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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Hardr 15II/5 — Ert ‘with the boldest’

Myrkts, hverr meira orkar,
mér, alls greppr né sérat,
— harðrs í heimi orðinn
hrafngrennir — þrek jǫfnum.
Ert gat óslætt hjarta
(eljunfims) und himni
mest (hefr mildingr kostat
minni hvers grams vinnur).

Myrkts mér, alls greppr né sérat, hverr orkar meira, jǫfnum þrek; harðr hrafngrennir [e]s orðinn í heimi. Gat mest ert, óslætt hjarta und himni; mildingr hefr kostat minni vinnur hvers eljunfims grams.

It is dark to me, for the poet does not see it, who will achieve more, equal feats of strength; the harsh raven-feeder [WARRIOR] has departed this world. He was endowed with the boldest, keenest heart under heaven; the gracious one has put to the test the lesser deeds of every mettlesome lord.


[5] Ert: ‘aurtt’ Flat


[5, 7] mest ert ‘the boldest’: Lit. ‘the most bold’. (a) The superlative mest is here construed with ert, óslætt in l. 5, hence ‘boldest, keenest’. This is a rare construction, but not unparalleled: cf. NS §64 and Skí 27/5 (NK 74), where meirr leiðr performs the function of the comparative form leiðari ‘more hateful’. On the form ert, see Note to Arn Magndr 18/7. (b) Mest could alternatively well qualify hefr kostat ‘has put to the test’ (l. 7), hence ‘the gracious one has tested to the utmost the lesser deeds of every mettlesome lord’. But the first sentence, ‘he was endowed with a bold, keen heart under heaven’, would then be rather tepid praise, since such statements normally contain superlatives (cf. Fidjestøl, 1982, 190-3 on the ‘highest under heaven’ motif).



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