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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hryn 6II/3 — ljótan ‘the menacing’

Svíða létu þínar þjóðir
þunnar skeiðr með búnu reiði
— Gautar spurðu leiðangr ljótan
lunda völl at Mostrarsundi.
Síðan leit, er seglum hlóðu,
snarfengr konungr, yðrir drengir
— lýsa tók af herskips hausum —
hrygðarfólk í Dana bygðum.

Þjóðir þínar létu þunnar skeiðr með búnu reiði svíða völl lunda at Mostrarsundi; Gautar spurðu ljótan leiðangr. Síðan leit hrygðarfólk í bygðum Dana, er drengir yðrir, snarfengr konungr, hlóðu seglum; lýsa tók af hausum herskips.

Your men caused the slender warships with adorned tackle to move swiftly across [lit. scorch] the plain of puffins [SEA] to Mostrarsund; the Gautar heard about the menacing fleet. Then the rueful people in the settlements of the Danes saw when your warriors, sturdy king, took down the sails; it began to gleam from the warship’s heads.

notes

[3] ljótan (adj. m. acc. sg.) ‘menacing’: Lit. ‘ugly’. This is construed here with leiðangr ‘fleet’ but could also be a descriptive element referring to the kenning völl lunda ‘the plain of puffins’ (l. 4), i.e. ‘the ugly sea’, indicating that the ships were sailing over a turbulent sea. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 72) and Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) thought that ljótan qualified völl lunda, but Kock (NN §2285) disagreed on the grounds that the adj. precedes the heiti or kenning it qualifies in Hryn, if it is not part of the same l. as it is here, so he construed ljótan with leiðangr ‘terrible fleet’ (l. 3) (see also Note to Valg Har 11/4).

grammar

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