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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Lausavísur (Anon)

III. 3. Stanzas from Snorra Edda (SnE) - 18

not in Skj

2.1: Stanzas from Snorra Edda — Anon (SnE)III

Kari Ellen Gade, Margaret Clunies Ross and Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Stanzas from Snorra Edda’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 512.

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SkP info: III, 522

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Anon (SnE) 11III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Snorra Edda 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 522.

This anonymous couplet (Anon (SnE) 11) in runhent metre is transmitted in mss R (main ms.), , U, A, B and C of Skm (SnE). Finnur Jónsson (Skj) assigns it to the tenth century, but that dating is doubtful (see Note to l. 2 below).

Hreggskornis vilk handa
háleitan mjǫð vanda.

Vilk vanda háleitan mjǫð … handa … hreggskornis.

I wish carefully to prepare the sublime mead … for … of storm-cleaver <eagle>.

Mss: R(38r), Tˣ(39v), U(40v), A(14r), B(6v), C(7r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Hreggskornis: hreggskornum C    [2] mjǫð: mjǫk U, C;    vanda: so all others, vandla R

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [X], III. A. Om skjaldskab 2: AI, 184, BI, 173, Skald I, 92, NN §844E; SnE 1848-87, I, 492-3, II, 354, 457, 544, 598, III, 101, SnE 1931, 173, SnE 1998, I, 92.

Context: The couplet is cited in Skm to illustrate that hreggskornir (lit. ‘storm-cleaver’) is a heiti for ‘eagle’ .

Notes: [All]: The couplet is too fragmentary to allow for a meaningful reconstruction. It clearly refers to the composition of poetry and could have been part of a stanza introducing a longer poem. Kock (NN §844E) argues that the two lines form a syntactic and semantic unit, which he construes as follows: Vilk vanda háleitan mjǫð handa hreggskornis ‘I wish carefully to prepare the sublime mead of the eagle’s hands [POETRY]’. According to him, handa hreggskornis ‘the eagle’s hands’ are the eagle’s claws, and the kenning ‘mead of the eagle’s hands’ refers to the myth which describes how Óðinn, in the shape of an eagle, brought the mead of poetry back to the gods (see Skm, SnE 1998, I, 3-5). That interpretation is not convincing, because Óðinn did not carry the mead back in his ‘claws’; rather, he drank it from the three vats Óðrerir, Boðn and Són and transported it internally, as it were (SnE 1998, I, 4): Í inum fyrsta drykk drakk hann al<t> ór Óðreri, en í ǫðrum ór Boðn, í ínu<m> þriðja ór Són, ok hafði hann þá allan mjǫðinn. Þá brásk hann í arnarham ok flaug sem ákafast ‘With the first sip he drank everything in Óðrerir, and with the second [everything] in Boðn and with the third [everything] in Són, and then he had all the mead. Then he changed himself into the shape of an eagle and flew as hard as he could’. — [1] hreggskornis ‘of storm-cleaver <eagle>’: Given as a heiti for ‘eagle’ in Skm and Þul Ara l. 4 (see Note there and Meissner 123). In the present context it must be part of a kenning whose now-lost base-word was possibly governed by the prep. handa ‘for’ (see the next Note). — [1] handa ‘for’: Gen. pl. of hǫnd ‘hand’. Taken here (with Skj B and SnE 1998) as the prep. (til) handa ‘for’, most likely followed by a phrase denoting the recipient of the poem. — [2] háleitan ‘sublime’: This adj. belongs to the ecclesiastical sphere (= Lat. excelsus ‘high, lofty, elevated; cf. Fritzner: háleitr), which makes Finnur Jónsson’s dating of the couplet (C10th) tenuous. For háleitr, see ESk Geisl 13/8VII, Anon Líkn 36/4VII, Anon Lil 5/5VII, 26/2VII, 86/2VII and Anon Mey 20/2VII.

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