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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Refr Ferðv 5III

Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, Ferðavísur 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 248.

Hofgarða-Refr GestssonFerðavísur

text and translation

Hrynja fjǫll á fyllar;
framm œsisk nú Glamma
skeið vetrliði skíða;
skaut bjǫrn Gusis nauta.

Fjǫll hrynja á fyllar; nú œsisk {vetrliði skíða} framm {skeið Glamma}; {bjǫrn {nauta Gusis}} skaut.
‘Mountains fall into the sea; now the bear of planks [SHIP] rushes forward on the race-course of Glammi <sea-king> [SEA]; the bear of the gifts of Gusir <legendary king> [ARROWS > = Ǫrvar-Oddr] shot.

notes and context

The stanza is cited in Skm (SnE) to exemplify fyllr being used as a heiti for ‘sea’.

The present interpretation, which relates this stanza to an episode from Ǫrvar-Odds saga (Ǫrv 1888, 40-8), namely Ǫrvar-Oddr’s voyage to Bjarmaland, follows Marold (2006a). According to that interpretation, which adheres to the straightforward syntax and involves no over-determined kennings, the stanza depicts the events which resemble an episode described in the prose of Ǫrvar-Odds saga: mountains (the massive rocks hurled by giants) fall into the sea, creating tremendous waves, and the ship rushes forward. Later the hero, standing behind a bear decoy made of the hide of the killed animal, shoots at a threatening giantess with the famous arrows of Gusir (see Note to l. 4 below). For other attempts at interpretations, see Notes below.



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: Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, 4. Et rejsedigt 5: AI, 321, BI, 297, Skald I, 151, NN §§785, 2988H, 3197B; SnE 1848-87, I, 502-3, II, 452, 535, 601, III, 105, SnE 1931, 176, SnE 1998, I, 96.


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