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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr Óldr 5I/5 — brezkrar ‘of the British’

Gerðisk ungr við Engla
ofvægr konungr bægja;
naddskúrar réð nœrir
Norðimbra sá morði.
Barði brezkrar jarðar
byggvendr, en hjó tyggi
— grôðr þvarr geira hríðar
gjóði — kumrskar þjóðir.

Ungr, ofvægr konungr gerðisk bægja við Engla; sá nœrir naddskúrar réð morði Norðimbra. Tyggi barði byggvendr brezkrar jarðar en hjó kumrskar þjóðir; grôðr þvarr gjóði hríðar geira.

The young, overwhelming king proceeded to contend against the English; that nourisher of the missile-shower [BATTLE > WARRIOR] determined the killing of the Northumbrians. The prince beat the inhabitants of the British land and cut down the Cumbric peoples; hunger diminished for the osprey of the storm of spears [BATTLE > RAVEN/EAGLE].


[5] brezkrar: ‘breskar’ 39, Bb, ‘brazkrar’ FskAˣ


[5, 8] brezkrar jarðar … kumrskar þjóðir ‘of the British land … the Cumbric peoples’: Both terms are somewhat elusive, but typically refer to the Celtic, Brittonic-speaking peoples of Strathclyde (now south-west Scotland), Cumbria (north-west England) and Wales; see Poole 1987, 292-8 for a review of the usage of Bretar/brezkr in Old Norse sources. The identification of the peoples mentioned here is not helped by the uncertainty over the ordering of the stanzas (see Introduction).



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