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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Hfl 4I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 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. 746.

Óttarr svartiHǫfuðlausn
345

Ǫttuð ‘You urged’

2. etja (verb; °atti): incite

[1] Ǫttuð: ýttum J1ˣ, J2ˣ

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ôrum ‘oars’

1. ár (noun f.; °-ar, dat. u/-; -ar/-ir(LandslBorg 151b²¹)): oar

[1] ôrum skreyttum: órum knǫrrum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, skreyttum ôrum 68

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skreyttum ‘decorated’

skreyta (verb): adorn

[1] ôrum skreyttum: órum knǫrrum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, skreyttum ôrum 68

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austr ‘east’

3. austr (adv.; °compar. -ar, superl. -ast): east, in the east

notes

[2] austr í salt ‘east on the salt sea’: Doubtless a reference to the Baltic (Eystrasalt ‘the Eastern Salt’): cf. Sigv Austv 21/8 (and Introduction to Austv) and Arn Hryn 4/2II.

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í ‘on the’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[2] austr í salt ‘east on the salt sea’: Doubtless a reference to the Baltic (Eystrasalt ‘the Eastern Salt’): cf. Sigv Austv 21/8 (and Introduction to Austv) and Arn Hryn 4/2II.

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salt ‘salt sea’

salt (noun n.; °-s): sea, salt

[2] salt: haf Flat

notes

[2] austr í salt ‘east on the salt sea’: Doubtless a reference to the Baltic (Eystrasalt ‘the Eastern Salt’): cf. Sigv Austv 21/8 (and Introduction to Austv) and Arn Hryn 4/2II.

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með ‘alongside’

með (prep.): with

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flaustum ‘the ships’

flaustr (noun n.): ship

[2] flaustum: ‘fleystum’ Bb, ‘flaustrum’ Tóm

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lind ‘the linden-shield’

1. lind (noun f.): linden-shield, linden tree

[3] lind: land J1ˣ, J2ˣ, lendr 73aˣ, 78aˣ, lund 68

notes

[3] lind ‘the linden-shield’: Lind f. ‘linden-tree, lime-tree’ can refer to spear-shafts or shields made of linden-wood, hence spears and shields in general (LP: 1. lind); here it appears to be in apposition with randir ‘shields’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B adopts the reading land from J1ˣ, J2ˣ, producing an adv. phrase land af landi ‘from land to land’ which he takes to modify the clause in ll. 1-2. The proposal is not persuasive, though, either in terms of ms. authority or syntax.

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land ‘land’

land (noun n.; °-s; *-): land < landvǫrðr (noun m.): land-guardian

kennings

landvǫrðr,
‘land-guardian, ’
   = RULER

land-guardian, → RULER
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vǫrðr ‘guardian’

vǫrðr (noun m.; °varðar, dat. verði/vǫrð; verðir, acc. vǫrðu): guardian, defender < landvǫrðr (noun m.): land-guardian

[4] ‑vǫrðr: ‑vǫrð J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘her’ 68

kennings

landvǫrðr,
‘land-guardian, ’
   = RULER

land-guardian, → RULER
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skip ‘ships’

skip (noun n.; °-s; -): ship

notes

[4] skip ‘the ships’: The word could be sg. or pl.

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Neyttuð ‘You made use of’

neyta (verb): use, enjoy

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segls ‘the sail’

segl (noun n.; °-s; -): sail

[5] segls: segli 78aˣ

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sættuð ‘deployed’

sætta (verb): reconcile, settle

[5] sættuð: settuð Kˣ, Holm2, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 61, 325V, Flat, Tóm, sættusk 68, sóttuð Bb

notes

[5] sættuð ‘deployed’: Following Skj B, the verb is taken in this edn as sættuð (from sæta), here with the sense ‘used, took advantage of, deployed’ (Skj B benyttede). This takes a dat. object, here sundvarpaði ‘sea-thrower [OAR]’. Meissner 103 suggests instead the sense ‘you gave the oar peace’ (by using the sail). Skald and ÍF 27 retain settuð (from setja), as indicated by the ms. readings, with the exception of Bb and possibly of 68, but in the absence of an acc. object for the verb, this entails assuming that segl ‘sail’ is understood from l. 5 segls as the direct object, and that sundvarpaði is an indirect object; see further Note to l. 6. 

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sund ‘the sea’

sund (noun n.; °-s; -): sound, strait; swimming < sundvǫrpuðr (noun m.)

kennings

sundvarpaði;
‘the sea-thrower; ’
   = OAR

the sea-thrower; → OAR

notes

[6] sundvarpaði ‘for the sea-thrower [OAR]’: This hap. leg. appears to be an agent noun (nom. sundvǫrpuðr), and it is taken here as an oar-kenning similar to Anon (ÓT) 3/6 sveipr ǫldu ‘sweeper of the wave’ (so also Meissner 103). It is dat., and provides an object to sættuð ‘you deployed’ (see Note to l. 5). Other eds have taken it as an expression for ‘wind’ or ‘storm’ and construed it as indirect object of setja ‘set’, hence ‘you set [the sail] for the sea-thrower’; see ÍF 27, and also Jesch (2001a, 162-3), who suggests the translation ‘strait-disturber’. However, if a wind-kenning, it does not belong to a known pattern, and it takes the focus away from parts of the ship, which otherwise dominate the stanza.

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varpaði ‘thrower’

-vǫrpuðr (noun m.): -thrower < sundvǫrpuðr (noun m.)

[6] ‑varpaði: ‘‑uarpaðar’ Tóm

kennings

sundvarpaði;
‘the sea-thrower; ’
   = OAR

the sea-thrower; → OAR

notes

[6] sundvarpaði ‘for the sea-thrower [OAR]’: This hap. leg. appears to be an agent noun (nom. sundvǫrpuðr), and it is taken here as an oar-kenning similar to Anon (ÓT) 3/6 sveipr ǫldu ‘sweeper of the wave’ (so also Meissner 103). It is dat., and provides an object to sættuð ‘you deployed’ (see Note to l. 5). Other eds have taken it as an expression for ‘wind’ or ‘storm’ and construed it as indirect object of setja ‘set’, hence ‘you set [the sail] for the sea-thrower’; see ÍF 27, and also Jesch (2001a, 162-3), who suggests the translation ‘strait-disturber’. However, if a wind-kenning, it does not belong to a known pattern, and it takes the focus away from parts of the ship, which otherwise dominate the stanza.

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stundum ‘sometimes’

stundum (adv.): at times, sometimes

[6] stundum: so all others, corrected from ‘stundo’ in a later hand

notes

[6] stundum ‘sometimes’: The adv. could be taken with either or both of the verbs in ll. 5-6: neyttuð ‘you made use of’ and sættuð ‘you deployed’ (as here). 

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mjǫk ‘a much’

mjǫk (adv.): very, much

[7] mjǫk: ‘myk’ J1ˣ

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róin ‘rowed’

2. róa (verb): row

[7] róin: ‘rō’ J1ˣ, roðin Flat, ‘rum’ or ‘ruin’ Tóm

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bôru ‘swell’

1. bára (noun f.; °-u; -ur): wave

[8] bôru: so Holm2, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, 325V, Bb, Flat, Tóm, ‘baror’ Kˣ, bára J1ˣ, J2ˣ

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In the autumn, Óláfr ravages Sweden in revenge for the death of his father at Swedish hands. The stanza is quoted as evidence that he travelled east from Denmark.

[1-2]: The general sense of the lines is clear, but subtly different construals of the syntax are possible. (a) Ǫttuð is 2nd pers. pl. pret. indic. of etja ‘goad, urge’ or possibly here ‘try, strain’. It is taken here, as normally, to be transitive, with a dat. object skreyttum ôrum ‘decorated oars’. Með (flaustum) is taken as ‘alongside (the ships)’ (cf. LP: með 8). (b) Kock (NN §725) takes ǫttuð as intransitive, with the sense ‘went’, comparing Þór Lv 1/1-2 etjum á sæ kaldan ‘we drive forward on the cold sea’. He takes ôrum skreyttum ... með flaustum to mean ‘with decorated oars [and] with ships’. (c) ÍF 27 follows Kock, but takes skreyttum to qualify flaustum, hence ‘with ships ornamented with oars’; p. p. skreyttr ‘decorated’ frequently governs the dat. (see examples in LP: skreyta). (d) Skj B suggests Ǫttuð skreyttum flaustum með ôrum austr í salt ‘you drove the ornamented ships with oars east on the salt sea/Baltic’. This gives excellent sense, but it is implausible that með ‘with’ and skreyttum are to be taken not with the adjacent words but with those at one line’s remove (cf. Kock, NN §725).

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