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skaldic

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.

ÞórarinnLausavísa1

Sitr ‘sits’

sitja (verb): sit

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ôr ‘the oar’

1. ár (noun f.; °-ar, dat. u/-; -ar/-ir(LandslBorg 151b²¹)): oar

notes

[1] ôr ‘the oar’: According to the stanza the king is at the oar, while the prose specifies that he was steering (as noted by Finnur Jónsson, 1930b, 49).

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etjum ‘we drive forward’

2. etja (verb; °atti): incite

notes

[1] etjum ‘we drive forward’: Etja ‘to goad, incite, drive forward, set in motion’ is normally transitive, with a dat. object, and this is the only skaldic instance of absolute use (LP: etja). An object referring to the ship may be understood.

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dróttar ‘of the retinue’

1. drótt (noun f.): troop

kennings

dýrr deilir dróttar
‘the worthy controller of the retinue ’
   = RULER = Óláfr

the worthy controller of the retinue → RULER = Óláfr
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deilir ‘controller’

deilir (noun m.): ruler, ordainer

kennings

dýrr deilir dróttar
‘the worthy controller of the retinue ’
   = RULER = Óláfr

the worthy controller of the retinue → RULER = Óláfr
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dýrr ‘the worthy’

dýrr (adj.; °compar. -ri/-ari, superl. -str/-astr): precious

kennings

dýrr deilir dróttar
‘the worthy controller of the retinue ’
   = RULER = Óláfr

the worthy controller of the retinue → RULER = Óláfr
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Skelfir ‘makes’

skelfa (verb): cause to shake

[5] Skelfir: so Flat, skelfr 62

notes

[5-6] rœði ... skelfir * gnap*mar Gylfa ‘the oar ... makes the towering horse of Gylfi <sea-king> [SHIP] shudder’: Line 5 is hypermetric in the mss, necessitating the deletion of two syllables, here á and -i. There are two main possible interpretations, each with rœði ‘oar’ as grammatical subject, but producing different images as to what is shuddering or trembling. (a) The Text above adopts skelfir ‘shakes, makes shudder’, from the verb skelfa, the causative counterpart of skjalfa ‘to tremble’, with gnapmar (acc. sg.) Gylfa ‘towering horse of Gylfi [SHIP]’ as its direct object. (b) Skj B on the other hand reads intransitive skelfr ‘trembles’, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of skjalfa, and takes (gnap)mari (dat. sg.) Gylfa as equivalent to a prepositional phrase; but this involves emending ms. á mar to mari or assuming that endingless mar is dat., which is possible, though uncommon, in an a-stem m. noun at this date (Konráð Gíslason 1892, 224; Finnur Jónsson 1901, 12; ANG §§358.3, 4).

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* ‘’

(non-lexical)

[5] * gnap*mar: á gnapi mar 62, Flat

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gnap* ‘the towering’

gnap (noun n.): towering

[5] * gnap*mar: á gnapi mar 62, Flat

notes

[5-6] rœði ... skelfir * gnap*mar Gylfa ‘the oar ... makes the towering horse of Gylfi <sea-king> [SHIP] shudder’: Line 5 is hypermetric in the mss, necessitating the deletion of two syllables, here á and -i. There are two main possible interpretations, each with rœði ‘oar’ as grammatical subject, but producing different images as to what is shuddering or trembling. (a) The Text above adopts skelfir ‘shakes, makes shudder’, from the verb skelfa, the causative counterpart of skjalfa ‘to tremble’, with gnapmar (acc. sg.) Gylfa ‘towering horse of Gylfi [SHIP]’ as its direct object. (b) Skj B on the other hand reads intransitive skelfr ‘trembles’, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of skjalfa, and takes (gnap)mari (dat. sg.) Gylfa as equivalent to a prepositional phrase; but this involves emending ms. á mar to mari or assuming that endingless mar is dat., which is possible, though uncommon, in an a-stem m. noun at this date (Konráð Gíslason 1892, 224; Finnur Jónsson 1901, 12; ANG §§358.3, 4).

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mar ‘horse’

2. marr (noun m.): horse

[5] * gnap*mar: á gnapi mar 62, Flat

kennings

mar Gylfa;
‘horse of Gylfi ’
   = SHIP

horse of Gylfi → SHIP

notes

[5-6] rœði ... skelfir * gnap*mar Gylfa ‘the oar ... makes the towering horse of Gylfi <sea-king> [SHIP] shudder’: Line 5 is hypermetric in the mss, necessitating the deletion of two syllables, here á and -i. There are two main possible interpretations, each with rœði ‘oar’ as grammatical subject, but producing different images as to what is shuddering or trembling. (a) The Text above adopts skelfir ‘shakes, makes shudder’, from the verb skelfa, the causative counterpart of skjalfa ‘to tremble’, with gnapmar (acc. sg.) Gylfa ‘towering horse of Gylfi [SHIP]’ as its direct object. (b) Skj B on the other hand reads intransitive skelfr ‘trembles’, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of skjalfa, and takes (gnap)mari (dat. sg.) Gylfa as equivalent to a prepositional phrase; but this involves emending ms. á mar to mari or assuming that endingless mar is dat., which is possible, though uncommon, in an a-stem m. noun at this date (Konráð Gíslason 1892, 224; Finnur Jónsson 1901, 12; ANG §§358.3, 4).

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Gylfa ‘of Gylfi’

Gylfi (noun m.): Gylfi

kennings

mar Gylfa;
‘horse of Gylfi ’
   = SHIP

horse of Gylfi → SHIP

notes

[5-6] rœði ... skelfir * gnap*mar Gylfa ‘the oar ... makes the towering horse of Gylfi <sea-king> [SHIP] shudder’: Line 5 is hypermetric in the mss, necessitating the deletion of two syllables, here á and -i. There are two main possible interpretations, each with rœði ‘oar’ as grammatical subject, but producing different images as to what is shuddering or trembling. (a) The Text above adopts skelfir ‘shakes, makes shudder’, from the verb skelfa, the causative counterpart of skjalfa ‘to tremble’, with gnapmar (acc. sg.) Gylfa ‘towering horse of Gylfi [SHIP]’ as its direct object. (b) Skj B on the other hand reads intransitive skelfr ‘trembles’, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of skjalfa, and takes (gnap)mari (dat. sg.) Gylfa as equivalent to a prepositional phrase; but this involves emending ms. á mar to mari or assuming that endingless mar is dat., which is possible, though uncommon, in an a-stem m. noun at this date (Konráð Gíslason 1892, 224; Finnur Jónsson 1901, 12; ANG §§358.3, 4).

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gœðings ‘of the chieftain’

gœðingr (noun m.): chieftain

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skafaít ‘’

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skafit ‘The planed’

skafa (verb): plane, smoothe

[6] skafit: ‘skafaít’ Flat

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rœði ‘oar’

2. rœði (noun n.; °; -): oar

notes

[5-6] rœði ... skelfir * gnap*mar Gylfa ‘the oar ... makes the towering horse of Gylfi <sea-king> [SHIP] shudder’: Line 5 is hypermetric in the mss, necessitating the deletion of two syllables, here á and -i. There are two main possible interpretations, each with rœði ‘oar’ as grammatical subject, but producing different images as to what is shuddering or trembling. (a) The Text above adopts skelfir ‘shakes, makes shudder’, from the verb skelfa, the causative counterpart of skjalfa ‘to tremble’, with gnapmar (acc. sg.) Gylfa ‘towering horse of Gylfi [SHIP]’ as its direct object. (b) Skj B on the other hand reads intransitive skelfr ‘trembles’, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of skjalfa, and takes (gnap)mari (dat. sg.) Gylfa as equivalent to a prepositional phrase; but this involves emending ms. á mar to mari or assuming that endingless mar is dat., which is possible, though uncommon, in an a-stem m. noun at this date (Konráð Gíslason 1892, 224; Finnur Jónsson 1901, 12; ANG §§358.3, 4).

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jalmar ‘squeals’

jalma (verb): [squeals]

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sem ‘like’

sem (conj.): as, which

notes

[8] sem vendir skildi ‘like swords on a shield’: The phrase is somewhat obscure. Vendir seems to be a half-kenning for ‘sword’ or possibly ‘spear-shaft’ (Meissner 77), and skildi to be a dat. sg. with a rare adverbial sense, ‘on a shield’. Previous commentators attach sem vendir skildi to the clause in ll. 5-6, assuming an understood repetition of the verb skelf(i)r ‘tremble, make shudder’, hence the oar trembles against, or shakes, the ship like sticks (Skj B; Reichardt 1930, 250-1), spear-shafts (Meissner 77) or swords (NN §1082) against a shield. However, it seems more likely that jalmar ‘squeals’ is understood from l. 7, so that the comparison is between the noise of the oar and the noise of a sword on a shield. This is supported by the fact that the related noun jalmr m. frequently collocates with terms referring to weapons or battle (LP: jalmr).

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skildi ‘on a shield’

skjǫldr (noun m.; °skjaldar/skildar, dat. skildi; skildir, acc. skjǫldu): shield

notes

[8] sem vendir skildi ‘like swords on a shield’: The phrase is somewhat obscure. Vendir seems to be a half-kenning for ‘sword’ or possibly ‘spear-shaft’ (Meissner 77), and skildi to be a dat. sg. with a rare adverbial sense, ‘on a shield’. Previous commentators attach sem vendir skildi to the clause in ll. 5-6, assuming an understood repetition of the verb skelf(i)r ‘tremble, make shudder’, hence the oar trembles against, or shakes, the ship like sticks (Skj B; Reichardt 1930, 250-1), spear-shafts (Meissner 77) or swords (NN §1082) against a shield. However, it seems more likely that jalmar ‘squeals’ is understood from l. 7, so that the comparison is between the noise of the oar and the noise of a sword on a shield. This is supported by the fact that the related noun jalmr m. frequently collocates with terms referring to weapons or battle (LP: jalmr).

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vendir ‘swords’

vǫndr (noun m.; °vandar, dat. vendi/vǫnd; vendir, acc. vǫndu/vendi): rod, want, mast

notes

[8] sem vendir skildi ‘like swords on a shield’: The phrase is somewhat obscure. Vendir seems to be a half-kenning for ‘sword’ or possibly ‘spear-shaft’ (Meissner 77), and skildi to be a dat. sg. with a rare adverbial sense, ‘on a shield’. Previous commentators attach sem vendir skildi to the clause in ll. 5-6, assuming an understood repetition of the verb skelf(i)r ‘tremble, make shudder’, hence the oar trembles against, or shakes, the ship like sticks (Skj B; Reichardt 1930, 250-1), spear-shafts (Meissner 77) or swords (NN §1082) against a shield. However, it seems more likely that jalmar ‘squeals’ is understood from l. 7, so that the comparison is between the noise of the oar and the noise of a sword on a shield. This is supported by the fact that the related noun jalmr m. frequently collocates with terms referring to weapons or battle (LP: jalmr).

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

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.

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