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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ormr Woman 4III

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Ormr Steinþórsson, Poem about a woman 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 328.

Ormr SteinþórssonPoem about a woman

text and translation

Skorða vas í fǫt fœrð
fjarðbeins afarhrein
nýri (sǫng nadd-Freyr)
nisting (of mjaðar Hrist).

{Skorða {fjarðbeins}} vas fœrð í afarhrein fǫt nýri nisting; {nadd-Freyr} sǫng of {Hrist mjaðar}.
‘The prop of the fjord-bone [STONE > WOMAN] was clothed in exceedingly clean garments with new stitching; the spear-Freyr <god> [WARRIOR] sang about the Hrist <valkyrie> of mead [WOMAN].

notes and context

In Skm (SnE) and LaufE the stanza is quoted to illustrate the use of the base-word skorð ‘prop’ in kennings for ‘woman’. In TGT it illustrates the use of inanimate metaphors for something animate (here, skorða fjarðbeins ‘prop of the fjord-bone [STONE > WOMAN]’).

This stanza, like st. 5, may contain elements of the Snæfríðr legend (for which see Introduction). In the Flat version of the story, a magical coverlet or shroud (blæja) called Svásanautr ‘Svási’s gift’ is draped over the woman upon her death and it prevents her body from putrefying (Flat 1860-8, I, 582).



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: Ormr Steinþórsson, 1. Af et digt om en kvinde (?) 3: AI, 415, BI, 385, Skald I, 191; SnE 1848-87, I, 410-11, II, 324, 435, 584, III, 74, SnE 1931, 146, SnE 1998, I, 64; SnE 1848-87, II, 162-3, TGT 1884, 28, 104, TGT 1927, 76, 105; LaufE 1979, I, 379, 399.


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