Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 1I/6 — sund* ‘the sea’

Fór ór Vík á vári
válaust konungr austan,
— þeir kníðu blô báðir
borð — en jarl kom norðan.
Kannk sigrviðum segja,
sund*, hvé þeira fundir,
œrin skil, þeims ôrum,
at bôrusk, þar skôru.

Konungr fór válaust austan ór Vík á vári, en jarl kom norðan; þeir báðir kníðu blô borð. Kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil, hvé fundir þeira bôrusk at.

The king set forth, without doubt, from the east out of Vík in spring, and the jarl came from the north; they both urged on the black planks. I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information as to how their encounters took place.


[6] sund*: sunds all


[6] sund* ‘the sea’: Various interpretations address the problems of the helmingr: the function of sunds, and the fact that skôru ‘cut’ seems to lack an object. (a) Following ÍF 29, the minor emendation of sunds to sund ‘sea’ is adopted here. This provides an object for skôru ‘cut’, which would be normal (cf. ESk Run 10/1II skark sund súðum ‘I cut the sea with ship-sides’, LP: skera 1, and Jesch 2001a, 177). Although the word order is convoluted this is often a feature of Sigvatr’s style, and it might well account for the presumed corruption. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends more drastically: sunds to n. nom. pl. sund ‘inlets’, and skôru ‘cut’ (l. 8) to m. v. skôrusk, producing sund skôrusk ‘inlets were cut’. (c) Ms. sunds could be retained as a gen. defining fundir ‘encounters’, hence ‘encounters of the sea, naval encounters’. Skôru ‘cut’ is then left without formal object, but this finds a partial parallel in Hharð Gamv 2II súð sneið ‘the hull sliced’ (noted by Jesch 2001a, 177); or an object is provided if sund ‘the sea’ is understood from sunds; cf. interpretation (a) in Note to st. 2/7. (d) Sunds could alternatively be construed as an adverbial gen. of location, ‘at sea’ (cf. Poole 2004).



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