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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mark Frag 2III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Fragments 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 294.

Markús SkeggjasonFragments
12

This couplet (Mark Frag 2) is transmitted only in ms. W of TGT, where it is attributed to Markús. Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 350) assigns it to Markús’s poem about Knútr Sveinsson (Mark Knútr), while Finnur Jónsson (Skj) believed that it belonged to Markús’s putative KristdrápaDrápa about Christ’ (see Introductions to Mark Knútr and Mark Frag 1 above, as well as Fidjestøl 1982, 153). The couplet is too fragmentary to allow for a definite attribution to an ecclesiastical or a secular sphere (see Notes below).

Hjartfœrra veit harri
hreinvazta sik baztan.

{Harri {hjartfœrra hreinvazta}} veit sik baztan.

{The lord {of deer-traversed reindeer-seas}} [EARTH > RULER] knows himself to be the best.

Mss: W(109) (TGT)

Editions: Skj AI, 452, Skj BI, 420, Skald I, 208, NN §918; SnE 1848-87, II, 162-3, III, 148-9, TGT 1884, 28, 105, TGT 1927, 77, 105.

Context: The kenning hreinvaztir lit. ‘reindeer-fishing-grounds’ is given in TGT among examples of metaphors, and the text explains that this entails kalla jǫrð sæ dýra ‘to call the earth the sea of animals’ (TGT 1927, 77).

Notes: [1] hjartfœrra (f. gen. pl.) ‘of deer-traversed’: I.e. a place that is passable (-fœrr) for deer or traversed by deer (see LP: hjartfœrr). — [1, 2] veit sik baztan ‘knows himself to be the best’: This formula also occurs in the split refrain (klofastef) of Steinn ÓldrII (for that refrain, see Note to Steinn Óldr 1/8II). — [2]: For the internal rhyme vazt- : bazt-, see also Bragi Frag 6/2. — [2] hreinvazta (f. gen. pl.) ‘reindeer-seas [EARTH]’: Vǫzt, from Proto-Nordic *waða-stō, originally meant ‘fishing ground’ (see AEW: vǫzt as well as Note to Bragi Frag 6/2), but by extension the word could mean ‘sea’ and function as a base-word in kennings for ‘earth, land’ (Meissner 87). It is not quite clear what the actual referent of harri hreinvazta ‘lord of the reindeer-seas’ is. In the present edn, the paraphrase is taken broadly as a kenning for ‘ruler’ (for that kenning pattern, see Meissner 352-3). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: hjartfœrr) interprets hreinvazta as ‘of the mountains’ and regards it as part of a kenning for ‘God’ in which a now lost determinant with the meaning ‘roof, hall’ was contained in the other, no longer extant couplet; i.e. ‘lord of the roof/hall of the mountains [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]’. Although Finnur’s suggestion cannot be dismissed out of hand, it would be odd indeed for God (or Christ) to consider ‘himself to be the best’; rather, such a phrasing is much more suitable in a secular poem (cf. Note to ll. 1, 2 above and Steinn ÓldrII). Kock (NN §918) argues that nothing is missing here, and that the kenning harri hreinvazta, which he interprets as Fjällens herre ‘Lord of the mountains’, refers to a king of Norway. That is unlikely, however, because Markús is not associated with any Norwegian kings, only with kings of Denmark and with Ingi Steinkelsson of Sweden (see Markús’s Biography in SkP II).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. TGT 1884 = Björn Magnússon Ólsen, ed. 1884. Den tredje og fjærde grammatiske afhandling i Snorres Edda tilligemed de grammatiske afhandlingers prolog og to andre tillæg. SUGNL 12. Copenhagen: Knudtzon.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  5. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  7. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  8. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  9. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  11. TGT 1927 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1927b. Óláfr Þórðarson: Málhljóða- og málskrúðsrit. Grammatisk-retorisk afhandling. Det kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. Historisk-filologiske meddelelser 13, 2. Copenhagen: Høst.
  12. SkP II = Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Ed. Kari Ellen Gade. 2009.
  13. Internal references
  14. Tarrin Wills 2017, ‘The Third Grammatical Treatise’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  15. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Markús Skeggjason, Poem on Knútr Sveinsson’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 292.
  16. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Steinn Herdísarson, Óláfsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 367-81.
  17. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Fragments 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 62.
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Fragments 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 293.
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Fragments 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 294.
  20. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Steinn Herdísarson, Óláfsdrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 368-9.
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