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Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)

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

III. 1. Haustlǫng (Haustl) - 20

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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20 

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

SkP info: III, 461

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — Þjóð Haustl 20III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 20’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 461.

áðr ór hneigihliðum
hárs ǫl-Gefjun sára
reiði-Týs it rauða
ryðs hœlibǫl gœli.
Gǫrla lítk á Geitis
garði þær of farðir.
Baugs þák bifum fáða
bifkleif at Þórleifi.

áðr {ǫl-Gefjun} gœli {it rauða hœlibǫl ryðs} ór {hneigihliðum hárs} {reiði-Týs sára}. Lítk gǫrla þær of farðir á {garði Geitis}. Þák {bifkleif baugs}, fáða bifum, at Þórleifi.

until {the ale-Gefjun <goddess>} [WOMAN = Gróa] could enchant {the red boasting destruction of rust} [WHETSTONE] from {the inclined slopes of the hair} [HEAD] {of the bearing-Týr <god> of wounds} [= Þórr]. I see clearly these happenings [depicted] on {the fence of Geitir <sea-king>} [SHIELD]. I received {the quivering cliff of the shield-boss} [SHIELD], decorated with moving stories, from Þorleifr.

Mss: R(24r), Tˣ(24v), W(51) (SnE)

Readings: [1] hneigi‑: ‘hnegi‑’ Tˣ    [3] Týs (‘tyss’): so all others, ‘tyrs’ R    [4] hœli‑ (‘heyli’): ‘heuli’ Tˣ, heili W    [6] þær: þeir R, þeyr Tˣ, ‘þr’ with horizontal stroke through ascender of þ W    [7] þák (‘þa ek’): so W, þá er R, Tˣ;    bifum: so Tˣ, bifð R, bifa W    [8] bif‑: ‘bi‑’ W

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 2. Haustlǫng 20: AI, 20, BI, 18, Skald I, 12, NN §1918; SnE 1848-87, I, 282-5, III, 23-4, SnE 1931, 105, SnE 1998, I, 24.

Context: As for st. 14.

Notes: [All]: The first helmingr of st. 20 completes the syntactical, grammatical and general sense of the mythic narrative, held over from st. 19/5-8. According to the prose account in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 22), the whetstone remained lodged in Þórr’s head after he had returned home to Þrúðvangar ‘Mighty plains’. A visiting sorceress (vǫlva) named Gróa, the ǫl-Gefjun of st. 20/2, undertook to loosen the whetstone by chanting her spells over it: hon gól galdra sína yfir Þór til þess er heinin losnaði ‘she chanted her spells over Þórr until the whetstone became loose’. Þórr was so encouraged at the prospect of being rid of the stone that he told Gróa that he had rescued her husband, Aurvandill, from the land of the giants and had brought him part-way back in a basket. Gróa was so pleased to think she would soon be reunited with her husband that she forgot her spells and the whetstone remained stuck in Þórr’s skull, where it lodges still according to Skm. — [2] ǫl-Gefjun ‘the ale-Gefjun <goddess> [WOMAN = Gróa]’: A standard woman-kenning, based on the concept that women serve ale, beer or mead to men (cf. Meissner 418). It is possible, however, that the name Gefjun would seem particularly appropriate as a base-word here, as Gefjun’s most notable exploit, her ploughing loose of the island of Sjælland from Sweden, involved some kind of deception, if not sorcery (cf. Bragi Frag 1 and Note to st. 2/6 above). Cf. ǫl-Gefn st. 11/2 and Note. Kock (NN §1918) proposes taking ǫl-Gefjun sára ‘the ale-Gefjun of wounds’ together, but, as Marold (1983, 174) observes, this would overdetermine the kenning since ‘the Gefjun of wounds’ would by itself be a good woman-kenning, as would ‘the ale-Gefjun’. — [2-3] reiði-Týs sára ‘of the bearing-Týr <god> of wounds [= Þórr]’: That is, the god who bears wounds, in this case Þórr, who bears the wound caused by Hrungnir’s whetstone. Here, the edn has followed Marold’s (1983, 174) suggestion that reiði- means ‘carrying, bearing’ (cf. KormǪ Lv 62/1-2, 3V (Korm 83reiði-Rindr sólar sunds ‘the bearing Rindr <giantess> of the sun of the strait [GOLD > WOMAN]’) rather than the sense ascribed to it by most other eds, ‘causing, producing [wounds]’ (cf. LP: reiði-Týr), on the ground that such a sense would be inappropriate in this context. — [3-4] it rauða hœlibǫl ryðs ‘the red boasting destruction of rust [WHETSTONE]’: That is, the red thing that can boast or glory in the fact that it destroys rust. Whetstones were used for sharpening tools and weapons, and were often worn on a man’s belt. Some, like the whetstone from Sutton Hoo in England, probably had a ceremonial function and served as symbols of royal authority (cf. Mitchell 1985). Whetstones were made from a variety of stones, including quartz, sandstone and slate, and could be of various colours. Some whetstones of dark reddish-grey banded with green are known from excavations at Hedeby and Birka (Steuer 2008), hence Hrungnir’s whetstone may have been called red because it was made from reddish stone or because it was spattered with Þórr’s blood (cf. st. 19/7-8). — [4] gœli ‘could enchant’: The verb is pret. subj. of gala ‘chant, enchant’, after áðr ‘until’ (l. 1). According to SnE (see Note to [All] above), Gróa was distracted from her spells and did not finish the job of removing the whetstone from Þórr’s head. — [5-8]: Haustl’s final helmingr corresponds in theme and structure to the second helmingr of st. 13; in ll. 5-6 the poet states that he can see the scenes he has just described on the shield he has been given; in ll. 7-8, which constitute the stef, he highlights the fact that Þorleifr has given him the shield and, with it, the subjects of his drápa. — [5-6] á garði Geitis ‘on the fence of Geitir <sea-king> [SHIELD]’: A shield can be described as a sea-king’s fence because, on a Viking-age ship, shields were arranged along the gunwales like a fence round a piece of land. — [6] þær (f. acc. pl.) ‘these’: The demonstrative adj. must be f. to agree with farðir ‘happenings’. Both R and have the m. pl. form þeir; it is not clear whether the scribe of W intended a m. or f. form (see Readings above). — [7-8]: The poem’s stef, signalling the conclusion of Haustl’s second subject and, presumably, of the poem as a whole. There are minor ms. variants, but essentially the same two lines are repeated from st. 13/7-8 (see Note there).

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