Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 4I/6 — hvarkunnt ‘widely-known’

Hept vas lítt — á lopti
liðu ǫrvar framm gǫrva —
brodda flaug, áðr bauga
brjótendr skyti spjótum.
Orð vas hitt, at harðast,
hvarkunnt, fyr lǫg sunnan,
mest, í malma gnaustan
minn dróttinn framm sótti.

Flaug brodda vas lítt hept; ǫrvar liðu gǫrva framm á lopti, áðr brjótendr bauga skyti spjótum. Hitt vas mest hvarkunnt orð, at dróttinn minn sótti framm harðast í gnaustan malma fyr sunnan lǫg.

The flight of points was little hindered; arrows travelled precisely forward in the sky, before breakers of rings [GENEROUS MEN] shot spears. That was the most widely-known report, that my lord pressed forward the hardest in the clashing of metal weapons [BATTLE] south over the sea.


[6] hvarkunnt: so 53, 54, Bb, hvarkunnr 61, Flat, hver kunnr 325VIII 2 b


[6] hvarkunnt ‘widely-known’: Both main readings, hvarkunnt and hvarkunnr, have ms. support from more than one branch of the ÓT stemma. (a) The majority reading hvarkunnt (n. nom. sg. adj.) ‘widely-known’ is taken here with orð ‘report, tale, story’, and mest ‘most’ with hvarkunnt, an interpretation first proposed by Reichardt (1928, 55-7). (b) Ms. 61’s hvarkunnr is also possible, giving hvarkunnr dróttinn minn ‘my widely-known lord’. In this case hitt vas mest orð would mean ‘that was the tale of most [people]’ (Konráð Gíslason 1892, 144) or ‘[people] spoke most about that’ (Skj B). (c) A conceivable alternative, suggested by Kock (NN §1084), is to take harðast ‘hardest’ and mest ‘most’ in apposition.



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