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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)

9th century; volume 1; ed. Edith Marold;

III. 1. Haustlǫng (Haustl) - 20

Skj info: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, Norsk skjald, 9 årh. (AI, 7-21, BI, 7-19).

Skj poems:
1. Ynglingatal
2. Haustlǫng
3. Et digt om Harald hårfagre, næppe ægte
4. Lausavísur

Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, or inn hvinverski, ‘from Hvinir’ (Þjóð) was a Norwegian skald of the late ninth or early tenth century. As his nickname indicates, he was from Hvinir (Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder). His biography is largely unknown. Skáldatal names him as poet to several rulers and powerful men: Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhár or heiðumhæri ‘High with Honours’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273), Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (ibid., 256, 265, 280), Þorleifr inn spaki ‘the Wise’ (ibid., 259, 268, 285), Strút-Haraldr jarl (ibid., 259, 284) and an unknown Sveinn jarl (ibid., 268). However, the associations with Hákon, Strút-Haraldr and Þorleifr are uncertain since they may have lived later in the tenth century; see Bugge (1894, 145, 175); Åkerlund (1939, 7). In Hkr, both within the Prologue (ÍF 26, 4) and in HHárf (ÍF 26, 127-8, 139), Þjóðólfr is represented as skald and friend to Haraldr hárfagri and as a dedicated foster-father to Haraldr’s son Guðrøðr ljómi ‘Beam of Light’. It is in this context that he speaks the two lausavísur associated with him (Þjóð Lv 1-2). Þjóðólfr ór Hvini is the composer of the poems Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) and Haustlǫng (Þjóð HaustlIII, edited in SkP III). Five stanzas of a poem dedicated to Haraldr hárfagri (Þjóð Har) are also attributed to him. Several stanzas of Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv) are falsely attributed to Þjóðólfr; see Introduction to Harkv. Finally, a fragment (Þjóðólfr FragIII) edited in SkP III is likely to be the work of a different Þjóðólfr, though it is tentatively associated with Þjóð Yt in Skj; see Introduction to Yt.

Haustlǫng — Þjóð HaustlIII

Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 431. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1438> (accessed 21 September 2021)

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Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 2. Haustlǫng (AI, 16-20, BI, 14-18)

SkP info: III, 434

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Þjóð Haustl 2III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 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. 434.

Segjǫndum fló sagna
snótar ulfr at móti
í gemlis ham gǫmlum
glamma ófyrskǫmmu.
Settisk ǫrn, þars æsir
ár-Gefnar mar bôru
— vasa byrgitýr bjarga
bleyði vændr — á seyði.

{Ulfr snótar} fló glamma ófyrskǫmmu at móti {segjǫndum sagna} í gǫmlum ham gemlis. Ǫrn settisk, þars æsir bôru {mar {ár-Gefnar}} á seyði; {{bjarga byrgi}týr} vasa vændr bleyði.

{The wolf of the woman} [= Þjazi] flew noisily no short time ago for a meeting {with the commanders of the troops} [= Æsir] in the old shape of an eagle. The eagle alighted where the Æsir were putting {the horse {of fruitfulness-Gefn <= Freyja>}} [= Gefjun <goddess> > OX] in an earth-oven; {the god {of the refuge of crags}} [(lit. ‘refuge-god of crags’) CAVE > GIANT = Þjazi] was not to be accused of cowardice.

Mss: R(25v), R(38r) (ll. 1-4), Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(39v) (ll. 1-4), W(55), U(40v) (ll. 1-4), A(14r) (ll. 1-4), B(6v) (ll. 1-4), C(7r) (ll. 1-4) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Segjǫndum: so Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(39v), U, A, B, ‘Seggiondvm’ R(25v), R(38r), W    [2] snótar: so all others, ‘sn[…]’ R(25v);    ulfr: so Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(39v), W, U, A, B, C, ‘[…]’ R(25v), ylgr R(38r);    at móti: so all others, ‘[…]’ R(25v)    [3] ham: so R(38r), Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(39v), U, A, B, C, ‘ha[…]’ R(25v), ‘[…]m’ W    [4] glamma: ‘g[…]ma’ W;    ófyrskǫmmu: so R(38r), Tˣ(26r), ‘a fyr skommo’ R(25v), W, ‘ofra scommo’ Tˣ(39v), ‘a fyrir skavmmo’ U, ‘ofyrs skǫmmv’ A, ‘æigi fyr skommv’ B, ‘vlfr fyr skommu’ C    [5] æsir: so Tˣ(26r), W, ‘æs[…]’ R(25v)    [6] Gefnar: so Tˣ(26r), W, gnæfar R(25v);    mar: so Tˣ(26r), ‘ma[…]’ R(25v), ‘ma’ W    [7] vasa: ‘naca’ Tˣ(26r)    [8] vændr (‘vendr’): so Tˣ(26r), W, vǫndr R(25v);    seyði: so Tˣ(26r), ‘seðe’ R(25v), seiði W

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 2. Haustlǫng 2: AI, 16, BI, 14, Skald I, 9-10, NN §§1810, 2004, 2504; SnE 1848-87, I, 306-7, 492-3, II, 354, 457, 544, 598, III, 40-1, SnE 1931, 111, 173, SnE 1998, I, 30-1, 92.

Context: As for st. 1. In addition, ll. 1-4 are cited in mss R, , U, A, B and C in a section of Skm that lists poetic terms for eagles.

Notes: [2] ulfr snótar ‘the wolf of the woman [= Þjazi]’: Understood as an example of a kenning with a specific referent, the giant Þjazi, who abducted the goddess Iðunn. However, a case could be made that ulfr functions as a base-word with the sense ‘thief’, ‘harmer’, ‘abductor’, although the specific referent, Þjazi, remains unchanged. — [3] gemlis ‘of an eagle’: Lit. ‘old one’. The term could be applied either to an eagle or a hawk. See also Þul Ara l. 7 and Note there. — [4] glamma ‘noisily’: Adverbial gen. pl. of glamm ‘noise’. Skj B (in the prose order but not in the text) and LP emend to dat. sg. glammi and Skj B translates med vingesus (el. skrigende?) ‘with a whirring of wings (or screeching?)’. — [4] ófyrskǫmmu ‘no short time ago’: The negative prefix ó- ‘no/not’ is attached to the adverbial fyr skǫmmu ‘a short time ago’. — [5-8]: According to Snorri’s prose narrative, three of the Æsir, Óðinn, Hœnir and Loki, were travelling away from Ásgarðr and ran short of food. They managed to kill an ox and prepared it for cooking in an earth-oven, but the oven would not cook the meat. Eventually, they became aware of an eagle (Þjazi) sitting in an oak-tree above them, and he admitted preventing the food from cooking (presumably by means of sorcery), demanding his fill of the ox in return for letting the meat cook. In support of the notion that Þjazi used sorcery to stop the ox cooking is an invocation on a rune stick from Bergen (Run N B252VI) in which a supernatural being named Ími is exhorted to prevent food from cooking (in the þulur Ímr is a heiti for ‘giant’ and ‘wolf’; see Þul Jǫtna II 1/4 and Þul Vargs 1/9). — [6] mar ár-Gefnar ‘the horse of fruitfulness-Gefn <= Freyja> [= Gefjun <goddess> > OX]’: (a) The interpretation here follows that first suggested by Reichardt (1928, 163-4) and uses ’s readings Gefnar and mar. It is possible that R also read mar, although the final letter of the word is now illegible. The kenning must be understood against the background of the myth recounted in both Gylf and Yng, based on Bragi Frag 1 (q. v.), which tells that the goddess Gefjun ploughed up a large tract of fertile meadow-land from Sweden, using four oxen, who were her sons by a giant, and transported it across the sea to form the Danish island of Sjælland (Zealand). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) read mat ‘food’ and construed ll. 5, 6 and 8 to form the main part of the helmingr: ǫrn settisk ár, þars æsir bôru mat á seyði ‘the eagle alighted long ago, where Æsir were putting food in an earth-oven’. He then included Gefnar in a structurally and syntactically awkward kenning with byrgitýr bjarga (l. 7), Gefnar bjarga byrgitýr ‘the god of the refuge of the Gefn <= Freyja> of crags [(lit. ‘the refuge-god of the Gefn of crags’) GIANTESS > CAVE > GIANT = Þjazi]’. This would be an inverted kenning, where ‘the Gefn of crags’ is a giantess, her refuge is a cave among the crags, giants typically being considered to live in rocks and mountains, while the ‘god’ of such a refuge is a giant, in this case Þjazi. LP: byrgi-Týr and Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 254: byrgitýr) also suggest that the giantess’s refuge should be understood as a cave. (c) Marold (1983, 154-5) adopts Skj B’s syntax but not the sense of byrgi- as ‘refuge’. She understands byrgi- as an agent noun, from byrgja ‘close, shut’, and construes ár-Gefnar byrgi-Týr bjarga as ‘the enclosing Týr <god> of the mountains of the harvest-Gefn <goddess> [= Iðunn > GIANT = Þjazi]’, looking forward to Þjazi’s abduction of Iðunn. (d) Kock (Skald and NN §2004) emends R’s reading ‘gnæfar’ to árgnæfa in l. 6, regarding it as the gen. sg. of a postulated giant-name Árgnæfi ‘the high-towering one’. He then understands mar Árgnæfa ‘horse of Árgnæfi <giant>’ as an ox-kenning.

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