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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 19I/1 — þryngr ‘presses’

Ála þryngr at éli
ǫrstiklandi miklu;
skyldut skelknir hauldar
— skalmǫld vex nú — falma.
Búumk við sókn, en slœkni-
seggr skyli -orð of forðask,
es at geirþingi gǫngum,
gunnreifr, með Ôleifi.

Ǫrstiklandi þryngr at miklu éli Ála; hauldar skyldut falma skelknir; skalmǫld vex nú. Búumk við sókn, en gunnreifr seggr skyli of forðask slœkniorð, es gǫngum at geirþingi með Ôleifi.

The arrow-shooter [WARRIOR = Óláfr] presses towards the great storm of Áli <legendary king> [BATTLE]; freeholders should not waver, frightened; a sword-age [BATTLE] swells now. Let us prepare ourselves for an attack, and a war-happy man ought to shun weakling-words when we go to the spear-assembly [BATTLE] with Óláfr.


[1] þryngr: þrǫngr 972ˣ, J2ˣ, Bæb, 68, Holm4, 61, Tóm, DG8, 142ˣ, 566aˣ, ‘þreyngr’ 321ˣ, , ‘þravgr’ 325V, þrengr 325VII, þrǫng Bb, Flat, Hb, ‘þraumar’ papp4ˣ


[1, 2] ǫrstiklandi þryngr ‘the arrow-shooter [WARRIOR = Óláfr] presses’: The ms. variants of þryngr are mostly mere alternate spellings (see CVC: þröngva). There are two main interpretations of the construction, and an alternative using the variant -stiklanda: (a) On the analysis offered here, ǫrstiklandi is the subject of þryngr, cf. Arn Þorfdr 18/2II mildingr þrǫng at hildi ‘the bountiful one stormed into battle’. (b) The verb is well attested in impersonal usage with at, meaning ‘draws nigh, approaches’ (see Vígf Lv 1/3; LP: þryngva), and this is how eds (beginning with Bartholin 1689, 174) have understood it: ‘the battle draws nigh’. Accordingly, the cpd has generally been interpreted as a vocative (as in Skj B, ÍF 6 and ÍF 27). (c) Finnur Jónsson (1932-3) argues for reading ǫrstiklanda as a dat., ‘for the arrow-shooter’, on the ground that direct address to the king is uncommon in other skalds’ verses; but cf. the next stanza, and ǫrstiklanda is for the most part the reading of the less reliable mss.



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