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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 21 May 2022)

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, 327

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Ormr Woman 3III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Ormr Steinþórsson, Poem about a woman 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. 327.

Hrosta drýgir hvern kost
hanglúðrs gæi-Þrúðr,
en drafnar loga Lofn
lǫstu rækir vinfǫst.

{Gæi-Þrúðr {hanglúðrs hrosta}} drýgir hvern kost, en {Lofn {loga drafnar}}, vinfǫst, rækir lǫstu.

{The watching Þrúðr <goddess> {of the hanging vessel of mash}} [CAULDRON > WOMAN] possesses every excellence, and {the Lofn <goddess> {of the fire of the wave}} [GOLD > WOMAN], loyal to her friends, rejects vices.

Mss: R(38v), Tˣ(40r), W(124), A(13v), B(6r), 744ˣ(36r), C(7v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] hvern: ‘[…]ern’ B, ‘huern’ 744ˣ    [2] hang: hauk R, Tˣ, W, A, C, harð‑ B;    lúðrs: ‘‑lv́ðrðrs’ A    [3] loga: ‘[…]’ B, ‘l . ga’ 744ˣ;    Lofn: ‘[…]n’ B, lofn 744ˣ    [4] rækir: ‘ræk[…]’ B, ‘re᷎kir’ 744ˣ;    vinfǫst: ‘[…]ost’ B, ‘vínfost’ 744ˣ

Editions: Skj: Ormr Steinþórsson, 1. Af et digt om en kvinde (?) 5: AI, 416, BI, 385, Skald I, 191, NN §899; SnE 1848-87, I, 502-3, II, 452, 535, 601, III, 104-5, SnE 1931, 176, SnE 1998, I, 95.

Context: In Skm (SnE) the stanza is used to illustrate the use of drǫfn as a heiti for ‘wave’. In R attribution was initially made to Kormákr but then altered to Ormr.

Notes: [1, 2] gæi-Þrúðr hanglúðrs hrosta ‘the watching Þrúðr <goddess> of the hanging vessel of mash [CAULDRON > WOMAN]’: This kenning presents difficulties to which various solutions have been proposed. (a) In this edn, the reading hauk found in the majority of mss is emended to hang-, treated as the first element in a cpd hanglúðr ‘hanging vessel’. For the formation of the cpd, cf. hangferill ‘hanging-track’ in hangferill hringa ‘hanging-track of rings [ARM]’ (Refr Frag 3/3). The second element of the posited cpd, lúðr, usually denotes a container or receptacle of some kind; attested senses include ‘trough, cradle, bin, the lower stone in a quern’ (cf. Fritzner: lúðr and the citations in ONP: lúðr), though admittedly the semantic range of this word presents difficulties and more than one etymon may be involved (AEW: lúðr). The word hrosta (gen.; m. nom. sg. hrosti), denoting the ‘mashed malt’ (AEW: hrosti) that forms a principal ingredient in ale, is used here to define the kind of ‘container’ intended by the poet. On a literal interpretation, the type of container in which mash is held could be the mash-vat (LP: hrosti; lúðr 1). But hrosta could instead be interpreted as the determinant in a kenning whose base-word is lúðr, in which case it would most plausibly be a cauldron, hanging over a fire for purposes of heating the mash in order to brew ale (cf. the idiom heita ǫl ‘brew ale’, lit. ‘heat ale’). Cauldrons were customarily suspended on chains or thongs from a roof beam or from the apex of a tripod (Foote and Wilson 1980, 165; Graham-Campbell 2001a, 124). The woman could be appropriately envisaged as keeping a watchful eye on the brewing: this was generically true of the lady of the house, and does not presuppose any specific reference to Unnr húsfreyja or her ilk (see Introduction above). The association of the beloved lady with ale and other liquor is found elsewhere in this poem (sts 4/4, 5/1-2), as also in Bjbp JómsI, e.g. st. 3/8 ǫlselja ‘ale-willow’. (b) Of earlier interpretations, Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) retains the reading hauk, construing it as an adj. with the sense of ‘proud’ qualifying gæi-Þrúðr (cf. LP: 2. haukr), followed by Faulkes (‘spirited, bold’: SnE 1998, II, 303), but the only putative parallel to this posited adj., in Tjǫrvi Lv 1/7IV, has been accounted for satisfactorily on a different basis (Einar Ólafur Sveinsson 1972). (c) Kock (NN §899) reaches a similar result to that adopted in this edn by emending hauk to hank, the compounding form of hǫnk, which he explains as a ‘ring’ or ‘ring-shaped handle’ of the sort attached to a kettle or cauldron. Secure attestations of the word hǫnk are, however, restricted to the senses ‘loop, coil, skein, clasp’ and relate to wool or other fibre (CVC, Fritzner: hönk, ONP: hǫnk); the word hǫnk does not occur in poetic texts. — [4] rækir ‘rejects’: Use of this verb (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of rækja) is a characteristic of learned style first evident in the late C12th (Ólafur Halldórsson 1969b, 156-7).

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