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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þór Lv 1I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 445.


text and translation

Sitr við ôr, en etjum,
allvaldr, á sæ kaldan,
— vel rœr dróttar deilir
dýrr — en hundr við stýri.
Skelfir * gnap*mar Gylfa
gœðings skafit rœði;
jalmar hlumr við hilmis
hendr sem skildi vendir.

Allvaldr sitr við ôr, en hundr við stýri, en etjum á kaldan sæ; {dýrr deilir dróttar} rœr vel. Skafit rœði gœðings skelfir * {gnap*mar Gylfa}; hlumr jalmar við hendr hilmis, sem vendir skildi.
‘The mighty ruler sits at the oar, and a dog at the rudder, and we drive forward on the cold sea; the worthy controller of the retinue [RULER = Óláfr] rows well. The planed oar of the chieftain makes the towering horse of Gylfi <sea-king> [SHIP] shudder; the oar-handle squeals in the hands of the king, like swords on a shield.

notes and context

King Óláfr Tryggvason calls on Þórarinn to take a turn at steering the longship, but Þórarinn replies that he is no helmsman. The king orders him to compose a verse to amuse the company, and to name a substitute to take the helm while he does so, and Þórarinn proposes Óláfr’s dog, Vígi. The king holds Vígi’s paws on the rudder as if the dog is steering and tells Þórarinn to compose his stanza.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

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