Cite as: Carolyne Larrington and Peter Robinson (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð 76’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 349-50.
|Bjúgvör ok Listvör sitja í Herðis dyrum
organs stóli á;
| fellr ór nösum þeim;|
sá vekr fjón með firum.
Bjúgvör ok Listvör sitja á organs stóli í Herðis dyrum; járnadreyri fellr ór nösum þeim; sá vekr fjón með firum.
Bjúgvör and Listvör sit on an organ stool in Herðir’s doorway; iron blood falls from their nostrils; that awakens hatred among men.
Mss: 166bˣ(48v), papp15ˣ(7v), 738ˣ(83r-v), 167b 6ˣ(4r), 214ˣ(152r), 1441ˣ(587), 10575ˣ(10v), 2797ˣ(237)
Readings:  Bjúgvör: so papp15ˣ, 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ, Bingvör 166bˣ, Vingvör 738ˣ; Listvör: Litvör 1441ˣ  járna‑: so papp15ˣ, 167b 6ˣ, 1441ˣ, 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ, járn‑ 166bˣ, í arna‑ 738ˣ  fjón: fjör 738ˣ; firum: so 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ, fyrðum all others
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G . Sólarljóð 76: AI, 639, BI, 647-8, Skald I, 315, NN §§1273, 2564E; Bugge 1867, 369, Falk 1914, 48, Björn M. Ólsen 1915, 22, Fidjestøl 1979, 70, Njörður Njarðvík 1991, 99-100, Njörður Njarðvík 1993, 82, 146.
this st. and st. 77 sketch the power of what are presented as malevolent female
figures, who awaken feelings of hatred (st. 76) and lust (st. 77) among men. —  Bjúgvör ok Listvör ‘Bjúgvör and Listvör’: The names of these probably invented mythical female figures are transmitted in a number of variant forms. 166bˣ’s Bing- does not appear to be a likely or meaningful name element; papp15ˣ’s Bjúg- ‘bent’ gives a more plausible designation for a troll-like female. Other invented names in the sts which follow are equally prone to variation. It is not known whether these figures are pure inventions or were known from other contexts. —  Herðis ‘of Herðir’: The identity of this figure is also obscure. Bugge and Falk emend to Lævíss, a name for Loki, because of the defective alliteration. However, if Listvör (l. 1) were emended to Hlistvör, alliteration would be restored. For Björn M. Ólsen 1915, 60, Herðir is ‘the hardener’ (of hearts), i.e. the devil, an epithet which, he argues, may have been suggested to the poet by its similarity to Herebi ‘Erebus’ in Walter de Chatillon’s Alexandreis X, l.31 (Colker 1978, 254), translated into Icel. as Alexanders saga (Alex) by abbot Brandr Jónsson (Unger 1848). —  á organs stóli ‘on an organ stool’: Why this quintessentially Christian instrument should be associated with the troll-like females is not at all clear; Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 61) suggests the function of the music is to attract men to sin, like the Sirens of the Odyssey. Paasche (1914a, 158) notes a parallel with Eggþér in Vsp 42, whose harp-playing signals the onset of ragna rök ‘the doom of the gods’. Fidjestøl (1979, 57) compares an OSwed. proverb, wärldslik qwinna är diäfwulsins orgha ‘worldly women are the devil’s organ’, but here the devil plays upon the women, rather than the women playing the instrument. — [4-5] járnadreyri fellr ór nösum þeim ‘iron blood falls from their nostrils’: The ll. lack alliteration in their present form, as vocalic alliteration cannot be carried by ór. (Skald deals with this problem by placing ór first in l. 5.) 166bˣ’s reading járn- is also unmetrical. The element járna- in járnadreyri may be understood as adjectival, ‘iron blood’ (lit. gen. pl. ‘of weapons’), as here and in Skj B (jærn-væske ‘iron-snot’), or as nominal, as Fidjestøl interprets it (våpen-væska ‘weapon-snot’), i.e. ‘snot produced by weapons’, and dreyri may be understood in its normal sense of ‘blood’ or more narrowly to refer to nasal discharge. Björn M. Ólsen 1915, following Rask, suggests norna ‘of Norns’ rather than járna-, as in 51/1 norna stóli ‘the seat of the Norns’. The idea of blood rousing hostility can be paralleled in Anon DarrV, as Falk (1914a, 49) points out. —  firum (dat. pl.) ‘men’: This
reading is preferable to the majority mss’ fyrðum, which is