Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 10I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 10’ 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. 1042.

Anonymous PoemsÓláfs drápa Tryggvasonar

Harðrôðum gekk heiðis
hjaldrmagnaði skjaldar
skatna ætt á skreytta
skotjǫrð loga fjarðar.
Lýð gat lofðungr ráða
— landherr frá sið vǫndum
þá hvarf allr —, ok illum,
ólítt, goðum nítti.

Ætt skatna gekk á {skotjǫrð heiðis}, skreytta {loga fjarðar}, harðrôðum {{skjaldar hjaldr}magnaði}. Lofðungr gat ráða lýð ólítt; allr landherr hvarf þá frá vǫndum sið, ok nítti illum goðum.

The kindred of men put themselves in {the swaying earth of the hawk} [HAND], adorned {with the fire of the fjord} [GOLD], of the hard-ruling {increaser {of the uproar of the shield}} [(lit. ‘uproar-increaser of the shield’) BATTLE > WARRIOR]. The king could rule people to no small degree; all the land’s people turned then from a wicked faith, and rejected bad gods.

Mss: Bb(112vb)

Readings: [3] skreytta: skreyta Bb    [7] hvarf: ‘hvraf’ Bb    [8] nítti: om. Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 575, Skj BI, 569-70, Skald I, 276, NN §2115; Munch and Unger 1847, 121, 141, Gullberg 1875, 14, 28-9.

Notes: [1, 3, 4] gekk á skotjǫrð heiðis ‘put themselves in the swaying earth of the hawk [HAND]’: An elaboration of the common expression ganga á hǫnd e-m, lit. ‘to go into sby’s hand’, hence ‘to submit to sby’ or (here) ‘to put oneself in sby’s hands’. — [3] skreytta ‘adorned’: This straightforward emendation improves the skothending (ætt : -eytt-) and allows this word to be taken as a participial adj. qualifying jǫrð ‘earth’ rather than a verb ‘to adorn’, which would be difficult to fit into the syntax. Cf. Note to st. 5/3 ár* on single/double consonant spellings in Bb. — [4] skotjǫrð ‘the swaying earth’: LP: skotjǫrð interprets this as skydende, udsendende jord ‘shooting, propelling earth’ and suggests it refers to the hawker’s hand propelling the bird into the air, but Kock (NN §2115) compares the hand-kenning bifvangr ýs ‘trembling field of the bow’, KormǪ Sigdr 7/3III. He suggests skot- means ‘swaying’ (cf. adj. skoteygr ‘wandering-eyed’) and like bif- merely ‘corrects’ the metaphor of ‘earth, land’ with a reference to the animate character of the human body. — [7] hvarf ‘turned’: The Bb reading is evidently a scribal error, with the abbreviation for <ra> where <ar> was needed. On the placing of the verb, see Introduction. — [8] nítti ‘rejected’: The final word of this line is omitted in Bb. Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s suggestion (1832, 11) of nítti (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘denied, rejected’ fits grammar, sense and metre, and has been adopted by all subsequent eds. 


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. 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.
  5. Munch, P. A. and C. R. Unger, eds. 1847. Oldnorsk læsebog med tilhörende glossarium. Christiania (Oslo): Dahl.
  6. Gullberg, H., ed. 1875. Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar: fragment ur “Bergsboken”. Lund: Berling.
  7. Internal references
  8. Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Kormákr Ǫgmundarson, Sigurðardrápa 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 285.

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