skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 1I/1 — aldar ‘of men’

Yfirhilding biðk aldar
einn hróðtǫlu beina*
mér, þanns mestum stýrir
mætti, hverrar ættar,
þvít veglyndum vanda
vin þínum skalk, Rínar,
brag, þeims bjartleyg fǫgrum
bauð ótta, goð dróttinn.

Biðk einn yfirhilding hverrar ættar aldar, þanns stýrir mestum mætti, beina* mér hróðtǫlu, þvít skalk vanda brag, goð dróttinn, veglyndum vin þínum, þeims bauð ótta fǫgrum bjartleyg Rínar.

I ask the sole overlord of every family of men [= God], he who wields most power, to set praiseful speech in motion for me, because I shall fashion poetry, Lord God, about your high-minded friend, he who struck fear into the beautiful bright flame of the Rhine [GOLD].

notes

[4] hverrar ættar aldar ‘of every family of men’: (a) Although slightly overloaded, this phrase is comparable with other collocations of ætt with a gen. meaning ‘men’, including Hfr Lv 7/1, 3V (Hallfr 10) ǫll ætt aldar ‘the whole family of men’ (and see LP: ætt 2). Coupled with yfirhildingr ‘overlord’, it forms a God-kenning which resembles others designating God as ruler of mankind (Meissner 370, also 372). However, as a determinant which is not itself a kenning, hverrar ættar aldar is unusual, and the whole expression could be regarded as a looser genitival construction rather than a kenning. (b) Gullberg (1875) takes hverrar ættar as gen. object of mætti (dat. of môttr m. ‘power’), so ‘power over every family’, but this is a less compelling expression of divine omnipotence.

kennings

grammar

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