Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 4I/6 — fyr

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] fyr: við 53


[6] fyr sunnan lǫg ‘south over the sea’: The battle of Svǫlðr is described as taking place ‘in the south’ or ‘over the sea’ several times in the poem (cf. sts 4/6, 6/4, 19/4, 22/5); austr ‘east’ is mentioned once (st. 22/2), though the syntax is ambiguous. As Baetke (1951, 65-99, especially 89) notes, ‘east’ would suggest the Baltic region to a Norse audience, while ‘south’ and ‘over the sea’, although vague in themselves, support other evidence which suggests Svǫlðr was off the southern coast of the Baltic rather than in the Øresund, as other scholars have suggested. However, the question of the location of the battle remains unresolved; see Andersen (1977, 104-5) for a concise summary of the debate.



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