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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Stefnir Lv 2I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Stefnir Þorgilsson, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 450.

Stefnir ÞorgilssonLausavísur
12

The stanza (Stefnir Lv 2), addressed to a Danish woman, exults in the rigours of seafaring compared with the ease of a woman’s embrace (see Note to l. 8). The prose Context (below) connects the stanza with Stefnir’s verse exposé of Sigvaldi jarl, but there is nothing in the stanza to substantiate that (see Gottskálk Þór Jensson 2006, 46 and n. 1). As with Lv 1, Finnur Jónsson (LH I, 472) was confident in its authenticity, and dated it c. 1001, though it is uniquely preserved in ms. Holm18 of ÓTOdd.

Ek skil œrit gǫrla,
— erumk leið* fǫður reiði —
— harðr skyli drengr á dýrðir —
danskr hæll, hvat þú mælir.
Heldr vilk við stoð standa
staglútr drifinn úti,
váða Gerðr, an verðak
varmr á þínum armi.

Ek skil œrit gǫrla, danskr hæll, hvat þú mælir; reiði fǫður erumk leið*; drengr skyli harðr á dýrðir. Heldr vilk standa við stoð, staglútr drifinn úti, {Gerðr váða}, an verðak varmr á þínum armi.

I understand clearly enough, Danish lady, what you are saying; [your] father’s anger is hateful to me; a warrior should be hardy in glorious actions. I wish rather to stand beside the post, leaning like a forestay, storm-beaten out at sea, {Gerðr <goddess> of garments} [WOMAN], than to get warm in your arms.

Mss: Holm18(50v) (ÓTOdd)

Readings: [2] leið*: leiðr Holm18    [4] hæll: ‘hø᷎ll’ Holm18    [5] við: vil Holm18

Editions: Skj AI, 153-4, Skj BI, 146, Skald I, 80, NN §§471, 2447; ÓTOdd 1932, 195, ÍF 25, 309, ÍF 15, II, 109.

Context: The stanza is occasioned by Sigvaldi jarl’s anger at Stefnir Lv 1 (see Context). Stefnir, falling into a trap set by the jarl, accepts his daughter’s invitation to sit beside her and recites this stanza. The jarl has him killed.

Notes: [2]: The presence of a female interlocutor implied by the rest of the stanza, and its generally secular tenor, tend to support the assumption made in the prose Context that the irate father referred to here is a human one. However, the closely parallel and, if authentic, closely contemporary erumk leið sonar reiði ‘hateful to me is the Son’s wrath’ in Hfr Lv 9/6V (Hallfr 12) definitely refers to Christ, and might encourage the speculation that the scruples of the missionary Stefnir are specifically religious, as suggested by Jón Helgason (1968, 44). For another line based on the rhyme leið: reiði, see Eþver Lv 1/2, and for another reference to the anger of a woman’s father, see Eindr Lv. — [3] harðr á dýrðir ‘hardy in glorious actions’: Í plus dat. might have been expected rather than this construction, cf. greiðr ok harðr í námi ‘ready and determined in study’, cited from Mirmans saga in Fritzner: harðr 3. Skj B emends to hvatr ‘zealous’, but hvatr á is not common either, and fails to provide skothending (the emendation is rejected by Kock in Skald and NN §471). — [4] hæll ‘woman’: As noted in ÍF 15, II, 109 n., the graph ‘ø᷎’ in Holm18 can reasonably be read as æ (ae ligature), though it more often signifies œ (oe ligature). Hæll supplies the necessary aðalhending and fits well semantically. It means ‘widow’, but here, like ekkja elsewhere, apparently refers to a woman in general (LP: 2. hæll). — [5] við ‘beside’: Ms. vil is a simple case of dittography. — [5] stoð ‘the post’: A nautical sense such as ‘mast’ might be inferred here, but the word normally refers to a support (physical or moral), a staff, or a post or column in a building (Fritzner: stoð). Kock (Skald; NN §2447B) instead reads stǫð ‘landing-place, berth’. — [5] standa ‘stand’: Kock (Skald; NN §2447B), noting the lack of hending in this line, suggests that staldra ‘stop, pause’ has been replaced by the more common verb, but in the ONP citations, staldra is first recorded in the C16th, while stallra is the earlier form.  — [6] staglútr ‘leaning like a forestay’: The stag n. is the stay or rope that stretches from the mast-top to the prow (LP: stag; Jesch 2001a, 165). For a suggested emendation of staglútr to ‑lút see Jón Helgason (1968, 44), but also Jesch’s refutation (2001a, 165-6 n. 80). Helgi Skúli Kjartansson (1973) suggests ‘bent double’; cf. Jón Þór Jóhannsson (1977). — [6] úti ‘out at sea’: This could simply mean ‘outside’, but the word drifinn ‘storm-beaten’ and the condensed simile in staglútr ‘leaning like a forestay’ encourages the assumption that the helmingr is about seafaring. — [7] Gerðr: Although of giant kin, Gerðr was the wife of the god Freyr (SnE 2005, 30-1), and her name functions, here and elsewhere, like that of a goddess, as the base-word in woman-kennings (LP: Gerðr). — [8] varmr á þínum armi ‘warm in your arms’: Lit. ‘warm on your arm’. For two further stanzas constrasting masculine deeds with warm embraces, see Vígf Lv 1/7 and Note.

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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 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. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  9. ÓTOdd 1932 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1932. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar af Oddr Snorrason munk. Copenhagen: Gad.
  10. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  11. ÍF 15-17 = Biskupa sögur. Ed. Sigurgeir Steingrímsson, Ólafur Halldórsson and Peter G. Foote (15), Ásdís Egilsdóttir (16), Guðrún Ása Grímsdóttir (17). 1998-2003.
  12. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  13. Jón Helgason, ed. 1968. Skjaldevers. 3rd edn. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  14. ÍF 25 = Færeyinga saga; Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar eptir Odd munk Snorrason. Ed. Ólafur Halldórsson. 2006.
  15. Helgi Skúli Kjartansson. 1973. ‘Stóð Stefnir í keng?’. Mímir 20, 53-4.
  16. Jón Þór Jóhannsson. 1977. ‘Staglútr og vaðbjúgr’. Mímir 25, 21-2.
  17. Gottskálk Þór Jensson. 2006. ‘“Nær mun ek stefna”: Var Stefnir Þorgilsson drepinn fyrir níðvísu sem samin var á latínu af Oddi munki nálega tveimur öldum síðar?’ In Lesið í hljóði fyrir Kristján Árnason sextugan. Reykjavík: Menningar- og minnungarsjóður Mette Magnussen, 46-53.
  18. Internal references
  19. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)’ 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. clxxiv-clxxv.
  20. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eindriði Einarsson, Lausavísa’ 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. 806.
  21. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr þveræingr Eyjólfsson, Lausavísa 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. 804.
  22. Not published: do not cite (Hfr Lv 9V (Hallfr 12))
  23. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Stefnir Þorgilsson, Lausavísur 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. 448.
  24. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Stefnir Þorgilsson, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 450.
  25. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson, Lausavísa 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. 364.
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