Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 21I/5 — af ‘from’

Hitt vas meir, at Mœra
morðfíkinn lét norðan
folkverjandi fyrva
fǫr til Sogns of gǫrva.
Ýtti Freyr af fjórum
folklǫndum — sá branda
Ullr stóð af því allri
yrþjóð — Heðins byrjar.

Hitt vas meir, at morðfíkinn folkverjandi Mœra lét of gǫrva fǫr fyrva norðan til Sogns. Freyr byrjar Heðins ýtti af fjórum folklǫndum; sá Ullr branda stóð af því allri yrþjóð.

It also happened that the battle-eager people-defender of the Mœrir [NORWEGIAN RULER = Hákon jarl] had his men undertake a journey from the north to Sogn. The Freyr <god> of the wind of Heðinn <legendary hero> [BATTLE > WARRIOR] set out from four folklǫnd; that Ullr <god> of swords [WARRIOR] thereby helped the whole people.


[5-6] af fjórum folklǫndum ‘from four folklǫnd’: The uncommon word folkland (see LP, Fritzner: folkland) is often thought to be synonymous with fylki (for this term see Note to st. 13/1). Indrebø (1931, 36-9), however, rejects this notion, assuming that it designated a stamme-umraade ‘tribal area’. He refers to this stanza and points out that Hákon, anticipating a major battle, would not have summoned warriors from only four of the seven fylki that he ruled according to st. 13/1. From the prose context, which tells that the south of Norway had been occupied by Ragnfrøðr, he concludes that the four folklǫnd are Trøndelag, Møre, Romsdalen and Hålogaland which he thinks to have included Namdalen. Even if Indrebø’s interpretation of folklǫnd as ‘tribal area’ is contentious, it can be assumed that the term probably designated a larger area than fylki. — [5, 6] ýtti af fjórum folklǫndum ‘set out from four folklǫnd’: Ýtti has been rendered in one of two ways. (a) ‘He set out (on a ship)’ (this edn, and Konráð Gíslason 1872, 30 and 1895-7, I, 141; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. Fritzner: ýta 2; LP: ýta). (b) ‘He called for, conscripted’ in conjunction with allri yrþjóð ‘the whole people’ (Vell 1865, 49-50; ÓT 1892, 374; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991; ÍF 29). However, ýta with a personal object in the dat. means ‘to assist in launching a boat’ (Fritzner: ýta 1), and allri yrþjóð is better construed with the intercalary clause.



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