The University of Texas at Austin; College of Liberal Arts
Hans C. Boas, Director :: PCL 5.556, 1 University Station S5490 :: Austin, TX 78712 :: 512-471-4566
LRC Links: Home | About | Books Online | EIEOL | IE Doc. Center | IE Lexicon | IE Maps | IE Texts | Pub. Indices | SiteMap

Old Norse Online

Lesson 8

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

Viking Weaponry

The Viking Age warrior had a wide array of weaponry and protective gear available for use on the battlefield. In the earlier period sword and spear were the predominant weapons. The spear was later set aside in favor of the axe, and it is this weapon which frequently caught the imagination of artists depicting viking battles. Use of the sax was not unheard of, this being a short sword or long knife, and also of bow and arrow. For defense viking warriors often used a small, round shield. On the body they would wear a shirt of chain mail or corselet, though archaeological remains are scant, and it appears that most warriors could not afford such protection. In their stead, some warriors wore shirts of padded leather, or clothes with insewn bone plaques. Helmets were used, though the rarity of remains suggests that their use was far from widespread.

The sword more than any other weapon in viking culture was viewed with a certain amount of awe and reverence. A particularly good blade might bear a name and be passed down through generations as an heirloom. The creation of such blades was often given an air of mystery and magic. Swords typically weighed between four and five pounds, and were some thirty five inches from tip to butt. The blades were roughly five inches wide and thirty inches long. There was a small depression, the blood groove, a half inch wide and running down the middle of the blade. Some blades were damascened, i.e. made from alternating layers of iron and steel folded together, to produce a strong but flexible blade. Beginning in the tenth century one finds blades decorated with symbols, signs, or even texts. In the late eleventh century Christian symbols begin to appear.

The spear was an extremely common weapon in the Viking Age, and could be anywhere from six and a half to ten feet long, including an eight to twenty four inch metal point with socket tube. Spears fell into two broad types: those for casting, and those for thrusting. Some casting spears are said to have had ropes wrapped around them, so that as the rope unravelled in flight, the spear began to twist. The thrusting spears have longer, heavier heads. The socket itself was often longer to avoid being hacked off of the shaft. In later periods the socket tube of thrusting spears was often decorated in the same style as swords with intricate silver inlays.

Battle-axes came into use fairly late and were made with either wide or thin blades. In essence there were three types of axe. One type, the hand-axe, was little more than a farming tool. The light head carried a hammer opposite the blade, and this was fixed on a long iron-shod shaft. A second type, the bearded-axe, was commonly used in sea battles for grappling because of the squared projection at the bottom of the blade which gave it its name. The third type, the broad-axe, is the most famous. It is heavier than the other types, and the warrior grasped it with both hands. The blade could be up to twelve inches across, inlaid with silver or gold.

The Vikings used bow and arrow for both fighting and hunting. Bows do not survive from the Viking Age, but the sizes of arrows and depictions in art suggest the use of both a short bow and a long bow, which could be up to six and a half feet. The bows were typically made of pine. Arrowheads were generally iron. Sharp points were used to bring down big game such as reindeer, moose, and bear. Blunt arrowheads were used for the smaller game which was the mainstay of the fur-trade, the blunt point doing less damage to the pelt. Sometimes forked points were used for hunting birds.

The viking shield was round and formed of thin boards fixed from behind by an iron bar. The hand gripped the bar, and the knuckles protruded through a hole cut from the center of the boards. This hole, and thus the hand, was covered by an iron boss fixed to the front of the shield. A leather strap allowed one to hang the shield over the neck in order to keep both hands free. Leather might cover the face of the shield, and the rim might be ringed with iron. But generally little metal was applied to the shield, the preference being on lightness and ease of motion rather than on bulk and endurance. The shields were often painted a single bold color, and sparsely decorated, if at all. The more ornate shields were intended for show rather than for battle.

It appears that helmets of earlier periods were more ornate than their later counterparts. Some helmets dating to the late seventh century cover the entire head and face with guards for the neck and cheek. Ornamentation included eyebrow ridges and fine metalwork lining the rim. No helmets have been recovered with the stereotypical upward sweeping horns, though indirect evidence in the form of figurines and carvings suggest that some such helmets may have existed. These depictions, however, often seem to perform a magical role, and so if such helmets existed, they were presumably far from common. By the time of the Viking Age, helmet design favored a simple conical shape, sometimes with but often without a nosepiece. Helmets appear to have been fashioned from either metal or leather.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following selection is a poetical excerpt from Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks konungs. The diction of the poem is archaic, and some scholars have thought it to be the remnant of an earlier poetic form of the entire narrative, of which the saga we have is the distilled version. Some scholars of the early 20th century have included the poem with the collected poems of the Poetic Edda.

The poem begins when Hervǫr arrives on the island Samsey to claim the sword Tyrfing from her dead father Angantýr. The basic outline of the story up to this point is as follows. Dwarfs created the sword Tyrfing for Svafrlami, but one laid a curse upon it: that it should bring death to the one who wielded it, that no wound it caused should ever heal, and that it should bring about three shameful deeds. These are of course played out to the letter in the ensuing story. Arngrím killed Svafrlami and took the sword Tyrfing from him. Arngrím had twelve warrior sons, and one of them, Angantýr, received Tyrfing to carry to war. In Upsala, Angantýr made suit for the king's daughter, and the king ordered him to fight his champions Ǫrvar-Odd and Hjálmar on the isle Samsey. The king's champions arrived first on the island, heading inland and leaving their crew on the ship. When Angantýr and his brothers arrived, they killed the entire crew, but were sorely wearied from battle. Odd and Hjálmar arrived only after the brothers' fatigue had set in; Odd killed the eleven brothers, and Hjálmar killed Angantýr. Hjálmar nevertheless died shortly after Angantýr as a result of his wounds from Tyrfing. Angantýr's posthumous daughter, when she came of age to learn her father's true identity and the cause of his death, set herself on the track toward vengeance. She determined that Tyrfing was the proper instrument for her task, and so she travelled to Samsey and the burial mounds of Angantýr and his brothers to ask her father for the sword. This is where the poem picks up the story; from the end of the poem it is clear what Hervǫr's next task will be, as she puts revenge before her own well-being in true heroic tradition.

Hitt hefir mær ung í Munarvági
        við sólarsetr segg at hjǫrðu.

  • hitt -- past participle; accusative singular neuter of <hitta (tt)> hit upon; find, meet -- met
  • hefir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- ...
  • mær -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mær> maiden -- the... maid
  • ung -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <ungr> young -- young
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • Munarvági -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Munarvágr> Munarvag -- Munarvag
  • við -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- at
  • sólarsetr -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <sólarsetr> sunset -- sunset
  • segg -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <seggr> man; hero, warrior -- a man
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- at
  • hjǫrðu -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <hjǫrð> herd, flock -- (his) flock

Hirðir kvað:
        "Hverr's einn saman í ey kominn?
        gakktu greiðliga gistingar til!"

  • hirðir -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hirðir> herdsman -- the herdsman
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • hverr's -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every + verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- who has # hverr's = hverr es = hverr er
  • einn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- alone
  • saman -- adverb; <saman> together -- ...
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- to
  • ey -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ey> island -- the island
  • kominn -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- come # Hervor is in disguise, so that the herdsman thinks she is a man. The forms are therefore all masculine.
  • gakktu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- go # gakktu = gakk + þú
  • greiðliga -- adverb; <greiðliga> quickly, promptly -- quickly
  • gistingar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <gisting> night-lodging -- (your) lodging
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to

Hervǫr kvað:
        "Munkat ganga gistingar til,
        þvít engan kank eyjarskeggja;
        segðu hraðliga áðr heðan líðir
        hvar ru Hjǫrvarði haugar kendir?"

  • Hervǫr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • munkat -- verb; 1st singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- I cannot # munkat = mun + ek + at
  • ganga -- verb; infinitive of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- go
  • gistingar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <gisting> night-lodging -- (my) lodging
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to
  • þvít -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular neuter of <> that + conjunction; <at> that -- since # þvít = því + at
  • engan -- pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <engi> no, none, no one -- none
  • kank -- verb; 1st singular present of <kunna> know, know how to; be able + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I know # kank = kann + ek
  • eyjarskeggja -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <eyjarskeggi> inhabitant of an island -- of the island inhabitants
  • segðu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- tell # segðu = seg + þú
  • hraðliga -- adverb; <hraðliga> quickly -- ...
  • áðr -- adverb; <áðr> before, first; until -- before
  • heðan -- adverb; <heðan> from here, hence -- from here
  • líðir -- verb; 2nd singular present subjunctive of <líða> move, go; pass, progress -- you go
  • hvar -- adverb; <hvar> where; everywhere -- where
  • ru -- verb; 3rd plural present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- are # ru = eru
  • Hjǫrvarði -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Hjǫrvarðr> Hjorvarth -- Hjorvarth's
  • haugar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- burial mounds
  • kendir -- past participle; nominative plural masculine of <kenna (d)> know; perceive; taste; feel; recognize; name, tell; teach -- ...

Hirðir kvað:
        "Spyrjat at því, spakr est eigi,
        vinr víkinga, þúst vanfarinn;
        fǫrum fráliga sem okkr fœtr toga --
        alt es úti ámátt firum."

  • hirðir -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hirðir> herdsman -- the herdsman
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • spyrjat -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <spyrja (spurði)> trace, find out (about); hear; ask + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- don't ask # spyrjat = spyr + at -- Note the thematic -j- remains even before an enclitic beginning with a.
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- about
  • því -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • spakr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <spakr> quiet; wise, learned -- wise
  • est -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- you are # est = ert
  • eigi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • vinr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <vinr> friend; patron, leader -- friend
  • víkinga -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <víkingr> viking, pirate -- of vikings
  • þúst -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you + verb; 2nd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- you're # þúst = þú + est = þú ert
  • vanfarinn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <vanfarinn> in evil straits -- in dire straits
  • fǫrum -- verb; 1st plural imperative of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- let us go
  • fráliga -- adverb; <fráliga> swiftly -- as quickly
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- as
  • okkr -- pronoun; accusative dual of <ek> I -- us
  • fœtr -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <fótr> foot; leg -- (our) feet
  • toga -- verb; 3rd plural present of <toga (að)> tug, pull -- will take
  • alt -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- everything
  • es -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • úti -- adverb; <úti> outside; out at sea; unsheltered -- out here
  • ámátt -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <ámáttr> terrible, loathsome -- harmful
  • firum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <firar> (pl.) men, people -- to men

Hervǫr kvað:
        "Men bjóðum þér máls at gjǫldum;
        muna drengja vin dælt at letja:
        fær engi mér fríðar hnossir,
        fagra bauga, svát farak eigi."

  • Hervǫr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • men -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <men> necklace; jewel, treasure -- treasure
  • bjóðum -- verb; 1st plural present of <bjóða> offer, provide; command, summon -- we offer
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • máls -- noun, neuter; genitive singular of <mál> speech, tale; information; period of time -- for the information
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- as
  • gjǫldum -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <gjald> payment; tax -- payment
  • muna -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might + enclitic adverb; <a> not -- it is not
  • drengja -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <drengr> (gallant) fellow; warrior -- of warriors
  • vin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <vinr> friend; patron, leader -- the friend
  • dælt -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <dæll> gentle, easy (to manage) -- easy
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • letja -- verb; infinitive of <letja (latti)> hinder, dissuade -- dissuade
  • fær -- verb; 3rd singular present of <> get, take; catch; have, make use of; put; give; receive; suffer; (with ppart.) be able to, get accomplished; (mid.) take place; struggle -- has
  • engi -- pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <engi> no, none, no one -- no one
  • mér -- pronoun; dative singular of <ek> I -- to me
  • fríðar -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <fríðr> handsome -- handsome enough
  • hnossir -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <hnoss> costly thing, ornament -- ornaments
  • fagra -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <fagr (ran)> fair, beautiful -- so fair
  • bauga -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <baugr> ring; coil -- rings
  • svát -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if + conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • farak -- verb; 1st singular present subjunctive of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I go
  • eigi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not

Hirðir kvað:
        "Heimskr þykki mér sás heðra ferr,
        maðr einn saman, myrkvar grímur;
        hyrrs á sveimun, haugar opnask,
        brennr fold ok fen -- fǫrum harðara!"

  • hirðir -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hirðir> herdsman -- the herdsman
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • heimskr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <heimskr> foolish -- foolish
  • þykki -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <þykkja (þótti)> seem, be thought -- seems
  • mér -- pronoun; dative singular of <ek> I -- to me
  • sás -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- he... who # sás = sá + es = sá er
  • heðra -- adverb; <heðra> here, hither -- there
  • ferr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- goes
  • maðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- a man
  • einn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- alone
  • saman -- adverb; <saman> together -- totally
  • myrkvar -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <myrkr (van)> dark -- through dark
  • grímur -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <gríma> mask; shadow of night -- night
  • hyrrs -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hyrr> fire + verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- fire is # herrs = herr + es = herr er
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- in
  • sveimun -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <sveimun> soaring, flitting -- flight
  • haugar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- burial mounds
  • opnask -- verb; 3rd plural present middle of <opnask (að)> be open -- lay open
  • brennr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <brenna> (intrans.) burn, be on fire -- are burning
  • fold -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <fold> earth, world -- earth
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • fen -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <fen> bog, fen -- bog
  • fǫrum -- verb; 1st plural imperative of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- let us go
  • harðara -- adverb; comparative of <hart> hard; sharply -- quickly

Hervǫr kvað:
        "Hirðumat fælask við fnǫsun slíka,
        þótt of alla ey eldar brenni!
        Látumat okkr liðna rekka
        skjótla skelfa; skulum við talask."

  • Hervǫr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • hirðumat -- verb; 1st plural imperative of <hirða (ð)> keep; mind, care + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- let us take care not
  • fælask -- verb; infinitive middle of <fæla (d)> frighten; (refl.) be frightened -- to be frightened
  • við -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- by
  • fnǫsun -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <fnǫsun> snorting, blowing out -- snorting
  • slíka -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <slíkr> such -- such
  • þótt -- adverb; <þó> yet, and yet; however, nevertheless + conjunction; <at> that -- though
  • of -- preposition; <of> over; across, through; around, about; concerning; because of; for -- throughout
  • alla -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <allr> all, whole; every -- the entire
  • ey -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ey> island -- island
  • eldar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <eldr> fire -- fires
  • brenni -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <brenna> (intrans.) burn, be on fire -- burn
  • látumat -- verb; 1st plural imperative of <láta> put, place; let, allow; concede, yield; leave, leave off; lose; cause to be done, command; behave (as if); declare; sound + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- let's not allow
  • okkr -- pronoun; accusative dual of <ek> I -- us
  • liðna -- past participle; accusative plural masculine of <líða> move, go; pass, progress -- dead
  • rekka -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <rekkr> warrior, man -- warriors
  • skjótla -- adverb; <skjótla> quickly -- quickly
  • skelfa -- verb; infinitive of <skelfa (ð)> make tremble, frighten -- to... frighten
  • skulum -- verb; 1st plural present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- we shall
  • við -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- ...
  • talask -- verb; infinitive middle of <tala (að)> talk, speak; (recip.) discuss, converse -- make conversation

Vas þá féhirðir fljótr til skógar
        mjǫk frá máli meyjar þessar;
        en harðsnúinn hugr í brjósti
        um sakar slíkar svellr Hervǫru.

  • vas -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- at that moment
  • féhirðir -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <féhirðir> herdsman -- the herdsman
  • fljótr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <fljótr> swift, fleeing -- headed
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to
  • skógar -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <skógr> wood, forest -- the woods
  • mjǫk -- adverb; <mjǫk> much; very -- ...
  • frá -- preposition; <frá> from; concerning -- at
  • máli -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <mál> speech, tale; information; period of time -- the words
  • meyjar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <mær> maiden -- of... maiden
  • þessar -- demonstrative used as adjective; genitive singular feminine of <sjá> this -- this
  • en -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- but
  • harðsnúinn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <harðsnúinn> wll-knitt, staunch -- well-prepared
  • hugr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <hugr> mind; thought; heart, spirit -- heart
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • brjósti -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <brjóst> breast -- (her) breast
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- for
  • sakar -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <sǫk> cause, reason; lawsuit, dispute; sake -- straits
  • slíkar -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <slíkr> such -- such
  • svellr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <svella> swell, rise high -- swelled
  • Hervǫru -- proper noun, feminine; dative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor's

Hon sá nú haugaeldana ok haugbúa úti standa, ok gengr til hauganna ok hræðisk ekki; óð hon eldana sem reyk, þar til er hon kom at haugi berserkjanna. Þá kvað hon:

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • -- verb; 3rd singular past of <sjá> see, perceive; find; understand; look -- saw
  • -- adverb; <> now -- then
  • haugaeldana -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <haugaeldr> fire from graves + definite article; accusative plural masculine of <inn> the -- the grave fires
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • haugbúa -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <haugbúi> ghost, undead man -- ghosts
  • úti -- adverb; <úti> outside; out at sea; unsheltered -- out
  • 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 -- come
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • gengr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- she went
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to
  • hauganna -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <haugr> mound; grave mound + definite article; genitive plural masculine of <inn> the -- the mounds
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • hræðisk -- verb; 3rd singular present middle of <hræða (dd)> frighten; (refl.) be afraid of, be frightened -- was... frightened
  • ekki -- adverb; <ekki> not, by no means -- not
  • óð -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vaða> wade through, pass through -- passed through
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • eldana -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <eldr> fire + definite article; accusative plural masculine of <inn> the -- the fires
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- and
  • reyk -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <reykr> smoke -- smoke # cf. Reykja-vík
  • þar -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place -- ...
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- until
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- ...
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • kom -- verb; 3rd singular past of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- came
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the mound
  • berserkjanna -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <berserkr> berserk + definite article; genitive plural masculine of <inn> the -- of the berserkers
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she

"Vaki, Angantýr! vekr þik Hervǫr,
        einga dóttir ykkur Tófu.
        Selðu ór haugi hvassan mæki,
        þanns Svafrlama slógu dvergar.

  • vaki -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <vaka> be awake, stay awake; watch -- wake
  • Angantýr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Angantýr> Angantyr -- Angantyr
  • vekr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vaka> be awake, stay awake; watch -- wakes
  • þik -- pronoun; accusative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • Hervǫr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor
  • einga -- adjective; indeclinable form of <einga> only -- sole
  • dóttir -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <dóttir> daughter -- daughter
  • ykkur -- possessive adjective; nominative singular feminine of <ykkarr> your, of you two -- of you and
  • Tófu -- proper noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Tófa> Tofa -- Tofa
  • selðu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <selja> give; sell + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- give
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- out from
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the grave
  • hvassan -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <hvass> sharp; prickly -- (your) sharp
  • mæki -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <mækir> sword -- sword
  • þanns -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- which # þanns = þann + es = þann er
  • Svafrlama -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Svafrlami> Svafrlami -- for Svafrlami
  • slógu -- verb; 3rd plural past of <slá> smite, strike -- hammered out
  • dvergar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <dvergr> dwarf -- dwarfs

Hervarðr, Hjǫrvarðr, Hrani, Angantýr!
        vekk yðr alla und viðar rótum,
        hjálmi ok með brynju, hvǫssu sverði,
        rǫnd ok með reiði, roðnum geiri.

  • Hervarðr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hervarðr> Hervarth -- Hervarth
  • Hjǫrvarðr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hjǫrvarðr> Hjorvarth -- Hjorvarth
  • Hrani -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hrani> Hrani -- Hrani
  • Angantýr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Angantýr> Angantyr -- Angantyr
  • vekk -- verb; 1st singular present of <vaka> be awake, stay awake; watch + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I wake
  • yðr -- pronoun; accusative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • alla -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • und -- preposition; <undir> under, below; beneath; up to; behind -- below # und an alternate form of undir; cf. fyr and fyrir
  • viðar -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <viðr> tree; beam; forest; wood -- the tree's
  • rótum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <rót> root -- roots
  • hjálmi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <hjálmr> helmet -- helmet
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • brynju -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <brynja> coat of mail -- byrnie
  • hvǫssu -- adjective; dative singular neuter of <hvass> sharp; prickly -- sharp
  • sverði -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <sverð> sword -- sword
  • rǫnd -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <rǫnd> rim; shield -- shield
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • reiði -- noun, masculine/neuter; dative singular of <reiði> trappings, harness; rigging, tackle -- harness
  • roðnum -- past participle; dative singular masculine of <rjóða> make red, redden -- with reddened
  • geiri -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <geirr> spear; point of anvil -- spear

Mjǫk eruð orðnir, Arngríms synir,
        megir meinsamir, moldar at auka,
        es engi skal sona Eyfuru
        við mik mæla í Munarvági.

  • mjǫk -- adverb; <mjǫk> much; very -- greatly
  • eruð -- verb; 2nd plural present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- you... have
  • orðnir -- past participle; nominative plural masculine of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- changed
  • Arngríms -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Arngrímr> Arngrim -- of Arngrim
  • synir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <sonr> son -- sons
  • megir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <mǫgr> boy, son; (pl.) kindred -- kin
  • meinsamir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <meinsamr> harmful, violent -- violent
  • moldar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <mold> soil, earth (as substance) -- of earth
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- for
  • auka -- verb; infinitive of <auka> to increase, add -- the heaping up
  • es -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- while
  • engi -- pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <engi> no, none, no one -- none
  • skal -- verb; 3rd singular present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- will
  • sona -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <sonr> son -- of the sons
  • Eyfuru -- proper noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Eyfura> Eyfura -- of Eyfura
  • við -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- with
  • mik -- pronoun; accusative singular of <ek> I -- me
  • mæla -- verb; infinitive of <mæla (t)> speak -- speak
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • Munarvági -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Munarvágr> Munarvag -- Munarvag

Svá sé yðr ǫllum innan rifja,
        sem þér í maura mornið haugi,
        nema sverð selið þats sló Dvalinn;
        samira draugum dýrt vápn fela."

  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- be it
  • yðr -- pronoun; dative plural of <þú> thou, you -- for you
  • ǫllum -- adjective; dative plural masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • innan -- preposition; <innan> from within; into; within -- within
  • rifja -- noun, neuter; genitive plural of <rif> rib -- (your) ribs
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- as if
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • maura -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <maurr> ant -- an ant
  • mornið -- verb; 2nd plural present of <morna (að)> waste away -- waste away
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- hill
  • nema -- conjunction; <nema> unless; except -- unless
  • sverð -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <sverð> sword -- the sword
  • selið -- verb; 2nd singular present of <selja> give; sell -- you give
  • þats -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular neuter of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- which # þats = þat + es = þat er
  • sló -- verb; 3rd singular past of <slá> smite, strike -- hammered
  • Dvalinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Dvalinn> Dvalin, Delayer -- Dvalin
  • samira -- verb; 3rd singular present of <sama> beseem, befit + enclitic adverb; <a> not -- it is not fitting
  • draugum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <draugr> undead man, ghost -- for ghosts
  • dýrt -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <dýrr> dear, expensive; precious -- the precious
  • vápn -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <vápn> weapon -- weapon
  • fela -- verb; infinitive of <fela> hide; make over, commend -- to hide

Þá svarar Angantýr:
        "Hervǫr dóttir, hví kallar svá
        full feikinstafa? Ferr þér at illu.
        Œr est orðin ok ørvita,
        villhyggjandi vekr menn dauða!

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • svarar -- verb; 3rd singular present of <svara (að)> answer -- answered
  • Angantýr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Angantýr> Angantyr -- Angantyr
  • Hervǫr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor
  • dóttir -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <dóttir> daughter -- (my) daughter
  • hví -- interrogative adverb; <hví> why? -- why
  • kallar -- verb; 2nd singular present of <kalla> call, cry out; name; say, declare -- do you call out
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • full -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <fullr> full; in full swing -- filled
  • feikinstafa -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <feikinstafir> (pl.) curses -- with curses
  • ferr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- it works
  • þér -- pronoun; dative singular of <þú> thou, you -- your
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • illu -- adjective used as substantive; dative singular neuter of <illr> bad, evil; ugly, unpleasing; difficult -- disadvantage
  • œr -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <œrr> mad, frantic -- mad
  • est -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- you have # est = ert
  • orðin -- past participle; nominative singular feminine of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- become
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • ørvita -- adjective; weak nominative singular feminine of <ørviti> out of one's senses -- senseless
  • villhyggjandi -- present participle; nominative singular feminine of <villhyggjandi> bewildered, deluded -- delirious
  • vekr -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vaka> be awake, stay awake; watch -- you wake
  • menn -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- menn
  • dauða -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <dauðr> dead -- dead

Grófat mik faðir niðr né frændr aðrir.
        Þeir hǫfðu Tyrfing tveir es lifðu,
        varð þó eigandi einn of síðir."

  • grófat -- verb; 3rd singular past of <grafa> dig; engrave, inlay + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- did not bury
  • mik -- pronoun; accusative singular of <ek> I -- me
  • faðir -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <faðir> father -- a father
  • niðr -- adverb; <niðr> down -- ...
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- nor
  • frændr -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <frændi> relative, kinsman -- kin
  • aðrir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <annarr> other, another; second, next; one (of two) -- other
  • þeir -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <hann> this one -- they
  • hǫfðu -- verb; 3rd plural past of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- held
  • Tyrfing -- proper noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Tyrfingr> Tyrfing -- Tyrfing
  • tveir -- numeral; nominative plural masculine of <tveir> two -- the two
  • es -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- who
  • lifðu -- verb; 3rd plural past of <lifa (ð)> live -- lived
  • varð -- verb; 3rd singular past of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- became
  • þó -- adverb; <þó> yet, and yet; however, nevertheless -- though
  • eigandi -- present participle; nominative singular masculine of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- the owner
  • einn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- only one
  • of síðir -- adverb; <of síðir> at last -- at last

Hon kvað:
        "Segðu eitt satt: svá láti Áss þik
        heilan í haugi sem þú hefir eigi
        Tyrfing með þér! Trauðr est at veita
        arfa þínum einga barni."

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • segðu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- tell # segðu = seg + þú
  • eitt -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- it
  • satt -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <sannr, saðr> true -- true
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • láti -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <láta> put, place; let, allow; concede, yield; leave, leave off; lose; cause to be done, command; behave (as if); declare; sound -- should leave
  • áss -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <áss> god -- the God
  • þik -- pronoun; accusative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • heilan -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <heill> sound, safe; in health -- whole
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the mound
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- if
  • þú -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • hefir -- verb; 2nd singular present of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- do... have
  • eigi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • Tyrfing -- proper noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Tyrfingr> Tyrfing -- Tyrfing
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • þér -- pronoun; dative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • trauðr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <trauðr> unwilling, reluctant -- reluctant
  • est -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- you are # est = ert
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • veita -- verb; infinitive of <veita (tt)> grant, give; help; pay, yield; (recip.) back one another -- give
  • arfa -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <arfr> inheritance -- the inheritance
  • þínum -- possessive adjective; dative singular neuter of <þinn> thy, thine, of you -- to your
  • einga -- adjective; indeclinable form of <einga> only -- only
  • barni -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <barn> child -- child

Þá var sem einn logi væri alt at líta um haugana, er opnir stóðu. Þá kvað Angantýr:

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- it was
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- as if
  • einn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <einn> one; a certain, particular -- a single
  • logi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <logi> flame -- flame
  • væri -- verb; 3rd singular past subjunctive of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • alt -- adjective used as substantive; accusative singular neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • líta -- verb; infinitive of <líta> look; see; regard -- be seen
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- around
  • haugana -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <haugr> mound; grave mound + definite article; accusative plural masculine of <inn> the -- the graves
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- which
  • opnir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <opinn> open; on one's back -- open
  • stóðu -- verb; 3rd plural 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
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • Angantýr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Angantýr> Angantyr -- Angantyr

"Hnigin es helgrind, haugar opnask,
        allr es í eldi eybarmr at sjá;
        atalt es úti um at litask.
        Skyntu, mær, ef mátt, til skipa þinna!"

  • hnigin -- past participle; nominative singular feminine of <hníga> sink; (ppart.) open -- open
  • es -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • helgrind -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <helgrind> gate of hell -- the door to hell
  • haugar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- graves
  • opnask -- verb; 3rd plural present middle of <opnask (að)> be open -- lie open
  • allr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • es -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- on
  • eldi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <eldr> fire -- fire
  • eybarmr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <eybarmr> surface of an island -- the island's surface
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- ...
  • sjá -- verb; infinitive of <sjá> see, perceive; find; understand; look -- seen (to be)
  • atalt -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <atall> fierce, terrible -- fearsome
  • es -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- it is
  • úti -- adverb; <úti> outside; out at sea; unsheltered -- all
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- about
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • litask -- verb; infinitive of <litask (að)> look about -- behold
  • skyntu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <skynda (d)> cause to hasten, hurry; (intr.) hasten + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- hasten
  • mær -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mær> maiden -- maiden
  • ef -- conjunction; <ef> if; whether; (to see) if; lest -- if
  • mátt -- verb; 2nd singular present of <mega> be able to, can; may -- you can
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to
  • skipa -- noun, neuter; genitive plural of <skip> ship, boat -- ships
  • þinna -- possessive adjective; genitive plural neuter of <þinn> thy, thine, of you -- your

Hon segir:
        "Brenni þér eigi bál á nóttum,
        svát ek við elda yðra fælumk;
        skelfrat meyju muntún hugar, þótt hon draug séi í durum standa."

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • segir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • brenni -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <brenna (d)> (trans.) burn, light, set on fire -- could... light
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • eigi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • bál -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <bál> fire -- fires
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- in
  • nóttum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <nótt> night -- the night
  • svát -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if + conjunction; <at> that -- so that
  • ek -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • við -- preposition; <við> reaching to, against, with; towards, at; in exchange for; by; (together) with, close to; because of -- by
  • elda -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <eldr> fire -- flames
  • yðra -- possessive adjective; accusative plural masculine of <yð(v)arr> your, of you (pl.) -- your
  • fælumk -- verb; 1st singular present middle of <fæla (d)> frighten; (refl.) be frightened -- I am frightened
  • skelfrat -- verb; 3rd singular present of <skjólfa> shake, tremble + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- does not tremble
  • meyju -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <mær> maiden -- the maiden's
  • muntún -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <muntún> mind-enclosure -- enclosure
  • hugar -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <hugr> mind; thought; heart, spirit -- thought-
  • þótt -- adverb; <þó> yet, and yet; however, nevertheless + conjunction; <at> that -- though
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • draug -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <draugr> undead man, ghost -- a ghost
  • séi -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <sjá> see, perceive; find; understand; look -- see
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- at
  • durum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <dyrr> door, doorway -- the door
  • 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 -- stand

Þá kvað Angantýr:
        "Segik þér, Hervǫr, hlýttu til meðan,
        vísa dóttir, þats verða mun;
        sjá mun Tyrfingr, ef trúa mættir,
        ætt þinni, mær, allri spilla.

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • Angantýr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Angantýr> Angantyr -- Angantyr
  • segik -- verb; 1st singular present of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I tell
  • þér -- pronoun; dative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • Hervǫr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor
  • hlýttu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <hlýða (dd)> listen to, hear + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- listen... to
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- for
  • meðan -- adverb; <meðan> in the meantime -- the moment
  • vísa -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <vísi> leader -- prince's
  • dóttir -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <dóttir> daughter -- daughter
  • þats -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- what
  • verða -- verb; infinitive of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- be
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will
  • sjá -- demonstrative used as adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sjá> this -- this
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will
  • Tyrfingr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Tyrfingr> Tyrfing -- Tyrfing
  • ef -- conjunction; <ef> if; whether; (to see) if; lest -- if
  • trúa -- verb; infinitive of <trúa (ð)> believe, trust, have faith in -- believe
  • mættir -- verb; 2nd singular past subjunctive of <mega> be able to, can; may -- you can
  • ætt -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <ætt> direction, region; family, line; stock, tribe; ancestry -- family
  • þinni -- possessive adjective; dative singular feminine of <þinn> thy, thine, of you -- your
  • mær -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mær> maiden -- maiden
  • allri -- adjective; dative singular feminine of <allr> all, whole; every -- entire
  • spilla -- verb; infinitive of <spilla (t)> destroy, spoil -- destroy

Muntu son geta þanns síðan mun
        Tyrfing bera ok trúa afli;
        þann munu Heiðrek heita lýðar,
        sá mun ríkstr alinn und rǫðuls tjaldi."

  • muntu -- verb; 2nd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you will
  • son -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <sonr> son -- a son
  • geta -- verb; infinitive of <geta> get, obtain; engender; (with ppart.) be able to, get done; (with infin.) happen to (do); be obtainable; guess, suppose; relate, tell of -- have
  • þanns -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- who
  • síðan -- adverb; <síðan> afterwards, since then -- later
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will
  • Tyrfing -- proper noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Tyrfingr> Tyrfing -- Tyrfing
  • bera -- verb; infinitive of <bera> bear, bring, carry; wear; give birth to; overcome; endure; bear (witness) -- carry
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • trúa -- verb; infinitive of <trúa (ð)> believe, trust, have faith in -- trust
  • afli -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <afl> strength -- (his) might
  • þann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <> that -- him
  • munu -- verb; 3rd plural present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will
  • Heiðrek -- proper noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Heiðrekr> Heithrek -- Heithrek
  • heita -- verb; infinitive of <heita> to call, name; promise; be called, be named -- call
  • lýðar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <lýðr> people; (pl.) men -- people
  • -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <> that -- he
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will be
  • ríkstr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of superlative of <ríkr> great, powerful, magnificent -- most magnificent
  • alinn -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <ala> give birth to, bear; feed -- born
  • und -- preposition; <undir> under, below; beneath; up to; behind -- under
  • rǫðuls -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <rǫðull> sun -- the sun's
  • tjaldi -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <tjald> tent, canopy; pavilion -- pavilion

Hon kvað:
        "Ek vígi svá virða dauða,
        at ér skuluð allir liggja
        dauðir með draugum, í dys fúnir;
        selðu, Angantýr, út ór haugi
        dverga smíði! Dugira þér at leyna."

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • ek -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • vígi -- verb; 1st singular present of <vígja (ð)> hallow, consecrate; lay a spell on -- lay a spell on
  • svá -- adverb; <svá> so, thus, in this way; also; as, as if -- so
  • virða -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <virðar> (pl.) men -- men
  • dauða -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <dauðr> dead -- dead
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • ér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • skuluð -- verb; 2nd plural present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- shall
  • allir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • liggja -- verb; infinitive of <liggja> be situated; lie (down); be slain -- lie
  • dauðir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <dauðr> dead -- dead
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • draugum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <draugr> undead man, ghost -- the ghosts
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • dys -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <dys> grave -- (your) grave
  • fúnir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <fúinn> rotten, decayed -- rotten
  • selðu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <selja> give; sell + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- give
  • Angantýr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Angantýr> Angantyr -- Angantyr
  • út -- adverb; <út> out; from abroad -- out
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the grave
  • dverga -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <dvergr> dwarf -- the dwarfs'
  • smíði -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <smíði> made object -- work
  • dugira -- verb; 3rd singular present of <duga> help, aid, be of avail, be of assistance + enclitic adverb; <a> not -- it is not fitting
  • þér -- pronoun; dative singular of <þú> thou, you -- for you
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • leyna -- verb; infinitive of <leyna (d)> conceal -- hide (it)

Hann segir:
        "Kveðkat þik, mær ung, mǫnnum líka,
        es þú of hauga hvarfar á nóttum
        grǫfnum geiri ok með Gota málmi,
        hjálmi ok með brynju fyr hallar dyrr."

  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • segir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • kveðkat -- verb; 1st singular present of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- I declare... un- # kveðkat = kveð + ek + -at
  • þik -- pronoun; accusative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • mær -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mær> maiden -- maiden
  • ung -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <ungr> young -- young
  • mǫnnum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- to men
  • líka -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <líkr, glíkr> like, similar to -- -like
  • es -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- as
  • þú -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • of -- preposition; <of> over; across, through; around, about; concerning; because of; for -- from
  • hauga -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the mounds
  • hvarfar -- verb; 2nd singular present of <hvarfa (að)> walk, go -- go
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- in
  • nóttum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <nótt> night -- the night
  • grǫfnum -- past participle; dative singular masculine of <grafa> dig; engrave, inlay -- an inlaid
  • geiri -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <geirr> spear; point of anvil -- spear
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • Gota -- proper noun, masculine plural; genitive of <Gotar> Goths -- the Goths'
  • málmi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <málmr> metal -- metal
  • hjálmi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <hjálmr> helmet -- helmet
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • með -- preposition; <með> with; by means of; among; along -- with
  • brynju -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <brynja> coat of mail -- byrnie
  • fyr -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- before
  • hallar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <hǫll> hall -- of the hall
  • dyrr -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <dyrr> door, doorway -- the doors

Hon kvað: "Maðr þóttumk menskr til þessa,
        áðr sali yðra sœkja réðak;
        selðu ór haugi þanns hatar brynjur,
        hlífum hættan Hjálmars bana!"

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • maðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- man
  • þóttumk -- verb; 1st singular past middle of <þykkja (þótti)> seem, be thought -- I seemed
  • menskr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <menskr> human -- enough
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- til
  • þessa -- demonstrative used as pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <sjá> this -- the point
  • áðr -- adverb; <áðr> before, first; until -- when
  • sali -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <salr> ground; hall; (pl.) a complex dwelling -- halls
  • yðra -- possessive adjective; accusative plural masculine of <yð(v)arr> your, of you (pl.) -- your
  • sœkja -- verb; infinitive of <sœkja> seek, go to fetch; visit; proceed -- to seek
  • réðak -- verb; 3rd singular past of <ráða> advise, counsel; discuss; plot; set, arrange; decide; govern; prevail; have to deal with; go, take one's way + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I decided # réðak = réða + ek, unusual form of ráða. Perhaps subjunctive or indicative.
  • selðu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <selja> give; sell + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- give
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- up from
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- (your) grave
  • þanns -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- that which
  • hatar -- verb; 3rd singular present of <hata (að)> damage, destroy -- cuts
  • brynjur -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <brynja> coat of mail -- mail
  • hlífum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <hlíf> cover, shelter; shield -- to shields
  • hættan -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <hættr> dangerous -- (that) danger
  • Hjálmars -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Hjálmarr> Hjalmar -- Hjalmar's
  • bana -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <bani> death; cause of death, slayer -- bane

Angantýr kvað:
        "Liggr mér und herðum Hjálmars bani,
        allr es hann útan eldi sveipinn;
        mey veitk enga moldar hvergi,
        at þann hjǫr þori í hendr nema."

  • Angantýr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Angantýr> Angantyr -- Angantyr
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • liggr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <liggja> be situated; lie (down); be slain -- lies
  • mér -- pronoun; dative singular of <ek> I -- my
  • und -- preposition; <undir> under, below; beneath; up to; behind -- beneath
  • herðum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <herðar> (pl.) shoulders -- shoulders
  • Hjálmars -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Hjálmarr> Hjalmar -- Hjalmar's
  • bani -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <bani> death; cause of death, slayer -- bane
  • allr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • es -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- it
  • útan -- preposition; <útan> outside (of); beyond; without -- about
  • eldi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <eldr> fire -- by fire
  • sveipinn -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <sveipa> wrap, encircle -- wrapped
  • mey -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <mær> maiden -- maiden
  • veitk -- verb; 1st singular present of <vita (ssi)> know, be aware of; understand; know how (to); know of; find out + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- do I know
  • enga -- pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <engi> no, none, no one -- a
  • moldar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <mold> soil, earth (as substance) -- on earth
  • hvergi -- adverb; <hvergi> nowhere; not at all -- nowhere
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- such as
  • þann -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular masculine of <> that -- this
  • hjǫr -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <hjǫrr> sword -- sword
  • þori -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <þora (ð)> dare -- would dare
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • hendr -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <hǫnd> hand, arm and hand; side, part -- hand
  • nema -- verb; infinitive of <nema> take; take possession of; catch, strike against; amount to -- take

Hon segir:
        "Ek mun hirða ok í hendr nema
        hvassan mæki ef hafa mættak;
        uggi ek eigi eld brennanda --
        þegar loga lægir es ek lít yfir."

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • segir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • ek -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • mun -- verb; 1st singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- might
  • hirða -- verb; infinitive of <hirða (ð)> keep; mind, care -- care for
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • hendr -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <hǫnd> hand, arm and hand; side, part -- hand
  • nema -- verb; infinitive of <nema> take; take possession of; catch, strike against; amount to -- take
  • hvassan -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <hvass> sharp; prickly -- the sharp
  • mæki -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <mækir> sword -- sword
  • ef -- conjunction; <ef> if; whether; (to see) if; lest -- if
  • hafa -- verb; infinitive of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- have (it)
  • mættak -- verb; 1st singular past subjunctive of <mega> be able to, can; may + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I could
  • uggi -- verb; 1st singular present of <ugga> fear -- do... fear
  • ek -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • eigi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • eld -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <eldr> fire -- fire
  • brennanda -- present participle; accusative singular masculine of <brenna> (intrans.) burn, be on fire -- burning
  • þegar -- adverb; <þegar> at once -- at once
  • loga -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <logi> flame -- the flame
  • lægir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <lægja (ð)> lower; (impers.) sink -- sinks
  • es -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- as
  • ek -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • lít -- verb; 1st singular present of <líta> look; see; regard -- look
  • yfir -- preposition; <yfir> above, over, at; across, upon -- upon (it)

Hann kvað:
        "Heimsk est, Hervǫr, hugar eigandi,
        es þú at augum í eld hrapar;
        heldr vilk selja sverð ór haugi,
        mær in unga, mákat synja."

  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • heimsk -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <heimskr> foolish -- foolish
  • est -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- you are # est = ert
  • Hervǫr -- proper noun, feminine; nominative singular of <Hervǫr> Hervor -- Hervor
  • hugar -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <hugr> mind; thought; heart, spirit -- of courage
  • eigandi -- present participle; nominative singular feminine of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- (but) possessed
  • es -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- as
  • þú -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • at augum -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after + noun, neuter; dative plural of <auga> eye -- wide-eyed
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- into
  • eld -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <eldr> fire -- the fire
  • hrapar -- verb; 2nd singular present of <hrapa (að)> rush -- rush
  • heldr -- adverb; <heldr> rather, any the more -- instead
  • vilk -- verb; 1st singular present of <vilja> will, wish, be willing; intend + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I will
  • selja -- verb; infinitive of <selja> give; sell -- give
  • sverð -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <sverð> sword -- the sword
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from out of
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the grave
  • mær -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mær> maiden -- maid
  • in -- definite article; nominative singular feminine of <inn> the -- ...
  • unga -- adjective; weak nominative singular feminine of <ungr> young -- young
  • mákat -- verb; 1st singular present of <mega> be able to, can; may + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- I cannot
  • synja -- verb; infinitive of <synja (að)> refuse, deny -- refuse

Hon kvað:
        "Vel gørðir þú, víkinga niðr,
        es þú seldir mér sverð ór haugi;
        betr þykkjumk nú, buðlungr, hafa,
        en Nóregi næðak ǫllum."

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • vel -- adverb; <vel> well, readily, easily -- well
  • gørðir -- verb; 3rd singular past of <gøra> make, build; write, compose -- would do # The form could also be subjunctive.
  • þú -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • víkinga -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <víkingr> viking, pirate -- viking
  • niðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <niðr> kinsman; son, scion -- kin
  • es -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- as
  • þú -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • seldir -- verb; 2nd singular past of <selja> give; sell -- gave # The form could also be subjunctive.
  • mér -- pronoun; dative singular of <ek> I -- me
  • sverð -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <sverð> sword -- the sword
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the grave
  • betr -- comparative adverb; <betr> better; more -- better off
  • þykkjumk -- verb; 1st singular present middle of <þykkja (þótti)> seem, be thought -- I seem
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • buðlungr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <buðlungr> king, prince -- prince
  • hafa -- verb; infinitive of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- to be
  • en -- conjunction; <en> but, and; than -- than if
  • Nóregi -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Norvegr> the north way; Norway -- Norway
  • næðak -- verb; 1st singular past subjunctive <ná (ð)> get, obtain + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I should possess
  • ǫllum -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all of

Hann kvað:
        "Veizt eigi þú -- vesǫl est mála,
        fláráð kona -- hví fagna skal;
        sjá mun Tyrfingr, ef trúa mættir,
        ætt þinni, mær, allri spilla."

  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • veizt -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vita (ssi)> know, be aware of; understand; know how (to); know of; find out -- do... understand
  • eigi -- adverb; <eigi> not -- not
  • þú -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • vesǫl -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <vesall> wretched, miserable -- hapless
  • est -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- you are # est = ert
  • mála -- noun, neuter; genitive plural of <mál> speech, tale; information; period of time -- in (your) causes
  • fláráð -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <fláráðr> false, deceitful -- deceitful
  • kona -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <kona> woman; wife -- woman
  • hví -- interrogative pronoun; dative singular neuter of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every -- what... for
  • fagna -- verb; infinitive of <fagna (að)> be glad; rejoice at, welcome -- the celebration
  • skal -- verb; 3rd singular present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- will be
  • sjá -- demonstrative used as adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sjá> this -- this
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will
  • Tyrfingr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Tyrfingr> Tyrfing -- Tyrfing
  • ef -- conjunction; <ef> if; whether; (to see) if; lest -- if
  • trúa -- verb; infinitive of <trúa (ð)> believe, trust, have faith in -- believe
  • mættir -- verb; 2nd singular past subjunctive of <mega> be able to, can; may -- you can
  • ætt -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <ætt> direction, region; family, line; stock, tribe; ancestry -- family
  • þinni -- possessive adjective; dative singular feminine of <þinn> thy, thine, of you -- your
  • mær -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mær> maiden -- maiden
  • allri -- adjective; dative singular feminine of <allr> all, whole; every -- entire
  • spilla -- verb; infinitive of <spilla (t)> destroy, spoil -- destroy

Hon segir:
        "Ek mun ganga til gjálfrmara;
        nús hilmis mær í hugum góðum:
        lítt hræðumk þat, lofðunga niðr,
        hvé synir mínir síðan deila."

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • segir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <segja (sagða)> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said
  • ek -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • mun -- verb; 1st singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will
  • ganga -- verb; infinitive of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- go
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to
  • gjálfrmara -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <gjálfrmarr> steed of the sea, ship -- (my) ocean-steeds
  • nús -- adverb; <> now + verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- now... is # nús = nú + es = nú er
  • hilmis -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <hilmir> chief, king -- the prince's
  • mær -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <mær> maiden -- maid
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • hugum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <hugr> mind; thought; heart, spirit -- spirits
  • góðum -- adjective; dative plural masculine of <góðr> good -- good
  • lítt -- adverb; <lítt> little -- little
  • hræðumk -- verb; 1st singular present middle of <hræða (dd)> frighten; (refl.) be afraid of, be frightened -- does... frighten me # The form is identical to the 1st sg., but the construction is 3rd. sg. hræðumk = hræðir mér. See Section 39.2.
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that # Taking hræðumk = hræðir mér, þat is grammatically nominative.
  • lofðunga -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <lofðungr> prince, king -- princes'
  • niðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <niðr> kinsman; son, scion -- kin
  • hvé -- interrogative adverb; <hvé> how -- how
  • synir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <sonr> son -- sons
  • mínir -- possessive adjective; nominative plural masculine of <minn> my, mine, of me -- my
  • síðan -- adverb; <síðan> afterwards, since then -- hereafter
  • deila -- verb; 3rd plural present of <deila (d)> divide; distinguishk quarrel, contend -- contend

Hann kvað:
        "Þú skalt eiga ok una lengi,
        hafðu á hulðu Hjálmars bana,
        takat á eggjum, eitr es í báðum;
        sás manns mjǫtuðr meini verri.

  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • þú -- pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • skalt -- verb; 2nd singular present of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- shall
  • eiga -- verb; infinitive of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- have
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • una -- verb; infinitive of <una> be contented; enjoy -- enjoy (it)
  • lengi -- adverb; <lengi> long; far; for a long time -- for a long time
  • hafðu -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- keep
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- in
  • hulðu -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <hulða> cover, sheath -- the sheath
  • Hjálmars -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Hjálmarr> Hjalmar -- Hjalmar's
  • bana -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <bani> death; cause of death, slayer -- bane
  • takat -- verb; 2nd singular imperative 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 + enclitic adverb; <at> not -- do not touch
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- ...
  • eggjum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <egg> edge -- the edges
  • eitr -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <eitr> poison -- poison
  • es -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- is
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- upon
  • báðum -- adjective; dative plural feminine of <báðir> both -- both
  • sás -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <> that + verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- it # sás = sá + es = sá er
  • manns -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- man's
  • mjǫtuðr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <mjǫtuðr> dispenser of fate -- dispenses... fate
  • meini -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <mein> harm, hurt, injury, pain; disease, plague -- by disease
  • verri -- comparative adjective; nominative singular masculine of <verri> worse -- worse

Far vel, dóttir! fljótt gæfak þér
        tólf manna fjǫr, ef trúa mættir,
        afl ok eljun, alt it góða
        þats synir Arngríms at sik leifðu."

  • far -- verb; 2nd singular imperative of <fara> fare, happen, turn out; go, move, travel -- fare
  • vel -- adverb; <vel> well, readily, easily -- well
  • dóttir -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <dóttir> daughter -- daughter
  • fljótt -- adjective used as substantive; accusative singular neuter of <fljótr> swift, fleeing -- readily
  • gæfak -- verb; 1st singular past subjunctive of <gefa> give; give in marriage; (impers.) be obtainable + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- would I give
  • þér -- pronoun; dative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you
  • tólf -- indeclinable numeral; <tólf> twelve -- of twelve
  • manna -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <maðr> man, person; husband; henchman -- men
  • fjǫr -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <fjǫr> life -- the life
  • ef -- conjunction; <ef> if; whether; (to see) if; lest -- if
  • trúa -- verb; infinitive of <trúa (ð)> believe, trust, have faith in -- believe
  • mættir -- verb; 2nd singular past subjunctive of <mega> be able to, can; may -- you could
  • afl -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <afl> strength -- the strength
  • ok -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • eljun -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <eljun> endurance -- endurance
  • alt -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- everything
  • it -- definite article; accusative singular neuter of <inn> the -- ...
  • góða -- adjective; weak accusative singular neuter of <góðr> good -- good
  • þats -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular neuter of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- which # þats = þat + es = þat er
  • synir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <sonr> son -- sons
  • Arngríms -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Arngrímr> Arngrim -- Arngrim's
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- after
  • sik -- reflexive pronoun; accusative of <sik> him-, her-, it-self; them-selves; one-self -- them
  • leifðu -- verb; 3rd plural past of <leifa (ð)> leave after death -- left

Hon kvað:
        "Búi þér allir -- brott fýsir mik --
        heilir í haugi! Heðan vilk skjótla.
        Helzt þóttumk nú heima í millim,
        es mik umhverfis eldar brunnu."

  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • kvað -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kveða> say, declare; utter, say in verse; recite; utter a cry -- said
  • búi -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <búa> be ready, prepare, secure -- be # Alternately búi þér = búið ér, with búið the 2 pl. imperative.
  • þér -- pronoun; nominative plural of <þú> thou, you -- you # See note above: búi þér = búið ér.
  • allir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • brott -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <braut> road -- the journey
  • fýsir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <fýsa (t)> urge, encourage; (impers.) desire -- calls
  • mik -- pronoun; accusative singular of <ek> I -- me
  • heilir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <heill> sound, safe; in health -- safe
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • haugi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <haugr> mound; grave mound -- the grave
  • heðan -- adverb; <heðan> from here, hence -- hence
  • vilk -- verb; 1st singular present of <vilja> will, wish, be willing; intend + pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I must
  • skjótla -- adverb; <skjótla> quickly -- quickly
  • helzt -- adverb; <helzt> most willingly; most of all; exceedingly -- most of all
  • þóttumk -- verb; 1st singular past middle of <þykkja (þótti)> seem, be thought -- I seemed
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • heima -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <heimr> region; world -- worlds
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- ...
  • millim -- adverb; <miðli, milli, millum> between, among -- between
  • es -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- as
  • mik -- pronoun; accusative singular of <ek> I -- me
  • umhverfis -- preposition; <umhverfis> around -- around
  • eldar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <eldr> fire -- fires
  • brunnu -- verb; 3rd plural past of <brenna> (intrans.) burn, be on fire -- burned

Lesson Text

Hitt hefir mær ung í Munarvági
        við sólarsetr segg at hjǫrðu.

Hirðir kvað:
        "Hverr's einn saman í ey kominn?
        gakktu greiðliga gistingar til!"

Hervǫr kvað:
        "Munkat ganga gistingar til,
        þvít engan kank eyjarskeggja;
        segðu hraðliga áðr heðan líðir
        hvar ru Hjǫrvarði haugar kendir?"

Hirðir kvað:
        "Spyrjat at því, spakr est eigi,
        vinr víkinga, þúst vanfarinn;
        fǫrum fráliga sem okkr fœtr toga --
        alt es úti ámátt firum."

Hervǫr kvað:
        "Men bjóðum þér máls at gjǫldum;
        muna drengja vin dælt at letja:
        fær engi mér fríðar hnossir,
        fagra bauga, svát farak eigi."

Hirðir kvað:
        "Heimskr þykki mér sás heðra ferr,
        maðr einn saman, myrkvar grímur;
        hyrrs á sveimun, haugar opnask,
        brennr fold ok fen -- fǫrum harðara!"

Hervǫr kvað:
        "Hirðumat fælask við fnǫsun slíka,
        þótt of alla ey eldar brenni!
        Látumat okkr liðna rekka
        skjótla skelfa; skulum við talask."

Vas þá féhirðir fljótr til skógar
        mjǫk frá máli meyjar þessar;
        en harðsnúinn hugr í brjósti
        um sakar slíkar svellr Hervǫru.

Hon sá nú haugaeldana ok haugbúa úti standa, ok gengr til hauganna ok hræðisk ekki; óð hon eldana sem reyk, þar til er hon kom at haugi berserkjanna. Þá kvað hon:

"Vaki, Angantýr! vekr þik Hervǫr,
        einga dóttir ykkur Tófu.
        Selðu ór haugi hvassan mæki,
        þanns Svafrlama slógu dvergar.

Hervarðr, Hjǫrvarðr, Hrani, Angantýr!
        vekk yðr alla und viðar rótum,
        hjálmi ok með brynju, hvǫssu sverði,
        rǫnd ok með reiði, roðnum geiri.

Mjǫk eruð orðnir, Arngríms synir,
        megir meinsamir, moldar at auka,
        es engi skal sona Eyfuru
        við mik mæla í Munarvági.

Svá sé yðr ǫllum innan rifja,
        sem þér í maura mornið haugi,
        nema sverð selið þats sló Dvalinn;
        samira draugum dýrt vápn fela."

Þá svarar Angantýr:
        "Hervǫr dóttir, hví kallar svá
        full feikinstafa? Ferr þér at illu.
        Œr est orðin ok ørvita,
        villhyggjandi vekr menn dauða!

Grófat mik faðir niðr né frændr aðrir.
        Þeir hǫfðu Tyrfing tveir es lifðu,
        varð þó eigandi einn of síðir."

Hon kvað:
        "Segðu eitt satt: svá láti Áss þik
        heilan í haugi sem þú hefir eigi
        Tyrfing með þér! Trauðr est at veita
        arfa þínum einga barni."

Þá var sem einn logi væri alt at líta um haugana, er opnir stóðu. Þá kvað Angantýr:

"Hnigin es helgrind, haugar opnask,
        allr es í eldi eybarmr at sjá;
        atalt es úti um at litask.
        Skyntu, mær, ef mátt, til skipa þinna!"

Hon segir:
        "Brenni þér eigi bál á nóttum,
        svát ek við elda yðra fælumk;
        skelfrat meyju muntún hugar, þótt hon draug séi í durum standa."

Þá kvað Angantýr:
        "Segik þér, Hervǫr, hlýttu til meðan,
        vísa dóttir, þats verða mun;
        sjá mun Tyrfingr, ef trúa mættir,
        ætt þinni, mær, allri spilla.

Muntu son geta þanns síðan mun
        Tyrfing bera ok trúa afli;
        þann munu Heiðrek heita lýðar,
        sá mun ríkstr alinn und rǫðuls tjaldi."

Hon kvað:
        "Ek vígi svá virða dauða,
        at ér skuluð allir liggja
        dauðir með draugum, í dys fúnir;
        selðu, Angantýr, út ór haugi
        dverga smíði! Dugira þér at leyna."

Hann segir:
        "Kveðkat þik, mær ung, mǫnnum líka,
        es þú of hauga hvarfar á nóttum
        grǫfnum geiri ok með Gota málmi,
        hjálmi ok með brynju fyr hallar dyrr."

Hon kvað: "Maðr þóttumk menskr til þessa,
        áðr sali yðra sœkja réðak;
        selðu ór haugi þanns hatar brynjur,
        hlífum hættan Hjálmars bana!"

Angantýr kvað:
        "Liggr mér und herðum Hjálmars bani,
        allr es hann útan eldi sveipinn;
        mey veitk enga moldar hvergi,
        at þann hjǫr þori í hendr nema."

Hon segir:
        "Ek mun hirða ok í hendr nema
        hvassan mæki ef hafa mættak;
        uggi ek eigi eld brennanda --
        þegar loga lægir es ek lít yfir."

Hann kvað:
        "Heimsk est, Hervǫr, hugar eigandi,
        es þú at augum í eld hrapar;
        heldr vilk selja sverð ór haugi,
        mær in unga, mákat synja."

Hon kvað:
        "Vel gørðir þú, víkinga niðr,
        es þú seldir mér sverð ór haugi;
        betr þykkjumk nú, buðlungr, hafa,
        en Nóregi næðak ǫllum."

Hann kvað:
        "Veizt eigi þú -- vesǫl est mála,
        fláráð kona -- hví fagna skal;
        sjá mun Tyrfingr, ef trúa mættir,
        ætt þinni, mær, allri spilla."

Hon segir:
        "Ek mun ganga til gjálfrmara;
        nús hilmis mær í hugum góðum:
        lítt hræðumk þat, lofðunga niðr,
        hvé synir mínir síðan deila."

Hann kvað:
        "Þú skalt eiga ok una lengi,
        hafðu á hulðu Hjálmars bana,
        takat á eggjum, eitr es í báðum;
        sás manns mjǫtuðr meini verri.

Far vel, dóttir! fljótt gæfak þér
        tólf manna fjǫr, ef trúa mættir,
        afl ok eljun, alt it góða
        þats synir Arngríms at sik leifðu."

Hon kvað:
        "Búi þér allir -- brott fýsir mik --
        heilir í haugi! Heðan vilk skjótla.
        Helzt þóttumk nú heima í millim,
        es mik umhverfis eldar brunnu."

Translation

In Munarvag at sunset the young maid
met a man at his flock.
The herdsman said:
'Who has come alone to the island?
Go quickly to your lodging!'
Hervor said:
'I cannot go to my lodging,
since I know none of the island inhabitants;
before you go from here, tell
where are Hjorvarth's burial mounds?'
The herdsman said:
'Don't ask about that, you are not wise,
friend of vikings, you're in dire straits;
let us go as quickly as our feet will take us --
everything out here is harmful to men.'
Hervor said:
'We offer you treasure as payment for the information;
it is not easy to dissuade the friend of warriors;
no one has ornaments handsome enough to me,
rings so fair, that I not go.'
The herdsman said:
'Foolish he seems to me, who goes there,
a man totally alone, through dark night;
fire is in flight, the mounds lay open,
earth and bog are burning -- let us go quickly!'
Hervor said:
'Let us take care not to be frightened by such snorting,
though fires burn throughout the entire island!
Let's not allow dead warriors
to quickly frighten us; we shall make conversation.'
At that moment the herdsman was headed
to the woods at the words of this maiden;
but Hervor's heart, well-prepared
for such straits, swelled in her breast.
She then saw the grave fires and ghosts come out, and she went to the
mounds and was not frightened. She passed through the fires and smoke,
until she came to the mound of the berserkers. Then she said:
'Wake, Angantyr! Hervor wakes you,
sole daughter of you and Tofa.
Give out from the grave your sharp sword,
which dwarfs hammered out for Svafrlami.
Hervarth, Hjorvarth, Hrani, Angantyr!
I wake you all below the tree's roots,
with helmet and byrnie, with sharp sword,
with shield and harness, with reddened spear.
You, sons of Arngrim, violent kin,
have changed greatly for the heaping up of earth,
while none of the sons of Eyfura will
speak with me in Munarvag.
So be it for you all within your ribs,
as if you waste away in an ant hill,
unless you give the sword which Dvalin hammered;
it is not fitting for ghosts to hide the precious weapon.'
Then Angantyr answered:
'Hervor, my daughter, why do you call out so,
filled with curses? It works to your disadvantage.
You have become mad and senseless;
delirious, you wake dead men!
A father did not bury me, nor other kin.
They held Tyrfing, the two who lived,
though at last only one became the owner.'
She said:
'Tell it true: so the God should leave you
whole in the mound, if you do not have
Tyrfing with you! You are reluctant to give
the inheritance to your only child.'
Then it was as if a single flame was to be seen all around the graves,
which stood open. Then Angantyr said:
'The door to hell is open, graves lie open,
all the island's surface is seen to be on fire;
it is fearsome to behold all about.
Hasten, maiden, if you can, to your ships!"
She said:
"You could not light fires in the night,
so that I am frightened by your flames;
the maiden's thought-enclosure does not tremble,
though she see a ghost stand at the door."
Then Angantyr said:
"I tell you, Hervor, listen for the moment,
prince's daughter, to what will be;
This Tyrfing will, if you can believe,
maiden, destroy your entire family.
You will have a son who will later
carry Tyrfing and trust his might;
People will call him Heithrek,
he will be born most magnificent under the sun's pavilion."
She said:
"I lay a spell on dead men, so
that you shall all lie
dead with the ghosts, rotten in your grave;
Give, Angantyr, out from the grave
the dwarfs' work! It is not fitting for you to hide it."
He said:
"I declare you, young maiden, unlike to men,
as you go from the mounds in the night
with an inlaid spear and the Goths' metal,
with helmet and byrnie before the doors of the hall."
She said:
"I seemed man enough til the point
when I decided to seek your halls;
give up from your grave that which cuts mail,
that danger to shields, Hjalmar's bane!"
Angantyr said:
"Hjalmar's bane lies beneath my shoulders,
it is wrapped all about by fire;
nowhere on earth do I know a maiden
such as would dare take this sword in hand."
She said:
"I might care for and take in hand
the sharp sword, if I could have it;
I do not fear burning fire --
at once the flame sinks as I look upon it."
He said:
"You are foolish, Hervor, but possessed of courage,
as you rush wide-eyed into the fire;
instead I will give the sword from out of the grave,
young maid, I cannot refuse."
She said:
"Well you did, viking kin,
as you gave me the sword from the grave;
I seem now, prince, to be better off,
than if I should possess all of Norway."
He said:
"You do not understand -- you are hapless in your causes,
deceitful woman -- what the celebration will be for;
This Tyrfing will, if you can believe,
maiden, destroy your entire family."
She said:
"I will go to my ocean-steeds;
now the prince's maid is in good spirits;
little does that frighten me, princes' kin,
how my sons contend hereafter."
He said:
"You shall have and enjoy it for a long time,
keep Hjalmar's bane in the sheath,
do not touch the edges, poison is upon both;
it dispenses man's fate worse by disease.
Fare well, daughter! Readily would I give you
the life of twelve men, if you could believe,
the strength and endurance, everything good,
which Arngrim's sons left after them."
She said:
"Be you all -- the journey calls me --
safe in the grave! I must quickly hence.
Now most of all I seemed between worlds,
as fires burned around me."

Grammar

36. The Seventh Strong Conjugation

The seventh strong conjugation in ON comprises a handful of verbs which do not fit well in the other conjugations. There are traces of an ablaut series

    a -- á -- ó from Proto-Germanic a -- ǣ -- ō,

for example glæa 'gleam' < *glāwjan vs. glóa 'glow' < *glōwan.

A number of roots in this class formed reduplicated preterites in the proto-language. That is, the preterite is formed by taking the initial consonant(s) and the vowel of the root, and attaching them to the front of the root (cf. OE hātan, 3 sg. past he-ht > hēt). Subsequent sound changes, however, tended to conceal the reduplication, and a new series of ablaut began to emerge. Other verbs followed the same ablaut pattern by analogy. By the time of the ON texts, five basic sequences have emerged:

Class VII   Infin.   Past Sg.   Past Pl.   Past Ptc.
                 
1. heita 'be called'   heita   hét   hétum   heitinn
2a. auka 'increase'   auka   jók   jókum   aukinn
2b. búa 'inhabit'   búa   bjó   bjuggum   búinn
3. falla 'fall'   falla   fell   fellum   fallinn
4. láta 'let'   láta   lét   létum   látinn
5. blóta 'offer'   blóta   blét   blétum   blótinn

The first and fourth principal parts of these verbs share the same stem vowel, as do the second and third principal parts (except 2b). Note the verb heita has two alternate stems in the present: heit- and heiti-; for example, ek heit or ek heiti, hann heitr or hann heitir.

The verb falla 'fall', with principal parts falla -- fellr -- fell -- fellu -- felli -- fallinn, illustrates the conjugation. The active forms are as follows.

Class VII   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
Present            
1 Sg.   fell   falla    
2   fellr   fallir   fall
3   fellr   falli    
             
1 Pl.   fǫllum   fallim   fǫllum
2   fallið   fallið   fallið
3   falla   falli    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   fell   fella    
2   fellt   fellir    
3   fell   felli    
             
1 Pl.   fellum   fellim    
2   felluð   fellið    
3   fellu   felli    
             
Infinitive   falla        
             
Pres. Ptc.   fallandi        
             
Past Ptc.   fallinn        

The middle forms are listed below.

Class VII   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
Present            
1 Sg.   fellumk   fǫllumk    
2   fellsk   fallisk   fallsk
3   fellsk   fallisk    
             
1 Pl.   fǫllumk   fallimk   fǫllumk
2   fallizk   fallizk   fallizk
3   fallask   fallisk    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   fellumk   fellumk    
2   fellzk   fellisk    
3   fellsk   fellisk    
             
1 Pl.   fellumk   fellimk    
2   felluzk   fellizk    
3   fellusk   fellisk    
             
Infinitive   fallask        
             
Pres. Ptc.   fallandisk        
             
Past Ptc.   fallizk        

Some verbs of the seventh conjugation do not fit into the above pattern, but are so common that they deserve mention. The verb ganga 'walk' has present stem gang-, but uses the stem geng- in all other forms. As seen in other verbs, in the past singular forms, stem-final ng > kk. The verb 'get; hand over' forms the past tense similarly, with stem feng- (ng > kk in the singular), but the present stem is -. The verb halda 'hold' follows the pattern of falla, with stem vowel a in the first and fourth principal parts, e in the second and third. In the past singular forms, final ld > lt. The verb hǫggva 'hew' follows the pattern of búa in the past singular and plural, but the present stem differs: haggv-. The indicative forms of these verbs are as follows.

Infinitive   ganga     halda   hǫggva
                 
Present                
1 Sg.   geng     held   hegg
2   gengr   fær   heldr   heggr
3   gengr   fær   heldr   heggr
                 
1 Pl.   gǫngum   fám   hǫldum   hǫggum
2   gangið   fáið   haldið   hǫggvið
3   ganga     halda   hǫggva
                 
Past                
1 Sg.   gekk   fekk   helt   hjó
2   gekkt   fekkt   helzt   hjótt
3   gekk   fekk   helt   hjó
                 
1 Pl.   gengum   fengum   heldum   hjuggum
2   genguð   fenguð   helduð   hjugguð
3   gengu   fengu   heldu   hjuggu
                 
Past Ptc.   genginn   fenginn   haldinn   hǫggvinn

Three verbs still show remnants of reduplication: róa 'row', 'sow', and snúa 'turn'. The preterites show reduplication (e.g. reru), though the endings are those of the weak conjugation. The indicative forms are as follows.

Infinitive   róa     snúa
             
Present            
1 Sg.       sný
2   rœr   sær   snýr
3   rœr   sær   snýr
             
1 Pl.   ró(u)m   sám   snúm
2   róið   sáið   snúið
3   róa     snúa
             
Past            
1 Sg.   røra, rera   søra, sera   snøra, snera
2   rørir, rerir   sørir, serir   snørir, snerir
3   røri, reri   søri, seri   snøri, sneri
             
1 Pl.   rørum, rerum   sørum, serum   snørum, snerum
2   røruð, reruð   søruð, seruð   snøruð, sneruð
3   røru, reru   søru, seru   snøru, sneru
             
Past Ptc.   róinn   sáinn   snúinn

The verbs gróa 'grow' and gnúa 'rub', though not originally reduplicated, follow the conjugations of róa and snúa, respectively.

37. Weak Verbs and the First Weak Conjugation
37.1. Basic Formation of Weak Verbs

In contrast to strong verbs, which use ablaut, weak verbs employ a suffix -ði- to mark the past tense. This suffix is added to the verb stem, and to this the personal endings are appended. For example,

Stem   Past Marker   Person Marker   Resulting Form
             
sigl-i/j-   -ði-   -a   siglða 'I sailed'
kall-a-   -ði-   -r   kallaðir 'you called'
lif-i-   -ði-   -um   lifðum 'we lived'

When these elements combine, several sound changes may occur. The most important are the following.

i-deletion. The i of the suffix ði drops before a following vowel, e.g. kall-a- + -ði- + -a > kallaða. In addition, the thematic vowel i or the i/j-augment drops before the suffix ði, as a result of the general rule whereby unstressed vowels drop when followed by a single consonant plus vowel; for example, lif-i- + -ði- + -u > lifðu.

u-umlaut. When followed by u, unstressed a becomes u, and stressed a becomes ǫ. In many weak verbs this leads to a domino effect: kall-a- + -ði- + um > kalluðum > kǫlluðum; tal-i/j- + -ði- + - > talðuð > tǫlðuð.

-ð + ð- > -dd-. When stem-final ð comes into contact with the ð of the past tense suffix, both ðs become d; for example, eyða 'lay waste' (stem auð-i/j-) has past forms eydda 'I laid waste', eyddir, etc.

-n + ð- > -nd-. When stem-final n comes into contact with the ð of the past tense suffix, the ð becomes d; for example, munu 'will' has past mundi 'he would'. This change does not always occur, e.g. stefna 'set course' (stem stafn-i/j-) has stefnði 'he set course'.

-t, s + ð- > -tt, st. When stem-final t or s comes into contact with the ð of the past tense suffix, the ð becomes t. For example, flytja 'move' (stem flut-i/j-) has past flutta 'I moved'; sæta 'undergo' (stem sát-i/j-) has sætti 'he underwent'; þeysa 'gush forth' (stem þaus-i/j-) has þeysti 'he gushed forth'.

-p, k, f, l + ð- > -pt, kt, ft, lt. When stem-final p, k, f, or l comes into contact with the ð of the past tense suffix, the ð becomes t. This change does not always occur; for example, þurfa 'need' vs. þurfti 'he needed', but hafa 'have' vs. hafði 'he needed'; mæla 'speak' (stem mál-i/j-) vs. mælti 'he spoke', but vilja 'want' vs. vildi 'he wanted'.

-Cdd > -Cd and -Ctt > -Ct. Whenever the above rules produce the double consonants dd or tt, these are simplified to d or t if preceded by another consonant; for example, senda 'send' (stem send-i/j-) has past sendi 'he sent'; skipta 'shift' (stem skipt-i/j-) has past skipti 'he shifted'.

There are three basic classes of weak verbs. The first of these is discussed below.

37.2. The First Weak Conjugation

The first weak conjugation comprises verbs containing a thematic -i/j- suffixed to the root. The treatment of the thematic element varies depending on the length of the stem, and on the stem's final consonant. The notion of length, however, depends on one's method of description.

Recall (cf. Section 2.3) that there are two methods of syllabification, the traditional and the metrical. In the traditional scheme, syllables are divided so that non-initial syllables begin with a vowel. According to the traditional definition of syllable length, a short syllable is one which contains a short vowel, followed by no more than one consonant. A long syllable ends in a short vowel followed by a consonant group, or ends in a long vowel followed by no more than one consonant. An overlong syllable ends in a long vowel followed by a consonant group.

The metrical system divides syllables so that non-initial syllables begin with a consonant. A short syllable is one which ends in a short vowel, or in a long vowel followed by an unaccented vowel. A long syllable is one which ends in a long vowel, or in a short vowel followed by a consonant. We may also consider an overlong syllable to be one which ends in a long vowel plus consonant, or in a short vowel plus more than one consonant.

The rules of formation of the first weak conjugation -- i.e. the treatment of the thematic i/j -- will therefore depend on the description chosen. Most synchronic grammars of Old Norse follow the traditional system, while historical grammars often follow the metrical system (which happens to coincide with the nomenclature of grammars of other ancient Indo-European languages). Because each system has its merits, two formulations will be given below, one for each system.

Traditional Formulation

If the stem is short, the thematic element is -j-; if the stem is long or overlong, the thematic element is -i-. Consider the following examples:

Stem   Thematic   Infinitive
         
var-i/j- 'defend'   -j-   verja
sigl-i/j- 'sail'   -i-   sigla
skil-i/j- 'part'   -j-   skilja
stafn-i/j- 'head for'   -i-   stefna
sát-i/j- 'undergo'   -i-   sæta

Thus the stem skil- is traditionally short, and therefore takes -j- as the thematic element. By contrast, sát- is long, and so the thematic element is -i-.

Metrical Formulation

The thematic element becomes consonantal (j) or vocalic (i) so as to make the stem overlong if not already so. Consider again the same examples:

Stem   Thematic   Infinitive
         
var-i/j- 'defend'   -j-   verja
sigl-i/j- 'sail'   -i-   sigla
skil-i/j- 'part'   -j-   skilja
stafn-i/j- 'head for'   -i-   stefna
sát-i/j- 'undergo'   -i-   sæta

Thus skil- is metrically long, and takes -j- as the thematic element to make the stem overlong. By contrast, sát- is already overlong, and so the thematic element is -i-.

If we agree to use the term long, interpreted as 'overlong' in the metrical sense, and as 'long' or 'overlong' in the traditional sense, then the remaining patterns of the first weak conjugation may be stated concurrently. In this setting, short must be taken to mean 'not long'.

The thematic element occurs as part of the stem in both present and past forms of long-syllable stems. The thematic is only part of the present forms of short-syllable stems. The thematic element triggers i-umlaut in the root vowel, so that fronting occurs only in present forms of short-syllable stems, but in both present and past forms of long-syllable stems. Consider the following:

Underlying Stem   Present Stem   Past Stem
         
var-i/j-   ver-j-   var-
sigl-i/j-   sigl-i-   sigl-i-
skil-i/j-   skil-j-   skil-
stafn-i/j-   stefn-i-   stefn-i-
sát-i/j-   sæt-i-   sæt-i-

If a long stem ends in k or g, the thematic is usually -i-, but appears as j before a or u; for example, lág-i/j- 'lower' has 3rd sg. pres. lægir 'he lowers', but 3rd pl. pres. lægja 'they lower'. If a short stem ends in g (but not k), the thematic is absent in the past and normally j in the present, but appears as i in the present before a consonant or zero ending; for example, sag-i/j- 'say' has present stem seg-j- and past stem sag-. The 1st pl. pres. is segjum 'we say', 3rd pl. pres. segja 'they say', but 1st sg. pres. segi 'I say', 3rd sg. pres. segir 'he says'. Likewise þag-i/j- 'be silent' has 1st pl. pres. þegjum 'we are silent', but 1st sg. pres. þegi 'I am silent', 2nd/3rd sg. pres. þegir 'you are silent', 'he is silent'. Some short stems ending in g double the final g in the present; for example, lag-i/j- 'lay' has present stem legg-j- and past stem lag-. Thus the 1st sg. pres. form is legg 'I lay', 2nd/3rd sg. pres. leggr 'you lay', 'he lays'; it has past forms lagða 'I laid', lagði 'he laid', lǫgðum 'we laid'. Compare the following indicative forms of stems ending in g:

    Short Stem   Short Stem   Long Stem
             
Stem   sag-i/j-   lag-i/j-   talg-i/j-
             
Present            
1 Sg.   segi   legg   telgi
2   segir   leggr   telgir
3   segir   leggr   telgir
             
1 Pl.   segjum   leggjum   telgjum
2   segið   leggið   telgið
3   segja   leggja   telgja
             
Past            
1 Sg.   sagða   lagða   telgða
2   sagðir   lagðir   telgðir
3   sagði   lagði   telgði
             
1 Pl.   sǫgðum   lǫgðum   telgðum
2   sǫgðuð   lǫgðuð   telgðuð
3   sǫgðu   lǫgðu   telgðu

The verb verja, varði 'defend', stem var-i/j-, illustrates the forms of the short stem verbs. The active forms are as follows.

Weak I   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(var-i/j-)            
             
Present            
1 Sg.   ver   verja    
2   verr   verir   ver
3   verr   veri    
             
1 Pl.   verjum   verim   verjum
2   verið   verið   verið
3   verja   veri    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   varða   verða    
2   varðir   verðir    
3   varði   verði    
             
1 Pl.   vǫrðum   verðim    
2   vǫrðuð   verðið    
3   vǫrðu   verði    
             
Infinitive   verja        
             
Pres. Ptc.   verjandi        
             
Past Ptc.   variðr        

The short stem middle forms are as follows.

Weak I   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(var-i/j-)            
             
1 Sg.   verjumk   verjumk    
2   versk   verisk   versk
3   versk   verisk    
             
1 Pl.   verjumsk   verimsk   verjumsk
2   verizk   verizk   verizk
3   verjask   verisk    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   vǫrðumk   verðumk    
2   varðisk   verðisk    
3   varðisk   verðisk    
             
1 Pl.   vǫrðumsk   verðimsk    
2   vǫrðuzk   verðizk    
3   vǫrðusk   verðisk    
             
Infinitive   verjask        
             
Pres. Ptc.   verjandisk        
             
Past Ptc.   varizk        

The verb fella, felldi 'fell (transitive)', stem fall-i/j-, illustrates the forms of the long stem verbs. The active forms are as follows.

Weak I   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(fall-i/j-)            
             
Present            
1 Sg.   felli   fella    
2   fellir   fellir   fell
3   fellir   felli    
             
1 Pl.   fellum   fellim   fellum
2   fellið   fellið   fellið
3   fella   felli    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   fellda   fellda    
2   felldir   felldir    
3   felldi   felldi    
             
1 Pl.   felldum   felldim    
2   fellduð   felldið    
3   felldu   felldi    
             
Infinitive   fella        
             
Pres. Ptc.   fellandi        
             
Past Ptc.   felldr        

The long stem middle forms are as follows.

Weak I   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(fall-i/j-)            
             
1 Sg.   fellumk   fellumk    
2   fellisk   fellisk   fellsk
3   fellisk   fellisk    
             
1 Pl.   fellumsk   fellimsk   fellumsk
2   fellizk   fellizk   fellizk
3   fellask   fellisk    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   felldumk   felldumk    
2   felldisk   felldisk    
3   felldisk   felldisk    
             
1 Pl.   felldumsk   felldimsk    
2   fellduzk   felldizk    
3   felldusk   felldisk    
             
Infinitive   fellask        
             
Pres. Ptc.   fellandisk        
             
Past Ptc.   fellzk        
38. The Subjunctive

The subjunctive generally describes an event which is reported by the speaker as not actual. This may mean that the event is potential ('were I your brother...'), supposed ('assuming this be true...'), reported ('I've heard he would walk at night...'), desired ('Thy kingdom come...'), in contrast to actual ('I am your brother'), known ('It is true that...'), witnessed ('I saw that he walked...'), or realized ('as we forgive those who trespass...'). ON has two subjunctive formations, one built from the present stem of the verb, the other built from the past stem. The distinction, however, is not one of tense -- it cannot be, since the subjunctive denotes an event which is unreal, and therefore cannot be located in time. The distinction between Past and Present Subjunctive, then, is essentially one of the event viewed as a complete whole (Past Subjunctive) versus the event viewed as incomplete (Present Subjunctive), or rather, viewed without specific reference to its completion (though it may in fact be completed). The formation and use of the subjunctive in ON is described in the following sections.

38.1. Present Subjunctive

The endings of the present subjunctive are as follows.

    Present Subj.
     
1 Sg.   -a
2   -ir
3   -i
     
1 Pl.   -im
2   -
3   -i

These forms are added to the present stem of verbs. Strong verbs exhibit no fronting of the stem vowel in the singular -- the stem vowel remains unchanged throughout the paradigm. Weak verbs, by contrast, show fronting only when there is a thematic -i/j following the stem. This fronting then occurs throughout the paradigm. Preterite-present verbs form the present subjunctive using the stem of the present plural. The verbs kalla 'call', telja 'count', and fœra 'bring' illustrate the present subjunctive of weak verbs. The verbs gefa 'give', taka 'take', hlaupa 'leap', and bjóða 'offer' illustrate the present subjunctive of strong verbs, while vita 'know' illustrates the paradigm for preterite-presents.

Weak               Pret.-Pres.
                 
Stem   kall-a-   tal-i/j-   fór-i/j-   vit-
                 
1 Sg.   kalla   telja   fœra   vita
2   kallir   telir   fœrir   vitir
3   kalli   teli   fœri   viti
                 
1 Pl.   kallim   telim   fœrim   vitim
2   kallið   telið   fœrið   vitið
3   kalli   teli   fœri   viti
                 
Strong                
                 
Stem   gef-   tak-   hlaup-   bjúð-
                 
1 Sg.   gefa   taka   hlaupa   bjóða
2   gefir   takir   hlaupir   bjóðir
3   gefi   taki   hlaupi   bjóði
                 
1 Pl.   gefim   takim   hlaupim   bjóðim
2   gefið   takið   hlaupið   bjóðið
3   gefi   taki   hlaupi   bjóði

The present subjunctive of the preterite-present verbs munu 'may' and skulu 'shall' alternately occur with fronted stem vowel, e.g. ek muna or ek myna, vér munim or vér mynim, ek skula or ek skyla, vér skulim or vér skylim.

The present subjunctive of vera 'be' is irregular:

vera   Singular   Plural
         
1     sém
2   sér   séð
3    

Some of the forms of the subjunctive of vera are the same as certain indicative forms of sjá, so that the possibility of formal confusion arises. Generally context makes the distinction clear.

The present subjunctive is often used in the following circumstances:

  • direct wishes, which are introduced by a form of vilja 'want' and the conjunction at; for example, vil ek at þú vitir þat..., literally 'I want that you know this...'.
  • conditions of negative import, usually introduced by þó at, þótt 'although, despite' a similar phrase; for example, þó at þú eigir þar gǫfga frændr... 'though you have noble kin there...'. Note, however, that simple conditions often use ef 'if' with the indicative, as in Modern English: ef þú hefir heilan hug... 'if you have sound intent...'.
  • assumption or indirect report, often introduced by ætla 'intend', vænta 'expect', lítask 'seem'; for example, ætlum vér at þú hafir gǫrt þetta við einræði þitt 'we hoped you would have done that at your own behest'; er þat ætlan min, at þessi kona kunni eigi at mæla 'this is my intent, that this woman should not know how to speak'.
  • potential or probable event, for example, veit ek eigi, hvar sú kona sitr, er mér sé mikit happ í at geta 'I don't know where that woman lies, whom it would be great luck for me to get.'
  • polite command, for example, várr herra launi yðr þann sóma 'might our lord pay you the honor'.
38.2. Past Subjunctive

The endings of the past subjunctive are the same as those of the present subjunctive. The difference in formation concerns the stem: the past subjunctive is formed from the past stem of weak and preterite-present verbs, and from the past plural stem of strong verbs. The stem vowel is fronted in all forms, singular and plural, when applicable. The verbs kalla 'call', telja 'count', and fœra 'bring' illustrate the past subjunctive of weak verbs. The verbs líta 'look', gefa 'give', fara 'go', hlaupa 'leap', and bjóða 'offer' illustrate the past subjunctive of strong verbs. munu 'shall', mega 'be able', kunna 'know how', and vita 'know' illustrate the paradigm for preterite-presents.

Weak               Strong
                 
Infin.   kalla   telja   fœra   líta
                 
Stem   kallaði-   talði-   fœrði-   lit-
                 
1 Sg.   kallaða   telða   fœrða   lita
2   kallaðir   telðir   fœrðir   litir
3   kallaði   telði   fœrði   liti
                 
1 Pl.   kallaðim   telðim   fœrðim   litim
2   kallaðið   telðið   fœrðið   litið
3   kallaði   telði   fœrði   liti
                 
Strong                
                 
Infin.   gefa   fara   hlaupa   bjóða
                 
Stem   gáf-   fór-   hlup-   buð-
                 
1 Sg.   gæfa   fœra   hlypa   byða
2   gæfir   fœrir   hlypir   byðir
3   gæfi   fœri   hlypi   byði
                 
1 Pl.   gæfim   fœrim   hlypim   byðim
2   gæfið   fœrið   hlypið   byðið
3   gæfi   fœri   hlypi   byði
                 
Pret.-Pres.                
                 
Infin.   munu   mega   kunna   vita
                 
Stem   mundi-   mátti-   kunni-   viss-
                 
1 Sg.   mynda   mætta   kynna   vissa
2   myndir   mættir   kynnir   vissir
3   myndi   mætti   kynni   vissi
                 
1 Pl.   myndim   mættim   kynnim   vissim
2   myndið   mættið   kynnið   vissið
3   myndi   mætti   kynni   vissi

Verbs whose stem ends in a velar consonant (k or g) insert j before a following a or u; for example, taka 'take' has tækja, tækjum; draga 'drag' has drægja, drægjum. Note that the past subjunctive and past indicative forms of many weak verbs are the same; for example, kallaðir and fœrði may be either indicative or subjunctive, depending on context. The past subjunctive of vera 'be' is formed in a regular fashion from the past plural stem vár-:

vera   Singular   Plural
         
1   væra   værim
2   værir   værið
3   væri   væri

Uses of the past subjunctive parallel those of the present subjunctive. The past subjunctive is often used in the following circumstances:

  • indirect or polite wishes, for example, vilda ek at þú fýstisk eigi út til Íslands 'I would want that you were not eager to go out to Iceland'. In such constructions, vil ek has the connotation of 'I want', in contrast to vilda ek 'I (would) wish'.
  • past conditions of negative import, for example, aldregi drakk (hann) svá, at eigi segði hann sik þyrsta 'never did he drink such that he would not say he was thirsty.'
  • past assumption or indirect report, for example, Egill mælti, at þeir skyldi þá ekki drekka 'Egil said that they should drink nothing.' Note that when the main verb is in the present tense, an indirect statement is in the indicative: Egill segir, at þat var þá úvænt 'Egil says that that was unlikely.'
  • event potential or probable in reference to the past, for example, Egill fann þá, at honum myndi eigi við svá búit eira 'Egill then dicovered that he might not be able to tolerate this.'
  • indeterminate indirect question, in which the event under inquiry is not a specific fact; for example, Ásgerðr spurði, hv'art þau hefði máttverð etit 'Asgerth asked whether they had eaten supper'. By contrast, and indirect question concerning a factual event uses the indicative: þeir spurðu, hví hann var þar kominn 'they asked why he had come there.'
39. Reflexive and Middle Verbs
39.1. Reflexive Formation

The reflexive forms of verbs are formed simply by suffixing -sk to the usual form of the verb. This suffix -sk derives from the accusative of the reflexive pronoun sín. The only exception to this procedure occurs for the first person forms, in which the suffix is -mk, derived from the accusative singular of the first person pronoun ek. The suffix -mk is used for singular and -msk for plural forms. The plural form, however, frequently appears as -mk, rendering it in most instances indistinguishable from the singular. Note that the vowel preceding -mk is always u in the first person singular, indicative or subjunctive. The m of the suffix coalesces with the final m of the first person plural ending to give only one m: -m + -mk > -mk. The final -r of verb forms is lost before the reflexive suffix. The weak verbs verja 'defend' and kalla 'call', and the strong verb gefa 'give', serve to illustrate the reflexive paradigms.

Indicative       Refl.       Refl.       Refl.
Present                        
                         
1 Sg.   ver   verjumk   kalla   kǫllumk   gef   gefumk
2   verr   versk   kallar   kallask   gefr   gefsk
3   verr   versk   kallar   kallask   gefr   gefsk
                         
1 Pl.   verjum   verjum(s)k   kǫllum   kǫllum(s)k   gefum   gefum(s)k
2   verið   verizk   kallið   kallizk   gefið   gefizk
3   verja   verjask   kalla   kallask   gefa   gefask
                         
Past                        
                         
1 Sg.   varða   vǫrðumk   kallaða   kǫlluðumk   gaf   gǫfumk
2   varðir   varðisk   kallaðir   kallaðisk   gaft   gafzk
3   varði   varðisk   kallaði   kallaðisk   gaf   gafsk
                         
1 Pl.   vǫrðum   vǫrðum(s)k   kǫlluðum   kǫlluðum(s)k   gáfum   gáfum(s)k
2   vǫrðuð   vǫrðuzk   kǫlluðuð   kǫlluðuzk   gáfuð   gáfuzk
3   vǫrðu   vǫrðusk   kǫlluðu   kǫlluðusk   gáfu   gáfusk
                         
Subjunctive                        
Present                        
                         
1 Sg.   verja   verjumk   kalla   kǫllumk   gefa   gefumk
2   verir   verisk   kallir   kallisk   gefir   gefisk
3   veri   verisk   kalli   kallisk   gefi   gefisk
                         
1 Pl.   verim   verim(s)k   kallim   kallim(s)k   gefim   gefim(s)k
2   verið   verizk   kallið   kallizk   gefið   gefizk
3   veri   verisk   kalli   kallisk   gefi   gefisk
                         
Past                        
                         
1 Sg.   verða   verðumk   kallaða   kǫlluðumk   gæfa   gæfumk
2   verðir   verðisk   kallaðir   kallaðisk   gæfir   gæfisk
3   verði   verðisk   kallaði   kallaðisk   gæfi   gæfisk
                         
1 Pl.   verðim   verðim(s)k   kallaðim   kallaðim(s)k   gæfim   gæfim(s)k
2   verðið   verðizk   kallaðið   kallaðizk   gæfið   gæfizk
3   verði   verðisk   kallaði   kallaðisk   gæfi   gæfisk
39.2. Use of Reflexives

Derived from the reflexive pronoun, the -sk suffix still functions as a true reflexive in some instances; for example, hann varði sik and hann varðisk both mean 'he defended himself'. The full form of the reflexive pronoun and the suffix are not always interchangable, however, as in hann barði sik 'he struck himself' vs. hann barðisk 'he fought'. In its role as a true reflexive, there are three basic uses of the -sk suffix:

  • general reflexive: the -sk suffix is interchangable with the full form of the reflexive pronoun (sik, sér), often with verbs involving bodily motion; for example: lagðisk hon niðr í aðra rekkju 'she laid herself down on another bed'; hann settisk niðr 'he set himself down'; hann nefndisk Gilli 'he called himself Gilli'; Kjartan dvalðisk þar um hríð 'Kjartan settled himself there for a while'.
  • subject of subordinate clause: verbs of saying, thinking, perceiving, etc. employ a construction similar to the accusative-and-infinitive of Classical Greek and Latin. When the subject of the subordinate clause is the same as the subject of the head verb (the verb of saying), the verb of the subordinate clause is put in the infinitive and its subject (which is the same as the head verb's subject) is denoted by the accusative of the reflexive pronoun. This reflexive is often suffixed to the verb of saying as -sk; for example: hann kvazk fara skyldu vestr 'he said that he should travel west' (literally: 'he said himself to need to go west'); síðan hugðisk hann sofna 'then he thought he would sleep'; Skírnir lézk ganga mundu ok eigi fúss 'Skirnir conceded that he would go, but not willingly'.
  • reciprocal: when the reflexive refers to a plural, equivalent to the reciprocal hvár annan 'each other, one another', the reflexive appears as the suffix -sk; for example: þeir unnusk mikit fóstbrœðr 'the foster-brothers loved each other greatly'; skilðusk þá skipin 'then the ships separated from one another'; spyriask þeir tíðena 'they ask each other about the news'.

Another important use of the -sk suffix is the marking of the middle voice in Old Norse. To gain insight into the middle voice (compare Classical Greek and Latin), consider the verb 'soak' in Modern English. The sentences

    'I soaked my shirt in detergent for an hour' and
    'My shirt was soaked my me in detergent for an hour'

are logically equivalent (representing the same event), but display a difference in voice. The first sentence is active, in which the agent ('doer', or 'logical subject' -- here 'I') is also the grammatical subject. In this sentence, the patient ('receiver', or 'logical object' -- here 'my shirt') is the grammatical object. By contrast, in the second sentence 'My shirt was soaked by me...', the patient is the grammatical subject, and the agent is expressed by a circumlocution (a prepositional phrase). Now consider a third sentence:

    'My shirt soaked in detergent for an hour.'

In this sentence, the agent-patient distinction breaks down. If we wish to force this sentence into the active-passive dichotomy, we may do so only with some effort. If we ascribe to the shirt authority in the soaking action, then we may say this sentence is equivalent to 'My shirt soaked itself in detergent...', and so the sentence may be viewed as active, but reflexive. If we do not allow the shirt to be the agent of its own soaking, then the sentence is equivalent to 'My shirt was soaked in detergent...', and so the sentence may be viewed as passive, but with no reference to the actual agent. Because of the nature of some verbs, it is better to admit a third category to the active-passive distinction. We call constructions of the type 'My shirt soaked in detergent...' illustrations of the middle voice.

Middle constructions are quite common in Old Norse and occur with a wide variety of verbs. This construction is common with verbs denoting 'seem', 'appear', or the like, usually in conjunction with a dative. For example: svá lizk oss, sem slíkum málum sé vel fellt at svara 'so it seems to us, that in such matters it would be suited to answer'; bað hann aðra menn hyggja at, hvárt (þeim) svá sýndisk 'he told the other men to consider whether it would thus seem fitting (for them)'. Verbs dealing with emotional or psychological states, or where the agent is otherwise indeterminate, use the -sk suffix. For example: allir undruðusk, þeir er sá hann 'all marvelled who saw him'; en þá es eyksk at váru tali it sjaunda hvert ár viku... 'but when for our reckoning each seventh year should be augmented by a week...'; fǫrunautar hans gerðusk þá úfœrir 'his travelling companions then became incapacitated'. Middle constructions often involve verbs whose meaning, such as 'turn, open, close, grow', etc., can be either transitive or intransitive in Modern English. The equivalent of the intransitive in ON usually takes the -sk suffix: hafði Gunnarr snúizk í hauginum 'Gunnar had turned to the mound'; haugar opnask 'the mounds are open'.

As is seen from some of the preceding examples, the use of reflexive forms may be difficult to distinguish from a true passive. Consider the following examples: skip búask 'ships are set up'; landit eyddisk af 'the land would be made desolate'; þá spurðusk þau tíðindi til Nóregs 'the reports were heard in Norway'.

The -sk suffix is not uncommon in impersonal constructions: sú er mér auðsæst úgipta Olafs, at honum glapðisk svá mjók sonaeignin 'this for me is Olafs most obvious misfortune, that so great a lack of progeny befell him'. A related construction occurs in poetry with forms ending in -umk, where -mk is equivalent to the dative form mér: sú erumk (= es mér) líkn 'that is a comfort to me'; stǫndumk (= stendr mér) til hjarta hjǫrr 'the sword sticks in my heart'. In Snorri's description of Skathi's marriage, one finds leið erumk (= eru mér) fjǫll..., ulfa þytr þóttumk (= þóttu mér) illr vesa 'the hills are hateful to me..., the cry of wolves seemed to me to be horrible'.

Often the -sk suffix has no obvious reflexive or middle connotation, but rather serves to change the meaning of the verb. Sometimes this occurs in conjunction with the addition of an adverbial, e.g. kanna 'search, explore', but kannask við 'recognize' in þá kannask margir við, ef heyra kenningarnafn mitt 'many recognize if they hear my nickname'. Sometimes there is no adverbial element to signal the change of meaning, e.g. láta 'let', but látask 'pass away, die', as in hversu margt hefir hér fyrirmanna látizk 'how many noble men have died here?' Often such uses may be seen as reflexive or middle when an older or less common shade of meaning of the suffixless verb is used. For example, if one glosses vega as 'smite', then vegask 'fight' in þat (sverð) var svá gott at sjálft vásk 'that (sword) was so good that it would fight by itself' is not a reflexive use. But if vega is glossed as 'lift', then vegask might be construed reflexively as 'lift oneself', and the preceding sentence should be translated as '... that the sword itself could lift/move itself'. Given context and the fact that it is a sword which is moving, the second translation still implies that the sword could fight by itself.

40. Tense and Aspect
40.1. Relative Time Marking

The subjunctive may be used to set events relative to one another. The conjunction áðr 'before' introduces clauses whose verb may be either subjunctive or indicative. When the subordinate verb is indicative, the events are simply related chronologically. For example: heldusk þeir eigi lengi við, áðr þeir váru yfirkomnir at mœði 'they did not hold out long before they were overcome with fatigue'; ok hvarf til hans, áðr Egill steig á bak 'and he embraced him before Egil climbed on back (of the horse)'. When the subordinate verb is subjunctive, the relation is more intentional than necessarily temporal, where the subordinate verb gives a purpose or reason. For example: vil ek, at t'u vitir þat, áðr vit sláim kaupi þessu 'I want you to know this, before we (should) strike this bargain'.

The auxiliary verb hafa is used to mark an event as anterior to another. The present formation is the perfect: sem Njáll hefir sagt 'as Njal has said'. The past formation is the pluperfect: hafði hann látit heita mungát 'he had let the ale brew'.

40.2. The Perfect

The verb hafa is used with the past participle to denote an event which is viewed as completed, but with relevance to the time-frame of the utterance or main verb. The nature of the perfect straddles the concepts of both tense and aspect. Early uses suggest that the perfect originally denoted a completed event. This use soon gave way to denoting a completed event with continuing relevance, and in this sense the ON perfect is not exactly equivalent to the perfective aspect, which denotes an event without reference to internal time structure. The perfect employs a conjugated form of hafa in conjunction with a form of the past participle. The past participle in early texts agrees in gender, case and number with the direct object of hafa, but this later gives way to the neuter accusative singular of the participle (the supine) regardless of the gender of the direct object. By the time of the classical ON period, the two constructions are in free variation, e.g. ek hefi kallat hann or ek hefi hann kallaðan 'I have called him'. The same distinction holds for the pluperfect, which employs past forms of hafa to denote an event anterior to another event in the past. For example: hann hafði sét hana or hann hafði hana séna 'he had seen her'.

Intransitive verbs of motion may form the perfect with vera as auxiliary. The participle in such constructions modifies the subject, and always agrees in gender, case and number. For example: hon er farin 'she has travelled'; Gunnarr var kominn at Hlíðarenda 'Gunnar had come to Slope's End'. The neuter nominative singular of the participle may be used in impersonal constructions, e.g. komit var at Hlíðarenda um kveldit 'it was come to Slope's End around evening'. One occasionally finds such intransitive verbs with hafa as auxiliary: Gunnarr hafði komit at Hlíðarenda fyrr um daginn 'Gunnar had come to Slope's End before daybreak'.

40.3. The Future

There is no morphological future in Old Norse. The present is often employed in a future sense. For example: þar liggr hann í bǫndum til ragnarøkkrs 'there he lies in bonds until the end of the world', where liggr 'lies' has the sense of 'lies now and will lie from this moment on'.

The future is also formed using modal auxiliaries in conjunction with a main verb in the infinitive. munu 'will' and skulu 'shall' are the most common modals. When the two are distinct, munu signifies inclination, while skulu denotes determination. For example: muntu m'er, Freya, fjaðrhams ljá 'will you, Freya, lend me your feather-dress?'; hann skal standa, þá er bæði himinn ok jǫrð hefir farizt 'he (the gods' residence) shall stand when both heaven and earth have perished'.

The modal munu does not always signify future meaning, but often connotes supposition akin to 'might'. For example: þú munt engis lofs þykkjask þurfa at biðja 'you might suppose yourself to need ask no permission'.

40.4. Historical Present

Old Norse makes frequent use of the historical present. This usage is common to Modern English, as typified by the opening line of many jokes: 'Two guys walk into a bar...'. In such situations, the present is used to refer to an action which occurred in the past. In rhetorical terms, the present is used to add vividness to the narrative, imparting a heightened sense of reality for the listener. The same is found in Classical Greek and Latin historical narratives. But the classical languages typically employ the historical present only in restricted contexts. Old Norse, by contrast, makes such extensive use of the historical present that it is likely much of the 'vividness' has been bleached out by the time of classical ON texts. A close examination of spoken Modern English finds similar usage occurs in informal conversation: 'I handed him the money, he gives me a stern look, and I walked away.' Though the historical present's use in ON narrative seems to be rather idiosyncratic, a few general tendencies may be observed. In passages where the historical present occurs, a past tense form must be used at the beginning. In extended passages, the historical present must alternate frequently with past tenses. Shifting between historical present and past tense rarely occurs in dialogue. Consider the following example, en Loki fór fyrir ok leggst niðr í milli steina tveggja; drógu þeir netit yfir hann 'but Loki went ahead and lies down between two stones; they drew the net over him'.