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.
 barða borðs ‘the whale of the gunwale [SHIP]’: (a) While not entirely satisfactory, this kenning, first proposed by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SHI; see also NN §2108), is the best resolution of the difficulties these words present. There is no other extant ship-kenning based on a word for ‘whale’. Barði m. ‘whale’ is moreover rather rare. It occurs once in the skaldic corpus, in a snake-kenning (barði lyngs ‘whale of the heather’, ESkál Vell 30/5-6), but not in ON prose, though it does exist in ModIcel.; cf. also ON barðhvalr m. ‘baleen whale’, possibly ‘sperm whale’ (ONP). The repetition of words from the first helmingr must be deliberate, and this may strengthen the case for a recherché kenning. Line 7’s sveipr ǫldu ‘sweeper of the wave [OAR]’ also lacks certain parallels, though cf. Ótt Hfl 4/6 sundvarpaði, apparently ‘sea-thrower [OAR]’. (b) Finnur Jónsson takes barði borðs as a circumlocution for ‘ship’, made up of barði ‘ship’ plus borðs ‘of planking’ (LP: 2. barði, see also borð 3). It cannot be a kenning on this basis, however, as barði means ‘ship’ by itself (Meissner 222), and ‘ship of planking’ is not a very convincing circumlocution. (c) Kock (Skald; NN §514) takes borðs á barði with the rest of ll. 7-8, which is a possible alternative.
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