Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Hryn 7II/2 — ulfa ‘of wolves’

Ungan frák þik, eyðir, þrøngva,
ulfa gráðar, þeira ráði;
skildir stǫkk með skœðan þokka
skeiðar brands fyr þér ór landi.

Eyðir gráðar ulfa, frák þik ungan þrøngva ráði þeira; skildir brands skeiðar stǫkk fyr þér með skœðan þokka ór landi.

Queller of the greed [FEEDER] of wolves [WARRIOR] I have heard that you, when young, constrained their course; the shield-provider of the warship’s prow [SEA-WARRIOR = Sveinn Álfífuson] bolted before you, with baleful thought, from the land.


[1, 2] eyðir gráðar ulfa ‘queller of the greed [FEEDER] of wolves [WARRIOR]’: The image of a warrior feeding or gladdening the beasts of battle by providing them with the corpses of his enemies is commonplace, but structurally this is a rare sub-type of kenning in which eyðir gráðar ‘queller of the greed or hunger’ clearly functions in the same way as agent nouns such as the simplex fœðir ‘feeder’ or teitir ‘gladdener’ elsewhere (Meissner 310). Whether eyðir gráðar should itself be regarded as a kenning, as assumed here, is less certain, since a kenning that is a base-word, and that requires an object (here the wolves), is highly unusual. For a detailed discussion of kennings of this type, see General Introduction, SkP I.




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