Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Note to stanza

1. 18. Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, 2. Vellekla, 4 [Vol. 1, 287]

[4] grynnilô bergs dverga ‘the shoal-wave of the rock of dwarfs [POEM]’: This is again a kenning for ‘poem’ (see Note to st. 1 [All]). (a) The interpretation given here follows from the reading of ms. B and avoids emendation. The basis for the kenning is the pattern ‘liquid of the dwarfs’ ( dverga). It is expanded by a verbal element grynni- from grynna(sk) ‘to shoal, become shallow’, a verbal derivative of ON grunnr ‘shallow’, which can be used impersonally (Fritzner: grynna 1). Hence grynnilô can be regarded as a variant of ModIcel. grunnfall, grunnsjór ‘wave that arises over a shoal’ (Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4, 276). Bergs refers to a skerry (flœðasker ‘skerry, a rock submerged at high tide’) on which the infuriated giant Suttungr maroons the dwarfs who had murdered his kinsmen (SnE 1998, I, 3) and from which they are only able to escape by relinquishing the mead of poetry to the giant. Compare LP: berg, where Finnur Jónsson points out that ModIcel. berg denotes a flat rock, as opposed to bjarg, which denotes a cliff. This seems to apply here as well, cf. also Marold (1994a, 473-4). (b) All other mss give ‘grymilá’, which requires emendation. Skj B and SnE 1998 follow a tentative suggestion by Konráð Gíslason (Nj 1875-8, II, 303) to emend ‘grymilá’ in mss R, Tˣ, U, W to geymilá ‘protective wave’. LP: geymilô explains the kenning bergs geymilô dverga as den i klipper opbevarede bølge, væske, der frelste dværgene, digterdrikken ‘the wave stored in the rocks, liquid that freed the dwarfs, mead of poetry’ (and cf. Krömmelbein 1983, 172). Apparently Finnur Jónsson assumes a dual function of geymi-, which he links both to the storage of the liquid and to the freeing of the dwarfs. Only the second function can be valid, however, because the dwarfs cannot be said to have stored the liquid in the rocks. (b) Kock (NN §390) interprets the mss’ ‘grymila’ as grymmilô ‘the fizzing liquid’, but no such verb as *grymma is attested in ON, and he is forced to rely on MHG and MLG evidence.


© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.