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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 26I/1 — frost ‘of the frost’

Ok við frost at freista
fémildr konungr vildi
myrk- Hlóðynjar -markar
morðalfs, þess’s kom norðan,
þás valserkjar virki
veðrhirði bað stirðan
fyr hlym-Njǫrðum hurða
Hagbarða gramr varða.

Ok fémildr konungr Hlóðynjar myrkmarkar vildi at freista morðalfs við frost, þess’s kom norðan, þás gramr bað stirðan valserkjar veðrhirði varða virki fyr Hagbarða hurða hlym-Njǫrðum.

And the generous king of the Hlóðyn = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’) of the dark forest <= Myrkviðr> [JUTLAND > DANISH KING = Haraldr blátǫnn] wanted at the time of the frost to test the battle-elf [WARRIOR = Hákon jarl] who came from the north, as the ruler bade the unbending keeper of the weather of the shirt of the slain [(lit. ‘weather-keeper of the slain-shirt’) MAIL-SHIRT > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon jarl] to defend the rampart against the Nirðir <gods> of the din of the doors of Hagbarði <legendary hero> [(lit. ‘din-Nirðir of the doors of Hagbarði’) SHIELDS > BATTLE > WARRIORS].


[1] frost: fóstr Bb


[1] við frost ‘at the time of the frost’: (a) The phrase is taken here (as in Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 159; NN §406; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991) with the main clause, since it seems unlikely that Hákon jarl would have taken his fleet to Denmark at the beginning of winter, but conceivable that Haraldr charged him with defending the Danevirke at that time. Moreover in Hkr (ÍF 26, 254) Snorri reports that the jarl came to Denmark on King Haraldr’s invitation in the spring, which need not be a misreading of the stanza on Snorri’s part, as assumed in ÍF 26. (b) Other eds have related the phrase to the subordinate clause (ÓT 1892, 378; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B); however, that would produce abnormal word order.



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