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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Lv 6II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur 6’ 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. 171-2.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonLausavísur

text and translation

Sigurðr eggjaði sleggju
snák váligrar brákar,
en skafdreki skinna
skreið of leista heiði.
Menn sôusk orm, áðr ynni,
ilvegs búinn kilju,
nautaleðrs á naðri
neflangr konungr tangar.

{Sigurðr sleggju} eggjaði {snák váligrar brákar}, en {skafdreki skinna} skreið of {heiði leista}. Menn sôusk orm búinn {kilju {ilvegs}}, áðr {neflangr konungr tangar} ynni á {naðri nautaleðrs}.
‘The Sigurðr of the sledge-hammer [SMITH] incited the snake of the dangerous tanning tool [TANNER], and the scraping-dragon of skins [TANNER] slithered across the heath of feet [FLOOR]. People were afraid of the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE], before the long-nosed king of tongs [SMITH] overcame the serpent of ox-leather [TANNER].

notes and context

In all the sources the st. is cited within the same anecdote as Lv 5 (see Context). This time Þjóðólfr must represent the contending artisans as the hero Sigurðr and his adversary the dragon Fáfnir. After the st., the king calls Þjóðólfr a good skald and there is a general discussion of poetry. In Flat and 593b, the sts and the instructions preceding them are in the reverse order.

The legendary story on which Þjóðólfr plays is told in Fáfn and in SnE (1998, I, 46). The smith is presented as Sigurðr, appropriately since Sigurðr stayed with the smith Reginn and shattered his anvil (prose preceding Reg 15, NK 176-7), and the tanner as the dragon. Still more clearly than in Lv 5, the kennings produce a double narrative: of the human fracas in Norway through the complete kennings and of the Sigurðr legend through their base-words.



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: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson, 4. Lausavísur 15: AI, 380-1, BI, 350, Skald I, 176, NN §2989C; ÍF 9, 267-8 (Snegl ch. 3), Mork 1928-32, 236, Andersson and Gade 2000, 244-5, 479 (MH); Fms 6, 362 (HSig ch. 101), Fms 12, 160; Flat 1860-8, III, 417 (MH).


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