Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Halli XI Fl 1II/8 — brandar ‘The stems’

Norðr lykr gramr, sás gerðir
grund, frá Eyrarsundi
— hrafngœlir sparn hæli
hǫfn — langskipa stǫfnum.
Rísta golli glæstir
gjalfr, en hlýður skjalfa,
hvasst und her fyr vestan
Hallandi framm brandar.

Gramr, sás gerðir grund, lykr stǫfnum langskipa norðr frá Eyrarsundi; hrafngœlir sparn hǫfn hæli. Brandar, glæstir golli, rísta gjalfr hvasst framm und her fyr vestan Hallandi, en hlýður skjalfa.

The king, who surrounds his territory, locks up [the land] with the stems of the longships north of Øresund; the raven-gladdener [WARRIOR] kicked against the harbour with his keel. The stems, encrusted with gold, cut the ocean-surge keenly forwards under the army to the west of Halland, and the wash-strakes tremble.


[8] brandar: branda H, brandi Hr


[5, 8] brandar, golli glæstir ‘the stems, encrusted with gold’: The meaning of brandr has not been fully established. Suggested is ‘curved gunwale fore and aft’ (Foote and Wilson 1970, 234; cf. Jesch 2001a, 147) but while mast-tops apparently would be gilded (Jesch 2001a, 161) it is dubious whether such decoration would have been applied to the timbers of the hull. That may favour a pars pro toto interpretation of brandr as ‘ships’ (Jesch 2001a, 147).



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