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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Úlfr Uggason (ÚlfrU)

10th century; volume 3; ed. Edith Marold;

Húsdrápa (Húsdr) - 12

Skj info: Ulfr Uggason, Islandsk digter, o. 1000. (AI, 136-9, BI, 128-30).

Skj poems:
1. Húsdrápa
2. Lausavísa

The skald Úlfr Uggason (ÚlfrU) lived around the year 1000 in Western Iceland. Little is known about his life. According to Ldn (S 76, H 64, ÍF 1, 111) he was married to Járngerðr, the daughter of Þórarinn Grímkelsson. Njáls saga (ch. 60, ÍF 12, 152) mentions his losing a lawsuit against Ásgrímr Elliða-Grímsson. The episode told in Njáls saga (ch. 102, ÍF 12, 261-4) about Úlfr refusing a request by Þorvaldr veili ‘the Miserable’ to use force against the missionary Þangbrandr, portrays him as a cautious man. That request and Úlfr’s dismissal of it are recounted there in two lausavísur (Þveil LvV, ÚlfrU LvV; see also Kristni saga ch. 9, ÍF 15, 2, 20-1). According to Laxdœla saga (ch. 29, ÍF 5, 79-80), he must have been on good terms with Óláfr pái ‘Peacock’ and his family, for whom he composed Húsdrápa ‘House-drápa’ (c. 980), a poem celebrating the myths depicted in images within their hall at Hjarðarholt.

my abbr

Húsdrápa — ÚlfrU HúsdrIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Úlfr Uggason, Húsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 402.

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Skj: Ulfr Uggason: 1. Húsdrápa, 983 (AI, 136-8, BI, 128-30); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5 | 8 | 9 | 10

SkP info: III, 418

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — ÚlfrU Húsdr 8III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Úlfr Uggason, Húsdrápa 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 418.

Kostigr ríðr at kesti,
kynfróðs þeims goð hlóðu
hrafnfreistaðar, hesti
Heimdallr, at mǫg fallinn.

Kostigr Heimdallr ríðr hesti at kesti, þeims goð hlóðu at {fallinn mǫg {kynfróðs hrafnfreistaðar}}.

Splendid Heimdallr rides a horse to the pyre which the gods erected for {the fallen son {of the kin-wise raven-tester}} [= Óðinn > = Baldr].

Mss: R(21r), Tˣ(21v), W(45), U(26v) (SnE)

Readings: [2] ‑fróðs: ‑góðr U

Editions: Skj: Ulfr Uggason, 1. Húsdrápa 10: AI, 138, BI, 129, Skald I, 72; SnE 1848-87, I, 240-1, II, 304, III, 8, SnE 1931, 90, SnE 1998, I, 10.

Context: The helmingr is cited among stanzas exemplifying kennings for Óðinn in Skm (SnE).

Notes: [2] kynfróðs ‘kin-wise’: All other adjectival compounds with kyn- ‘heritage, kin’ incorporate that word’s meaning into the cpd; cf. e.g. kynstórr ‘of significant ancestry’, kynfrægr ‘famous on account of one’s ancestry’, kynríkr ‘powerful on account of one’s ancestry’. The adj. kynfróðs applied to Óðinn could refer to his maternal descent from giants from whom he acquired the knowledge of such things as magical chants (see Hávm 140-1). Giants are often introduced as possessing special knowledge or other culturally significant items (Schulz 2004, 61, 79-82). Ms. U differs from the other mss and gives kyngóðr (m. nom. sg.) ‘of good ancestry’, which must refer to Heimdallr (m. nom. sg., l. 4). — [3] hrafnfreistaðar ‘raven-tester’: On kennings referring to Óðinn as the raven-god, see Meissner 253. According to Gylf (SnE 2005, 32), the two ravens Huginn and Muninn report to Óðinn every morning what they have witnessed on their flights throughout the world. The word might refer to Óðinn as a wise augur (on bird augury, see Pesch 2003, 136-7; ARG I, 428-9; ARG II, 61-3).

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