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Kormákr Ǫgmundarson (KormǪ)

10th century; volume 5; ed. Edith Marold;

III. 1. Sigurðardrápa (Sigdr) - 7

my abbr - FJ's conflicts with saga

Sigurðardrápa (‘Drápa about Sigurðr’) — KormǪ SigdrIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Kormákr Ǫgmundarson, Sigurðardrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 272.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7 

Skj: Kormákr Ǫgmundarson: 1. Sigurðardrápa, o. 960 (AI, 79-80, BI, 69-70)

SkP info: III, 283

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — KormǪ Sigdr 6III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Kormákr Ǫgmundarson, Sigurðardrápa 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 283.

Hafit maðr ask né eskis
afspring með sér þingat
fésæranda at fœra
fats; véltu goð Þjaza.
Hverr myni vés við valdi,
vægja kind, of bægjask,
þvít fúr-Rǫgnir fagnar
fens; vá Gramr til menja.

Maðr hafit með sér ask né {afspring fats eskis} þingat at fœra {fésæranda}; goð véltu Þjaza. Hverr myni of bægjask við {valdi vés}, þvít {{fens fúr}-Rǫgnir} fagnar {kind vægja}; Gramr vá til menja.

A man will not have to bring either a bowl or {the offspring of the ash vat} [BOWL] with him to a meeting with {the wealth-wounder} [GENEROUS MAN]; the gods deceived Þjazi. Who would fight against {the owner of the sanctuary} [RULER], since {the Rǫgnir <= Óðinn> {of the fire of the fen}} [(lit. ‘fire-Rǫgnir of the fen’) GOLD > GENEROUS RULER] rejoices {in the descendant of swords} [SWORD]; Gramr <legendary sword> fought for neck-rings.

Mss: Kˣ(91v), F(16ra), J1ˣ(55r), J2ˣ(51v-52r) (Hkr)

Readings: [1] Hafit: Hafi J1ˣ, J2ˣ;    ask né: er J1ˣ, né J2ˣ;    eskis: so F, eski Kˣ, ‘eskils’ J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [2] þingat: þangat J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [3] ‑særanda: ‑særandi F    [4] fats: ‘fetz’ Kˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘fø̨z’ F;    véltu: veizlu J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [5] Hverr: hver all others;    valdi: valda J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [6] of: at J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [7] fúr‑: ‘fun‑’ J1ˣ, J2ˣ;    Rǫgnir: rǫgni all others

Editions: Skj: Kormákr Ǫgmundarson, 1. Sigurðardrápa 6: AI, 80, BI, 69-70, Skald I, 42-3, NN §§263, 1064, 2426A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 187-8, IV, 49-50, ÍF 26, 168 (HákGóð ch. 14).

Context: In Hákonar saga góða (Hkr) this stanza precedes a description of Sigurðr jarl as a generous ruler and an observer of sacrifice, and it is said to be part of Sigurðardrápa by Kormákr Ǫgmundarson.

Notes: [All]: This is the only stanza to consist of two helmingar. Because it also contains two stælt lines and the two half-stanzas differ in content, they may have been arbitrarily linked in Hkr, and it is therefore possible that they ought to be edited as two separate helmingar. — [1] ask ‘a bowl’: Askr is lit. ‘ash’, the species of tree or the wood thereof, and thus also ‘container made of ash’ (Fritzner: askr 4). — [1-2, 4] afspring fats eskis ‘the offspring of the ash vat [BOWL]’: Although eski, like askr alone can mean ‘container made of ash’, here, in combination with fats ‘of the vat’, it is better interpreted as ‘made of ash’. The expression as a whole is a kenning in accordance with the kenning pattern ‘descendant of …’ which normally is only used for persons; cf. e.g. burr bragnings ‘son of the ruler [RULER]’; for this pattern see General Introduction in SkP I, lxxix. Meissner 433 recognized this and interpreted the kenning as ‘small eating vessel’. This interpretation is preferable to the interpretation of Finnur Jónsson (LP: afspringr 1) who translates afspringr here as hvad der kommer af (og gemmes i) et fad ‘what comes out of (and is contained in) a vat’, and regards the whole expression as a kenning for ‘food or drink’. However, his interpretation of afspringr is not in accordance with the other evidence of afspringr/afspringi (LP: afspringr 2, afspringi) which means ‘offspring, descendant’. Kock (NN §1064, followed by Düwel 1985, 16) attempts to combine fats with fésæranda in the sense ‘plunderer of the contents of a chest’, but this would be a very uncommon expression. — [2] þingat ‘to a meeting with’: Lit. ‘thither’ (adv.). — [4] fats ‘of the vat’: The emendation of ‘fetz/fø̨z’ to fats is secured by the aðalhending in this line (emendation by Konráð Gíslason 1876, 329 n. 13 and adopted by all subsequent eds). The aðalhending is obscured by the traditional spelling of Þjazi (<z> = [ts]). — [4] goð véltu Þjaza ‘the gods betrayed Þjazi’: The stál alludes to a myth about Þjazi preserved in Þjóð Haustl (see sts 2-13 and Notes there). If there is a connection between the myth and this stanza, it can only be established for the very beginning of the myth, when the gods initially refuse to share their meal and thus display a behaviour that is the antithesis of a generous ruler who provides food for everyone (Marold 1990a, 116). Furthermore, Þjazi has a special relationship to the house of the jarls of Lade, because he is the father of Skaði, the giantess progenitor of this dynasty (cf. Fidjestøl 1982, 94). — [5]: This is the only line in the stanza without a hending, and it is not possible to supply one (Finnur Jónsson 1891b, 318). Kock’s (NN §2426A) attempt to create skothending by emending to vild must be rejected. — [5] valdi vés ‘the owner of the sanctuary [RULER]’: For a comparable kenning for ‘ruler’, see Þjóð Yt 11/3I vǫrðr véstalls ‘guardian of the altar of the sanctuary’. The present kenning is particularly appropriate in light of the role of the jarls of Lade as protectors of sanctuaries (cf. especially Eskál Vell 14I). — [6] kind vægja ‘the descendant of swords [SWORD]’: This interpretation follows Reichardt (1928, 34-5), whose suggested solution has the advantage of producing a clear, simple word order. Kind ‘descendant’ here has the same pleonastic function as in a number of other kennings (LP: kind). Usually, however, the word appears in combination with terms for humans or human groupings, not objects. Though unusual, this sword-kenning does have at least one parallel (Þmáhl Máv 13/7V (Eb 15) kindir lǫgðis ‘descendants of the sword’). The repeated use of the kenning pattern ‘descendant of x’, in which the referent is not a person but an object (cf. afspringr fats eskis ‘offspring of the ash vat’, ll. 1-2), is striking. Finnur Jónsson’s (1931, 114-15) emendation of vægja to vægi-, which he then combines with valdi vés into vés vægi-valdi ‘the sparing owner of the sanctuary’, is justly criticised by Kock (NN §263) not only for its tmesis, but also for its improbable content. Kock (loc. cit.) suggests instead that vægja be combined with vés to form a shield-kenning: vægja ‘sanctuary of the swords’, for which he offers the parallels Mark Eirdr 30/1II borg hjǫrva ‘stronghold of swords’ and Þmáhl Máv 13/8V (Eb 15) Hǫgna ‘sanctuary of Hǫgni’ (cf. Meissner 171). Kock’s suggestion is not persuasive, however, because shield-kennings with a base-word denoting a building are combined primarily with names of heroes or for Óðinn, or with battle terms. Kennings of the type ‘fortress of the sword’ are not attested until the C12th. Moreover, the word order resulting from the combination of vés valdi and vægja is problematic. For other, unconvincing interpretations, see Düwel (1985, 16) and Grønvik (1989, 83-4). For the sword-heiti vægir, see Note to Þul Sverða 4/1. — [7] þvít ‘since’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and all other eds have emended the mss’ þvíat to the n. dat. dem. pron. því. The reason was that the verb fagnar ‘rejoices’ requires a dat. object. Yet, owing to metrical problems (the pron. is too heavy for this metrical position (anacrusis) this edn does not emend to því, but takes kind vægja as the required dat. object of fagnar rejoices’. — [8] Gramr vá til menja ‘Gramr <legendary sword> fought for rings’: Gramr has been subject to three different interpretations. It could be the sword of Sigurðr Fáfnisbani ‘Slayer of Fáfnir’ (Finnur Jónsson 1931, 116), Gramr Hálfdanarson, a king mentioned in Skm (SnE) (SnE 1998, I, 101; Bugge 1889a, 5), of whom nothing else is known, or the noun gramr ‘ruler’ (SnE 1998, II, 293). Because all of the other hjástælt stanzas contain a mythical name in the abutted clause, the sword Gramr seems a more likely candidate than the noun gramr ‘ruler’ or the otherwise unknown King Gramr, whose name was most likely created in a learned attempt to explain the origin of the noun gramr. Although the other stál concern named persons, swords, in various traditions, are characterised almost as living beings with unique identities (cf. Falk 1914b, 43). If Gramr is in fact the sword of the legendary hero Sigurðr Fáfnisbani, with which he killed the dragon Fáfnir and obtained his treasures, links to the rest of the helmingr emerge: the legendary sword Gramr corresponds with the special sword (kind vægja ‘offspring of swords’) which makes the ruler invincible (see Note to ll. 6, 7-8); the theme of seized treasure corresponds with the depiction of the ruler being praised by the kenning fens fúr-Rǫgnir ‘Rǫgnir <= Óðinn> of the fire of the fen [(lit. ‘fire-Rǫgnir of the fen’) GOLD > RULER]’. If the ruler honoured in this stanza is Sigurðr jarl, Sigurðr’s sword represents a further allusion to him (Finnur Jónsson 1931, 116).

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