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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hharð Gamv 4II/7 — hyggja ‘comprehend’

Íþróttir kannk átta:
Yggs fetk líð at smíða;
fœrr emk hvasst á hesti;
hefk sund numit stundum.
Skríða kannk á skíðum;
skýtk ok rœk, svát nýtir;
hvártveggja kannk hyggja
harpslôtt ok bragþôttu.

Kannk átta íþróttir: fetk at smíða líð Yggs; emk fœrr hvasst á hesti; hefk numit sund stundum. Kannk skríða á skíðum; skýtk ok rœk, svát nýtir; kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu.

I have eight accomplishments: I forge Yggr’s <= Óðinn’s> drink [POETRY]; I am skilled at travelling swiftly on horseback; I have practised swimming on occasion. I can glide on skis; I shoot and row well enough; I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems.

readings

[7] hvártveggja kannk hyggja: abbrev. as ‘þo læ. ger. igor.’ H, ‘þo lætr g. i. g.’ Hr

notes

[7-8] kannk hyggja hvártveggja harpslôtt ok bragþôttu ‘I can comprehend both harp-playing and poems’: For hyggja in the sense ‘comprehend, understand’, see Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: hyggja 3, as well as LP: hyggja 7, which cites Rv Lv 1/7 as an example. Hence the poetry (líð Yggs ‘Yggr’s drink’) that Haraldr forges in the first helmingr refers to his own ability to compose, whereas the poems (bragþættir) mentioned in the second is the poetry composed by others, which Haraldr, who on numerous occasions demonstrates that he is a connoisseur of the art of skaldic poetry, is able to interpret, appreciate and judge. Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B (of Rv Lv 1/7-8), jeg forstår at slå harpen og lægge en vise ‘I understand how to play the harp and arrange a stanza’ implies that Haraldr is the one who has an active command of both harp-playing and poetic composition, thus duplicating one of the accomplishments mentioned in the first half-st. (see Note to l. 1 above).

grammar

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