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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
234

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].

Mss: R(21v), Tˣ(22r), W(46), U(27r), B(4r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] vágr: so Tˣ, W, vargr R, U, B    [2] verk: veri Tˣ;    hagna: hǫgna all    [3] Óðrœris: so Tˣ, U, ‘odreris’ R, W, B    [4] ǫldr‑: aldr‑ all;    fles: flest Tˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 123, Skj 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.

Context: See Context to st. 1.

Notes: [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. — [1] vágr ‘the wave’: The variant vargr ‘wolf’ given in R, U and B does not make sense in this context; see Finnur Jónsson (1891a, 154; 1924, 325). — [2] hagna ‘are successful’: All mss give ǫ as this word’s root vowel, which is explained as an attempt on the part of the scribes to create the aðalhending required in this line (Finnur Jónsson 1924a, 325). However, it was still possible in Einarr’s day to conjoin a and ǫ in an aðalhending (Kuhn 1983, 79). — [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. — [3] Óðrœris ‘of Óðrœrir <mythical vat>’: In Skm (SnE 1998, I, 4) this is the name of one of the three vats in which the giant Suttungr stores the mead of poetry before Óðinn steals it. But de Vries (ARG II, 72) and Frank (1981, 162) may be right to interpret Óðrœrir as the mead of poetry itself, which is certainly plausible with respect to the name’s origins (see below). On the basis of the ms. spellings, several eds have chosen Óðreris (SnE 1848-87, I; SnE 1931; SnE 1998), others Óðrøris (Skj B; LP). But Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1915b, 82) and Lindroth (1915, 176) are justified in choosing Óðrœris in light of the name’s composition. It is a cpd of óðr ‘soul, poem’ and hrœra ‘to move’, but scholars diverge on the interpretation. Two suggestions are (a) ‘that which moves the soul’ (LP: Óðrørir; North 1991, 47) or (b) ‘he who stirs, mixes poetry’ (Björn Magnússon Ólsen 1915b, 83; LP: hrœra 2). (c) However, in view of the generic meaning of hrœra, ‘to move’, the sense ‘that which sets the poem in motion’ is preferable. This would suggest that Óðrœrir denoted ‘mead of poetry’ at the time it was coined. It is unclear what the two further instances of Óðrœrir (Hávm 107/4, 140/6) denote, but they seem to indicate ‘mead of poetry’ rather than the vat from the myth (cf. S-G I, 129, 140). It seems that already Einarr skálaglamm uses Óðrœrir as the name of the vat. — [3, 4] ǫldrhafs Óðrœris ‘of the ale-sea of Óðrœrir <mythical vat> [POEM]’: Here again, as in all other introductory stanzas (see Notes to st. 1 [All] and 1/1, 3, 4), we find a kenning for ‘poem’ combined with metaphors for the recitation of the poem: alda … hafs þýtr við fles ‘the wave of the … sea booms against the skerry’. Hafs, although here given as a part of the kenning for ‘poem’, strictly belongs to the imagery of recitation. The kenning for ‘poem’, ǫldr Óðrœris ‘the ale of Óðrœrir’, is inserted into this metaphorical image and fles ‘the skerry’ is used as the base-word of a kenning for ‘teeth’. — [4] ǫldrhafs ‘of the ale-sea’: The mss’ aldr and hafs have been subject to various interpretations. The main challenge in ll. 3-4 is aldr (l. 4), found in all mss, which interpreters have construed variously. (a) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) incorporates aldr into the intercalary clause in ll. 1, 2, giving verk hagna vísa aldr ‘deeds will always ornament the prince’. (b) Reichardt (1928, 199) also takes it to be an adv. ‘constantly’, but modifying þýtr ‘booms’. Finnur Jónsson (1934a, 18) rightly objects that this could not apply to the recitation of a poem. (c) Kock (NN §391) emends it to ǫldr ‘ale’ and links it to hafs ‘sea’. Kock first linked the cpd ǫldrhafs to Óðrœrir, but later (NN §2916) to vágr ‘wave’ in l. 1 (see Note to ll. 1-2). This edn follows Kock’s emendation but not his further suggestions. (d) Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 162) considers verk Rǫgnis aldrhafs as a kenning for ‘poetry’, though he provides no exact interpretation of it. It could only mean ‘work of the ale-sea of Óðinn [POEM]’, and as such would not match the structure of this type of kenning, in which ‘mead of poetry’ already stands for ‘poem’. — [4] fles galdra ‘the skerry of incantations [TEETH]’: This kenning is a so-called nýgerving ‘new creation, new construction’ based on the image that the poem is a sea pouring out of the poet’s mouth. The ‘skerry’ against which this sea breaks are hence ‘teeth’ (cf. also Marold 1994a, 475).

References

  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. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  7. 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.
  8. Frank, Roberta. 1981. ‘Snorri and the Mead of Poetry’. In Dronke et al. 1981, 155-70.
  9. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1983. Das Dróttkvætt. Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  11. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. Finnur Jónsson. 1934a. Tekstkritiske bemærkninger til skjaldekvad. Det kgl. danske videnskabernes selskab. Historisk-filologiske meddelelser 20.2. Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard.
  13. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  14. Lindquist, Ivar. 1929. Norröna lovkväden från 800 och 900 talen. I: Förslag till restituerad täxt jämte översättning. Lund: Gleerup.
  15. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Palaestra 159. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller.
  16. S-G = Gering, Hugo. 1927-31. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. Nach dem Tode des Verfassers herausgegeben von B. Sijmons. I: Götterlieder. II: Heldenlieder. Halle: Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  17. ARG = Vries, Jan de. 1956-7. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  18. Ohlmarks, Åke. 1958. Tors skalder och Vite-Krists. Trosskiftestidens isländska furstelovskalder, 980-1013. Stockholm: Geber.
  19. North, Richard. 1991. Pagan Words and Christian Meanings. Costerus n.s. 81. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  20. Björn Magnússon Ólsen. 1915b. ‘Till Eddakvadene’. ANF 31, 52-95.
  21. Finnur Jónsson. 1891a. ‘Vellekla: Tekstkritiske bemærkninger’. ÅNOH, 147-82.
  22. Finnur Jónsson. 1924a. ‘Skjaldekvadenes forståelse’. ANF 40, 320-31.
  23. Lindroth, Hjalmar. 1915. ‘Boðn, Són och Óðreyrir’. MM, 174-7.
  24. Marold, Edith. 1994a. ‘Der Skalde und sein Publikum’. In Uecker 1994, 462-76.
  25. Internal references
  26. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  27. Not published: do not cite ()
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