This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Note to stanza

3. Eilífr Goðrúnarson, 1. Þórsdrápa, 7 [Vol. 3, 89]

[2] málhvettan ‘chattering’: Lit. ‘speech-whetted’. This must be a metaphor for the roaring of a river; cf. Davidson (1983, 590), who points to river-heiti that consist of words for ‘storm’, ‘thunder’ or ‘tempest’. Hvettr is taken here as p. p. of the weak verb hvetja ‘sharpen, encourage’, as a parallel, umlauted form of the expected hvattr (ANG §428.2; see Reichardt 1948, 349). Other interpretations: (a) Guðmundur Finnbogason (1924, 176) construes the cpd as málhveptan which, according to him, means ‘speaking pine-trees’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (1900b, 383; Skj B; LP: málhvettr), emends hvettan R, W (‘hveican’ ) to ‑hvettar and derives it from an ON *hvetta ‘knock over’ (cf. New Norw. kvetta, see Torp 1963, 348). According to him, this p. p. qualifies the stones (-vǫlur) that make noises when knocked. Because of the emendation, the overly complex word order and the assumption that ‑vǫlur means ‘stones’, that suggestion is unlikely. (c) Kock (NN §447, followed by Kiil 1956, 112) connects málhvettan m. acc. sg. with bur markar (so mss and W), understood as a Þórr-kenning (‘son of the earth’; cf. sonr Jarðar ‘son of Jǫrð (= earth)’ in Þjóð Haustl 14/6), and he translates málhvettan as ‘urged to meet’. Aside from the fact that mǫrk ‘forest, terrain, ground’ is never attested in skaldic poetry as a heiti for Jǫrð, Þórr’s mother, Kock’s suggestion, ‘they set their spears in the ground before Þórr’, makes no sense in the context.


© 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 Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor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.