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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 15VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 15’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 747.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál

text and translation

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Herþjófi varð auðit
í Suðreyjum sjálfum
sigrs á órum mönnum.
Varð í randar regni
Rögnvaldr fyrir hníga;
sá kom hæstr of hölða
harmr at sverða gusti.
Hvast kastaði hristir
hjálms strengflaugar pálmi.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. Herþjófi varð auðit sigrs á mönnum órum í sjálfum Suðreyjum. Rögnvaldr varð hníga fyrir í {regni randar}; sá hæstr harmr kom of hölða at {gusti sverða}. {Hristir hjálms} kastaði hvast {pálmi strengflaugar}.
‘We hewed with the sword. Herþjófr was granted victory over our men in the Hebrides themselves. Rǫgnvaldr had to yield in the rain of the shield [BATTLE]; that greatest sorrow came upon men in the breeze of swords [BATTLE]. The shaker of the helmet [WARRIOR] vigorously propelled the palm-tree of the bowstring’s groove [ARROW].

notes and context

[2-4]: The word order of these lines makes it highly unlikely that the def. adj. sjálfum is to be taken either as m. dat. sg. ‘himself’ and referring to Herþjófi in l. 2 or as referring in the dat. pl. to mönnum órum ‘our men’, viz. ‘our own men’ in l. 4. Konráð Gíslason (Nj 1875-89, II, 324 n. 292) favoured the latter possibility while rejecting the former, and Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), with his translation vore egne mænd ‘our own men’, followed suit. The present ed. cannot agree with Konráð that taking the adj. sjálfum ‘themselves’ with Suðreyjum ‘the Hebrides’ gives ingen antagelig mening ‘no satisfactory meaning’. ‘In the Hebrides themselves’ makes good sense, as Olsen (1935, 79) recognised, assuming a Hebridean provenance for the poem’s composition, as discussed in the Introduction. See further Note to l. 3 below.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], H. Krákumál 15: AI, 645, BI, 652, Skald I, 318, NN §2155 anm.; Rafn 1826, 12-15, 125-7, Pfeiffer 1860, 125, CPB II, 342-3, Wisén 1886-9, I, 64, Krm 1891, 227, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 88, Finnur Jónsson 1905, 155; Ragn 1906-8, 188.


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