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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eþsk Couplet 1I

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr þambarskelfir Eindriðason, Couplet 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. 452.

Einarr þambarskelfir EindriðasonCouplet1

text and translation

Ofveykr, ofveykr,
allvalds bogi!

Ofveykr, ofveykr, bogi allvalds!
‘Too weak, too weak, the mighty ruler’s bow!

notes and context

At the battle of Svǫlðr, Einarr, who is an accomplished archer, shoots with deadly accuracy at the attacking fleet. An enemy shot hits his bow, which shatters with a loud crack. King Óláfr asks, ‘What burst there so loudly?’ Einarr answers, ‘Norway from your hands, King’. Óláfr gives him his own bow, which Einarr at once pulls past the point of the arrow, uttering this couplet.

For the sea-battle at Svǫlðr (c. 1000) and other skaldic poetry associated with it, see the entry on Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.



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.

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