skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Leið 34VII/1 — af ‘from’

Slœm skalk upp af aumu
— eru stef liðin — hefja,
mætr ef mér vil láta
málfinni goð vinnask.
Styrk ávalt til verka,
vegs gnóttar, mik, dróttinn;
verðk at engu orði
einhlítr, nema goð beini.

Skalk hefja upp slœm af aumu, ef mætr goð vil láta málfinni vinnask mér; stef eru liðin. Dróttinn gnóttar vegs, styrk mik ávalt til verka; verðk einhlítr at engu orði, nema goð beini.

I will begin a conclusion from a state of wretchedness, if glorious God will grant that eloquence be achieved for me; the refrains are complete. Lord of the abundance of glory [= God], assist me always in [the composition of] poems; I will be fully sufficient for not one word, unless God helps [me].

notes

[1] af aumu ‘from a state of wretchedness’: The adj. aumr means ‘poor, wretched, miserable’ (ONP: aumr, adj., auma, f. the latter only in the expression sjá aumu ‘to feel pity for’), but in this context expresses the poet’s feeling of inadequacy to his task. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 67 n. 21) suggested that the phrase may refer to the poet’s miserable subject-matter, given that he is to discuss the fates of men at the Last Judgement in st. 35, but this seems unlikely in context.

grammar

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