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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Magndr 4II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 212-13.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonMagnússdrápa
345

Flýði fylkir reiði
framr þjóðkonungs ramma;
stǫkk fyr auðvin okkrum
armsvells hati gellir.
Létat Nóregs njóta
nýtr þengill gram lengi;
hann rak Svein af sínum
sókndjarfr fǫðurarfi.

Framr fylkir flýði ramma reiði þjóðkonungs; {hati {armsvells}}, gellir, stǫkk fyr {auðvin okkrum}. Nýtr þengill létat gram njóta Nóregs lengi; sókndjarfr rak hann Svein af fǫðurarfi sínum.

The outstanding leader [Sveinn Álfífuson] fled the mighty fury of the nation’s king [Magnús]; {the hater {of arm-ice}} [SILVER > GENEROUS MAN], the howler, bolted from {our treasure-friend} [GENEROUS RULER = Magnús]. The worthy prince did not let the lord enjoy Norway for long; daring in attack, he drove Sveinn from his father’s legacy.

Mss: FskBˣ(53r), FskAˣ(204-205) (Fsk); Hr(4ra) (H-Hr); Flat(189va) (Flat)

Readings: [1] Flýði: ‘Fluðe’ FskAˣ, Fylldi Flat    [2] ‑konungs: konungr Hr, konung Flat    [3] fyr (‘fyrir’): frá Hr;    auðvin: ǫðrum Hr, oddvin Flat    [4] armsvells: so Hr, ‘armsnællz’ FskBˣ, ‘armsvælz’ FskAˣ, ‘arnsuelgr’ Flat;    hati: ‘hare’ FskAˣ;    gellir: hersir Flat    [5] Létat: ‘leitad’ Hr;    Nóregs: ‘nōr’ Hr, Nóreg Flat    [6] gram: gramr Hr    [7] hann: þat Hr;    Svein: so FskAˣ, Hr, sveinn FskBˣ, ‘S.’ Flat;    sínum: sínu Flat    [8] fǫður‑: so Hr, Flat, faðr FskBˣ, FskAˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 339, Skj BI, 311-12, Skald I, 158, NN §817; Fsk 1902-3, 194-5 (ch. 40), ÍF 29, 210 (ch. 47); Fms 6, 26 (Mgóð ch. 13), Fms 12, 127-8; Flat 1860-8, III, 264, Andersson and Gade 2000, 101-2, 466 (MH); Whaley 1998, 189-92.

Context: Fsk merely paraphrases the st., with minor elaboration. H-Hr cites it as evidence that King Sveinn Álfífuson fled from Norway as soon as Magnús entered the country, while Flat emphasises the Norwegians’ eagerness to throw off Dan. rule.

Notes: [All]: H-Hr names the source poem as Magnúsardrápa. Flat eccentrically attributes the st. to ‘skule’ (Skúli). — [3] okkrum ‘our’: This dual form is secured by the skothending with stǫkk, but it is not obvious with whom Arnórr would pair himself when speaking of Magnús as his ‘treasure-friend’ (auðvin(r)), unless it is Gellir (see below). — [4] gellir ‘howler’: This is a rare and problematic word. (a) One would expect from the verbs gella and gjalla the meaning ‘screecher, howler’ for the agent noun gellir, and this indeed fits the recorded usage. It is a derogatory nickname and, in the þulur, a heiti for ‘ox’ and ‘sword’ (Þul Øxna 3/5III, Þul Sverða 1/5III). In ModIcel. gellir is an appellative meaning ‘noisy, loud-voiced man’ (hávaðamaður; so Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4). Such a word could well suggest the empty bragging of a coward, and hence be an appropriate term for Sveinn, the enemy of the hero. If this is the meaning of gellir here, it must stand in apposition to armsvells hati ‘the hater of arm-ice [SILVER > GENEROUS MAN]’. (b) Gellir is also a proper name, and, as noted in his Biography above, Arnórr reputedly composed in memory of Gellir Þorkelsson. If gellir here were taken as an address to this or another Gellir, the dual poss. pron. in auðvin okkrum (l. 3), would be explained, especially since Gellir is said to have visited Magnús Óláfsson’s court and to have received lavish gifts from him (Laxdœla saga ch. 78, ÍF 5, 227-8). However, it would be curious if the encomiastic elegy for Magnús apostrophised another individual (especially in the light of þegi seimbrotar ‘let gold-breakers be silent’, st. 1). (c) Kock (NN §817) tentatively connects gellir with MHG gelle m. ‘contender, rival’ and emends ms. hate to gen. sg. hata so that armsvells hata gellir in l. 4 can be rendered ‘the rival of the hater of arm-ice [SILVER > GENEROUS MAN = Magnús > Sveinn]’. But on several counts this is unconvincing: (i) There is no evidence for ON gellir in this sense; (ii) MHG gelle is a weak noun, to which ON *gelli, not gellir, would be cognate (though Kock, in answer to this difficulty, cited ON doublets such as endi/endir and vísir/vísi); (iii) Gelle and its OHG counterpart are rare in German; (iv) the interpretation requires the slight emendation of ms. ‘hate’ to hata.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  6. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  7. Whaley, Diana, ed. and trans. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols.
  8. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. ÍF 5 = Laxdœla saga. Ed. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson. 1934.
  11. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  12. Internal references
  13. Not published: do not cite (LaxdV)
  14. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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, pp. clxi-clxii.
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  16. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  17. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  18. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 790.
  19. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Øxna heiti 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 888.
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