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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Þorfdr 23II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 23’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 257-8.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonÞorfinnsdrápa
222324

Hringstríði ‘the ring-harmer’

hringstríðir (noun m.): [ring-harmer]

[1] Hringstríði: Hringstríðr 73aˣ, Tóm, Hrafnsfœði Flat(133ra)

kennings

hringstríði
‘the ring-harmer ’
   = GENEROUS RULER

the ring-harmer → GENEROUS RULER
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varð ‘had’

1. verða (verb): become, be

[1] varð: var Holm2, 325V, 75a

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hlýða ‘to heed’

2. hlýða (verb): hear, listen; be able

[1] hlýða: hlyðinn Holm2, 325V, 75a, 73aˣ

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frá ‘from’

frá (prep.): from

[2] frá: fyrir Holm2, 75a

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Þursa ‘Þursa’

þurs (noun m.; °þurs, dat. þursi/þurs; þursar): giant, ogre, monster < Þursasker (noun n.)

[2] Þursa‑: ‘þyssa’ 325VII, ‘þíassa’ Tóm

notes

[2] Þursaskerjum ‘Þursasker’: Lit. ‘Giants’ skerries’. Dublin (til Dyflinnar) (l. 4) presumably marks the south-western extremity of Þorfinnr’s sphere of influence, so that one would expect Þursasker to be its north-eastern limit, just as it is the eastern boundary of Scandinavian Scotland in Hák ch. 265 (1977-82, 149; ms. ‘þussa-sker’). Finnbogi Guðmundsson’s identification of Þursasker with The Skerries, a group of islets in the extreme east of the Shetland Isles, is therefore plausible (ÍF 34). Quite close by are fishing grounds which Crawford (1987, 75) notes had the traditional name ‘de Tussek’, possibly a reminiscence of Þursa-/Þussasker.

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skerjum ‘sker’

sker (noun n.; °-s; -, gen. -ja): skerry < Þursasker (noun n.)

notes

[2] Þursaskerjum ‘Þursasker’: Lit. ‘Giants’ skerries’. Dublin (til Dyflinnar) (l. 4) presumably marks the south-western extremity of Þorfinnr’s sphere of influence, so that one would expect Þursasker to be its north-eastern limit, just as it is the eastern boundary of Scandinavian Scotland in Hák ch. 265 (1977-82, 149; ms. ‘þussa-sker’). Finnbogi Guðmundsson’s identification of Þursasker with The Skerries, a group of islets in the extreme east of the Shetland Isles, is therefore plausible (ÍF 34). Quite close by are fishing grounds which Crawford (1987, 75) notes had the traditional name ‘de Tussek’, possibly a reminiscence of Þursa-/Þussasker.

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segik ‘I tell’

segja (verb): say, tell

[3] segik (‘segi ec’): segi Holm2, 325V, segit 75a, segir 73aˣ

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þjóð ‘men’

þjóð (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): people

[3] þjóð: þér 75a, 73aˣ

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hvé ‘how’

hvé (conj.): how

[3] hvé: so 325V, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 325VII, Flat(102va), Flat(133ra), hverr Kˣ, Holm2, Holm4, Bb, Tóm

notes

[3-4] hvé Þórfinnr þótti ‘how Þorfinnr was regarded’: The variant readings hvé/hverr and Þorfinns/Þorfinnr yield four possible ways in which the ll. can be interpreted. Whichever readings are adopted, the result is a subordinate cl. dependent on rétt segik þjóð ‘I tell men truly’. (a) Hvé þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘what kind of man Þorfinnr seemed / how Þorfinnr was regarded’, is found in mss 325V, Flat and probably also 325VI. This reading is adopted here, following ÍF 34, 81, though it is only marginally superior to (b) and (c) below. (b) Hverr þótti Þorfinns is the reading of the main ms. and two others. If the meaning were ‘who was considered Þorfinnr’s (subject)’ it would accord particularly well with the remainder of the helmingr, but this assumption may be slightly forced. (c) Hverr þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘who Þorfinnr was considered to be’, could have the sense ‘what ... like, how great’, but this is the reading only of the often unreliable mss Bb and Tóm; it is nevertheless adopted in Skj B and retained in Skald. (d) The remaining option, hvé þótti Þorfinns (in three mss), makes no sense.

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þótti ‘was regarded’

2. þykkja (verb): seem, think

notes

[3-4] hvé Þórfinnr þótti ‘how Þorfinnr was regarded’: The variant readings hvé/hverr and Þorfinns/Þorfinnr yield four possible ways in which the ll. can be interpreted. Whichever readings are adopted, the result is a subordinate cl. dependent on rétt segik þjóð ‘I tell men truly’. (a) Hvé þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘what kind of man Þorfinnr seemed / how Þorfinnr was regarded’, is found in mss 325V, Flat and probably also 325VI. This reading is adopted here, following ÍF 34, 81, though it is only marginally superior to (b) and (c) below. (b) Hverr þótti Þorfinns is the reading of the main ms. and two others. If the meaning were ‘who was considered Þorfinnr’s (subject)’ it would accord particularly well with the remainder of the helmingr, but this assumption may be slightly forced. (c) Hverr þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘who Þorfinnr was considered to be’, could have the sense ‘what ... like, how great’, but this is the reading only of the often unreliable mss Bb and Tóm; it is nevertheless adopted in Skj B and retained in Skald. (d) The remaining option, hvé þótti Þorfinns (in three mss), makes no sense.

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Þórfinnr ‘Þorfinnr’

Þórfinnr (noun m.): Þorfinnr

[4] Þórfinnr: so 325V, Flat(102va), Bb, Tóm, Flat(133ra), Þorfinns Kˣ, Holm2, 75a, 73aˣ, Holm4, 325VII, ‘þorf’’ 325VI

notes

[3-4] hvé Þórfinnr þótti ‘how Þorfinnr was regarded’: The variant readings hvé/hverr and Þorfinns/Þorfinnr yield four possible ways in which the ll. can be interpreted. Whichever readings are adopted, the result is a subordinate cl. dependent on rétt segik þjóð ‘I tell men truly’. (a) Hvé þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘what kind of man Þorfinnr seemed / how Þorfinnr was regarded’, is found in mss 325V, Flat and probably also 325VI. This reading is adopted here, following ÍF 34, 81, though it is only marginally superior to (b) and (c) below. (b) Hverr þótti Þorfinns is the reading of the main ms. and two others. If the meaning were ‘who was considered Þorfinnr’s (subject)’ it would accord particularly well with the remainder of the helmingr, but this assumption may be slightly forced. (c) Hverr þótti Þorfinnr, lit. ‘who Þorfinnr was considered to be’, could have the sense ‘what ... like, how great’, but this is the reading only of the often unreliable mss Bb and Tóm; it is nevertheless adopted in Skj B and retained in Skald. (d) The remaining option, hvé þótti Þorfinns (in three mss), makes no sense.

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Dyflinnar ‘Dublin’

Dyflinn (noun f.): [Dublin]

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

The st. is preceded in Hkr and ÓH by a comment on Þorfinnr’s pre-eminence, which ends with a remark that he gained possession of Shetland, the Orkneys and the Hebrides, and had great power in Scotland and Ireland. Orkn claims nine earldoms in Scotland, all the Hebrides and great power in Ireland.

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