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Runic Dictionary

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Úlfr Uggason (ÚlfrU)

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

Húsdrápa (Húsdr) - 12

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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 20 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12 

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

SkP info: III, 415

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — ÚlfrU Húsdr 6III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Úlfr Uggason, Húsdrápa 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 415.

Fullǫflugr lét fellir
fjall-Gauts hnefa skjalla
— ramt mein vas þat — reyni
reyrar leggs við eyra.
Víðgymnir laust Vimrar
vaðs af frônum naðri
hlusta grunn við hrǫnnum.
Hlaut innan svá minnum.


{The most powerful killer {of the mountain-Gautr}} [GIANT > = Þórr] let his fist slam against the ear {of the tester {of the bone of the reed}}; [STONE > GIANT] that was a mighty injury. {The Víðgymnir of the ford of Vimur} [= Þórr] struck {the ground of the ears} [HEAD] off the gleaming serpent near the waves. Thus [the hall] received [decoration] inside with memorable pictures.

context: The stanza’s two helmingar are cited successively in Skm (SnE) illustrating Þórr-kennings. After citing the stanza Snorri explains that Þórr is here called the giant of the ford of Vimur, and that Vimur is a river that Þórr waded when he went to the dwelling of Geirrøðr.

notes: The stanza’s second helmingr is separated from the first in mss R, and W by a brief prose link (enn kvað Úlfr ‘again Úlfr said’). In ms. U, the two helmingar are given as one stanza although the initial <V> of Viðgymnir is written out in the margin, and there is a marginal <v> for vísa. Ms. U’s treatment of the two helmingar as one stanza is adopted in Skj and Skald and in the present edn. — The stanza portrays the giant’s punishment and the killing of Miðgarðsormr. Because the preceding st. 5 deals with the giant’s fear during this fishing trip, the present stanza may have been preceded by a now lost stanza depicting the cutting of the fishing-line (Marold 2000a, 293; Marold 2000b, 289). On this motif see Introduction to sts 3-6. — [5-8]: The second helmingr describes the killing of Miðgarðsormr as Þórr decapitates it (laust grunn hlusta af frônum naðri ‘struck the ground of the ears [HEAD] off the gleaming serpent’. Úlfr’s version of this episode differs from Gylf (SnE 2005, 45), where Hár states that in his opinion Miðgarðsormr is alive: En ek hygg hitt vera þér satt at segja at Miðgarðsormr lifir enn ok liggr í umsjá ‘And I believe that it is true to tell you that Miðgarðsormr is still alive and is lying in the sea surrounding the earth.’ He admits, however, that there are others who believe that Þórr struck the head off the serpent. Other surviving attestations of the myth (Bragi Þórr, Hym) do not explicitly say that the monster was killed. Only Ggnæv Þórr concurs with Húsdr.

texts: Skm 55 [1-4], Skm 56 [5-8], SnE 57, SnE 58

editions: Skj Ulfr Uggason: 1. Húsdrápa 6 (AI, 137; BI, 129); Skald I, 72; SnE 1848-87, I, 258-9, II, 309-10, III, 18-19, SnE 1931, 96, SnE 1998, I, 17.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 22r, 12 - 22r, 15 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 22r, 34 - 22r, 35 (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 47, 23 - 47, 25 (SnE)  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 27v, 23 - 27v, 26 (SnE)  image  
AM 761 a 4°x (761ax) 69r, 2 - 69r, 9 (Skáldatal)  image  
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