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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hókr Eirfl 3I/4 — Ormr ‘Ormr’

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.


[4] Ormr inn langi: orminn langa J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Holm18, 4‑7


[4] Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’): Óláfr Tryggvason’s famous warship and the focus of attention in the present poem. The phrase reappears in stef-like fashion in sts 4/4, 5/8 and 8/4 (see Introduction). Hkr (ÍF 26, 336) describes the ship as follows: Á Orminum langa váru fjǫgur rúm ok þrír tigir. Hǫfuðin ok krókrinn var allt gullbúit. Svá váru há borðin sem á hafskip. Þat hefir skip verit bezt gǫrt ok með mestum kostnaði í Nóregi ‘There were thirty-four rowing stations on Ormr inn langi. The heads and the curved stem and stern were all adorned with gold. The sides were as high as on an ocean-going ship. That was the best-made and mostly costly ship ever to be built in Norway’. The name Ormr appears frequently in skaldic poetry, both directly and through word-play: see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 10/1.



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