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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

I. 1. Eiríksmál (Eirm) - 9

not in Skj

2.1: Eiríksmál (‘Words about Eiríkr’) — Anon EirmI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Anonymous, Eiríksmál’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1003. <> (accessed 23 September 2021)

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [X]: I. A. [1]. Eiríksmál, fra omkr. 950 (AI, 174-5, BI, 164-6)

SkP info: I, 1011

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Anon Eirm 7I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Eiríksmál 7’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1011.

‘Hví namt þú hann sigri þá,         es þér þótti hann snjallr vesa?’
‘Því at óvíst es at vita *,         nær ulfr inn hǫsvi
        sœkir á sjǫt goða.’

‘Hví namt þú hann sigri þá, es hann þótti þér vesa snjallr?’ ‘Því at óvíst es at vita *, nær inn hǫsvi ulfr sœkir á sjǫt goða.’

‘Why did you deprive him of victory then, when he seemed to you to be valiant?’ ‘Because it cannot be known for certain when the grey wolf will attack the home of the gods.’

Mss: 761bˣ(106r); FskAˣ(38), 52ˣ(15r), 301ˣ(13r) (Fsk)

Readings: [3] vita *: vita sagði Óðinn all    [4] nær: sér FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ    [5] sœkir á: á all

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [X], I. A. [1]. Eiríksmál 7: AI, 175, BI, 165, Skald I, 89; Fsk 1902-3, 29 (ch. 7), ÍF 29, 79 (ch. 8); Möbius 1860, 232, Gordon 1957, 149, Jón Helgason 1968, 23.

Context: As for st. 1 (Fsk).

Notes: [All]: The stanza comprises a málaháttr couplet and three lines of ljóðaháttr. — [1]: The speaker is presumably Sigmundr, though there is no overt indication of this in the mss. — [3]: Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 7, and similarly Skald and Lindquist 1929, 10) supplies after l. 2, Vas þó verðr gagns frá goðum ‘Yet he was worthy of victory from the gods’ (cf. Eyv Hák 12/3). This is unnecessary, however: see Note to st. 6/3. — [3] því es óvíst at vita * ‘because it cannot be known for certain’: Lit. ‘because it is uncertain to know’. Óðinn is identified as the speaker in the mss, though the identification, being extrametrical, is omitted here. See Introduction to the poem. — [4] nær ‘when’: Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 8-10, followed by Skald, Lindquist 1929, 10 and Jón Helgason 1968) seems to have hit on the same reading as 761bˣ, without having consulted it, on the basis of comparison with Fáfn 24/1 (NK 184) and Hávm 1/5 and 38/5 (NK 16, 23), where the formula óvíst es at vita ‘it cannot be known for certain’ is also to be found, and where it is always followed by an interrog. adv. (nær ‘when’ in Hávm 38/5). — [4] inn hǫsvi ulfr ‘the grey wolf’: Fenrisúlfr, the monstrous wolf Fenrir who will break free at Ragnarǫk (‘the doom of the gods’), swallowing the sun (cf. Vafþr 46, 47) and (if the identification is correct) fighting Óðinn and his son Víðarr (Vsp 53-6; cf. SnE 2005, 49-50). — [5] sœkir á ‘will attack’: The defective sense and alliteration indicate that a word is missing, and the following have been proposed: (a) greypr ‘fierce’ (Holthausen 1896, 88, Fsk 1902-3 and Skj B, reading sér ‘looks’ in the preceding line; also Tveiten 1966, 24); (b) sœkir (Sahlgren 1927-8, I, 10 (though for unpersuasive reasons); Lindquist 1929, 10; Skald); (c) gengr ‘will go’ (CPB I, 261, followed by Jón Helgason 1968). Either of these last two readings is suitable. However the lacuna is to be filled, Óðinn’s meaning is that Ragnarǫk may be at hand at any moment, and Eiríkr’s help will be needed against Fenrisúlfr (cf. previous Note, and Note to st. 1/5 einherjar).

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