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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumblindi (Gestumbl)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Heiðreks gátur (Heiðr) - 37

not in Skj

Heiðreks gátur (‘Riddles of Heiðrekr’) — Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr)

Not published: do not cite (Gestumbl HeiðrVIII (Heiðr))

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: D. 5. Heiðreks gátur, Gestumblindes gåder (AII, 221-8, BII, 240-7); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38

SkP info: VIII, 442

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

28 — Gestumbl Heiðr 28VIII (Heiðr 75)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 75 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 28)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 442.

Nær var forðum         nösgás vaxin,
barngjörn, sú er bar         bútimbr saman.
Hlífðu henni         hálms bitskálmir;
þó lá drykkjar         drynhraun yfir.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

{Nösgás} var forðum nær vaxin, barngjörn, sú er bar saman bútimbr. {Bitskálmir hálms} hlífðu henni; þó lá {drynhraun drykkjar} yfir. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.

Long ago, {a nostrils-goose} [DUCK] was nearly grown, child-eager, who brought house-timber together. {Biting-swords of straw} [OX TEETH] protected her; yet {the bellowing lava-field of drink} [OX SKULL] lay over. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

Mss: 2845(72r) (ll. 1-8), 281ˣ(100v), 597bˣ(50v), R715ˣ(29r) (ll. 1-8) (Heiðr)

Readings: [1] Nær: so R715ˣ, mjök all others;    forðum: fyrri forðum 597bˣ    [2] nösgás: ‘nanz gras’ R715ˣ    [3] barngjörn: ‘Bar ḡgiar’ R715ˣ;    er bar: ‘sueipar’ R715ˣ    [6] hálms: hálm 281ˣ, 597bˣ;    bit‑: bits 281ˣ, 597bˣ    [7] drykkjar: ‘drickiar’ R715ˣ    [8] drynhraun: ‘drunraun’ corrected from drynhraun in the margin in another hand 597bˣ, ‘drin huarn’ apparently corrected from ‘dÿraun’ in the margin in the hand of JR R715ˣ;    yfir: dýra yfer corrected from yfer in the margin in the hand of JR R715ˣ    [9-10] abbrev. as ‘heidr: kr’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘h K·’ 597bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 22: AII, 225, BII, 244, Skald II, 127, NN §2360, 2594; Heiðr 1672, 150, FSN 1, 479-80, Heiðr 1873, 256, 341, Heiðr 1924, 76-7, 138, FSGJ 2, 47, Heiðr 1960, 41; Edd. Min. 116-17.

Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 41): Þar hafði ǫnd búit hreiðr sitt í milli nautskjálka, ok lá haussinn ofan yfir ‘There a duck had built its nest between the jaw-bones of an ox, and the skull lay over above’. The H redaction gives (Heiðr 1924, 76): Þá lá ǫnd á eggjum millum nautzkjálka, er þú hálmbitz skálmir kallar, en drynhraun hausinn, en bútimbr hreiðrit ‘There a duck lay on eggs between the jaw-bones of an ox, which you call ‘biting-swords of straw’, and the skull ‘bellowing lava-field’, and the nest ‘house-timber’. — [All]: The solution is reminiscent of Judges XIV.8-14, where Samson eats from a honeycomb produced by a swarm of bees inside the skull of a lion, and later propounds the riddle de comedente exivit cibus et de forte est egressa dulcedo ‘Out of the eater came forth food, and out of the strong came forth sweetness’. Life-from-death symbolism could be said to be present in this riddle, although there is no overt Christian context. — [1] nær ‘nearly’: Ms. R715ˣ’s reading is preferred here for alliteration. Some younger mss and early eds give nóg ‘enough’ (see Edd. Min., 116 n. 27.1). Skj B emends to næsta and translates fuldt ‘fully’. Kock (Skald) emends to nýt ‘newly’ on (dubious) palaeographical grounds, suggesting that the four minims of his proposed original nut could have been transformed to míoc via míc (NN §2360). Edd. Min. suggests that the problem could be with forðum rather than the first word, but does not offer a convincing alternative. — [2] nösgás ‘nostrils-goose [DUCK]’: A hap. leg. The prose solution indicates that a duck is being referred to, and Meissner 112 considers the cpd a kenning. There is one other duck-kenning in the corpus, bekkþiðurr ‘brook-capercaillie’ in Egill Lv 2/5V (Eg 5), where the meaning is also indicated by the prose context. — [3] barngjörn ‘child-eager’: A hap. leg. — [4] bútimbr ‘house-timber’: The only recorded instances of this cpd are here and in the prose solution in the H redaction. — [6] bitskálmir hálms ‘biting-swords of straw [OX TEETH]’: Meissner 133. A situation-specific kenning, referring to the teeth of a grazing animal. Cf. the teeth-kenning hvítgeirar hvapta ‘the white spears of mouths [TEETH]’, StjOdd Geirdr 9/7V (StjǫrnODr 14), where the base-word is also a weapon. Bitskǫlm only appears here and in the prose in the H redaction. — [7-8] drynhraun drykkjar ‘the bellowing lava-field of drink [OX SKULL]’: Cf. GSúrs Lv 27/5V (Gísl 30), where the head is referred to as hraun kveifar ‘the lava-field of the cap’.

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