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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ǪrvOdd Ævdr 6VIII (Ǫrv 76)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 76 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Ævidrápa 6)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 892.


Létum beiti         á brim þrauka;
stóð hörr dreginn         höndum fjarri.
Kómum at eyju         útan brattri,
þar er Grímr fyrir         garða átti.

Létum beiti þrauka á brim; hörr stóð dreginn fjarri höndum. Kómum útan at brattri eyju, þar er Grímr átti garða fyrir.

We allowed the ship to roll on the sea; the sail rope was pulled tight far from our hands. We arrived at the steep island, where Grímr owned properties.

Mss: 343a(80v), 471(94r), 173ˣ(61ra) (Ǫrv)

Readings: [2] á: um 173ˣ;    brim: so 471, 173ˣ, ‘birne’ 343a    [3] hörr: barð 173ˣ    [5] Kómum: ‘k°’ 471    [6] brattri: verðri 471

Editions: Skj AII, 307, Skj BII, 325, Skald II, 174; Ǫrv 1888, 199, FSGJ 2, 342.

Notes: [All]: According to the saga prose (Ǫrv 1888, 18-19) Oddr and Ásmundr have an easy sea journey north to Hrafnista, after Oddr has invoked his ancestor, Ketill hœngr’s, ability to call up a favourable wind to avoid having to row all the way. However, the first helmingr of this stanza may not agree with this information, as it appears to describe how the ship encountered heavy seas (see Notes to ll. 2 and 3-4 below). — [1] beiti ‘the ship’: An uncommon variant form of beit ‘ship’ (cf. LP: 2. beiti). — [2] þrauka ‘roll’: Other meanings include ‘lumber, move heavily with a tugging motion’. This verb is otherwise only found in Anon (TGT) 35/1III, where it is used of horses pulling a heavy bell. It certainly suggests in the present context that the ship was labouring rather than moving forward easily. — [3-4] hörr stóð dreginn fjarri höndum ‘the sail rope was pulled tight far from our hands’: Hörr lit. ‘linen’ may refer either to the sail itself or the rope that secures it (cf. LP: hǫrr 3). Lines 3-4 could be interpreted to mean that the sail carried the men forward without their having to do anything (it was far from their hands), and this could be understood as consistent with the prose narrative. Alternatively, and more likely in the context of the verb þrauka, they might imply that the wind was so fierce that the sail or sail rope was beyond the men’s control. — [5-6]: These lines are exactly the same as Ǫrv 87/1-2. — [5, 6] kómum útan ‘we arrived’: Lit. ‘we came from outside’. It is assumed here that the adv. útan modifies the verb kómum ‘we came’, presumably referring to the ship’s direction of travel from the open sea. The reading of 471 is at eyju útanverðri ‘to an outward/outer island’. The island in question is Hrafnista, now Ramsta, off the coast of the northern Norwegian district of Nord-Trøndelag. — [7] Grímr: Name of Ǫrvar-Oddr’s father Grímr loðinkinni ‘Hairy-cheek’, himself the subject of a separate saga, GrL.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  4. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  5. Ǫrv 1888 = Boer, R. C., ed. 1888. Ǫrvar-Odds saga. Leiden: Brill.
  6. Internal references
  7. 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Gríms saga loðinkinna’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 288. <> (accessed 23 September 2021)
  8. Not published: do not cite (GrímlVIII)
  9. Not published: do not cite (KethVIII)
  10. Tarrin Wills (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from the Third Grammatical Treatise 35’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 561.
  11. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 87 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Ævidrápa 17)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 901.

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