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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 1I/1 — Hǫrs ‘of linen’

Hǫrs gnótt hrunda sléttum
hljóðs kveðk mér at óði
randhvéls rennu Þundi;
Rekstefju tekk hefja.
Skýrunn* skjaldar linna
skalk fríðum lof smíða
þing-Baldr Þróttar mildum,
þeims fremstr varð beima.

Kveðk mér hljóðs gnótt hrunda hǫrs at sléttum óði Þundi rennu randhvéls; tekk hefja Rekstefju. Skalk smíða lof fríðum skjaldar linna skýrunn*, mildum Þróttar þing-Baldr, þeims varð fremstr beima.

I ask silence for myself from the great number of valkyries of linen [WOMEN] for the smooth poem about the Þundr <= Óðinn> of the rush of the rim-wheel [SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Óláfr Tryggvason]; I commence Rekstefja (‘Split-refrain’ (?)). I will forge a praise-poem for the handsome tree of the cloud of the snakes of the shield [(lit. ‘cloud-tree of the snakes of the shield’) SWORDS > SHIELD > WARRIOR = Óláfr], for the generous Baldr <god> of the assembly of Þróttr <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘assembly-Baldr of Þróttr’) BATTLE > WARRIOR = Óláfr], who was the best of men.


[1] Hǫrs: hers Bb


[1] hǫrs ‘of linen’: (a) Ms. hers ‘of the troop’ is emended here, as in previous eds (Konráð Gíslason 1895-7; Skj B; Skald) to hǫrs, which combines with hrunda, gen. pl. of the valkyrie-name Hrund, to form a standard woman-kenning; cf. Meissner 407, 415, and cf. herr prúðr hǫrvi ‘troop adorned with linen’ referring to women in st. 35/7. (b) The ms. reading hers could be retained, giving gnótt hers hrunda ‘the great number of the army of valkyries’, which would presumably be a kenning or informal genitival expression meaning ‘women’. However, this would be without parallel, and gnótt ‘great number’ with hers ‘of the army’ would be somewhat tautological. Emendation to hǫrs therefore seems preferable, especially given that Bb is the only ms. for the stanza. — [1, 2] kveðk mér hljóðs gnótt hrunda hǫrs ‘I ask silence for myself from the great number of valkyries of linen [WOMEN]’: The skald’s request for silence is surprisingly directed towards women, who are addressed again at the close of the poem, st. 35/7-8, though a male audience seems to be indicated by st. 24/1, 3. There is no obvious explanation for this.




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