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Runic Dictionary

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Eysteinn Valdason (EVald)

10th century; volume 3; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Poem about Þórr (Þórr) - 3

Eysteinn Valdason (EVald) is known only from the section of Skm on kennings for Þórr (SnE 1998, I, 14-17), where he is named and three helmingar attributed to him are quoted. No other information about him exists. Most editors (e.g. Finnur Jónsson in Skj A) regard him as an Icelander, although there is no evidence in support of this view. He is usually considered to have lived in the tenth century, largely because of the pagan subject-matter and style of his poetry.

Poem about Þórr — EVald ÞórrIII

Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Eysteinn Valdason, Poem about Þórr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 185. <> (accessed 29 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3 

Skj: Eysteinn Valdason: Et digt om Tor (AI, 140, BI, 131)

SkP info: III, 187

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — EVald Þórr 3III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Eysteinn Valdason, Poem about Þórr 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 187.

Svá brá viðr, at sýjur
seiðr renndi fram breiðar
jarðar; út at borði
Ulls mágs hnefar skullu.

Svá brá viðr, at {seiðr jarðar} renndi fram breiðar sýjur; hnefar {mágs Ulls} skullu út at borði.

So it came about, that {the saithe of the earth} [= Miðgarðsormr] made the broad rivetted planks slide forward; the fists {of the kinsman of Ullr <god>} [= Þórr] banged out on the gunwale.

Mss: R(22r), Tˣ(22r), W(47) (SnE)

Readings: [3] at: om. W

Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Valdason, Et digt om Tor 3: AI, 140, BI, 131, Skald I, 73; SnE 1848-87, I, 254-5, III, 16,  SnE 1931, 95, SnE 1998, I, 15.

Notes: [All]: The helmingr is very close to Snorri’s prose wording in Gylf (SnE 2005, 44): En er ormrinn kendi þess, brá hann við svá hart at báðir hnefar Þórs skullu út á borðinu ‘But when the serpent felt this [the fish-hook], he struggled so hard against it that both Þórr’s fists banged out on the gunwale’. Nevertheless, the syntax of the helmingr is problematic and has been variously interpreted. Both Skj B and Skald (cf. NN §421) adopt Konráð Gíslason’s original suggestion (so Skj AI, 140 n.) to emend renndi (l. 2, 3rd pers. sg. pret. subj. after sváat) to renndu, 3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. of renna ‘cause to move, run’. This allows sýjur ‘rivetted planks’ (l. 1) to be taken as the subject of an independent clause breiðar sýjur renndu fram ‘the broad rivetted planks shot forward’ (ll. 1, 2), whereas this edn (following SnE 1998, I, 164) takes seiðr jarðar ‘the saithe of the earth’ as the subject of a subordinate clause, dependent on the main clause svá brá viðr ‘so it came about’ (l. 1). This arrangement has the merit of avoiding Skj B’s extremely fragmented word order but the possible disadvantage that renna must be understood without clear precedent as taking an acc. object (breiðar sýjur ‘broad rivetted planks’), when it usually takes a dat. As Faulkes observes (SnE 1998, I, 164-5), although renna sometimes has an acc. object, this usage is normally reserved for the sense of pouring liquids (Fritzner: renna v. [nd] 3, 8). — [1] svá brá viðr ‘so it came about’: Understood here as an impersonal construction. Skj B regards seiðr jarðar ‘the saithe of the earth’ as the subject of the main clause, seiðr jarðar brá svá viðr, at hnefar mágs Ulls skullu út at borði ‘the saithe of the earth struggled so hard that the fists of the kinsman of Ullr banged out along the gunwale’. — [1] sýjur ‘the rivetted planks’: Nom. or acc. pl. of sýja ‘rivetting, lit. joining together, sewing’, ship’s planking. Cf. LP: 1. sýja; CVC: sýja ‘the suture of a ship’; Jesch (2001a, 139-40). Used here pars pro toto for a ship. The difference between the two etymologically related words súð and sýja is that ‘súð is the board, sýja the single suture, a súð therefore contains so and so many sýjur’ (CVC: sýja). — [2] seiðr ‘the saithe’: In Modern English the saithe or coalfish, Pollachius virens. — [4] mágs Ulls ‘of the kinsman of Ullr <god> [= Þórr]’: According to Gylf (SnE 2005, 26), the god Ullr was Þórr’s stepson, the son of his wife Sif by a former, but unknown alliance. A mágr is a relative by marriage.

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