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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 24VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 24’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 765.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál
232425

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hitt sýniz mér raunar,
at forlögum fylgjum;
fár gengr um sköp norna.
Eigi hugðak Ellu
at aldrlagi mínu,
þá er ek blóðvali brædda
ok borð á lög keyrðak.
Vítt fengum þá vargi
verð í Skotlandsfjörðum.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. Hitt sýniz mér raunar, at fylgjum forlögum; fár gengr um sköp norna. Hugðak eigi Ellu at aldrlagi mínu, þá er ek brædda {blóðvali} ok keyrðak borð á lög. Þá fengum vargi verð vítt í Skotlandsfjörðum.

We hewed with the sword. It appears to me indeed that we must submit to fate; few escape the decree of the norns. I did not think Ælle <Northumbrian king> would be the cause of my death when I fed {the blood-falcons} [RAVENS/EAGLES] and drove ships out to sea. Then we provided a meal for the wolf far and wide in Scotland’s firths.

Mss: R702ˣ(31v), 147(103r), 6ˣ(90v) (Ragn); LR(221-222), R693ˣ(16r)

Readings: [1] Hjuggu vér með hjörvi: abbrev. as ‘H v m h:’ R702ˣ, abbrev. as ‘Hi(’) v(’) (m’) h[…]’(?) 147, Hjuggum vér með hjörvi 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ    [2] Hitt: ‘h(itt)’(?) 147;    sýniz: ‘syn[...](zt )’(?) 147, ‘siunist’ LR;    mér raunar: ‘(mi)er rr(au)nar’(?) 147, ‘mier ranuar’ R693ˣ    [3] at forlögum fylgjum: ‘at (f[…]rla[...]gum) fylgi’(?) 147    [4] fár gengr: ‘far g(e)ng(ur)’(?) 147;    um: ‘[...]’ 147, of 6ˣ;    sköp norna: ‘(sk)[...](rna)’(?) 147    [5] Eigi hugðak Ellu: ‘e(i)gi (hu)gda eg ell(u)’(?) 147    [6] at aldrlagi mínu: ‘[...]lagi (minu)’(?) 147    [7] þá er ek blóðvali: ‘þa [...] (blo(d)val(i))’(?) 147;    brædda: ‘(b[...]dda)’(?) 147, ‘bręiddak’ 6ˣ, ‘brædde’ R693ˣ    [8] ok borð á lög keyrðak (‘ok bord a log keyrdag’): ‘og [...](ord) [...] l(a)ug key(r)da (eg)’(?) 147    [9] Vítt fengum þá vargi: ‘[...]tt (fengum þa varg)[...]’(?) 147    [10] verð: om. 147;    Skotlands: ‘skotlads’ LR;    fjörðum: ‘f[...]ord(um)’(?) 147

Editions: Skj AI, 648, Skj BI, 654-5, Skald I, 320; Rafn 1826, 20-1, 143-4, Pfeiffer 1860, 126-7, CPB II, 344, Wisén 1886-9, I, 65, Krm 1891, 228, Finnur Jónsson1893b, 90, Finnur Jónsson 1905, 156; Ragn 1906-8, 189.

Notes: [4] sköp norna ‘the decree of the norns’: The same expression occurs in Hfr 10/4V (Hallfr 13); cf. de Vries (1964-7, II, 40 n. 68). The norns are the supernatural female beings described in Gylf (SnE 2005, 18), where they are said to ‘shape men’s lives’ (skapa mǫnnum aldr). For a questioning of the extent to which the norns were believed to spin or weave the fates of men, like the three Fates of Greek mythology, see Bek-Pedersen (2007; 2011). — [5-6]: These lines contain an acc. and inf. construction, with Ellu as the subject acc. and inf. vera ‘be’ omitted, meaning: ‘I did not imagine Ælle (to be) in the role of my slayer (i.e. the cause of my death)’; for at ‘in the role of’ (l. 6) cf. LP: 1. at 7. The lines resemble Ragn 26/5-6, and bear some resemblance to st. 28, ll. 5-6, 8, below, as Olrik (1892-4, II, 97) and de Vries (1927a, 53) noted. Line 6 is the same as Ragn 26/6, also in the context of Ragnarr’s death in King Ælle’s snake-pit, and the word aldrlag ‘death’, lit. ‘laying down of life’, also occurs in RvHbreiðm Hl 15/7III, apparently in the context of the slaying of Ælle by Ragnarr’s son Ívarr in revenge for Ragnarr’s death. There is likely to be a relationship of some kind, beyond their shared subject, between the present stanza and the one in Ragn, though the nature of that relationship has been disputed (cf. McTurk 1991a, 127-31; 2012b, 376-81). See further the Notes to st. 28 [All] and 5-6, 8, below. — [5] Ellu ‘Ælle <Northumbrian king>’: On this King Ella (OE Ælle, Ælla, Hella), see Note to st. 14/4 above. — [7] brædda blóðvali ‘fed the blood-falcons [RAVENS/EAGLES]’: Blóðvali here is acc. pl. rather than dat. sg. (see ANG §387.1 Anm. 2). That bræða ‘feed prey to’ governs the acc. rather than the dat. is evident from RvHbreiðm Hl 17/1III,  cited in the Note to st. 9/3 above. — [10] verð ‘a meal’: This word is omitted in 147, but possibly supplied in the inner margin in an unclear hand. — [10] í Skotlandsfjörðum ‘in Scotland’s firths’: This seems the safest translation in the circumstances, given that at this stage of the poem the speaker seems to have moved on from a specific pin-pointing of the locations of his battles. However, according to Mossé (1934, 250), the name Skotlandsfirðir pl., occurring in the ÍF editions of the sagas he cites, refers to the Minch, the strait separating the north-west Scottish Highlands and the northern Inner Hebrides from Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The occurrences of the name referred to by Mossé are in Nj chs 85, 158, and 159 (ÍF 12, 205, 460, 462), Gr ch. 4 (ÍF 7, 10), and Mberf chs 8 and 11 (ÍF 28, 219, 224). Further occurrences are in Orkn chs 22, 41, 78 (Skotlandsfjǫrðr sg.) and 101 (ÍF 34, 58, 99, 178, 274). In none of these instances does the ÍF edition give any indication of a specific location for the name; see, however, Anderson (1873, viii (map), 27 n. 1 and 56 n. 2). Whether given a general or a specific application in the present context, the p. n. reference as it occurs here is consistent with the information given in earlier stanzas about the speaker’s exploits in Scotland (possibly, st. 12/3) and the Scottish islands (sts 13/4, 15/3 and perhaps 20/7), as well as in, or off the coast of, northern England (in sts 6/5, 14/4 and perhaps 19/3).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. 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.
  4. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  6. Vries, Jan de. 1964-7. Altnordische Literaturgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Grundriss der germanischen Philologie 15-16. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  7. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  8. ÍF = Íslenzk fornrit.
  9. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. Anderson, Joseph, ed. 1873. The Orkneyinga saga. Trans. Jon A. Hjaltalin and Gilbert Goudie. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas.
  12. ÍF 7 = Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar. Ed. Guðni Jónsson. 1936.
  13. ÍF 12 = Brennu-Njáls saga. Ed. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson. 1954.
  14. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  15. Pfeiffer, Friedrich. 1860. Altnordisches Lesebuch. Leipzig: T. O. Weigel.
  16. Bek-Pedersen, Karen. 2007. ‘Are the Spinning nornir Just a Yarn?’. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 3, 1-10.
  17. McTurk, Rory. 1991a. Studies in Ragnars saga loðbrókar and Its Major Scandinavian Analogues. Medium Ævum Monographs new ser. 15. Oxford: Society for the Study of Mediæval Languages and Literature.
  18. Ragn 1906-8 = Olsen 1906-8, 111-222.
  19. Finnur Jónsson. 1905. ‘Krákumál’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1905, 151-83.
  20. Olrik, Axel. 1892-4. Kilderne til Saxses oldhistorie: en literaturhistorisk undersøgelse. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Wroblewski.
  21. Vries, Jan de. 1927a. ‘Die Krákumál I’. Neophilologus 13, 51-60.
  22. Krm 1891 = 2nd edn (pp. 225-8) of Krm as ed. in Valdimar Ásmundarson 1885-9, I.
  23. Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1826. Krakas Maal eller Kvad om Kong Ragnar Lodbroks Krigsbedrifter og Heltedød efter en gammel Skindbog og flere hidtil ubenyttede Haandskrifter med dansk, latinsk og fransk oversættelse, forskjellige Læsemaader, samt kritiske og philologiske Anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Jens Hostrup Schultz; London: John and Arthur Arch.
  24. Mossé, Fernand. 1934. ‘Skothending’. In Rooth 1934, 242-50.
  25. Internal references
  26. (forthcoming), ‘ Unattributed, Orkneyinga saga’ 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, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=47> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  27. (forthcoming), ‘ Anonymous, Njáls saga’ in Tarrin Wills, Kari Ellen Gade and Margaret Clunies Ross (eds), Poetry in Sagas of Icelanders. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 5. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=55> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  28. (forthcoming), ‘ Anonymous, Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar’ in Tarrin Wills, Kari Ellen Gade and Margaret Clunies Ross (eds), Poetry in Sagas of Icelanders. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 5. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=70> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  29. 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Ragnars saga loðbrókar’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 616. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=81> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  30. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=113> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  31. (forthcoming), ‘ Heimskringla, Magnúss saga berfœtts’ 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, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=144> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  32. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1001. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1347> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  33. Not published: do not cite (Hfr Lv 10V (Hallfr 13))
  34. Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 26 (Ragnarr loðbrók, Lausavísur 9)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 676.
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