Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 5. Ǫlvir hnúfa, Lausavísa, 1 [Vol. 1, 126]

[1, 2] dáin lauk-Frigg lǫgðis ‘the torpid leek-Frigg <goddess> of the sword [WOMAN]’: If this is a woman-kenning, as the base-word Frigg and context suggest, it is a somewhat unusual one. There are several issues of concern: (1) the sense of dáin, presumably the p. p. of deyja ‘to die’, used adjectivally, which seems to be echoed by the m. form dáinn in l. 8; (2) whether one should read a cpd lauk-Frigg ‘leek-Frigg’ or laug-Frigg ‘bath/hot spring-Frigg’; and (3) how to understand the determinant lǫgðis, gen. sg. of lǫgðir ‘sword’, which could be expected as part of a warrior-kenning, but not of a kenning for a woman (though see the masculinised woman-kenning bandvaniðr golfdáinn hjǫrtr bekkjar in ll. 5, 6, 8). (1) Dáinn has been understood here in the sense ‘torpid’ rather than ‘dead’, to refer to the slumbering woman, and as ‘sluggish’ in l. 8. (2) Although lauk- rather than laug- has been adopted here because it has the support of earlier eds of Hb and seems to fit the sense of the kenning better, laug- would provide an aðalhending with aug- and may be a preferable reading. (3) It is possible that Ǫlvir has deliberately created aberrant woman-kennings to insult the woman who has humiliated him (as a kind of níð) or that the reference to a sword was a deliberate double entendre. Kock supposed (NN §2210B) that the elements lǫgðis and laukr should be understood together as a cpd sverðlaukr ‘sword-leek’, like geirlaukr ‘garlic’, lit. ‘spear-leek’ and hjalmlaukr, lit. ‘helmet-leek’.

references

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