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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 26I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 26’ 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. 1056.

Anonymous PoemsÓláfs drápa Tryggvasonar
252627

hefk ‘I have’

hafa (verb): have

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hjǫrva ‘of swords’

hjǫrr (noun m.): sword

[1] hjǫrva: hjǫrvi Bb

kennings

ôsu þeys hjǫrva;
‘gods of the breeze of swords; ’
   = WARRIORS

the breeze of swords; → BATTLE
gods of the BATTLE → WARRIORS

notes

[1] hjǫrva ‘of swords’: Ms. hjǫrvi (dat. sg.) is difficult syntactically and almost all previous eds emend to gen. sg. hjǫrva. Kock (NN §1223) avoids emendation and reads hóf lófa sœmði vel hjǫrvi ‘the measure of the hands suited the sword well’, but this is forced.

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hjǫrva ‘of swords’

hjǫrr (noun m.): sword

[1] hjǫrva: hjǫrvi Bb

kennings

ôsu þeys hjǫrva;
‘gods of the breeze of swords; ’
   = WARRIORS

the breeze of swords; → BATTLE
gods of the BATTLE → WARRIORS

notes

[1] hjǫrva ‘of swords’: Ms. hjǫrvi (dat. sg.) is difficult syntactically and almost all previous eds emend to gen. sg. hjǫrva. Kock (NN §1223) avoids emendation and reads hóf lófa sœmði vel hjǫrvi ‘the measure of the hands suited the sword well’, but this is forced.

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sœmði ‘suited’

sœma (verb): honour

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lófa ‘of the palm’

lófi (noun m.; °-a; -ar): palm of hand

kennings

ôr elda lófa
‘the envoy of fires of the palm ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

fires of the palm → GOLD
the envoy of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN
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lófa ‘of the palm’

lófi (noun m.; °-a; -ar): palm of hand

kennings

ôr elda lófa
‘the envoy of fires of the palm ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

fires of the palm → GOLD
the envoy of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN
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elda ‘of fires’

eldr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar): fire

kennings

ôr elda lófa
‘the envoy of fires of the palm ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

fires of the palm → GOLD
the envoy of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN
Close

elda ‘of fires’

eldr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar): fire

kennings

ôr elda lófa
‘the envoy of fires of the palm ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

fires of the palm → GOLD
the envoy of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN
Close

þeys ‘of the breeze’

þeyr (noun m.; °; -jar/-ir): breeze, thawing wind

kennings

ôsu þeys hjǫrva;
‘gods of the breeze of swords; ’
   = WARRIORS

the breeze of swords; → BATTLE
gods of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

þeys ‘of the breeze’

þeyr (noun m.; °; -jar/-ir): breeze, thawing wind

kennings

ôsu þeys hjǫrva;
‘gods of the breeze of swords; ’
   = WARRIORS

the breeze of swords; → BATTLE
gods of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

ôsu ‘gods’

2. Áss (noun m.; °áss, dat. ási/ás; ásar): god

kennings

ôsu þeys hjǫrva;
‘gods of the breeze of swords; ’
   = WARRIORS

the breeze of swords; → BATTLE
gods of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

ôr ‘the envoy’

1. árr (noun m.; °dat. ár; ǽrir/árar, acc. áru): messenger

[4] ôr: ítr Bb

kennings

ôr elda lófa
‘the envoy of fires of the palm ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

fires of the palm → GOLD
the envoy of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN

notes

[4] ôr ‘envoy’: Ms. ítr ‘magnificent’ would seem most naturally to belong with the rest of l. 4, yielding ítr mest* at hlut flestum ‘most magnificent in most respects’. But the only word with which ítr (m. nom. sg.) can agree is the suffixed -k of hefk ‘I have’ in l. 1, which is implausible both syntactically and semantically (the statement that the skald is ‘most magnificent’ accords poorly with the modesty topoi elsewhere in the poem). Skj B emends to ôr (dat. of ôrr ‘envoy, messenger’), which has the additional advantage of providing a dat. obj. for sœmði ‘suited’. Kock’s construal (NN §1223; Skald) involves reading ítrs and taking it as a substantive qualifying hróðr (i.e. ‘praise of the magnificent one’), and is not convincing overall.

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mest* ‘the greatest’

meiri (adj. comp.; °meiran; superl. mestr): more, most

[4] mest*: mestr Bb

notes

[4] mest* ‘greatest’: There is no m. nom. sg. noun in the helmingr for ms. mestr ‘most’ (adj.) to qualify, so it must be emended, here to n. nom. sg. (modifying hóf ‘restraint’); mest could alternatively be taken as an adv.

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óss ‘of the estuary’

óss (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): estuary, mouth

kennings

elris glóða óss.
‘of the alder of the embers of the estuary.’
   = GENEROUS MAN

the embers of the estuary. → GOLD
the alder of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN

notes

[5] óss ‘of the estuary’: Ms. ‘oss’ is taken in Skj B as oss ‘to us, our’, hence oss mun áðr þrjóta at brag ‘my powers in composing will be exhausted before ...’, and the determinant of the gold-kenning as not óss but fljóts in l. 8 (see Note below). 

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óss ‘of the estuary’

óss (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): estuary, mouth

kennings

elris glóða óss.
‘of the alder of the embers of the estuary.’
   = GENEROUS MAN

the embers of the estuary. → GOLD
the alder of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN

notes

[5] óss ‘of the estuary’: Ms. ‘oss’ is taken in Skj B as oss ‘to us, our’, hence oss mun áðr þrjóta at brag ‘my powers in composing will be exhausted before ...’, and the determinant of the gold-kenning as not óss but fljóts in l. 8 (see Note below). 

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glóða ‘of the embers’

glóð (noun f.): ember

kennings

elris glóða óss.
‘of the alder of the embers of the estuary.’
   = GENEROUS MAN

the embers of the estuary. → GOLD
the alder of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN
Close

glóða ‘of the embers’

glóð (noun f.): ember

kennings

elris glóða óss.
‘of the alder of the embers of the estuary.’
   = GENEROUS MAN

the embers of the estuary. → GOLD
the alder of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN
Close

elris ‘of the alder’

elri (noun n.): alder-tree

kennings

elris glóða óss.
‘of the alder of the embers of the estuary.’
   = GENEROUS MAN

the embers of the estuary. → GOLD
the alder of the GOLD → GENEROUS MAN
Close

þrek ‘valour’

þrekr (noun m.): powerful

notes

[6] at virkum ‘for the dear one’: This interpretation avoids emendation, but is slightly forced and does not provide aðalhending in l. 6. Skj B emends þrek to sterks ‘strong’, qualifying elris ‘of the alder’ in the man-kenning, and virkum to verkum ‘deeds’, as dat. object of yppa ‘extol, raise up’.

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virkum ‘the dear one [Óláfr]’

virkr (adj.): considerate

notes

[6] at virkum ‘for the dear one’: This interpretation avoids emendation, but is slightly forced and does not provide aðalhending in l. 6. Skj B emends þrek to sterks ‘strong’, qualifying elris ‘of the alder’ in the man-kenning, and virkum to verkum ‘deeds’, as dat. object of yppa ‘extol, raise up’.

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megi ‘will be able’

mega (verb): may, might

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ǫllum ‘all the’

allr (adj.): all

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ǫrnfljótr ‘the eagle-swift’

ǫrnfljótr (adj.): [eagle-swift]

[8] ǫrnfljótr: ‘orn fliotr’ or ‘orn fliotz’ Bb

notes

[8] ǫrnfljótr ‘eagle-swift’: This unusual epithet (though cf. NN §2991) comments on the skald’s speed in composing, a common boast, especially in later poetry (Kreutzer 1977, 206-7). ‘Eagle’ may possibly allude to Óðinn (alias Bǫlverkr) taking the shape of an eagle to carry off the mead of poetry (SnE 1998, I, 4-5). If the ms. reading is rather gen. sg. ǫrnfljóts, the epithet will qualify elris glóða óss ‘alder of the embers of the estuary [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends ǫrn to ǫrr ‘bold’ and reads fljóts ‘of the river’, providing the determinant of the gold-kenning (see Note to l. 5 óss).

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

[1-4]: As it stands in the ms. this stanza appears to be corrupt, and the first helmingr cannot be construed without emending (see Notes below). There appear to be two tvíkent kennings, the first with ôsu ‘gods’ (l. 3) as base-word, referring to the audience, and the second with ôr ‘envoy’ (l. 4, emended from ítr) as base-word, referring either to the skald or to Óláfr himself. The determinants of the two kennings could be reversed, but this would result in a tripartite l. 3. — [5-8]: The helmingr is problematic and has been emended by all previous eds (see Nj 1875-8, II, 63-7 for a survey of the early scholarship). The construal tentatively proposed in the Text above avoids emendation.

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