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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞKolb Eirdr 12I

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 12’ 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. 506.

Þórðr KolbeinssonEiríksdrápa
111213

Ítr ‘The glorious’

ítr (adj.): glorious

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jǫfra ‘of the princes’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

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hleyti ‘kinship’

hleyti (noun n.; °; -): marriage-alliance, kinship

[1] hleyti: ‘hlæti’ JÓ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ, ‘hleti’ 20dˣ

notes

[1] hleyti ‘kinship’: All eds emend to this (grammatically pl.) form to produce good sense. Hleyti refers to kinship by marriage. Eiríkr married Gyða, a daughter of Sveinn tjúguskegg and half-sister of Knútr, so Knútr and Eiríkr were brothers-in-law (see Hkr, ÍF 26, 340; Fsk, ÍF 29, 164; Knýtl, ÍF 35, 97).

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veðrs ‘storm’

2. veðr (noun n.; °-s; -): weather, wind, storm < eggveðr (noun n.)

kennings

eggveðrs;
‘to the edge-storm; ’
   = BATTLE

to the edge-storm; → BATTLE
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skeið ‘warships’

1. skeið (noun f.; °-ar; -r/-ar/-ir): ship

notes

[3, 4] mǫrg mislǫng skeið ‘many warships of various lengths’: Lit. ‘many [a] variously-long warship’. Mislangr is a hap. leg.

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mǫrg ‘many’

2. margr (adj.; °-an): many

notes

[3, 4] mǫrg mislǫng skeið ‘many warships of various lengths’: Lit. ‘many [a] variously-long warship’. Mislangr is a hap. leg.

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mislǫng ‘of various lengths’

mislangr (adj.): [various lengths]

notes

[3, 4] mǫrg mislǫng skeið ‘many warships of various lengths’: Lit. ‘many [a] variously-long warship’. Mislangr is a hap. leg.

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sem ‘as’

sem (conj.): as, which

notes

[4] sem ek vissa ‘as I learned’: (a) This is understood here as modifying the clause beginning skeið ‘warship(s)’ immediately preceding it (so Skald). (b) In Skj B it modifies ll. 1-2, with skeið helt mǫrg í móðu mislǫng ‘many warships of various lengths proceeded into the river’ (ll. 3-4) functioning parenthetically; the prose order given in ÍF 35 suggests the same. This is presumably on the grounds that ll. 1-2 make a more important statement, but, as Kock (NN §582) points out, the second helmingr continues the narrative of the ships’ progress, which favours (a). (c) A further possibility is that sem ek vissa qualifies the entire first helmingr.

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ek ‘I’

ek (pron.; °mín, dat. mér, acc. mik): I, me

notes

[4] sem ek vissa ‘as I learned’: (a) This is understood here as modifying the clause beginning skeið ‘warship(s)’ immediately preceding it (so Skald). (b) In Skj B it modifies ll. 1-2, with skeið helt mǫrg í móðu mislǫng ‘many warships of various lengths proceeded into the river’ (ll. 3-4) functioning parenthetically; the prose order given in ÍF 35 suggests the same. This is presumably on the grounds that ll. 1-2 make a more important statement, but, as Kock (NN §582) points out, the second helmingr continues the narrative of the ships’ progress, which favours (a). (c) A further possibility is that sem ek vissa qualifies the entire first helmingr.

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vissa ‘learned’

1. vita (verb): know

notes

[4] sem ek vissa ‘as I learned’: (a) This is understood here as modifying the clause beginning skeið ‘warship(s)’ immediately preceding it (so Skald). (b) In Skj B it modifies ll. 1-2, with skeið helt mǫrg í móðu mislǫng ‘many warships of various lengths proceeded into the river’ (ll. 3-4) functioning parenthetically; the prose order given in ÍF 35 suggests the same. This is presumably on the grounds that ll. 1-2 make a more important statement, but, as Kock (NN §582) points out, the second helmingr continues the narrative of the ships’ progress, which favours (a). (c) A further possibility is that sem ek vissa qualifies the entire first helmingr.

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Blá ‘the dark’

blár (adj.): black < bládýr (noun n.)

kennings

bládýrum bôru
‘the dark animals of the wave ’
   = SHIPS

the dark animals of the wave → SHIPS
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dýrum ‘animals’

1. dýr (noun n.; °-s (spec.: dyʀiɴs KonrA 66⁴‡, etc., cf. Seip 1955 188-189); -): animal < bládýr (noun n.)

kennings

bládýrum bôru
‘the dark animals of the wave ’
   = SHIPS

the dark animals of the wave → SHIPS
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helt ‘steered’

halda (verb): hold, keep

notes

[3] helt ‘steered’: In seafaring contexts, including ll. 5-6 of the present stanza, halda usually means ‘steer’, with a term for ‘seafarer’ as subject and one for ‘ship’ as dat. object (see also Jesch 2001a, 174-5). Intransitive usage with a human subject is not uncommon (LP: halda A. 9), but the construction with the inanimate subject skeið ‘warship’ here is unique.

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bôru ‘of the wave’

1. bára (noun f.; °-u; -ur): wave

kennings

bládýrum bôru
‘the dark animals of the wave ’
   = SHIPS

the dark animals of the wave → SHIPS
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brands ‘of the sword’

brandr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): sword, prow; fire

kennings

Áttstórr Ullr brands
‘The high-born Ullr of the sword ’
   = WARRIOR

The high-born Ullr of the sword → WARRIOR
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svá ‘so’

svá (adv.): so, thus

[6] svá náar (‘sva nær’): nær svá 41ˣ

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náar ‘near’

[6] svá náar (‘sva nær’): nær svá 41ˣ

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Ullr ‘Ullr’

Ullr (noun m.): Ullr

kennings

Áttstórr Ullr brands
‘The high-born Ullr of the sword ’
   = WARRIOR

The high-born Ullr of the sword → WARRIOR
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enska ‘the English’

enskr (adj.): English

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átt ‘The high’

2. átt (noun f.; °; -ir (acc. sg. attvnna AnnaReyk 410⁹)): lineage < áttstórr (adj.)

kennings

Áttstórr Ullr brands
‘The high-born Ullr of the sword ’
   = WARRIOR

The high-born Ullr of the sword → WARRIOR
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stórr ‘born’

stórr (adj.): large, great < áttstórr (adj.)

kennings

Áttstórr Ullr brands
‘The high-born Ullr of the sword ’
   = WARRIOR

The high-born Ullr of the sword → WARRIOR
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séa ‘seen’

2. sjá (verb): see

notes

[8] knátti séa ‘could be seen’: Knátti is taken here, as in Skj B and ÍF 35, as a subject-elliptical impersonal construction: ‘[one] was able to see’, ‘it was possible to see’. A possible alternative would be to understand áttstórr Ullr brands ‘high-born Ullr <god> of the sword [WARRIOR]’ as the subject of both helt ‘steered’ and knátti ‘was able’.

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knátti ‘could be’

knega (verb): to know, understand, be able to

notes

[8] knátti séa ‘could be seen’: Knátti is taken here, as in Skj B and ÍF 35, as a subject-elliptical impersonal construction: ‘[one] was able to see’, ‘it was possible to see’. A possible alternative would be to understand áttstórr Ullr brands ‘high-born Ullr <god> of the sword [WARRIOR]’ as the subject of both helt ‘steered’ and knátti ‘was able’.

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

Knútr has heard that the English king Játmundr járnsíða (Eadmund Ironside) is in London. He brings his army to the Thames estuary, where he meets Eiríkr’s fleet. They join forces and sail upriver towards London. Stanzas 12 and 13 are cited with only a brief link in between.

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