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Anonymous Lausavísur (Anon)

III. 4. Stanzas from Laufás Edda (LaufE) - 11

2.4: Stanzas from Laufás Edda — Anon (LaufE)III

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Stanzas from Laufás 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. 637.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

for reference only:  11x 

SkP info: III, 641

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Anon (LaufE) 4III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Laufás Edda 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 641.

Land verr lofðungr brǫndum
lauks máferils hauka;
hjálmklæðum gefr hilmir
hvítinga frið lítinn.

{Lofðungr lauks} verr {land hauka} {brǫndum {máferils}}; {hilmir hvítinga} gefr hjálmklæðum lítinn frið.

{The lord of the leek} [WOMAN] adorns {the land of hawks} [ARM] {with fires {of the seagull-track}} [SEA > GOLD]; {the ruler of drinking-horns} [WOMAN] gives little peace to helmet-clothes.

Mss: papp10ˣ(48v), 2368ˣ(117), 743ˣ(89r) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] Land: lǫnd 743ˣ;    brǫndum: rǫndum all    [4] hvítinga: ‘hnitinga’ 743ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], C. Vers om ubestemmelige personer og begivenheder 35: AI, 601, BI, 601, Skald I, 293, NN §§2126, 2991B; SnE 1848-87, II, 632, III, 200-1, LaufE 1979, 293, 377.

Context: The helmingr illustrates kennings for ‘woman’ in which the base-word is a term for ‘king’ or ‘ruler’ (LaufE 1979, 293): Riett er ad kalla k(onu) könga h(eitum) gramur *hilmer og slykum nófnum Lofdungur sem hier er qvedid ‘It is correct to denote a woman by kings’ heiti, gramr, hilmir and such terms, lofðungr, as is said here’.

Notes: [All]: The helmingr is peculiar because it looks as though someone composed a conventional half-stanza that described the warlike activities of a male ruler and replaced certain words (and one line) with words that could be used to form kennings according to the pattern the stanza supposedly illustrates. The four kennings all participate in a double level of imagery, describing the activities of a woman when the kennings are complete, but describing the warlike activities of a male ruler when only the base-words of the kennings are included. Cf. lofðungr verr land rǫndum/brǫndum ‘the lord defends the land with shields/swords’ (l. 1) and hilmir gefr hjálmklæðum lítinn frið ‘the ruler gives little peace to helmet-clothes’ (ll. 3, 4) (for a discussion, see Meissner 84). Kennings for women in which the base-word is a m. term for ‘ruler’ are rare indeed, and the examples given by Meissner 412 are the two kennings from the present stanza, to which one may add konungr sprunda in Oddi Lv 2/4II and konungr vífa in Anon Mdr 5/2VII (both translate as ‘king among women’). See also Gamlkan Has 61/1-2VII and Note to l. 1 there. Hence it could well be that this half-stanza was created to illustrate a type of kenning discussed in the prose (see the previous stanza, Note to [All]). — [1-4]: The present interpretation follows that of Skj B. Kock (Skald; NN §2126) interprets the stanza in the warlike context discussed in the previous Note: Lofðungr lauks verr land hauka máferils rǫndum; hilmir hvítinga gefr hjálmklæðum lítinn frið ‘The lord of the leek [WOMAN] defends the land of the hawks of the seagull-track [SEA > SEAGULLS > SEA] with shields; the ruler of drinking-horns [WOMAN] gives little peace to helmets’. Aside from the awkward and unparalleled kenning for ‘sea’ (land hauka máferils ‘the land of the hawks of the seagull-track [SEA > SEAGULLS > SEA]’; so also SnE 1848-87, III), it is difficult to give credence to the imagery of pugnacious women conjured up by this interpretation. Kock (NN §2991B) points out that Mberf Lv 3II contains similar imagery, but that stanza is also highly unusual. — [1] brǫndum ‘with fires’: The emendation follows Skj B. — [3] hjálmklæðum ‘to helmet-clothes’: It is unclear what is meant here. Finnur Jónsson (LP: hjalmklæði) tentatively suggests that it may refer to a woman’s headdresses, in the sense that she uses them frequently (so also Skj B) or, alternatively, that hjálm could be related to Norw.(?) hjelm ‘appearance’. The word is otherwise attested once in the corpus of Old Norse prose, but the meaning is uncertain. Fritzner: hjalmklæði suggests noget til en Kirkes Inventarium henhørende, uvist hvilket ‘something that belongs to the inventory of a church, exactly what is unknown’, and Heggstad et al. 2008: hjalmklæði speculate that it could have been a protective cloth that was used to cover a chandelier (kertihjálmr). If that is correct, the word could have been chosen here because of its ambiguity.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated