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Runic Dictionary

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Vǫlu-Steinn (VSt)

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

Ǫgmundardrápa (Erf) - 2

The only sources on the life of the poet Vǫlu-Steinn (VSt) are references to him in Landnámabók (Ldn, ÍF 1, 160, 184, 186). He does not appear in Skáldatal, probably because he did not compose poems for any rulers or magnates. According to Ldn (ÍF 1, 186), Vǫlu-Steinn came to Iceland from Hålogaland, Norway, together with his mother Þuríðr sundafyllir ‘Filler of Waterways’ and claimed land in Bolungarvík in the western fjords, presumably around 960. The mother is portrayed as a woman skilled in magic, and her nickname derives from her having magically filled the waters in Hålogaland with fish during a famine there. Her son, Vǫlu-Steinn, must have received his name because he was the son of a vǫlva ‘seeress, sorceress’ (Konráð Gíslason 1874, 25; Guðmundur Þorláksson 1882, 72; Olsen 1916b, 240; LH I, 510). All that remains of his poetry are the two helmingar preserved and attributed to him in Skm (SnE).

Ǫgmundardrápa — VSt ErfIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Vǫlu-Steinn, Ǫgmundardrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 427. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1495> (accessed 24 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2 

Skj: Vǫlu-Steinn: , En drape om hans afdøde sön Ögmundr, hvoraf første vers var forfattet af Gestr enn spaki (AI, 98-9, BI, 93)

SkP info: III, 428

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — VSt Erf 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Vǫlu-Steinn, Ǫgmundardrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 428.

Heyr Míms vinar mína
— mérs fundr gefinn Þundar —
við góma sker glymja
glaumbergs, Egill, strauma.

Egill, heyr {mína strauma {glaumbergs} {vinar Míms}} glymja við {sker góma}; {fundr Þundar} [e]s gefinn mér.

Egill, hear {my streams {of the joy-cliff} [BREAST] {of the friend of Mímr <mythical being>}} [= Óðinn > POEM] resound against {the skerries of gums} [TEETH]; {the discovery of Þundr <= Óðinn>} [POETRY] is given to me.

Mss: R(21v), Tˣ(22r), W(46), U(27r), B(4r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Míms: mímis U, míns B;    vinar: vinr U;    mína: so Tˣ, W, B, ‘mima’ R, mínar U    [4] ‑bergs: bers U;    Egill: so W, U, B, egils R, Tˣ

Editions: Skj: Vǫlu-Steinn 1: AI, 98, BI, 93, Skald I, 54; SnE 1848-87, I, 250-1, II, 307, 522, III, 13, SnE 1931, 93, SnE 1998, I, 13.

Context: In SnE (Skm) this helmingr is cited to exemplify a kenning for ‘poetry’.

Notes: [All]: The kennings, vinr Míms ‘the friend of Mímr <mythical being> [= Óðinn]’ and fundr Þundar ‘the discovery of Þundr <= Óðinn> [POETRY]’ (see Note to l. 2), have parallels in Egill StV; see Notes to ll. 1 and 2 below. The extended poem-kenning mína strauma glaumbergs vinar Míms ‘my streams of the joy-cliff [BREAST] of the friend of Mímr <mythical being> [= Óðinn > POEM]’ is also a variation on a kenning used by Egill (see Note to ll. 1, 4 below). This makes it likely that Vǫlu-Steinn used Egill’s poem as a model (see Introduction above). — [1] vinar Míms ‘of the friend of Mímr <mythical being> [= Óðinn]’: The name of this mythical being is given variously as Mímr (e.g. Vsp 46/1, 8), Mímir (e.g. Vsp 28/10, 11) or Mími (cf. AEW: Mimir (sic)). Mímir is listed among the giant-heiti in the þulur, and several myths link Mímr/Mímir to Óðinn (see Note to Þul Jǫtna I 1/3). The kenning vinr Míms is also used for Óðinn in Egill St 23/5V (Eg 94) and SnSt Ht 3/4 (see Note there). — [1, 4] mína strauma glaumbergs vinar Míms ‘my streams of the joy-cliff [BREAST] of the friend of Mímr <mythical being> [= Óðinn > POEM]’: This kenning uses a periphrasis for ‘mead of poetry’ metonymically for ‘poem’. The kenning ‘Óðinn’s liquid’ is expanded by an additional breast-kenning referring to the story of how Óðinn brought the mead of poetry back to the Æsir (see Skm, SnE 1998, I, 4). A comparable kenning is also found in Egill Hfl 1/2, 3V (Eg 34). — [2] fundr Þundar ‘the discovery of Þundr <= Óðinn> [POETRY]’: Cf. the kenning fagnafundr niðja Friggjar (mss þriggjar) ‘the joyful discovery of the descendants of Frigg <goddess> [= Æsir > POEM]’ in Egill St 2/5-6V (Eg 73). — [3] sker góma ‘the skerries of gums [TEETH]’: Cf. gómsker ‘gum-skerries [TEETH]’ (Sturl Hákkv 29/3II) and fles galdra ‘skerry of incantations [TEETH]’ (Eskál Vell 3/4I). — [4] Egill: The poem, which laments Vǫlu-Steinn’s dead son, Ǫgmundr, is probably addressed to his surviving son, Egill (see Introduction above).

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