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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Liðs 5I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 5’ 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. 1022.

Anonymous PoemsLiðsmannaflokkr
456

Hár þykki mér, hlýra,
hinn jarl, es brá snarla
— mær spyrr vitr, at væri
valkǫstr — ara fǫstu.
En þekkjǫndum þykkir
þunnblás meginásar
hǫrð, sús hilmir gerði,
hríð, á Tempsar síðu.

Hinn jarl, es snarla brá fǫstu {hlýra ara}, þykki mér hár; vitr mær spyrr, at væri valkǫstr. En hríð, sús hilmir gerði á síðu Tempsar, þykkir hǫrð {þekkjǫndum {meginásar þunnblás}}.

That jarl, who briskly broke the fast {of the brother of the eagle} [RAVEN/EAGLE], seems tall to me; the wise maiden hears that there was a heap of the slain. And the battle which the ruler waged on the bank of the Thames seems hard {to knowers {of the powerful pole of the thin linen cord}} [ARROW > BOWMEN].

Mss: Flat(186vb) (Flat); DG8(73r) (ÓHLeg)

Readings: [3] at: so DG8, ef Flat    [4] ‑kǫstr: kǫst Flat, DG8    [6] ‑blás: ‘‑blacs’ DG8    [8] Tempsar: ‘tempsáár’ DG8

Editions: Skj AI, 422, Skj BI, 392, Skald I, 194, NN §1992; Flat 1860-8, III, 238, ÓH 1941, II, 684; ÓHLeg 1922, 11, ÓHLeg 1982, 50-1.

Context: As for st. 1.

Notes: [1, 2] hinn jarl ... hár ‘that jarl ... tall’: Identified as Þorkell; see st. 4/2 and Note. The epithet hár for Þorkell, which may connote ‘prominent, outstanding’ (cf. Skj B fremragende) in addition to the literal meaning, will be matched in st. 7/4 by the epithet ríkr ‘mighty, great’ for Knútr; these may already have become the standing nicknames for these two leaders. — [2] es brá ‘who broke’: The pret. continues as the staple tense of the narrative. — [3] mær spyrr ‘the maiden hears’: On this maiden, see the Introduction. The use of the pres. tense here is from the viewpoint of the end of the campaign (cf. st. 10). — [6] þunnblás ‘of the thin linen cord’: This seems to refer to the bow-string. There are no attestations of this sense of the element blá in OWN. Skj B (followed by Skald) emends þunn to Þunns, hence þekkjǫndum blás meginásar Þunns ‘knowers of the dark mighty pole of Þunnr <= Óðinn> [SWORD > WARRIORS]’. But the emendation is unnecessary if we link blá with OEN blaa ‘coarse linen fibre’ (for this word see Falk 1919, 63; Hoffmann 1982, 137). The cpd þunnblá is closely paralleled by Bragi Þórr 6/3III mjótygill ‘slender string’. Bowstrings were often made of linen (Alm 1957, 460) and in poetry can be called simply hǫrr ‘linen’ (LP: hǫrr 2). In kennings for ‘arrow’ strengr ‘string’ is a common determinant and words such as reyr ‘reed’ and vǫlr ‘stick, staff’ occur as base-words (Meissner 146-7). Accordingly, the meginás(s) ‘mighty pole or shaft’ of the ‘thin linen fibre’ denotes the arrow and the complete kenning þekkjǫndum meginásar þunnblás means ‘experts with arrows’, i.e. ‘bowmen’, in reference to the vikings. — [7] hǫrð ‘hard’: The same adj. qualifies hríð ‘storm’ designating battles in sts 4/8 and 6/3-4. — [8] Tempsar ‘of the Thames’: The DG8 spelling ‘tempsáár’ suggests the gen. sg. of the word á ‘river’ (cf. Note to Ótt Hfl 8/8 and see Townend 1998, 83-4, who also notes the intrusive [p]).

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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  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. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  9. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. Falk, Hjalmar. 1919. Altwestnordische Kleiderkunde, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Terminologie. Videnskapsselskapets Skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1918, 3. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  11. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  12. Townend, Matthew. 1998. English Place-Names in Skaldic Verse. English Place-Name Society extra ser. 1. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society.
  13. Hoffmann, Marta. 1982. ‘Sengeutstyr’. KLNM 15, 137.
  14. Alm, Josef. 1957. ‘Båge’. KLNM 2, 460.
  15. Internal references
  16. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Þórr’s fishing 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 52.
  17. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 8’ 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. 750.
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