Cite as: Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Ketils saga hœngs 33 (Ketill hœngr, Lausavísur 19)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 585.
|Óðin blóta gørða ek aldrigi;
hefik þó lengi lifat.
Framar veit ek
| falla munu |
fyrr en þetta it háva höfuð.
Ek gørða aldrigi blóta Óðin; þó hefik lifat lengi. Ek veit Framar munu falla fyrr en þetta it háva höfuð.
I have never sacrificed to Óðinn; yet I have lived a long time. I know Framarr will fall sooner than this high head.
Mss: 343a(57v), 471(55v) (Ket)
Readings:  falla: at falla 471
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 8. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ketill hœngs saga VI 6: AII, 285, BII, 306-7, Skald II, 162, NN §2394; FSN 2, 135, FSGJ 2, 177, Anderson 1990, 57, 105; Edd. Min. 83.
Context: In the saga this stanza is introduced with the words: Þá
reiddisk Ketill, er hann nefndi Óðin, því at hann trúði ekki á Óðin, ok kvað
visu ‘Ketill became angry
when he [i.e. Bǫðmóðr] mentioned Óðinn, because he [i.e. Ketill] did not
believe in Óðinn, and he spoke a stanza’.
Notes: [1-3] ek gørða aldrigi blóta Óðin; þó hefik lifat lengi ‘I have never sacrificed to Óðinn; yet I have lived a long time’: Here Ketill characterises himself as one of those pagans who do not worship the gods and who – as is the case in this saga – are contrasted with evil men who are zealous in offering sacrifices (cf. Lönnroth 1969, 16-17). A parallel is the contrast between Hrólfr kraki ‘Pole-ladder’, who ‘never worshipped idols’ and who has a particular aversion to Óðinn, and his enemy, King Aðils of Uppsala, who is a zealous worshipper of heathen deities (Hrólf chs 42 and 48, FSGJ 1, 84, 95); a further example of this contrast is Ǫrvar-Oddr and Ingjaldr (Ǫrv ch. 1, FSGJ 2, 205; cf. Weber 1981, 477-80, 483-8). Ketill’s statement that he has lived a long time, although he has never worshipped Óðinn, implies that he does not need Óðinn’s protection. The following statement that Framarr will fall in battle before he does implies that Óðinn’s protection is ineffectual. In Ket 41 the defeated Framarr admits that Óðinn is untrustworthy. Yng ch. 25 describes at length how King Aunn obtains a promise from Óðinn that he will live a long time by successively sacrificing his ten sons to Óðinn, one son every tenth year. The description begins with a statement which includes the phrase blét til langlífis sér ‘sacrificed in order to obtain a long life’ (ÍF 26, 48). The result is that Aunn lives an inordinately long time, although he is repeatedly defeated in battle. In the case of Ketill and in view of the preceding stanza, in which Bǫðvarr states that Óðinn gave Framarr victory, it seems likely that Ketill’s statement that he has never sacrificed to Óðinn implies that he never sacrificed to the god in order to obtain victory in battle. — [4-5] ek veit Framar munu falla ‘I know Framarr will fall’: An acc.-inf. construction subordinate to ek veit ‘I know’; the form munu is the inf. of the pret. pres. verb, hence the inf. ending ‑u. It is unnecessary to introduce the inf. marker at ‘to’ from the reading in 471, as Kock does (Skald; NN §2394), or to emend it by interpreting at as a conj. introducing a subordinate clause, which entails an emendation of the acc. form Framar to the nom. Framarr and of the inf. munu to the finite verb form mun (3rd pers. sg. pres.) as in Skj B. —  fyrr en þetta it háva höfuð ‘sooner than this high head’: A reference to Ketill’s great height; cf. Ket 28/1. The noun hǫfuð refers to the person as a whole; cf. LP: hǫfuð 2. Since the mss all have the emphatic combination of two demonstrative pronouns (þetta, it), these are retained (so Skald, Edd. Min.), whereas Skj B omits it.