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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 23I/3 — seint ‘late’

Hvasst skaut — hlífar brustu —
hildingr ór lyptingu
síðan (seint mun eyðask)
sóknstrangr (Drekinn langi).
Unnelds yppirunnum
engi kann enn * lengi
heg*ju hilmis seg*ja.
Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu.

Síðan skaut sóknstrangr hildingr hvasst ór lyptingu; hlífar brustu; seint mun Drekinn langi eyðask. Engi kann enn * lengi seg*ja yppirunnum unnelds heg*ju hilmis. Hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu …

Then the attack-strong ruler [Óláfr] shot fiercely from the raised deck; shields shattered; late will Drekinn langi (‘the Long Serpent’) be cleared [of men]. No one can still for a long time tell the lifting trees of wave-fire [GOLD > MEN] about the condition of the ruler. Faithful and foremost in all things …


[3] seint mun: sýnt nam 61, 53, Flat


[3] seint mun ‘late will’: I.e. it takes a long time for Óláfr’s enemy to clear his ship. The ÓT reading sýnt nam is logical, giving síðan Drekinn langi nam sýnt eyðask ‘once Drekinn langi (“the Long Serpent”) visibly began to be cleared’. The use of pres. tense (historic pres.) in the Bb(112ra) reading mun ‘will’, by contrast, is striking: it is rare or unparalleled in the narrative of Rst and rare in skaldic poetry generally. The usage is reminiscent of mun in a somewhat similar context involving Ormr in Hfr ErfÓl 10/5, and in reference to Óláfr’s uncertain fate in ErfÓl 18/6, and it may be due to the general influence of that poem (see Introduction). Whatever the case, the effect of retaining mun in Rst, which does not depict the death of Óláfr, and only obliquely refers to his defeat (st. 22/5-7), is to leave a lasting image of a heroic, unvanquished defence, and it is possible that this was the intention.



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