Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞKolb Eirdr 16I/7 — hjalta ‘of the hilt’

Gengu upp, þeirs Englum,
ár hrafngefendr, vôru
langa stund á landi
leiðir, grund af skeiðum.
Eðr í gǫgn, þeirs gôðu
(glaum skers) bœi verja,
(galt hilmis lið hjalta)
herferð búendr gerðu.

Hrafngefendr, þeirs vôru langa stund leiðir Englum á landi, gengu ár upp grund af skeiðum. Eðr búendr, þeirs gôðu verja bœi, gerðu herferð í gǫgn; lið hilmis galt glaum skers hjalta.

The raven-benefactors [WARRIORS], who had been for a long time hateful to the English in the land, went up early onto land from the ships. But the farmers, who intended to defend the settlements, made a military expedition in return; the troop of the ruler dealt out the merriment of the skerry of the hilt [SWORD > BATTLE].


[6, 7] glaum skers hjalta ‘the merriment of the skerry of the hilt [SWORD > BATTLE]’: The n. pl. hjǫlt (gen. hjalta) refers to the constituent parts of a hilt, hence a single hilt (see Note to Anon Ól 1/5). Sker hjalta ‘skerry of the hilt [SWORD]’ is an unusual sword-kenning, the closest parallels being three others which mean ‘land of the whetstone’ (Meissner 155). Sker ‘skerry’ and other terms for ‘land’ are common base-words in shield-kennings (Meissner 169), but if sker hjalta were a shield-kenning the determinant hjalta would signify ‘of the sword’, and evidence of that is lacking.




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