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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ásbjǫrn (Ásb)

volume 8; ed. Peter Jorgensen;

VIII. Ævikviða (Ævkv) - 9

not in Skj

Ævikviða — Ásb ÆvkvVIII (OStór)

Peter Jorgensen (forthcoming), ‘ Ásbjǫrn, Ævikviða’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 27 September 2021)

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SkP info: VIII, 612

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Ásb Ævkv 5VIII (OStór 8)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Peter Jorgensen (ed.) 2017, ‘Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar 8 (Ásbjǫrn, Ævikviða 5)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 612.

Annat var, þá er inni.
Ek veitta ferð sveittri
högg með hvassri tuggu
Herjans suðr í skerjum
Elfar. Opt nam kólfi
Ormr hagliga at forma
mest, þá er Miðjungs traustir
mágar eptir lágu.

Annat var, þá er inni. Ek veitta högg með {hvassri tuggu Herjans} sveittri ferð suðr í skerjum Elfar. Ormr nam opt at forma kólfi hagliga mest, þá er {traustir mágar Miðjungs} lágu eptir.

It used to be different, when inside. I dealt blows with {the sharp mouthful of Herjan <= Fenrir(?)>} [SWORD] to the bloody host down south among the skerries of the Götaälv. Ormr often aimed with the arrow skilfully mostly when {the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr <giant>} [GIANTS] were left lying.

Mss: Flat(70va), 2845(23v), 554h βˣ(63v) (OStór)

Readings: [2] sveittri: ‘suittri’ 2845    [5] Elfar: ‘ejder’ 554h βˣ;    Opt nam kólfi (‘kolfui’): opt nam bölvi 2845, ‘hier allkýntur’ 554h βˣ    [6] hagliga: makliga 554h βˣ;    at: om. 2845;    forma: forðum 554h βˣ    [7] Miðjungs: niðjungs 2845, ‘midand’ 554h βˣ    [8] mágar: margar 2845, marga 554h βˣ;    lágu: varga 554h βˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 18. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar IV 5: AII, 344, BII, 366, Skald II, 198, NN §2495B; ÓT 1689, 13, Fms 3, 219Flat 1860-8, I, 528, Þorleifur Jónsson 1904, 213, Guðni Jónsson 1935, 184 (ch. 7), Guðni Jónsson 1946-9, 11, 457-8 (ch. 7), Faulkes 2011b, 70 (ch. 7) (OStór).

Notes: [3-4] með hvassri tuggu Herjans ‘with the sharp mouthful of Herjan <= Fenrir(?)> [SWORD]’: What makes this kenning problematical is the use of Herjan, normally a name for the god Óðinn (cf. LP: Herjan(n)), within a kenning whose other elements suggest a reference to the wolf Fenrir, and the myth, recounted in Gylf (SnE 2005, 27-9), of how the gods wedged a sword between Fenrir’s open jaws when they were binding him. It seems that the poet either thought Herjan was an alternative name for Fenrir or had forgotten the myth to which sword-kennings of the type ‘mouthful, mouth-prop of the wolf’ conventionally refer. Cf. Meissner 150, who suggests hergarmr, ‘war-Garmr <monstrous dog>’. Kock (NN §2495B) understands the kenning to mean ‘Óðinn’s biter’, i.e. ‘Óðinn’s sword’. — [4-5] í skerjum Elfar ‘among the skerries of the Götaälv’: Although its two parts are separated across the end of the first helmingr and the beginning of the second helmingr for metrical reasons, í skerjum Elfar is to be understood as the cpd p. n. Elfarsker, name of a group of skerries at the mouth of the Göta river in present-day Sweden. Separation of cpd elements across helmingr boundaries is otherwise always avoided in skaldic poetry. The name Elfarsker occurs in several mythical-heroic sagas, including three times in Ǫrv, once in verse (ǪrvOdd Lv 16/2 (Ǫrv 49), FSGJ 2, 348). Kock (NN §2495) proposes elfar as the object of the verb forma ‘create, bring about, do’ in the sense ‘create rivers (of blood)’.  — [5] kólfi ‘with the arrow’: This noun has several meanings, including ‘club’, ‘tongue of a bell’, ‘pole’ and ‘arrow with a blunt head’ (cf. ONP: kólfr). — [6] nam … forma ‘aimed’: Forma (a variant of formera, with the same sense) is a late loan into Old Norse, ultimately from Lat. formare (cf. AEW: forma, formera), found mostly in ecclesiastical contexts (cf. ONP: forma). The verb’s usual meaning is ‘form, fashion’, so the sense here is unusual, and Finnur Jónsson translates it as skød ‘shot’ with a question mark in Skj B. — [7-8] traustir mágar Miðjungs ‘the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr <giant> [GIANTS]’: Miðjungr is a giant name (cf. Þjóð Haustl 8/8III), although it can also function as the base-word of kennings for ‘men’ where it appears to designate some unspecific supernatural being (cf. LP: miðjungr). Whatever its reference here, the kenning as a whole appears to allude to an episode in Ormr’s career that is no longer known.

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