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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Sól 40VII/2 — dreyr ‘with bloody’

Sól ek sá        setta dreyrstöfum;
        mjök var ek þá ór heimi hallr;
máttug hon leiz        á marga vegu
        frá því, sem fyrri var.

Ek sá sól, setta dreyrstöfum; ek var þá mjök hallr ór heimi; hon leiz máttug á marga vegu frá því, sem var fyrri.

I saw the sun, set with bloody staves; I was then forcefully tilting out of this world; it appeared mighty in many ways compared with how it was before.

notes

[2] dreyrstöfum ‘with bloody staves’: For Falk (1914a, 23) these are bloody tokens of the end of the world; for Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 42) they are the red rays of the setting sun, while Paasche (1948, 181) interprets them as the bloody wounds of Christ. Skj B and LP: dreyrstafir suggest the translation ‘bloody runes’ and this may have been the poet’s intended meaning, as later (70/6) he uses the word skript ‘writing’ to refer to angels reading written texts from holy books, presumably in the roman alphabet, while the cpd feiknstafir ‘terrible staves’ (60/6), similar to dreyrstafir, applies to inscriptions on ‘heathen stars’ which appear over the heads of sinners.

grammar

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