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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Frag 2II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Fragments 2’ 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. 160-1.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonFragments
123

Jarl ‘The jarl’

jarl (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): poet, earl

[1] Jarl: so C, ‘J’ R, A, ‘I’ Tˣ

notes

[1] jarl ‘the jarl’: This is one of two main solutions to the textual problem presented by the opening word of the st. (a) In R, and A the initial graph can designate both capital j and í, while C reads Jarl. There is no abbreviation sign in R, and C to suggest that an abbreviation of jarl is meant, but this is possible in view of C’s reading Jarl, and it would fit the metrical requirement for a skothending on skúrar ‘shower’. The helmingr appears to be complete in syntax and meaning without this first word, so jarl is here read as a subject in apposition to optherðir skúrar odda ‘frequent hardener of barbs’ shower’ (ll. 2-3). (b) Emendation to ǫrr ‘bold’ or ‘generous’ was suggested by G. Pálsson (cited SnE 1848-87, I, 472 n. 9, Skj A and NN) and by Konráð Gíslason (1879a, 185), and is adopted in Skj B. This provides a neat solution by postulating a grammatically inessential element (an adj.) and avoiding the problem of the identity of the conquering jarl, but as Kock notes a skothending of short vowel + double consonant on long vowel + single consonant would not match Þjóðólfr’s normal usage (NN §3085). Kock adds that ár, presumably the adv. ‘formerly, once’, would be more regular, and prints this in Skald, without putting up an argument for it, and it would be hard to defend unless lætr ‘causes’ (l. 1) in the mss is emended to lét (see following Note). Sveinbjörn Egilsson read ýr ‘(yew-)bow’ (SnE 1848-87, I, 472), but translated strenuus ‘vigorous’. (c) The prep. í ‘in’ can be ruled out since there is no noun for it to govern, nor would an adverbial use of the word fit the helmingr.

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lætr ‘causes’

láta (verb): let, have sth done

notes

[1] lætr ‘causes’: There is no real warrant for the emendation to pret. lét ‘caused’ in Skj B and retained by Kock in Skald. Þryngvi in l. 3 is 3rd pers. sg. subj. but otherwise ambiguous: either pres. ‘forces’ or pret. ‘forced’.

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odda ‘of barbs’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon

kennings

optherðir skúrar odda,
‘frequent hardener of the shower of barbs, ’
   = WARRIOR

the shower of barbs, → BATTLE
frequent hardener of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

odda ‘of barbs’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon

kennings

optherðir skúrar odda,
‘frequent hardener of the shower of barbs, ’
   = WARRIOR

the shower of barbs, → BATTLE
frequent hardener of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
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skúrar ‘of the shower’

1. skúr (noun f.; °; -ir): shower

kennings

optherðir skúrar odda,
‘frequent hardener of the shower of barbs, ’
   = WARRIOR

the shower of barbs, → BATTLE
frequent hardener of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

skúrar ‘of the shower’

1. skúr (noun f.; °; -ir): shower

kennings

optherðir skúrar odda,
‘frequent hardener of the shower of barbs, ’
   = WARRIOR

the shower of barbs, → BATTLE
frequent hardener of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

optherðir ‘frequent hardener’

optherðir (noun m.): [frequent hardener]

kennings

optherðir skúrar odda,
‘frequent hardener of the shower of barbs, ’
   = WARRIOR

the shower of barbs, → BATTLE
frequent hardener of the BATTLE → WARRIOR

notes

[2] optherðir ‘frequent hardener’: (a) The adverbial opt is occasionally found prefixed to the base-word of a kenning, when this is a nomen agentis (agent noun), e.g. optþverrir Hfr ErfÓl 25/2I (seen as mulig ‘possible’ in LP) and optveitandi Skarp Lv 3/4V (LP and Meissner 63). Kock advocates this interpretation in NN §2032. (b) The adv. could be construed with the verb lætr ‘causes’ (l. 1) and hence with the whole cl., as it is in Skj B and SnE 1998, I, 208, but this assumes a jolting interruption to the kenning and a very marked emphasis would have been required in performance to avert the natural assumption that optherðir is a unit.

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hrings ‘of the sword’

1. hringr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -; -ar): ring; sword

kennings

hǫrð él hrings
‘harsh storms of the sword ’
   = BATTLES

harsh storms of the sword → BATTLES

notes

[3] hrings ‘of the sword’: Coupled, as determinant, with él ‘storm’ (l. 4) to form a battle-kenning, hrings here must mean not ‘ring’ but ‘sword’ (LP: hringr 2). The kenning is thus a parallel with skúrar odda ‘of the shower of barbs’ (l. 1).

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þryngvi ‘forces’

þrøngva (verb): press, throng

[3] þryngvi: þrǫngri or þrǫngvi A, ‘þryngi’ C

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hǫrð ‘harsh’

harðr (adj.; °comp. -ari; superl. -astr): hard, harsh

kennings

hǫrð él hrings
‘harsh storms of the sword ’
   = BATTLES

harsh storms of the sword → BATTLES
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él ‘storms’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

kennings

hǫrð él hrings
‘harsh storms of the sword ’
   = BATTLES

harsh storms of the sword → BATTLES
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

The quotation, attributed to Þjóðólfr, is the first in a ch. on jarðar heiti ‘terms for the earth’ (which heading appears in A); it is cited to illustrate the use of jǫrð.

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