Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Magndr 5II/1 — jarla ‘The lordly’

Afkarlig varð jarla
orðgnótt, sús hlaut dróttinn;
fylgði efnð, þvís ylgjar
angrtælir réð mæla:
at framm í gný grimmum
grafnings und kló hrafni
fúss lézk falla ræsir
feigr eða Danmǫrk eiga.

Orðgnótt jarla, sús dróttinn hlaut, varð afkarlig; efnð fylgði, þvís angrtælir ylgjar réð mæla: at ræsir lézk fúss falla feigr und kló hrafni framm í grimmum gný grafnings eða eiga Danmǫrk.

The lordly wealth of words with which the liege was endowed was prodigious; his deeds matched what the grief-beguiler [GLADDENER] of the she-wolf [WARRIOR = Magnús] did say: that the prince said, glad, he would fall doomed under the claw of the raven, ahead in the cruel clash of the graven shield [BATTLE], or else possess Denmark.


[1] jarla: jǫfra FskBˣ, árla FskAˣ, H, Hr


[1-2] orðgnótt jarla ‘the lordly wealth of words’: (a) Jarla and orðgnótt, consecutive in the text, are here construed together. Jarla (m. gen. pl.), lit. ‘of jarls’, probably has the adjectival sense ‘lordly, fit for an earl’ (and Kock in NN §818 notes a gen. sg. parallel from Hávm 97). Hofmann (1955, 104) suggests that the generalised sense of jarlar, ‘noblemen’, is influenced by the cognate OE eorlas or OS erlos (b) Jarla could alternatively qualify dróttinn in l. 2, hence ‘lord of jarls’. It would be unusual for Arnórr to arrange the elements of a kenning thus, but not unparalleled. In Arn Þorfdr 24/5-8, for instance, inndróttar ... geymi ‘guardian of his retinue’ is interrupted by þeim hjalpi goð and by Þorfinni which belongs to a different cl.



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