Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rv Lv 22II/8 —  ‘of the yard-arm’

Vindr hefr vǫlsku sprundi
vetrarstund frá mundum
— út berum ás at beita —
austrœnn skotit flaustum.
Verðum vér at gyrða
vánar hart fyr Spáni
— vindr rekr snart at sundi —
Sviðris við miðja.

Austrœnn vindr hefr vetrarstund skotit flaustum frá mundum vǫlsku sprundi; berum út ás at beita. Vér verðum at gyrða við miðja Sviðris vánar hart fyr Spáni; vindr rekr snart at sundi.

The east wind has, in a winter’s hour, shot the vessels out from the hands of the French woman; we bring out the boom in order to tack. We will have to fasten [the sail] to the middle of the yard-arm of Sviðrir <= Óðinn> [TREE] quite firmly off the coast of Spain; the wind drives [the ship] briskly to the strait.


[8] rô Sviðris ‘of the yard-arm of Sviðrir [TREE]’: Sviðrir is an Óðinn-name, his ‘yard-arm’, or any piece of wood, is the tree on which he hung for nine nights (Hávm 138, NK 40). Here, the ‘tree’ is the mast of the ship, and the sail is being reduced to half of its size (fastened to the middle of the mast) because of the strong winds. The kenning is, however, unusual.




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