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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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FriðÞ Lv 9VIII (Frið 11)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna 11 (Friðþjófr Þorsteinsson, Lausavísur 9)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 208.

Friðþjófr ÞorsteinssonLausavísur
8910

Sat ek á bólstri         í Baldrshaga;
kvað, hvat ek kunna,         fyr konungs dóttur.
Nú skal Ránar         raunbeð troða,
en annarr mun         Ingibjargar.

Ek sat á bólstri í Baldrshaga; kvað, hvat ek kunna, fyr dóttur konungs. Nú skal troða {raunbeð Ránar}, en annarr mun Ingibjargar.

I sat on a cushion in Baldrshagi; I recited what I knew before the daughter of the king. Now I must tread {the testing bed of Rán <sea-goddess>} [SEA], but another will [tread the bed] of Ingibjǫrg.

Mss: 510(93r), 568ˣ(100v), 27ˣ(135r), papp17ˣ(359r), 109a IIˣ(147r), 1006ˣ(584), 173ˣ(85v) (Frið)

Readings: [3] kvað: kvað ek 568ˣ, 27ˣ, papp17ˣ, 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, 173ˣ;    hvat: þat papp17ˣ, 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, 173ˣ    [4] konungs: kongs 568ˣ, 27ˣ, papp17ˣ    [5] skal: skal ek kunna 568ˣ, skal ek 27ˣ, papp17ˣ, 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, 173ˣ;    Ránar: raunar papp17ˣ, 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, 173ˣ    [6] raunbeð: ‘ra[…] ban’ 510, ‘ranbed’ 568ˣ, papp17ˣ, 109a IIˣ, 1006ˣ, 173ˣ, ‘rannbed’ 27ˣ    [8] ‑bjargar: ‑björgu 1006ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 271-2, Skj BII, 294, Skald II, 155, FF §47; Falk 1890, 74-5, Frið 1893, 15, 45, 72, Frið 1901, 22-3, Frið 1914, 14; Edd. Min. 98.

Context: Friðþjófr speaks another stanza, giving his view of the dire situation he is in.

Notes: [All]: This stanza, like the previous one, draws a contrast between the speaker’s situation and happier days in female company, the difference being that Friðþjófr speaks as a privileged suitor, while his foster-brother, Ásmundr, can only think of menial tasks in the presence of women, like serving meals, something Friðþjófr teases him about in both prose versions of the saga. The stanza is in fornyrðislag. — [1] á bólstri ‘on a cushion’: According to ONP: bolstr, the first prose citation of this word dates from c. 1300. For the etymology, see AEW: bolstr, bulstr. For comparable usage, cf. Sigsk 48/1, Guðr I 15/2. The word-picture of Friðþjófr reclining on a cushion in Ingibjǫrg’s quarters, with its suggestions of luxury and sexual intimacy, looks forward to the imagery of the second helmingr, in which similar sexual imagery evokes the watery embraces of Rán, a sea-deity who takes drowned men to her bed at the bottom of the ocean.  — [3-4]: These lines may refer either to the recitation of poetry or to the singing of songs, the latter presumed by the translations in Frið 1901 and Skj B. — [5-6] nú skal troða raunbeð Ránar ‘now I must tread the testing bed of Rán [SEA]’: The specific wording of these lines is problematic, although their general sense is clear: Friðþjófr fears that he will drown, using an image of a lover mounting his partner’s bed, which he contrasts with the situation of someone else, but not him, making love to Ingibjǫrg (ll. 7-8). The word Ránar ‘of Rán’, the sea-deity who takes to herself drowning men (cf. SnE 1998, I, 41), is present in l. 5 in the A mss 510, 568ˣ and 27ˣ, while in its place the B mss have raunar ‘in truth, in reality’, which appears to be a lectio facilior. However, l. 6 presents a further problem because the first word in 510 has a lacuna, probably of only one letter, and reads ‘ra[…] ban’, which does not correspond to the other A mss here (568ˣ has ‘ranbed’ and 27ˣ ‘rannbed’), nor to the B mss, which have a similar reading. Thus one can either read (A version) nú skal Ránar | raunbeð tróða ‘now I must tread the testing bed of Rán’ (with emendation of Ránbeð to raunbeð, as suggested by Falk (1890, 75) on the ground that the A scribes must have been influenced by their writing of ‘ran’ in the previous line) or (B version) adopt nú skal raunar | Ránbeð troða ‘now I must really tread the bed of Rán’. Both readings have their merits. The B version has the merit of not requiring emendation, but it includes the suspiciously facile raunar ‘really’. The cpd Ránbeð ‘Rán’s bed’, although not exactly paralleled elsewhere, is similar to Rv Lv 16/4II Ránheim ‘Rán’s world [SEA]’ and cf. SnH Lv 6/3II sitk at Ránar ‘I’m living at Rán’s’, supposedly uttered by the ghost of a drowned man. The readings of the A mss suggest that the first element of the cpd at the beginning of l. 6 was not Rán- but some other noun, and raunbeð ‘testing bed, dangerous bed’, as suggested by Falk and adopted in Skj B (cf. also LP: raunbeð) seems a reasonable emendation and is also adopted here. The concept of the sea and the sea-bed as Rán’s is a skaldic commonplace and appears frequently in kennings for the sea (cf. Meissner 92); here the image is explicitly sexualised and contrasted with Friðþjófr’s wished-for intercourse with Ingibjǫrg. The verb troða ‘tread’ suggests both sexual intercourse and menacing aggression, in line with similar senses in Þjóð Yt 3/6I, 20/2I and Egill Hfl 10/7-8V (Eg 43). Skald has adopted the reading of 27ˣ and some other A redaction mss, rannbeð Ránar ‘the hall-bed of Rán’. This is also a possible reading.

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. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. 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.
  7. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  8. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. FF = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1922. Fornjermansk forskning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 18:1. Lund: Gleerup.
  10. Frið 1893 = Larsson, Ludvig, ed. 1893b. Sagan ock rimorna om Friðþiófr hinn frækni. SUGNL 22. Copenhagen: Malmström.
  11. Frið 1901 = Larsson, Ludvig, ed. 1901. Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna. ASB 9. Halle: Niemeyer.
  12. Frið 1914 = Wenz, Gustaf, ed. 1914. Die Friðþjófssaga in ihrer Überlieferung untersucht und der ältesten Fassung kritisch herausgegeben. Halle: Niemeyer.
  13. Falk, Hjalmar. 1890. ‘Om Friðþjófs saga’. ANF 6, 60-102.
  14. Internal references
  15. Not published: do not cite (Egill Hfl 10V (Eg 43))
  16. Not published: do not cite ()
  17. Not published: do not cite ()
  18. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 16’ 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. 594.
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sneglu-Halli, 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. 327-8.
  20. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 3’ 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. 12.
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