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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhelg Lv 5I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson, Lausavísur 5’ 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. 523.

Óláfr inn helgi HaraldssonLausavísur
456

Nærs, sem upp ór eisu
— innar lítk til kvinna —
— snót, hver svá mjǫk láti,
seg mér — loga bregði.
Mik hefr máli sykvinn
mest á skǫmmu fresti
— gekk’k of golf at drekka —
gramr ok brattir hamrar.

Nærs, sem loga bregði upp ór eisu; lítk innar til kvinna; seg mér, snót, hver láti svá mjǫk. Gramr ok brattir hamrar hefr sykvinn mik máli mest á skǫmmu fresti; gekk’k of golf at drekka.

It is almost as if flame shot up from embers; I look further in towards the women; tell me, lady, who puts on airs so much. The king and steep crags [Ingibjǫrg] have cheated me of speech most in a short time; I went across the floor to drink.

Mss: DG8(91r) (ÓHLeg); Flat(187ra), Tóm(122v) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] eisu: om. Tóm    [2] lítk til kvinna: om. Tóm    [3] hver: ‘hver hver er’ Tóm    [5] máli: mála Flat;    sykvinn: so Flat, svikit DG8, ‘sykvm’ Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 221, Skj BI, 211, Skald I, 110; ÓHLeg 1922, 57, ÓHLeg 1982, 134-5; Fms 5, 178, Fms 12, 110, ÓH 1941, II, 687, 701, Flat 1860-8, III, 241.

Context: The stanza, which follows Lv 3 in ÓH and Sigv Lv 19 in ÓHLeg, is prefaced by a bare remark that some say that King Óláfr composed it about Ingibjǫrg Finnsdóttir (see Note to l. 8).

Notes: [1] nærs, sem ‘it is almost as if’: The same construction, introducing a simile or comparison, occurs in Anon Liðs 7/5-7. — [2]: Some medieval Scandinavian halls were constructed with partitioned-off apartments at the gable ends, the main entrance(s) being at the middle of the long sides of the building (cf. Foote and Wilson 1980, 152-6; Niles 2007, 42, 46). The speaker can be envisaged as at one of these entrances, while the women are in or near one of the apartments. The speaker’s placement is similar to that of Kormákr on his first sight of Steingerðr (KormǪ Lv 1-4V (Korm 1-4)). — [3] snót, hver ‘lady, who’: The word order suggests that snót ‘lady’ is a direct address to be taken with seg mér ‘tell me’, i.e. hver (f. nom. sg.) is pronominal rather than adjectival, as it would be in hver snót ‘(tell me) which lady ...’. — [5] sykvinn ... máli ‘cheated ... of speech’: The p. p. is from svíkja ‘to cheat’. The notion of the joyless lover occurs frequently in mansǫngr (Bjarni Einarsson 1961, 23-37) but that he is silenced is less common. — [7] gekk’k of golf at drekka ‘I went across the hall to drink’: This intercalation, alluding as it does to crossing a hall, may hint at the status of this stanza as court entertainment. For the concept of the double use of a hall (or other) setting, both within and outside the narrative frame, see Lönnroth (2008, 7-28). — [8] gramr ok brattir hamrar ‘the king and steep crags [Ingibjǫrg]’: This is an obvious ofljóst for Ingi (‘king’) bjǫrg (‘crags, cliffs’). Such disguises for women’s names are popular in mansǫngr (Frank 1970). Substitutions and paronomasia involving different heiti for the related concepts ‘stone, rock, mountain, crag’ predominate in the attestations. The names themselves often appear to be stereotypic, and that may be the case here. Ingibjǫrg is identified in the prose context as Finnsdóttir, but there is no narrative attached to the stanza, and chronology would scarcely allow this to be the daughter of Finnr Árnason who later married Þorfinnr Sigurðarson, jarl of Orkney (see ÍF 34, 63 and n. 1).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Bjarni Einarsson. 1961. Skáldasögur: Um uppruna og eðli ástaskáldasagnanna fornu. Reykjavík: Bókaútgáfa Menningarsjóðs.
  5. Frank, Roberta. 1970. ‘Onomastic Play in Kormakr’s Verse: The Name Steingerðr’. MS 3, 7-30.
  6. 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.
  7. Foote, Peter G. and D. M. Wilson. 1980. The Viking Achievement. 2nd edn. Great Civilizations Series. London: Sidgwick & Jackson.
  8. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  9. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  11. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  12. Lönnroth, Lars. 2008. Den dubbla scenen: Muntlig diktning från Eddan till ABBA. 2nd edn. Stockholm: Carlssons. 1st edn 1978. Stockholm: Prisma.
  13. Niles, John D. 2007. Beowulf and Lejre. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 323. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
  14. Internal references
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr / Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)’ 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. clxxiii.
  16. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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, pp. clxxvi-clxxix.
  17. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 7’ 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. 1024.
  18. Not published: do not cite (Anon (Korm) 1V (Korm 64))
  19. Not published: do not cite (KormǪ Lv 1V (Korm 1))
  20. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 19’ 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. 724.
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