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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Berv 16II/7 — hryggr ‘sad’

Ôláfr lét mik jǫfra
órýrr framask dýrða
— urðu drjúg ins digra
dróttins þing — með hringum.
Goll bark jafnt of allan
aldr hans, ok vask sjaldan
hryggr, á hvárritveggju
hendi flotna sendis.

Ôláfr, órýrr dýrða jǫfra, lét mik framask með hringum; þing ins digra dróttins urðu drjúg. Of allan aldr hans bark jafnt goll sendis flotna á hvárritveggju hendi, ok vask sjaldan hryggr.

Óláfr, not decreasing in princely honours, let me be promoted with rings; the belongings of the stout lord proved lasting. Throughout his entire lifetime, I constantly bore the gold of the sender of sea-warriors [KING] on both arms, and I was seldom sad.


[7] hryggr: hrygg both


[6-7] ok vask sjaldan hryggr ‘and I was seldom sad’: Flat reads ok hrygg herverk sjaldan, which Skj B and Skald render as ‘and seldom (did I carry) sad [or: harmful] weapons’. Herverk is otherwise unattested and it is difficult to see how it can be construed as ‘weapons’ (verk means ‘deed, work, labour’; see Fritzner: verk; ModIcel. hervirki, ModNorw. hærverk ‘destruction’). Moreover, such an interpretation is at odds with Sigvatr’s boasts of warlike exploits in the preceding sts (e.g. st. 3 above).



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