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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 2I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 2’ 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. 284.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla
123

Nús ‘Now it happens’

nú (adv.): now

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þats ‘that’

þats (conj.): that, which

[1] þats: þat B

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Boðnar ‘of Boðn’

Boðn (noun f.; °-ar): (poetic mead vessel)

kennings

bára Boðnar
‘the wave of Boðn ’
   = POEM

the wave of Boðn → POEM

notes

[1] bára Boðnar ‘the wave of Boðn <mythical vat> [POEM]’: This is a periphrasis for ‘mead of poetry’, which is used as a metonymical expression for ‘poem’ (see Note to st. 1 [All]). Boðn is one of the three vats in which the giant Suttungr kept the mead of poetry (SnE 1998, I, 4). Frank (1981, 162) thinks it a common noun meaning ‘vessel’ on the basis of etymologically related words in OE and ModIcel. However, the etymology of Boðn is disputed. Kock (1899, 109) relates it to OIcel. boð ‘feast’; Lindroth (1915, 174) relates it to OE byden, MLG boden(e) ‘vat, barrel’. Kock’s suggestion (NN §392), followed by Frank (1981, 162) and Krömmelbein (1983, 173-4), of combining bára Boðnar berg-Saxa into a kenning ‘the wave of the vat [DRINK?] of the mountain-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’, is impossible because of its structure: the kenning is overdetermined, i.e. it contains two determinants, Boðn and berg-Saxa. Furthermore the kenning bára Boðnar is attested elsewhere, albeit in the C13th, without the additional determinant ‘giants’, in hrœrik báru Boðnar ‘I stir (i.e. I deliver) the wave of Boðn’ (SigvSt Lv 2/3IV).

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bára ‘the wave’

1. bára (noun f.; °-u; -ur): wave

kennings

bára Boðnar
‘the wave of Boðn ’
   = POEM

the wave of Boðn → POEM

notes

[1] bára Boðnar ‘the wave of Boðn <mythical vat> [POEM]’: This is a periphrasis for ‘mead of poetry’, which is used as a metonymical expression for ‘poem’ (see Note to st. 1 [All]). Boðn is one of the three vats in which the giant Suttungr kept the mead of poetry (SnE 1998, I, 4). Frank (1981, 162) thinks it a common noun meaning ‘vessel’ on the basis of etymologically related words in OE and ModIcel. However, the etymology of Boðn is disputed. Kock (1899, 109) relates it to OIcel. boð ‘feast’; Lindroth (1915, 174) relates it to OE byden, MLG boden(e) ‘vat, barrel’. Kock’s suggestion (NN §392), followed by Frank (1981, 162) and Krömmelbein (1983, 173-4), of combining bára Boðnar berg-Saxa into a kenning ‘the wave of the vat [DRINK?] of the mountain-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’, is impossible because of its structure: the kenning is overdetermined, i.e. it contains two determinants, Boðn and berg-Saxa. Furthermore the kenning bára Boðnar is attested elsewhere, albeit in the C13th, without the additional determinant ‘giants’, in hrœrik báru Boðnar ‘I stir (i.e. I deliver) the wave of Boðn’ (SigvSt Lv 2/3IV).

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berg ‘of the rock’

berg (noun n.; °-s; -): rock, cliff < bergsaxi (noun m.)berg (noun n.; °-s; -): rock, cliff < bergsár (noun n.)

kennings

fley berg-Saxa.
‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons. ’
   = POEM

the rock-Saxons. → GIANTS
the ship (líð ‘ale’) of GIANTS → POEM

notes

[2, 4] fley berg-Saxa ‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’: This kenning for ‘poem’ contains an example of the type of word-play known as ofljóst (‘too transparent’): fley ‘ship’ is synonymous with lið/líð ‘ship’, a homonym or near homonym of líð ‘ale, drink’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/8III on lið ‘ship’, and see LP: 2. lið for the possibility of a variant with long vowel). The ofljóst is explained in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 14). Hence the kenning is interpreted as ‘ale of the giants’, and thus as ‘poem’ (see Marold 1994a, 475 n. 34).

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berg ‘of the rock’

berg (noun n.; °-s; -): rock, cliff < bergsaxi (noun m.)berg (noun n.; °-s; -): rock, cliff < bergsár (noun n.)

kennings

fley berg-Saxa.
‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons. ’
   = POEM

the rock-Saxons. → GIANTS
the ship (líð ‘ale’) of GIANTS → POEM

notes

[2, 4] fley berg-Saxa ‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’: This kenning for ‘poem’ contains an example of the type of word-play known as ofljóst (‘too transparent’): fley ‘ship’ is synonymous with lið/líð ‘ship’, a homonym or near homonym of líð ‘ale, drink’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/8III on lið ‘ship’, and see LP: 2. lið for the possibility of a variant with long vowel). The ofljóst is explained in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 14). Hence the kenning is interpreted as ‘ale of the giants’, and thus as ‘poem’ (see Marold 1994a, 475 n. 34).

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Saxa ‘Saxons’

saxi (noun m.; °; -ar): Saxon < bergsaxi (noun m.)

[2] Saxa: sára B

kennings

fley berg-Saxa.
‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons. ’
   = POEM

the rock-Saxons. → GIANTS
the ship (líð ‘ale’) of GIANTS → POEM

notes

[2, 4] fley berg-Saxa ‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’: This kenning for ‘poem’ contains an example of the type of word-play known as ofljóst (‘too transparent’): fley ‘ship’ is synonymous with lið/líð ‘ship’, a homonym or near homonym of líð ‘ale, drink’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/8III on lið ‘ship’, and see LP: 2. lið for the possibility of a variant with long vowel). The ofljóst is explained in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 14). Hence the kenning is interpreted as ‘ale of the giants’, and thus as ‘poem’ (see Marold 1994a, 475 n. 34).

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Saxa ‘Saxons’

saxi (noun m.; °; -ar): Saxon < bergsaxi (noun m.)

[2] Saxa: sára B

kennings

fley berg-Saxa.
‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons. ’
   = POEM

the rock-Saxons. → GIANTS
the ship (líð ‘ale’) of GIANTS → POEM

notes

[2, 4] fley berg-Saxa ‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’: This kenning for ‘poem’ contains an example of the type of word-play known as ofljóst (‘too transparent’): fley ‘ship’ is synonymous with lið/líð ‘ship’, a homonym or near homonym of líð ‘ale, drink’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/8III on lið ‘ship’, and see LP: 2. lið for the possibility of a variant with long vowel). The ofljóst is explained in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 14). Hence the kenning is interpreted as ‘ale of the giants’, and thus as ‘poem’ (see Marold 1994a, 475 n. 34).

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vaxa ‘grows’

vaxa (verb): grow, increase

[2] vaxa: vara B

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gervi ‘give’

1. gera (verb): do, make

[3] gervi: gefi W

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hlýði ‘listen’

hljóða (verb): listen, sound

notes

[3] hlýði ‘may ... listen’: Skj B conjectures heyri instead of hlýði, given by all mss, to achieve the expected hending. Despite Skj A and SnE 1998, I, 163 attributing the conjecture to him, Konráð Gíslason repeatedly rejects it (Konráð Gíslason 1872, 14; Konráð Gíslason 1892, 18, 99). Kock (Skald) and Faulkes (SnE 1998) also adhere to the mss. Emendation is unnecessary since the hending is also missing in the first line, as noted by Konráð Gíslason (1872, 14) and Kock (NN §392). Moreover it is apparent that Einarr links ll. 3 and 4 through a hending in the introductory sts 1-5: 1. fyrðafjarð, 3. aldaǫldr (ms. aldr), 4. sorgarbergs, 5. ausaaustr. Hlýðihljóð fits well with this special use of rhyme.

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fley ‘the ship’

2. fley (noun n.; °-s): ship

[4] fley: ‘fr(e)y’(?) B

kennings

fley berg-Saxa.
‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons. ’
   = POEM

the rock-Saxons. → GIANTS
the ship (líð ‘ale’) of GIANTS → POEM

notes

[2, 4] fley berg-Saxa ‘the ship (líð ‘ale’) of the rock-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’: This kenning for ‘poem’ contains an example of the type of word-play known as ofljóst (‘too transparent’): fley ‘ship’ is synonymous with lið/líð ‘ship’, a homonym or near homonym of líð ‘ale, drink’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/8III on lið ‘ship’, and see LP: 2. lið for the possibility of a variant with long vowel). The ofljóst is explained in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 14). Hence the kenning is interpreted as ‘ale of the giants’, and thus as ‘poem’ (see Marold 1994a, 475 n. 34).

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jǫfurs ‘of the ruler’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

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þjóðir ‘the retinue’

þjóð (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): people

[4] þjóðir: corrected from þjóðar Tˣ

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

See Context to st. 1.

This stanza continues the sea metaphor (see Note to st. 1/1, 3, 4), as the poem swells within the poet like a wave at sea (cf. 3/3-4, where the poetry booms against his teeth). The call for attention is extended from the ruler to his retinue.

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