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Lexicon Poeticum

Lexicon Poeticum

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Anon (ÓT) 3I/1 — borði ‘the gunwale’

Leika barðs á borði
byrhreins fyr þér einum
— gramr mun á foldu fremri
fár — sex tigir ára.
Mér leikr einn ok annarr
ǫldu sveipr í greipum
(því verðk) borðs á barða
(bæginn fyr þér vægja).

Sex tigir ára leika á borði byrhreins barðs fyr þér einum; fár gramr á foldu mun fremri. Einn ok annarr sveipr ǫldu leikr í greipum mér á barða borðs; því verðk, bæginn, fyr þér vægja.

Sixty oars swing on the gunwale of the breeze-reindeer of the stem [SHIP], for you alone; few rulers on earth can be more outstanding. One and another sweeper of the wave [OAR] plays in my grip on the whale of the gunwale [SHIP]; therefore I must, though combative, yield to you.

notes

[1-2] á borði byrhreins barðs ‘on the gunwale of the breeze-reindeer of the stem [SHIP]’: Borð, lit. ‘board’, is here a collective noun, referring to the planking of the ship’s hull, hence ‘ship’s side, hull, gunwale’ (Jesch 2001a, 140; ONP: borð 2). The kenning byrhreins barðs is pleonastic, as byrhreinn ‘breeze-reindeer’ alone signifies ‘ship’ without the additional determinant barðs ‘of the stem’. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 2; cf. Fms 12), takes barðs as an adj., equivalent to barðaðs ‘stem-bearing’. An alternative arrangement is á barðs borði byrhreins. This may be construed in several ways. (a) Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SHI) has ‘on the edge (borð) of the stem (barð) of the breeze-reindeer’, and this may lie behind Finnur Jónsson’s skibets side ‘on the ship’s side’ in Skj B, but borð in a nautical context does not usually mean ‘edge’ (cf. LP: borð 3, 4). The image of oars passing the stem, or prow, of the ship is also odd. (b) Finnur Jónsson in LP takes both borð barðs ‘board of the stem’ and byrhreinn ‘breeze-reindeer’ as ship-kennings (LP: borð 3; byrhreinn).

grammar

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