Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 18I/7 — hætts ‘it is risky’

Veitkat hitt, hvárt Heita
hungrdeyfi skalk leyfa
dynsæðinga dauðan
dýrbliks eða þó kvikvan,
alls sannliga segja
— sárr mun gramr at hvôru —
hætts til hans at frétta —
hvárrtveggja mér seggir.

Veitkat hitt, hvárt skalk leyfa Heita dýrbliks dynsæðinga hungrdeyfi dauðan eða þó kvikvan, alls seggir segja mér hvárrtveggja sannliga; gramr mun sárr at hvôru; hætts at frétta til hans.

I do not know whether I am to praise the hunger-soother of the gulls of the din of the gleam of the beast of Heiti <sea-king> [(lit. ‘hunger-soother of the din-gulls of the beast-gleam of Heiti’) SHIP > SHIELD > BATTLE > RAVENS/EAGLES > WARRIOR] dead or, after all, alive, since men tell me both as the truth; the lord must be wounded either way; it is risky to enquire about him.


[7] hætts at frétta til hans ‘it is risky to enquire about him’: A contrasting sentiment is expressed in st. 15/1. Skj B takes hætt as the p. p. of hætta ‘to cease’, rather than n. nom. sg. of hættr ‘risky, dangerous’ as in NN §1957 and the Text above, and construes the clause as meaning ‘[people] have ceased to hear anything of him’. This is a possible alternative but it has not found support (see ÍF 29; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991).



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