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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Grímr loðinkinni (Gríml)

volume 8; ed. Beatrice La Farge;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 5

not in Skj

Lausavísur — Gríml LvVIII (GrL)

Not published: do not cite (Gríml LvVIII (GrL))

 1   2   3   4   5 

SkP info: VIII, 294

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Gríml Lv 3VIII (GrL 5)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Gríms saga loðinkinna 5 (Grímr loðinkinni, Lausavísur 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 294.

Skal ek ykr báðum         skjótliga heita
oddi ok eggju         í upphafi.
Munu þá reyna         Hrungnis mellur,
hvárt betr dugir         broddr eða krumma.

Ek skal heita ykr báðum oddi ok eggju skjótliga í upphafi. {Mellur Hrungnis} munu þá reyna, hvárt broddr eða krumma dugir betr.

I will quickly promise you both at the outset weapon-point and blade. {The female lovers of Hrungnir <giant>} [GIANTESSES] will discover then whether weapon-point or claw is more effective.

Mss: 343a(58r), 471(57v) (GrL)

Readings: [6] Hrungnis: Rögnis 471    [7] betr: so 471, betr at 343a

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 9. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gríms saga loðinkinna I 5: AII, 288, BII, 309, Skald II, 164, NN §2396; FSN 2, 146, FSGJ 2, 188, Anderson 1990, 61, 112; Edd. Min. 86.

Context: This stanza is introduced by Grímr kvað ‘Grímr said’.

Notes: [2] heita ‘promise’: Kock (NN §2396) interprets this word, not as the strong verb ‘name, promise’, but rather as the weak verb ‘heat, brew’. See Note to Ket 35/2. — [6] Hrungnis ‘of Hrungnir <giant>’: Both this and the reading Rögnis are plausible, but 343a’s Hrungnis is probably preferable to the 471 variant, despite the fact that Rögnis provides the line with conventional alliteration (see below). Hrungnir is immediately recognizable as the name of a giant, and there are other examples of giantess-kennings with a word for ‘woman’ as base-word and the pers. n. of a giant as determinant (Meissner 398; GrL 3/2). Hrungnir is the name of a giant whom the god Þórr kills in single combat; the story is narrated in Þjóð Haustl 14-20III and in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 20-2) and mentioned or alluded to in a number of other skaldic and eddic poems. If the reading Hrungnis is retained, the line appears to contain an example of alliteration between <r> and <hr>. There are parallels for this in eddic verse, e.g. Hamð 25/1-2 (NK 273) Þá hraut við | inn reginkunngi ‘Then the one of divine descent/the very wise one roared’. In this case and others, where <hv> appears to alliterate with <v>, some eds think that the initial [h] was weakened, allowing poets to use words beginning with <hr> or <hv> to alliterate with <r> and <v> respectively (cf. Dronke 1969, 240-2; Edd. Min. 86 n.). Sigrdr 15/5-6 (NK 193) may provide an indication that the initial <h> of the name Hrungnir was no longer pronounced or that there was an alternative form of that name or even a different mythic entity named Rungnir: á því hvéli, er snýz | undir reið Rungnis ‘On that wheel that turns beneath the wagon of Rungnir’. Rǫgnir is usually one of the god Óðinn’s names (LP: Rǫgnir), but in a kenning for ‘giant’ in Þjóð Haustl 4/5III it appears to be used in the sense ‘lord, chief’ (see SnE 1998, II, 502 gloss to Rǫgnir). There are examples of erotic relationships between Óðinn and giantesses (e.g. between Óðinn and Gunnlǫð in Hávm 104-10 or between Óðinn and Skaði in Eyv Hál 2I). Hence the expression Rögnis mellur ‘Rǫgnir’s [Óðinn’s] female lovers’ in 471 could be a kenning for ‘giantesses’. This however seems less appropriate in GrL, where the realm of the giants plays a large part, whilst the gods are not mentioned. There is no example for the usage of the simplex rǫgnir ‘lord, ruler’ as a term for ‘giant’. Hence it is unlikely that the expression in 471 should be interpreted as mellur rögnis ‘the female lovers of the ruler’ and as a kenning for ‘giantess’. If the alliterating words in this line are not reyna and Hrungnis then the only alternative is alliteration between the modal verb munu and mellur. In this case the head-stave (mellur) would be in the second lift of the second half-line, rather than in the first lift, and the first nominal form of the second half-line (Hrungnis) would not alliterate. Eddic poetry provides numerous examples of this non-compliance with the ‘rules’ for alliteration (on these ‘rules’ cf. von See 1967, 2, 19-20). — [6] mellur Hrungnis ‘the female lovers of Hrungnir <giant> [GIANTESSES]’: The word mella is used as a giantess-heiti in several skaldic poems, as a determinant in kennings for Þórr or for giants, e.g.: dolgs mellu ‘of the enemy of the giantess [= Þórr]’ (Eyv Lv 8/7-8I); mellu mǫgfellandi ‘the feller of the kinsman of the giantess [(lit. ‘kinsman-feller of the giantess’) GIANT > = Þórr]’ (Steinunn Lv 2/3V). In the kenning mellur Hrungnis in this stanza and in mellu grams hellismella of the lord of the cave [GIANT > GIANTESS]’ (EGils Selv 14/4IV), however, mella is the base-word of a giantess-kenning and thus cannot itself have been understood to mean ‘giantess’; mella hellis grams is a designation for the sea-giantess Selkolla ‘Seal-Head’ (Meissner 398). Finnur Jónsson interprets mella in these two late instances as ‘female lover’ (LP: 1. mella). A passage in Flj ch. 5 (ÍF 11, 228) can be adduced to lend support to this interpretation: a giant refers to a human maiden he has abducted as his melluefni lit. ‘material for a mella’, by which he evidently means his future wife. — [8] broddr eða krumma ‘weapon-point or claw’: A reference to the ‘weapons’ of Grímr and the troll-women respectively, illustrating the difference between the ‘civilised technology’ employed by the human being Grímr and the ‘primitive’ method of combat employed by the giantesses, who fight with their bare hands; cf. Ket 26/1-2 and Note to [All]. The literal meaning of krumma or krymma is ‘[hand with] bent or crooked [fingers]’; in other texts it is used of the (large) hands of giants and also of the large and/or ugly hands of human beings (ÞorstBm ch. 7, FSGJ 4, 334; Kjaln ch. 15, ÍF 14, 35; Mork, ÍF 23, 156; Vígl ch. 21, ÍF 14, 113-14). The closest parallel to the stanza in GrL appears in HHj, in the part of the poem known as Hrímgerðarmál ‘The Speech of Hrímgerðr’: in HHj 22 (NK 145) the giantess Hrímgerðr threatens Atli, who holds watch in the bow of Helgi Hjǫrvarðsson’s ship, with the words: Atli, gacc þú á land, | ef afli treystiz, | ok hittomc í víc Varins, | rifia rétti | er þú munt, reccr, fá, | ef þú mér í krymmor kømr! ‘Atli, go on land, if you trust in your strength, and let us meet in the bay of Varinn; it is a straightening of the ribs that you will get, man, if you fall into my clutches’.

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