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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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KrákÁsl Lv 6VIII (Ragn 17)

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 17 (Kráka/Áslaug Sigurðardóttir, Lausavísur 6)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 660.

Kráka/Áslaug SigurðardóttirLausavísur

text and translation

Kaga létu mik mínir
mávangs synir löngum;
ér eruð heim ok heiman
húsgangs meðalfærir.
Rögnvaldr tók at rjóða
rönd í gumna blóði;
hann kom yngstr til Óðins
ógndjarfr sona minna.

Synir mínir létu mik kaga {mávangs} löngum; ér eruð meðalfærir húsgangs heim ok heiman. Rögnvaldr tók at rjóða rönd í blóði gumna; hann, yngstr sona minna, kom ógndjarfr til Óðins.
‘My sons let me gaze at the gull-field [SEA] for a long time; you are hardly capable of begging from house to house. Rǫgnvaldr proceeded to redden a shield in the blood of men; he, the youngest of my sons, went, bold in battle, to Óðinn.

notes and context

With her three-year-old son Sigurðr in tow, Áslaug receives the news of Rǫgnvaldr’s death from her newly returned sons Ívarr, Bjǫrn and Hvítserkr. She implies criticism of them for keeping her waiting so long for the news, and compares them unfavourably, also by implication, with Rǫgnvaldr, the youngest of her sons at the time of his heroic death at Hvítabær.

[1-4]: Among previous eds, only Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 207) (perhaps followed by Eskeland (Ragn 1944) is clear in taking heiman ‘from home’ in l. 3 together with kaga ‘gaze (at), watch’, in l. 1, in the sense of ‘watch … from home’. All others (including those of CPB, who, however, leave ll. 2-4 partly blank) seem to treat ll. 1-2 as syntactically independent, as does the present ed. Rafn (FSN) follows 1824b in ll. 3-4, while Valdimar Ásmundarson (Ragn 1891) emends heim af in l. 3 to harmi at and ‘hvsgafs’ in l. 4 to húsgangs ‘begging from house to house’; neither’s text lends itself to satisfactory interpretation. Olsen takes kaga ‘gaze at’, as transitive, with its object mávangs ‘the gull-field [SEA]’ in l. 2 in the gen. He emends 1824b’s heim af in l. 3 to heima ‘at home’, understanding it to modify the verb eruð immediately preceding it, while taking heiman to modify kaga in l. 1, as said; he also emends to húsgangs in l. 4, thus: ‘my sons let me gaze at the sea for a long time from home, (while) you, at home, are only moderately capable (meðalfærir, i.e. hardly even capable) of begging from house to house’. Olsen further considers, without committing himself to it, the alternative possibility of emending heim af in l. 3 to hreina, gen. pl. of hreinn m. ‘reindeer’ and taking it as the base-word in a kenning for ‘ships’, with mávangs ‘the gull-field’s’, ‘sea’s’, as determinant, and forming the gen. object of kaga, thus producing: ‘my sons let me gaze at the reindeer of the gull-field [SEA > SHIPS] for a long time from home …’. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of af in l. 3 to ok ‘and’ (Skj B) gives very satisfactory sense in the context (heim ok heiman ‘homewards and from home’), intensifying the idea of ‘from house to house’ implicit in the emended form húsgangs in l. 4, which Finnur also adopts. His text of ll. 3-4 is followed by Kock (Skald), Guðni Jónsson (FSGJ), Örnólfur Thorsson (Ragn 1985) and also by the present ed.



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. 2. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ragnarssaga loðbrókar V 7: AII, 236, BII, 255-6, Skald II, 133; FSN 1, 265 (Ragn ch. 9), Ragn 1891, 198 (ch. 9), Ragn 1906-8, 142, 207 (ch. 10), Ragn 1944, 68, 70-71 (ch. 10), FSGJ 1, 252-3 (Ragn ch. 10), Ragn 1985, 126 (ch. 10), Ragn 2003, 38 (ch. 10), CPB II, 351.


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