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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Auðunn Lv 2I

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2012, ‘Auðunn illskælda, Lausavísa 2’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 122.

Auðunn illskældaLausavísa2

text and translation

Stóðu vér und víðum
vindar tjǫlgu linda,
herkir hyrjar serkja;
hvé of vélti þat belti?
Þat hykk hrammfjǫturs hvǫttu
Hlǫkk; fannkat mey rakka
í barrskelfis bjalfa
bjúgs þá raman smjúga.

Stóðu vér und víðum linda tjǫlgu vindar, {herkir {hyrjar serkja}}; hvé of vélti belti þat? Hykk {Hlǫkk {hrammfjǫturs}} hvǫttu þat; fannkat rakka mey þá smjúga í raman bjalfa bjúgs barrskelfis.
 
‘We [I] stood beneath the broad girdle of the branch of the wind, giant of the fire of mail-shirts [SWORD > WARRIOR]; how did the ‘belt’ trick me? I think the Hlǫkk <valkyrie> of the arm-fetter [ARM-RING > WOMAN] encouraged that; I did not find the spirited woman creeping then into the strong hide of the bent pine needle shaker.

notes and context

See Introduction.

On the use of printed eds in the Readings above, see Introduction. — The sense of the stanza is obscure. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) did not attempt an exact translation but paraphrased thus: Vi stod under det vide gærde; dér havde kvinden opfordret mig i smug; men jeg traf hende ikke ‘We stood beneath the broad fence; the woman had invited me there secretly; but I did not meet her’. — [1-2]: These lines are now largely invisible, but earlier eds were in broad agreement on their wording. It seems reasonable to assume that und víðum linda tjǫlgu vindar ‘beneath the broad girdle of the branch of the wind’ refers to the fence (a skíðgarðr ‘wooden paling fence’ in Ǫlv Lv 1/4 and the prose text of Skáld), presumably made of palings or withies, that prevented the skalds’ escape from the outdoor trap they had been led into. The precise syntactical combination of the words in l. 2 is unclear (vindartjǫlgu or tjǫlgu-linda, cf. NN §2210A), nor is it clear whether the phrase has the status of a kenning. If it has, it may be construed thus: und víðum linda tjǫlgu vindar ‘beneath the broad girdle of the branch of the wind [PALING > FENCE]’. — [7-8]: There are many uncertainties about the text of these lines and most of l. 8 is now illegible in the ms. There are also some significant differences in the readings of the various C19th eds. The reading of Hb 1892-6 seems reliable though its various notes should also be consulted. The syntax of the lines is also uncertain. Guðmundur Finnbogason (1928, 224) suggested emending ‘ibar’ to í barm, which could then agree with raman (m. acc. sg. of ramr ‘strong’) to mean ‘into my strong breast’, giving the sense ‘I did not find the spirited woman creeping into my strong embrace’. However, as Kock pointed out (NN §2210A) this requires alliteration to fall on the second element of the noun phrase skelfis bjalfa. He himself (Skald and NN §2210A) emended ‘ibar skelfis’ to í barrskelfis, interpreting this cpd as a noun barrskelfir ‘food (lit. barley)-shaker’, i.e. ‘person generous with food’, applying the cpd to the woman, even though the agent noun skelfir must be m. This conjecture is also unsatisfactory. The interpretation offered here, for which the present ed. is indebted to Kari Ellen Gade, is that barr- means ‘pine needle’ and that the cpd barrskelfis means ‘pine needle shaker’, a kenning-like phrase (or a kenning) for the wind, which is also mentioned in the first helmingr. The adj. bjúgr ‘bent’ then qualifies this cpd noun. This leaves í raman bjalfa ‘into the strong hide (animal-skin)’ as the place to which the rakka mey ‘spirited woman’ (l. 6) does not creep. Although the sense of this phrase is obscure, it could refer to the skíðgarðr ‘paling fence’ that separates the three skalds from the woman they all desire. Perhaps the skíðgarðr was composed of both wooden pales and leather thongs to bind them? Bjalfi is not a common noun, but it occurs in Þjóð Haustl 12/4III, where it forms part of a kenning for an eagle’s wings, flugbjalfi hauks ‘a hawk’s flight-skin’ (the eagle being the giant Þjazi) and in Arngr Gd 34/8IV, where it refers to a man’s leather garment, possibly a cap.

readings

sources

Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Auðun illskælda, Lausavísur 2: AI, 6, BI, 6, Skald I, 4, NN §2210A; Hb 1892-6, 447, Fms 3, n. p., Fms 3, 68 (Skáld); SnE 1848-87, III, 406-7. 

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