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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumblindi (Gestumbl)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Heiðreks gátur (Heiðr) - 37

not in Skj

Heiðreks gátur (‘Riddles of Heiðrekr’) — Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr)

Not published: do not cite (Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr))

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: D. 5. Heiðreks gátur, Gestumblindes gåder (AII, 221-8, BII, 240-7); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38

SkP info: VIII, 413

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Gestumbl Heiðr 4VIII (Heiðr 51)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 51 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 4)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 413.

Hverr er sá inn hvelli,         er gengr harðar götur,
        ok hefir hann þær fyrr um farit?
Mjök fast kyssir,
        sá er hefr munna tvá
        ok á gulli einu gengr.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hverr er sá inn hvelli, er gengr harðar götur ok hefir hann þær fyrr um farit? Mjök fast kyssir, sá er hefr tvá munna ok gengr á gulli einu. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.

Who is that shrill one who walks on hard paths and he has travelled on them before? Very firmly [he] kisses, the one who has two mouths, and walks on gold alone. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

Mss: 2845(71r), R715ˣ(27r), 281ˣ(99r) (ll. 1-6), 597bˣ(49r) (ll. 1-6), 203ˣ(102ra) (Heiðr)

Readings: [2] gengr: gengr um R715ˣ    [3] þær fyrr: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, 203ˣ, fyrrum 2845, R715ˣ    [5] er: sá R715ˣ, ok 281ˣ, 597bˣ, 203ˣ    [6] ok: sá er 281ˣ, 597bˣ, 203ˣ;    gulli einu: ‘gullheine’ 281ˣ, ‘gullheine’ corrected from ‘gullheinu’ in another hand 597bˣ    [7-8] so 203ˣ, abbrev. as ‘h k̄r. h·’ 2845, abbrev. as ‘H k h: at g:’ R715ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 4: AII, 222, BII, 240-1, Skald II, 125; Heiðr 1672, 144, FSN 1, 467, Heiðr 1873, 238, 334, Heiðr 1924, 59-60, 131, FSGJ 2, 39, Heiðr 1960, 34; Edd. Min. 107.

Context: In the H redaction (including 203ˣ), before propounding the riddle Gestumblindi says, in response to Heiðrekr’s comment after the previous riddle (see Gestumbl Heiðr 3 (Heiðr 50) Note to [All]) (Heiðr 1924, 59): þat er ván at mik þrjóti brátt, en þó vilda ek enn, at þér hlýðið ‘The expectation is that they [i.e. words] will fail me soon, but yet I still wish that you would listen’.

Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr’s response reads (Heiðr 1960, 34): þat er hamarr sá, er hafðr er at gullsmið; hann kveðr hátt við, er hann kømr á harðan steðja, ok þat er hans gata ‘that is that hammer, which is used in goldsmithing; he shrieks loudly when he comes down onto the hard anvil, and that is his path’. — [1] hverr er sá inn … ‘who is that …’: Lit. ‘Who is that, the …’. This formula also begins the following two riddles, as well as Gestumbl Heiðr 30 (Heiðr 77). A similar formula occurs in Lok 44/1 (NK 105) Hvat er þat iþ litla ‘What is that, the little one’. The stanza, which is riddling in form, describes Freyr’s servant Byggvir, who replies, identifying himself, in the following stanza. — [3] þær fyrr ‘on them before’: The reading of 281ˣ and 597bˣ is preferred in accordance with most other eds. — [5] tvá munna ‘two mouths’: Archaeological finds and pictorial depictions across Scandinavia and the North from the C9th to C12th are consistent in revealing that hammers, both practical smiths’ tools and ceremonial instruments, such as the so-called Thor’s hammers, were symmetrical in the shape of a T or (particularly in symbolic depictions) an elongated cross. Each side of its double-head is described as a ‘mouth’ in the present riddle. See, for example, the depiction of Weland (ON Vǫlundr) on the front panel of the Franks Casket (Anglo-Saxon, C8th Northumbrian); that of Reginn the smith, foster-father of Sigurðr, on the church at Hylestad, Norway (c. 1200); the Viking Age tool-chest found at Mästermyr, Gotland, Sweden (e.g. Arwidsson and Berg 1983); for Thor’s hammers see e.g. Staecker (1999), Perkins (2001); on finds of possible smiths’ graves see e.g. Wallander (1989).

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