Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Austv 11I/6 — ferri ‘far’

Jór rinnr aptanskœru
allsvangr gǫtur langar;
vǫll kná hófr til hallar
— hǫfum lítinn dag — slíta.
Nús, þats blakkr of bekki
berr mik Dǫnum ferri;
fákr laust drengs í díki
— dœgr mœtask nú — fœti.

Allsvangr jór rinnr langar gǫtur aptanskœru; hófr kná slíta vǫll til hallar; hǫfum lítinn dag. Nús, þats blakkr berr mik of bekki ferri Dǫnum; fákr drengs laust fœti í díki; dœgr mœtask nú.

[My] famished steed runs on the long tracks in the twilight; the hoof can tear the ground on the way to the hall; we have little daylight. Now it is that [my] dark mount carries me over streams far from the Danes; the good fellow’s [my] charger struck with its foot [stumbled] in a ditch; night and day meet now.


[6] ferri: fœrri 75c


[6] ferri Dǫnum ‘farther from Danes’: There is no universally agreed explanation for this phrase. Beckman (1923, 331, but cf. Beckman 1934, 212-13) explains it as meaning ‘along the way from the Danes’, i.e. after passing Stora Hov, Sigvatr took the road from Lödöse and Halland, which was then Danish territory. Barði Guðmundsson (1927, 549-50) supposes that Sigvatr composed this stanza on the return journey from Västergötland, which, he argues, was then under Danish control. Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 187-8; similarly Turville-Petre, 1976, 80) suggests that the import of the remark is that the political situation of the day was such that it would have been dangerous for Sigvatr to travel anywhere near Danish territory. Schreiner (1927-9c, 42-3) imagines that an earlier phase of the journey took Sigvatr sailing through Øresund, with Danish territory on both sides. The eds of Hkr 1991 suggest that Sigvatr may have had in mind that the Swedes and their king would turn out to be more effective opponents to King Óláfr than the Danes had been. Frank (1978, 74) interprets the phrase to mean ‘inland’, i.e. ‘away from the seaboard which was largely Danish territory’. See also Toll (1925, 157-8).



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