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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þskakk Erldr 1II/7 — fýl*ingi ‘fulmar’

Hjoggu øxar eggjum
ugglaust hvatir glugga
— því vas nennt — á nýju
Norðmenn í kaf borði.
Eyðendr sôu yðrar
arnar hungrs á jǫrnum
vágfýl*ingi vélar;
vígskǫrð ofan bǫrðuð.

Hvatir Norðmenn hjoggu ugglaust glugga á nýju borði í kaf eggjum øxar; því vas nennt. Eyðendr hungrs arnar sôu vélar yðrar á jǫrnum vágfýl*ingi; bǫrðuð vígskǫrð ofan.

The brave Norwegians fearlessly struck openings in the new ship-side under the water with the edges of the axe; that was accomplished with vigour. The destroyers of the eagle’s hunger [WARRIORS] saw your cunning [standing] on the irons of the sea-fulmar [SHIP]; you struck embrasures in the upper part.


[7] ‑fýl*ingi: fylvingi , E, J2ˣ, ‘‑fylfingi’ F, ‘‑fylvangi’ 42ˣ, ‘‑fyglingi’ H, ‘‑fylíungi’ Hr


[7] vágfýl*ingi (m. dat. sg.) ‘of the sea-fulmar [SHIP]’: Dat. of possession. Fýlingr ‘fulmar’ (by emendation) is taken here as the base-word in a kenning for ‘ship’. According to LP: fýling, the word is attested as a f., but is more likely to be a m. noun (taken as a m. dat. sg. here). A fulmar is an arctic bird (Fulmarus glacialis). For comparable kennings for ‘ship’, see Meissner 208, 216. The emendation also restores the internal rhyme (-ýl- : -él-). The last part of the cpd as it stands in the mss is difficult to make sense of, and the different spellings of the word show that the various scribes had problems recognising the word they were copying. Fylvingr (so , E, J2ˣ) is the name of a sword (see LP: fylvingr), and according to Meissner (222), it denotes the prow of the ship (brandr), but that explanation is not obvious. Kock (NN §348A) derives fylvingr from the adj. fǫlr ‘pale’. In his opinion, fylvingr denoted sth. of a dark brown or dark grey colour, either ‘sword’, ‘ship’, ‘staff’ or ‘nut’ (the latter is f., fylving). The problem with that explanation is that fylv- in the meaning ‘dark’ is otherwise not attested in ON.




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