Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 2I/2 — Saxa ‘Saxons’

Nús, þats Boðnar bára
(berg-Saxa) tér vaxa
(gervi í hǫll ok hlýði
hljóð fley jǫfurs þjóðir).

Nús, þats bára Boðnar tér vaxa; þjóðir jǫfurs gervi hljóð í hǫll ok hlýði fley berg-Saxa.

Now it happens that the wave of Boðn <mythical vat> [POEM] grows; may the retinue of the ruler give a hearing in the hall and listen to the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM].


[2] Saxa: sára B


[2, 4] fley berg-Saxa ‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’: This kenning for ‘poem’ contains an example of the type of word-play known as ofljóst (‘too transparent’): fley ‘ship’ is synonymous with lið/líð ‘ship’, a homonym or near homonym of líð ‘ale, drink’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/8III on lið ‘ship’, and see LP: 2. lið for the possibility of a variant with long vowel). The ofljóst is explained in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 14). Hence the kenning is interpreted as ‘ale of the giants’, and thus as ‘poem’ (see Marold 1994a, 475 n. 34).




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