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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Lv 12I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 12’ 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. 231.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonLausavísur
111213

Snýr ‘It is snowing’

snúa (verb): turn

[1] Snýr: snýr á F

notes

[1] snýr ‘it is snowing’: The 3rd pers. pres. indic. form of an otherwise unattested verb *snýja ‘to snow’ (ÍF 26); see further Note to SnSt Ht 62/1III.

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Svǫlnis ‘of Svǫlnir’

Svǫlnir (noun m.): Svǫlnir

[1] Svǫlnis: ‘Svalnis’ FskAˣ

kennings

vôru Svǫlnis
‘the spouse of Svǫlnir ’
   = Jǫrð

the spouse of Svǫlnir → Jǫrð

notes

[1] Svǫlnis ‘of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn>’: Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) suggests that choice of this Óðinn heiti plays ironically on the adj. svalr ‘cool’. — [1] vôru Svǫlnis ‘the spouse of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð “earth”)]’: This kenning clearly belongs to the type denoting Jǫrð as the consort of Óðinn, who is named Svǫlnir in two other examples: see Meissner 87. However, vôru is unusual. It seems to be a common noun meaning ‘spouse’, and may be connected with várar (f. pl.) ‘pledges’ and with Vôr, the name of the goddess of pledges between men and women (on Vôr, see Note to Þul Ásynja 2/5III). Nom. sg. *vára is assumed in LP: Svǫlnir, but there is no separate entry for it in LP, and no evidence for the form.

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Svǫlnis ‘of Svǫlnir’

Svǫlnir (noun m.): Svǫlnir

[1] Svǫlnis: ‘Svalnis’ FskAˣ

kennings

vôru Svǫlnis
‘the spouse of Svǫlnir ’
   = Jǫrð

the spouse of Svǫlnir → Jǫrð

notes

[1] Svǫlnis ‘of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn>’: Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) suggests that choice of this Óðinn heiti plays ironically on the adj. svalr ‘cool’. — [1] vôru Svǫlnis ‘the spouse of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð “earth”)]’: This kenning clearly belongs to the type denoting Jǫrð as the consort of Óðinn, who is named Svǫlnir in two other examples: see Meissner 87. However, vôru is unusual. It seems to be a common noun meaning ‘spouse’, and may be connected with várar (f. pl.) ‘pledges’ and with Vôr, the name of the goddess of pledges between men and women (on Vôr, see Note to Þul Ásynja 2/5III). Nom. sg. *vára is assumed in LP: Svǫlnir, but there is no separate entry for it in LP, and no evidence for the form.

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vôru ‘the spouse’

2. Vár (noun f.; °-s; -): a goddess

[1] vôru: ‘varðer’ FskBˣ

kennings

vôru Svǫlnis
‘the spouse of Svǫlnir ’
   = Jǫrð

the spouse of Svǫlnir → Jǫrð

notes

[1] vôru Svǫlnis ‘the spouse of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð “earth”)]’: This kenning clearly belongs to the type denoting Jǫrð as the consort of Óðinn, who is named Svǫlnir in two other examples: see Meissner 87. However, vôru is unusual. It seems to be a common noun meaning ‘spouse’, and may be connected with várar (f. pl.) ‘pledges’ and with Vôr, the name of the goddess of pledges between men and women (on Vôr, see Note to Þul Ásynja 2/5III). Nom. sg. *vára is assumed in LP: Svǫlnir, but there is no separate entry for it in LP, and no evidence for the form.

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hǫfum ‘we have’

hafa (verb): have

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sem ‘like’

sem (conj.): as, which

[2] sem: ok F

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Finnar ‘the Saami’

finnr (noun m.): Saami (person)

notes

[2] Finnar ‘the Saami’: A notable early mention of Saami people (Olsen 1945b, 177-8).

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birki ‘the bark-stripping’

2. birkja (verb; °-rkð-): °strip bark from a tree < birkihind (noun f.)

kennings

birkihind brums
‘the bark-stripping hind of the bud ’
   = GOAT

the bark-stripping hind of the bud → GOAT

notes

[3, 4] birkihind brums ‘the bark-stripping hind of the bud [GOAT]’: The agentive prefix birki- is evidently from verb birkja ‘to strip bark (with teeth)’ (Fritzner: birkja; cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV). The animal which destroys buds and bark is normally identified as ‘goat’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV, and Skj B; this is the sole goat-kenning in Meissner 111). Eyvindr’s comparison relates to known pastoral practice among the Saami, who practised sheep and goat husbandry in medieval and modern times. In a study of sites along the Bay of Bothnia, Broadbent (2010, 151) suggests that one type of structure, dated AD 700-1000 and usually situated near dwellings, may be a goat hut comparable to those found among the Forest Saami of Sweden; these huts ‘lack hearths but have doors and were intended to keep animals warm and safe from predators at night’. They would also have facilitated milking, generally done by women while the men spent the summer farther afield fishing, sealing, or hunting. These practices are also known further south and west, including in Norwegian coastal areas (Zachrisson 1992), where the contrast with the Scandinavian practice of transhumance, moving animals to outlying shielings during the summer, would have been striking. (The above references on Saami culture have been kindly suggested by Thomas DuBois.) For arguments that this kenning, with others in Lv 12-14, builds contrasting and shifting patterns of subsistence and livelihood (farming, fishing, hunting, gathering), see Poole 1991, 15-16.

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hind ‘ hind’

hind (noun f.; °; hindr): [stripping hind] < birkihind (noun f.)

[3] ‑hind: ‑hund FskAˣ

kennings

birkihind brums
‘the bark-stripping hind of the bud ’
   = GOAT

the bark-stripping hind of the bud → GOAT

notes

[3, 4] birkihind brums ‘the bark-stripping hind of the bud [GOAT]’: The agentive prefix birki- is evidently from verb birkja ‘to strip bark (with teeth)’ (Fritzner: birkja; cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV). The animal which destroys buds and bark is normally identified as ‘goat’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV, and Skj B; this is the sole goat-kenning in Meissner 111). Eyvindr’s comparison relates to known pastoral practice among the Saami, who practised sheep and goat husbandry in medieval and modern times. In a study of sites along the Bay of Bothnia, Broadbent (2010, 151) suggests that one type of structure, dated AD 700-1000 and usually situated near dwellings, may be a goat hut comparable to those found among the Forest Saami of Sweden; these huts ‘lack hearths but have doors and were intended to keep animals warm and safe from predators at night’. They would also have facilitated milking, generally done by women while the men spent the summer farther afield fishing, sealing, or hunting. These practices are also known further south and west, including in Norwegian coastal areas (Zachrisson 1992), where the contrast with the Scandinavian practice of transhumance, moving animals to outlying shielings during the summer, would have been striking. (The above references on Saami culture have been kindly suggested by Thomas DuBois.) For arguments that this kenning, with others in Lv 12-14, builds contrasting and shifting patterns of subsistence and livelihood (farming, fishing, hunting, gathering), see Poole 1991, 15-16.

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bundit ‘tied up’

binda (verb; °bindr; batt/bant(cf. [$332$]), bundu; bundinn): bind, tie

[3] bundit: bundinn FskBˣ, bundin FskAˣ

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brums ‘of the bud’

brumr (noun m.): [bud]

[4] brums: brims FskBˣ

kennings

birkihind brums
‘the bark-stripping hind of the bud ’
   = GOAT

the bark-stripping hind of the bud → GOAT

notes

[3, 4] birkihind brums ‘the bark-stripping hind of the bud [GOAT]’: The agentive prefix birki- is evidently from verb birkja ‘to strip bark (with teeth)’ (Fritzner: birkja; cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV). The animal which destroys buds and bark is normally identified as ‘goat’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV, and Skj B; this is the sole goat-kenning in Meissner 111). Eyvindr’s comparison relates to known pastoral practice among the Saami, who practised sheep and goat husbandry in medieval and modern times. In a study of sites along the Bay of Bothnia, Broadbent (2010, 151) suggests that one type of structure, dated AD 700-1000 and usually situated near dwellings, may be a goat hut comparable to those found among the Forest Saami of Sweden; these huts ‘lack hearths but have doors and were intended to keep animals warm and safe from predators at night’. They would also have facilitated milking, generally done by women while the men spent the summer farther afield fishing, sealing, or hunting. These practices are also known further south and west, including in Norwegian coastal areas (Zachrisson 1992), where the contrast with the Scandinavian practice of transhumance, moving animals to outlying shielings during the summer, would have been striking. (The above references on Saami culture have been kindly suggested by Thomas DuBois.) For arguments that this kenning, with others in Lv 12-14, builds contrasting and shifting patterns of subsistence and livelihood (farming, fishing, hunting, gathering), see Poole 1991, 15-16.

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at ‘in’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[4] at: á J2ˣ, FskBˣ

notes

[4] at miðju sumri ‘in the middle of summer’: The phrase is taken here (as in Skj B) primarily with the first clause, since snow other than in summer would be unremarkable, yet logically it belongs with both clauses in an apo koinou construction (NN §3049).

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miðju ‘the middle’

miðja (noun f.; °-u): the middle

notes

[4] at miðju sumri ‘in the middle of summer’: The phrase is taken here (as in Skj B) primarily with the first clause, since snow other than in summer would be unremarkable, yet logically it belongs with both clauses in an apo koinou construction (NN §3049).

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sumri ‘of summer’

sumar (noun n.; °-s; sumur/sumar): summer

notes

[4] at miðju sumri ‘in the middle of summer’: The phrase is taken here (as in Skj B) primarily with the first clause, since snow other than in summer would be unremarkable, yet logically it belongs with both clauses in an apo koinou construction (NN §3049).

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

Fsk places Lv 12 next after Lv 10. The sons of Gunnhildr, having accepted Christian baptism in England, destroy the sacrificial places in Norway on their return there. They go on progresses round the districts with a large entourage, thus oppressing the local people. Meanwhile the herring and other catches decline, the crops are ruined, and there is snow at midsummer. The people attribute the great famine that results to the anger of the gods. Hkr places the stanza differently but gives a broadly similar account of the circumstances.

Hkr treats the lausavísa as applying more closely to Eyvindr’s personal situation than does Fsk and links the mention of snowfall specifically to Hálogaland (Poole 1991, 14; cf. Turville-Petre 1976, 44). On the desolation of the land after Hákon’s death, see also Lv 13-14 below and Eyv Hák 21.

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