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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 8I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 8’ 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. 21.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
789

Frák at Dagr
dauða orði
frægðar fúss
of fara skyldi,
þás valteins
til Vǫrva kom
spakfrǫmuðr
Spǫrs at hefna.
Ok þat orð
á austrvega
vísa ferð
frá vígi bar,
at þann gram
of geta skyldi
slǫnguþref
Sleipnis verðar.

Frák at Dagr, fúss frægðar, skyldi of fara orði dauða, þás {spakfrǫmuðr {valteins}} kom til Vǫrva at hefna Spǫrs. Ok ferð vísa bar þat orð frá vígi á austrvega, at {slǫnguþref {verðar Sleipnis}} skyldi of geta þann gram.

I learned that Dagr, eager for fame, had to depart by the word of death when {the wise wielder {of the twig of the slain}} [SWORD > WARRIOR] came to Vǫrvi to avenge Spǫrr. And the retinue of the leader bore the news from the fight to the east , that {the flung grasper {of the meal of Sleipnir <horse>}} [HAY > PITCHFORK] had to get that prince.

Mss: (20r), papp18ˣ(5v), 521ˣ(19-20), F(3va), J2ˣ(10v), R685ˣ(12r) (Hkr); 761aˣ(57r)

Readings: [1] at: om. F    [2] orði: yrði J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [3] frægðar: fremðar J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [5] valteins: vakins J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [7] ‑frǫmuðr: ‘‑fꜹmuðr’ 521ˣ    [8] Spǫrs: ‘spauts’ R685ˣ    [10] á: í F    [14] geta: gæta F, ‘getta’ J2ˣ, geita R685ˣ    [15] slǫngu‑ (‘slongv’): so F, ‘sleyngo’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, ‘slyngu‑’ J2ˣ, R685ˣ;    ‑þref: ‑þrefs F    [16] Sleipnis: ‘slepn[…]’ corrected from ‘slefn[…]’ J2ˣ, ‘slefnis’ corrected from ‘slepnis’ in another hand R685ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 9, Skj BI, 8, Skald I, 5; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 34, IV, 9-10, ÍF 26, 36, Hkr 1991, I, 20 (Yng ch. 18), F 1871, 13; Yng 1912, 24, 59-60, Yng 2000, 24; Yt 1914, 5, Yt 1925, 200, 223-5.

Context: King Dagr, son of Dyggvi, has a sparrow of which he is very fond and whose language he can understand. This bird is killed by a farmer in Vǫrvi in Reiðgotaland, whereupon the king, learning of its fate through sacrificing a boar, takes an army there. He avenges the killing bitterly, only to be killed by a pitchfork flung at him as he returns to his ships.

Notes: [2] orði dauða ‘by the word of death’: Cf. feigðarorð ‘word of doom’ in st. 1/3. — [5, 7] spakfrǫmuðr valteins ‘the wise wielder of the twig of the slain [SWORD > WARRIOR]’: (a) This is the interpretation offered by most eds (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B; Yng 1912; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991), and indeed valteinn is best regarded as ‘twig of the slain’, a variation on the common kenning pattern ‘twig or rod of wounds [SWORD]’ (Meissner 152). (b) Some commentators, in light of the report in Yng that Dagr learns of the death of his sparrow through a sonarblót ‘sacrifice of a boar’, see in valteinn a reference to a sacrificial twig used for divining or casting lots, cf. hlautteinn ‘sacrificial twig’ in Þvíðf Lv 1/4IV (see, e.g., Yt 1925; Turville-Petre 1978-9, 53; Sundqvist 2005a, 108). King Dagr would then potentially figure as a priest or seer. Yet such interpretations require val to have the sense ‘blood of the sacrificed’ (cf. valr m. ‘the slain’) or ‘casting of lots’ (cf. val n. ‘choice’), and neither these, nor the casting of lots with sacrificial blood, can be proven. — [6] til Vǫrva ‘to Vǫrvi’: Snorri in Yng treats Vǫrvi as a p. n., but no location has been discovered for it, with the exception of an uncertain attempt to identify it with the former Ger. p. n. Worwegen in the region south of the Vistula Lagoon (Zalew Wiślany) in Poland (Beckman 1960, 6). Noreen (1912a, 5-6) thinks it is a common noun, the gen. pl. of *vǫr (cf. OE w(e)aroþ ‘shore’), and he translates it as ‘of the beaches’ (cf. also McKinnell 2005, 72). — [8] at hefna Spǫrs ‘to avenge Spǫrr’: (a) Spǫrr is tentatively taken in this edn as a pers. n., rather than the common noun spǫrr ‘sparrow’. A corresponding name, sbauṛ, is found on an C11th Danish rune stone (Randers 1, DR 115) and appears in Denmark later as Sporgh (Beckman 1960, 5; cf. also Peterson 2007, 203). Müller (1970, 88) also points to an OWN name Spǫrr (Lind 1905-15, 943), and to OE Sperflinc and Sperlinc, names of royal moneyers on C10th Anglo-Saxon coins. These names are thought to be based on Nordic models, as no corresponding names exist elsewhere in Gmc. (b) According to Snorri’s Yng (see Context), Dagr had a soothsaying sparrow which was killed in the east, and for this Dagr undertook a campaign of vengeance during which he too was killed. But although tales in which birds can prophesy do exist, e.g. the crows in Anon (Ólkyrr) 2II or the titmice in Fáfn 32-44, it is more likely that the story was modelled on Óðinn’s ravens Huginn and Muninn (cf. Schück 1904, II, 146-7). Even if the stanza tells of avenging a spǫrr ‘sparrow’, it gives no indication that this bird could tell the future, so the detail in Yng likely came from Snorri himself. — [15-16] slǫnguþref verðar Sleipnis ‘the flung grasper of the meal of Sleipnir <horse> [HAY > PITCHFORK]’: Following Noreen (Yt 1925), þref is understood here as an agentive noun based on þrífa ‘grasp’, i.e. as ‘the grasper’, and slǫngu- interpreted as ‘flung’, cf. slǫngusteinn ‘stone flung with the help of a sling’ (Fritzner: slǫngusteinn). Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; LP: sløngviþref) emends slǫngu- to sløngvi, but this is unnecessary (cf. Noreen 1921, 36).

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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  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. 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.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  10. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  11. Lind, Eric Henrik. 1905-15. Norsk-isländska dopnamn ock fingerade namn från medeltiden. Uppsala: Lundequist and Leipzig: Harrassowitz.
  12. Noreen, Erik. 1921. Studier i fornvästnordisk diktning. Uppsala: Akademiska bokhandeln.
  13. McKinnell, John. 2005. Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend. Cambridge: Brewer.
  14. Yng 2000 = Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar, ed. 2000b. Ynglinga saga etter Kringla (AM 35 fol). Series of Dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo 80. Oslo: Unipub forlag.
  15. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  16. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  17. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  18. Beckman, Bjarne. 1960. Sparven i Vǫrve: Studier över Ynglingatal 8. Lund: Berling.
  19. Müller, Gunter. 1970. Studien zu den theriophoren Personennamen der Germanen. Niederdeutsche Studien 17. Köln and Wien: Böhlau.
  20. Noreen, Adolf. 1912a. ‘Till Ynglingatal’. In Xenia Lideniana: Festskrift tillägnad Prof. Evald Lidén på hans femtioårsdag, den 3 oktober 1912. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1-15.
  21. Peterson, Lena. 2007. Nordiskt runnamnslexikon. 5th edn. Uppsala: Institutet för språk och folkminnen.
  22. Schück, Henrik. 1904. Studier i Nordisk Litteratur- och Religionshistoria. 2 vols. Stockholm: Geber.
  23. Sundqvist, Olof. 2005a. ‘Aspects of Rulership Ideology in Early Scandinavia – with Particular References to the Skaldic Poem Ynglingatal’. In Erkens 2005, 87-124.
  24. Turville-Petre, Joan. 1978-9. ‘On Ynglingatal’. MS 11, 48-67.
  25. Internal references
  26. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  27. Kari Ellen Gade and Diana Whaley (eds) 2009, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Óláfs saga kyrra 2’ 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, p. 825.
  28. Not published: do not cite ()
  29. Not published: do not cite (Þvíðf Lv 1IV)
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