Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 23I/4 — sóttan ‘has gone’

Norðmanna hykk nenninn
— nús þengill framgenginn —
— dýrr hné dróttar stjóri —
dróttin* und lok sóttan.
Grams dauði brá gœði
góðs ófárar þjóðar;
allr glepsk friðr af falli
flugstyggs sonar Tryggva.

Hykk nenninn dróttin* Norðmanna sóttan und lok; nús þengill framgenginn; dýrr stjóri dróttar hné. Dauði góðs grams brá gœði ófárar þjóðar; allr friðr glepsk af falli flugstyggs sonar Tryggva.

I think the energetic lord of Norwegians [= Óláfr] has gone to his end; now the prince has passed on; the worthy steerer of the retinue [RULER] fell. The death of the good ruler snatched away the well-being of not a few peoples; all peace is confounded by the fall of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi [= Óláfr].


[4] sóttan und lok ‘gone to his end’: Kiil (1953) suggests that the phrase sœkja und lok (or fara und lok, cf. Kveld Lv 1/4V (Eg 1)) has roots in Germanic and Saami burial customs, since lok can mean ‘cover, lid’. However, the fact that lok (sg. or pl.) can mean ‘end, conclusion’ (Fritzner: lok 6) seems sufficient to explain its use in circumlocutions for death.



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