Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bǫlv Hardr 2II/4 — skeiðr ‘warships’

Hart kníði svǫl svartan
snekkju brand fyr landi
skúr, en skrautla bôru
skeiðr brynjaðar reiði.
Mætr hilmir sá malma
Miklagarðs fyr barði;
mǫrg skriðu beit at borgar
barmfǫgr hôum armi.

Svǫl skúr kníði svartan brand snekkju hart fyr landi, en brynjaðar skeiðr bôru skrautla reiði. Mætr hilmir sá malma Miklagarðs fyr barði; mǫrg barmfǫgr beit skriðu at hôum armi borgar.

The cool rain-shower drove the black prow of the warship strongly forward along the coast, and the armoured warships proudly bore their tackle. The glorious monarch saw metal-roofed Constantinople before the bow; many rim-fair ships advanced toward the tall rampart of the city.


[4] skeiðr: so 39, F, J2ˣ, H, Hr, Flat, skeiður , skeiði E


[4] brynjaðar skeiðr ‘armoured warships’: For skeiðr, see Jesch 2001a, 123-5 and Note to Valg Har 1/2. It is not quite clear how the adj. brynjaðar ‘armoured’ should be interpreted. Falk (1912, 38) believes that it referred to a ship equipped with protective metal covering, while Jesch (2001a, 157-9) argues that there is no evidence that Viking-Age ships were protected in this manner; rather, such adjectives denote the shields carried along the shield-rim (see also Notes to ÞjóðA Har 5/7, Þfagr Sveinn 4/4 and Steinn Óldr 13/4).



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