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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 18I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 18’ 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. 686.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga
171819

Bjǫrn ‘Bjǫrn’

bjǫrn (noun m.; °bjarnar, dat. birni; birnir, acc. bjǫrnu): bear, Bjǫrn

notes

[1] Bjǫrn: Bjǫrn digri ‘the Stout’ was King Óláfr’s marshal, who sat in the high-seat opposite the king in the royal hall at Niðaróss (Trondheim; ÍF 27, 72), and regularly acted as the king’s spokesman (see index in ÍF 27, 455). See also Sigv Lv 5 on Bjǫrn and other stallarar ‘marshals’.

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frák ‘I have heard’

1. fregna (verb): hear of

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auk ‘also’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

[1] auk: at J2ˣ, 321ˣ, ok 73aˣ, 325V, ‘okr’ Holm4, auð 61, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm

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af ‘with’

af (prep.): from

[1] af: om. 73aˣ, 325V, at 61

notes

[1, 3, 4] af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin ‘with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord’: (a) This is construed following ÍF 27, with halda + acc. meaning ‘protect’ (cf. the same construction in Steinn Nizv 5/5, 8II, where the protectors are also hugfylldir ‘courage-filled’). Œrnum ‘abundant, enough’ qualifies hug ‘courage, mind’. (b) Both Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Kock (NN §1116) assume that hug is the direct object of halda, normally ‘hold’, Finnur by assuming a cpd dróttinhug ‘loyalty to one’s lord’ (with tmesis) and Kock by assuming dróttinn is an error for dat. sg. dróttni, which he does not explain. Both also adopt the minority reading œrnu rather than œrnum, hence adv. at/af œrnu ‘fully, abundantly’. Finnur chooses at, the reading of 61 alone, while Kock (NN §2478) prefers the majority reading af.

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œrnum ‘abundant’

œrinn (adj.): ample, sufficient

[1] œrnum: œrnu Holm2, J2ˣ, Flat, ‘ornum’ 321ˣ, ernum 61, Tóm, ǫrnum 325VII

notes

[1, 3, 4] af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin ‘with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord’: (a) This is construed following ÍF 27, with halda + acc. meaning ‘protect’ (cf. the same construction in Steinn Nizv 5/5, 8II, where the protectors are also hugfylldir ‘courage-filled’). Œrnum ‘abundant, enough’ qualifies hug ‘courage, mind’. (b) Both Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Kock (NN §1116) assume that hug is the direct object of halda, normally ‘hold’, Finnur by assuming a cpd dróttinhug ‘loyalty to one’s lord’ (with tmesis) and Kock by assuming dróttinn is an error for dat. sg. dróttni, which he does not explain. Both also adopt the minority reading œrnu rather than œrnum, hence adv. at/af œrnu ‘fully, abundantly’. Finnur chooses at, the reading of 61 alone, while Kock (NN §2478) prefers the majority reading af.

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stǫllurum ‘the marshals’

stallari (noun m.; °-a; -ar): king’s marshal

[2] stǫllurum: ‘stallerum’ J2ˣ, ‘stallaurum’ 321ˣ, ‘stallar[…]vm’ 61, stallara Flat, Tóm

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kenndu ‘taught’

kenna (verb): know, teach

[2] kenndu: kenndi J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, Holm4, 61, 325V, Flat, kenndan 325VII, kennda Bb, kenndum Tóm

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hug ‘courage’

hugr (noun m.): mind, thought, courage

notes

[1, 3, 4] af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin ‘with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord’: (a) This is construed following ÍF 27, with halda + acc. meaning ‘protect’ (cf. the same construction in Steinn Nizv 5/5, 8II, where the protectors are also hugfylldir ‘courage-filled’). Œrnum ‘abundant, enough’ qualifies hug ‘courage, mind’. (b) Both Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Kock (NN §1116) assume that hug is the direct object of halda, normally ‘hold’, Finnur by assuming a cpd dróttinhug ‘loyalty to one’s lord’ (with tmesis) and Kock by assuming dróttinn is an error for dat. sg. dróttni, which he does not explain. Both also adopt the minority reading œrnu rather than œrnum, hence adv. at/af œrnu ‘fully, abundantly’. Finnur chooses at, the reading of 61 alone, while Kock (NN §2478) prefers the majority reading af.

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hvé ‘how’

hvé (conj.): how

[3] hvé: om. 61

notes

[1, 3, 4] af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin ‘with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord’: (a) This is construed following ÍF 27, with halda + acc. meaning ‘protect’ (cf. the same construction in Steinn Nizv 5/5, 8II, where the protectors are also hugfylldir ‘courage-filled’). Œrnum ‘abundant, enough’ qualifies hug ‘courage, mind’. (b) Both Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Kock (NN §1116) assume that hug is the direct object of halda, normally ‘hold’, Finnur by assuming a cpd dróttinhug ‘loyalty to one’s lord’ (with tmesis) and Kock by assuming dróttinn is an error for dat. sg. dróttni, which he does not explain. Both also adopt the minority reading œrnu rather than œrnum, hence adv. at/af œrnu ‘fully, abundantly’. Finnur chooses at, the reading of 61 alone, while Kock (NN §2478) prefers the majority reading af.

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halda ‘to protect’

halda (verb): hold, keep

notes

[1, 3, 4] af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin ‘with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord’: (a) This is construed following ÍF 27, with halda + acc. meaning ‘protect’ (cf. the same construction in Steinn Nizv 5/5, 8II, where the protectors are also hugfylldir ‘courage-filled’). Œrnum ‘abundant, enough’ qualifies hug ‘courage, mind’. (b) Both Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Kock (NN §1116) assume that hug is the direct object of halda, normally ‘hold’, Finnur by assuming a cpd dróttinhug ‘loyalty to one’s lord’ (with tmesis) and Kock by assuming dróttinn is an error for dat. sg. dróttni, which he does not explain. Both also adopt the minority reading œrnu rather than œrnum, hence adv. at/af œrnu ‘fully, abundantly’. Finnur chooses at, the reading of 61 alone, while Kock (NN §2478) prefers the majority reading af.

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dugði ‘it was fitting’

duga (verb; °dugir; dugði; dugat): help, befit

[3] dugði: skyldi 73aˣ, 325V

notes

[1, 3, 4] af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin ‘with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord’: (a) This is construed following ÍF 27, with halda + acc. meaning ‘protect’ (cf. the same construction in Steinn Nizv 5/5, 8II, where the protectors are also hugfylldir ‘courage-filled’). Œrnum ‘abundant, enough’ qualifies hug ‘courage, mind’. (b) Both Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Kock (NN §1116) assume that hug is the direct object of halda, normally ‘hold’, Finnur by assuming a cpd dróttinhug ‘loyalty to one’s lord’ (with tmesis) and Kock by assuming dróttinn is an error for dat. sg. dróttni, which he does not explain. Both also adopt the minority reading œrnu rather than œrnum, hence adv. at/af œrnu ‘fully, abundantly’. Finnur chooses at, the reading of 61 alone, while Kock (NN §2478) prefers the majority reading af.

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dróttin ‘their lord’

dróttinn (noun m.; °dróttins, dat. dróttni (drottini [$1049$]); dróttnar): lord, master

notes

[1, 3, 4] af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin ‘with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord’: (a) This is construed following ÍF 27, with halda + acc. meaning ‘protect’ (cf. the same construction in Steinn Nizv 5/5, 8II, where the protectors are also hugfylldir ‘courage-filled’). Œrnum ‘abundant, enough’ qualifies hug ‘courage, mind’. (b) Both Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Kock (NN §1116) assume that hug is the direct object of halda, normally ‘hold’, Finnur by assuming a cpd dróttinhug ‘loyalty to one’s lord’ (with tmesis) and Kock by assuming dróttinn is an error for dat. sg. dróttni, which he does not explain. Both also adopt the minority reading œrnu rather than œrnum, hence adv. at/af œrnu ‘fully, abundantly’. Finnur chooses at, the reading of 61 alone, while Kock (NN §2478) prefers the majority reading af.

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hollum ‘the loyal’

hollr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): loyal

[5] hollum: hylli 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm

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verðungar ‘of the retinue’

verðung (noun f.): troop, retinue

[6] verðungar: virðinga 61, ‘verdungra’ Bb, ‘verdugra’ Flat

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mǫnnum ‘men’

maðr (noun m.): man, person

[6] mǫnnum: manni J2ˣ, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, manna Holm4, 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm, sverða 325VII

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leyfðr ‘praised’

leyfa (verb): permit; praise

[7] leyfðrs (‘leyfðr er’): ‘leyfr er’ Holm2, leyfði er 73aˣ, leyfðr Holm4, 61, 325VII, frægr 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm

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s ‘is’

2. vera (verb): be, is, was, were, are, am

[7] leyfðrs (‘leyfðr er’): ‘leyfr er’ Holm2, leyfði er 73aˣ, leyfðr Holm4, 61, 325VII, frægr 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm

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at ‘at’

3. at (prep.): at, to

notes

[7] at hǫfði ‘at the head’: The phrase is not to be taken literally (Bjǫrn falls while Óláfr is still standing), and hǫfði (nom. sg. hǫfuð) presumably refers to the king’s person; cf. Note to st. 21/2 and Yt 25/7. Frank (1978, 130) suggests a reminiscence of the last words and ‘heroic self-sacrifice’ of the Danish hero Bjarki; his name means ‘little bear’ while Bjǫrn means ‘bear’.

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hǫfði ‘the head’

hǫfuð (noun n.; °-s; -): head

notes

[7] at hǫfði ‘at the head’: The phrase is not to be taken literally (Bjǫrn falls while Óláfr is still standing), and hǫfði (nom. sg. hǫfuð) presumably refers to the king’s person; cf. Note to st. 21/2 and Yt 25/7. Frank (1978, 130) suggests a reminiscence of the last words and ‘heroic self-sacrifice’ of the Danish hero Bjarki; his name means ‘little bear’ while Bjǫrn means ‘bear’.

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hróðr ‘of the fame’

hróðr (noun m.): encomium, praise < hróðrauðigr (adj.)

[8] hróðr‑: hróð‑ Flat

notes

[8] hróðrauðigs ‘fame-rich’: Kock (NN §§1121, 1879) believes that this word shows the influence of OE hrēðēadig ‘glorious, victorious’, but this is not necessary as both elements are common in ON. Hróðr can also mean ‘poem’ and in this collocation with leyfðr ‘praised’ there may also be an allusion to the many poems composed about Óláfr, by Sigvatr and others.

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auðigs ‘rich’

auðigr (adj.; °auðgan/auðigan; compar. auðgari/auðigri, superl. auðgastr/auðigastr): wealthy < hróðrauðigr (adj.)

[8] ‑auðigs: auðigr 321ˣ

notes

[8] hróðrauðigs ‘fame-rich’: Kock (NN §§1121, 1879) believes that this word shows the influence of OE hrēðēadig ‘glorious, victorious’, but this is not necessary as both elements are common in ON. Hróðr can also mean ‘poem’ and in this collocation with leyfðr ‘praised’ there may also be an allusion to the many poems composed about Óláfr, by Sigvatr and others.

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dauði ‘death’

dauði (noun m.; °-a; -ar): death

[8] dauði: dauða 73aˣ, 325VII

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

The close fighting continues at Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad) between the king with his defenders (including Bjǫrn stallari ‘the Marshal’) and a small group of opponents. Bjǫrn attacks, but is killed by, Þórir hundr. Óláfr is then felled by three different blows and most of his troop also die. BjHall Kálffl 5 is cited as a witness to Kálfr Árnason’s role, then this stanza concerning Bjǫrn.

[5-8]: This helmingr is taken as two independent clauses with relatively natural word order, following Kock (NN §§620, 665). At hǫfði hróðrauðigs hilmis ‘at the head of the fame-rich leader’ is taken here with sá dauði ‘that death’. It could alternatively be taken with hann fell ‘he fell’ in ll. 5-6 (so Skj B; ÍF 27).

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