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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mgóð Lv 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Magnús inn góði Óláfsson, Lausavísur 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. 5-6.

Magnús inn góði ÓláfssonLausavísur
12

Enn, þótt héti        Hvinngestr faðir minn,
gerði eigi sá        garð of hestreðr,
sem Sigurðr sýr;        sá vas þinn faðir!

Enn, þótt faðir minn héti Hvinngestr, gerði sá eigi garð of hestreðr sem Sigurðr sýr; sá vas þinn faðir!

Yet, even though my father was called Hvinngestr (‘Thief-guest’), he never put a fence around horse-phalli like Sigurðr sýr (‘Sow’); he was your father!

Mss: H(32v), Hr(23vb) (H-Hr); Mork(5r) (Mork, ll. 3-6); Flat(195va) (Flat, ll. 3-6)

Readings: [3] gerði eigi sá: so Mork, Flat, þá gerði hann aldri H, þá gerði hann þó aldri Hr    [5] sýr: so Mork, Flat, sýrr H, Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 330, Skj BI, 304, Skald I, 154; Fms 6, 194 (HSig ch. 23); Mork 1867, 28, Mork 1928-32, 110, Andersson and Gade 2000, 162, 474 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 318 (MH).

Context: The st. was composed by Magnús and recited by his half-brother, Þórir, in response to a taunting lv. by Haraldr harðráði (Hharð Lv 3).

Notes: [2] Hvinngestr ‘(“Thief-guest”)’: The identity of Þórir’s father is not known, but the nickname had derogatory connotations. Hvinn was a person guilty of petty theft (NGL I, 253), which was considered a shameful crime. The unsubstantiated allegation of petty theft carried the penalty of outlawry (NGL I, 273, 311, 331) or fines (NGL II, 70, V: hvinn). — [3]: The H, Hr variants are hypermetrical. Skj B and Skald emend to gerði hann aldri lit. ‘did he never’. — [4] hestreðr ‘horse-phalli’: This n. noun could be either acc. pl. or sg. — [4] garð of hestreðr ‘a fence around horse-phalli’: According to LP: garðr 6, this apparently meant ‘wrap the phallus of a horse so that it could not mate’. A more practical explanation is that it refers to the custom of separating the stallions from the mares by putting them in a separate, fenced-off pasture. Erik Noreen’s attempt to connect the phrase with a pagan phallus cult is not persuasive (Noreen 1922, 51). The l. may allude to Sigurðr sýr’s fondness for farm activities (see Flat 1860-8, II, 12; ÍF 27, 41), but the veiled insult is clearly of a sexual nature (making a fence, a ‘ring’ around horse-phalli), implying that Sigurðr sýr, in keeping with his feminised nickname, had been the passive partner in sexual intercourse with stallions (see SnH Lv 11; see also Hjǫrtr Lv 1-3). For legal punishments incurred by poetic insults, see Andersson and Gade 2000, 474. — [5] sem Sigurðr sýr ‘like Sigurðr sýr (“Sow”)’: The l. is unmetrical, and Magnús may have used the older form of the name Sigurðr (Sigvǫrðr), which would give a regular fornyrðislag l. — [5] sýr (f. nom. sg.) ‘(‘‘Sow’’)’: The noun is f., but when used as a male nickname it could occur as a m. (cf. sýrr m. nom. sg.; so H, Hr) (see LP: sýrr).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  7. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. NGL = Keyser, R. et al., eds. 1846-95. Norges gamle love indtil 1387. 5 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Gröndahl.
  9. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. Mork 1867 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1867. Morkinskinna: Pergamentsbog fra første halvdel af det trettende aarhundrede. Indeholdende en af de ældste optegnelser af norske kongesagaer. Oslo: Bentzen.
  12. Noreen, Erik. 1922a. Studier i fornvästnordisk diktning: Andra samlingen. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 4. Uppsala: Akademiska bokhandeln.
  13. Internal references
  14. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  15. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  16. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 45-6.
  17. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Hjǫrtr, Lausavísur 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. 344-6.
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sneglu-Halli, Lausavísur 11’ 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. 331-2.
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