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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Hardr II 2II/3 — brýns

Luku vág viku,
vara kostr fara
brýns, Bjǫrgynjar,
braut háskrautum.

Luku vág Bjǫrgynjar viku; vara kostr brýns háskrautum fara braut.

They closed the bay of Bergen for a week; there was no possibility for the tall ships to speed away.


[3] brýns: so FskBˣ, FskAˣ, , 39, F, E, J2ˣ, H, Hr, brýns or brúns Mork, brúns 42ˣ


[3] brýns (m. gen. sg.): Lit. ‘of speediness’. Taken here as a substantivised adj. (see LP: brýnn 2) governed by kostr ‘possibility’ (l. 2) (so also ÍF 28; ÍF 29). Skj B adopts the 42ˣ variant brúns (the word is difficult to read in Mork) and construes it as part of a kenning for ‘ship’: skrautum brúns hás ‘for the ships of the brown oarlock’ (ll. 3, 4). However, skrauti itself appears to mean ‘ship’. See LP: skrauti, and Scröter, the name of Erik’s ship in Saxo (2005, I, 5, 2, 3, pp. 286-7) (most likely from skraut ‘adornment’). Kock (NN §2535) takes brúns as a name (Brúnn) for Óðinn (or for a sea-king). He suggests the following reading: vara kostr háskrautum fara braut Brúns ‘it was no possibility for the tall ships to go on the road of Brúnn (i.e. on the sea)’. Brúnn (and Brúni) is a name for Óðinn (see LP: Brúnn; Brúni), but it is not attested as the name of a sea-king. It is difficult to see how ‘the road of Óðinn’ could be construed as a kenning for ‘sea’. The prose of Hkr reads as follows (ÍF 28, 286): Magnús konungr gekk út á skip sitt, en þeim var engi kostr brot at fara ‘King Magnús went out onto his ship, but there was no possibility for them to sail away’.



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