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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 20 September 2021)

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

SkP info: III, 437

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Þjóð Haustl 4III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 437.

Fjallgylðir bað fyllar
fet-Meila sér deila
(hlaut) af helgum skutli
(hrafnásar vin blása).
Ving-Rǫgnir lét vagna
vígfrekr ofan sígask,
þars vélsparir vôru
varnendr goða farnir.

{Fjallgylðir} bað {fet-Meila} deila sér fyllar af helgum skutli; {vin {hrafnásar}} hlaut blása. {Vígfrekr ving-Rǫgnir vagna} lét sígask ofan, þars {vélsparir varnendr goða} vôru farnir.

{The mountain-wolf} [GIANT = Þjazi] bade {step-Meili <god>} [= Hœnir] share out to him his fill from the holy trencher; {the friend {of the raven-god}} [= Óðinn > = Loki] had to blow [the fire]. {The killing-greedy swinging Rǫgnir <= Óðinn> of killer whales} [GIANT = Þjazi] let himself sink down where {the stratagem-sparing defenders of the gods} [= Óðinn, Hœnir and Loki] were situated.

Mss: R(25v), W(55) (SnE)

Readings: [1] fyllar: so W, fullan R    [2] Meila: so W, ‘mela’ R;    sér deila: so W, ‘’ om. R    [3] hlaut: so W, ‘hl[…]’ R;    helgum: helgu R, W    [4] ‑ásar: ása W;    vin: ‘vm’ or vin W;    blása: lása W    [5] Rǫgnir: so W, ‘raungnir’ R;    lét: ‘le[…]’ W;    vagna: so W, om. R    [6] ofan: ‘o[…]’ R, W;    sígask: so W, ‘sigað’ R

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 2. Haustlǫng 4: AI, 17, BI, 15, Skald I, 10, NN §§1016, 2505; SnE 1848-87, I, 308-9, III, 41-2, SnE 1931, 111, SnE 1998, I, 31.

Context: As for st. 1, but the stanza is only in R and W. Ms. omits it and goes straight from st. 3 to st. 5.

Notes: [All]: Stanza 4 is only extant in mss R and W, and as the writing on fol. 25v of R is rather faint, especially towards the edges of the leaf, some readings which were apparently visible to earlier eds cannot now be made out. Skj A claims to have read R’s ‘hlvt’ (where W has hlaut) at the beginning of l. 3 and ofan in l. 6. Skj A also claims to have read ‘sigaz’ in R at the end of l. 6, though the last letter is still visible and is almost certainly an <ð>. — [1] fyllar ‘fill’: Lit. ‘fills’ (pl.). — [2] fet-Meila ‘step-Meili <god> [= Hœnir]’: Most scholars have assumed that this kenning refers to Hœnir, rather than Loki, largely because Skm cites several curious periphrases for this god, about whose characteristic activities little is known. The etymology of Hœnir’s name is uncertain and many theories have been proposed (there are eight listed under AEW: Hœnir). The most plausible seem to be those (AEW’s numbers 2 and 3) that associate the name with words for some kind of bird, perhaps a hen (hœna). It is said (SnE 1998, I, 19) that Hœnir can be called sessa eða sinna eða mála Óðins ok hinn skjóta Ás ok hinn langa fót ok aurkonung ‘Óðinn’s bench-mate or companion or confidant and the swift god and the long foot and mud-king’. The last two terms, and the etymology of Hœnir’s own name, have suggested to some (e.g. Turville-Petre 1964, 141-2 and n. 34) that Hœnir might have been a god who assumed the form of a bird, perhaps a wading bird. If so, the determinant fet-(Meili) may be hinting in this direction. Meili was the name of one of Óðinn’s sons, and a brother to Þórr (cf. st. 14/7, Hárb 9/5). In an early work, Finnur Jónsson (1884, 45 but not in Skj) suggested emending bað ‘bade’ (l. 1) to bauð ‘invited’ (which takes the dat. of the person invited) and then emending fet-Meila to feðr Meila ‘the father of Meili [= Óðinn]’ (cf. LP: fet-Meili). These emendations are not supported by either ms. Marold (1983, 157) argues that fet-Meili should refer to Óðinn rather than Hœnir, basing her case on names for Óðinn like Vegtamr ‘Accustomed to the way’ (Bdr 6/1, 13/1). It might be natural for the giant Þjazi to address Óðinn, the leader of the gods, rather than Hœnir. — [3] helgum ‘holy’: As this adj. must be m. dat. sg., to agree with skutli ‘trencher’, it is necessary to emend both mss’ helgu. Presumably the trencher is holy because it belongs to the gods and contains their food. Holtsmark (1949, 22) was inclined to think that this phrase indicated that the meal was a sacrificial one, though the context does not seem to support this idea. Kock (NN §1016) takes af helgum skutli ‘from the holy trencher’ with the rest of ll. 3-4 rather than with ll. 1-2, and this is possible. — [3, 4] vin hrafnásar hlaut blása ‘the friend of the raven-god [= Óðinn > = Loki] had to blow [the fire]’: Many eds (e.g. Skj B; Skald) adopt the more common nom. form vinr ‘friend’ over the mss’ vin but this is not necessary as both forms are attested (cf. ANG §§285 Anm. 2, 388 and Anm.). Óðinn is the raven-god, for he possesses two ravens, Huginn ‘Thought’ and Muninn ‘Memory’, who fly around the world every day to bring him information about whatever is going on (cf. Grí 20, SnE 2005, 32-3); the raven-god’s friend is probably Loki here rather than Hœnir (so NN §1016), as there seems to be a contrast with the god referred to in l. 2. Blása ‘blow’ is assumed to refer to the need for the gods to blow on the fire to keep the earth-oven cooking; Kock (NN §1016), however, suggests that it means to get angry, puff with rage, citing Fritzner: blása 2 (cf. ONP: 2blása A. 4 ‘breathe heavily, sigh, blow, snort’) but this interpretation does not give weight to the sense of the verb hlaut ‘had to, was obliged to’. — [5] ving-Rǫgnir vagna ‘swinging Rǫgnir <= Óðinn> of killer whales [GIANT = Þjazi]’: There are three points of uncertainty in the interpretation of this kenning: the meaning of the element ving- in ving-Rǫgnir, the meaning of vagna and the meaning of the kenning as a whole. The element ving- is likely to have a similar meaning to its usage in a name for the god Þórr, Vingþórr, found in Þry 1/1, Alv 6/1 and Þul Þórs 1/7 (and Note), where it most likely means ‘swinging’ (cf. the cpd vingameiðr ‘swaying tree’ in Eyv Hál 5/3I and Note), alluding to the god’s habit of swinging his hammer, Mjǫllnir. See further the discussion of Holtsmark (1949, 19-20). The simplex Vingnir appears as a giant-heiti in st. 19/2 of this poem, as well as in Þul Jǫtna I 5/8. The determinant of this kenning, vagna, is understood here as the gen. pl. of vǫgn ‘killer whale, orca’, and the whole kenning, which refers to the giant Þjazi, may allude to the ability of giants to pull up whales from the ocean as though they were fish. Cf. SnE 1998, I, 63: Hér er kallat hvalir Viðblinda geltir. Hann var jǫtunn ok dró hvali í hafi út sem fiska ‘Here whales are called Viðblindi’s boars. He was a giant and pulled whales from the sea as if they were fish’; see also Hym 21/1-4. It is also possible to construe vagna as gen. pl. of vagn ‘carriage, chariot’, but such a determinant in a giant-kenning, as this must be, does not conform to normal kenning patterns. — [7, 8] vélsparir varnendr goða ‘the stratagem-sparing defenders of the gods [= Óðinn, Hœnir and Loki]’: A rather ironic kenning for the trio of gods, who, far from defending their fellows, are about to betray them, and are aptly described as ‘strategem-sparing’, as they are bereft of plans or tricks to get themselves out of the fix they are in.

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