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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Har 4II/3 — varra ‘for the stroke [lit. strokes]’

Sorgar veit, áðr slíti
sæfang ór mar strǫngum
herr, þars heldr til varra,
hár sjau tøgum ára.
Norðmeðr róa naðri
neglðum straum inn heglða
— úts, sem innan líti
arnarvæng — með jarni.

Sorgar veit, áðr herr slíti sæfang ór strǫngum mar, þars hár heldr sjau tøgum ára til varra. Norðmeðr róa naðri neglðum með jarni inn heglða straum; úts, sem líti innan arnarvæng.

Anguish will be felt, before the troop whips the sea-gear [oar] out of the powerful sea, where the oarport holds [each of] the seventy oars in place for the stroke [lit. strokes]. The Norwegians row the snake [ship] nailed with iron on the hail-beaten current; [looking] out, it is like seeing an eagle’s wing from within.


[3] varra: ‘uarar’ 570a


[3, 4] þars hár heldr sjau tøgum ára til varra ‘where the oarport holds [each of] the seventy oars in place for the stroke [lit. strokes]’: The mix of sg. (hár heldr ‘oarport holds’) and pl. sjau tøgum ára til varra ‘seventy oars in place for the strokes’ is not unusual in skaldic poetry. As Jesch points out (2001, 155), hár ‘oarport, hole in the upper gunwale supporting the oar’, sometimes refers more broadly to the space occupied by the oarsman (it is taken as the whole ship in ÍF 28), and vǫrr ‘stroke, pull of the oar’ to the sea, but here the more precise meanings are likely. Finnur Jónsson took til varra as a reference to arriving at the landing-stage (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B).



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