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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, 7. Lausavísur, 5 [Vol. 2, 169-71]

[All]: If the st. was truly extemporized, its royal patron was right to be impressed. The complex and innovative imagery creates parallels and oppositions between the quarrelling tanner and smith, while casting them as the antagonists in the mythical story of the god Þórr’s encounter with the giant Geirrøðr. The smith figures, appropriately, as Þórr, who in the Geirrøðr story lacks his famous hammer but has a pair of iron gloves. The story is told, cryptically, in Eilífr Goðrúnarson’s Þórsdrápa (Eil ÞdrIII), which is preserved, with prose paraphrase, in SnE (1998, I, 24-30). At its centre, Geirrøðr (supposedly in sport) throws a lump of molten iron at Þórr, who throws it back at, and through, the giant, and this is transformed into a metaphor for speech in Þjóðólfr’s skit. There is a good deal of vocabulary in common between Þjóðólfr’s Lv 5-6 and Þdr, e.g. tangar ‘tongs’ (Þdr 16/6III, with slight emendation, and Lv 6/8), afli ‘strength/forge’ (Þdr 16/7III and Lv 5/6), síu ‘molten substance’ (Þdr 18/4III and Lv 6/8) and greip ‘grabber’ (Þdr 17/8III and Lv 5/5); Greip is also the name of one of Geirrøðr’s daughters.


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