Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 18II/2 — ótvínn ‘The unwavering’

Flýði jarl af auðu
ótvínn skipi sínu
morð, þars Magnús gerði
meinfœrt þaðan Sveini.
Réð herkonungr hrjóða
hneitis egg í sveita;
sprændi blóð á brýndan
brand; vá gramr til landa.

Ótvínn jarl flýði morð af auðu skipi sínu, þars Magnús gerði Sveini meinfœrt þaðan. Herkonungr réð hrjóða egg hneitis í sveita; blóð sprændi á brýndan brand; gramr vá til landa.

The unwavering jarl fled the killing, from his empty ship, where Magnús made it perilous for Sveinn to go from there. The army-king painted [lit. did paint] the sword’s edge in gore; blood spurted onto the sharpened sword; the prince fought for lands.


[2] ótvínn: so FskBˣ, 51ˣ, ‘otvin’ , ‘vt vín’ 39, ‘ót vín’ F, ‘ottinn’ E, ‘otinn’ J2ˣ, ‘ut vinn’ FskAˣ, ‘otvín’ H, ‘ottvín’ Hr, ‘ættuin’ Flat


[2] ótvínn ‘unwavering’: The word is somewhat uncommon and the scribes were evidently puzzled, but -tvínn is secured by the rhyme and the sense ‘undivided, unwavering, resolute’ is compatible with the contexts (cf. Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-1889, II, 376, concluding a thorough discussion; see also Þfisk Lv 2/2 and Steinn Óldr 5/2). The nom. sg. adj. could grammatically qualify either of two subjects. (a) It is assumed here, and by most eds, to qualify jarl in l. 1. Although this may seem too complimentary an epithet for the fleeing enemy Sveinn, there is a nice irony in an enemy who is unwavering about escape. (b) Ótvínn is taken with Magnús by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Fsk 1902-3; Skj B); this is firmly rejected by Kock in NN §854.



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