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Runic Dictionary

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Kráka/Áslaug Sigurðardóttir (KrákÁsl)

volume 8; ed. Rory McTurk;

VIII. Lausavísur (Lv) - 11

Lausavísur — KrákÁsl LvVIII (RagnSon)

Rory McTurk (forthcoming), ‘ Kráka/Áslaug Sigurðardóttir, Lausavísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=3123> (accessed 3 December 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   Kráka/Áslaug 

SkP info: VIII, 685

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — KrákÁsl Lv 10VIII (Ragn 31)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 31 (Kráka/Áslaug Sigurðardóttir, Lausavísur 10)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 685.

Höfðum lét of hrundit
hundmörgum gramr undir,
at feigum börlka
fingi eldr yfir syngja.
Hvat skyli beð enn betra
böðheggr und sik leggja?
Olli d*ýrr við orðstír
allvaldr jö*furs falli.

Gramr lét hundmörgum höfðum of hrundit undir, at eldr fingi syngja yfir {feigum börlka}. Hvat skyli {böðheggr} leggja und sik enn betra beð? D*ýrr allvaldr olli falli jö*furs við orðstír.

The leader allowed a great many heads to be thrust under him, so that fire would have a chance to sing over {the doomed tree of battles} [WARRIOR]. How could {a battle-tree} [WARRIOR] place beneath himself an even better bed? The mighty ruler caused a prince’s death with renown.

Mss: 1824b(74v-75r) (Ragn)

Readings: [2] hund‑: hodd 1824b    [3] at feigum bör lka: ‘í feiga by foska’ 1824b    [4] eldr: om. 1824b    [6] böðheggr: ‘bęþ havggr’ 1824b    [7] Olli d*ýrr: ‘illa ðeyrr’ 1824b    [8] jö*furs: ‘iorfurrs’ 1824b

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 2. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ragnarssaga loðbrókar IX 2: AII, 239-40, BII, 259, Skald II, 134-5, NN §1463; FSN 1, 293 (Ragn ch. 19), Ragn 1891, 219 (ch. 19), Ragn 1906-8, 169, 215-6 (ch. 18), Ragn 1944, 120-1 (ch. 20), FSGJ 1, 279-80 (Ragn ch. 18), Ragn 1985, 148 (ch. 18), Ragn 2003, 62 (ch. 18), CPB II, 351-2.

Context: See Context to Ragn 30.

Notes: [All]: De Vries (1927b, 136-7; cf. 1928c, 125) believes that the story of Eiríkr’s death reflected in Ragn 11-14 influenced that of Hvítserkr’s death as reflected in Ragn 30 and in the present stanza, and more specifically that the image of a bed (of spears) in Ragn 12/3 gave rise to the use of the image of a bed (of human heads) in l. 5 of the present stanza. However, while Ragn 11 and 13 are preserved in RagnSon, which may well reflect a version of Ragn older than that of the X (147) or Y (1824b) versions (see Introduction), Ragn 12, which contains the image of the bed, and Ragn 14 above are not, nor can any trace of Ragn 11-14 be read in the fragmentary and largely illegible ms. 147. — [1-2]: (a) Lét hrundit ‘caused/allowed to be thrust’ is a standard construction with understood vera ‘be’; the emendation to hrundiz ‘(be) thrust’ adopted by some eds is unnecessary. Gramr ‘the leader’ in l. 2 supplies a subject for lét ‘caused/allowed’ in l. 1, referring either to Hvítserkr’s captor or to himself (see Note to ll. 7-8, below); gramr could alternatively be understood as an adj. used substantivally, meaning ‘the angry one’. Undir may be taken as adverbial, ‘underneath, under (him, Hvítserkr)’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), Kock (Skald) and Guðni Jónsson (FSGJ) emend lét (l. 1) to létu, 3rd pers. pl. pret. of láta ‘let, allow’, and gramr to acc. sg. gram governed by undir ‘under’, hence ‘they (Hvítserkr’s captors) allowed … heads to be thrust under the leader (Hvítserkr)’. (c) Örnólfur Thorsson (Ragn 1985) retains lét ‘(he) allowed’ while emending gramr to acc. sg. gram, i.e. Hvítserkr. The unexpressed subject of lét would be one of Hvítserkr’s captors or indeed the heroic Hvítserkr himself. — [2] hundmörgum ‘a great many’: Örnólfur Thorsson (Ragn 1985) treats the two-word reading of the ms. (hodd mörgum) as a cpd word hoddmörgum. This reading attributes to hodd ‘hoard, treasure’ the same meaning as hund-, though there is no support in the poetic corpus for such a sense. All other eds emend to hundmörgum, i.e. dat. pl. of hundmargr ‘very many’, a word which is well attested elsewhere in poetry (LP: hundmargr), and which, with its first element hund-, probably related to hundrað ‘hundred’ (ÍO: 1 hund-; cf. CVC: hundrað), is certainly appropriate in the context. This element provides the line with aðalhending. — [3-4]: Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 215) and all subsequent eds add at ‘so that’ by emendation at the beginning of l. 3, understanding what follows as a subordinate clause of purpose, with eldr ‘fire’ also added by these eds (except for Kock, Skald, who adds the more poetic hyrr ‘fire’) as its subject. Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 215), Eskeland (Ragn 1944), and Ebel (Ragn 2003) emend inf. syngja ‘sing, crackle’ to n. p. p. (supine) sungit, but this is unnecessary; in the sense of ‘manage to, have a chance to’ (here in the 3rd pers. sg. pret. subj., fingi, in l. 4), may be used with the inf. as well as the p. p. (cf. Heggstad et al. 2008: ). As for yfir feigum bör fólka ‘over the doomed tree of battles [WARRIOR]’, the emendations are supplied by Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 215-16, citing Bugge and Finnur Jónsson in the case of dat. sg. feigum bör governed by prep. yfir ‘over’, and Finnur alone in the case of gen. pl. fólka), and by all subsequent eds. — [5] enn ‘even’: The ms. reading ‘en̄’ is taken here (as by Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 215), Eskeland (Ragn 1944) and Ebel (Ragn 2003)), as the intensive adv. en(n) ‘still, even’, used before a comp., hence ‘an even better bed’. It is taken by CPB and others as an archaic form of the def. art. (h)inn, hence ‘the better bed’. — [6] böðheggr ‘a battle-tree [WARRIOR]’: This kenning, formed from heggr m. ‘bird cherry’ and böð f. ‘battle’, supplied through emendation by Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 215-16) (citing Bugge and Finnur Jónsson), and apparently not attested elsewhere (LP: bǫðheggr), is accepted by all subsequent eds including the present. — [7-8]: The ms. reading illa deyr ‘dies badly’ is problematic in the context, and ‘iorfurrs’ appears to be an error. (a) The present edn follows Kock (NN §1463) and Örnólfur Thorsson (Ragn 1985) in emending to Olli dýrr ‘caused; noble’ and to jöfurs ‘king’s’, taking dýrr ‘noble’ as qualifying allvaldr ‘sovereign’. (b) Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 215-16) and Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) also print Olli dýrr but emend ‘iorfurrs’ to jöfurr, taking olli jöfurr falli as a separate syntactic unit meaning ‘the king (jöfurr; Hvítserkr’s enemy in the east) caused (his, i.e. Hvítserkr’s) death’, and the remaining words as another separate sentence: allvaldr deyr við orðstír ‘the sovereign (i.e. Hvítserkr) dies with renown’. In this they appear to be followed by Eskeland (Ragn 1944), Guðni Jónsson (FSGJ) and Ebel (Ragn 2003). However, Kock (NN §1463) objects that pres. tense deyr ‘dies’ is at variance with the pret. lét(u) ‘allowed’; that the intricate syntax is inconsistent with the simple style of the Ragn stanzas; and that allvaldr ‘sovereign’ refers to Hvítserkr’s enemy in the east and jöfurs falli ‘a king’s death’ to Hvítserkr’s death. The allvaldr ‘sovereign’ who caused Hvítserkr’s death is possibly Daxon, King of the Hellespont, who according to Saxo (Saxo 2015, I, ix. 4. 29, pp. 654-5) attacked and defeated Withsercus. The attack was a treacherous one, however, which hardly qualifies Daxon for the epithet dýrr ‘noble’, and the possibility remains that the allvaldr is Hvítserkr himself, since Hvítserkr/Withsercus in effect causes his own death by choosing the manner of it (see Notes to Ragn 30, above). (c) Valdimar Ásmundarson (Ragn 1891) emends to illan and to jöfurs, hence allvaldr deyr við illan orðstír ‘the sovereign dies with ill renown’, but leaving jöfurs falli hardly accounted for.

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