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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hhárf Snædr 1I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Haraldr hárfagri Hálfdanarson, Snæfríðardrápa 1’ 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. 68.

Haraldr hárfagri HálfdanarsonSnæfríðardrápa1

Hneggi ‘in the rock’

2. hnegg (noun n.): rock

kennings

hneggi ótta;
‘in the rock of fear; ’
   = HEART

in the rock of fear; → HEART

notes

[1, 2] hneggi ótta ‘in the rock of fear [HEART]’: The base-word hneggi is dat. sg. from hnegg n., which in this context appears to have the sense ‘rock, small skerry’ which is attested for its evident cognate ModIcel. (h)naggur ‘small skerry, cliff’ (AEW: hnegg; Árni Böðvarsson 2002: naggur). Parallel would be the kennings for ‘heart’ with base-word steinn ‘stone’ or mýll ‘ball’ cited by Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 108; cf. Meissner 138). The determinant ótta (gen. sg.) ‘fear’ accords with Snorri’s statement (loc. cit.) that words denoting emotions such as harmr ‘grief’ and tregi ‘sorrow’ can be used in kennings for ‘heart’. Snorri does not cite ótti, but the word may be selected here to express the poet’s humility towards his addressee (cf. Ormr Woman 1/1-2III). In skaldic usage the word (h)negg is otherwise attested solely as a heiti for ‘heart’, as seen in Þul Hugar ok hjarta 1/1III, in the kennings hnegg foldar ‘heart of the earth [STONE]’ (HSt Frag 7/2III) and hneggverǫld ‘heart-world [BREAST]’ (Anon (SnE) 101/3III), and in SnE (1998, I, 108). It seems necessary to posit the sense ‘rock, small skerry’ for this stanza, however, in order to avoid the complex emendations that are required if the sense ‘heart’ is selected instead (see Note to ll. 1-4).

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ótta ‘of fear’

ótti (noun m.; °-a): fear

kennings

hneggi ótta;
‘in the rock of fear; ’
   = HEART

in the rock of fear; → HEART

notes

[1, 2] hneggi ótta ‘in the rock of fear [HEART]’: The base-word hneggi is dat. sg. from hnegg n., which in this context appears to have the sense ‘rock, small skerry’ which is attested for its evident cognate ModIcel. (h)naggur ‘small skerry, cliff’ (AEW: hnegg; Árni Böðvarsson 2002: naggur). Parallel would be the kennings for ‘heart’ with base-word steinn ‘stone’ or mýll ‘ball’ cited by Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 108; cf. Meissner 138). The determinant ótta (gen. sg.) ‘fear’ accords with Snorri’s statement (loc. cit.) that words denoting emotions such as harmr ‘grief’ and tregi ‘sorrow’ can be used in kennings for ‘heart’. Snorri does not cite ótti, but the word may be selected here to express the poet’s humility towards his addressee (cf. Ormr Woman 1/1-2III). In skaldic usage the word (h)negg is otherwise attested solely as a heiti for ‘heart’, as seen in Þul Hugar ok hjarta 1/1III, in the kennings hnegg foldar ‘heart of the earth [STONE]’ (HSt Frag 7/2III) and hneggverǫld ‘heart-world [BREAST]’ (Anon (SnE) 101/3III), and in SnE (1998, I, 108). It seems necessary to posit the sense ‘rock, small skerry’ for this stanza, however, in order to avoid the complex emendations that are required if the sense ‘heart’ is selected instead (see Note to ll. 1-4).

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drótt ‘let the company’

1. drótt (noun f.): troop

Close

dána ‘death’

dán (noun f.): [death]

notes

[3] at mey dána ‘after the maiden’s death’: Lit. ‘after the maiden dead’. (a) In the interpretation adopted here, the prep. at governs the acc., with the sense ‘after’; cf. phrases of the type at e-n fallinn/dauðan ‘after the death of sby’ (LP: 1. at B). (b) See the following Note, analysis (b), for an alternative possibility.

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vekk ‘I bring to light’

1. vekja (verb): awaken, rouse

notes

[3] vekk dul ‘I bring to light a delusion’: Lit. ‘I rouse a delusion’. The poet is resuscitating a secret or delusion (cf. ONP: dul) about the dead Snæfríðr, perhaps referring to Haraldr’s delusive love and/or to the hidden corruption of her body. Haraldr’s delusion is also alluded to in the C12th Anon Mhkv 11III

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dul ‘a delusion’

1. dul (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): delusion

notes

[3] dul at ‘a delusion after’: This reading (ms. ‘dulat’) is preferable to dular (despite Flat 1860-8; Skj A; Skald), since the bar (cross-stroke) of the final letter is straight, indicating <t>, rather than arched, indicating <r>. — [3] vekk dul ‘I bring to light a delusion’: Lit. ‘I rouse a delusion’. The poet is resuscitating a secret or delusion (cf. ONP: dul) about the dead Snæfríðr, perhaps referring to Haraldr’s delusive love and/or to the hidden corruption of her body. Haraldr’s delusion is also alluded to in the C12th Anon Mhkv 11III

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dul ‘a delusion’

1. dul (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): delusion

notes

[3] dul at ‘a delusion after’: This reading (ms. ‘dulat’) is preferable to dular (despite Flat 1860-8; Skj A; Skald), since the bar (cross-stroke) of the final letter is straight, indicating <t>, rather than arched, indicating <r>. — [3] vekk dul ‘I bring to light a delusion’: Lit. ‘I rouse a delusion’. The poet is resuscitating a secret or delusion (cf. ONP: dul) about the dead Snæfríðr, perhaps referring to Haraldr’s delusive love and/or to the hidden corruption of her body. Haraldr’s delusion is also alluded to in the C12th Anon Mhkv 11III

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at ‘after’

3. at (prep.): at, to

notes

[3] dul at ‘a delusion after’: This reading (ms. ‘dulat’) is preferable to dular (despite Flat 1860-8; Skj A; Skald), since the bar (cross-stroke) of the final letter is straight, indicating <t>, rather than arched, indicating <r>. — [3] at mey dána ‘after the maiden’s death’: Lit. ‘after the maiden dead’. (a) In the interpretation adopted here, the prep. at governs the acc., with the sense ‘after’; cf. phrases of the type at e-n fallinn/dauðan ‘after the death of sby’ (LP: 1. at B). (b) See the following Note, analysis (b), for an alternative possibility.

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at ‘after’

3. at (prep.): at, to

notes

[3] dul at ‘a delusion after’: This reading (ms. ‘dulat’) is preferable to dular (despite Flat 1860-8; Skj A; Skald), since the bar (cross-stroke) of the final letter is straight, indicating <t>, rather than arched, indicating <r>. — [3] at mey dána ‘after the maiden’s death’: Lit. ‘after the maiden dead’. (a) In the interpretation adopted here, the prep. at governs the acc., with the sense ‘after’; cf. phrases of the type at e-n fallinn/dauðan ‘after the death of sby’ (LP: 1. at B). (b) See the following Note, analysis (b), for an alternative possibility.

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mey ‘the maiden’s’

mær (noun f.; °meyjar, dat. meyju; meyjar): maiden

notes

[3] at mey dána ‘after the maiden’s death’: Lit. ‘after the maiden dead’. (a) In the interpretation adopted here, the prep. at governs the acc., with the sense ‘after’; cf. phrases of the type at e-n fallinn/dauðan ‘after the death of sby’ (LP: 1. at B). (b) See the following Note, analysis (b), for an alternative possibility.

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drauga ‘of the undead’

2. draugr (noun m.): ghost

kennings

kerlaug drauga;
‘the cup-liquid of the undead; ’
   = POETRY

the cup-liquid of the undead; → POETRY

notes

[4] kerlaug drauga ‘the cup-liquid of the undead [POETRY]’: This is clearly a kenning for ‘poetry’ alluding to the myth of the mead of poetry (see SnE 1998, I, 4-5, Meissner 427-30 and Note to Eskál Vell 1/1). However, reference to dwarfs, not the undead, would be expected in this type of kenning. (a) It is assumed here that drauga ‘of the undead’ fulfils the same function. It may deliberately maximise associations with the dead, and there is evidence for the association of dwarfs with death in early Scandinavian religion (Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 282, 288). (b) The expected dwarf-name, and hence a more conventional poetry-kenning, would be supplied if dána were emended to Dáins, hence kerlaug Dáins ‘cup-liquid of Dáinn <dwarf> [DRINK > POETRY]’ (cf. Þul Dverga 1/5III). However, besides involving an emendation, this leaves drauga difficult to account for. The main possibility would be that it modifies mey to give vekk dul at mey drauga ‘I bring to light a delusion about the maiden of the undead’. This would associate the mey with death, and might account for the fear felt by the speaker, perhaps with the overall thought that the poetry brings her back to life.

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ker ‘the cup’

ker (noun n.): vessel < kerlaug (noun f.): [cup-liquid]

kennings

kerlaug drauga;
‘the cup-liquid of the undead; ’
   = POETRY

the cup-liquid of the undead; → POETRY

notes

[4] kerlaug ‘the cup-liquid’: Laug f. is ‘bath, washing’, or ‘hot-spring’ in an Icel. context, hence here liquid in general, and ker n. is often specifically a cup or drinking-vessel (LP: ker 1). The cpd could be regarded as a kenning for ‘drink’ or ‘ale’ (cf. TorfE Lv 1/6 kerstraumr ‘cup-stream [DRINK]’), but if so the structure of the overall poetry-kenning is unusual, with a kenning as the base-word. Kerlaug could alternatively be a river-name, as it is in Þul Á 6/4 Kerlaugar tvær ‘two Kerlaugar’ and in Grí 29/2 (NK 63), where the phrase designates a pair of rivers through which Þórr wades. — [4] kerlaug drauga ‘the cup-liquid of the undead [POETRY]’: This is clearly a kenning for ‘poetry’ alluding to the myth of the mead of poetry (see SnE 1998, I, 4-5, Meissner 427-30 and Note to Eskál Vell 1/1). However, reference to dwarfs, not the undead, would be expected in this type of kenning. (a) It is assumed here that drauga ‘of the undead’ fulfils the same function. It may deliberately maximise associations with the dead, and there is evidence for the association of dwarfs with death in early Scandinavian religion (Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 282, 288). (b) The expected dwarf-name, and hence a more conventional poetry-kenning, would be supplied if dána were emended to Dáins, hence kerlaug Dáins ‘cup-liquid of Dáinn <dwarf> [DRINK > POETRY]’ (cf. Þul Dverga 1/5III). However, besides involving an emendation, this leaves drauga difficult to account for. The main possibility would be that it modifies mey to give vekk dul at mey drauga ‘I bring to light a delusion about the maiden of the undead’. This would associate the mey with death, and might account for the fear felt by the speaker, perhaps with the overall thought that the poetry brings her back to life.

Close

ker ‘the cup’

ker (noun n.): vessel < kerlaug (noun f.): [cup-liquid]

kennings

kerlaug drauga;
‘the cup-liquid of the undead; ’
   = POETRY

the cup-liquid of the undead; → POETRY

notes

[4] kerlaug ‘the cup-liquid’: Laug f. is ‘bath, washing’, or ‘hot-spring’ in an Icel. context, hence here liquid in general, and ker n. is often specifically a cup or drinking-vessel (LP: ker 1). The cpd could be regarded as a kenning for ‘drink’ or ‘ale’ (cf. TorfE Lv 1/6 kerstraumr ‘cup-stream [DRINK]’), but if so the structure of the overall poetry-kenning is unusual, with a kenning as the base-word. Kerlaug could alternatively be a river-name, as it is in Þul Á 6/4 Kerlaugar tvær ‘two Kerlaugar’ and in Grí 29/2 (NK 63), where the phrase designates a pair of rivers through which Þórr wades. — [4] kerlaug drauga ‘the cup-liquid of the undead [POETRY]’: This is clearly a kenning for ‘poetry’ alluding to the myth of the mead of poetry (see SnE 1998, I, 4-5, Meissner 427-30 and Note to Eskál Vell 1/1). However, reference to dwarfs, not the undead, would be expected in this type of kenning. (a) It is assumed here that drauga ‘of the undead’ fulfils the same function. It may deliberately maximise associations with the dead, and there is evidence for the association of dwarfs with death in early Scandinavian religion (Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 282, 288). (b) The expected dwarf-name, and hence a more conventional poetry-kenning, would be supplied if dána were emended to Dáins, hence kerlaug Dáins ‘cup-liquid of Dáinn <dwarf> [DRINK > POETRY]’ (cf. Þul Dverga 1/5III). However, besides involving an emendation, this leaves drauga difficult to account for. The main possibility would be that it modifies mey to give vekk dul at mey drauga ‘I bring to light a delusion about the maiden of the undead’. This would associate the mey with death, and might account for the fear felt by the speaker, perhaps with the overall thought that the poetry brings her back to life.

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laug ‘liquid’

laug (noun f.; °-ar; dat. -u/-; -ar): bath, hot spring < kerlaug (noun f.): [cup-liquid]

kennings

kerlaug drauga;
‘the cup-liquid of the undead; ’
   = POETRY

the cup-liquid of the undead; → POETRY

notes

[4] kerlaug ‘the cup-liquid’: Laug f. is ‘bath, washing’, or ‘hot-spring’ in an Icel. context, hence here liquid in general, and ker n. is often specifically a cup or drinking-vessel (LP: ker 1). The cpd could be regarded as a kenning for ‘drink’ or ‘ale’ (cf. TorfE Lv 1/6 kerstraumr ‘cup-stream [DRINK]’), but if so the structure of the overall poetry-kenning is unusual, with a kenning as the base-word. Kerlaug could alternatively be a river-name, as it is in Þul Á 6/4 Kerlaugar tvær ‘two Kerlaugar’ and in Grí 29/2 (NK 63), where the phrase designates a pair of rivers through which Þórr wades. — [4] kerlaug drauga ‘the cup-liquid of the undead [POETRY]’: This is clearly a kenning for ‘poetry’ alluding to the myth of the mead of poetry (see SnE 1998, I, 4-5, Meissner 427-30 and Note to Eskál Vell 1/1). However, reference to dwarfs, not the undead, would be expected in this type of kenning. (a) It is assumed here that drauga ‘of the undead’ fulfils the same function. It may deliberately maximise associations with the dead, and there is evidence for the association of dwarfs with death in early Scandinavian religion (Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 282, 288). (b) The expected dwarf-name, and hence a more conventional poetry-kenning, would be supplied if dána were emended to Dáins, hence kerlaug Dáins ‘cup-liquid of Dáinn <dwarf> [DRINK > POETRY]’ (cf. Þul Dverga 1/5III). However, besides involving an emendation, this leaves drauga difficult to account for. The main possibility would be that it modifies mey to give vekk dul at mey drauga ‘I bring to light a delusion about the maiden of the undead’. This would associate the mey with death, and might account for the fear felt by the speaker, perhaps with the overall thought that the poetry brings her back to life.

Close

laug ‘liquid’

laug (noun f.; °-ar; dat. -u/-; -ar): bath, hot spring < kerlaug (noun f.): [cup-liquid]

kennings

kerlaug drauga;
‘the cup-liquid of the undead; ’
   = POETRY

the cup-liquid of the undead; → POETRY

notes

[4] kerlaug ‘the cup-liquid’: Laug f. is ‘bath, washing’, or ‘hot-spring’ in an Icel. context, hence here liquid in general, and ker n. is often specifically a cup or drinking-vessel (LP: ker 1). The cpd could be regarded as a kenning for ‘drink’ or ‘ale’ (cf. TorfE Lv 1/6 kerstraumr ‘cup-stream [DRINK]’), but if so the structure of the overall poetry-kenning is unusual, with a kenning as the base-word. Kerlaug could alternatively be a river-name, as it is in Þul Á 6/4 Kerlaugar tvær ‘two Kerlaugar’ and in Grí 29/2 (NK 63), where the phrase designates a pair of rivers through which Þórr wades. — [4] kerlaug drauga ‘the cup-liquid of the undead [POETRY]’: This is clearly a kenning for ‘poetry’ alluding to the myth of the mead of poetry (see SnE 1998, I, 4-5, Meissner 427-30 and Note to Eskál Vell 1/1). However, reference to dwarfs, not the undead, would be expected in this type of kenning. (a) It is assumed here that drauga ‘of the undead’ fulfils the same function. It may deliberately maximise associations with the dead, and there is evidence for the association of dwarfs with death in early Scandinavian religion (Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 282, 288). (b) The expected dwarf-name, and hence a more conventional poetry-kenning, would be supplied if dána were emended to Dáins, hence kerlaug Dáins ‘cup-liquid of Dáinn <dwarf> [DRINK > POETRY]’ (cf. Þul Dverga 1/5III). However, besides involving an emendation, this leaves drauga difficult to account for. The main possibility would be that it modifies mey to give vekk dul at mey drauga ‘I bring to light a delusion about the maiden of the undead’. This would associate the mey with death, and might account for the fear felt by the speaker, perhaps with the overall thought that the poetry brings her back to life.

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dvali[...] ‘’

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Dvalins ‘of Dvalinn’

Dvalinn (noun m.): Dvalinn

[5] Dvalins: ‘duali(er)’(?) Flat

kennings

greip Dvalins,
‘the grasp of Dvalinn, ’
   = MOUTH

the grasp of Dvalinn, → MOUTH

notes

[5] Dvalins ‘of Dvalinn <dwarf>’: The end of the word in Flat appears crammed so as to fit at the right-hand margin and is most straightforwardly read as i followed by the standard er abbreviation. It is copied as ‘dvalis’ in 761bˣ, however, and interpreted as ‑ins in Flat 1860-8, Skj A and Flat 1945, II, 70, and clearly this is required unless we assume an otherwise unattested heiti. The dwarf-name Dvalinn may be related to dvala, dvelja ‘delay’ and hence mean ‘(he who was) delayed’ (Acker 2002, 219, 225 n. 35) or ‘torpid’ (Þul Dverga 2/2III and Note). This and two other poetry-kennings with Dvalins as the determinant (Anon Hafg 1/2IV, HaukrV Ísldr 1/4IV) occur in what seem to have been the openings of drápur, possibly because Dvalinn was associated with occult knowledge and craftsmanship (Acker 2002, 220, 226 n. 43; Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 281; Simek 1993, 67). — [5] greip Dvalins ‘the grasp of Dvalinn <dwarf> [MOUTH]’: This unparalleled kenning can only be tentatively interpreted. The helmingr envisages poetry as mead pouring from a receptacle of some sort, and contextually ‘mouth’ is most likely. Ólafur Halldórsson (1969b, 152) suggests that the kenning could allude to the mythological motif of giants (though not dwarfs) measuring out gold by mouthfulls (SnE 1998, I, 3); the connection with dwarfs rather than giants could reflect a now-lost myth or possibly confusion on the part of the poet. An earlier explanation (Skj B; NN §133) that the reference is literally to Dvalinn’s hand, as having snatched away the poetic mead, does not fit the context.

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Dvalins ‘of Dvalinn’

Dvalinn (noun m.): Dvalinn

[5] Dvalins: ‘duali(er)’(?) Flat

kennings

greip Dvalins,
‘the grasp of Dvalinn, ’
   = MOUTH

the grasp of Dvalinn, → MOUTH

notes

[5] Dvalins ‘of Dvalinn <dwarf>’: The end of the word in Flat appears crammed so as to fit at the right-hand margin and is most straightforwardly read as i followed by the standard er abbreviation. It is copied as ‘dvalis’ in 761bˣ, however, and interpreted as ‑ins in Flat 1860-8, Skj A and Flat 1945, II, 70, and clearly this is required unless we assume an otherwise unattested heiti. The dwarf-name Dvalinn may be related to dvala, dvelja ‘delay’ and hence mean ‘(he who was) delayed’ (Acker 2002, 219, 225 n. 35) or ‘torpid’ (Þul Dverga 2/2III and Note). This and two other poetry-kennings with Dvalins as the determinant (Anon Hafg 1/2IV, HaukrV Ísldr 1/4IV) occur in what seem to have been the openings of drápur, possibly because Dvalinn was associated with occult knowledge and craftsmanship (Acker 2002, 220, 226 n. 43; Reichborn-Kjennerud 1934a, 281; Simek 1993, 67). — [5] greip Dvalins ‘the grasp of Dvalinn <dwarf> [MOUTH]’: This unparalleled kenning can only be tentatively interpreted. The helmingr envisages poetry as mead pouring from a receptacle of some sort, and contextually ‘mouth’ is most likely. Ólafur Halldórsson (1969b, 152) suggests that the kenning could allude to the mythological motif of giants (though not dwarfs) measuring out gold by mouthfulls (SnE 1998, I, 3); the connection with dwarfs rather than giants could reflect a now-lost myth or possibly confusion on the part of the poet. An earlier explanation (Skj B; NN §133) that the reference is literally to Dvalinn’s hand, as having snatched away the poetic mead, does not fit the context.

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greip ‘the grasp’

grípa (verb): seize, grasp

kennings

greip Dvalins,
‘the grasp of Dvalinn, ’
   = MOUTH

the grasp of Dvalinn, → MOUTH

notes

[5] greip Dvalins ‘the grasp of Dvalinn <dwarf> [MOUTH]’: This unparalleled kenning can only be tentatively interpreted. The helmingr envisages poetry as mead pouring from a receptacle of some sort, and contextually ‘mouth’ is most likely. Ólafur Halldórsson (1969b, 152) suggests that the kenning could allude to the mythological motif of giants (though not dwarfs) measuring out gold by mouthfulls (SnE 1998, I, 3); the connection with dwarfs rather than giants could reflect a now-lost myth or possibly confusion on the part of the poet. An earlier explanation (Skj B; NN §133) that the reference is literally to Dvalinn’s hand, as having snatched away the poetic mead, does not fit the context.

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dynja ‘ring out’

dynja (verb; °dunði): resound

notes

[6] dynja ..., meðan hrynr framm ‘ring out ..., as it rushes forth’: The placement of the two verbs in this line conflicts with their meaning and natural collocations (despite Kock’s explanation, NN §1806). Expected would be hrynr ór Dvalins greip ‘rushes from Dvalinn’s grasp [MOUTH]’ and dynja á bragar stétt ‘ring out on the path of poetry [BREAST]’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Reichardt (1928, 113) punctuate in such a way as to bring out these linkages, but that results in a very convoluted intercalation of sentence components.

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meðan ‘as’

meðan (conj.): while

notes

[6] dynja ..., meðan hrynr framm ‘ring out ..., as it rushes forth’: The placement of the two verbs in this line conflicts with their meaning and natural collocations (despite Kock’s explanation, NN §1806). Expected would be hrynr ór Dvalins greip ‘rushes from Dvalinn’s grasp [MOUTH]’ and dynja á bragar stétt ‘ring out on the path of poetry [BREAST]’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Reichardt (1928, 113) punctuate in such a way as to bring out these linkages, but that results in a very convoluted intercalation of sentence components.

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framm ‘forth’

fram (adv.): out, forth, forwards, away

notes

[6] dynja ..., meðan hrynr framm ‘ring out ..., as it rushes forth’: The placement of the two verbs in this line conflicts with their meaning and natural collocations (despite Kock’s explanation, NN §1806). Expected would be hrynr ór Dvalins greip ‘rushes from Dvalinn’s grasp [MOUTH]’ and dynja á bragar stétt ‘ring out on the path of poetry [BREAST]’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Reichardt (1928, 113) punctuate in such a way as to bring out these linkages, but that results in a very convoluted intercalation of sentence components.

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hrynr ‘it rushes’

hrynja (verb): fall, flow

notes

[6] dynja ..., meðan hrynr framm ‘ring out ..., as it rushes forth’: The placement of the two verbs in this line conflicts with their meaning and natural collocations (despite Kock’s explanation, NN §1806). Expected would be hrynr ór Dvalins greip ‘rushes from Dvalinn’s grasp [MOUTH]’ and dynja á bragar stétt ‘ring out on the path of poetry [BREAST]’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Reichardt (1928, 113) punctuate in such a way as to bring out these linkages, but that results in a very convoluted intercalation of sentence components.

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Regins ‘of Reginn’

Reginn (noun m.): Reginn

kennings

réttan drykk Regins.
‘a correct drink of Reginn.’
   = POETRY

a correct drink of Reginn. → POETRY

notes

[7] Regins ‘of Reginn <dwarf>’: Reginn is best known as a legendary smith (see Note to Þjóð Haustl 12/6III), but reginn is among the heiti for ‘dwarf’ (Þul Dverga 6/4III), and a dwarf is to be expected in a poetry-kenning.

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drykk ‘drink’

drykkr (noun m.; °-jar/-ar(DN II (*1276›apogr—) 14³Š)/-s, dat. -/-i; -ir): drink

kennings

réttan drykk Regins.
‘a correct drink of Reginn.’
   = POETRY

a correct drink of Reginn. → POETRY
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réttan ‘a correct’

3. réttr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): right, straight, direct

kennings

réttan drykk Regins.
‘a correct drink of Reginn.’
   = POETRY

a correct drink of Reginn. → POETRY

notes

[8] réttan ‘correct’: In using this adj., the poet may have been referring to his careful observance of the rules for the hálfhnept verse-form (cf. NN §2408).

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á ‘on’

3. á (prep.): on, at

notes

[8] á stétt bragar ‘on the path of poetry [TONGUE]’: Finnur Jónsson emends á ‘on’ to af ‘from’, but the notion is surely that the motion of the poem is on or along this pathway (NN §1806B). Kennings of this type referring to the seat or path of poetry are ambiguous, and could denote either ‘tongue’ or ‘mouth’, as assumed here, or ‘breast’ (see Meissner 135). This usage of stétt ‘path’ appears learned in character and otherwise occurs only in late, Christian skaldic poetry (cf. Ólafur Halldórsson 1969b, 157).

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bragar ‘of poetry’

bragr (noun m.; °-ar): poem, poetry

kennings

stétt bragar;
‘the path of poetry; ’
   = TONGUE

the path of poetry; → TONGUE

notes

[8] á stétt bragar ‘on the path of poetry [TONGUE]’: Finnur Jónsson emends á ‘on’ to af ‘from’, but the notion is surely that the motion of the poem is on or along this pathway (NN §1806B). Kennings of this type referring to the seat or path of poetry are ambiguous, and could denote either ‘tongue’ or ‘mouth’, as assumed here, or ‘breast’ (see Meissner 135). This usage of stétt ‘path’ appears learned in character and otherwise occurs only in late, Christian skaldic poetry (cf. Ólafur Halldórsson 1969b, 157).

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stétt ‘the path’

stétt (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): path

kennings

stétt bragar;
‘the path of poetry; ’
   = TONGUE

the path of poetry; → TONGUE

notes

[8] á stétt bragar ‘on the path of poetry [TONGUE]’: Finnur Jónsson emends á ‘on’ to af ‘from’, but the notion is surely that the motion of the poem is on or along this pathway (NN §1806B). Kennings of this type referring to the seat or path of poetry are ambiguous, and could denote either ‘tongue’ or ‘mouth’, as assumed here, or ‘breast’ (see Meissner 135). This usage of stétt ‘path’ appears learned in character and otherwise occurs only in late, Christian skaldic poetry (cf. Ólafur Halldórsson 1969b, 157).

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The stanza is included in the story of Haraldr hárfagri and Snæfríðr as told in Flat; versions also appear in Ágr (ÍF 29, 5-6) and Hkr (ÍF 26, 125-7) without the stanza or reference to it. Haraldr is enticed by one Svási, who according to Flat is a dwarf, into meeting his daughter Snæfríðr; he feels burning desire for her. After their marriage she bears him sons (named in Flat 1860-8, I, 567). So infatuated is he that he never leaves her side so long as she lives. At her death, a sheet or shroud (blæja) called Svásanautr ‘Svási’s gift’ is draped over her. Through its magical properties, her complexion remains unaltered, leading the king to imagine that she might revive. He remains with her for three years, to the neglect of his kingly duties, and will not allow her body to be buried. Haraldr recites a poem about her called Snjófríðardrápa, from which the upphaf ‘beginning’ is cited in Flat. Eventually, a wise counsellor persuades the king to allow the shroud to be removed. When the true, corrupt state of the corpse is revealed, he comes to his senses and allows it to be buried.

[1-4]: These difficult lines have been the subject of a series of emendations, outlined here, but none is wholly persuasive, and the interpretation shown above is a tentative attempt to construe the ms. text as it stands. (a) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) offers the following text: Hneggi berk ok æ ugg | ótta (hlýði) mér (drótt); | dána vekka (dróttins) mey | (drauga á kerlaug) ‘I constantly carry in my heart dread and fear; may people listen to my poem; I cannot rouse the dead woman’. The kenning for ‘poem/poetry’ is tentatively explained as kerlaug dróttins drauga ‘vessel-liquid (lit. vessel-washing) of Óðinn’ in LP: kerlaug. Finnur’s principal conjectures, along with the objections raised against them by subsequent commentators, are the following. Ok ‘and’ has been added in l. 1. In l. 2 the 3rd pers. pl. pres. subj. hlýði ‘let … hear’ is separated syntactically from mér ‘me’ (NN §132; Reichardt 1928, 158). In l. 3 the noun dróttins ‘lord’ is arrived at by emendation of ms. dular/dulat (see Note below) and separated syntactically from mey ‘maiden’ so as to yield a combination dróttins drauga ‘of the lord of the undead’, not paralleled in Óðinn-kennings (Meissner 252-3; Reichardt 1928, 158-9); dróttins is also unmetrical. A further emendation in l. 3 is vekka, from vek ek, with addition of the negative enclitic particle (NN §132). (b) Kock retains Finnur’s ok in l. 1 so as to arrive at ok ugg ótta, i. e. ugg ok ótta ‘fear and terror’ (NN §132, cf. §§1508C, 1827D). Restoring vekk ‘I awake’ and interpreting dular as an adverbial gen. meaning ‘out of slumber, torpor’, Kock (NN §132) proposes that the speaker represents himself as waking the dead maiden. He further emends drauga to dverga ‘of dwarfs’ so as to arrive at a more expected kenning for ‘poem’ (NN §132; subsequently rescinded in NN §§2209, 2985B since it fails to provide hending). (c) Bjarni Einarsson (1961, 34-5) tentatively proposes Ber ek æ ugg (ok?) ótta hneggi ‘I always bear fear (and?) terror in the heart’, with the implication that ok might be unnecessary, but such an asyndeton (omission of an explicit conj.) would be hard to parallel. (d) Further emendations are suggested by Einar Ólafur Sveinsson (1975, 174-8; cf. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson 1976, 148) and Ólafur Halldórsson (1969b and 1990).

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