Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 3I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 3’ 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. 1035.

Anonymous PoemsÓláfs drápa Tryggvasonar

Nefndr vas, ungr sás efndi,
ýta vǫrðr, í Gǫrðum,
œski-Baldr, við aldir,
Ôleifr fyr mér, stála.
Eldstøkkvir sásk ekki
(ǫll hugði vel snjǫllum)
hafs nema hilmi jǫfra
(heimsbyggð syni Tryggva).

{Œski-Baldr stála}, {vǫrðr ýta}, sás ungr efndi við aldir í Gǫrðum, vas nefndr Ôleifr fyr mér. {{Hafs eld}støkkvir} sásk ekki nema {hilmi jǫfra}; ǫll heimsbyggð hugði vel {snjǫllum syni Tryggva}.

{The wishing Baldr of steel weapons} [WARRIOR], {guardian of men} [RULER], who, [when] young, performed [deeds] against men in Russia, was named to me [as] Óláfr. {The dispenser {of the fire of the sea}} [(lit. ‘fire-dispenser of the sea’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] feared nothing except {the ruler of princes} [= God]; all the peopled world thought well {of the valiant son of Tryggvi} [= Óláfr].

Mss: Bb(112va)

Readings: [5] ‑støkkvir: ‑stǫkkum Bb;    sásk: corrected from ‘sakk’ Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 574, Skj BI, 568, Skald I, 275; Gullberg 1875, 11-12, 23-4.

Notes: [1-4]: This helmingr is awkward in several ways. Its word order is convoluted (though see e.g. sts 1/5-8, 10/1-4, 20/5-8, 26). More seriously, efna ‘to perform, carry out’ appears to be intransitive, which is rare at best (LP: efna offers an instance of absolute use in Oddrgr 10/5, but the context there supplies an understood object). These problems can be addressed by emending vǫrðr m. ‘guardian; guardianship, watch’ to acc. sg. vǫrð (so Skj B and Skald), hence œski-Baldr stála, sás ungr efnði vǫrð ýta í Gǫrðum við aldir, vas nefndr Ôleifr fyr mér ‘the wishing Baldr of steel weapons, he who [when] young carried out defence of men in Russia against people, was named to me [as] Óláfr’. The rather unconvincing phrase efna vǫrð ‘carry out defence’ lacks parallels, however, since efna most often combines with a noun referring to oaths or revenge (cf. st. 5/8 and LP, LT: efna). — [1] nefndr: efndi: Note aðalhending in an odd line, a minor stylistic licence common in Óldr; see Introduction. — [2] vǫrðr: Gǫrðum: The same rhyming words appear in HSt Rst 2/2. — [2] í Gǫrðum ‘in Russia’: Garðar (Russia) is referred to as Óláfr’s fóstrjǫrð ‘foster-land’ in st. 4/8. Early Latin and vernacular prose sources report that Óláfr was fostered by King Valdamarr (Vladimir): see HSt Rst 2/2 and Note, and for doubts about the historicity of these accounts, see Introduction to HSt Frag 1. — [4] fyr mér ‘to me’: This probably means ‘in my presence’, i.e. ‘I was told he was called Óláfr’. — [5] hafs eldstøkkvir ‘the dispenser of the fire of the sea [(lit. ‘fire-dispenser of the sea’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]’: Ms. eldstøkkum (m. dat. sg.) ‘fire-smooth, -brittle’ fails to provide sásk ‘feared’ with a subject; nor is the adj.’s meaning apparent. Previous eds have accordingly emended to the agent noun eldstøkkvir ‘fire-dispenser’. Eldstøkkum appears as an inferior variant to eldstøkkvir elsewhere in the corpus (Sturl Lv 2/1IV), and confusion of the abbreviations for -um and -ir is not implausible, though rare in Bb.


  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. 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.
  5. LT = La Farge, Beatrice and John Tucker. 1992. Glossary to the Poetic Edda, based on Hans Kuhn’s Kurzes Wörterbuch. Skandinavistische Arbeiten 15. Heidelberg: Winter.
  6. Gullberg, H., ed. 1875. Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar: fragment ur “Bergsboken”. Lund: Berling.
  7. Internal references
  8. Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 2’ 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. 898.
  9. Not published: do not cite ()
  10. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Fragment 1’ 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. 940.
  11. Not published: do not cite (Sturl Lv 2IV)

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