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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hókr Eirfl 3I/1 — Fjǫrð ‘Last year’

Fjǫrð kom heldr í harða
— hnitu reyr saman dreyra;
tungl skôrusk þá tingla
tangar — Ormr inn langi,
þás borðmikinn Barða
brynflagðs Reginn lagði
— jarl vann hjalms at holmi
hríð — við Fáfnis síðu.

Fjǫrð kom Ormr inn langi í heldr harða — reyr dreyra hnitu saman; tungl tangar tingla skôrusk þá —, þás Reginn brynflagðs lagði borðmikinn Barða við síðu Fáfnis; jarl vann hríð hjalms at holmi.

Last year Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’) underwent a rather harsh [trial] — reeds of gore [SWORDS] crashed together; moons of the tongs of prow-boards [SHIELDS] were cut then —, when the Reginn <dwarf> of the byrnie-troll-woman [AXE > WARRIOR = Eiríkr] brought the high-sided Barði (‘Prow’) alongside Fáfnir; the jarl fought a storm of the helmet [BATTLE] near the island.


[1] Fjǫrð: ferð 53, Flat, 310


[1] fjǫrð … harða ‘last year … harsh [trial]’: (a) The present edn follows ÍF 26 and ÍF 29 and assumes a suppressed noun raun (f. acc. sg.), lit. ‘trial, test’, after the adj. harða (f. acc. sg.) ‘hard, harsh’. The adv. fjǫrð is not unproblematic. ONP: fjǫrð gives nine citations of the word, the earliest from 1316, but it is unequivocally attested in C11th skaldic poetry (see Note to ÞjóðA Magn 13/1II and LP: fjǫrð), and there are other possible poetic occurrences of the word as well (see Notes to Eyv Lv 14/2 and Bragi Lv 1a/8IV). (b) Skj B and Skald adopt the reading of the ÓT and ÓTOdd mss, harðan (m. acc. sg.), which they construe with fjǫrð (m. acc. sg.), taken as the noun meaning ‘fjord’ rather than as the adv. fjǫrð ‘last year’, hence Ormr inn langi kom í harðan fjǫrð lit. ‘Ormr inn langi came into a harsh fjord’, i.e. ‘in a difficult position’. That interpretation is also possible, but all Hkr mss and FskAˣ have harða and harðan looks like a lectio facilior. Cf. also fjǫrð ‘last year’ (st. 5/3) and Introduction above.



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