Cite as: Carolyne Larrington and Peter Robinson (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð 54’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 333-4.
|Vestan sá ek fljúga vánardreka
ok fell á Glævalds götu;
vængi þeir skóku,
| svát víða þótti mér|
springa hauðr ok himinn.
Vestan sá ek vánardreka fljúga ok fell á götu Glævalds; þeir skóku vængi, svát hauðr ok himinn þótti mér springa víða.
From the west I saw a dragon of expectation flying and it landed on Glævaldr’s road; they shook their wings, so that earth and heaven seemed to me to spring widely apart.
Mss: 166bˣ(47v), papp15ˣ(5v), 738ˣ(82r-v), 214ˣ(151r), 1441ˣ(585), 10575ˣ(8r), 2797ˣ(235)
Readings:  Vestan: vitar 738ˣ, 214ˣ  fell: felli 10575ˣ  þeir skóku: skóku þeir 10575ˣ  þótti mér: þótti meir 738ˣ, mér þótti 2797ˣ
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G . Sólarljóð 54: AI, 636, BI, 644, Skald I, 313; Bugge 1867, 365-6, Falk 1914, 31, Björn M. Ólsen 1915, 17, Fidjestøl 1979, 67, Njörður Njarðvík 1991, 83-4, Njörður Njarðvík 1993, 60, 129.
Notes: [1-2]: Skj B and Skald divide these ll. thus: Vestan sák | fljúga vánardreka. —  vestan ‘from the west’: See Note to 55/2 for the significance of cardinal directions in the poem. —  vánardreka ‘dragon of expectation’: The meaning of vánar- is not entirely clear; presumably the dragon expects to prey on souls. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 50-1) takes Ván as a river-heiti, as in Grí 28/8, and interprets the creature as Leviathan (Job XLI). The number of dragons is also unclear; more than one dragon is suggested by þeir skóku ‘they shook’ in l. 4, but fell ‘fell’ in l. 3 is universally sg. in the mss. —  fell á götu Glævalds ‘fell on Glævaldr’s road’: Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 83-4) suggests that it is the narrator’s soul which lands there, hence the sg. verb. Glævaldr has been taken by most eds as an otherwise unknown pers. n., though Skj B and LP: glævaldr take it as a common noun cpd of uncertain meaning, suggesting the first element is either associated with glær ‘sea’ or with glær adj. ‘transparent, clear, shining’. Bugge (1867, 366) tentatively suggests glæv-ellds ‘of glowing flame’. Following Bugge, Falk (1914, 31-2) reads fella glævalds götu, translating efterlatende en lysende ildstripe ‘leaving a glowing trail’, eliminating the sg. verb. —  þeir skóku ‘they shook’: Skj B and Skald emend the pl. verb to sg. skók. Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 84) explains the pl. by assuming that the dragon of l. 2 is accompanied by others. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 51) suggests that the pl. verb refers both to the vánardreki and to Glævaldr, also envisaged as a winged being. Njörður Njarðvik (1991, 194) notes earlier eds’ comparison of the dragon with the dragon of Revelations XII. Many visions have similar dragon-like beasts who devour souls, e.g. Dugg (Cahill 1983, 58-61).