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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 14I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 14’ 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. 420.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar
131415

text and translation

Mundit lung it langa
(læsíks) und gram ríkum
(blóð kom á þrǫm þíðan)
þjóð varliga hrjóða,
meðan ítr*vini Áta
innanborðs at morði
— sú gerðisk vel — varði
verðung jǫfurs sverðum.

Þjóð mundit varliga hrjóða it langa lung und ríkum gram — blóð kom á þíðan þrǫm {læsíks} —, meðan verðung jǫfurs varði {ítr*vini Áta} sverðum at morði innanborðs; sú gerðisk vel.
 
‘The troop would hardly have cleared the long vessel under the mighty ruler — blood spurted onto the pliant rail of the poison-whitefish [SNAKE = Ormr inn langi] —, while the retinue of the prince defended the glorious friends of Áti <sea-king> [SEAFARERS] with swords in the battle on board; they performed worthily.

notes and context

The defenders’ swords become blunted and, as Óláfr is distributing new ones, his men notice for the first time that he is wounded. Men on board Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ fall from wounds and exhaustion, first in the forecastle and bow, and then amidships.

[5-8]: The helmingr is problematic. In l. 5, ms. vina (m. gen. pl.) ‘of friends’ is difficult to accommodate in the syntax, and the last word is highly variable in the mss. Gen. sg. ítrs ‘glorious’ would seem to qualify jǫfurs ‘of the prince’, but since this is a Type C-line the words occupying positions 2-4 (here ítrs vina) belong together syntactically (cf. Gade 1995a, 123-4). Further, varði ‘defended’ in l. 7 lacks a direct object. (a) Two small emendations are adopted here: of vina to vini (m. acc. pl.), giving a direct object for varði, and of ítrs to ítr, which then forms a cpd with vini, ‘glorious friends’; cf. ítrfermðum ‘splendidly laden’ in st. 17/1. The last word in l. 5 is taken here as Áta ‘of Áti’. The resulting kenning is unusual, but cf. ætt Endils ‘clan of Endill <sea-king>’, hence ‘seafaring princes’ in general, Arn Þorfdr 22/5, 6II. This interpretation is indebted to Kari Ellen Gade. (b) Skj B takes the last word in l. 5 as ôttu ‘had’ (3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. of eiga), and emends twice: vina (m. gen. pl.) ‘of friends’ to vinir (m. nom. pl.) ‘friends’ and varði (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) ‘defended’ to varða (inf.) ‘to defend’. Vinir is then the subject of an auxiliary and inf. construction: vinir ítrs jǫfurs ôttu varða sverðum ‘friends of the glorious prince had to defend with swords’, but this does not avoid the difficulty with ítrs jǫfurs mentioned above.

readings

sources

Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, 3. Óláfsdrápa, erfidrápa 14: AI, 162, BI, 153, Skald I, 83, NN §§477, 478, 3215; SHI 2, 317-18, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 277 (ch. 252), Flat 1860-8, I, 487.

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