suolnis hatte þæfdar’ R693ˣ

kennings

hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis
‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir ’
   = MAIL-COATS

the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir → MAIL-COATS

notes

[6, 8] hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis ‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [MAIL-COATS]’: The parallel phrase hamri þœfðar ‘hammer-struck’ lit. ‘beaten with a hammer’ occurs in Hfr ErfÓl 9/9-10I, where it qualifies the kenning skyrtur hrings ‘shirts of the ring [MAIL-SHIRTS]’, while the kenning skyrtur Svölnis is paralleled in Hfr Hákdr 2/3III, where the kenning skyrtur Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s <legendary hero’s> shirts [MAIL-SHIRTS]’ occurs; cf. de Vries (1964-7, II, 40 n. 68). On the legendary figure of Hamðir, see Note to st. 17/9 below.

Close

þæfðar ‘struck’

þæfa (verb)

[8] Svölnis hamri þæfðar (‘svelnís hamre þefdar’): ‘[…] þ[…]f(d)[…]’(?) 147, ‘Svelnis hanye þęfdar’ with ‘Svolnis hatti þæfdar W.’ in margin 6ˣ, ‘svolniz hatti þofdar’ R702ˣ, ‘svolnis hatte thoefdar’ LR, ‘Suolnis hatte þæfdar’ R693ˣ

kennings

hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis
‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir ’
   = MAIL-COATS

the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir → MAIL-COATS

notes

[6, 8] hamri þæfðar skyrtur Svölnis ‘the hammer-struck shirts of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [MAIL-COATS]’: The parallel phrase hamri þœfðar ‘hammer-struck’ lit. ‘beaten with a hammer’ occurs in Hfr ErfÓl 9/9-10I, where it qualifies the kenning skyrtur hrings ‘shirts of the ring [MAIL-SHIRTS]’, while the kenning skyrtur Svölnis is paralleled in Hfr Hákdr 2/3III, where the kenning skyrtur Hamðis ‘Hamðir’s <legendary hero’s> shirts [MAIL-SHIRTS]’ occurs; cf. de Vries (1964-7, II, 40 n. 68). On the legendary figure of Hamðir, see Note to st. 17/9 below.

Close

Rendi ‘forced its way’

3. renna (verb): let run (weak)

[9] Rendi: ‘[…]di’ 147

Close

ormr ‘serpent’

ormr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): serpent

[9] ormr: ‘[…]’ 147, ormr with almr in margin 6ˣ, almr R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ

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til ‘into’

til (prep.): to

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eitrhvass ‘The poison-sharp’

eitrhvass (adj.)

[10] eitrhvass: ‘[…]’ 147

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drifinn ‘soaked’

2. drífa (verb; °drífr; dreif, drifu; drifinn): drive, rush

[10] drifinn: ‘dri[…]’ 147, ‘drifium’ LR

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sveita ‘in blood’

sveiti (noun m.; °-a): blood

[10] sveita: ‘[…]’ 147

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

[1-4]: These lines cannot be convincingly construed without some emendation. (a) The present edn (with Wisén 1886-9, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 1905, Skj B and Skald) emends ‘bryn’ in most mss (l. 3) to brún f. nom. sg. agreeing with dögg (l. 2), hence ‘brown dew’. This is plausible as a heiti for ‘blood’, particularly when found in such close proximity to sverðum ‘swords’ (l. 2), recalling such blood-kennings as sverðdǫgg, hjǫrdǫgg ‘sword-dew’ and vápndǫgg ‘weapon-dew’, as Kock (NN §1276) notes. - ‘corpse’ and ‑hauka ‘hawks’, both in l. 4, are taken as a cpd kenning for ‘ravens/eagles’, separated by tmesis. Bleikan m. acc. sg. ‘pale’ (l. 4) in the mss is emended to bleika m. acc. pl. to qualify hauka. The adj. occurs with raven- or eagle-kennings elsewhere (Sigv Erlfl 1/2, 4I and ESk Geisl 43/3, 4VII). Principal variants on this solution (or parts of it) are as follows. (b) Ms. ‘bryn’ is emended to brýn by Rafn (1826), Pfeiffer (1860), the eds of CPB and Valdimar Ásmundarson (Krm 1891), who apparently take it as f. nom. sg. of adj. brýnn in the sense of ‘prompt, sudden, precipitate, gushing’, referring to dögg, evidently understood as dögg (benja) ‘dew (of wounds), blood’ (so Pfeiffer 1860, 221). (c) Finnur Jónsson (1893b; 1905; Skj B) shows by punctuation that he takes in l. 4 together with dögg in l. 2 by tmesis, giving the kenning nádögg ‘corpse-dew [BLOOD]’. (d) Kock (NN §1276) emends to nás, gen. sg. of nár ‘corpse’, hence ‘hawks of the corpse [RAVENS]’. (e) The mss’ bleikan is retained by Rafn (1826), Pfeiffer (1860), the eds of CPB, Wisén (1886-9) and Valdimar Ásmundarson (Krm 1891), all reading bleikan ná m. acc. sg. ‘a pale corpse’. Wisén takes this as the object of hjuggu ‘hewed’ in l. 1; and Pfeiffer’s and Valdimar’s punctuation may suggest that they do also. Wisén’s interpretation entails taking ll. 1 and 4 as a syntactic unit with the meaning, ‘We hewed with the sword a pale corpse for hawks’, and taking ll. 2-3 as a further parenthetic unit. However, it would be exceptional in Krm for l. 1, constituting the poem’s refrain, not to be syntactically independent. Rafn (and seemingly the eds of CPB) take bleikan ná as the object of an unexpressed phrase such as feldum vér ‘we felled, put to death’. — [5]: This line contains three alliterating staves. It is possible that one of the alliterating words, e.g. oddar ‘arrow-points’, replaced a synonym such as broddar, but the variant readings do not help here. — [5-6]: Alone among previous eds, Finnur Jónsson (1893b; 1905; Skj B), chooses the reading allstrítt ‘with great force, very swiftly’, in preference to allhratt ‘very swiftly’ in l. 6, and construes it as modifying the main verb umði ‘twanged’ in l. 5. Furthermore, while following previous eds in reading slitu ‘tore’ in l. 6 in 1893b, Finnur Jónsson (1905; Skj B) adopts here the reading bitu ‘bit’. This edn follows Kock (NN §1277, 2155) in finding slitu ‘tore’ more appropriate than bitu ‘bit’ in the present context, where the base-word in the kenning forming the object of the verb is skyrtur ‘shirts’, and in seeing the adv. allhratt ‘most swiftly’ in l. 6 as most likely to qualify slitu in the same line, given the relatively uncomplicated syntax of Krm. — [9-10]: Ormr ‘snake, serpent’ is here taken as a weapon-heiti (cf. Rafn 1826; Pfeiffer 1860; Wisén 1886-9, II, 220; LP: ormr 2). Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B: det edderhvasse sværd trængte (guld)prydet ind til blodet ‘the poison-sharp sword, decked (with gold), forced its way into the blood’ tries to avoid a half-kenning ormr ‘sword’ with a complicated and apparently unique interpretation of these lines, which is criticised by Kock (NN §1277). It involves taking ormr and unda, separated by the prep. til in l. 9, as forming together a kenning ormr unda ‘snake of wounds [SWORD]’; the p. p. drifinn ‘soaked, steeped’, as meaning ‘decked (with gold)’; and the prep. til in l. 9 as governing sveita, gen. sg. of sveiti ‘blood’, in l. 10. Kock’s evident understanding of the lines (he does not give a translation) is clearly to be preferred, and is followed here. That Finnur Jónsson subsequently abandoned the Skj B reading of these lines seems clear from LP: ormr 2 and drífa 6.

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