Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnH Lv 3II/7 — mér ‘at my’

Selja munk við sufli
sverð mitt, konungr, verða
ok, rymskyndir randa,
rauðan skjǫld við brauði.
Hungrar hilmis drengi;
heldr gǫngum vér svangir;
mér dregr hrygg at hvôru
— Haraldr sveltir mik — belti.

Munk verða selja sverð mitt við sufli, konungr, ok, randa rymskyndir, rauðan skjǫld við brauði. Hungrar drengi hilmis; vér gǫngum heldr svangir; belti dregr hrygg mér at hvôru; Haraldr sveltir mik.

I shall have to sell my sword for meat, king, and, hastener of the noise of shield-rims [(lit. ‘noise-hastener of shield-rims’) BATTLE > WARRIOR], the red shield for bread. The lord’s men are hungry; we walk around quite famished; the belt truly pulls at my spine; Haraldr is starving me.


[7] mér dregr hrygg at hvôru: ‘mióg dregur af mier meiginn’ 563aˣ;    mér: nær 593b


[7] mér (dat. sg.) ‘my’: This is taken as a dat. of possession to hrygg ‘spine’. Skj B and Skald adopt the 593b reading nær ‘near’ while retaining the Flat reading hrygg (so also ÍF 9): ‘the belt truly draws nearer to my spine’. The 593b variant hungr dregr belti nær at hvru ‘hunger truly draws the belt closer’ is syntactically possible. For a similar image of a hungry retainer, see ESk Lv 4.



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