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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 10I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur 10’ 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. 571.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonNesjavísur
91011

Sjalfr ‘himself’

sjalfr (adj.): self

[1] Sjalfr: sjalf J1ˣ

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svartar ‘the black’

svartr (adj.): black

[1] svartar: ‘svarta ta’ 325V, svarta 325VII, Flat, Tóm

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kylfr ‘’

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kylfur ‘stem-fittings’

1. kylfa (noun f.; °-u; -ur): club

[1] kylfur: ‘kylfr’ 972ˣ, 78aˣ, FskAˣ, kylfu 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm

notes

[1] kylfur ‘stem-fittings’: This is the sole skaldic attestation of kylfa, which normally means ‘club’, as a nautical term. Jesch (2001a, 150) explains it as the highest and narrowest part of the ship’s stem, where ‘stem’ means both prow and stern (ibid., 144; but see Note on ll. 7, 8 of this stanza). The highest part of the stem stood in the way of would-be boarders but, being made of relatively slender pieces of timber, could readily be cut down so as to gain easier access (ibid., 150; cf. Christensen 1985, 158-60, 232). Most boarding and fighting seems to have taken place at either end of the ship, not amidships (Jesch 2001a, 213). The sg. variant svarta kylfu ‘black stem-fitting’ in 325V, 325VII, Flat and Tóm has been explained as an attempt to bring the stanza into closer agreement with the prose narrative (ÍF 27).

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Sveinn ‘Sveinn’

2. Sveinn (noun m.): Sveinn

[2] Sveinn: sein R686ˣ

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harðliga ‘ruthlessly’

harðliga (adv.): powerfully

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skeina ‘be cut off’

2. skeina (verb): scratch

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nær ‘close’

nær (adv.): near, almost; when

[3] nær: né FskAˣ

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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vas ‘was’

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

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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áðr ‘previously’

áðr (adv.; °//): before

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í ‘in’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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óra ‘our’

várr (pron.; °f. ór/vár; pl. órir/várir): our

[3] óra: ‘ærna’ 325VII, óru FskBˣ, orna FskAˣ

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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auð ‘of riches’

1. auðr (noun m.; °-s/-ar, dat. -i/-): wealth < auðván (noun f.): expectation of wealth1. auðr (noun m.; °-s/-ar, dat. -i/-): wealth

[4] auð‑: all 972ˣ, ǫll 73aˣ, 68, 61, ‘avr’ Bb

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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nonn ‘’

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vôn ‘expectation’

ván (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): hope, expectation < auðván (noun f.): expectation of wealthván (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): hope, expectation < allván (noun f.)

[4] ‑vôn: ‑vann Bb, ‘‑nonn’ FskAˣ

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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rórt ‘’

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róit ‘the rowing’

2. róa (verb): row

[4] róit: ‘rórt’ papp18ˣ, réð FskAˣ

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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hônum ‘to him’

hann (pron.; °gen. hans, dat. honum; f. hon, gen. hennar, acc. hana): he, she, it, they, them...

notes

[3-4] vas róit nær hônum í auðvôn óra ‘the rowing was close to him in our expectation of riches’: Vas róit, lit. ‘was rowed’, is impersonal, but óra ‘our’ points to the skald and Óláfr’s men as the logical subject. Seemingly their manoeuvres are influenced by high hopes of plunder. 

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þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

[5] þás (‘þa er’): þat var 972ˣ

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til ‘to’

til (prep.): to

[5] til: om. FskAˣ

notes

[5, 8] til góðs hrafni ‘to the benefit of the raven’: Gratifying to the carrion-birds because boarding opens the way for numerous casualties during hand-to-hand fighting calculated to hrjóða ‘clear’ the ship of her complement (Jesch 2001a, 211-13).

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góðs ‘the benefit’

góðr (adj.): good

[5] góðs: gjóðs Flat, Tóm

notes

[5, 8] til góðs hrafni ‘to the benefit of the raven’: Gratifying to the carrion-birds because boarding opens the way for numerous casualties during hand-to-hand fighting calculated to hrjóða ‘clear’ the ship of her complement (Jesch 2001a, 211-13).

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eng ‘’

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en ‘and’

2. en (conj.): but, and

[5] en gjóði: ‘enggiodi’ R686ˣ;    en: við FskBˣ, viðr FskAˣ

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gięði ‘’

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giodi ‘’

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gjóði ‘osprey’

gjóðr (noun m.; °-s; -ar): osprey

[5] en gjóði: ‘enggiodi’ R686ˣ;    gjóði: so Holm2, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 78aˣ, Holm4, 325VII, Bb, Flat, ‘gioðo’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, gjóða 972ˣ, 68, 61, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, ‘gięði’ 73aˣ, gjóð 325V, góði Tóm

kennings

svǫrtum gjóði Yggs.
‘for the black osprey of Yggr.’
   = RAVEN/EAGLE

for the black osprey of Yggr. → RAVEN/EAGLE
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gíor ‘’

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gǫrt ‘amply’

1. gǫrr (adj.): ample, perfect

[6] gǫrt: ‘gæ(re)’(?) 325VII, ‘gíor’ Tóm

notes

[6] hræ fengusk gǫrt ‘corpses were provided amply’: The word gǫrt ‘amply, completely’ is used adverbially, modifying the m. v. form fengusk ‘were provided’ with hræ (pl.) ‘corpses’ as the subject and gjóði (dat.) ‘osprey’ as the object (cf. NN §621). More in line with the copyists’ expectations, to judge from the ms. variants, would have been a construction using the active form fengum ‘we gave’.

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fengusk ‘were provided’

2. fá (verb; °fǽr; fekk, fengu; fenginn): get, receive

[6] fengusk: fengum Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, fennum J1ˣ, fengu FskAˣ

notes

[6] hræ fengusk gǫrt ‘corpses were provided amply’: The word gǫrt ‘amply, completely’ is used adverbially, modifying the m. v. form fengusk ‘were provided’ with hræ (pl.) ‘corpses’ as the subject and gjóði (dat.) ‘osprey’ as the object (cf. NN §621). More in line with the copyists’ expectations, to judge from the ms. variants, would have been a construction using the active form fengum ‘we gave’.

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hræ ‘corpses’

hræ (noun n.; °; -): corpse, carrion

[6] hræ: vér R686ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, her Bb

notes

[6] hræ fengusk gǫrt ‘corpses were provided amply’: The word gǫrt ‘amply, completely’ is used adverbially, modifying the m. v. form fengusk ‘were provided’ with hræ (pl.) ‘corpses’ as the subject and gjóði (dat.) ‘osprey’ as the object (cf. NN §621). More in line with the copyists’ expectations, to judge from the ms. variants, would have been a construction using the active form fengum ‘we gave’.

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svǫrtum ‘for the black’

svartr (adj.): black

[6] svǫrtum: sveitum Holm4, snertu Bb, svǫrtu FskAˣ

kennings

svǫrtum gjóði Yggs.
‘for the black osprey of Yggr.’
   = RAVEN/EAGLE

for the black osprey of Yggr. → RAVEN/EAGLE
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jggs ‘’

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Yggs ‘of Yggr’

1. Yggr (noun m.): Yggr

[7] Yggs: ‘jggs’ papp18ˣ, ‘vggs’ 325V, viggs FskBˣ

kennings

svǫrtum gjóði Yggs.
‘for the black osprey of Yggr.’
   = RAVEN/EAGLE

for the black osprey of Yggr. → RAVEN/EAGLE
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lét ‘had’

láta (verb): let, have sth done

[7] lét: lék papp18ˣ

notes

[7, 8] herr lét stafna skeiðar of hǫggvit ‘[his] army had the stems of the ship hewn off’: Either this is a restatement of the cutting down of the kylfur in ll. 1-2 or, if kylfa is only the upper part of the ship’s stems, a further development; cf. Note to l. 1 above. The construal adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) is not credible because it takes of ‘over’ as a prep. with skeiðar ‘ships’, but in this position it must be the expletive particle.

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hrr ‘’

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herr ‘army’

herr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -jar, gen. -ja/herra): army, host

[7] herr: ‘hrr’ R686ˣ, hann Bb

notes

[7] herr ‘[his] army’: This word is used, as in st. 4/6, to refer to Sveinn’s following. — [7, 8] herr lét stafna skeiðar of hǫggvit ‘[his] army had the stems of the ship hewn off’: Either this is a restatement of the cutting down of the kylfur in ll. 1-2 or, if kylfa is only the upper part of the ship’s stems, a further development; cf. Note to l. 1 above. The construal adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) is not credible because it takes of ‘over’ as a prep. with skeiðar ‘ships’, but in this position it must be the expletive particle.

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herr ‘army’

herr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -jar, gen. -ja/herra): army, host

[7] herr: ‘hrr’ R686ˣ, hann Bb

notes

[7] herr ‘[his] army’: This word is used, as in st. 4/6, to refer to Sveinn’s following. — [7, 8] herr lét stafna skeiðar of hǫggvit ‘[his] army had the stems of the ship hewn off’: Either this is a restatement of the cutting down of the kylfur in ll. 1-2 or, if kylfa is only the upper part of the ship’s stems, a further development; cf. Note to l. 1 above. The construal adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) is not credible because it takes of ‘over’ as a prep. with skeiðar ‘ships’, but in this position it must be the expletive particle.

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of ‘’

4. of (particle): (before verb)

notes

[7, 8] herr lét stafna skeiðar of hǫggvit ‘[his] army had the stems of the ship hewn off’: Either this is a restatement of the cutting down of the kylfur in ll. 1-2 or, if kylfa is only the upper part of the ship’s stems, a further development; cf. Note to l. 1 above. The construal adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) is not credible because it takes of ‘over’ as a prep. with skeiðar ‘ships’, but in this position it must be the expletive particle.

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hǫggvit ‘hewn off’

hǫggva (verb): to strike, put to death, cut, hew

[7] hǫggvit: hǫggvinn 325VI

notes

[7, 8] herr lét stafna skeiðar of hǫggvit ‘[his] army had the stems of the ship hewn off’: Either this is a restatement of the cutting down of the kylfur in ll. 1-2 or, if kylfa is only the upper part of the ship’s stems, a further development; cf. Note to l. 1 above. The construal adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) is not credible because it takes of ‘over’ as a prep. with skeiðar ‘ships’, but in this position it must be the expletive particle.

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hrafni ‘of the raven’

hrafn (noun m.; °hrafns; dat. hrafni; hrafnar): raven

notes

[5, 8] til góðs hrafni ‘to the benefit of the raven’: Gratifying to the carrion-birds because boarding opens the way for numerous casualties during hand-to-hand fighting calculated to hrjóða ‘clear’ the ship of her complement (Jesch 2001a, 211-13).

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steiþar ‘’

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skeiðar ‘of the ship’

1. skeið (noun f.; °-ar; -r/-ar/-ir): ship

[8] skeiðar: ‘steiþar’ R686ˣ

notes

[7, 8] herr lét stafna skeiðar of hǫggvit ‘[his] army had the stems of the ship hewn off’: Either this is a restatement of the cutting down of the kylfur in ll. 1-2 or, if kylfa is only the upper part of the ship’s stems, a further development; cf. Note to l. 1 above. The construal adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) is not credible because it takes of ‘over’ as a prep. with skeiðar ‘ships’, but in this position it must be the expletive particle.

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stafna ‘stems’

stafn (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): prow

notes

[7, 8] herr lét stafna skeiðar of hǫggvit ‘[his] army had the stems of the ship hewn off’: Either this is a restatement of the cutting down of the kylfur in ll. 1-2 or, if kylfa is only the upper part of the ship’s stems, a further development; cf. Note to l. 1 above. The construal adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) is not credible because it takes of ‘over’ as a prep. with skeiðar ‘ships’, but in this position it must be the expletive particle.

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

ÓH-Hkr introduces st. 10 after st. 9, describing how the king’s men make to board Sveinn’s ship, fixing grappling hooks on to its stem-fitting (-kylfuna). Sveinn gives orders for the kylfa to be cut down. In Fsk, st. 10 follows immediately after st. 7.

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