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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gsind Hákdr 8I/5 — Gerra ‘does not’

Hræddr fór hjǫrva raddar
herr fyr malma þverri;
rógeisu gekk ræsir
ráðsterkr framar merkjum.
Gerra gramr í snerru
geirvífa sér hlífa,
hinns yfrinn gat, jǫfra,
óls kvánar byr mána.

Herr fór hræddr raddar hjǫrva fyr þverri malma; ræsir rógeisu gekk ráðsterkr framar merkjum. Gramr jǫfra gerra hlífa sér í snerru geirvífa, hinns gat yfrinn byr kvánar óls mána.

The army went in dread of the voice of swords [BATTLE] before the diminisher of metal weapons [WARRIOR = Hákon]; the impeller of the strife-fire [SWORD > WARRIOR = Hákon] advanced, strong in counsel, ahead of the standards. The king of princes [= Hákon] does not protect himself in the onslaught of spear-women [VALKYRIES > BATTLE], he who attained an outstanding fair wind of the wife of the affliction of the moon [GIANT > GIANTESS > MIND].

readings

[5] Gerra: geira 53, Bb, ‘gei[...]’ 325IX 1 a, ‘geyrra’ Flat

notes

[5, 6] gerra hlífa sér ‘does not protect himself’: The pres. tense here most probably has habitual or frequentative aspect, referring to Hákon’s ongoing fearlessness (and indicating that Hákdr was composed during the king’s lifetime: see Introduction). Lines such as these, as also ll. 7-8, could have made up whole or part of a stef ‘refrain’ for the drápa. Less likely, though not excluded, is a pres. historic tense, referring to the king’s courage in these specific raids.

grammar

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