Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

I. 1. Eiríksmál (Eirm) - 9

not in Skj

2.1: Eiríksmál (‘Words about Eiríkr’) — Anon EirmI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Eiríksmál’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1003.

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [X]: I. A. [1]. Eiríksmál, fra omkr. 950 (AI, 174-5, BI, 164-6)

SkP info: I, 1006

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Anon Eirm 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Eiríksmál 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1006.

‘Hvat es þat drauma *,         es ek hugðumk fyr dag lítlu
Valhǫll ryðja         fyr vegnu folki?
Vakða ek einherja,         bað ek upp rísa
bekki at stráa,         borðker at leyðra,
valkyrjur vín bera,         sem vísi komi.

‘Hvat es þat drauma *, es ek hugðumk lítlu fyr dag ryðja Valhǫll fyr vegnu folki? Vakða ek einherja, bað ek rísa upp at stráa bekki, at leyðra borðker, valkyrjur bera vín, sem vísi komi.

‘What kind of dream is this, that I thought that a little before daybreak I was preparing Valhǫll for a slain army? I awakened the einherjar, I asked them to get up to strew the benches, to rinse the drinking cups, [I asked] valkyries to bring wine, as if a leader should come.

Mss: 761bˣ(105r); FskAˣ(36), 52ˣ(14v), 301ˣ(13r) (Fsk); R(21r), Tˣ(21v), W(45), U(26v), B(4r) (SnE)

Readings: [1, 2] drauma * es ek: drauma kvað Óðinn er ek 761bˣ, FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, drauma Óðinn ek R, drauma er ek Óðinn Tˣ, drauma kvað Óðinn ek W, drauma Óðinn er ek U, ‘deoma err’ B    [2] lítlu: rísa R, Tˣ, W, U, B    [3] ryðja: riði 301ˣ, at ryðja W    [5] Vakða: vekða R, Tˣ, vektað U    [6] bað: bæða R, Tˣ, U, ‘beidd[...]’ B    [8] borð‑: ‘bor‑’ FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, bjór‑ R, Tˣ, W, B;    at: om. R, Tˣ, W, B;    leyðra: so R, W, U, B, ‘lyðra’ 761bˣ, FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, lendra Tˣ    [10] vísi: so R, Tˣ, W, U, vísir 761bˣ, FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, B;    komi: kœmi U, B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [X], I. A. [1]. Eiríksmál 1: AI, 174, BI, 164, Skald I, 89; Fsk 1902-3, 28 (ch. 7), ÍF 29, 77-8 (ch. 8); SnE 1848-87, I, 240-3, II, 304-5, 520, SnE 1931, 91, SnE 1998, I, 10, 159; Möbius 1860, 231, Gordon 1957, 148, Jón Helgason 1968, 22. 

Context: In Fsk, the whole of the extant poem is cited without interruption after an account of the fall of Eiríkr blóðøx and Gunnhildr’s commissioning of the work (see Introduction). In SnE (Skm), Snorri quotes this stanza in a collection of stanzas illustrating poetic references to Óðinn (mostly kennings).

Notes: [1] hvat es þat drauma * ‘what kind of dream is this’: The speaker is Óðinn. The phrase identifying him as such in the  mss, however, is extrametrical and is omitted here; see Introduction to the poem. — [2] lítlu ‘a little’: So also, e.g., Holthausen (1896, 87). Though most eds prefer the SnE reading rísa ‘arise, get up’, giving the sense ‘I thought I arose before daybreak’, the repetition of rísa in l. 6 is then clumsy, and indeed, it is easier to see how that second rísa should have given rise to the reading in SnE than to explain lítlu as a corruption of rísa. — [3] Valhǫll: Lit. ‘slain-hall, the hall of the slain’, which Óðinn mans with the einherjar (see Note to l. 5), and which plays a similar role in this poem and in Eyv Hák, where it is named at sts 1/6 and 9/7. There is thus valuable evidence for the concept in some of the earliest poetry. As described in the eddic Grí 8-10, 23 (and SnE 2005, 32-4), Valhǫll is a vast building with 540 doors, roofed with spears and shields and furnished with mail-shirts; see also Simek (1993, 346-8). — [5, 6] vakða; bað ‘awakened; commanded’: The subj. forms vekða and bæða in some of the mss of SnE are possible, and they are preferred by Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 5 n. 1), but appear to be secondary. — [5] einherja ‘the einherjar’: These are the slain champions chosen to dwell in Valhǫll by Óðinn (Grí 8) and his agents the valkyries (Eyv Hák 1). They share a life of perpetual feasting and training in readiness to defend the gods (see st. 7 and SnE 2005, 21, 30, 32-4). The word seems to be compounded from einn ‘one’ and heri, pl. herjar ‘warrior(s)’, but the original sense is uncertain. — [6, 7, 8] rísa upp at stráa ..., at leyðra ‘to get up to strew ..., to rinse’: The infinitives at stráa ‘to strew’ and leyðra ‘to rinse’ appear to be dependent on rísa ‘get up’, and hence the einherjar are the agents of these tasks in honour of Eiríkr – tasks less menial than might appear, if the benches in Valhǫll are strewn with mail-shirts rather than the usual straw (see Note to l. 3 above). It is conceivable, though unlikely, that the agent of at stráa and at leyðra is unexpressed (cf. NS §207) and different. — [8] borðker ‘the drinking cups’: Lit. ‘table-cups, cups at table’. This, the reading of 761bˣ and U, gives better sense than bjórker ‘beer casks’ (cf. ǫlker ‘ale cask’), the reading of the other SnE mss. It is also adopted by Müller (1837), Fsk 1902-3 and ÍF 29.

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