Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þstf Lv 3II/4 — ara ‘eagle’

Fullvíða hefr frœðum
Fjǫruskeifr of her veifat
lystr ok leiri kastat
lastsamr ara ins gamla.
Ok vannt eina krôku
orðvandr á Serklandi
— Skeifr, bart Hǫgna húfu
hræddr! — varliga brædda.

Fullvíða hefr Fjǫruskeifr veifat frœðum lystr of her ok lastsamr kastat leiri ara ins gamla. Ok orðvandr vannt varliga brædda eina krôku á Serklandi; Skeifr, bart húfu Hǫgna hræddr!

Far and wide Fjǫruskeifr (‘Shore-skewed’) has dispersed his poetry, gleeful, among people, and, eager to blame, he distributed the dung of the ancient eagle [BAD POETRY]. And, word-wary, you barely managed to feed one crow in the land of the Saracens; Skeifr (‘Skewed’), you wore Hǫgni’s <legendary king’s> cap [HELMET] fearfully!


[3, 4] leiri ara ins gamla ‘the dung of the ancient eagle [BAD POETRY]’: This refers to the amusing myth about Óðinn who, in the shape of an eagle, brought the mead of poetry from the giants back to the gods in Ásgarðr. When he came over that stronghold and was spitting the mead into containers, Suttungr, the giant who pursued him (also in the shape of an eagle), was so close that Óðinn inadvertedly excreted some of the mead from his rear end, and that became the bad poets’ share of the mead (see SnE 1998, I, 3-5). According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 263, 276, 633), Árni composed a praise poem about Sigurðr jórsalafari, and Þórarinn is thus delivering a scathing insult to Árni’s poetic prowess.




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