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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Lv 1I/2 — fetil ‘with the sword-belt’

Blóðøxar téa beiða
brynþings fetilstinga
(oss gerask hneppt) ins hvassa
hefnendr (setuefni).
Heldr es vant, en vildak
veg þinn, konungr, segja
— fôum til fornra vápna
fljótt — hersǫgu dróttni.

Hefnendr ins hvassa Blóðøxar téa beiða brynþings fetilstinga; setuefni gerask oss hneppt. Es heldr vant segja dróttni hersǫgu, en vildak veg þinn, konungr; fôum fljótt til fornra vápna.

The avengers of the keen [Eiríkr] Blóðøx (‘Blood-axe’) are asking for a mail-shirt-assembly [BATTLE] with the sword-belt-stabber [SWORD]; the chances of peace are becoming scant for us. It is rather difficult to tell a lord a tale of war, but I wished for your honour, king; let us quickly reach for our old weapons.


[2] fetil‑: fetils Bb, Flat, FskBˣ


[2] brynþings fetilstinga ‘a mail-shirt-assembly [BATTLE] with the sword-belt-stabber [SWORD]’: The line as a whole was imitated in various ways by subsequent skalds (see, e.g., ÞjóðA Lv 3/2II and Note). The cpd fetilstinga is highly problematic in the context of the line. (a) In this edn, following Hkr 1991, fetilstinga is taken as dat. or instr. case, meaning ‘with the sword’. This solution involves positing a weak declension stingi ‘stabber, dagger’ alongside strong stingr, as also in Lv 14/1 (see Note). (b) The cpd fetilstinga had been attached to brynþings by previous eds, to form a single kenning for ‘battle’ (‘assembly of the mail-shirt of the sword-belt stabber(s)’), but to do so results in redundancy, since either ‘mail-shirt’ or ‘sword-belt stabber’ (= ‘sword’) on its own is a sufficient determinant (Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 27, cf. ÍF 26; ÍF 29). (c) Konráð Gíslason (1892, xxvi), followed by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B), emended brynþings to brakþings ‘tumult-assembly [BATTLE]’. (d) Kock (NN §253) retained the ms. readings but interpreted bryn- as a deverbative from bruna ‘to rush ahead’. 




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