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Runic Dictionary

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Ormr Steinþórsson (Ormr)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Russell Poole;

1. Poem about a woman (Woman) - 7

Nothing is known about Ormr Steinþórsson (Ormr). The patronymic indicates that he was probably an Icelander rather than a Norwegian (Ólafur Halldórsson 1969b, 156). Finnur Jónsson (Skj AI, 415) places him in the eleventh century, with a query, but commonalities between his work and certain other poems, noted below, make a floruit in the late twelfth century, perhaps even the turn of the thirteenth, more probable. He appears from the internal evidence of poetic fragments attributed to him to have composed for both male and female patrons; one of the male recipients was evidently blind (see Introduction to Ormr Frag below).

Poem about a woman — Ormr WomanIII

Russell Poole 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Ormr Steinþórsson, Poem about a woman’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 323.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

for reference only:  1x 

Skj: Ormr Steinþórsson: 1. Af et digt om en kvinde (?) (AI, 415-416, BI, 385); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

SkP info: III, 326

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Ormr Woman 2III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Ormr Steinþórsson, Poem about a woman 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 326.

Þvít hols hrynbáls
hramma, þats berk framm,
Billings á burar full
bjarkar hefk lagit mark.

Þvít [e]k hef lagit mark {bjarkar {hols hrynbáls hramma}} á {full {burar Billings}}, þats berk framm.

Because I have placed the mark {of the birch {of the hollow ringing fire of hands}} [RING > WOMAN] on {the cup {of the son of Billingr <dwarf>}} [DWARF > POEM], which I deliver.

Mss: R(33r), Tˣ(34v), W(76), U(32r), A(10v), C(4v) (SnE); 2368ˣ(119), 743ˣ(90v) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] hols: hjóls U, hóls A    [2] hramma: ‘hrammam’ C;    þats (‘þaz’): þat U    [3] burar: ‘bv[…]r’ U

Editions: Skj: Ormr Steinþórsson, 1. Af et digt om en kvinde (?) 4: AI, 416, BI, 385, Skald I, 191; SnE 1848-87, I, 412-13, II, 324, 435, 584, III, 74, SnE 1931, 147, SnE 1998, I, 64; LaufE 1979, I, 379.

Context: In Skm (SnE) and LaufE the stanza is quoted to illustrate the use of the base-word bjǫrk ‘birch’ in woman-kennings.

Notes: [3] full burar Billings ‘the cup of the son of Billingr <dwarf> [DWARF > POEM]’: A dwarf named Billingr is mentioned in the Hauksbók text of Vsp 13 (NK 3 n.). A person or being of that name is also mentioned in Hávm 97/1 but cannot be definitely identified as a dwarf (cf. Evans 1986, 58). Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 448) explains burar Billings ‘of the son of Billingr’ as meaning ‘any dwarf or giant’ in the context of the myth of the mead of poetry, where dwarfs and giants were among the beings to hold possession of the mead at various points. — [4] mark ‘the mark’: In Skj B, Finnur Jónsson takes lagit mark ‘placed the mark’ as meaning that the poet has described the woman in the poem he composes about her (karakterisert hende i det digt ‘described her in that poem’). More specifically, it could be interpreted as hinting that the poem contained an identification of the beloved woman (and if so, presumably via the ofljóst in st. 6/4).

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