Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhelg Lv 9I/6 — gráti ‘with the weeping’

Ár stóð eik in dýra
jarladóms með blómi
harðla grœn, sem Hǫrðar
hvert misseri vissu.
Nú hefr bekkjar tré bliknat
brátt Mardallar gráti
(lind hefr) laufi bundit
(línu jǫrð í Gǫrðum).

Ár stóð in dýra eik jarladóms harðla grœn með blómi, sem Hǫrðar vissu hvert misseri. Nú hefr tré bekkjar, bundit laufi, bliknat brátt gráti Mardallar; lind línu hefr jǫrð í Gǫrðum.

Formerly the precious oak of the jarldom [WOMAN] stood intensely green with blossom, as the Hǫrðar knew each season. Now the tree of the bench [WOMAN], wreathed with foliage, has grown pale fast with the weeping of Mardǫll <= Freyja> [GOLD]; the linden-tree of the headdress [WOMAN] has land in Russia.


[5-6] bliknat brátt gráti Mardallar ‘grown pale fast with the weeping of Mardǫll <= Freyja> [GOLD]’: Freyja wept tears of gold for her absent husband Óðr, and Mardǫll is among her alternative names (Gylf, SnE 2005, 29). Golden finery is similarly associated with the wearer’s skin gleaming or growing pale (blikna) in SnSt Ht 45/5-6III, which also has a metaphorical tree, this time in a kenning. Finnur Jonsson in Skj B assumes the following word order here: Nú hefr tré bliknat brátt laufi í Gǫrðum; bekkja lind hefr bundit línu-jǫrð Mardallar gráti ‘Now the tree has rapidly paled as to its foliage in Garðaríki; the woman has bound a gold band round her head’. By separating the images of paleness and gold this solution produces a more direct parallel to Lv 2, but it is unnecessarily complicated, both syntactically and semantically.




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