Harald frák, Halfdan, spyrja
herðibrǫgð, en lǫgðis
sýnisk svartleitr reyni
sjá bragr, inn hárfagra.
Halfdan, frák Harald inn hárfagra spyrja herðibrǫgð, en sjá bragr sýnisk svartleitr reyni lǫgðis.
Hálfdan, I have learned that Haraldr inn hárfagri (‘Fair-hair’) heard about [your] tough deeds, and that poem seems dark-faced to the tester of the sword [WARRIOR].
[1, 4] Harald inn hárfagra ‘Haraldr inn hárfagri “Fair-hair”’: Earlier eds (Fms 12; Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B; Skald) read Haralds ins hárfagra, making it the deeds of King Haraldr that are heard about by Hálfdan, and Hálfdan who finds the poem svartleitr ‘dark-faced’. However, since the variant Haralds is found in only one, inferior, medieval ms. (61), it seems best to construe the text as it stands, if possible. This involves taking Halfdan as a vocative, with the poet stating to him that his father Haraldr had heard of his herðibrǫgð ‘tough deeds’. This solution is adopted with caution for, while there are a number of examples of a construction of acc. + frák ‘I have learned’ + inf., in that order (Sigv ErfÓl 7/1, 18/1, HSt Rst 28/1, ÞGísl Búdr 8/1, RvHbreiðm Hl 39/1III), in none of these does a vocative interrupt the syntax. Vocatives are also more common at the beginning of the line (e.g. Sigv Víkv 11/1, Arn Hryn 12/1II, Valg Har 7/1II), though there are parallels to this medial positioning, e.g. Bragi Rdr 1/1III, ÞjóðA Magnfl 1/1II, ESk Geisl 71/1VII. Moreover, a vocative, suggesting contemporaneity, does not sit comfortably with other indications that the poem may be a later composition. On the nickname hárfagri, see Note to l. 4.
Pronouns and determiners: Definite article
The definite article is normally suffixed to nouns, except in some cases where it is used with an adjective. If the noun form ends in a vowel, the 'i' in the article is dropped. If the noun form ends in 'um', the 'm' and 'i' are both dropped. E.g. hesta (acc. pl.) > hestana (acc. pl. definite); hestum (dat. pl.) > hestunum (dat. pl. definite)
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