skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 26I/1 — rofna ‘way’

Valstafns vætki rofna,
viti menn, at frák tvenna
haus manns hringi ljósum
hirðmeðr konungs veðja.
Hermart (hjǫrva snyrtir
hvárr lézk grams í hamri)
styrremðr stillir framði
stœrra (ǫðrum fœrri).

Viti menn, at frák tvenna hirðmeðr konungs, vætki rofna valstafns, veðja haus manns ljósum hringi. Hvárr snyrtir hjǫrva grams lézk fœrri ǫðrum í hamri; styrremðr stillir framði hermart stœrra.

May people know that I have heard that two retainers of the king, not giving way in the falcon-stem [ARM], bet a man’s head [and] a shining ring. Each polisher of swords [WARRIOR] of the prince claimed he was more agile than the other on the crag; the battle-mighty ruler [Óláfr] performed very much [that was] greater.

readings

[1] rofna: rofnat 61, 53, 54, Bb(94rb), rofnaðr Flat

notes

[1] vætki rofna valstafns ‘not giving way in the falcon-stem [ARM]’: (a) The line is problematic, but the present interpretation (which matches that of SHI 3 and Konráð Gíslason 1895-7) gives reasonable sense by taking rofna as the adjectival m. acc. pl. p. p. from rjúfa ‘to break’, hence, with the negative vætki, ‘not at all broken, not giving way or failing’. This is taken with the arm-kenning valstafns, hence ‘not giving way in the arm’ (cf. NS §137 for adj. + gen. constructions), and it qualifies hirðmeðr ‘retainers’ (l. 4), characterizing them as powerful warriors (and perhaps, in the context, climbers). (b) The reading of the ÓT mss, vask jafns rofnat, is still more difficult to construe. Finnur Jónsson’s solution (Skj B) involves emendation to (rofna) vizku ‘(deprived of) their wits’, as well as a complex word order. (c) This is rejected by Kock (NN §1183), whose interpretation involves postulating a verb *rafna ‘perform’ (cf. OE ræfnian ‘perform, carry out’).

grammar

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