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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Hfl 5I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 5’ 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. 747.

Óttarr svartiHǫfuðlausn

text and translation

Skôruð skǫfnu stýri
(skaut) sylgháar bylgjur
(lék við hún á hreini
hlunns, þats drósir spunnu).

Skôruð sylgháar bylgjur skǫfnu stýri; skaut, þats drósir spunnu, lék við hún á {hreini hlunns}.
‘You cut the high, engulfing waves with a smoothed rudder; the sail, which women had spun, played against the mast-top on the reindeer of the roller [SHIP].

notes and context

The helmingr is quoted in SnE (Skm) to illustrate the use of bylgja ‘wave’ as a heiti for ‘sea’.

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.  — As the prose context is non-narrative, it is uncertain where this stanza should be placed within the poem; see further Introduction.



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: Óttarr svarti, 2. Hǫfuðlausn 20: AI, 296, BI, 272, Skald I, 139; SnE 1848-87, I, 500-1, II, 452, 535, 600, SnE 1931, 176, SnE 1998, I, 95.


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