skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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EValg Lv 1I/5 — af ‘from’

Selit maðr vápn við verði;
verðr dynr, ef má, sverða;
verðum Hropts at herða
hljóð; eigum slǫg rjóða.
Vér skulum Gorms af gǫmlu
Gandvíkr þokulandi
— hǫrð, es vôn, at verði
vápnhríð — sonar bíða.

Selit maðr vápn við verði; dynr sverða verðr, ef má; verðum at herða hljóð Hropts; eigum rjóða slǫg. Vér skulum bíða sonar Gorms af gǫmlu þokulandi Gandvíkr; es vôn, at verði hǫrð vápnhríð.

May no man sell his weapon for a price; a tumult of swords [BATTLE] will come about if it can; we must vigorously pursue the noise of Hroptr <= Óðinn> [BATTLE]; we have to redden weapons. We must wait for the son of Gormr [= Haraldr] from the ancient mist-land of Gandvík; there is expectation that a harsh weapon-storm [BATTLE] will come about.

notes

[5-6] af gǫmlu þokulandi Gandvíkr ‘from the ancient mist-land of Gandvík’: This is difficult to identify, not least because af ‘from’ could point either to the land from which Haraldr Gormsson is expected, or to the place from which the speaker is awaiting him. Gandvík (here gen. sg. Gandvíkr) normally refers to the White Sea, possibly because ‘magic staff or object’ is among the meanings of gandr m., and the Saami had a reputation for sorcery (LP, CVC: Gandvík). The þokuland ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík would therefore presumably be Norway (Fms 12, 289 suggests Finnmark standing for Norway), from where the Icelanders expect an attack by Haraldr. However, LP: Gandvík takes the ‘mist-land’ of Gandvík as Iceland (so also Fms 12, 237), suggesting that Gandvík in this instance denotes the Arctic Ocean in general. Ólafur Halldórsson (Jvs 1969, 211) also takes this as a reference to Iceland, and emends af ‘from’ to ‘to, against’. He suggests (ibid., 211 n.) that þoku could be an error for þekju ‘thatch, roof’, and that the roof of Gandvík is ‘ice’.

grammar

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