Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 20I/2 — hættastr* ‘most hazardous’

Hrafngreddir stóð hoddum
hættastr*, jafnt sem ætti,
linns í lypting sinni
látrkennir, fjǫr þrenni.
Yggs þykkjumk ek ekki
ógnblíðustum síðan
hjaldrs frá horskum gildi
hafa sannfregit annat.

Hrafngreddir, hættastr* hoddum, linns látrkennir, stóð í lypting sinni, jafnt sem ætti þrenni fjǫr. Ek þykkjumk ekki hafa sannfregit annat síðan frá horskum, ógnblíðustum gildi hjaldrs Yggs.

The raven-feeder [WARRIOR], most hazardous to hoards, master of the serpent’s lair [(lit. ‘lair-master of the serpent’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN], stood on his after-deck, just as if he had three lives. I seem not to have truly heard anything else since about the sage, most battle-delighting dispenser of the uproar of Yggr <= Óðinn> [BATTLE > WARRIOR].


[2] hættastr*: ‘hattr stod’ Bb


[2] hættastr* ‘most hazardous’: The ms. reading ‘hattr’ would be difficult to make sense of, whether it represented hattr m. ‘hat’ or háttr m. ‘mode, custom’; l. 2 in the ms. lacks aðalhending; and the presence of stóð ‘stood’ in both ll. 1 and 2 is most likely a case of dittography. (a) This emendation, suggested by Gullberg (1875), makes good sense of the ms. reading and yields a kenning-like adjectival phrase hættastr hoddum ‘most hazardous to hoards’, for which there is a close parallel (SnSt Ht 99/3III hringum hæztir ‘most hazardous to rings’). (b) Skj B reads hættr ‘hazardous’, leaves stóð ‘stood’ in l. 2 and emends ‘stod’ in l. 1 to skaut ‘shot’. This provides a verb for hrafngreddir ‘raven-feeder [WARRIOR]’ which in the interpretation above is an apposition to the ‘generous man’ kenning, but it gives a less convincing explanation of Bb’s text and assumes that skaut ‘shot’ is intransitive. (c) NN §3127 reads hættr stoðjafnt, where the second (unattested) word is said to mean ‘straight as a pillar’.



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