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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 8VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 8’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 732.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hafa gátu þá rafnar
fyrir Inndyriseyju
ærna bráð at slíta.
Fengum fálu hestum
fullan verð at sinni
— ilt var eins at gæta —
með uppruna sólar.
Strenghömlur sá ek stíga;
stökk málmr á skör hjálmi.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. Þá gátu rafnar hafa ærna bráð at slíta fyrir Inndyriseyju. Fengum {hestum fálu} fullan verð at sinni með uppruna sólar; ilt var at gæta eins. Ek sá {strenghömlur} stíga; málmr stökk á skör hjálmi.

We hewed with the sword. Ravens then obtained plenty of flesh to tear off Inndyrisey. We provided {horses of the giantess} [WOLVES] with a full meal on that occasion at the rising of the sun; it was hard to keep track of individuals. I saw {bow-stringsticks} [ARROWS] ascending; metal leapt at rim of helmet.

Mss: 1824b(79v), 147(108r) (ll. 1-7), 147(108r-v) (ll. 7-8), 6ˣ(87v) (Ragn); R702ˣ(29v), LR(203-204), R693ˣ(7v)

Readings: [1] Hjuggu vér með hjörvi: abbrev. as ‘Hiug. v m. h᷎.’ 1824b, abbrev. as ‘(H’ v)[…]’ (?)’ 147(108r), Hjuggum vér með hjörvi 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, abbrev. as ‘H. v. m. h.’ R702ˣ    [2] Hafa: ‘[…]’ 147(108r), haft R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ;    gátu þá rafnar: ‘[…]’ 147(108r)    [3] fyrir Inndyriseyju (‘fyrir eínderis eyio’): ‘[…]’ 147(108r), ‘fyrer Einderis eýo’ with ‘inndýris eyo W.’ in margin 6ˣ, fyrir Inndyriseyjum R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ    [4] ærna (‘erna’): ‘[…]’ 147(108r), ‘ęrna’ with ‘ærna’ in margin 6ˣ, ærna R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ;    bráð at slíta: ‘[…](a)d at (s)[…]’(?) 147(108r)    [5] Fengum fálu hestum: ‘f(e)ng(um) […] (hestu)[…]’(?) 147(108r)    [6] fullan verð at sinni: ‘[…](verd) (s)[...]nn[...]’(?) 147(108r)    [7] ilt var eins at: ‘[...](llt var) [...]’(?) 147(108r);    gæta (‘gęta’): ‘[…]’ 147(108r), ‘gęta’ with ‘geta Worm.’ in margin 6ˣ, ‘getu’ R702ˣ, geta LR, R693ˣ    [8] með: ‘[…]’ 147(108r), í 6ˣ, R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ;    uppruna sólar: ‘[...]’ 147(108r)    [9] Strenghömlur (‘strengh haumlür’): ‘[…]’ 147(108r), ‘streing raulur’ 6ˣ, ‘streingholmur’ R693ˣ;    ek: ‘[...]’ 147(108r);    stíga: ‘[…]’ 147(108r), stíga with ‘stinga’ in margin 6ˣ, stinga R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ    [10] stökk málmr á skör hjálmi: ‘[...]’ 147(108r), ‘Stakk malmur a skor hialmi’ with ‘stakk almur af ser malmi. W.’ in margin 6ˣ, ‘stack almur af sier ma̋lme’ R702ˣ, LR, R693ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 643, Skj BI, 650-1, Skald I, 317; Rafn 1826, 8-9, 110-12, Pfeiffer 1860, 124-5, CPB II, 341-2, Wisén 1886-9, I, 63, Krm 1891, 226, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 87, 165, Finnur Jónsson 1905, 154, Ragn 1906-8, 187.

Notes: [All]: In R702ˣ, LR and R693ˣ the present stanza and st. 7 appear in reverse order. — [2] rafnar ‘ravens’: The intitial <h> in hrafnar ‘ravens’ has been omitted to avoid double alliteration in an even line. The mss differ here among themselves, 1824b (and possibly 147) having ‘hrafnar’, while the others have the r- spelling. — [3] fyrir Inndyriseyju ‘off Inndyrisey’: While Inndyrisey, an island (to judge from the final element in the name), cannot be certainly identified, mention may be made of Inndyr, now a village of some 700 inhabitants in Gildeskål county of the province of Nordland in northern Norway, and situated by an inlet of Sørfjorden (cf. Rygh 1897-1936, XVI, 185). The spelling Einderis eyju, ‑eyjum (CPB Eynderis-eyjom), adopted by all previous eds up to and including Finnur Jónsson (1893b), is in all probability aberrant and secondary; it does not seem to point to a separate location. — [5] fálu ‘of the giantess’: This word, listed as a heiti for ‘giantess’ or ‘troll-woman’ in Þul Trollkvenna 3/2III, is most likely a common noun (e.g. HHj 13/6, 16/3); it is also a term for a hoydenish woman (CVC: fála), as well as a heiti for ‘axe’ (Þul Øxar 1/6III). Cf. also Eisurfála ‘storm-troll-woman?’ (Þul Trollkvenna 4/6III and Note there). There seems no reason to give it an initial capital, as Rafn (1826) and the eds of CPB do. — [7-8]: These lines appear again in 147, somewhat more legibly, at fol. 108r, l. 24: ‘[…](llt uar) eíns at gæta’ (?) and at 108r, l. 24 ‑ 108v, l. 1: ‘fyrir […] pru(n)a solar.’ (?) as ll. 7-8 of st. 13; see the Readings for those lines, and Note to st. 13/7-8 below. — [7] at gæta eins ‘to keep track of individuals’: This understanding of the phrase was recognised by Pfeiffer (1860, 225, 239), with his glossing of gæta as sorgen, achten ‘look out for’ and eins as im einzelnen, genau ‘individually, in detail’; similarly Wisén (1886-9, II, 107), and Finnur Jónsson (1893b, 165; Skj B). Rafn (1826, 9, 111), on the other hand, had understood it as sig at vogte, at vogte paa een ‘watch out for oneself’, an understanding perhaps influenced by the use in Modern Scandinavian of en ‘one’ to refer in certain contexts to an indefinite person regarded as typical of every person (cf. Wellander 1965, 261-2). — [9] strenghömlur ‘bow-string-sticks [ARROWS]’: The second element of this cpd ‑hömlur, is understood here as from hamla ‘stick, bar for steering’ (cf. LP: 3. hamla), not hamla ‘rowlock’ (LP: 2. hamla); cf. Mark Eirdr 19/2II hamla vígs ‘staff of battle [SPEAR]’. Rafn (1826, 8-9, 44, 111-12) emends to strengvölur ‘bowstring-maidens, bowstring-prophetesses [ARROWS]’. Wisén (1886-9, II, 276) adopts the not unattractive reading strenghumlur f. pl. ‘bow-string-hornets [ARROWS]’. The present reading is the one adopted by most previous eds. — [9] stíga ‘ascend’: The variant stinga ‘puncture, transfix’ does not fit the context here and is adopted only by Wisén (1886-99, II, 273). — [10]: This line, a relatively rare example in Krm of aðalhending occurring, as would be expected, in an even-numbered line, is comparable in wording with RvHbreiðm Hl 64/7III almr sparn hart til hjalma ‘the elm-bow kicked … hard towards helmets’, where aðalhending also occurs, albeit in an odd-numbered line. — [10] málmr stökk á ‘metal leapt at’: Eds prior to Finnur Jónsson (1893b) retained the ms. reading stakk, 3rd pers. sg. pret. of stinga ‘thrust, stab’; subsequent eds (i.e. Finnur Jónsson 1893b; 1905; Skj B; Skald) have emended to stǫkk, 3rd pers. sg. pret. of støkkva ‘leap’. The reasons for the emendation are not entirely clear. The verb stinga is most often used transitively, with a dat. object in the sense of ‘thrust’ (as in st. 1/9-10 above) or with an acc. object in the sense of ‘stab, puncture, prick, sting’. Intransitive uses of the verb are relatively hard to find, other than in certain set phrases, e.g. at stinga af ‘be off, depart’ (see Fritzner: stinga 4, cf. ModSwed. sticka; LP, ONP, Heggstad et al. 2008: stinga). With these considerations in mind, the emendation to stökk, 3rd pers. sg. pret. of the verb støkkva in its strong, intransitive form ‘leap, spring’, is adopted, with some caution, in the present edn.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  6. 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.
  7. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  8. Finnur Jónsson. 1893b. Carmina Norrœna: Rettet Tekst. Copenhagen: Nielsen & Lydiche.
  9. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  10. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  11. Pfeiffer, Friedrich. 1860. Altnordisches Lesebuch. Leipzig: T. O. Weigel.
  12. Ragn 1906-8 = Olsen 1906-8, 111-222.
  13. Finnur Jónsson. 1905. ‘Krákumál’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1905, 151-83.
  14. Wellander, Erik. 1965. Riktig svenska. Stockholm: Svenska Bokförlaget, Norstedts.
  15. Krm 1891 = 2nd edn (pp. 225-8) of Krm as ed. in Valdimar Ásmundarson 1885-9, I.
  16. 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.
  17. LR = Worm 1936.
  18. Internal references
  19. Rory McTurk 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Krákumál’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 706. <> (accessed 5 August 2021)
  20. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Øxar 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. 813.
  21. 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. <> (accessed 5 August 2021)
  22. Not published: do not cite ()
  23. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Trollkvenna heiti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 723. <> (accessed 5 August 2021)

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