Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 18II/5 — hrjóða ‘painted’

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.


[5] hrjóða: rjóða E, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, Flat


[5] réð hrjóða ‘painted [lit. did paint]’: There is good ms. support for both hrjóða and the variant rjóða ‘redden’ (cf. the hrauð/rauð alternation in ÞjóðA Magn 1/1), but the metre favours hrjóða, which, as the cadence of a Type C l., must alliterate, and must alliterate with h- (i.e. with her- and hneitis). That rjóða is a secondary reading is also confirmed by the fact that it is the lectio facilior, since reddening a sword is such a stock item in battle descriptions. Hrjóða evidently cannot have its normal meaning of ‘clear’ here, but perhaps something akin to ‘decorate, paint’, a sense which could be influenced by rjóða but is also ancient, on the evidence of hroðit sigli, probably ‘adorned brooch’ (Sigsk 49, NK 215), and the OE p. p. hroden applied to precious objects and found in compounds such as goldhroden ‘adorned with gold’, applied to royal brides in Beowulf (ll. 614, 640, 1948, 2025). This would imply a verb *hrēodan, cognate with hrjóða. In the light of the OE compounds, it is possible that gollroðinn ‘gold-reddened’ should be read as gollhroðinn ‘gold-adorned’ in Akv 4 and perhaps Anon Krm 21VIII (LP).



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