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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Óldr 4III

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Óttarr svarti, Óláfsdrápa sœnska 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 338.

Óttarr svartiÓláfsdrápa sœnska

text and translation

Ǫrn drekkr undarn;
ylgr fær af hræum sylg;
opt rýðr ulfr kjǫpt;
ari getr verð þar.

Ǫrn drekkr undarn; ylgr fær sylg af hræum; ulfr rýðr opt kjǫpt; ari getr verð þar.
‘The eagle drinks breakfast; the she-wolf gets a sip from corpses; the wolf often reddens its jaw; the eagle gets food there.

notes and context

This stanza is quoted in Skm to illustrate the use of ari as a heiti for ‘eagle’.

[1-2]: There is potential uncertainty here in that there are two subjects (ǫrn ‘eagle’ and ylgr ‘she-wolf’), two verbs (drekkr ‘drinks’ and fær ‘gets’) and two objects (undarn ‘breakfast’ and sylg ‘sip’). Skj B construes the clauses as ǫrn drekkr sylg ‘the eagle drinks a sip’ and ylgr fær undarn ‘the she-wolf gets breakfast’. While this has semantic coherence (especially with drekkr and sylg), it seems preferable to assume a pattern of one clause per line, as this is continued in ll. 3-4. The present edn follows Skald and NN §719 (so also SnE 1998).



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, 1. Óláfsdrápa sœnska 4: AI, 289, BI, 267, Skald I, 137, NN §719; SnE 1848-87, I, 490-3, II, 457, 544, 598, III, 101, SnE 1931, 173, SnE 1998, I, 92.


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