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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rv Lv 14II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 14’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 591-2.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali KolssonLausavísur
131415

fylkis ‘of the leader’

fylkir (noun m.): leader

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ótangi ‘rascal’

ótangi (noun m.): [rascal]

notes

[2] ótangi ‘rascal’: Skj B emends this hap. leg. to slangi ‘rascal’ (so also Skald) and Orkn 1913-16 puts it in inverted commas. It is noted in ÍF 34 that the word tangi occurs in SnE (W 1924, 104; SnE 1848-87, II, 496), in a list of various derogatory terms for men, and it is argued that the prefix is intensifying or emphatic rather than privative, although no evidence is presented for this. However, one might compare words like óvættr ‘evil spirit, troll’ in which the prefix supplies a negative connotation to an essentially neutral word. For suggested etymologies, see AEW: tangi. It is of interest that Marwick (1929, 186) records an Orkney dialect word tangie, tongie ‘a mythical being’, more specifically ‘a mysterious goblin, or devil, who lured people to their doom’ and there may be some connection here.

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Sterkr ‘strong’

sterkr (adj.): strong

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stála ‘of weapons’

1. stál (noun n.; °-s; -): steel, weapon, prow < stálabjarki (noun m.)

kennings

Bjarki stála
‘The Bjarki of weapons ’
   = WARRIOR

The Bjarki of weapons → WARRIOR
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Bjarki ‘The Bjarki’

bjarki (noun m.; °-a): bjarki < stálabjarki (noun m.)

kennings

Bjarki stála
‘The Bjarki of weapons ’
   = WARRIOR

The Bjarki of weapons → WARRIOR
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staka ‘stumbled’

stinga (verb): stab, poke

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kvôðu ‘they said’

2. kveðja (verb): say, greet

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gram ‘the prince’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

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eggja ‘of edges’

1. egg (noun f.; °-jar, dat. -ju/-(var. [$1655$]: AM 75 c fol “75 c”, etc.)/-i([$1656$], cf. [$1654$] 243-244); -jar/-jur([$1657$] 16¹³n.)): edge, blade

kennings

skýflir eggja
‘destroyer of edges ’
   = WARRIOR

destroyer of edges → WARRIOR
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skýflir ‘destroyer’

skyflir (noun m.): [destroyer]

[7] skýflir: ‘skyklir’ R702ˣ

kennings

skýflir eggja
‘destroyer of edges ’
   = WARRIOR

destroyer of edges → WARRIOR

notes

[7] skýflir ‘destroyer’: The main ms. has ‘skyklir’. In the left-hand margin is written ‘skiklir eggia / a verbo eg skek’, while below the st. is written in square brackets ‘eggia skyflir, aff eg skyfr’, both by the same scribe as of the main text. It is not clear whether these represent his attempts to read his exemplar or to make sense of the word. It is assumed here that skiklir is the scribe’s attempt to make sense of what he can read, while skýflir is proposed as an emendation, adopted here. The verb skýfa, to which he links it (similarly AEW: skyflir), is glossed in LP as hugge itu ‘cut in two’ while AEW translates as schieben ‘shove, push’ (similarly Fritzner); both meanings are noted in ÍF 34. A meaning such as ‘destroyer’ is however also suggested by the kenning gullskýflir ‘gold-waster’ in Gsind Hákdr 4/3I. It is not clear where Bibire’s 1988 translation of skýflir as ‘skirmisher’ comes from.

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orð ‘the speech’

orð (noun n.; °-s; -): word < orðvandr (adj.)

notes

[8] orðvandr ‘the speech-impeded’: The adj. vandr can mean either ‘difficult’ or ‘careful’ (LP). Since ‘careful with words’ makes no sense in this context, the cpd has been interpreted as referring to the incomprehensible speech of Rǫgnvaldr’s attacker, whom the prose describes as a madman and whom the st. describes as having ‘strength rather than intelligence’. He may, however, simply have had a severe speech impediment. Orðvandr also occurs in Þstf Lv 3/6, in a similarly derogatory context (cf. NN §967). In ESk Geisl 46/4VII, the adv. form vant is used to express the difficulty of composing poetry.

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vandr ‘impeded’

vandr (adj.): difficult < orðvandr (adj.)

notes

[8] orðvandr ‘the speech-impeded’: The adj. vandr can mean either ‘difficult’ or ‘careful’ (LP). Since ‘careful with words’ makes no sense in this context, the cpd has been interpreted as referring to the incomprehensible speech of Rǫgnvaldr’s attacker, whom the prose describes as a madman and whom the st. describes as having ‘strength rather than intelligence’. He may, however, simply have had a severe speech impediment. Orðvandr also occurs in Þstf Lv 3/6, in a similarly derogatory context (cf. NN §967). In ESk Geisl 46/4VII, the adv. form vant is used to express the difficulty of composing poetry.

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Like st. 12, this st. is recorded only in R702ˣ, but with much less context. There is no indication of time or place, only that one day an óðr maðr ‘madman’ broke his restraints and grabbed the jarl so hard that he nearly fell.

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