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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Rǫgndr 1II/1 — af ‘out’

Deildisk af, svát aldin
él grafninga þélar
gǫndlar Njǫrðr í Gǫrðum
gunnbráðr tíu háði.

Deildisk af, svát gunnbráðr Njǫrðr gǫndlar háði tíu aldin él þélar grafninga í Gǫrðum.

It fell out in such a way that the war-hasty Njǫrðr <god> of battle [WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr] brought about ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields [SWORD > BATTLES] in Russia.

notes

[1] deildisk af ‘it fell out’: (a) Af must be an adv. here rather than a prep. since it bears full stress and alliteration. The phrasal verb deilask af is rare, but is attested in Stu, where the meaning is ‘be dealt out, carried on’: Kǫlluðu þeir at lengi mundi vǫrnin deilaz af úti ‘They said that the defence would be carried on for a long time out there’ (Stu 1906-11, I, 191). In the present context, where there is no explicit subject, the meaning could well be ‘it fell out, happened’ (cf. the verb skipta, which also means both ‘divide, deal’ and ‘happen’). (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Finnbogi Guðmundsson in ÍF 34, 54 n. regard af as a prep. and construe deildisk af aldri svát gǫndlar Njǫrðr… ‘it happened thus in [that period of the jarl’s] life that the warrior…’. But aldri has support from only one branch of the ÓH stemma, and the postulated interruption of af ... aldri by svát, which introduces the next cl., rules out this construal. (c) Kock (NN §§809 and 2710A) construes af as an adv., but does not account satisfactorily for aldri.

grammar

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