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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 3I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 285.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla

text and translation

Eisar vágr fyr vísa
(verk) Rǫgnis (mér hagna);
þýtr Óðrœris alda
ǫldrhafs við fles galdra.

{Vágr Rǫgnis} eisar fyr vísa; verk mér hagna; alda {ǫldrhafs Óðrœris} þýtr við {fles galdra}.
‘The wave of Rǫgnir <= Óðinn> [POEM] roars before the ruler; the works are successful for me; the wave of the ale-sea of Óðrœrir <mythical vat> [POEM] booms against the skerry of incantations [TEETH].

notes and context

See Context to st. 1.

[1-2]: The lines are difficult and the solution proposed here (and explained at (c) below) tentative. (a) Finnur Jónsson (1891a, 155; Skj B; Finnur Jónsson 1924a, 325-7; 1934a, 18) reads vágr Rǫgnis eisar fyr mér; verk hagna vísa aldr ‘the wave of Rǫgnir [POEM] crashes before me; the deeds are advantageous for the leader for all time’. This has drawn two justified objections, however: it splits the prepositional phrase fyr vísa ‘before the ruler’, and it includes ms. aldr (l. 4) in the intercalary clause, making it extremely fragmented (Reichardt 1928, 199; NN §391). (b) Kock’s interpretation (NN §391), vágr eisar fyr vísa; verk Rǫgnis mér hagna ‘the wave breaks upon the leader; I succeed at Óðinn’s works [POETRY]’, assumes simpler word order, but requires the determinant of the first poem-kenning (with base-word vágr ‘wave’) to be supplied from the context (see Reichardt 1928, 199-200). It also assumes that verk Rǫgnis ‘Óðinn’s deeds’ is a poetry-kenning, although verk would not be paralleled as a base-word in such a kenning (see Meissner 429). Kock later (NN §2916) took ǫldrhafs ‘of the ale-sea’ (l. 4, emended from aldr-) as the determinant of vágr, followed by Ohlmarks (1958, 363) and Frank (1981, 162). However, ‘wave of the ale-sea’ cannot be a kenning for ‘poem’, cf. Faulkes, SnE 1998, I, 162. (c) The simpler interpretation of the first two lines given here matches that of Reichardt (1928, 199; also Davidson 1983, 238, 241). It has the disadvantage that in l. 2 verk hagna mér ‘works are successful for me’ (i. e. I succeed in making my poem), a typical phrase for a parenthesis, is interrupted, producing a tripartite line. However, this seems marginally less problematic than the incomplete kenning assumed by Kock, especially given the careful and elaborate kenning structure of sts 1-3. — [3]: The line lacks a hending, but the emendation suggested by Lindquist (1929, 44) and Kock (NN §1884A) in order to correct this, to þýrr alda Óðhrœris, is strained and is therefore rejected. It rearranges two words, and þýrr runs counter to all mss.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Einarr Helgason skálaglamm, 3. Vellekla 5: AI, 123, BI, 117, Skald I, 66, NN §§391, 1884A, 1936B, 2240B, 2916; SnE 1848-87, I, 248-9, II, 307, 522, SnE 1931, 93, SnE 1998, I, 13.


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