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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Snorri Sturluson (SnSt)

13th century; volume 3; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

III. Háttatal (Ht) - 102

Skj info: Snorri Sturluson, Islandsk höfding og skjald, 1178-1241. (AII, 52-79, BII, 60-90).

Skj poems:
1. En drape om Skule jarl
2. Háttatal
3. Af et religiøst digt (?)
4. Lausavísur
4. Lausavísur

prose works

Háttatal — SnSt HtIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1094.

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Skj: Snorri Sturluson: 2. Háttatal, 1222-23 (AII, 52-77, BII, 61-88)

SkP info: III, 1107

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — SnSt Ht 3III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 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. 1107.

Úlfs bága verr ægis
ítrbáls hati málu;
sett eru bǫrð fyr bratta
brún Míms vinar rúnu.
Orms váða kann eiðu
allvaldr gǫfugr halda;
menstríðir, njót móður
mellu dólgs til elli.

{Hati {ítrbáls ægis}} verr {málu {bága úlfs}}; bǫrð eru sett fyr bratta brún {rúnu {vinar Míms}}. Gǫfugr allvaldr kann halda {eiðu {váða orms}}; {menstríðir}, njót {móður {dólgs mellu}} til elli.

{The hater {of the precious pyre of the sea}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] defends {the wife {of the wolf’s enemy}} [= Óðinn > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)]; prows are placed before the steep edge {of the confidante {of Mímir’s <mythical being’s> friend}} [= Óðinn > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)]. The glorious mighty ruler can hold {the mother {of the serpent’s harmer}} [= Þórr > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)]; {necklace-destroyer} [GENEROUS MAN], enjoy {the mother {of the giantess’s enemy}} [= Þórr > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)] until old age.

Mss: R(45r), Tˣ(47r), U(47r) (l. 1), U(48r-v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] bága: bagga U(47r)    [2] hati málu: hatti mála U    [3] bǫrð: borð U;    fyr: yfir U    [4] brún: brunn Tˣ, brúns U;    rúnu: runnu Tˣ    [7] ‑stríðir: ‑stilli U;    njót: máttu U    [8] mellu: ‘melle’ Tˣ

Editions: Skj: Snorri Sturluson, 2. Háttatal 3: AII, 53, BII, 61, Skald II, 36, NN §3260A; SnE 1848-87, I, 600-3, II, 369, 374, III, 111-12, SnE 1879-81, I, 1, 74, II, 3, SnE 1931, 216, SnE 2007, 5; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 3-4.

Context: According to the prose commentary, the stanza illustrates rekit ‘extended’ constructions (e.g. kennings with more than two determinants). At first sight, none of the kennings in the stanza appears to be an extended kenning; rather, most of them are tvíkent with two determinants (see SnE 2007, 48). However, it appears from the commentary in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 109) that Snorri indeed regarded ofljóst ‘too transparent’ constructions involving two single homonyms as tvíkent, and hence all the ofljóst constructions with an additional element would fit his definition of rekit (see also Note to [All] below).

Notes: [All]: The mss give the following headings: iij. rekit ‘three, extended’ () and rekit (U(47r)). — [All]: Throughout the stanza, Snorri employs a series of ofljóst constructions (see Context above), playing on the homonyms Jǫrð (the name of Óðinn’s consort and mother of the god Þórr) and jǫrð ‘earth’. For a similar imagery of a ruler taking possession of or governing the land conceived of as a woman, see Note to Anon Nkt 8/1, 2II, Hfr Hákdr and Frank (1978, 57-60). — [1] bága úlfs ‘of the wolf’s enemy [= Óðinn]’: This wolf is Fenrir, Loki’s son, which will break away from its fetters at ragnarǫk ‘the doom of the gods’, fight with Óðinn and kill him (see Vsp 44/3-4, 49/3-4, 53; SnE 2005, 50, 52). The kenning is also given in Egill St 24/2V (Eg 95), which is cited by Snorri in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 9) along with Egill St 23V (Eg 94). The latter stanza contains another kenning used in the present stanza. See Note to l. 4 below. — [2] ítrbáls (n. gen. sg.) ‘of the precious pyre’: Skj B takes ítrbáls ‘of the precious pyre’ as two separate words and construes ítr hati báls ægis ‘the precious hater of the pyre of the sea’ (so also SnE 1848-87, SnE 1879-81 and Konráð Gíslason 1895-7), which is unsatisfactory from the point of view of word order (see NN §3260A). — [4] vinar Míms ‘of Mímir’s <mythical being’s> friend [= Óðinn]’: Mímir was a wise mythical being whose head was preserved by the gods in a well in Ásgarðr. The gen. of the name is given variously as Mímis and Míms (see ANG §371 anm. 2 and LP: Mímir). The kenning vinr Míms is also given in Egill St 23/5V (Eg 94). See Note to l. 1 above. There can be no coincidence that two of the kennings from the two stanzas of St appear in the present stanza, and Snorri appears to have mined Egill’s poem for kennings containing ofljóst. — [5] váða orms ‘of the serpent’s harmer [= Þórr]’: The serpent is Miðgarðsormr ‘the World’s Serpent’, another of Loki’s children (see Note to l. 1 above). At ragnarǫk, Miðgarðsormr will fight with Þórr and they will kill each other (see Vsp 55H-56; SnE 2005, 50, 52). — [7-8] móður dólgs mellu ‘the mother of the giantess’s enemy [= Þórr > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)]’: This kenning appears to be a conscious imitation of Eyv Lv 8/7-8I holdi móður dolgs mellu ‘the flesh of the mother of the enemy of the giantess [= Þórr > = Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)]’.

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