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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 9I/5 — ǫldum ‘to men’

Austr þingat kom yngvi;
áðr frák jarl af hjarli
— kœnn með krapti hreinum
Kristr tœði gram — flœðu.
Ógnmildr lét þá ǫldum
ǫðlingr, sás gaf hringa,
— þjóð tók glǫð við góðum
goðs ôr — trúu boðna.

Yngvi kom austr þingat; frák jarl flœðu áðr af hjarli; kœnn Kristr tœði gram með hreinum krapti. Ógnmildr ǫðlingr, sás gaf hringa, lét þá trúu boðna ǫldum; þjóð tók glǫð við góðum ôr goðs.

The ruler [Óláfr] came east to there; I heard the jarl [Hákon] fled from [his] territory before; wise Christ helped the prince with pure power. The battle-liberal prince, who gave rings, then had the faith proclaimed to men; glad, the people received the good emissary of God [MISSIONARY].


[5, 8] lét trúu boðna ǫldum ‘had the faith proclaimed to men’: Óláfr Christianized the coastal area of Norway between 996 and 999 as well as Iceland and Greenland (Jón Viðar Sigurðsson 1993, 446). Bb’s ‘lęt’ seems to be a slip for lét ‘let, caused’ (so Skj B; Skald), other instances of which in Óldr are spelt ‘lét’ (sts 12/5, 13/5, 21/5) or ‘let’ (16/1, 16/5). Since ‘ę’ in Bb normally represents normalised <æ> or <œ>, ‘lęt’ could be read as læt and emended to pres. tense lætr ‘lets, causes’. A pres. historic here would be supported by pres.-tense references to Óláfr’s missionary efforts in st. 14/5, 8, which presumably suggest their lasting benefit. However, the clear uses of pret. lét in sts 12/5 and 13/5 also relate to the Conversion, and pret. is the prevailing narrative tense of the poem.



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