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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 6VIII/5 — Skarpa ‘Skar’

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Herr kastaði skjöldum,
þá er rægagarr rendi
ræstr at gumna brjóstum.
Beit í Skarpaskerjum
skærubíldr at hjaldri;
roðinn var randar máni,
áðr Rafn konungr felli.
Dreif ór hölða hausum
heitr á brynjur sveiti.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. Herr kastaði skjöldum, þá er ræstr rægagarr rendi at brjóstum gumna. Skærubíldr beit at hjaldri í Skarpaskerjum; máni randar var roðinn, áðr Rafn konungr felli. Heitr sveiti dreif ór hausum hölða á brynjur.

We hewed with the sword. An army cast shields away when the drawn corpse-hound [SWORD] ran at the breasts of men. The battle-lancet [SWORD] bit in the conflict at Skarpasker; the moon of the shield-rim [SWORD] was reddened before King Rafn fell. Hot blood gushed from heads of men onto mail-coats.


[5] Skarpa‑: skarpa with ‘Skarfa Worm’ in margin , ‘skarffua’ R702ˣ, ‘skarfua’ LR


[5] í Skarpaskerjum ‘in Skarpasker’: The reference is almost certainly to the islands referred to in ESk Run 8/3II in the phrase við Skǫrpusker ‘at Skǫrpusker’, and identified by A. B.Taylor (1965, 132-3; cf. ESk Run 8/3II and Note there; Townend 1998, 69-70) with the Farne Islands, a group of islands off the north-east coast of England (of Northumberland, cf. st. 14/4, below). If this p. n. in the form Skǫrpusker means ‘the sharp skerries’ (so SkP II, 557) or the ‘sharp rocks’ (Townend 1998, 70), this would imply that it is formed from the weak pl. form of the adj. skarpr ‘sharp’ used attributively with the noun sker n. pl. ‘skerries, rocks’, and that the dat. pl. form that would be expected here is Skǫrpuskerjum. That Skarpasker was an accepted nom. and acc. pl. variant form of Skǫrpusker, implying the dat. pl. form Skarpaskerjum, is perhaps suggested by its occurrence in one of the variant readings of ESk Run 8/3II as preserved in Mork (see SkP II, 557), and also in the prose introducing the relevant verse passage in Hkr (see ÍF 28, 329), where only the first half-stanza is preserved, though Skarpasker could be taken as n. acc. sg. rather than pl. in these instances.



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