Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 26I/4 — ôr ‘the envoy’

Borit hefk hróðr enn hjǫrva
(hóf sœmði vel lófa
elda) þeys fyr ôsu
(ôr mest* at hlut flestum).
Áðr mun, óss an glóða
elris þrek, at virkum,
greppr megi ǫllum yppa
ǫrnfljótr, at brag þrjóta.

Hefk enn borit hróðr fyr ôsu þeys hjǫrva; mest* hóf sœmði vel ôr elda lófa at flestum hlut. Áðr mun þrjóta at brag at virkum, an ǫrnfljótr greppr megi yppa ǫllum þrek elris glóða óss.

I have, further, borne praise before gods of the breeze of swords [BATTLE > WARRIORS]; the greatest restraint suited well the envoy of fires of the palm [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] in most respects. The poem for the dear one [Óláfr] will come to an end before the eagle-swift poet will be able to extol all the valour of the alder of the embers of the estuary [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].


[4] ôr: ítr Bb


[4] ôr ‘envoy’: Ms. ítr ‘magnificent’ would seem most naturally to belong with the rest of l. 4, yielding ítr mest* at hlut flestum ‘most magnificent in most respects’. But the only word with which ítr (m. nom. sg.) can agree is the suffixed -k of hefk ‘I have’ in l. 1, which is implausible both syntactically and semantically (the statement that the skald is ‘most magnificent’ accords poorly with the modesty topoi elsewhere in the poem). Skj B emends to ôr (dat. of ôrr ‘envoy, messenger’), which has the additional advantage of providing a dat. obj. for sœmði ‘suited’. Kock’s construal (NN §1223; Skald) involves reading ítrs and taking it as a substantive qualifying hróðr (i.e. ‘praise of the magnificent one’), and is not convincing overall.




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