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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hál 6I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 6’ 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. 204.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHáleygjatal
567

halr ‘man’

halr (noun m.; °-s): man

[1] halr: hallr U

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Hôars ‘of Hôarr’

Háarr (noun m.): [Hárr, Hôarr]

[2] Hôars (‘hars’): ‘has’ U

kennings

veðri Hôars.
‘the storm of Hôarr. ’
   = BATTLE

the storm of Hôarr. → BATTLE
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veðri ‘the storm’

2. veðr (noun n.; °-s; -): weather, wind, storm

kennings

veðri Hôars.
‘the storm of Hôarr. ’
   = BATTLE

the storm of Hôarr. → BATTLE
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hǫsvan ‘grey’

hǫss (adj.): grey

kennings

hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis
‘the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir ’
   = WOLF-SKIN

the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir → WOLF-SKIN

notes

[3-4] hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis ‘the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir <wolf> [WOLF-SKIN]’: This is one of the earliest references to berserkr practices. The two most familiar native terms are berserkr ‘bear/bare-shirted’ and ulfheðinn ‘wolf-skin’ (cf. Þhorn Harkv 8/5, 7 and Note); Eyvindr’s expression here, with its use of serk(r) and an allusion to a wolf, has elements of both. The correct form (-grísnir or ‑grisnir), etymology and meaning of the unique heiti Hrísgrísnir are unclear: for discussion see NN §2744; AEW: Hrísgrísnir. Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 319) suggests ‘one who gnashes his teeth in the bushes’. The phrase may be regarded as a kenning, albeit a unique one, on the basis of its structure and the figurative use of serkr ‘shirt’.

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serk ‘shirt’

1. serkr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -/-i; -ir): shirt

kennings

hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis
‘the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir ’
   = WOLF-SKIN

the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir → WOLF-SKIN

notes

[3-4] hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis ‘the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir <wolf> [WOLF-SKIN]’: This is one of the earliest references to berserkr practices. The two most familiar native terms are berserkr ‘bear/bare-shirted’ and ulfheðinn ‘wolf-skin’ (cf. Þhorn Harkv 8/5, 7 and Note); Eyvindr’s expression here, with its use of serk(r) and an allusion to a wolf, has elements of both. The correct form (-grísnir or ‑grisnir), etymology and meaning of the unique heiti Hrísgrísnir are unclear: for discussion see NN §2744; AEW: Hrísgrísnir. Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 319) suggests ‘one who gnashes his teeth in the bushes’. The phrase may be regarded as a kenning, albeit a unique one, on the basis of its structure and the figurative use of serkr ‘shirt’.

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Hrísgrísnis ‘Hrísgrísnir’

Hrísgrísnir (noun m.): hrísgrísnir

[4] Hrísgrísnis: ‘hrísnis’ W, Hrungnis U, Hrímgrímnis A, Hergrímnis C

kennings

hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis
‘the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir ’
   = WOLF-SKIN

the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir → WOLF-SKIN

notes

[3-4] hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis ‘the grey shirt of Hrísgrísnir <wolf> [WOLF-SKIN]’: This is one of the earliest references to berserkr practices. The two most familiar native terms are berserkr ‘bear/bare-shirted’ and ulfheðinn ‘wolf-skin’ (cf. Þhorn Harkv 8/5, 7 and Note); Eyvindr’s expression here, with its use of serk(r) and an allusion to a wolf, has elements of both. The correct form (-grísnir or ‑grisnir), etymology and meaning of the unique heiti Hrísgrísnir are unclear: for discussion see NN §2744; AEW: Hrísgrísnir. Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 319) suggests ‘one who gnashes his teeth in the bushes’. The phrase may be regarded as a kenning, albeit a unique one, on the basis of its structure and the figurative use of serkr ‘shirt’.

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

The stanza is cited in a section illustrating kennings referring to battle as the weather or storm of weapons.

The identity of the subject, sá halr ‘that man’, remains unknown, although, on the principle of paronomasia, Brynjólfr/Brynjolfus, lit. ‘mail-shirt + wolf’, would be a possible candidate; see Introduction for the genealogy of the Hlaðajarlar.

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