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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þham Magndr 3II/8 — hjarl ‘battle’

Dunði broddr á brynju;
bragningr skaut af magni;
sveigði allvaldr Egða
alm; stǫkk blóð á hjalma.
Strengs fló hagl í hringa;
hné ferð, en lét verða
Hǫrða gramr í harðri
hjarlsókn banat jarli.

Broddr dunði á brynju; bragningr skaut af magni; allvaldr Egða sveigði alm; blóð stǫkk á hjalma. Hagl strengs fló í hringa; ferð hné, en gramr Hǫrða lét verða banat jarli í harðri hjarlsókn.

The arrow-point resounded against the byrnie; the sovereign shot with strength; the mighty ruler of the Egðir [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús] bent the elm-bow; blood spurted onto helmets. The hail of the bow-string [ARROWS] flew into chain-mail; the company fell, and the lord of the Hǫrðar [NORWEGIAN KING = Magnús] caused the earl to be killed in the hard battle for land.


[8] hjarl‑: hjarls H, hjǫrs FskBˣ


[8] hjarlsókn ‘battle for land’: Lit. ‘land-battle’ (hap. leg.). All sources agree that Magnús shot from his ship, hence the word is taken here to mean that Magnús fought to expand his dominions in the west. Alternatively, it could also be construed as ‘attack on the land’. Skj B separates the two elements of the cpd and takes hjarl ‘land’ with hringa ‘chain-mail’ (lit. ‘rings’) (l. 5): í hjarl hringa ‘into the land of rings’, i.e. ‘into the chain-mail’. That reading creates a very convoluted w. o. (see NN § 2908) and it is unnecessary because hringar ‘rings’ can denote ‘chain-mail, ring-byrnie’. See Note to SnH Lv 1/3 and LP: hringr 2.



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