Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 36I/8 — réði ‘plunged’

Bað, fyr borð at skyldi,
bǫðsvellandi, allir
— áðr frák vápnum verjask
Vagns lið — Búa þegnar.
Ok hreggboði hjǫrva
hraustr með þungar kistur
— sá var illr af aurum —
ótrauðr á kaf réði.

Bǫðsvellandi bað, at allir þegnar Búa skyldi fyr borð; áðr frák lið Vagns verjask vápnum. Ok hraustr hjǫrva hreggboði réði ótrauðr á kaf með þungar kistur; sá var illr af aurum.

The battle-sweller [WARRIOR = Búi] commanded that all Búi’s men should [go] overboard; I have heard that before that Vagn’s troop defended themselves with weapons. And the valiant offerer of the storm of swords [(lit. ‘storm-offerer of swords’) BATTLE > WARRIOR = Búi] plunged unhesitating into the sea with heavy chests; that one was mean with money.


[8] réði … á kaf ‘plunged ... into the sea’: Kaf n. is taken here in the sense ‘sea, the deep’. The phrase could alternatively mean ‘determined on a plunge’ (with kaf in the sense ‘dive, plunge’; cf. Note to ÞjóðA Lv 2/3II). Réði is 3rd pers. sg. pret. subj. of ráða, though indic. rather than subj. would be expected here. It is possible that the subj. communicates a sense that the event is reported tentatively and at second hand, perhaps influenced by l. 3 frák ‘I have heard’. Some eds (Jvs 1879; Skj B; Skald) emend l. 5 ok ‘and’ to áðr ‘before’, which is commonly followed by subj., and they consequentially emend l. 3 áðr to þá ‘then’. However, in the absence of other indicators of corruption, emendation is better avoided.



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