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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Sólarljóð (Sól) - 83

not in Skj

Sólarljóð (‘Song of the Sun’) — Anon SólVII

Carolyne Larrington and Peter Robinson 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Sólarljóð’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 287-357.

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII]: G [6]. Sólarljóð, digt fra det 12. årh. (AI, 628-40, BI, 635-48)

SkP info: VII, 331-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

51 — Anon Sól 51VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Carolyne Larrington and Peter Robinson (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð 51’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 331-2.

Á norna stóli        sat ek níu daga;
        þaðan var ek á hest hafinn;
gýgjar sólir
        skinu grimmliga
        ór skýdrúpnis skýjum.

Ek sat níu daga á stóli norna; þaðan var ek hafinn á hest; sólir gýgjar skinu grimmliga ór skýjum skýdrúpnis.

I sat for nine days on the norns’ seat; from there I was lifted onto a horse; the ogress’s suns shone fiercely out of the cloud-lowerer’s clouds.

Mss: 166bˣ(47v), papp15ˣ(5r-v), 738ˣ(82r), 214ˣ(151r), 1441ˣ(585), 10575ˣ(7v), 2797ˣ(235)

Readings: [1] stóli: so papp15ˣ, 738ˣ, 214ˣ, 1441ˣ, 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ, stól 166bˣ    [4, 5] sólir skinu: sól er skein papp15ˣ, 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ    [6] skýdrúpnis: so 2797ˣ, skýdripnis 166bˣ, papp15ˣ, 214ˣ, 10575ˣ, ‘skyd dripnis’ 738ˣ, ‘skýdeipnis’ 1441ˣ;    skýjum: ‘skirmi’ papp15ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [6]. Sólarljóð 51: AI, 635, BI, 643, Skald I, 313, NN §2564B; Bugge 1867, 365, Falk 1914, 20, Björn M. Ólsen 1915, 17, Fidjestøl 1979, 67, Njörður Njarðvík 1991, 80-1, Njörður Njarðvík 1993, 57, 126.

Notes: [1] á stóli norna ‘on the norns’ seat’: 166bˣ has stól in error for stóli. The norns are pagan figures who determine fate, cf. Vsp 20, SnE 1982 18-19, though they are not normally associated with a seat. The throne of judgement is a Christian image; thus, as with other syncretic ideas in the poem, such as the dísir in 25/1, the poet has translated a Christian concept into its imagined pagan equivalent. However Óðinn’s high-seat Hliðskjálf (Skí prose; Grí prose; SnE 1982, 13) permits a view into other worlds. Hávm 138 tells of Óðinn’s sacrifice hanging on the World-Tree, Yggdrasill ‘Steed of the Terrifying One’ which brings him occult knowledge. For Falk (1914a, 29) and Paasche (1914a, 183) the nine days on the norns’ seat refers back to the narrator’s sickness, an explanation with which Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 80) concurs. However as Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 46-9) objects, the fatal illness is concluded in st. 45. He argues that Nornastóll is a mountain-name, and refers to the soul’s sojourn in purgatorial fires, situated on a peak in the Other World. Since in st. 46 the narrator has apparently been born into the next world, it seems likely that the period on the seat is a transitional time of waiting in the next world, though not necessarily spent in Purgatory. — [2] níu daga ‘for nine days’: The number nine is significant in Norse myth (there are nine worlds according to Vsp 2; nine nights in Hávm 138 and in Skí 39, 41). Seven is, in contrast, a Christian number: 52/3 makes reference to seven victory-worlds sigrheima sjau; see Note to 32/3. — [3] hafinn á hest ‘lifted onto a horse’: For Paasche (1948, 184) the ride on the horse is part of the corpse’s journey to the grave; Falk (1914a, 30) envisages a horse in the Other World which conducts the soul further on its journey, even though no horse is mentioned subsequently. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 49) emends to hæst ‘highest’; the narrator is lifted onto the highest peak of the mountain Nornastóll. — [4] sólir gýgjar ‘the ogress’s suns’: Falk (1914a, 30), assumes this periphrasis refers to the moon, taking sg. for pl. as Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 81) notes. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 49) argues for an underworld sun, similar to the urðarmáni ‘fate-moon’ of Eyrbyggja saga ch. 52 (ÍF 4, 146). — [6] skýdrúpnis ‘of the cloud-lowerer’: Hap. leg., presumably a periphrasis for the heavily overcast sky (cf. LP: skýdrúpnir). Though the form of 166bˣ occurs in 38 mss in total, dripnir is unknown outside the poem. Four mss give drúpnis from drúpa ‘to bow one’s head, to lower’, usually as a sign of sorrow, see st. 39/3. The repetition of ský- and skýjum is clumsy; while skýjum is unmetrical (with a trochaic final foot to the full l., a practice this poet avoids elsewhere), it is found almost universally across the tradition. Papp15ˣ and related mss try to avoid this repetition with ‘skirmi’, not otherwise attested.

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