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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Friðþjófr Þorsteinsson (FriðÞ)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 33

not in Skj

Lausavísur — FriðÞ LvVIII (Frið)

Not published: do not cite (FriðÞ LvVIII (Frið))

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SkP info: VIII, 195

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — FriðÞ Lv 2VIII (Frið 2)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna 2 (Friðþjófr Þorsteinsson, Lausavísur 2)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 195.

With Frið 2 begins a long series of stanzas describing Friðþjófr’s perilous, stormy voyage on his ship Elliði from Norway to the Orkney islands, interlaced with reminiscences of his courtship of Ingibjǫrg. The stanzas, most of which are put in the mouth of Friðþjófr himself, alternate descriptions of the raging storm he and his men encounter with yearning for the women back home. They employ some common conventions of skaldic poetry, including the contrast between the tough man’s life at sea and soft indoor amusements with women at home.

Snyðja lét ek ór Sogni
(en snótir mjaðar neyttu)
bræddan byrjar sóta
(í Baldrshaga miðjum).
Nú tekr hregg at herða;
hafi dag brúðir góðan,
þær er oss vilja unna,
þótt Elliða fylli.

Ek lét {bræddan sóta byrjar} snyðja ór Sogni, en snótir neyttu mjaðar í miðjum Baldrshaga. Nú tekr hregg at herða; hafi brúðir, þær er vilja unna oss, góðan dag, þótt Elliða fylli.

I made {the tarred steed of the breeze} [SHIP] speed out from Sogn, but the ladies were enjoying mead amidst Baldrshagi. Now a squall begins to strengthen; may those women who desire to love us have a happy life, although Elliði may founder.

Mss: papp17ˣ(358v), 109a IIˣ(146v), 1006ˣ(582), 173ˣ(83v-84r) (Frið)

Readings: [1] Snyðja: so 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, sindra papp17ˣ, ‘sinda’ 173ˣ    [5] at: á 173ˣ    [6] góðan: so 109a IIˣ, om. with fagran inserted above the line in a later hand papp17ˣ, om. 1006ˣ, 173ˣ    [7] þær: þar 1006ˣ, 173ˣ;    er: so all others, ‘ed’ papp17ˣ    [8] þótt: enn þótt 109a IIˣ;    fylli (‘fille’): felli 1006ˣ, 173ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 7. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Friðþjófssaga ens frækna I 2: AII, 269, BII, 292, Skald II, 154, NN §§1470, 2338Fa, 2385A, B; Falk 1890, 71, Frið 1893, 11, Frið 1901, 15.

Context: Helgi and Hálfdan punish Friðþjófr for his dalliance with their sister and his desecration of Baldrshagi (see Note to l. 4 below) by sending him to collect tribute from the Orkney islands, ostensibly so they can pay Ingibjǫrg’s dowry to King Hringr, but actually so they can have Friðþjófr killed. As he sails out from Sognefjorden, Friðþjófr and his men encounter a storm caused by two witches (seiðkonur) in the pay of the brothers. Friðþjófr then speaks this stanza.

Notes: [All]: This stanza has no counterpart in the A redaction mss, but it is similar to Friðþjófs rímur III, 3/3-5/1 (Frið 1893, 108; Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, I, 426). The metre of Frið 2 is the variant form of dróttkvætt that Snorri Sturluson calls munnvǫrp ‘mouth-throwings’ (SnE 2007, 28-9), in which odd lines have no rhyme, and even lines have skothending. Frið 2 has several metrical irregularities; line 2 begins with an unstressed element (cf. NN §§2338Fa, 2385B, 1470), which Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) regularises by emendation, while l. 4 has no hending. Falk (1890, 71) points out other metrically irregular lines in Frið stanzas (6/4, 14/8, 28/4, 29/4 and 32/6) that contain the cpd Baldrshagi and/or the adj. miðr. Brúðir (l. 6) violates Craigie’s Law. — [1] snyðja ‘speed’: This verb, often used of ships travelling fast (cf. SnSt Ht 77/1III), is the only variant to make sense here, as contrasted with papp17ˣ’s sindra ‘emit sparks’ (which does not fit the context and is usually impersonal in usage) and 173ˣ’s sinda, which Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) understands as synda ‘swim’. Snyðja also appears in the ríma counterpart to ll. 1-2: ‘Snyðja læt ek,’ kvað snerpir málms, | ‘snekkju barð úr Sogni’ ‘The sharpener of metal [WARRIOR] said, ‘I make the ship’s prow speed out from Sogn’. — [3] bræddan ‘tarred’: On the tarring of ships’ hulls to protect them from water and other damage, see Falk (1912, 50-1) and Jesch (2001a, 144). — [4] í miðjum Baldrshaga ‘amidst Baldrshagi’: According to the A redaction of Frið (Frið 1914, 3), Baldrshagi ‘Baldr’s pasture’ was the name of a griðastaðr ok hof mikit ‘a place of peace and a great temple’ near the residence of King Beli. The B redaction adds (Frið 1901, 1-2) that there was a large paling fence (skíðgarðr) around the sanctuary, and that inside many gods (presumably images of gods) were venerated, though Baldr was the most important of them. No injury was to be done to man or beast there and men and women should not have intercourse (viðskipti) there. Frið’s presentation of a temple dedicated to Baldr is unique in Old Norse literature, and there is little clear evidence to support this god’s cult in Viking-Age Scandinavia. Theophoric place names incorporating the element Baldr are either non-existent or dubious in Norway (Olsen 1924, 169; Brink 2007a, 120-2) and Frið’s representation of his cult and cult house may be an antiquarian fiction (cf. Lindow 1997, 29 n., 132-3). — [6]: This line is too short in several mss, and was also so in papp17ˣ, where a later hand has added the adj. fagran ‘fair, beautiful’. Most eds have preferred the adj. góðan ‘happy, good’, adopted from 109aˣ and found in several other B redaction mss. — [8] Elliða (acc.) ‘Elliði’: The name of Friðþjófr’s ship, which he inherited from his father, Þorsteinn Víkingsson. According to the B recension, Elliði was under an enchantment that allowed it to understand human speech (Frið 1901, 26), although no such magical qualities are mentioned in recension A. Larsson (Frið 1901, xviii) suggested that the account of Elliði’s magical powers in B may have been borrowed from ÞorstVík ch. 21 (FSGJ 3, 57), which stated that the ship had a fair wind whenever it wanted to sail, and could practically understand human speech (kunni hann náliga manns máli). The noun elliði occurs as a ship-heiti in skaldic poetry (Þul Skipa 4/3III, Eil Þdr 15/7III, KormǪ Lv 57/6V (Korm 78/6). Other figures in Old Norse literature to own ships named Elliði include the legendary King Górr (FSN 2, 5; Flat 1860-8, I, 22), and the Icelandic settler Ketilbjǫrn inn gamli ‘the Old’ (ÍF 1, 384). Sǫrla (Flat 1860-8, I, 277) lists Elliði (presumably Górr’s ship) as one of the three greatest longships of all time, together with Óláfr Tryggvason’s Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ and Gnóð (see below). The etymology of Elliði is uncertain, some scholars (Falk 1912, 88) deriving it from Old Slavonic, others considering it of native origin < *einliði ‘one that travels alone’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/3III for further discussion and AEW: elliði). Friðþjófr is not the only fornaldarsaga hero to have a named ship; Gnóð ‘Rustling’, which gave its name to its owner, Gnóðar-Ásmundr, is mentioned in EgÁsm and GrL (see Introduction to Anon GnóðÁsm 1III for details). — [8] fylli (3rd pers. sg. pres. subj.) ‘may founder’: An impersonal use of fylla ‘fill’ with the acc. of that which fills with water, in a specific nautical sense (Fritzner: fylla 1; CVC: fylla) of a ship taking water. The line þótt Elliða fylli appears also in Friðþjófs rímur III, 4/4.

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