Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 26I/8 — ǫrnfljótr ‘the eagle-swift’

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].


[8] ǫrnfljótr: ‘orn fliotr’ or ‘orn fliotz’ Bb


[8] ǫrnfljótr ‘eagle-swift’: This unusual epithet (though cf. NN §2991) comments on the skald’s speed in composing, a common boast, especially in later poetry (Kreutzer 1977, 206-7). ‘Eagle’ may possibly allude to Óðinn (alias Bǫlverkr) taking the shape of an eagle to carry off the mead of poetry (SnE 1998, I, 4-5). If the ms. reading is rather gen. sg. ǫrnfljóts, the epithet will qualify elris glóða óss ‘alder of the embers of the estuary [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends ǫrn to ǫrr ‘bold’ and reads fljóts ‘of the river’, providing the determinant of the gold-kenning (see Note to l. 5 óss).



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