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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 8II/5 — fellu ‘fell’

Þrima vas þvígit skemmri;
þat vas skjótt, at spjótum
mætr við minna neyti
minn dróttinn rak flótta.
Gall, áðr grams menn fellu,
gunnmôr of her sôrum;
hann vá sigr fyr sunnan
Sandvík; ruðu branda.

Þrima vas þvígit skemmri; þat vas skjótt, at mætr dróttinn minn rak flótta spjótum við minna neyti. Gunnmôr gall of sôrum her, áðr menn grams fellu; hann vá sigr fyr sunnan Sandvík; ruðu branda.

The battle was none the briefer for that; it happened swiftly that my precious lord put them to flight with spears [and] with a smaller company. The battle-gull [RAVEN/EAGLE] screamed above the wounded host, before the ruler’s men fell; he won victory south of Sandwick (Sandvík); they reddened swords.


[5] fellu: so Flat, ‘foli’ 332ˣ, ‘fǫli’ 48ˣmarg


[5] gall; fellu ‘screamed; fell’: ‘Foli’ in 332ˣ is, as Ólafur Halldórsson (1964, 148) points out, a mis-spelling of fǫli, i.e. fœli, 3rd pers. sg. pret. subj. of fela ‘hide, entrust, bury’. This is established by fǫli in 48ˣmarg. But there is no suitable object to this verb (Björn Magnússon Ólsen’s suggestion being eccentric, 1909, 296-7), so that the reading must be rejected in favour of the variant fellu. The variant gall ‘screamed’ not gól ‘sang’ must accordingly be chosen in order to complete the skothending. This is the best solution, but not a perfect one, since it would be difficult to account for the presumed corruption of fellu to fœli.



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