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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorf Lv 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorfinnr munnr, 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. 845.

Þorfinnr munnrLausavísur
12

Geisli ‘The sunbeam’

geisli (noun m.): beam of light

[1] Geisli stendr: ‘[...]tendr’ NRA52

kennings

Geisli jarðar Gunnar
‘The sunbeam of the land of Gunnr ’
   = SWORD

the land of Gunnr → SHIELD
The sunbeam of the SHIELD → SWORD
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stendr ‘stabs’

standa (verb): stand

[1] Geisli stendr: ‘[...]tendr’ NRA52

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til ‘into’

til (prep.): to

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grundar ‘the ground’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

grundar munna;
‘the ground of jaws; ’
   = HEAD

the ground of jaws; → HEAD
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Gunnar ‘of Gunnr’

gunnr (noun f.): battle

[2] Gunnar: ‘grvn[...]’ NRA52, grimma DG8

kennings

Geisli jarðar Gunnar
‘The sunbeam of the land of Gunnr ’
   = SWORD

the land of Gunnr → SHIELD
The sunbeam of the SHIELD → SWORD
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Gunnar ‘of Gunnr’

gunnr (noun f.): battle

[2] Gunnar: ‘grvn[...]’ NRA52, grimma DG8

kennings

Geisli jarðar Gunnar
‘The sunbeam of the land of Gunnr ’
   = SWORD

the land of Gunnr → SHIELD
The sunbeam of the SHIELD → SWORD
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jarðar ‘of the land’

jǫrð (noun f.; °jarðar, dat. -u; jarðir/jarðar(DN I (1367) 304Š)): ground, earth

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52

kennings

Geisli jarðar Gunnar
‘The sunbeam of the land of Gunnr ’
   = SWORD

the land of Gunnr → SHIELD
The sunbeam of the SHIELD → SWORD
Close

jarðar ‘of the land’

jǫrð (noun f.; °jarðar, dat. -u; jarðir/jarðar(DN I (1367) 304Š)): ground, earth

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52

kennings

Geisli jarðar Gunnar
‘The sunbeam of the land of Gunnr ’
   = SWORD

the land of Gunnr → SHIELD
The sunbeam of the SHIELD → SWORD
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munna ‘of jaws’

munnr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): mouth

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52

kennings

grundar munna;
‘the ground of jaws; ’
   = HEAD

the ground of jaws; → HEAD
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ofan ‘down’

ofan (adv.): down

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52

notes

[3] ofan ‘down’: In the legend, Sigurðr fights the dragon from below.

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fellr ‘flows’

falla (verb): fall

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52    [3] fellr: so DG8, fell Flat

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blóð ‘blood’

blóð (noun n.; °-s): blood

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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á ‘onto’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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báðar ‘both’

báðir (pron.; °gen. beggja (báðra), nom./acc. n. bǽði): both

[2, 3] jarðar munna ofan fellr blóð á báðar: ‘[...]’ NRA52    [3] báðar: báða DG8

kennings

báðar benskeiðr,
‘both wound-ships, ’
   = SWORDS

both wound-ships, → SWORDS
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ben ‘wound’

1. ben (noun f.; °-jar, dat. -; -jar , gen. -a(var. EiðKrC 402¹³: AM 77 4°— “D”)): wound < benskeið (noun f.): [wound-ships]

[4] benskeiðr: ‘[...]seiðr’ NRA52, benseiðr DG8

kennings

báðar benskeiðr,
‘both wound-ships, ’
   = SWORDS

both wound-ships, → SWORDS
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skeiðr ‘ships’

1. skeið (noun f.; °-ar; -r/-ar/-ir): ship < benskeið (noun f.): [wound-ships]

[4] benskeiðr: ‘[...]seiðr’ NRA52, benseiðr DG8

kennings

báðar benskeiðr,
‘both wound-ships, ’
   = SWORDS

both wound-ships, → SWORDS
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en ‘and’

2. en (conj.): but, and

[4] en gramr: konungs NRA52, konungr DG8

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gramr ‘the prince’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

[4] en gramr: konungs NRA52, konungr DG8

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reiðisk ‘grows angry’

4. reiða (verb): make angry

[4] reiðisk: reiði NRA52, reiðan DG8

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Hristisk ‘quivers’

hrista (verb): shake

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hjǫrr ‘The sword’

hjǫrr (noun m.): sword

[5, 6, 7] hjǫrr í brjósti hringi grœnna lyngva en: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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í ‘in’

í (prep.): in, into

[5, 6, 7] hjǫrr í brjósti hringi grœnna lyngva en: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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brjósti ‘the breast’

brjóst (noun n.; °-s; -): breast, chest

[5, 6, 7] hjǫrr í brjósti hringi grœnna lyngva en: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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hringi ‘of the ring’

1. hringr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -; -ar): ring; sword

[5, 6, 7] hjǫrr í brjósti hringi grœnna lyngva en: ‘[...]’ NRA52

kennings

hringi grœnna lyngva,
‘of the ring of green heathers, ’
   = SERPENT

the ring of green heathers, → SERPENT
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grœnna ‘of green’

2. grœnn (adj.; °superl. grǿnastr/grǿnstr): green

[5, 6, 7] hjǫrr í brjósti hringi grœnna lyngva en: ‘[...]’ NRA52

kennings

hringi grœnna lyngva,
‘of the ring of green heathers, ’
   = SERPENT

the ring of green heathers, → SERPENT
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lyngva ‘heathers’

lyng (noun n.; °dat. -vi/-i; -): heather

[5, 6, 7] hjǫrr í brjósti hringi grœnna lyngva en: ‘[...]’ NRA52

kennings

hringi grœnna lyngva,
‘of the ring of green heathers, ’
   = SERPENT

the ring of green heathers, → SERPENT

notes

[6] lyngva ‘of heathers’: This word (nom. sg. lyng n.) occurs quite frequently in kennings for ‘snake, serpent’, and is perhaps especially appropriate here, since in Fáfn 21/2, 28/6 and 29/2 (NK 184-5) it is í lyngvi that the dragon Fáfnir lies. Lyng applies to the plant Erica ‘heather’ and similar moorland species, and hence also to land overgrown with these plants.

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en ‘and’

2. en (conj.): but, and

[5, 6, 7] hjǫrr í brjósti hringi grœnna lyngva en: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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folk ‘the battle’

folk (noun n.): people < folkþorinn (adj.)

[7] folk‑: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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ferr ‘proceeds’

fara (verb; ferr, fór, fóru, farinn): go, travel

[8] ferr: ‘fær’ DG8

Close

steik ‘roasting’

steik (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): steak, meat, roasting

notes

[8] steik ‘roasting’: This seems to be an allusion to the hero Sigurðr roasting the heart of the slain dragon (cf. Fáfn 32).

Close

at ‘to’

5. at (nota): to (with infinitive)

[8] at leika: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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leika ‘amuse himself’

3. leika (verb): play

[8] at leika: ‘[...]’ NRA52

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Seated in his high-seat with Þorfinnr (‘Þormor’ presumably for Þormóðr in ÓHLeg) in front of him, King Óláfr Haraldsson tells the skald to compose about the scene on the wall-hangings. Þorfinnr looks and, seeing Sigurðr’s slaying of the dragon depicted there, speaks this stanza.

The stanza describes the slaying of the dragon Fáfnir, guardian of the Rhine-gold, by the legendary Vǫlsung hero Sigurðr Fáfnisbani ‘Slayer of Fáfnir’, which is narrated in Fáfn, SnE 1998, I, 46 and Vǫlsunga saga (Vǫls 1965, 30-2). References to the same story are intercalated with praise of King Haraldr Sigurðarson in the C11th Illugi Har 2II. — [1-4]: (a) The construal adopted here follows that of Kock (NN §781; Skald). It is slightly forced, especially in its reference to báðar benskeiðr ‘both wound-ships [SWORDS]’, since ‘ship’ as a base-word of a sword-kenning is unparalleled, and the reference to two swords corresponds to nothing in the legend of Sigurðr. ‘Both’ would make sense if referred to the two edges of a sword-blade, and Kock seems to imply that by referring to grammatically pl. terms for ‘sword’ such as þremjar ‘cutters’ (Þul Sverða 11/1III, and see Note; also LP: þremjar), but benskeiðr ‘wound-ships’ would seem more likely to denote whole swords. (b) The analysis by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) is also problematic, however. He emends jarðar to jarðir in l. 2, and ben- to baugs- and s(k)eiðr to seiðs in l. 4. This gives munna seiðs grundar ‘jaws of the fish of the ground [SNAKE]’ and (báðar) jarðir baugs ‘(both) lands of the ring [ARMS]’, which fit well in context, but at the price not only of heavy emendation but also of a highly counter-intuitive word order, in which seiðs and jarðir are detached from their clauses.

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