Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 23I/1 — Vinða ‘of the Wends’

Varð fyr Vinða myrði
víðfrægt, en gramr síðan
gerðisk mest at morði,
mannfall við styr annan.
Hlym-Narfi bað hverfa
hlífar flagðs ok lagði
Jalks við ǫndurt fylki
ǫndur †fꜹrf† at landi.

Víðfrægt mannfall varð fyr myrði Vinða við annan styr, en síðan gerðisk gramr mest at morði. Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi bað hverfa ǫndur Jalks †fꜹrf† at landi ok lagði við ǫndurt fylki.

There was a widely renowned slaughter before the killer of the Wends [= Hákon jarl] in the second battle, and then the ruler eagerly set out for battle. The Narfi <supernatural being> of the din of the troll-woman of the shield [(lit. ‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’) AXE > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?] ordered the ski of Jálkr <sea-king> [SHIP] to be turned … towards land and pulled up alongside the front of the host.


[1] Vinða: víga 61, 53, 54, Bb


[1] myrði Vinða ‘the killer of the Wends [= Hákon jarl]’: This kenning is usually associated with Hákon jarl and interpreted as an allusion either to unknown raids in the Baltic Sea region or to the battle at the Danevirke (see Introduction). Morawiec (2006, 709) doubts any relationship to the battle, because it ended in defeat; however, the poem portrays the events as heroic and victorious acts of the ruler (see sts 26-8). The ÓT ms. tradition has replaced Vinða with víga ‘of the battles’, which yields a periphrasis ‘killer of the battles’ that resists interpretation. Freudenthal (Vell 1865, 60) suggests, implausibly, that this is a reference to Hákon jarl as a peaceable ruler.




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