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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 23 October 2021)

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

SkP info: VIII, 780

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — KrákÁsl Lv 11VIII (RagnSon 1) (Kráka/Áslaug)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

AM 371 4°, 18v (b300dpi)

Cite as: Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars sona þáttr 1 (Kráka/Áslaug Sigurðardóttir, Lausavísur 11)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 780.

Sitja veiðivitjar
vals á borgar hálsum;
böl er, þat er hefr um hafnat
hrafn Sigurðar nafni.
Blási nýtinjótar
nás í spán at hánum;
ofsnemma lét Óðinn
álf valmeyjar deyja.

{Veiðivitjar vals} sitja á hálsum borgar; böl er, þat er hrafn hefr um hafnat nafni Sigurðar. Blási {nýtinjótar nás} í spán at hánum; Óðinn lét {álf {valmeyjar}} deyja ofsnemma.

{Hunting-visitors of the slain} [RAVENS] sit on the heights of the fortress; it is a misfortune that the raven has forsaken the name of Sigurðr. Let {the devourers of the dead} [RAVENS/EAGLES] whistle for him; Óðinn caused {the elf {of the carnage-maiden}} [VALKYRIE > WARRIOR] to die too early.

Mss: Hb(107r) (RagnSon)

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 3. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ragnarssonaþáttr: AII, 242, BII, 261, Skald II, 136, NN §§182, 1469; RagnSon 1773, 283-4 (ch. 58), FSN 1, 358 (RagnSon ch. 5), RagnSon 1891, 241 (ch. 5), Hb 1892-6, 466 (RagnSon ch. 5), FSGJ 1, 301-2 (RagnSon ch. 5); Rafn 1822, 247-8, CPB II, 352.

Context: Áslaug speaks this stanza on hearing from Helgi hvassi ‘the Keen’ of the death of one of her sons by Ragnarr, Sigurðr ormr-í-auga ‘Snake-in-eye’, in a battle against the emperor Ǫrnúlfr.

Notes: [1-2] veiðivitjar vals ‘hunting-visitors of the slain [RAVENS]’: This hap. leg. cpd is interpreted here to refer to ravens rather than birds of prey in general in view of the sense of the rest of the stanza. The cpd’s first element, veiði- ‘hunting’, is a verbal noun from veiða ‘hunt’, while the second, vitjar ‘visitors’, is a m. nom. pl. agent noun from vitja ‘visit’ (cf. LP: veiðivitja). — [2] á hálsum borgar ‘on the heights of the fortress’: The basic sense of háls is ‘neck’ (of a human or animal), but it also has the transferred sense of ‘hill, ridge, mountain pass’, describing a feature of the landscape (Fritzner, ONP: hals). Finnur Jónsson appears to have understood the word in the latter sense (på borgens höje ‘on the hills of the fortress’), in Hb 1892-6, as does the present ed.; in Skj B, however, Finnur emends borgar ‘of the fortress, rampart’ (LP: borg) to bragna, gen. of m. pl. bragnar ‘men’, and translates ‘on the necks of men’, evidently understanding the ravens to be perched on the bodies of the slain. Kock (NN §1469A) suggests either ‘fortress’ or ‘mountain’ for borg as its meaning in the present instance. The translation ‘the heights of the fortress’ is adopted here with an admission that this leaves unexplained which fortress (or (fortified) mountain?) is in question. The prose context in RagnSon gives no help on this point. — [3-4]: Now that Sigurðr is dead, the raven no longer takes his name into account when wondering who might provide it with sustenance in the shape of the slain in battle. — [3]: As it stands, this line is unmetrical, reading böl er þat hefr um hafnat. It is likely that, in this C14th ms., the rel. particle er after þat has been omitted. In pre-1250 normalisation it would have scanned as a regular A-line, bǫls, þats hefr of hafnat. The rel. particle has been restored here in line with normalisation to the period 1250-1300. — [3] um: The expletive particle which, like of in similar contexts, occurs before verbs (especially the p. p., as here), and sometimes nouns or adjectives, in place of a lost prefix, is comparable in the present case to ge- in Modern German.See further Note to Ásm 1/3, 5. — [4] Sigurðar ‘of Sigurðr’: The line is unmetrical as it stands, but would become metrical if the older form of the name, Sigvarðar, were restored (cf. Kuhn 1939, 199-203). See Bragi Rdr 2/3-4III and Note there. — [5-6] blási … í spán at hánum ‘let … whistle for him’: Lit. ‘Let [birds of prey] blow into wood-shavings towards him’. The expression blása í spán at with dat. is of uncertain meaning, but is clearly idiomatic. Kock (NN §182) and the present ed. accept Finnur Jónsson’s understanding of this (in Skj B and in LP: spônn; cf. Hb 1892-6) as meaning ‘go without, wait in vain for’; Kock quotes (with its German and Dutch equivalents) the Modern English expression ‘whistle for’, understood in the sense of ‘seek or expect in vain’. Old Norse spánn m. has several meanings, including ‘wood-shavings, matchwood, spoon (what is left after the shavings have been removed (?)’ (LP: spônn). There is no need, as Kock (NN §1469B) indicates, to emend this 3rd pers. pres. subj. blási to indic. blása, as do Finnur Jónsson in Hb 1892-6 and Skj B and Guðni Jónsson in FSGJ. — [5] nýtinjótar nás ‘the devourers of the dead [RAVENS/EAGLES]’: Lit. ‘great enjoyers of the corpse’. The hap. leg. nýtinjótar is a cpd noun, whose second element is ‑njótar, m. nom. pl., meaning ‘enjoyers, users’ (CVC: njótr) and its cognate first element nýti- (from nýta ‘make use of, enjoy’) is an intensifier (LP: nýtinjótr). It forms the base-word, with nás ‘of the corpse’ as its determinant, in a kenning for birds or beasts of battle, most probably the ravens of ll. 1-2. — [7-8]: Óðinn is here seen in his capacity as a god of war (Turville-Petre 1964, 50-5), causing warriors to die in battle as part of the process of selection for admission to Valhǫll (cf. SnE 2005, 21, 30). — [7]: This is the only line in the stanza that lacks an appropriate hending, in this case skothending. — [8] álf valmeyjar ‘the elf of the carnage-maiden [VALKYRIE > WARRIOR]’: The noun álfr m. ‘elf’, is a reasonably common base-word in warrior-kennings (see LP: alfr) in which the determinant (here valmeyjar, gen.) refers to some aspect of battle, as in this instance. Valmey f. ‘carnage-maiden’, clearly refers to a valkyrie, i.e. one of the handmaids of Óðinn whose function was to choose warriors slain in battle for admission to Valhǫll (see SnE 2005, 30; Eyv Hák 1/1I and Note there). On elves in Old Norse tradition, see Turville-Petre (1964, 230-2), Gunnell (2006), and Hall (2007, 21-53).

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