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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Steinþ Frag 1III

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2017, ‘Steinþórr, Fragment 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. 390.


Forngǫrvan ák firnum
farms Gunnlaðar arma
horna fors at hrósa
hlítstyggs ok þó lítinn.

Ák at hrósa firnum {fors horna} {hlítstyggs farms {arma Gunnlaðar}} forngǫrvan ok þó lítinn.

I have to praise vehemently {the waterfall of horns} [MEAD] {of the trust-wary freight {of the arms of Gunnlǫð <giantess>}} [LOVER = Óðinn > POETRY] made of old, and yet meagre.

Mss: R(21r), Tˣ(21v), W(45), U(26v), B(4r) (SnE); 2368ˣ(81), 743ˣ(64v) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] ‑gǫrvan: gǫrvar W, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, ‑gǫrvum U;    firnum: fyrðum U    [2] ‑laðar: ‑hlaðar B    [4] ‑styggs: so W, U, B, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, ‘‑styks’ R, stigs Tˣ;    lítinn: so Tˣ, litlum all others

Editions: Skj AI, 417, Skj BI, 387, Skald I, 192; SnE 1848-87, I, 238-9, II, 304, 519, III, 5, SnE 1848, 51, SnE 1931, 90, SnE 1998, I, 9; LaufE 1979, 331.

Context: In both Skm and LaufE, the helmingr is one of several cited to illustrate poetic circumlocutions referring to Óðinn.

Notes: [All]: The overall sense is that the poet is proud of his poetic craft (the mead of Óðinn, as poetry is called, for the reason offered in Skm, SnE 1998, I, 3-5), though it is modest. — [1] firnum ‘vehemently’: This is a dat., used adverbially, of firn ‘abomination, shocking thing’, often used merely as an intensifier, as with the cognate OE firen- in firenþearf  ‘dire need’. — [2] Gunnlaðar ‘of Gunnlǫð <giantess>’: She was the daughter of the giant Suttungr, who possessed the dwarfs’ mead, and who entrusted it to her keeping. Skm (SnE 1998, I, 4) relates that she gave Óðinn three draughts of the mead after he lay with her for three nights. — [4] hlítstyggs ‘of the trust-wary’: I.e. trusting to no one but himself. For this cpd, see Arn Hardr 11/4II and Note there. — [4] lítinn (m. acc. sg.) ‘meagre’: The adj. qualifies fors m. acc. sg. ‘waterfall’ (l. 3), and litlum m. dat. sg. or dat. pl. (R, W, U, B) cannot be construed to make any sense syntactically.


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. SnE 1848 = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1848. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar, eða Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál og Háttatal. Reykjavík: Prentsmiðja landsins.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LaufE 1979 = Faulkes, Anthony, ed. 1979. Edda Magnúsar Ólafssonar (Laufás Edda). RSÁM 13. Vol. I of Two Versions of Snorra Edda from the 17th Century. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar, 1977-9.
  6. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  7. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Internal references
  9. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 5 August 2021)
  10. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 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. 272-3.
  11. (forthcoming), ‘ Unattributed, Laufás Edda’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 5 August 2021)

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