Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Steinn Nizv 7II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Steinn Herdísarson, Nizarvísur 7’ 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. 365-6.

Steinn HerdísarsonNizarvísur

Eigi myndi undan
allvaldr Dana halda
— oss dugir satt of snotran
sælinga kon mæla —,
ef menn fyr sæ sunnan,
— sverð reiddusk at ferðir —
þeirs herskildi heldu,
hrafnfœði vel tœði.

{Allvaldr Dana} myndi eigi halda undan—dugir oss mæla satt of snotran kon sælinga—, ef menn fyr sunnan sæ, þeirs heldu herskildi, tœði {hrafnfœði} vel; ferðir reiddusk sverð at.

{The mighty ruler of the Danes} [= Sveinn] would not have fled—it is fitting for us [me] to speak the truth about the wise descendant of wealthy people—, if men south of the sea, who held the war-shield, had supported {the raven-feeder} [WARRIOR] well; troops swung swords at [each other].

Mss: (46), 20dˣ(19v), 873ˣ(18v-19r), 20b I(1r), 180b(33r) (ll. 6-8) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] myndi: mundi all    [6] sverð reiddusk: ‘[…]’ 180b    [7] þeirs (‘þeir er’): þeir 20b I, 180b    [8] ‑fœði: fœðir 20b I;    tœði: ‘teði’ or ‘reði’ 20b I, tœðir 180b

Editions: Skj AI, 409, Skj BI, 378, Skald I, 188; 1741, 46-7, ÍF 35, 138-9 (ch. 25).

Context: As st. 6 above.

Notes: [All]: 20dˣ is in the hand of ÁM. — [1] myndi (3rd pers. sg. pret. subj.) ‘would’: The subj. form of the verb is required by the syntax. The indic. (mundi 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic., so all mss) is very rare in hypothetical main clauses (see NS §199 anm.). — [5] menn fyr sunnan sæ ‘men south of the sea’: This refers to the Danes who fought on Sveinn’s side during the battle of the Nissan. According to Saxo (2005, II, 11, 5, pp. 12-17), Sveinn lost the battle because the Dan. troops from Skåne (Scania) deserted him. Skj B takes the prepositional phrase fyr sunnan sæ ‘south of the sea’ with the rel. cl. (þeirs heldu herskildi ‘who held the war-shield’ (l. 7)), and ÍF 35 construes it with the last cl. (ferðir reiddusk sverð at ‘troops swung swords at [each other]’ (l. 6)). — [7] þeirs heldu herskildi ‘who held the war-shield’: For the possible insertion of this l. in st. 5/5 above, see Note to st. 5 [All]. For herskjǫldr ‘war-shield’, see Falk 1914, 131-2. See also Steinn Óldr 11/3 below.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Falk, Hjalmar, ed. 1914a. Sólarljóð. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter II. Hist.-filos. kl. 7. 2 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  5. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  6. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  7. 1741 = Jón Ólafsson, ed. 1741. Æfi dana-konunga eda Knytlinga saga: Historia Cnutidarum regum Daniæ. Copenhagen: [n. p.].
  8. Internal references
  9. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Steinn Herdísarson, Óláfsdrápa 11’ 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. 376-7.

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