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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ǪrvOdd Lv 29VIII (Ǫrv 65)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 65 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur 29)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 880.


text and translation

Oddr sveigði álm,         ör fló af streng,
Jólfs smíði beit         Álf í gegnum.
Dugðu svá blót,         at yfir honum hlakka
bæði hrafnar         ok hrægjóðar.

Oddr sveigði álm, ör fló af streng, smíði Jólfs beit í gegnum Álf. Blót dugðu svá, at bæði hrafnar ok hrægjóðar hlakka yfir honum.
‘Oddr bent the bow, the arrow flew from the string, Jólfr’s handiwork bit right through Álfr. The sacrifices lent help to the extent that both ravens and carrion-ospreys exult over him.

notes and context

Oddr responds to Gyðja’s threat to bring back Álfr from the dead.

This stanza is corrupted in all mss, and there is a considerable divergence between them, in that, as often, 344a has a rather different text from the younger mss, especially in ll. 1 and 5-8. Previous eds have mostly tried to compromise between the versions, so that their texts are composites, and follow no one base ms. The exception is Ǫrv 1888, which reproduces an emended text of 344a, a policy also followed here. Edd. Min., Skj B and Skald have composite texts, to a greater or lesser extent following the younger mss, while Skj A reproduces the text of 344a. The main difficulties occur in ll. 5-6, which do not alliterate. — [5-6]: The utterance has to be understood as deeply ironic: Oddr means that one can see from the behaviour of the carrion birds that Álfr is dead and that Gyðja’s sacrifices have been of no help. Lines 5-6 are unmetrical in all mss because they have no alliteration. Skj B offers býðrat blót honum | svát hann þiggi ‘you will not offer him sacrifice(s) such that he can receive’ based on the younger mss, while Skald rearranges the wording to give býðrat hónum | blot, svát þiggi (see NN §2602). Edd. Min. has l. 5 according to 344a, and a l. 6 that follows no ms. reading. — [7-8]: The younger mss agree on l. 7 hlakka hrafnar ‘ravens exult’, but have slightly differing versions of l. 8. Skj B and Skald adopt of hræi Bjálka ‘over Bjálki’s corpse’, which is the reading of 343a and (reportedly by earlier eds) 471, which is now illegible in part.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 10. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ǫrvar-Oddssaga VIII 7: AII, 304-5, BII, 323, Skald II, 172-3, NN §2602; Ǫrv 1888, 182, FSGJ 2, 330; Edd. Min. 76.


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