Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Ól 4I/7 — vissi ‘knew’

Valdr nam vígs á kveldi
vitr um kóng að sitja;
þá lá hoskr í hvílu
hildingr í lyftingu.
Skldungr ekki skyldi
skreyttum glaðr af Naðri,
þess að Þorkell vissi
þrekstrangr, mega ganga.

Vitr valdr vígs nam að sitja um kóng á kveldi; þá lá hoskr hildingr í hvílu í lyftingu. Glaðr skldungr skyldi ekki mega ganga af skreyttum Naðri, þess að þrekstrangr Þorkell vissi.

The astute ruler of battle [WARRIOR = Þorkell] lay in wait for the king in the evening; at that time the wise ruler was lying in bed in the after-deck. The joyous prince ought not to be able to get off the adorned Naðr (‘Adder’), so far as mightily strong Þorkell knew.


[7] vissi ‘knew’: Finnur Jónsson (1884-91, 119; Skj B) reads vissit ‘did not know’, hence ‘in such a way that Þorkell did not know’ or ‘without Þorkell knowing’, and this is followed by Kock (Skald) and by Ólafur Halldórsson in AM 61 1982, 24, though his 1958-2000 edn has vissi. But the reading vissi coupled with þess að in the sense ‘insofar as, so far as’ (see Fritzner: þess 2) seems to fit better with the tone of light irony at Þorkell’s expense, almost reporting his (mistaken) thoughts, in both these stanzas and ÓT’s prose.



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