skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Knútdr 6I/6 — gunnar ‘of battle’

Ungr fylkir, lézt Engla
allnær Thesu falla;
flóði djúpt of dauðra
dík Norðimbra líkum.
Svefn braut svǫrtum hrafni
sunnarr hvǫtuðr gunnar;
olli sókn inn snjalli
Sveins mǫgr at Skorsteini.

Ungr fylkir, lézt Engla falla allnær Thesu; djúpt dík flóði of líkum dauðra Norðimbra. Hvǫtuðr gunnar braut svǫrtum hrafni svefn sunnarr; inn snjalli mǫgr Sveins olli sókn at Skorsteini.

Young ruler, you caused the English to fall very near the Tees; the deep ditch flowed over the bodies of dead Northumbrians. The urger of battle [WARRIOR] broke the sleep of the dark raven further south; the bold son of Sveinn [= Knútr] made an attack at Sherston.

notes

[6] hvǫtuðr gunnar ‘the urger of battle [WARRIOR]’: A typical kenning problem arises, as to whether the locution here involves the abstract noun gunnr ‘battle’ (so JÓ, 873x, Knýtl 1919-25, and ÍF 35) or the valkyrie-name Gunnr (so 20dx, Skj B and Skald). Since Óttarr is otherwise sparing in his use of mythological figures in this poem, the former view is preferred here. Emendation to the agent noun hvǫtuðr ‘urger’ seems necessary to make sense of the ms. reading ‘hautudr’ (normalised hǫtuðr ‘hater’), and all eds emend here.

kennings

grammar

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