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Ormr Steinþórsson (Ormr)

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

2. Fragments (Frag) - 2

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).

Fragments — Ormr FragIII

Russell Poole 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Ormr Steinþórsson, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 332.

stanzas:  1   2 

Skj: Ormr Steinþórsson: 2. Af et ubestemmeligt digt (AI, 416, BI, 386)

SkP info: III, 333

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Ormr Frag 2III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Ormr Steinþórsson, Fragments 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. 333.

Ek hef orðgnótt miklu
— opt finnum þat — minni,
— framm telk leyfð fyr lofða
ljósa — an myndak kjósa.

Ek hef miklu minni orðgnótt, an myndak kjósa; finnum þat opt; telk ljósa leyfð framm fyr lofða.

I have much less word-abundance than I would choose; we [I] often find that; I deliver a clear [poem of] praise before men.

Mss: U(36r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] miklu: mikla U    [4] ljósa: ljós U

Editions: Skj: Ormr Steinþórsson, 2. Af et ubestemmeligt digt 2: AI, 416, BI, 386, Skald I, 191, NN §900; SnE 1848-87, I, 468-9, II, 340, III, 96, SnE 1931, 165 n., SnE 1998, I, 207.

Context: In ms. U, the helmingr is added to the selection of stanzas in Skm (SnE) to exemplify heiti for ‘poetry’ further, in the immediate context of nouns that primarily denote ‘praise’ or ‘renown’.

Notes: [All]: It has been suggested that this helmingr comes from the final stanza of a poem (SnE 1998), but in view of the pres. tense of telk ‘I deliver’ a position in the upphaf ‘proemium’ or the main body of the poem seems more likely. — [1] orðgnótt ‘word-abundance’: Attestations of this cpd, as also of orðagnótt, are primarily from C12th and later. — [1] miklu ‘much’: Emended from ms. mikla by Rask (SnE 1818, 176) and followed by all subsequent eds. The ms. reading could be retained within an interpretation ‘I have great word-abundance, [and yet] less than I would choose’, but this would be forced (cf. SnE 1998, I, 207). — [2] opt ‘often’: The statement in Skj A that this ms. reading is no longer visible is incorrect. — [3] fyr lofða ‘before men’: The acc. after fyr (for more prevalent dat. in this sub-sense) arises because the adv. framm implies ‘motion towards’ (cf. CVC: fyrir). — [4] ljósa (f. acc. sg.) ‘clear’: Skj A reads ms. ljós, f. nom. sg. or n. nom./acc. pl. (cf. SnE 1848-87, II, 340) and emends to ljósa, followed by all subsequent eds. Considerations of sense and word order speak for construing the adj. with leyfð ‘[poem of] praise’ (f. acc. sg.; l. 3), as advocated by Kock (NN §900; cf. SnE 1998), rather than with orðgnótt ‘word-abundance’ (l. 1), as supposed in Skj B; Kock cites parallel uses of ljóss. In an earlier interpretation, explicitly rejected by Kock (NN §900), Rask (SnE 1818, 176), followed by SnE 1848-87, I, 468-9 n. 10, reads ms. ljós as ljósir (m. nom. pl.) and emends to ljósri (f. dat. sg.) putatively a substantivised adj. referring to a woman who is the subject of men’s praise. But this depends, as Kock notes, upon the separation of the prep. fyr from ljósri, as apparent in the translation in SnE 1848-87, I, 469, laudem virorum coram candida (muliere) recito ‘I recite the praise of men in the presence of the bright (woman)’. What Rask takes as the abbreviation for -ir is merely the final curve of letter <s>, with an interruption in the pen-stroke or loss of ink between it and the ascender.

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