Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Note to Eil Þdr 7III

[2] málhvettan ‘chattering’: Lit. ‘speech-whetted’. This must be a metaphor for the roaring of a river; cf. Davidson (1983, 590), who points to river-heiti that consist of words for ‘storm’, ‘thunder’ or ‘tempest’. Hvettr is taken here as p. p. of the weak verb hvetja ‘sharpen, encourage’, as a parallel, umlauted form of the expected hvattr (ANG §428.2; see Reichardt 1948, 349). Other interpretations: (a) Guðmundur Finnbogason (1924, 176) construes the cpd as málhveptan which, according to him, means ‘speaking pine-trees’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (1900b, 383; Skj B; LP: málhvettr), emends hvettan R, W (‘hveican’ ) to ‑hvettar and derives it from an ON *hvetta ‘knock over’ (cf. New Norw. kvetta, see Torp 1963, 348). According to him, this p. p. qualifies the stones (-vǫlur) that make noises when knocked. Because of the emendation, the overly complex word order and the assumption that ‑vǫlur means ‘stones’, that suggestion is unlikely. (c) Kock (NN §447, followed by Kiil 1956, 112) connects málhvettan m. acc. sg. with bur markar (so mss and W), understood as a Þórr-kenning (‘son of the earth’; cf. sonr Jarðar ‘son of Jǫrð (= earth)’ in Þjóð Haustl 14/6), and he translates málhvettan as ‘urged to meet’. Aside from the fact that mǫrk ‘forest, terrain, ground’ is never attested in skaldic poetry as a heiti for Jǫrð, Þórr’s mother, Kock’s suggestion, ‘they set their spears in the ground before Þórr’, makes no sense in the context.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  7. Torp, Alf. 1963. Nynorsk etymologisk ordbok. Oslo: Aschehoug.
  8. Finnur Jónsson. 1900b. ‘Þórsdrápa Eilífs Goðrúnarsonar’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1900, 369-410.
  9. Kiil, Vilhelm. 1956. ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson’s Þórsdrápa’. ANF 71, 89-167.
  10. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1948. ‘Die Thórsdrápa des Eilífr Goðrúnarson: Textinterpretation’. PMLA 63, 329-91.
  11. Guðmundur Finnbogason. 1924. ‘Um Þórsdrápu. Nokkrar athugasemdir’. Skírnir, 172-81.
  12. Internal references
  13. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Jarðar heiti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 877.
  14. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 14’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 453.


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.