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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Knútdr 8I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 8’ 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. 777.

Óttarr svartiKnútsdrápa

text and translation

Framm gekkt enn, þars unnuð
— almr gall hátt — við malma;
knôttut slæ, þars sóttuð,
sverð, kastala, verða.
Unnuð eigi minni
— ulfs gómr veit þat — rómu,
hnekkir hleypiblakka
hlunns, á Tempsar grunni.

Enn gekkt framm, þars unnuð við malma; almr gall hátt; sverð knôttut verða slæ, þars sóttuð kastala. {Hnekkir {hleypiblakka hlunns}}, unnuð eigi minni rómu á grunni Tempsar; gómr ulfs veit þat.
‘Still you went forward, where you fought against metal weapons; the bow cried loudly; swords did not become blunt where you attacked the fortification. Restrainer of the leaping steeds of the roller [SHIPS > SEAFARER], you fought no less a battle in the shallows of the Thames; the wolf’s gums know that.

notes and context

This stanza is quoted in the course of Knýtl’s account of Knútr’s attack on London.

For the sequencing of sts 8-10 in this edn, see the Introduction. — [1-4]: Assuming the first helmingr to refer to the same events as the second, these lines record Knútr’s attack on London in mid 1016. London did not fall to Knútr in the siege described here (see ASC s. a. 1016); the helmingr therefore praises Knútr as warmly as possible without committing an actual untruth. The syntax again poses problems. (a) The four lines are divided here into two self-contained couplets (so also NN §739). (b) Skj B prefers a complex structure, with the main sentence, in prose order Gek(k)t enn framm, þars unnuð sverð slæ við malma ‘Still you went forward, where you made the swords blunt against metal weapons’, extending through the whole helmingr and punctuated by two intercalary sentences, one containing a subordinate clause.



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, 3. Knútsdrápa 10: AI, 298, BI, 274-5, Skald I, 141, NN §§739, 1992, 2781; Fms 11, 196-7, Fms 12, 249-50, SHI 11, 185, Knýtl 1919-25, 45, ÍF 35, 115 (ch. 13).


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