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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Sex 27II/4 — bratt ‘steep’

Ǫrð sær Yrsu burðar
inndrótt jǫfurr sinni
bjartplógaðan bauga
brattakr vǫluspakra.
Eyss landreki ljósu
lastvarr Kraka barri
á hlæmyldar holdi
hauks kǫlfur mér sjǫlfum.

Jǫfurr sær ǫrð burðar Yrsu bjartplógaðan brattakr vǫluspakra bauga inndrótt sinni. Lastvarr landreki eyss ljósu barri Kraka mér sjǫlfum á kǫlfur hauks, hlæmyldar holdi.

The prince sows with the grain of the offspring of Yrsa [= Hrólfr kraki > GOLD] the bright-ploughed steep field of joint-calm rings [ARM] of his retinue. The fault-shunning land-ruler sprinkles bright barley of Kraki (‘Pole-ladder’) <legendary king> [GOLD] on my own territories of the hawk [ARMS], warmly soil-covered with flesh.


[4] bratt‑: ‘brauk’ 2368ˣ, braut 743ˣ


[3-4] bjartplógaðan brattakr bauga ‘the bright-ploughed steep field of rings [ARM]’: On the syntax of the phrase, see the previous Note. Kennings referring to the arm as the ground of rings are quite common, and gen. pl. bauga or gen. sg. baugs are especially frequent as determinant (Meissner 140). The epithet bjartplógaðan enhances the image of the arms of Haraldr’s followers shining with precious gifts. Kock ridicules the LP explanation ‘field worked with a bright plough’ (NN §863), but misrepresents it since LP goes on to give the contextual, transferred interpretation. What the debate calls attention to is the creative ambivalence of the cpd epithet, in which bjart ‘bright’ describes the kenning referent ‘arm’, while plógaðan ‘ploughed’ describes the base-word akr ‘field’, as noted by Fidjestøl (1982, 139). On a possible, but unwarranted, emendation to bauga, see Note on vǫluspakra.




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