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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld (Þdís)

10th century; volume 3; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

1. Poem about Þórr (Þórr) - 2

Skj info: Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, Islænder, sidste halvdel af 10. årh. (AI, 144, BI, 135).

Skj poems:
1. Et digt om Tor
2. Et helgendigt(?)

Nothing is known for certain about Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld ‘Lady’s poet’ (Þdís), aside from his name and two fragmentary poetic compositions ascribed to a Þorbjǫrn in mss of SnE. It is not even certain that the Þorbjǫrn to whom two stanzas of a Poem about Þórr (Þdís Þórr) are ascribed (SnE 1998, I, 16-17) is the same poet as the composer of the so-called Poem about a Saint (Þdís Saint, SnE 1998, I, 76). In the first case the poet is named in SnE mss as Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, but in the second he is called Þorbjǫrn without the nickname. It has been conventionally assumed, and is so here, that both poems were the work of a single poet. If so, he must have lived about the time of the conversion to Christianity (c. 1000) and is likely to have been converted himself, as one poem praises the god Þórr and the other is about the baptism of an unknown man. The significance of the nickname dísarskáld can only be guessed at: possibly Þórbjǫrn was known for his composition of poetry about a lady or, as dís often refers to a supernatural being, he may have celebrated a particular goddess. It is not known whether he was Norwegian or Icelandic, but most earlier editors have regarded him as Icelandic.

Poem about Þórr — Þdís ÞórrIII

Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, Poem about Þórr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 470.

 1   2 

Skj: Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld: 1. Et digt om Tor (AI, 144, BI, 135)

SkP info: III, 470

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Þdís Þórr 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, Poem about Þórr 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 470.

Þórr hefr Yggs með ôrum
Ásgarð af þrek varðan.

Þórr hefr varðan Ásgarð af þrek með {ôrum Yggs}.

Þórr has defended Ásgarðr with power together with {the messengers of Yggr <= Óðinn>} [GODS].

Mss: R(22r), Tˣ(22r), W(47), U(27v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Þórr: þór Tˣ;    Yggs: ‘ygs’ Tˣ;    ôrum: so W, U, ‘arvm’ altered from ‘asvm’ R, ‘asom’ Tˣ

Editions: Skj: Þorbjǫrn dísarskáld, 1. Et digt om Tor 1: AI, 144, BI, 135, Skald I, 74; SnE 1848-87, I, 256-7, II, 309, III, 17, SnE 1931, 96, SnE 1998, I, 16.

Notes: [All]: Unlike st. 2, st. 1 is not a direct address to Þórr. If it was part of a longer poem containing st. 2, it might conceivably have been a refrain (stef). — [1] ôrum Yggs ‘the messengers of Yggr <= Óðinn> [GODS]’: At first sight, this is probably a somewhat unusual kenning for the pagan gods who, with Þórr, defend their stronghold of Ásgarðr. However, if Þorbjǫrn was familiar with the teachings of Christianity when he composed this couplet, the kenning may have had a deliberate double entendre, playing on the meaning of the Lat. angelus ‘messenger, angel’.

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