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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magn 2II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 89.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonStanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi

Misst hafa Sveins at sýnu,
sverð-Gautr, fǫrunautar
(hǫrð es heldr of orðin)
heimkvômu (fǫr beima).
Hrœrir hausa þeira
hreggi œst ok leggi
— sær þýtr auðs of ôrum —
unnr á sanda grunni.

Fǫrunautar Sveins hafa at sýnu misst heimkvômu, {sverð-Gautr}; fǫr beima es of orðin heldr hǫrð. Unnr, œst hreggi, hrœrir hausa þeira ok leggi á grunni sanda; sær þýtr of {ôrum auðs}.

Sveinn’s comrades have clearly lost out on their home-coming, {sword-Gautr <= Óðinn>} [WARRIOR]; the men’s expedition has turned out rather harsh. The wave, stirred up by the storm, tosses their skulls and limbs on the floor of the sands; the sea roars over {the envoys of wealth} [GENEROUS MEN].

Mss: (514v-515r), 39(17rb), F(40vb), E(8v), J2ˣ(252v) (Hkr); H(11v) (ll. 1-4, 7-8), Hr(10va) (ll. 1-4) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] hafa Sveins at sýnu: hefir Sveinn enn sína Hr;    hafa: ha(fa)(?) H;    at sýnu: at sǫnnu F, ‘ok sinna’ H    [2] Gautr: ‑gautar E, J2ˣ, ‘gotv’ H;    ‑nautar: nauta Hr    [3] orðin: so 39, F, E, Hr, orðinn Kˣ, J2ˣ, hǫrðin H    [4] ‑kvômu: ‑kváma 39, F, ‘kva[…]’ H    [6] œst (‘o᷎st’): ‘ast’ E, J2ˣ    [7] þýtr: þytir E

Editions: Skj AI, 365, Skj BI, 335-6, Skald I, 169; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 57-8, IV, 198, ÍF 28, 51-2, Hkr 1991, 590 (Mgóð ch. 30), F 1871, 187, E 1916, 28; Fms 6, 79 (Mgóð ch. 38), Fms 12, 135.

Context: This follows Magn 1, with Ok enn kvað hann ‘And he spoke another (verse)’.

Notes: [3, 4] fǫr beima es of orðin heldr hǫrð ‘the men’s expedition has turned out rather harsh’: The beima, m. gen. pl. ‘men’, are not identified, but since the remainder of the st. gloats over the misfortunes of Sveinn’s forces, this reference is presumably also to them. ÍF 28 favours the interpretation vér höfum heldur staðið í harðræðum ‘we have been in rather a difficult situation’, though a translation similar to the one adopted here is also offered. — [8] á grunni sanda ‘on the floor of the sands’: This is taken literally, rather than as a kenning for ‘sea’ (so previous eds, and Meissner 93, who cites sanda land ‘land of sands’ and sandheimr ‘sand-world’ as true sea-kennings), and the sense ‘sandy sea-floor’ seems supported by the sea roaring of ‘over’ the grisly remains in l. 7. Finnur Jónsson takes it as a reference to the sandy bottom of the sea (sandbund), and ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991 to the shore-line or tide-mark.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  8. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.

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