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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Lausavísur (Anon)

III. 4. Stanzas from Laufás Edda (LaufE) - 11

not in Skj

2.4: Stanzas from Laufás Edda — Anon (LaufE)III

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Stanzas from Laufás Edda’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 637. <> (accessed 3 December 2021)

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

for reference only:  11x 

SkP info: III, 645

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Anon (LaufE) 8III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Laufás Edda 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 645.

This half-stanza (Anon (LaufE) 8) is recorded only in three mss, namely, 742ˣ (main ms.), 1496ˣ and 164ˣ. In all mss it is incorporated into the section of LaufE that deals with heiti and kennings for animals (LaufE 1979, 265-6, 341-2), but it is not found in any of the main mss of the LaufE X and Y redactions. In 164ˣ, which is a LaufE X ms., it is written sideways in the margin of fol. 11r (see LaufE 1979, 266 n.), and in 742ˣ and 1496ˣ it is written as the continuation of Þjóð Haustl 5/1-4, which is given in LaufE (and in 742ˣ, 1496ˣ and 164ˣ) as an illustration of a kenning for ‘ox’ (LaufE 1979, 266): hier er vxin kalladur þrymseilar hualur ‘here the ox is called whale of the bowstring’ (closely similar in 742ˣ and 1496ˣ). Hence it looks as though the scribes of 742ˣ and 1496ˣ believed that the helmingr formed the second half of Þjóðólfr’s stanza (see also Jón Helgason 1966a, 178), and it is given in all mss without any accompanying comment. The half-stanza has been edited by Jón Helgason (loc. cit.) and the text from 164ˣ is printed in diplomatic form in LaufE (LaufE 1979, 266 n.). No firm date can be assigned to the helmingr on the basis of metre and diction (but see Notes below).

Kveða skal hróðr fyr hríðar
hræblakks viðum sævar
— drykkr var Dúrnis rekkum
døkkr — ljósara nøkkvi.

Skal kveða nøkkvi ljósara hróðr fyr {viðum {hræblakks sævar hríðar}}; {drykkr Dúrnis} var døkkr rekkum.

I must recite somewhat more transparent praise before {the trees {of the corpse-dark sea of battle}} [BLOOD > WARRIORS]; {the drink of Dúrnir <dwarf>} [POETRY] was obscure to the men.

Mss: 742ˣ(6r), 1496ˣ(38r), 164ˣ(11r) (LaufE)

Readings: [3] rekkum: ‘róchum’ 164ˣ

Editions: LaufE 1979, 266 n., Jón Helgason 1966a, 178.

Context: See Introduction above.

Notes: [1]: This line contains three internal rhymes (-- : -óð- : -íð-). — [1-2] fyr viðum hræblakks sævar hríðar ‘before the trees of the corpse-dark sea of battle [BLOOD > WARRIORS]’: Warrior-kennings with ‘blood’ as a determinant are rare but not unattested (see Meissner 278). The adj. blakkr ‘dark’ (here: hræblakkr ‘corpse-dark’) is also found elsewhere in circumlocutions for ‘blood’ (e.g. blakkr bjórr ‘dark beer [blood]’, Þorm Lv 22/7-8I). Jón Helgason (1966a) offers an alternative interpretation according to which hræblakkr ‘corpse-steed’ (blakkr is also a heiti for ‘horse’) is taken as a kenning for ‘wolf’, its ‘sea’ (sær) is ‘blood’ and the ‘storm (hríð) of blood’ is ‘battle’. According to that interpretation, viðum hríðar sævar hræblakks would be ‘trees of the storm of the sea of the corpse-steed [WOLF > BLOOD > BATTLE > WARRIORS]’. However, kennings for ‘battle’ with ‘blood’ as a determinant are awkward and very poorly attested (see Meissner 186) and a base-word like ‘storm’ ought to be qualified by a determinant with the sense ‘weapon’, ‘valkyrie’ etc. but not by ‘blood’. A kenning formed according to the pattern hræblakkr ‘corpse-steed [WOLF]’ is otherwise unattested (Meissner 126). — [3]: The syntactic break after metrical position 4 (Dúrnis) in this odd Type A-line is highly unusual (see Kuhn 1983, 134-7; Gade 1995a, 137-41) and could mean that the half-stanza is quite late. — [3] drykkr Dúrnis ‘the drink of Dúrnir <dwarf> [POETRY]’: The dwarf Dúrnir is otherwise mentioned in Anon Þul Dverga 3/8 and in Þjóð Yt 2/2I (for discussions of this name, see Notes there). Kennings of the type ‘drink of the dwarfs [POETRY]’ originated in the myth about the dwarfs Galarr and Fjalarr brewing the mead of poetry from the blood of Kvasir (see Skm, SnE 1998, I, 3-4; Meissner 428).

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