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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

I. 2. Liðsmannaflokkr (Liðs) - 10

not in Skj

2.1: Liðsmannaflokkr (‘Flokkr of the household troops’) — Anon LiðsI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Liðsmannaflokkr’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1014.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

Skj: Anonyme digte om historiske personer og begivenheder [XI]: [2]. Liðsmannaflokkr (AI, 422-3, BI, 391-3); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

SkP info: I, 1025

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Anon Liðs 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 8’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1025.

Út mun ekkja líta
— opt glóa vôpn á lopti
of hjalmtǫmum hilmi —
hrein, sús býr í steini,
hvé sigrfíkinn sœkir
snarla borgar karla
— dynr á brezkum brynjum
blóðíss — Dana vísi.

Hrein ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út — vôpn glóa opt á lopti of hjalmtǫmum hilmi —, hvé {sigrfíkinn vísi Dana} sœkir snarla karla borgar; {blóðíss} dynr á brezkum brynjum.

The chaste widow who lives in stone will look out — weapons often glint in the air above the helmet-wearing ruler —, [seeing] how {the victory-avid leader of the Danes} [DANISH KING = Knútr] attacks sharply the men of the city; {the blood-ice} [SWORD] clangs against British mail-shirts.

Mss: Flat(186vb) (Flat); DG8(73r) (ÓHLeg); JÓ(24), 20dˣ(9v), 873ˣ(11v), 41ˣ(9r) (Knýtl, ll. 5-8)

Readings: [1] ekkja: ekkjan Flat, DG8    [2] vôpn: járn DG8    [5] sœkir: om. DG8    [7] brezkum brynjum: brezkar brynjur JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte om historiske personer og begivenheder [XI], [2]. Liðsmannaflokkr 5: AI, 422-3, BI, 392, Skald I, 194, NN §2044; Flat 1860-8, III, 238, ÓH 1941, II, 684; ÓHLeg 1922, 11, ÓHLeg 1982, 52-3; Knýtl 1919-25, 46, ÍF 35, 116 (ch. 14).

Context: In the Óláfr sagas, as for st. 1. In Knýtl, King Knútr attacks London with his whole army, but the garrison defends it.

Notes: [All]: In Knýtl, sts 9/1-4 and 8/5-8 form a single stanza, which is introduced, Svá segir í flokki þeim, er þá var ortr af liðsmǫnnum ‘So it says in the flokkr which was composed then by the household troops’. — [1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a). — [2] glóa ‘glint’: Stanzas 8 and 9 mark a return to pres. tense narrative. — [4] hrein ‘chaste’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282), sceptical about the poem’s authenticity, noted that the adj. hreinn ‘chaste, pure’ is common in Christian terminology, and found it anomalous in the mouth of a retainer of Knútr, but it can be paralleled in Úlfr Lv 1/6II, datable to 1066 (Poole 1987, 284). — [7] brezkum ‘British’: The word brezkr here has been explained as ‘belonging to the inhabitants of Britain in general, i. e. the British Isles’ (Ashdown 1930, 207) or ‘English’ (Zachrisson 1927, 47), but skaldic attestations of brezkr/Bretar fit better with the gloss ‘Welsh, Briton’ (Poole 1987, 294; cf. Hermann Pálsson 1960, 43-6). There is support for the notion that Welsh people lent military aid to the defenders of London in Thietmar’s Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon and Gaimar’s L’estoire des Engleis (Poole 1987, 294-6).

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