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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. <> (accessed 17 September 2021)

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

SkP info: III, 435

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Þjóð Haustl 3III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 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. 435.

Tormiðlaðr vas tívum
talhreinn meðal beina;
hvat kvað * hapta snytrir
hjalmfaldinn því valda.
Margspakr of nam mæla
môr valkastar bôru
— vasat Hœnis vinr hônum
hollr — af fornum þolli.

{Talhreinn} vas tívum tormiðlaðr meðal beina; {hjalmfaldinn snytrir hapta} kvað * hvat valda því. {Margspakr môr {bôru valkastar}} of nam mæla af fornum þolli; {vinr Hœnis} vasat hollr hônum.

{The dung-reindeer} [OX] was difficult for the gods to pierce between the shanks; {the helmet-capped instructor of the divine powers} [= Óðinn] said something was causing this. {The deeply wise seagull {of the wave of the corpse-heap}} [BLOOD > RAVEN/EAGLE = Þjazi] began to speak from an ancient tree; {the friend of Hœnir <god>} [= Loki] was not well-disposed to him.

Mss: R(25v), R(36v) (ll. 1-4), Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(38v) (ll. 1-4), W(55), U(36r) (ll. 1-4), A(12v) (ll. 1-4), C(6r) (ll. 1-4) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Tormiðlaðr: so Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(38v), W, U, A, C, tormiðlaðar R(25v), ‘tormildaðr’ R(36v);    tívum: tívi R(36v), A, C, ‘tauu’ Tˣ(38v)    [2] talhreinn: so R(36v), Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(38v), W, C, tálhrein R(25v), U, A;    beina: ‘[...]ina’ W    [3] hvat: hvar W;    kvað *: ‘q°þo’ R(25v), ‘q’þv’ R(36v), kveðu Tˣ(26r), Tˣ(38v), A, kváðu W, kvað þú U, C;    hapta: spakra Tˣ(26r), hapt W;    snytrir: snyrtir R(36v), W, snyrtir altered to snytrir in scribal hand Tˣ(38v)    [4] hjalmfaldinn: hjalmfaldin R(36v);    hjalm‑: hjalms Tˣ(26r)    [5] mæla: ‘mola’ Tˣ(26r)    [6] valkastar: ‘valkast[...]’ W;    bôru: bara Tˣ(26r)    [7] Hœnis: so Tˣ(26r), W, ‘[...]’ R(25v);    vinr: so W, ‘vior’ R(25v), ‘[...]nr’ Tˣ(26r)

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 2. Haustlǫng 3: AI, 16, BI, 14, Skald I,10, NN §§1015, 2504, 3396C; SnE 1848-87, I, 306-9, 468-71, II, 340, 447, 591, III, 41, SnE 1931, 111, 166, SnE 1998, I, 31, 84.

Context: As for st. 1. In addition, ll. 1-4 are cited again in mss R, , U, A and C in a section of Skm (SnE 1998, I, 84) exemplifying alternative names for the Old Norse gods, in this case hǫpt ‘fetters’ (hapta, l. 3).

Notes: [1-2]: A different construal of these lines is offered by Finnur Jónsson and Faulkes. They take tormiðlaðr beina as ‘a difficult, slow deliverer of service’ or possibly ‘of bones’ (Faulkes, SnE 1998, II, 414: tormiðlaðr; cf. LP: tormiðlaðr), referring ironically to the giant Þjazi, and assume a cpd adj. meðaltálhreinn ‘middlingly free of deceit’, hence, with ironic litotes, very deceitful, also describing Þjazi (Skj B and LP: meðaltálhreinn, tálhreinn; Faulkes, ibid., II, 353: meðal, II, 412: tálhreinn). Meðal is displaced by tmesis. Finnur in Skj B further regards meðaltálhreinn as substantivised and translates Den svigfulde var den, som hindrede måltidet for guderne ‘The deceitful one was the one who hindered the gods’ meal’. — [1] tormiðlaðr ‘difficult … to pierce’: Understood here as a hap. leg. adj., comprised of tor- ‘difficult’ plus miðlaðr ‘pierced’, p. p. of miðla ‘pierce’ (for this sense, cf. Sigsk 47/7-8), referring to the gods’ attempt to find out by piercing the meat with a sword or other sharp instrument whether the ox was cooked. Miðla can also mean ‘divide, share’, so the meaning may possibly be ‘difficult to divide’ (because the meat was not cooked). — [2] talhreinn ‘the dung-reindeer [OX]’: The view of Holtsmark (1949, 16) and Marold (1983, 156) that this cpd is an ox-kenning has been adopted here. The first element of the cpd is cognate with ModNorw. talle ‘dung’; cf. ON tað ‘dung, manure’. The kenning doubtless refers to the use of oxen to pull carts laden with dung to the fields in order to fertilise them. Kock (Skald and NN §1015) emended talhreinn to tólhreinn ‘(farming-)tool-reindeer’ and also understood it as an ox-kenning. — [2] beina ‘the shanks’: Some eds (Skj B; SnE 1998) understand beina as gen. sg. of beini ‘hospitality, service’ rather than gen. pl. of bein ‘bone, lower leg, shank’. — [3] kvað * ‘said’: The verb must be 3rd pers. sg. to agree with the sg. subject hjalmfaldinn snytrir hapta ‘the helmet-capped instructor of the divine powers [= Óðinn]’ (ll. 3-4), but the mss all present various unsuitable forms; the forms in both locations of R are unclearly abbreviated; U and C have 2nd pers. sg. kvað þú ‘you (sg.) said’. which is unlikely in view of the generally 3rd pers. narrative style of Haustl (except for the direct speech in st. 11); other mss’ kveðu, (26r), (38v) and A, may also be interpreted as imper. sg. with suffixed pron., while W’s kváðu is an unmetrical 3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. — [3] snytrir ‘instructor’: Lit. ‘one who makes wise’. Base-word of a kenning for the god Óðinn. The alternative ms. reading snyrtir ‘polisher’, often used as a sword-name, is inappropriate in this context. — [8] af fornum þolli ‘from an ancient tree’: In st. 6/3 and in the prose account of Skm the tree is said to be an oak.

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