Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 10I/4 — ǫluns ‘fish’

Loftungu gaft lengi
látr, þats Fáfnir átti;
þú lézt mér, inn mæri,
merkr fránǫluns vánir.
Verðr emk, varga myrðir
víðlendr, frá þér (síðan
eða heldr of sæ sjaldan)
slíks réttar (skalk vætta).

Lengi gaft Loftungu látr, þats Fáfnir átti; þú, inn mæri, lézt mér vánir merkr fránǫluns. Emk verðr slíks réttar frá þér, víðlendr myrðir varga, eða heldr skalk sjaldan síðan vætta of sæ.

For long you gave Loftunga (‘Praise-tongue’) the lair that Fáfnir owned [gold]; you, famous one, have granted me hopes of the forest of the flashing fish [SERPENT > GOLD]. I am worthy of the same due from you, broad-landed destroyer of outlaws [RULER = Knútr], or instead I shall seldom afterwards hope [to come] over the sea.


[4] ‑ǫluns: Jǫkuls Tóm


[4] fránǫluns ‘of the flashing fish [SERPENT]’: Ǫlunn does not occur in prose, and its meaning is uncertain, but its occurrence as a fish-heiti in Þul Fiska 1/7III and in certain types of kenning point to a fish; some sources take it as mackerel (see LP: ǫlunn). Fránǫlunn is not a standard kenning for ‘serpent’, since the first element is adjectival and decorative, whereas one would expect a nominal determinant referring to land, hence ‘fish of the land’. It is as though merkr ‘of the forest/land’ is needed both for this function (to make a fish into a serpent) and to provide the base-word for the gold-kenning, though such a dual role is exceptional. Kock (Skald; NN §710C) would emend to frón- ‘land’, despite the disruption to the hending.



case: gen.


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