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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞGísl Búdr 4I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorkell Gíslason, Búadrápa 4’ 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. 945.

Þorkell GíslasonBúadrápa
345

Herr ‘The army’

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

notes

[1] herr bar merki hôtt ‘the army carried the standard high’: Herr ‘army’ and merki ‘standard’ have been tentatively assumed to have sg. reference here, designating the Jómsvíkingar, in the light of the poem’s general focus on them. Merki could alternatively be taken as pl. (as in Skj B), and herr as a reference to both parties. The Context in ÓT might suggest that the compiler understood them thus, though the Jómsvíkingr Sigvaldi jarl’s banner is singled out earlier in the narrative, and in the corresponding place in ÓTHkr (ÍF 26, 279). Hôtt ‘high’ is the n. nom./acc. sg. form of adj. hôr ‘high’, taken here adverbially, but it could alternatively be an attributive adj. qualifying merki, which could then only be sg., ‘high standard’ (cf. Note to st. 2/1 hvasst).

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bar ‘carried’

3. bera (verb; °berr; bar, báru; borinn): bear, carry

notes

[1] herr bar merki hôtt ‘the army carried the standard high’: Herr ‘army’ and merki ‘standard’ have been tentatively assumed to have sg. reference here, designating the Jómsvíkingar, in the light of the poem’s general focus on them. Merki could alternatively be taken as pl. (as in Skj B), and herr as a reference to both parties. The Context in ÓT might suggest that the compiler understood them thus, though the Jómsvíkingr Sigvaldi jarl’s banner is singled out earlier in the narrative, and in the corresponding place in ÓTHkr (ÍF 26, 279). Hôtt ‘high’ is the n. nom./acc. sg. form of adj. hôr ‘high’, taken here adverbially, but it could alternatively be an attributive adj. qualifying merki, which could then only be sg., ‘high standard’ (cf. Note to st. 2/1 hvasst).

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hôtt ‘high’

3. hár (adj.; °-van; compar. hǽrri, superl. hǽstr): high

notes

[1] herr bar merki hôtt ‘the army carried the standard high’: Herr ‘army’ and merki ‘standard’ have been tentatively assumed to have sg. reference here, designating the Jómsvíkingar, in the light of the poem’s general focus on them. Merki could alternatively be taken as pl. (as in Skj B), and herr as a reference to both parties. The Context in ÓT might suggest that the compiler understood them thus, though the Jómsvíkingr Sigvaldi jarl’s banner is singled out earlier in the narrative, and in the corresponding place in ÓTHkr (ÍF 26, 279). Hôtt ‘high’ is the n. nom./acc. sg. form of adj. hôr ‘high’, taken here adverbially, but it could alternatively be an attributive adj. qualifying merki, which could then only be sg., ‘high standard’ (cf. Note to st. 2/1 hvasst).

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merki ‘the standard’

1. merki (noun n.; °-s: -): banner, sign

notes

[1] herr bar merki hôtt ‘the army carried the standard high’: Herr ‘army’ and merki ‘standard’ have been tentatively assumed to have sg. reference here, designating the Jómsvíkingar, in the light of the poem’s general focus on them. Merki could alternatively be taken as pl. (as in Skj B), and herr as a reference to both parties. The Context in ÓT might suggest that the compiler understood them thus, though the Jómsvíkingr Sigvaldi jarl’s banner is singled out earlier in the narrative, and in the corresponding place in ÓTHkr (ÍF 26, 279). Hôtt ‘high’ is the n. nom./acc. sg. form of adj. hôr ‘high’, taken here adverbially, but it could alternatively be an attributive adj. qualifying merki, which could then only be sg., ‘high standard’ (cf. Note to st. 2/1 hvasst).

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Hamðis ‘of Hamðir’

Hamðir (noun m.): Hamðir

[2] Hamðis: ‘handis’ 54, Bb

kennings

serki Hamðis;
‘the shirts of Hamðir; ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

the shirts of Hamðir; → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[2] serki Hamðis ‘the shirts of Hamðir <legendary hero> [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The kenning refers to the armour which Guðrún Gjúkadóttir prepared for her sons Hamðir and Sǫrli, making it impervious to iron (Vǫlsunga saga ch. 44, Vǫls 1965, 77; SnE 1998, I, 49).

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serki ‘the shirts’

1. serkr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -/-i; -ir): shirt

[2] serki: serki or serkr Bb

kennings

serki Hamðis;
‘the shirts of Hamðir; ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

the shirts of Hamðir; → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[2] serki Hamðis ‘the shirts of Hamðir <legendary hero> [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The kenning refers to the armour which Guðrún Gjúkadóttir prepared for her sons Hamðir and Sǫrli, making it impervious to iron (Vǫlsunga saga ch. 44, Vǫls 1965, 77; SnE 1998, I, 49).

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grimmt ‘the terrible’

grimmr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): fierce

[3] grimmt: grjót 54, gjǫrt Bb

kennings

grimmt él eggja
‘the terrible storm of edges ’
   = BATTLE

the terrible storm of edges → BATTLE
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él ‘storm’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

kennings

grimmt él eggja
‘the terrible storm of edges ’
   = BATTLE

the terrible storm of edges → BATTLE
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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

grimmt él eggja
‘the terrible storm of edges ’
   = BATTLE

the terrible storm of edges → BATTLE
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at ‘’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[4] at: ‘ac’ 54, á Bb

notes

[4] gekk at (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘attacked’: This reading is retained by Wisén (1870, 64), but Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), Kock (Skald), and Ólafur Halldórsson (2000) all adopt the m. v. form gekksk in 53 and 54, which would have a similar but more reciprocal sense. This in turn would imply that lið ‘troop, force’ in the same line applies to both sides, though this seems less likely; see Note to l. 1 on the ambiguity of herr ‘army’.

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gekk ‘attacked’

2. ganga (verb; geng, gekk, gengu, genginn): walk, go

[4] gekk: gekksk 53, 54

notes

[4] gekk at (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘attacked’: This reading is retained by Wisén (1870, 64), but Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), Kock (Skald), and Ólafur Halldórsson (2000) all adopt the m. v. form gekksk in 53 and 54, which would have a similar but more reciprocal sense. This in turn would imply that lið ‘troop, force’ in the same line applies to both sides, though this seems less likely; see Note to l. 1 on the ambiguity of herr ‘army’.

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fjǫr ‘the lives’

fjǫr (noun n.): life

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flotna ‘of seamen’

flotnar (noun m.): mariners

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glumðu ‘crashed’

glymja (verb): resound

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skotbroddar ‘missile-points’

skotbroddr (noun m.): [missile-points]

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

Hákon jarl has learnt of the arrival of the Jómsvíkingar and of their harrying of the country. The two sides meet in Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen) and draw up their fleets for battle, both sides setting up their standards. The fiercest battle begins, fought at first with rocks and arrows.

In quoting this stanza, all the mss name the poem, using the formula svá segir í Búadrápu ‘as it says in Búadrápa’.

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