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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mark Eirdr 19II

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 19’ 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. 448-9.

Markús SkeggjasonEiríksdrápa
181920

Heiðinn vildi herr of síðir
hǫmlu vígs ór porti gǫmlu;
urðu þeir, es virki vǫrðu
vangi næst, á hǫnd at ganga.

Heiðinn herr {hǫmlu vígs} vildi of síðir ór gǫmlu porti; þeir, es vǫrðu virki næst vangi, urðu at ganga á hǫnd.

The heathen host {of the staff of battle} [SPEAR] wished [to escape] at last from the old stronghold; those who defended the fort nearest the plain had to submit.

Mss: (156), 873ˣ(51v), 20b I(8r), 180b(30r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] Heiðinn: heiðnum 180b;    of síðir: ‘[…]’ 20b I    [2] hǫmlu vígs ór porti gǫmlu: ‘[…]’ 20b I    [3] urðu þeir es virki vǫrðu: ‘[…]’ 20b I    [4] vangi: vængi 180b;    hǫnd at ganga: ‘he[…]’ 20b I;    hǫnd at: hendr 180b

Editions: Skj AI, 448, Skj BI, 417, Skald I, 206, NN §917; 1741, 156-7, ÍF 35, 225 (ch. 76).

Context: As sts 14-18 above. After fierce attacks by the Danes, the Wends who had sought refuge in the strongholds submitted to Eiríkr’s army.

Notes: [1, 2] heiðinn herr hǫmlu vígs ‘the heathen host of the staff of battle [SPEAR]’: I.e., a troop armed with spears. So Skald, ÍF 35. For an alternative interpretation, see Note to l. 4 below. — [1] vildi ‘wished [to escape]’: Here, as is common in both prose and poetry, vilja is used elliptically, with the inf. verb of motion understood (and conveyed, in part, in ór ‘out of’). — [2] porti ‘stronghold’: Port (n.) seems here to be used in the sense ‘stronghold’, or more specifically, ‘a citadel, fortified castle by a harbour’ (see LP: port), derived from OE port (< Lat. portus ‘harbour’; see AEW: port 2). If so, it could denote the viking stronghold in Wollin (cf. Saxo 2005, II, 12, 4, 2, pp. 72-3 and Note to st. 13 [All]). In poetry, the word occurs in this meaning only here. More commonly port means ‘gate’ (see Fritzner: port), derived from OE port (< Lat. porta ‘gate, door’; see AEW: port 1). — [4] vangi ‘the plain’: In Skj B this is taken as the base-word in a kenning for ‘shield’, vangi hǫmlu vígs ‘plain of the stake of battle [SPEAR > SHIELD]’ (ll. 2, 4) which functions instrumentally with the verb phrase vǫrðu virki ‘defended the fort (with the shield)’ (l. 3). Given Markús’s apparent preference for syntactic units corresponding to single ll. or couplets, and his sparing use of tvíkennt kennings, the reading offered above (as in ÍF 35 and Skald; see NN §917) is preferable.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  9. 1741 = Jón Ólafsson, ed. 1741. Æfi dana-konunga eda Knytlinga saga: Historia Cnutidarum regum Daniæ. Copenhagen: [n. p.].
  10. Saxo 2005 = Friis-Jensen, Karsten, ed. 2005. Saxo Grammaticus: Gesta Danorum / Danmarkshistorien. Trans. Peter Zeeberg. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Det danske sprog- og litteraturselskab & Gads forlag.
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