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Runic Dictionary

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Ormr Steinþórsson (Ormr)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Russell Poole;

1. Poem about a woman (Woman) - 7

Nothing is known about Ormr Steinþórsson (Ormr). The patronymic indicates that he was probably an Icelander rather than a Norwegian (Ólafur Halldórsson 1969b, 156). Finnur Jónsson (Skj AI, 415) places him in the eleventh century, with a query, but commonalities between his work and certain other poems, noted below, make a floruit in the late twelfth century, perhaps even the turn of the thirteenth, more probable. He appears from the internal evidence of poetic fragments attributed to him to have composed for both male and female patrons; one of the male recipients was evidently blind (see Introduction to Ormr Frag below).

Poem about a woman — Ormr WomanIII

Russell Poole 2017, ‘ Ormr Steinþórsson, Poem about a woman’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 323. <> (accessed 17 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

for reference only:  1x 

Skj: Ormr Steinþórsson: 1. Af et digt om en kvinde (?) (AI, 415-416, BI, 385); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

SkP info: III, 331

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Ormr Woman 6III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Ormr Steinþórsson, Poem about a woman 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 331.

Hróðrar njóti funa Fríðr
— Fundins mærða*k salar grund —
(fastan lagðak flagðs gust)
fjarðar (á brims garð).

{Fríðr {funa fjarðar}} njóti hróðrar; mærða*k {grund {salar Fundins}}; lagðak {fastan gust flagðs} á {garð brims}.

May {the Fríðr <goddess> {of the fire of the fjord}} [GOLD > WOMAN] enjoy my praise; I honoured {the land {of the hall of Fundinn <dwarf>}} [STONE > WOMAN]; I set {my steadfast gust of the troll-woman} [MIND] on {the fence of the surf} [WAVE].

Mss: 2368ˣ(132), 738ˣ(124v), 1496ˣ(54v) (LaufE)

Readings: [2] mærða*k: mærda og 2368ˣ, mærðar ok 738ˣ, 1496ˣ

Editions: LaufE 1979, 397; Jón Helgason 1966a, 177.

Context: The fragment is quoted in LaufE with the heading ein half staka ‘a half-stanza’ (2368ˣ, 738ˣ) or vísa ‘verse’ (1496ˣ) and lacks any explicit connection to the immediate context. Since it immediately follows the section on kennings for ‘shield’, in which garðr is a cited base-word, possibly the phrase garð brims (‘fence of the surf’) must have been interpreted as such a kenning.

Notes: [1, 4] Fríðr funa fjarðar ‘the Fríðr <goddess> of the fire of the fjord [GOLD > WOMAN]’: The goddess-name Fríðr is not noted in SnE but has five attestations in kennings for ‘woman’ (Meissner 405; cf. LP: Fríðr). The first two elements in this kenning Fríðr funa ‘the Fríðr of fire’, prominently placed at the end of l. 1 and separated from the remaining kenning element fjarðar in line 4, could be interpreted as alluding by way of an antonym to the name Snæfríðr (‘snow-Fríðr’). The poet’s dedicatee in the frame would thus be contrasted via paronomasia with the female protagonist in the inset story. For skaldic treatment of fire and snow as antonyms see Poole (1982, 129-30). For contrastive naming via antonyms cf. Ísodd bjarta ‘Isolt the bright’ and Ísodd svarta ‘Isolt the black’ in Tristrams saga. — [2] mærða*k ‘I honoured’: Emendation suggested by Jón Helgason (1966a). — [2] salar Fundins ‘of the hall of Fundinn <dwarf> [STONE]’: This kenning type is based on the belief that dwarfs live in rocks and mountains (Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 280); only three attestations of the type occur (Meissner 89). The apparent clustering of dwarf-heiti here and in st. 5/4 above is appropriate to the theme of Snæfríðardrápa, since Snæfríðr’s father Svási was himself a dwarf according to Flat. Cf. also the dwarf-names in Hhárf Snædr 1/5, 7I. — [3-4]: The collocation gust fjarðar á garð brims ‘the gust of the fjord on the fence of the surf’ maintains continuity of images relating to wind at sea. — [3] gust flagðs ‘gust of the troll-woman [MIND]’: A well-established kenning type whose rationale is not fully clear (Meissner 138-9; see also Quinn 2012). — [4] garð brims ‘the fence of the surf [WAVE]’: This must be a kenning for ‘wave’, formed according to the pattern ‘mountain/cliff/crag of the sea’ (Meissner 99). It is evidently an ofljóst construction for the name of the poet’s beloved, which might have been Sæunn lit. ‘Sea-wave’, Unnr ‘Wave’ or similar (Jón Helgason 1966a).

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