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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hák 4I/6 — land ‘the land’

Hrauzk ór hervôðum,         hratt á vǫll brynju,
vísi verðungar,         áðr til vígs tœki.
Lék við ljóðmǫgu         — skyldi land verja —
gramr inn glaðværi;         stóð und gollhjalmi.

Vísi verðungar hrauzk ór hervôðum, hratt brynju á vǫll, áðr tœki til vígs. Inn glaðværi gramr lék við ljóðmǫgu; skyldi verja land; stóð und gollhjalmi.

The leader of the retinue [Hákon] threw off his war-garments [ARMOUR], cast his mail-shirt to the ground, before beginning the battle. The cheerful ruler joked with his men; he had to protect the land; he stood under a golden helmet.


[6] verja land ‘protect the land’: Wolff (1952, 104) argues that this is a pun, with the alternate meaning ‘clothe the land’ (since Hákon has cast his mail-shirt on the ground), and this is the nature of the king’s joking or playing with his men, an interpretation perhaps anticipated by Metcalfe (1880, 387).



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