Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð, 42 [Vol. 7, 324-5]

[4] gylfar ‘of the sea’: This word occurs only here in OIcel. and does not exist in MIcel. Bugge (1867, 364), though he adduces ON gjálfr ‘the sound of the sea’ and by extension ‘sea’ (LP: gjálfr), reads Gylfar as a gen. pers. n., derived from *Gylfr, meaning ‘gulf, body of water’. However, there is no such word recorded in ON. Falk (1914, 26) relates it to a Norw. dialect word he gives as gyl ‘mountain-cleft’, cf. OED: gill n.2, noting that the entrance to the ON underworld is sometimes envisaged as a headland (Egill St 25V; Fáfn 11/2) and linking a water-filled cleft to the vötn fjalla ‘mountain waters’ of 45/4. LP: Gylfr (?), f. (?) notes the obscurity of the word’s form and meaning. Skj B, as also Skald, gives Gilfar, a pers. n., apparently derived from *Gylfr. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 43) emends to Gylfa, from Gylfi, a sea-king name, and thus interprets Gylfa straumar ‘the currents of Gylfi’ as a kenning for the sea. It seems likely that the word does have some association with the sea (cf. AEW: Gylfi, which cites gylfr, f. a river name, also ‘wave, sea’ as cognate); whether it is a common noun or a pers. n. is uncertain.

references

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 Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor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