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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 19I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 19’ 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. 831.

Þormóðr KolbrúnarskáldLausavísur

text and translation

Ála þryngr at éli
ǫrstiklandi miklu;
skyldut skelknir hauldar
— skalmǫld vex nú — falma.
Búumk við sókn, en slœkni-
seggr skyli -orð of forðask,
es at geirþingi gǫngum,
gunnreifr, með Ôleifi.

{Ǫrstiklandi} þryngr at {miklu éli Ála}; hauldar skyldut falma skelknir; {skalmǫld} vex nú. Búumk við sókn, en gunnreifr seggr skyli of forðask slœkniorð, es gǫngum at {geirþingi} með Ôleifi.
‘The arrow-shooter [WARRIOR = Óláfr] presses towards the great storm of Áli <legendary king> [BATTLE]; freeholders should not waver, frightened; a sword-age [BATTLE] swells now. Let us prepare ourselves for an attack, and a war-happy man ought to shun weakling-words when we go to the spear-assembly [BATTLE] with Óláfr.

notes and context

In ÓH and Hkr, the skalds Gizurr svarti, Þorfinnr munnr and then Þormóðr exhort King Óláfr and his men before the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad). We are told that men memorized the stanzas straight away. In ÓHLeg, as battle approaches, the king instructs a farmer named Þorgeirr to bury his body afterwards and to wash the wounds of his men in the same water in which he was washed. Then Þormóðr delivers the vísa that is attributed to Gizurr in ÓH and Hkr (Gizsv Lv 1), followed without interruption by this lausavísa and the next. In Fbr, with its different arrangement of lines, Þormóðr, apparently in private conversation with the king, admits to being sad at the thought that they may not lodge together at day’s end. The king assures him that if he can arrange it, they will go to the same place. Þormóðr brightens up and delivers the stanza (i.e. Lv 19/1-4 + 20/5-8).

Lines 5-8 are not found in the mss of Fbr, which instead have ll. 5-8 of Lv 20 here. Gaertner (1907) favours the Fbr arrangement, but his argument entails taking Ála as a vocative, which is unnecessary and would entail emendation to Áli; see further Note to Lv 15 [All].



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.

editions and texts

Skj: Þórmóðr Bersason Kolbrúnarskáld, 2. Lausavísur 19: AI, 286, BI, 265, Skald I, 136; Fms 5, 58, Fms 12, 98, ÓH 1941, I, 545 (ch. 203), Flat 1860-8, II, 341; Hkr 1777-1826, II, 346, VI, 108, Hkr 1868, 476 (ÓHHkr ch. 218), Hkr 1893-1901, I, 461, IV, 163-4, ÍF 27, 359-60, Hkr 1991, II, 515 (ÓHHkr ch. 206); ÓHLeg 1849, 69, 119, ÓHLeg 1922, 84, ÓHLeg 1982, 192-5; Hb 1892-6, 412, Fbr 1852, 109, Fbr 1925-7, 208, ÍF 6, 264 (ch. 24), Loth 1960a, xlix, 154 (ch. 17), ÍS II, 840-1 (ch. 24); Gaertner 1907, 311-12, 341-2, Finnur Jónsson 1932-3, 72-3.


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