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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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TorfE Lv 3I/8 — hól ‘vaunting’

Ey munk glaðr, síz geirar
— gótts vinna þrek manni —
bǫðfíkinna bragna
bitu þengils son ungan.
Þeygi dylk, nema þykki
— þar fló grár af sôrum
hræva nagr of holma —
hól undvala gœli.

Munk ey glaðr, síz geirar bǫðfíkinna bragna bitu ungan son þengils; gótts manni vinna þrek. Þeygi dylk, nema hól þykki gœli undvala; þar fló grár nagr hræva af sôrum of holma.

I will be forever glad now that spears of battle-keen men pierced the young son of the king [= Hálfdan]; it is good for a man to do a heroic deed. Not at all do I conceal the fact that it seems like vaunting to the comforter of wound-falcons [RAVENS/EAGLES > WARRIOR = Haraldr]; there the grey bird of corpses [EAGLE] flew from the wounded over the islands.


[8] hól undvala: ‘holunda vals’ with ‘holund vala’ in margin FskAˣ, ‘holunda vals’ 301ˣ


[5, 8] hól þykki gœli undvala ‘it seems like vaunting to the comforter of wound-falcons [RAVENS > WARRIOR = Haraldr]’: (a) Despite the word division in the mss, hol- and undvala cannot be understood as a cpd of holund ‘flesh-wound’ and vala (from valr ‘falcon’) because the two syllables of holund- would resolve, leaving the line hypometric. Further, holund ‘flesh-wound, gash’ is otherwise unattested in skaldic poetry. The first syllable must therefore be construed as hól ‘vaunt, boast’ (cf. the attestations and senses listed by Fritzner, LP: hól, especially Þmáhl Máv 1V (Eb 3)). The ‘vaunting’ here can be understood contextually as referring back to the substance of the first helmingr, especially l. 2, which is a gloat or triumph on Einarr’s part. The word hól ‘hillock’ (acc. sg. of hóll or hváll) is a conceivable alternative but is not elsewhere attested in skaldic poetry and scarcely fits the context. Þykki is interpreted here in its standard sense ‘seem, be thought’, with gœli undvala (dat. sg.) ‘comforter of wound-falcons [RAVENS/EAGLES > WARRIOR]’ as its dat. object, referring to King Haraldr. (b) Finnbogi Guðmundsson (ÍF 34; cf. ÍF 29; Mundal 1993, 256) interprets holund as ‘flesh-wound’ and þykki as an impersonal verb meaning ‘anger, cause resentment’, with gœli holundvala (dat. sg.) ‘comforter of wound-falcons [RAVENS > WARRIOR]’ as its object. But the sense ‘cause resentment’ is normally attested only for the m. v. þykkjask (Finnur Jónsson 1884, 98), and cf. the metrical objections to holund- above, which also apply to the following. (c) Finnur Jónsson (1884, 98-9; cf. Skj B; Orkn 1913-16; Skald; von See 1960, 34) offers a drastic double emendation of l. 8, holunda val sem gœlak ‘as I comfort the falcon of gashes [RAVEN/EAGLE]’.



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