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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Knútdr 8I/3 — slæ ‘blunt’

Framm gekkt enn, þars unnuð
— almr gall hátt — við malma;
knôttut slæ, þars sóttuð,
sverð, kastala, verða.
Unnuð eigi minni
— ulfs gómr veit þat — rómu,
hnekkir hleypiblakka
hlunns, á Tempsar grunni.

Enn gekkt framm, þars unnuð við malma; almr gall hátt; sverð knôttut verða slæ, þars sóttuð kastala. Hnekkir hleypiblakka hlunns, unnuð eigi minni rómu á grunni Tempsar; gómr ulfs veit þat.

Still you went forward, where you fought against metal weapons; the bow cried loudly; swords did not become blunt where you attacked the fortification. Restrainer of the leaping steeds of the roller [SHIPS > SEAFARER], you fought no less a battle in the shallows of the Thames; the wolf’s gums know that.


[3] slæ: sæ 20dˣ


[3, 4] sverð knôttut verða slæ ‘swords did not become blunt’: These words have been variously interpreted. (a) The reading of ÍF 35, ‘swords did not become blunt’ seems best and is adopted here since it avoids any form of emendation. That swords were not blunted could be a comment on the excellence of the swords – presumably Danish ones. (b) Skj B and Skald both emend verða to verja. See Note to [All] above for the construal in Skj B, while that in Skald gives ‘blunt swords could not defend the stronghold where you attacked’. This compromises the aðalhending (NN §2781), and may have been designed to avoid a tripartite l. 4, though this is acceptable: see Gade (1995a, 215-16). (c) Knýtl 1919-25 removes the suffixed negative -t from knôttu, to produce lit. ‘swords did become blunt’. If this refers to Danish swords, it could mean that they were blunted through vigorous use.



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