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Old Norse Online

Lesson 7

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

The year 1066 witnessed the great powerplay for control of England. England had been under the control of Edward the Confessor, but he was near death in 1065. The most important question was that of succession. Edward seems to have wanted to cede control to Duke William of Normandy, son of Duke Robert, who had received Edward during his exile under Canute the Great. In recent years, however, Harold, Earl of Wessex, had gained such power that he too might make a bid for the throne. Harold nevertheless undermined his position by taking an oath of loyalty to William when he was sent to the latter's court by Edward to bring confimation of William's succession. Also in the fray was King Harald Sighurtharson of Norway, a viking warrior also known as Harald Hardrada. He had served the Byzantine emperors as a mercenary and subsequently took the throne in Norway in 1047, constantly fighting with King Svein of Denmark for dominance in the region. Harald too had a claim to the throne of England based on a treaty in 1038-39 between Norway's King Magnus and the English Harthacnut. Finally, before his death on 5 January 1066, Edward chose to cede the throne to the strongest power in England, that of Harold. This led to the series of events related below.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is an important source for our knowledge of the events of 1066. The following is an excerpt from that year's entry.

"1066 In this year King Harold came from York to Westminster during Easter, which occured after the midwinter in which the king had died. This Easter was on the 16th day of the kalends of May.

"At that time round all of England were seen portents in heaven such as no man had seen before. Some said that what other men called the 'hairy' star was in fact a comet, and it first showed itself on the eve of the Greater Litany, that is the 8th of the kalends of May, and so shone all seven nights.

"Immediately thereafter Earl Tostig came from overseas to Wight with as great a force as he could muster, and people there gave him supplies and provisions; then he left there and harried the coast wherever he was able, until he arrived at Sandwich. Then someone informed King Harold, who was in London, that his brother Tostig had come to Sandwich. And so he gathered great fleets and armies such as no king had ever assembled on land, since he had been assured that Earl William of Normandy, kin of King Edward, intended to arrive and overrun the land -- just as later would happen.

"When Tostig found out that King Harold was near Sandwich, he departed Sandwich and took with him some of his shipmen -- some willingly, some unwillingly -- and turned north toward the Humber, and there harried Lindsey and killed many good men. When the earls Edwine and Morkere discovered this, they went there and drove them from the land. So he went to Scotland, and the king of the Scots protected him and and gave him provisions, and he remained there the entire summer.

"Then King Harold came to Sandwich and awaited his troop, for it was quite a while before he could get it in place. And when the troop was finally collected, he travelled to Wight and stayed there for the whole summer and autumn; one could find land forces all beside the sea, though in the end it would be of no avail.

"When it came to the Nativity of St. Mary, the men's supplies ran out, and no one could keep them there any longer. So he permitted the men to leave, and the king rode inland, and he drove the ships to London, though many died before they reached there.

"When the ships reached home, King Harald of Norway went north to the Tyne unexpectedly with a fleet quite large and by no means small -- maybe three hundred ships or more -- and Earl Tostig met him with all that he had gathered, just as they had agreed before; and the two went with the entire troop along the Ouse up toward York.

"Then someone informed King Harold in the south, when he stepped off the ship, that King Harald of Norway and Earl Tostig had come up near Sandwich. Then he travelled northward day and night as quickly as he could gather his force. Before the king could arrive there, the earls Edwine and Morkere gathered from their earldom as great a force as they could muster and fought with that army and pitched a fierce battle, and a great part of the English retinue was struck down or drowned or put to flight, and the Norwegians held sway over the battlefield. This battle fell on the eve of St. Matthew the Apostle, which was a Wednesday. And after that battle King Harald of Norway and Earl Tostig went to York with as great a force as seemed fitting to them, and they were given hostages from the town and supplied with provisions; and so from there they went to the fleet, and they agreed that, for complete peace, they all would go south with him and overtake the land.

"Meanwhile Harold, king of the Angles, came with his retinue on Sunday to Tadcaster, and there arrayed his troop, and then went on Monday throughout York. But Harald, king of Norway, and Earl Tostig and their retinue had travelled by ship beyond York to Stamford Bridge, because they were promised with certainty that they would be brought hostages from throughout the shire. Then Harold, king of the Angles, came upon them unexpectedly across the bridge, and they clashed and were engulfed in bitter fighting through the day. There Harald, king of Norway, and Earl Tostig were killed and a countless number of men with them, both of the Norwegians and of the English. The Norwegians who were left were put to flight, and the English behind them struck violently until some reached the ships; some were drowned, some burned, and died in so many ways that there was little left. So the Angles held sway over the battlefield.

"The king gave quarter to Olaf, son of the Norwegian king, and to their bishop and to the earl of Orkney, and to all those who remained on the ships. They went up to our king and swore oaths that they would always maintain peace and friendship toward this land, and the king let them depart with 24 ships.

"These two battles were conducted within five nights."

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following selection comes from Fagrskinna, so named because of the exceptionally beautiful binding of one of the manuscripts (subsequently lost due to fire). The work describes Norwegian history during the period from Halfdan the Black to 1177, and was written by an Icelander for King Hakon of Norway in roughly 1240. The story which follows is an excerpt from the account of the battle at Stamford Bridge, giving a more elaborate portrayal of the events on the battlefield just before the armies clashed.

The text is Norwegian and shows dialectal variation. Chief among these features are Old Norwegian æ where Old Icelandic has e, a lack of u-mutation in certain forms (e.g. takum and sannum), and alternate endings -ir and -it for the 2nd person plural - of Old Icelandic. It is common scribal practice to write the spirant g as gh.

On a literary level the passage is far different from its Anglo-Saxon counterpart. The author employs the simple and direct style of other sagas. The ON recension of the events at Stamford Bridge attempts more to craft a story, whereas the Old English Chronicle served merely to record events. The ON version is augmented by the dramatic relating of the dialogue of the main characters, which is capped by moments of poetic recital. The skaldic craft of poetic composition was extremely technical, often interlacing two separate statements in one. When this is done, it is the common practice of modern editors to help the reader by enclosing the words of one of the sentences within parentheses. This practice is followed in the second of the poems below, so that the words in parentheses, when taken together, form a sentence or clause grammatically distinct from the words outside the parentheses.

Haraldr konongr Sighurðarsun ræið svǫrtum hesti blesóttom firir framan fylking sína ok sá hværsu liðit stóð, ok skipaðe þæim framar er þá villde hann.

  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • Sighurðarsun -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Sighurþarsun> Sigurtharson -- Sigurtharson
  • ræið -- verb; 3rd singular past of <ríða> ride; ride over -- rode
  • svǫrtum -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <svartr> black -- on a black
  • hesti -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <hestr> stallion, horse -- horse
  • blesóttom -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <blesóttr> having a white mark on the forehead -- with a white mark
  • firir -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- out
  • framan -- adverb; <framan> from the front side; forward -- before
  • fylking -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <fylking> battle array, host -- troop
  • sína -- possessive adjective; accusative singular feminine of <sínn> own, one's own -- his
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • -- verb; 3rd singular past of <sjá> see, perceive; find; understand; look -- saw
  • hværsu -- interrogative adverb; <hversu> how, however -- how
  • liðit -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <lið> people; band, host; troops; herd; help, aid + definite article; nominative singular neuter of <inn> the -- the retinue
  • stóð -- verb; 3rd singular past of <standa> stand (firm); get up; take up a position; be in a place; remain valid; be in a specified condition; trend, flow; weigh -- was positioned
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • skipaðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <skipa (að)> array, draw up; assign (a seat); put in order; set; occupy -- he arranged
  • þæim -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative plural masculine of <> that -- them
  • framar -- adverb; comparative of <fram> forward, on; away; out -- further forward
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- as
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • villde -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vilja> will, wish, be willing; intend -- wanted
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he

Ok í þesse ræið fell hestrenn undir hanum oc konongrenn framm af, oc mǽllti, "Fall er farar hæill."

  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- during
  • þesse -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular feminine of <sjá> this -- this
  • ræið -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <reið> chariot; riding -- ride
  • fell -- verb; 3rd singular past of <falla> fall, fall down; flow; be slain -- falls
  • hestrenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hestr> stallion, horse + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- the horse
  • undir -- preposition; <undir> under, below; beneath; up to; behind -- beneath
  • hanum -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- him
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • konongrenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- the king
  • framm -- adverb; <fram> forward, on; away; out -- from
  • af -- preposition; <af> out of, from; with; concerning; because of -- off (it)
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • mǽllti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- he said
  • fall -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <fall> fall -- a fall
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • farar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <fǫr> journey, expedition -- for a journey
  • hæill -- noun, feminine/neuter; nominative singular of <heill> good luck; good omen -- a good sign

Þá mǽllti Haraldr Ænghla konongr viðr Norðmenn þá er með hanum váro, "Kenndo þér þenn hinn myckla meðr þæim blá kyrtli oc hin faghra hialm, er þer skaut sér af hestinum frem?

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • mǽllti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- spoke
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • Ænghla -- proper noun, masculine plural; genitive of <Englar> Angles, the English -- of the Angles
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • viðr -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- with
  • Norðmenn -- proper noun, masculine; accusative plural of <Norðmaðr> a Norwegian -- of the Norsemen
  • þá -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative plural masculine of <> that -- ...
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- who
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • hanum -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- him
  • váro -- verb; 3rd plural past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- were
  • kenndo -- verb; 3rd plural past <kenna (d)> know; perceive; taste; feel; recognize; name, tell; teach -- do... know
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you # þér from earlier ér, with þ co-opted from the 2nd pers. pl. verb ending
  • þenn -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <> that -- that
  • hinn -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <hinn> this one; that; the -- ...
  • myckla -- adjective; weak accusative singular masculine of <mikill> great, large, big; severe -- noble (man)
  • meðr -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • þæim -- demonstrative used as adjective; dative singular masculine of <> that -- the
  • blá -- adjective; weak dative singular masculine of <blár> blue; black -- blue
  • kyrtli -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <kyrtil> kirtle, tunic -- kirtle
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • hin -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <hinn> this one; that; the -- ...
  • faghra -- adjective; weak accusative singular masculine of <fagr (ran)> fair, beautiful -- impressive
  • hialm -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <hjálmr> helmet -- helmet # Notice the switch from dative (þæim... kyrtli) to accusative (hinn... hialm) after með.
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- who
  • þer -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place -- ...
  • skaut -- verb; 3rd singular past of <skjóta> shoot, throw -- launched
  • sér -- reflexive pronoun; dative of <sik> him-, her-, it-self; them-selves; one-self -- himself
  • af -- preposition; <af> out of, from; with; concerning; because of -- off
  • hestinum -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <hestr> stallion, horse + definite article; dative singular masculine of <inn> the -- his horse
  • frem -- adverb; <fram> forward, on; away; out -- ...

Þeir svaraðo, "Kennom vér; þet var Norðmanna konongr." Þá mǽllti Ænghla konongr, "Mikill maðr oc hǫfðinghlegr er hann, oc hitt er nú venna at farinn sé at hamingiu."

  • þeir -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <> that -- they
  • svaraðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <svara (að)> answer -- answered
  • kennom -- verb; 1st plural present <kenna (d)> know; perceive; taste; feel; recognize; name, tell; teach -- know
  • vér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ek> I -- we
  • þet -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • Norðmanna -- proper noun, masculine; genitive plural of <Norðmaðr> a Norwegian -- of the Norsemen
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- the king
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • mǽllti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- said
  • Ænghla -- proper noun, masculine plural; genitive of <Englar> Angles, the English -- of the Angles
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- the king
  • mikill -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <mikill> great, large, big; severe -- a great
  • maðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- man
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • hǫfðinghlegr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <hǫfðinghlegr> princely -- princely
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • hitt -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <hinn> this one; that; the -- it
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • -- adverb; <> now -- ...
  • venna -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of comparative of <vænn> likely; fair to behold -- likely
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • farinn -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- come
  • -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- has
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • hamingiu -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <hamingja> luck -- (the end of his) luck

Nú ríða fram xx riddarar fyrir fylking Norðmanna oc allir albryniaðer. Þá mǽlti æinn riddarenn, "Hvar er Tósti iarl, hvárt er hann í liði eða æighi?"

  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • ríða -- verb; 3rd plural present of <ríða> ride; ride over -- ride
  • fram -- adverb; <fram> forward, on; away; out -- out
  • xx -- numeral; <tuttugu> twenty -- 20
  • riddarar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <riddari> rider, horseman -- horsemen
  • fyrir -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- before
  • fylking -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <fylking> battle array, host -- the host
  • Norðmanna -- proper noun, masculine; genitive plural of <Norðmaðr> a Norwegian -- of the Norsemen
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • allir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all (are)
  • albryniaðer -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <albryniaðr> all clad in mail, in a byrnie -- clad in mail
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • mǽlti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- said
  • æinn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- one
  • riddarenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <riddari> rider, horseman + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- horseman
  • hvar -- adverb; <hvar> where; everywhere -- where
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • Tósti -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Tósti> Tosti -- Tosti
  • iarl -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <jarl> earl; free-born man, gentleman -- earl
  • hvárt -- conjunction; <hvárt> whether; (introduces direct question); however -- ...
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • liði -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <lið> people; band, host; troops; herd; help, aid -- the troop
  • eða -- conjunction; <eða> or; and; but -- or
  • æighi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not

Hann svaraðe, "Eighi er því at lœyna, hér munu þér hann finna megha." Þá mǽllti enn riddarenn: "Haraldr konongr bróðer yðar sændi yðr kvæðiu oc þer meðr þet, at þér skulur hafa grið oc Norðymbraland allt, oc ænn vill hann, hælldr enn þit bæriz, gefa yðr þriðiung ríkis síns meðr sér."

  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • svaraðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <svara (að)> answer -- answered
  • eighi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • því -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular neuter of <> that -- it... (that)
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • lœyna -- verb; infinitive of <leyna (d)> conceal -- be concealed
  • hér -- adverb; <hér> here -- here
  • munu -- verb; 3rd plural present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- might
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you # þér from earlier ér, with þ co-opted from the 2nd pers. pl. verb ending
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- him
  • finna -- verb; infinitive of <finna> find, meet; discover; notice; invent -- find
  • megha -- verb; infinitive of <mega> be able to, can; may -- be able
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • mǽllti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- said
  • enn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- one
  • riddarenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <riddari> rider, horseman + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- horseman
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • bróðer -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <bróðir> brother -- brother
  • yðar -- pronoun; genitive plural of <þú> thou, you -- your
  • sændi -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <senda (d)> send -- would send # sændi (here = sendi) could be present subjunctive, past indicative, or past subjunctive in form.
  • yðr -- pronoun; dative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • kvæðiu -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <kveðja> greeting, salute -- greetings
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • þer -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place -- ...
  • meðr -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- in addition to
  • þet -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • skulur -- verb; 2nd plural present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- should # -ir/-er alternate endings for 2nd person plural in Old Norwegian
  • hafa -- verb; infinitive of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- have
  • grið -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <grið> (pl.) peace, protection -- protection
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Norðymbraland -- proper noun, neuter; accusative singular of <Norðymbraland> Northumbria -- Northumberland
  • allt -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- the whole of
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • ænn -- adverb; <enn> still; also; yet; further; again; moreover; even -- further
  • vill -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vilja> will, wish, be willing; intend -- wishes
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • hælldr -- adverb; <heldr> rather, any the more -- rather
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- than
  • þit -- pronoun; nominative dual of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • bæriz -- verb; 2nd plural present subjunctive middle of <berja (barði)> smite, beat; (refl.) fight -- fight # bæriz = berizk, subjunctive or indicative in form.
  • gefa -- verb; infinitive of <gefa> give; give in marriage; (impers.) be obtainable -- to give
  • yðr -- pronoun; dative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • þriðiung -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <þriðiungr> third part -- a third
  • ríkis -- noun, neuter; genitive singular of <ríki> kingdom; power, authority -- of... kingdom
  • síns -- possessive adjective; genitive singular neuter of <sínn> own, one's own -- his
  • meðr -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- beside
  • sér -- reflexive pronoun; dative of <sik> him-, her-, it-self; them-selves; one-self -- him

Þá svaraðe iarlenn, "Boðet er þá nǫccut annat enn úfriðr oc svívirðinginn sem í vetr, oc en þetta vǽre fyrr boðet, þá vǽre marghr maðr sá hæill oc meðr lífi er nú er æighi, oc þá mun æighi verr standa ríki Englanz. Nú takum vér þenna kost; enn hvat vilir þér nú bióða Haraldi kononge firir sitt starf?"

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- ...
  • svaraðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <svara (að)> answer -- answered
  • iarlenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <jarl> earl; free-born man, gentleman + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- the earl
  • boðet -- past participle; nominative singular neuter of <bjóða> offer, provide; command, summon -- a request for
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- there is
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- now
  • nǫccut -- adjective used as substantive; nominative singular neuter of <nakkvarr, nǫkkurr> a, a certain; any -- something
  • annat -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <annarr> other, another; second, next; one (of two) -- other
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- than
  • úfriðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <ófriðr> hostility, war -- the hostility
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • svívirðinginn -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <svívirðing> disgrace + definite article; nominative singular feminine of <inn> the -- disgrace
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- ...
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- of
  • vetr -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <vetr> winter -- (last) winter
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- ...
  • en -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- but
  • þetta -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <sjá> this -- that
  • vǽre -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- had... been
  • fyrr -- adverb; <fyrr> before; first; until -- before
  • boðet -- past participle; nominative singular neuter of <bjóða> offer, provide; command, summon -- sought
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • vǽre -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- would be
  • marghr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <margr> many (a) -- many a
  • maðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- man
  • -- demonstrative used as adjective; nominative singular masculine of <> that -- ...
  • hæill -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <heill> sound, safe; in health -- sound
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • meðr -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • lífi -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <líf> life -- life
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- who
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • æighi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- ...
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- might
  • æighi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- none
  • verr -- comparative adverb; <verr> worse -- the worse (for it)
  • standa -- verb; infinitive of <standa> stand (firm); get up; take up a position; be in a place; remain valid; be in a specified condition; trend, flow; weigh -- be
  • ríki -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <ríki> kingdom; power, authority -- kingdom
  • Englanz -- proper noun, neuter; genitive singular of <England> England -- of England
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • takum -- verb; 1st plural present of <taka> take, take hold of; seize, capture; take to oneself, undertake; choose; accept, receive; begin (with infin.); reach, touch, strike against; happen, come to pass -- have # Note a shows no u-mutation, a feature characteristic of Old Norwegian.
  • vér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ek> I -- we
  • þenna -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <sjá> this -- an
  • kost -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <kostr> choice, alternative; offer; chance, opportunity; money available; match, marriage; condition, quality; terms -- alternative
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- but
  • hvat -- interrogative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every -- what
  • vilir -- verb; 2nd plural present of <vilja> will, wish, be willing; intend -- would # -ir/-er alternate endings for 2nd person plural in Old Norwegian
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • bióða -- verb; infinitive of <bjóða> offer, provide; command, summon -- offer
  • Haraldi -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • kononge -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • firir -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- for
  • sitt -- possessive adjective; accusative singular neuter of <sínn> own, one's own -- his
  • starf -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <starf> work, trouble -- trouble

Þá svaraðe riddarenn: "Sact hæfir hann þer nǫcut af hværs hann mun hanom unna af Englande, hann scal hafa vii fæta længð -- oc því længra, sem hann er hǽrre enn aðrir menn."

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • svaraðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <svara (að)> answer -- answered
  • riddarenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <riddari> rider, horseman + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- the horseman
  • sact -- past participle; accusative singular neuter of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • hæfir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- ...
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • þer -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place -- there
  • nǫcut -- adjective used as substantive; nominative singular neuter of <nakkvarr, nǫkkurr> a, a certain; any -- something
  • af -- preposition; <af> out of, from; with; concerning; because of -- ...
  • hværs -- interrogative pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every -- of how much
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- would
  • hanom -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- him
  • unna -- verb; infinitive of <unna> not grudge; grant, allow; love -- grant
  • af -- preposition; <af> out of, from; with; concerning; because of -- of
  • Englande -- proper noun, neuter; dative singular of <England> England -- England
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • scal -- verb; 3rd singular present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- shall
  • hafa -- verb; infinitive of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- have
  • vii -- numeral; <sjau> seven -- of seven
  • fæta -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <fótr> foot; leg -- feet
  • længð -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <lengð> length -- a plot
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • því -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular neuter of <> that -- by as much
  • længra -- adverb; comparative of <lengi> long; far; for a long time -- longer
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- as
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • hǽrre -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of comparative of <hár> tall, high; loud -- taller
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- than
  • aðrir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <annarr> other, another; second, next; one (of two) -- other
  • menn -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- men

Þá svaraðe iarlenn, "Farit nú oc sæghit Haraldi kononge at hann búiz til orrosto, firir því at annat skal sannaz enn þet sem Norðmenn sǫghðu at Tósti iarl munde svíkia Harald konong oc skiliaz viðr hann, þeghar hann skulde bæriaz um, oc fylla þá flock fiándmanna hans, enn hældr skulum vér nú taca allir æitt ráð, dœya hældr með sœmd eða fá Ængland með sighri."

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- ...
  • svaraðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <svara (að)> answer -- responded
  • iarlenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <jarl> earl; free-born man, gentleman + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- the earl
  • farit -- verb; 2nd plural imperative of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- go # -it/-et alternate endings for 2nd person plural in Old Norwegian
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • sæghit -- verb; 2nd plural imperative of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- tell # -it/-et alternate endings for 2nd person plural in Old Norwegian
  • Haraldi -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • kononge -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • búiz -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive middle of <búa> be ready, prepare, secure -- should ready himself
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- for
  • orrosto -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <orrosta> battle -- battle
  • firir -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- ...
  • því -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular neuter of <> that -- ...
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- since
  • annat -- adjective used as substantive; nominative singular neuter of <annarr> other, another; second, next; one (of two) -- something else
  • skal -- verb; 3rd singular present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- will
  • sannaz -- verb; infinitive of <sanna (að)> affirm; (refl.) prove to be true -- prove true
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- than
  • þet -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- which
  • Norðmenn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative plural of <Norðmaðr> a Norwegian -- the Norsemen
  • sǫghðu -- verb; 3rd plural past of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • Tósti -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Tósti> Tosti -- Tosti
  • iarl -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <jarl> earl; free-born man, gentleman -- earl
  • munde -- verb; 3rd singular past of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- would
  • svíkia -- verb; infinitive of <svíkja> betray -- betray
  • Harald -- proper noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konong -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • skiliaz -- verb; infinitive middle of <skilja (ð, d)> divide, separate; disband; understand, perceive -- part
  • viðr -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- with
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- him
  • þeghar -- adverb; <þegar> at once -- at once
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • skulde -- verb; 3rd singular past of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- would
  • bæriaz -- verb; infinitive of <berja (barði)> smite, beat; (refl.) fight -- fight
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • fylla -- verb; infinitive of <fylla (d)> fill; complete; increase -- increase
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- ...
  • flock -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <flokkr> body of men; short lay -- the number
  • fiándmanna -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <fjándmaðr> enemy -- of... enemies
  • hans -- demonstrative used as pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <hann> this one -- his
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- but
  • hældr -- adverb; <heldr> rather, any the more -- rather
  • skulum -- verb; 1st plural present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- will
  • vér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ek> I -- we
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • taca -- verb; infinitive of <taka> take, take hold of; seize, capture; take to oneself, undertake; choose; accept, receive; begin (with infin.); reach, touch, strike against; happen, come to pass -- adopt
  • allir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • æitt -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- a single
  • ráð -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <ráð> advice, counsel; expedient, means; plan; agreement -- purpose
  • dœya -- verb; infinitive of <deyja> die, pass away -- to die
  • hældr -- adverb; <heldr> rather, any the more -- ...
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • sœmd -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <sœmð, sœmd> honor; redress, compensation -- honor
  • eða -- conjunction; <eða> or; and; but -- or
  • -- verb; infinitive of <> get, take; catch; have, make use of; put; give; receive; suffer; (with ppart.) be able to, get accomplished; (mid.) take place; struggle -- to take
  • Ængland -- proper noun, neuter; accusative singular of <England> England -- England
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- in
  • sighri -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <sigr (rs)> victory -- victory

Nú riðu riddarar aftr. Þá mǽlti Haralldr konongr Sighurðarsun til iarlsens, "Hvær var þessi hinn snialli maðr?" Þá svaraðe iarlenn, "Þer var Haraldr konongr Goðvinasun."

  • -- adverb; <> now -- ...
  • riðu -- verb; 3rd plural past of <ríða> ride; ride over -- rode
  • riddarar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <riddari> rider, horseman -- the horsemen
  • aftr -- preposition; <eptir> after, behind; for, to obtain; along; according to; in succession to -- back
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • mǽlti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- said
  • Haralldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • Sighurðarsun -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Sighurþarsun> Sigurtharson -- Sigurtharson
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to
  • iarlsens -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <jarl> earl; free-born man, gentleman + definite article; genitive singular masculine of <inn> the -- the earl
  • hvær -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every -- who
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • þessi -- demonstrative used as adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sjá> this -- that
  • hinn -- demonstrative used as adjective; nominative singular masculine of <hinn> this one; that; the -- ...
  • snialli -- adjective; weak nominative singular masculine of <snjallr> clever in speech, eloquent; brave -- eloquent
  • maðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- man
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- ...
  • svaraðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <svara (að)> answer -- answered
  • iarlenn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <jarl> earl; free-born man, gentleman + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- the earl
  • þer -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place -- that
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • Goðvinasun -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Goðvinasun> Gothvinasun -- Gothvinasun

Þá mǽlti Haraldr konongr, "Oflængi var ec þesso lœyndr. Þeir váro svá comnir firir lið várt, at æighi munde þesse Haraldr kunna sæghia dǫuðarorð várra manna."

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- ...
  • mǽlti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- said
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • oflængi -- adverb; <oflængi> too long -- too long
  • var -- verb; 1st singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • þesso -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular neuter of <sjá> this -- of this
  • lœyndr -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <leyna (d)> conceal -- ignorant
  • þeir -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <hann> this one -- they
  • váro -- verb; 3rd plural past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- ...
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • comnir -- past participle; nominative plural masculine of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- came
  • firir -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- before
  • lið -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <lið> people; band, host; troops; herd; help, aid -- troop
  • várt -- possessive adjective; accusative singular neuter of <várr> our, of us -- our
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • æighi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • munde -- verb; 3rd singular past of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- might
  • þesse -- demonstrative used as adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sjá> this -- this
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • kunna -- verb; infinitive of <kunna> know, know how to; be able -- be permitted
  • sæghia -- verb; infinitive of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- to pronounce
  • dǫuðarorð -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <dǫuðarorð> tidings of death -- death-tidings # segja dǫuðarorð einhvess 'to slay someone in battle'
  • várra -- possessive adjective; genitive plural masculine of <várr> our, of us -- our
  • manna -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- men's

"Satt er þet, herra," saghðe iarlinn, "úvarlegha fór þvílícr hǫfðingi oc væra mǽtti þetta er nú sæghi þér; sannum vér þat, en hann vilde þó bióða brœðr sínum grið oc mikit valld, oc vǽri ec víst þá callaðr værri hǫfðingi, þó at þenn cost tœ'kem vér, hældre enn ec biðaðe svá ælli at ec være banamaðr bróðor míns; enn þó er bætra at þiggja bana af brœðr sínum enn væita honom bana."

  • satt -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <sannr, saðr> true -- true
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • þet -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • herra -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <herra> lord -- lord
  • saghðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • iarlinn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <jarl> earl; free-born man, gentleman + definite article; nominative singular masculine of <inn> the -- the earl
  • úvarlegha -- adverb; <óvarliga> incautiously -- incautiously
  • fór -- verb; 3rd singular past of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- proceeded
  • þvílícr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <þvílíkr> such -- quite
  • hǫfðingi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hǫfðingi> chief, ruler -- the chief
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • væra -- verb; infinitive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- be (true)
  • mǽtti -- verb; 3rd singular past subjunctive of <mega> be able to, can; may -- might # indicative or subjunctive in form
  • þetta -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <sjá> this -- that
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- which
  • -- adverb; <> now -- ...
  • sæghi -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you # þér from earlier ér, with þ co-opted from the 2nd pers. pl. verb ending
  • sannum -- verb; 1st plural present of <sanna (að)> affirm; (refl.) prove to be true -- agree on # Note a shows no u-mutation, a feature characteristic of Old Norwegian.
  • vér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ek> I -- we
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- this
  • en -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- but
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • vilde -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vilja> will, wish, be willing; intend -- wanted
  • þó -- adverb; <þó> yet, and yet; however, nevertheless -- though
  • bióða -- verb; infinitive of <bjóða> offer, provide; command, summon -- to offer
  • brœðr -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <bróðir> brother -- brother
  • sínum -- possessive adjective; dative singular masculine of <sínn> own, one's own -- his
  • grið -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <grið> (pl.) peace, protection -- peace
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • mikit -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <mikill> great, large, big; severe -- great
  • valld -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <vald> power, control -- power
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- ...
  • vǽri -- verb; 1st singular past subjunctive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- would... be
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • víst -- adjective used as substantive; accusative singular neuter of <víss> certain, wise -- certainly
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- ...
  • callaðr -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <kalla> call, cry out; name; say, declare -- called
  • værri -- comparative adjective; nominative singular masculine of <verri> worse -- a worse
  • hǫfðingi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hǫfðingi> chief, ruler -- leader
  • þó -- adverb; <þó> yet, and yet; however, nevertheless -- rather
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- if
  • þenn -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <> that -- the
  • cost -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <kostr> choice, alternative; offer; chance, opportunity; money available; match, marriage; condition, quality; terms -- offer
  • tœ'kem -- verb; 1st plural present subjunctive of <taka> take, take hold of; seize, capture; take to oneself, undertake; choose; accept, receive; begin (with infin.); reach, touch, strike against; happen, come to pass -- should take
  • vér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ek> I -- we
  • hældre -- adverb; <heldr> rather, any the more -- ...
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- and
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • biðaðe -- verb; 1st singular past subjunctive of <biða (að)> await -- might have awaited # biðaðe = biðaða
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- such
  • ælli -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <elli> old age -- old age
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • være -- verb; 1st singular past subjunctive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- would... be
  • banamaðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <banamaðr> slayer -- killer
  • bróðor -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <bróðir> brother -- brother's
  • míns -- possessive adjective; genitive singular masculine of <minn> my, mine, of me -- my
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- for
  • þó -- adverb; <þó> yet, and yet; however, nevertheless -- ...
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- it is
  • bætra -- comparative adjective; nominative singular neuter of <betri> better -- better
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • þiggja -- verb; infinitive of <þiggja> accept, receive -- accept
  • bana -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <bani> death; cause of death, slayer -- death
  • af -- preposition; <af> out of, from; with; concerning; because of -- from
  • brœðr -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <bróðir> brother -- brother
  • sínum -- possessive adjective; dative singular masculine of <sínn> own, one's own -- your
  • enn -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- than
  • væita -- verb; infinitive of <veita (tt)> grant, give; help; pay, yield; (recip.) back one another -- to grant
  • honom -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- to him
  • bana -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <bani> death; cause of death, slayer -- death

"Lítil konongr var þesse," saghðe Haraldr konongr, "oc stóð væl í stigræip sin." Þet sæghia menn, at Haraldr konongr kvǽðe vísu þessa:

  • lítil -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <lítill> little, short -- a small
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • þesse -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sjá> this -- that one
  • saghðe -- verb; 3rd singular past of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • stóð -- verb; 3rd singular past of <standa> stand (firm); get up; take up a position; be in a place; remain valid; be in a specified condition; trend, flow; weigh -- stood
  • væl -- adverb; <vel> well, readily, easily -- well
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • stigræip -- noun, neuter; accusative plural <stigræip> stirrup -- stirrups
  • sin -- possessive adjective; dative singular masculine of <sínn> own, one's own -- his
  • þet -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- ...
  • sæghia -- verb; 3rd plural present of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- say
  • menn -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- men
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • kvǽðe -- verb; 3rd singular past subjunctive of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- recited
  • vísu -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <vísa> verse, stanza -- verse
  • þessa -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular feminine of <sjá> this -- this

"Fram gengom vér í fylkingu,
        bryniulausir meðr blár æggiar;
        hialmar skína, hæfkaðek mína;
        nú liggr scrúð várt at scipum niðri."

  • fram -- adverb; <fram> forward, on; away; out -- forth
  • gengom -- verb; 1st plural past of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- went
  • vér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ek> I -- we
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • fylkingu -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <fylking> battle array, host -- the ranks
  • bryniulausir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <brynjulauss> without mail, unprotected -- byrnie-less
  • meðr -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • blár -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <blár> blue; black -- blue
  • æggiar -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <egg> edge -- edges
  • hialmar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <hjálmr> helmet -- helmets
  • skína -- verb; 3rd plural present of <skína> shine, gleam -- shine
  • hæfkaðek -- verb; 1st singular present of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I + enclitic adverb; <at> not + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I have not # hæfkaðek = hef-ek-at-ek
  • mína -- possessive adjective; accusative plural masculine of <minn> my, mine, of me -- mine
  • -- adverb; <> now -- ...
  • liggr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <liggja> be situated; lie (down); be slain -- lies
  • scrúð -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <skrúð> cloth, stuff; mailcoat -- coat
  • várt -- possessive adjective; nominative singular neuter of <várr> our, of us -- my
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- on
  • scipum -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <skip> ship, boat -- the ship
  • niðri -- adverb; <niðri> down; below -- below

Emma hét brynia hans; hon tóc ofan í mitt bæin hanum, oc svá stærk at æcki festi vápn á henne. Þá mǽlti Haraldr konongr, "Þetta er illa ort, oc scal gæra nú aðra vísu bætri." oc cvað þá þetta:

  • Emma -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Emma> Emma -- Emma
  • hét -- verb; 3rd singular past of <heita> to call, name; promise; be called, be named -- was called
  • brynia -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <brynja> coat of mail -- byrnie
  • hans -- demonstrative used as pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <hann> this one -- his
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- it
  • tóc -- verb; 3rd singular past of <taka> take, take hold of; seize, capture; take to oneself, undertake; choose; accept, receive; begin (with infin.); reach, touch, strike against; happen, come to pass -- went
  • ofan -- adverb; <ofan> from above, down; southwards -- all the way down
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- to
  • mitt -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <miðr> middle, the middle of -- the middle of
  • bæin -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <bein> bone; ivory -- leg
  • hanum -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- his
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • stærk -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <sterkr> strong -- (was)... strong
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • æcki -- adverb; <ekki> not, by no means -- no
  • festi -- verb; 3rd singular past of <festa (t)> fasten; strengthen; learn by heart; bite, take effect on -- had any effect
  • vápn -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <vápn> weapon -- weapon
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- on
  • henne -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- it
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • mǽlti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <mæla (t)> speak -- said
  • Haraldr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haraldr> Harald -- Harald
  • konongr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <konungr> king -- king
  • þetta -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <sjá> this -- that
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • illa -- adverb; <illa> ill, badly -- poorly
  • ort -- past participle; nominative singular neuter of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- composed
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- so
  • scal -- verb; 1st singular present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- I shall
  • gæra -- verb; infinitive of <gøra> make, build; write, compose -- devise
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • aðra -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <annarr> other, another; second, next; one (of two) -- another
  • vísu -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <vísa> verse, stanza -- verse
  • bætri -- comparative adjective; accusative singular feminine of <betri> better -- better
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • cvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- recited
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • þetta -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sjá> this -- this

"Kriúpum vér firir vópna
        (valtæigs) brǫkon æighi
        (svá bauð Hilldr) at hialdri
        (haldorð) í bugh skialdar;
        hátt bað mec, þer's mœtozt,
        mennskurð bera forðom,
        lackar ís oc hǫusar,
        hialmstal í gný malma."

  • kriúpum -- verb; 1st plural present of <krjúpa> creep, crouch -- do... creep
  • vér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ek> I -- we
  • firir -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- before
  • vópna -- noun, neuter; genitive plural of <vápn> weapon -- of weapons
  • valtæigs -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <valtæigr> hawk's ground, i.e. the arm -- of the hawk's land # Words in parentheses should be taken together to form one unified clause.
  • brǫkon -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <brǫkon> clashing -- the clashing
  • æighi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • bauð -- verb; 3rd singular past of <bjóða> offer, provide; command, summon -- commanded
  • Hilldr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hildr> Hildr, a valkyrie -- the lady
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- in
  • hialdri -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <hjaldr (rs)> battle -- battle
  • haldorð -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <haldorðr> true of word -- true of speech
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- behind
  • bugh -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <bughr> curve -- the curve
  • skialdar -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <skjǫldr> shield -- of the shield
  • hátt -- adjective used as substantive; accusative singular neuter of <hár> tall, high; loud -- on high
  • bað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <biðja> ask; beg; pray; bid -- bade
  • mec -- pronoun; accusative singular of <ek> I -- me
  • þer's -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- where # þer's = þar + es = þar er
  • mœtozt -- verb; 3rd plural present middle of <mœta (tt)> meet; deal with; (mid.) join, meet -- meet
  • mennskurð -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mennskurð> weaver of necklace, lady -- the lady
  • bera -- verb; infinitive of <bera> bear, bring, carry; wear; give birth to; overcome; endure; bear (witness) -- to carry
  • forðom -- adverb; <forðum> formerly, some time ago -- long ago
  • lackar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <hlǫkk> clash; battle -- of battle
  • ís -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <íss> ice, icicle -- the ice # ís for expected íss; 'the ice of battle' = 'the gleaming sword'
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • hǫusar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <hauss> skull -- skulls
  • hialmstal -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <hjalmstallr> the support of the helmet, i.e. the head -- the helmet's seat
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- into
  • gný -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <gnýr> clash, din -- the clash
  • malma -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <málmr> metal -- of metal

Nú væita Ænglar Norðmǫnnum áreið oc varð á mót viðrtaca hǫrð, oc svá váro sættar kæsiurnar oc koms þet mest viðr hestana.

  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • væita -- verb; 3rd plural present of <veita (tt)> grant, give; help; pay, yield; (recip.) back one another -- give
  • Ænglar -- proper noun, masculine plural; nominative of <Englar> Angles, the English -- the Angles
  • Norðmǫnnum -- proper noun, masculine; dative plural of <Norðmaðr> a Norwegian -- the Norsemen
  • áreið -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <áreið> cavalry charge -- a charge
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • varð -- verb; 3rd singular past of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- comes
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- in
  • mót -- preposition; <móti> against; towards; to meet -- return
  • viðrtaca -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <viðrtaca> reception, defense -- reception
  • hǫrð -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <harðr> hard, severe, sharp -- a harsh
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • váro -- verb; 3rd plural past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- were
  • sættar -- past participle; nominative plural feminine of <setja> set, place, put; seat; set up; establish; endow; direct; hurl; adorn -- set
  • kæsiurnar -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <kæsia> a kind of halberd, long spear + definite article; nominative plural feminine of <inn> the -- the long spears
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • koms -- verb; 3rd singular past middle of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- hit
  • þet -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <> that -- it
  • mest -- superlative adjective; nominative singular neuter of <mestr> most, greatest -- hard
  • viðr -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- against
  • hestana -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <hestr> stallion, horse + definite article; accusative plural masculine of <inn> the -- the horses

Lesson Text

Haraldr konongr Sighurðarsun ræið svǫrtum hesti blesóttom firir framan fylking sína ok sá hværsu liðit stóð, ok skipaðe þæim framar er þá villde hann. Ok í þesse ræið fell hestrenn undir hanum oc konongrenn framm af, oc mǽllti, "Fall er farar hæill." Þá mǽllti Haraldr Ænghla konongr viðr Norðmenn þá er með hanum váro, "Kenndo þér þenn hinn myckla meðr þæim blá kyrtli oc hin faghra hialm, er þer skaut sér af hestinum frem? Þeir svaraðo, "Kennom vér; þet var Norðmanna konongr." Þá mǽllti Ænghla konongr, "Mikill maðr oc hǫfðinghlegr er hann, oc hitt er nú venna at farinn sé at hamingiu."

Nú ríða fram xx riddarar fyrir fylking Norðmanna oc allir albryniaðer. Þá mǽlti æinn riddarenn, "Hvar er Tósti iarl, hvárt er hann í liði eða æighi?" Hann svaraðe, "Eighi er því at lœyna, hér munu þér hann finna megha." Þá mǽllti enn riddarenn: "Haraldr konongr bróðer yðar sændi yðr kvæðiu oc þer meðr þet, at þér skulur hafa grið oc Norðymbraland allt, oc ænn vill hann, hælldr enn þit bæriz, gefa yðr þriðiung ríkis síns meðr sér." Þá svaraðe iarlenn, "Boðet er þá nǫccut annat enn úfriðr oc svívirðinginn sem í vetr, oc en þetta vǽre fyrr boðet, þá vǽre marghr maðr sá hæill oc meðr lífi er nú er æighi, oc þá mun æighi verr standa ríki Englanz. Nú takum vér þenna kost; enn hvat vilir þér nú bióða Haraldi kononge firir sitt starf?" Þá svaraðe riddarenn: "Sact hæfir hann þer nǫcut af hværs hann mun hanom unna af Englande, hann scal hafa vii fæta længð -- oc því længra, sem hann er hǽrre enn aðrir menn." Þá svaraðe iarlenn, "Farit nú oc sæghit Haraldi kononge at hann búiz til orrosto, firir því at annat skal sannaz enn þet sem Norðmenn sǫghðu at Tósti iarl munde svíkia Harald konong oc skiliaz viðr hann, þeghar hann skulde bæriaz um, oc fylla þá flock fiándmanna hans, enn hældr skulum vér nú taca allir æitt ráð, dœya hældr með sœmd eða fá Ængland með sighri."

Nú riðu riddarar aftr. Þá mǽlti Haralldr konongr Sighurðarsun til iarlsens, "Hvær var þessi hinn snialli maðr?" Þá svaraðe iarlenn, "Þer var Haraldr konongr Goðvinasun." Þá mǽlti Haraldr konongr, "Oflængi var ec þesso lœyndr. Þeir váro svá comnir firir lið várt, at æighi munde þesse Haraldr kunna sæghia dǫuðarorð várra manna." "Satt er þet, herra," saghðe iarlinn, "úvarlegha fór þvílícr hǫfðingi oc væra mǽtti þetta er nú sæghi þér; sannum vér þat, en hann vilde þó bióða brœðr sínum grið oc mikit valld, oc vǽri ec víst þá callaðr værri hǫfðingi, þó at þenn cost tœ'kem vér, hældre enn ec biðaðe svá ælli at ec være banamaðr bróðor míns; enn þó er bætra at þiggja bana af brœðr sínum enn væita honom bana." "Lítil konongr var þesse," saghðe Haraldr konongr, "oc stóð væl í stigræip sin." Þet sæghia menn, at Haraldr konongr kvǽðe vísu þessa:

"Fram gengom vér í fylkingu,
        bryniulausir meðr blár æggiar;
        hialmar skína, hæfkaðek mína;
        nú liggr scrúð várt at scipum niðri."

Emma hét brynia hans; hon tóc ofan í mitt bæin hanum, oc svá stærk at æcki festi vápn á henne. Þá mǽlti Haraldr konongr, "Þetta er illa ort, oc scal gæra nú aðra vísu bætri." oc cvað þá þetta:

"Kriúpum vér firir vópna
        (valtæigs) brǫkon æighi
        (svá bauð Hilldr) at hialdri
        (haldorð) í bugh skialdar;
        hátt bað mec, þer's mœtozt,
        mennskurð bera forðom,
        lackar ís oc hǫusar,
        hialmstal í gný malma."

Nú væita Ænglar Norðmǫnnum áreið oc varð á mót viðrtaca hǫrð, oc svá váro sættar kæsiurnar oc koms þet mest viðr hestana.

Translation

King Harald Sigurtharson rode on a black horse with a white mark out before his troop and saw how the retinue was positioned, and he arranged them further forward, as he then wanted. And during this ride the horse fell beneath him, and the king from off it, and he said: 'A fall is a good sign for a journey.'
Then Harald, king of the Angles, spoke with the Norsemen who were with him: 'Do you know that noble man with the blue kirtle and impressive helmet, who launched himself off his horse?' They answered, 'We know him; that was the king of the Norsemen.' Then the king of the Angles said, 'He is a great and princely man, and it is likely that he has come to the end of his luck.'
Now 20 horsemen ride out before the host of the Norsemen and all are clad in mail. Then one horseman said, 'Where is earl Tosti -- is he in the troop or not?' He answered, 'It is not to be concealed that you might be able to find him here.' Then the horseman said, 'King Harald your brother would send you greetings and in addition to this, that you should have protection and the whole of Northumberland; and further he wishes, rather than you fight, to give you a third of his kingdom beside him.' The earl answered, 'Now there is a request for something other than the hostility and disgrace of last winter; but had that been sought before, then sound and with life would be many a man who now is not, and the kingdom of England might be none the worse for it. Now we have an alternative; but what would you now offer King Harald for his trouble?' Then the horseman answered, 'He said there something of how much of England he would grant him, he shall have a plot of 7 feet -- and longer by as much as he is taller than other men!' The earl responded, 'Go now and tell King Harald that he should ready himself for battle, since something else will prove true than that which the Norsemen said, that Earl Tosti would betray King Harald and part with him, he would fight at once, and increase the number of his enemies; but rather we all will now adopt a single purpose, to die with honor, or to take England in victory.'
The horsemen rode back. Then King Harald Sigurtharson said to the earl, 'Who was that eloquent man?' The earl answered, 'That was King Harald Gothvinason.' King Harald said, 'Too long was I ignorant of this. They came before our troop so that this Harald might not be permitted to pronounce our men's death-tidings.' 'That is true, lord', said the earl, 'the chief proceeded quite incautiously and that which you say might be true; we agree on this, but though he wanted to offer his brother peace and great power, I would certainly be called a worse leader rather if we should take the offer and I might have awaited such old age that I be my brother's killer; for it is better to accept death from your brother than to grant death to him.' 'That one was a small king,' said King Harald, 'and stood well in his stirrups.' Men say that King Harald recited this verse:
    'We went forth in the ranks,
    byrnie-less, with blue edges;
    helmets shine, I have not mine;
    my coat lies on the ship below.'
His byrnie was called Emma; it went all the way down to the middle of his leg, and was so strong that no weapon had any effect on it. Then King Harald said, 'That was poorly composed, so I shall now devise another better verse', and then recited this:
    'We do not creep in battle,
    before the clashing of weapons,
    behind the curve of the shield --
    so commanded the lady of the hawk's land, true of speech;
    the lady bade me, where meet
    skulls and the ice of battle,
    long ago to carry on high
    the helmet's seat into the clash of metal.'
Now the Angles give the Norsemen a charge and a harsh reception comes in return, and so the long spears were set and it hit hard against the horses.

Grammar

31. The Fifth Strong Conjugation

The fifth strong conjugation comprises verbs whose stem ends in a single non-resonant consonant (i.e. a consonant other than l, r, m, n), and whose present stem vowel is e or i. The ablaut series is as follows.

    e, i -- a -- á, from Proto-Germanic e -- a -- ǣ.

The typical present stem vowel is e, but some verbs have present stems which are followed by a j-augment. This has the effect of raising the stem vowel from e to i, which remains throughout the entire present system. The most common verbs of this type are biðja 'bid, ask', stem biðj-, and sitja 'sit', stem sitj-. Some examples of present forms are the following: ek bið, þú sitr, vér biðjum, þér sitið, þeir biðja. The remaining forms follow the normal pattern of the fifth conjugation: ek bað, þú sazt, v'er sátum, þér báðuð, beðinn, setinn.

The verbs liggja 'lie, recline' and þiggja 'accept, receive' have stems ending in a doubled consonant and a j-augment: liggj-, þiggj-. The augment does not appear in the past forms; the past stems ended in a single consonant, which disappeared in the singular forms by the time of the ON texts. The past plural forms are regular, retaining the single consonant. Consider the following forms:

  • present: ek ligg, hann þiggr, vér liggjum, þér þiggið;
  • past singular: ek lá, þú látt, hann þá;
  • past plural: vér lágum, þér láguð, þeir þágu;
  • past participle: leginn, þeginn.

The verb vega 'slay' (stem veg-) loses the final g of the stem in the past singular, with attendant vowel shift: hann veg, hann vá.

Some verbs show a complex treatment of v within the stem. The combinations (consonant + v + vowel) and (v + back vowel) show different results in the two verbs sofa 'sleep' (stem svef-) and vefa 'weave' (stem vef-). Consider the following forms of sofa:

  • present stem svef-: ek søf, hann søfr, vér sofum, þér sofið;
  • past singular stem svaf-: ek svaf, þú svaft;
  • past plural stem sváf-: vér sváfum, þér sváfuð;
  • past participle svef-: sofinn.

Compare these forms with those of vefa:

  • present stem vef-: ek vef, þú vefr, vér vefum;
  • past singular stem vaf-: ek óf, þú óft;
  • past plural stem vér ófum, þér ófuð;
  • past participle stem vef-: ofinn.

The verb troða 'tread' is irregular, showing o instead of e in the stems of the present forms and of the past participle. The past tense stems are regular. Consider the following forms:

  • present: ek trøð, þú trøðr, vér troðum, þér troðið;
  • past singular: ek trað, þú trazt;
  • past plural: vér tráðum, þér tráðuð;
  • past participle: troðinn.

The verb sjá 'see' belongs to this class, deriving from earlier *seh-. Various changes, however, have made the verb irregular. The present is built from the stems sé-, sjá-, the past singular from -, the past plural from -, and the past participle from -. The forms are as follows.

sjá   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
Present            
1 Sg.        
2   sér   sér   sér
3   sér   sé, sjái, sjáir    
             
1 Pl.   sjám   sém   sjám
2   séð, sjáið   séð   séð, sjáið
3   sjá      
             
Past            
1 Sg.     sæa    
2   sátt   sæir    
3     sæi    
             
1 Pl.   sám   sæim    
2   sáuð   sæið    
3   sá, sáu   sæi    
             
Infinitive   sjá        
             
Pres. Ptc.   sjándi        
             
Past Ptc.   sénn        

The verb reka 'drive', with principal parts reka -- rekr -- rak -- ráku -- ræki -- rekinn, illustrates the typical fifth class strong conjugation. The active forms are as follows.

Class V   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
Present            
1 Sg.   rek   reka    
2   rekr   rekir   rek
3   rekr   reki    
             
1 Pl.   rekum   rekim   rekum
2   rekið   rekið   rekið
3   reka   reki    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   rak   ræka    
2   rakt   rækir    
3   rak   ræki    
             
1 Pl.   rákum   rækim    
2   rákuð   rækið    
3   ráku   ræki    
             
Infinitive   reka        
             
Pres. Ptc.   rekandi        
             
Past Ptc.   rekinn        

The middle forms are listed below.

Class V   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
Present            
1 Sg.   rekumk   rekumk    
2   reksk   rekisk   reksk
3   reksk   rekisk    
             
1 Pl.   rekumsk   rekimsk   rekumsk
2   rekizk   rekizk   rekizk
3   rekask   rekisk    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   rákumk   rækumk    
2   rakzk   rækisk    
3   raksk   rækisk    
             
1 Pl.   rákumsk   rækimsk    
2   rákuzk   rækizk    
3   rákusk   rækisk    
             
Infinitive   rekask        
             
Pres. Ptc.   rekandisk        
             
Past Ptc.   rekizk        
32. The Sixth Strong Conjugation

The sixth strong conjugation consists of verbs whose present stem vowel is a. The stem-final velar consonant (k, g) of some verbs causes fronting of a to e in the past participle. The ablaut series is

    a -- ó -- a, e, from Proto-Germanic a -- ō -- a.

The present stem vowel a is always fronted in the present singular of Class VI verbs. Thus the verb fara 'go' has the following prinicipal parts: fara -- ferr -- fór -- fóru -- fœri -- farinn. Likewise taka 'take' has principal parts taka -- tekr -- tók -- tóku -- tœki -- tekinn. The verb draga 'drag' loses the stem-final g in the past singular, analogous to the verbs stíga (Class I) and fljúga (Class II): ek dró, þú drótt, hann dró.

The verb standa 'stand' loses the -n- outside of the present system. The d remains as ð, so that standa has the stems stand-, stóð-, stóð-, stað-.

The verbs sverja 'swear' (stem svarj-) and hefja 'heave' (stem hafj-) have present stems with a j-augment. This causes fronting of the root vowel in the present stem in both singular (common to all Class VI verbs) and plural. For example, ek sver, vér sverjum, þér sverið; ek hef, þú hefr, þér hefið, þeir hefja.

Verbs containing v before back round vowels lose the v in past singular and plural forms. For example, sverja above has forms ek sór, þú sort, vér sórum, þeir sóru; similarly, vaxa 'grow, wax' (present stem vax-) has past stem óx- in singular and plural, and vaða 'wade' (present stem vað-) has past stem óð- in singular and plural.

The verb slá 'strike, slay' had alternating stems slag-/slah-. Loss of -h led to a new present stem slá-. Other forms follow analogously to draga. The indicative forms are given below:

    Present   Past   Participle
             
Stem   slá-   slah-   slag-
             
1 Sg.   slæ   sló   sleginn
2   slær   slótt    
3   slær   sló    
             
1 Pl.   slám   slógum    
2   sláið   slóguð    
3   slá   slógu    
             

The verb hlæja 'laugh', which originally had a stem-final -g/-h and therefore conjugates similarly, is often listed with the seventh conjugation. Compare the following forms:

  • present hlæj-: ek hlæ, þú hlær, hann hlær, vér hlæjum, þér hlæið, þeir hlæja;
  • past singular hló-: ek hló, þú hlótt, hann hló;
  • past plural hlóg-: vér hlógum, þér hlóguð, þeir hlógu;
  • past participle hleg-: hleginn.

The verb deyja 'die', though a j-augmented verb similar to hlaupa of the seventh conjugation, nevertheless has forms similar to hlæja:

  • present deyj-: ek dey, þú deyr, hann deyr, vér deyjum, þér deyið, þeir deyja;
  • past singular -: ek dó, þú dótt, hann dó;
  • past plural -: vér dóum, þér dóuð, þeir dóu;
  • past participle -: dáinn.

The verb fara 'go', with principal parts fara -- ferr -- fór -- fóru -- fœri -- farinn, illustrates the typical conjugation of the Class VI verbs. The active forms are as follows.

Class VI   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
Present            
1 Sg.   fer   fara    
2   ferr   farir   far
3   ferr   fari    
             
1 Pl.   fǫrum   farim   fǫrum
2   farið   farið   farið
3   fara   fari    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   fór   fœra    
2   fórt   fœrir    
3   fór   fœri    
             
1 Pl.   fórum   fœrim    
2   fóruð   fœrið    
3   fóru   fœri    
             
Infinitive   fara        
             
Pres. Ptc.   farandi        
             
Past Ptc.   farinn        

The middle forms are listed below.

Class VI   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
Present            
1 Sg.   fǫrumk   fǫrumk    
2   fersk   farisk   farsk
3   fersk   farisk    
             
1 Pl.   fǫrumsk   farimsk   fǫrumsk
2   farizk   farizk   farizk
3   farask   farisk    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   fórumk   fœrumk    
2   fórzk   fœrisk    
3   fórsk   fœrisk    
             
1 Pl.   fórumsk   fœrimsk    
2   fóruzk   fœrizk    
3   fórusk   fœrisk    
             
Infinitive   farask        
             
Pres. Ptc.   farandisk        
             
Past Ptc.   farizk        
33. The Genitive Case

The genitive case is the possessive case. This is truly a gross oversimplification; more abstractly, the genitive case denotes relationship of one sort or another. The relation may be possessive, as in Modern English 'the boy's bicycle'; but 'possession' is less appropriate for describing certain relations, e.g. 'the boy's love'. A noun in the genitive may be a logical subject of the noun on which the genitive depends: 'the boy's death'. By contrast, the noun in the genitive could be the logical object: 'Lincoln's assassination'. Suffice it to say, the range of use of the genitive case is quite broad, and its uses in ON are very often paralleled by its uses in Modern English.

The genitive is frequently used to refer to the whole, from which a part has been specified. This is typical with numbers: the decades are treated as nouns, and a genitive is used to specify what is being enumerated. For example, þrír tigir manna 'thirty menn', but literally 'three tens of men'. The usage is the same for a hundred and a thousand. The remaining cardinals, by contrast, are used adjectivally: tuttugu menn 'twenty men'; með fjóra ok þría tegu menn 'with thirty-four men'. The part may be indeterminate: fríðari an hverr maðr annarra 'sooner than all the others' (literally 'sooner than any man of the others'); þú hafir þá ekki dyrsins 'you have nothing of the animal'; snimma dags 'early in the morning'.

The genitive is used to specify characteristic or measure. For example, mikils háttar maðr 'a man of great import'; afreks verk 'a deed of heroism'; þess konar sending 'a message of this sort'; þriggja vetra bjǫrg 'sustenance for three winters (years)'. Typically in ON the material of which something consists is denoted by composition or a prepositional phrase using ór 'out of' or af 'from'. For example, gullker 'a gold vessel' or ker ór (af) gulli 'a vessel of gold'. The genitive may also be used as a complement to several adjectives: ker fult mjaðar 'a vessel full of mead'; einhvers verðr 'worthy of something'; einhvers fúss 'willing (to do) something'; einhvers búenn 'ready for something'; gróinn sára sinna 'healed of his wounds'.

The genitive has a usage with proper names which does not exactly parallel the similar usage in Modern English. Modern English statements like 'they gave him the name of Onund' (meaning 'they gave him the name "Onund"') have their exact counterpart in ON: gáfu honum Ǫnundar nafn. ON however extends such use of the genitive to situations where Modern English would simply use apposition: askr Yggdrasils 'the ash-tree Yggdrasil'.

The genitive may be used in an adverbial sense, independent of any other noun or phrase, to specify time or place. For example, fárra nátta 'within a few nights'; miðra garða 'in between the fences'; sama dags 'on the same day'; loks(ins) 'finally'; annars staðar 'otherwise'; þessa heims ok annars 'in this world and the next'.

Several verbs govern an object in the genitive rather than the accusative. For example, the verbs leita 'seek'; bíða 'await'; in the sense 'obtain a wife'; kenna 'sense'; minnask 'remember' all govern objects in the genitive. Some verbs relating to perception govern two objects, with a person in the accusative and a thing in the genitive. This parallels Modern English constructions of the sort 'ask someone (accusative) about something (genitive)'. Some such verbs in ON are spyrja 'ask'; bíðja 'beg'; eggja 'drive (someone to something)'; letja 'deter'. Other verbs govern a person in the dative and thing in the genitive. For example, hefna 'avenge': á ek at hefna honum mikillar sneypu 'I have a great injustice to avenge upon him.' Some verbs govern objects in the genitive only when used as present participles. For example, ráða einhverju 'to give counsel concerning something', but ert þú nǫkkurs ráðandi hér 'do you have something to advise here?'

34. The Dative Case

The basic function of the dative case is to denote the indirect object, or rather, the referent of an action. Such instances of the dative are usually akin to Modern English constructions using 'to' or 'for'. This basic usage is greatly expanded in ON, where the dative case has also taken on the roles ascribed to the Ablative, Locative, and Instrumental of other Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit. These correspond roughly to Modern English 'from', 'in', and 'with', respectively.

The dative is commonly used in conjunction with adjectives. The so-called dative of cause stems from an instrumental or ablative usage: fegenn einhverju 'pleased about something'. The dative of respect stems from an instrumental usage: fríðastr sýnum 'beautiful to behold'; betri kostum 'richer with opportunities'. With comparative adjectives, the dative has two basic uses, denoting the

  • point of comparison: the dative denotes the origin, or benchmark, of the comparison. For example, Tryggvi var hverjum manni meiri ok sterkari 'Tryggvi was bigger and stronger than any man'; hann fekk eigi mælt tveim orðum lengra samt 'he cannot put more than two words together'.
  • degree of difference: the dative denotes the degree to which the comparison holds. For example, lið miklu meira 'a much bigger troop' (literally 'a troop bigger by much'); viku fyrr 'a week earlier' (literally 'earlier by a week').

The dative also has several independent uses. The following uses stem from the Instrumental function:

  • dative of means or instrument: generally translated by 'with' or 'by means of'. For example, þá tók Hrólfr kraki høgri hendi gullit 'then Hrolf Pole-Ladder seized the gold with the right hand'.
  • dative of amount: for example, gjalde þat fullum gjǫldum 'he paid this with full retribution'; ríða fullom dagleiðum 'to ride a full day's journey'.
  • dative of attendant circumstances: fara hulðu hǫfði 'to go with head covered'; mæla hendingum 'to speak in rhymes'.
  • dative of accompaniment: sigldi Hrútr liði sínu suðr 'Hrut sailed south with his band.'

The dative may be used as a Locative to place something in space or time. For example, einu sinni 'once'; ǫllum misserum 'for all half-years, the whole year through'; stundum 'at times'.

In several Germanic languages, a handful of verbs take objects in the dative case. This class of verbs is quite extensive, by comparison, in ON. Several verbs in ON take dative objects where the corresponding verbs in other Germanic languages take an accusative. Some authors divide these verbs into four classes based on meaning:

  • 'to be well-disposed to someone': e.g. bjarga 'protect', unna 'love'; similarly verbs with the opposite meaning, e.g. spilla 'destroy', bana 'kill', hafna 'abandon'.
  • 'order, command': e.g. ráða 'advise', skipa 'array', stefna 'summon'.
  • 'move quickly, transplant': e.g. bregða 'throw', drepa 'stab', snúa 'turn'.
  • 'change one's mind': e.g. fagna 'rejoice at', heilsa 'welcome', hætta 'venture'.

The dative is also used with verbs of removing with the sense of an Ablative or Instrumental: ryðja land víkingum 'to rid the land of plunderers'; ræna mik lǫgum 'to rob me of (my) rights'.

The dative is often used in impersonal constructions with passive force. For example, honum varð litit upp 'it steered his gaze' (literally 'it was looked at for him'); varð þeim ok mart talat 'their conversation took itself in many directions' (literally 'it was for them also much recounted').

35. Subordinate Clauses with er and at

The two particles er and at are extremely common in Old Norse, each with a wide range of meaning. Some of their uses are discussed below.

The particle er, earlier es (and not to be confused with the third person singular present er, es < vera 'be'), is a general relative particle and has no meaning of its own. It serves only to mark its clause as relative, the particular connection with the main clause being determined solely from context. Because of this, er appears in a wide range of contexts and is translated (or not, as the case may be) in several ways, depending on whether or not it stands alone or in combination with other deictic or interrogative words. Its usage in ON parallels the use of ei in Gothic and þe in Old English.

er is used by itself to mark temporal clauses, substantival clauses, and conditional clauses. For example, bað hann koma til sín, er hann kvæmi aptr 'he told him to come to him(self) when he should return'. The clause may have concessive force: hann girnisk þess at halda Nóregs veldi undir sik, er engi Svía konungr hefir þat fyrr ágirnzk 'he strove to this end, to hold under himself power over Norway, though no king of the Swedes had previously accomplished that.'

er combines with some adverbs to yield a combined relative adverb. Some of the more common are the following:

  • temporal: þá er 'as, when'; þegar er 'as soon as'; nú er 'now when'; svá fremi er 'not until'; siðan er 'since'; unz 'until'; þar til er 'until'; nær(gi) er 'whenever'.
  • local: þar er 'where' (also conditional 'if' or causal 'considering that'); þangat er, þangat til er 'to the point where'; þaðan er 'from the point where'; hvar(gi) er 'wherever'; hvert(ki) er 'to wherever'; hvaðan er 'from wherever'.
  • modal: hvégi er, hversu er, hvernveg er 'however'.

er also combines with certain pronouns, with or without prepositions, to produce a relative adverb. The most notable are given below:

  • temporal: í því er 'at the moment when'; frá því er 'since'; epter þat er 'after'; um þat er 'until'; til þess er 'until'.
  • modal: at því er 'according as'.
  • causal: alz 'because'; við þat er 'considering that'.

In the later language er is found combined with the interrogative pronouns to produce relative pronouns, e.g. hverr er '(he) who, whoever'; hvárr er 'whoever (of two)'; hvat(ki) er 'whatever'; etc. This usage is an innovation in ON, imitative of Latin.

Old Norse has no specific relative pronoun, so that er is often employed to fill this role. More precisely, er signals the beginning of a relative clause which contains no relative pronoun, and so er may be construed as a relative in lieu of a more explicit pronoun. Interpreting er in this fashion, it may stand for a relative in any case required within the relative clause. For example, it may play the role of a pronoun in a case uniquely specified by the context, e.g. hann tekr hest, er Gunnarr átti 'he takes the horse which Gunnar owned'; or er may be construed as representing more than one case in combined relative clauses, e.g. þau áttu son, er Haraldr konungr jós vatni ok gaf nafn sitt 'they had a son, whom King Harald sprinkled with water and to whom he gave his own name.' er may be construed as representing a noun or pronoun not explicitly stated; in this sense, er introduces a clause which as a whole stands for the 'missing' grammatical element. For example, þá mæltu, er þar váru 'then spoke (those who) were there.' er may, in fact, stand for itself, in an absolute manner: er þeir rituðu, er þeim váru samtíða, er sǫgurnar eru frá '(the things) which they write, which are contemporary with them, from which the sagas stem.' er is nevertheless most frequently preceded by a demonstrative adjective or pronoun to which the relative clause correlates. This demonstrative however generally takes its case from its role in its own clause, and not from the relative clause. Consider the following examples: hvat fé er þat? -- Hér er fé þat, er Gunnarr greiddi mér 'What money is that? -- Here is the money which Gunnar paid me'; hann sendi hingat til lands prest þann es hét Þangbrandr 'he sent there to the land a priest who was called Thangbrand.'

The particle at 'that' is nearly as common as er, and parallels Modern English usage of 'that' as a subordinating conjunction. It commonly introduces substantival clauses, and less frequently result clauses: vera má, at gott sé verkit 'it could be, that the deed be good'; mun ek veita þér slíkt lið, sem þú will, at þetta fari framm 'I will give you such assistance as you desire, so that this may go forth.'

at combines with other adverbs which further restrict its sense. A few of the most common are listed below:

  • modal, consecutive: svá at 'so that'; til þess at 'so that'. For example, lǫgðu þeir á flótta, svá at fá ein skip váru eptir með jarls skipi 'they took to flight, so that only a few ships were left with the earl's ship'; skulu vér frændr þínir veita þér styrk, til þess at þú komir aldrigi síðan í slíkt ǫngþveiti 'we, your kinsmen, will give you assistance, so that you never again reach such straits.'
  • concessive: þó at, þótt 'although, if, whether'. For example, þó at hann deyi í mǫrgum syndum, þá lifir hann í trú sinni 'though he may die with many sins, he lives in his faith'. Sometimes þótt is closer in sense to Modern English 'that' or 'when': eigi gruna ek þat, þótt faðir þinn haldi lítt sáttirnar 'that I do not doubt, that your father would scarcely have reconciliation.'
  • causal: (fyrir) því at 'because'. For example, hrauð hann skipin skjótt, því at þar var borðamunr mikill 'he cleared the ships quickly, because there was a great difference of height'; kallar hann þat meirr verit hafa fyrir því játtat, at þeir váru þá komnir í greipr Óláfi konungi 'he says it was agreed more readily because they had fallen at that time into the clutches of King Olaf.'

The two particles er and at sometimes overlap in sense, so that either is possible. For example, er sá engi minn frændi, at gangi í þetta mál 'there is no kin of mine who would enter into such a deal.'