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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hókr Eirfl 2I/1 — Eyna ‘of the Eynir’

Eyna fór ok einu
(unnviggs) konungr sunnan
(sverð rauð mætr at morði
meiðr) sjau tøgum skeiða,
þás húnlagar hreina
hafði jarl of krafða
— sætt gekk seggja ættar
sundr — Skônunga fundar.

Konungr Eyna fór sunnan sjau tøgum skeiða ok einu — mætr meiðr unnviggs rauð sverð at morði —, þás jarl hafði of krafða hreina húnlagar fundar Skônunga; sætt ættar seggja gekk sundr.

The king of the Eynir [NORWEGIAN KING = Óláfr] went from the south with seventy-one warships — the splendid tree of the wave-steed [SHIP > SEAFARER] reddened the sword at the battle —, when the jarl [Eiríkr] had summoned the reindeer of the mast-top-liquid [SEA > SHIPS] to a meeting with the Skánungar; the peace of the kin of men was sundered.


[1] Eyna: Óna , F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 53, Bb, FskAˣ, 310, Svá 54, ‘Ꝍina’ FskBˣ, ‘Ꝍna’ 51ˣ, 302ˣ


[1] Eyna ‘of the Eynir’: (a) This emendation was first suggested by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (LP (1860): Eynir), and it has been adopted in Skj B, Skald, ÍF 29 and, tentatively, in the present edn (ÍF 26 leaves Óna untranslated). The Eynir were the inhabitants of Eynafylki (Inderøy and Ytterøy), Trøndelag, Norway (see ÓH 1941, I, 266), or the people living in the areas surrounding the lake Øyeren in Norway (see Sverris saga in E 1916, 416). (b) Most mss have (normalised) óna, which is difficult to make sense of (‘Ꝍina’ in FskBˣ and ‘Ꝍna’ in 51ˣ, 302ˣ appear to be scribal errors). Ónn is an unidentified part of a sword (see Note to Þul Sverða 11/5III), but ‘of swords’ (óna gen. pl.) cannot be construed to make any sense in the context. Óna is also the gen. pl. of óinn, which is the name of a dwarf (see Note to Þul Dverga 3/8III) as well as a heiti for ‘serpent’ (see Note to Þul Orma 1/3III). If taken in the latter meaning (‘of serpents’), this could be an onomastic play on the names of Óláfr’s two warships, Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ and Ormr in skammi ‘the Short Serpent’ (cf. Introduction above). Adopting the variant einum (m. dat. sg.) ‘one’ (l. 1), the first clause could then be construed as follows: Konungr fór sunnan sjau tøgum skeiða ok einum Óna ‘the king went from the south with seventy warships and one of the Serpents’. However attractive that interpretation may be, the fact remains that Óláfr travelled north with both of his reptilian warships and, other than in the þula, óinn is not attested as a heiti for ‘serpent’.




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