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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjalar-Jón Svipdagsson (ÞjJ)

11th century; volume 8; ed. Philip Lavender;

VIII. Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

not in Skj

Gestr Gunnolfsson

Lausavísur — ÞjJ LvVIII (ÞJ)

(forthcoming), ‘ Þjalar-Jón Svipdagsson, Lausavísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 18 January 2022)

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SkP info: VIII, 801

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — ÞjJ Lv 1VIII (ÞJ 1)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Philip Lavender (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjalar-Jóns saga 1 (Þjalar-Jón Svipdagsson, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 801.

Halda hlífðar aldri
hljótendr á hlyn spjóta;
verðk af veigarskorðum
vaka ár af því fári.
Enn munu örva sennu
ýtendr of mik flýta
orð, at eigi verðak
altryggr, ef nú gyggvir.

{Hljótendr hlífðar} halda aldri á {hlyn spjóta}; verðk vaka ár af því fári af {veigarskorðum}. {Ýtendr {sennu örva}} munu enn flýta orð of mik, at verðak eigi altryggr, ef nú gyggvir.

{The possessors of the shield} [WARRIORS] will never hinder {the maple of spears} [WARRIOR]; I have to lie awake early on account of that pain caused by {the props of drink} [WOMEN]. {The launchers {of the quarrel of arrows}} [BATTLE > WARRIORS] will nonetheless be quick with words about me, such that I should not be completely safe, if I now quail.

Mss: Holm6(121v) (ÞJ)

Readings: [3] af: ef Holm6    [5] sennu: seimar Holm6

Editions: ÞJ 1857, 12, 62, ÞJ 1939, 6 (ch. 3).

Context: Prince Eiríkr Vilhjálmsson has followed the mysterious stranger named Gestr Gunnólfsson (later revealed to be Þjalar-Jón Svipdagsson) into the lodgings that his father has provided for him. Gestr has three sealed chests, but, after opening two, refuses to unlock the third. Gestr says that he must put Eiríkr to the test first and recites this stanza.

Notes: [All]: The situation envisaged by the speaker in these lines is not entirely clear. Having asserted his preoccupation with women in the first helmingr in defiance of certain unspecified men, possibly courtiers attempting to hinder his involvement with these females, he acknowledges in ll. 5-8 that these same men (presumably) could damage his reputation by slander if he does not stand up to them. On the question of whether this preoccupation could amount to a romantic interest and the problems that such an (otherwise natural) interpretation would pose considering the prose context, see the Introduction. — [3] veigarskorðum ‘the props of drink [WOMEN]’: This cpd is a hap. leg., but can be compared to other woman-kennings with skorð ‘prop’ as base-word, such as skorð veigar ‘prop of drink’, which appears in various rímur (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1926-8: skorð). — [5] sennu örva ‘of the quarrel of arrows [BATTLE]’: The text has been emended, following the suggestion of Gunnlaugur Þórðarson (ÞJ 1857, 62), from Holm6’s seimar örva ‘gold-threads of arrows’, which makes little sense in the context. — [8] gyggvir ‘quail’: This uncommon verb (cf. LP: gyggva) is often used in an impersonal construction with the agent of the action in the dat. to mean ‘be frightened, startled’; cf. Anon Mhkv 22/6III and Note there, where the proverbial hykk, at gyggvi sjaldan vǫrum ‘I think the wary man is seldom startled’ probably expresses the underlying idea here too. The agent has been omitted here, but it is reasonable to assume that the person who is at risk of quailing is one and the same as the speaker of the stanza, who is concerned about the outcome should his nerve fail him.

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