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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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FriðÞ Lv 10VIII (Frið 12)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna 12 (Friðþjófr Þorsteinsson, Lausavísur 10)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 209.

Friðþjófr ÞorsteinssonLausavísur

text and translation

Þess hefk gangs of goldit;
gekk mér en þér eigi
með ambáttir átta
Ingibjörg* at þinga.
Saman höfum brenda bauga
í Baldrshaga lagða;
var þá vilgi fjarri
vörðr Hálfdanar jarða.

Hefk of goldit þess gangs; Ingibjörg* gekk at þinga mér en eigi þér með átta ambáttir. Höfum lagða brenda bauga saman í Baldrshaga; {vörðr {jarða Hálfdanar}} var þá vilgi fjarri.
‘I have paid for this access; Ingibjǫrg went to meet me, but not you, with eight maidservants. We have placed together burnished [gold] rings in Baldrshagi; the guardian of the lands of Hálfdan <Norwegian king> [= Norway > RULER = Helgi?] was then very far away.

notes and context

Friðþjófr speaks another stanza about his former life, seemingly addressed to his foster-brother Bjǫrn.

This irregular dróttkvætt stanza is lacking in ms. 568ˣ. There are a number of places in it where 510’s text is very hard to understand and recourse has been had to B recension readings in such cases. — [5-6]: These lines appear to refer to an exchange of rings that Friðþjófr and Ingibjǫrg carried out at Baldrshagi; it is not mentioned in the prose of the A recension, but the B text (ch. 4) mentions a ring, an inheritance from his father, that Friðþjófr gives Ingibjǫrg, and the last line of this chapter indicates that they exchanged rings (Frið 1901, 11). — [7-8]: These lines are difficult to understand in both recensions, but particularly so in the A text. Falk (1890, 75) suggested that the A mss’ varar might be a scribal error for varat ‘was not’, but this would make the line unmetrical. The B mss read var þá ‘was then’, and most eds, including the present one, have adopted this reading, understanding ‘the guardian of the lands of Hálfdan was then very far away’, ‘the guardian of the lands of Hálfdan’ being understood as a reference to one of the two brothers of Ingibjǫrg, who were called away to visit King Hringr, leaving Ingibjǫrg unguarded. An alternative view was expressed by Larsson (Frið 1901, 24 n.) who sees here a reference to the god Baldr in his sanctuary, understanding vilgi in its sense ‘not at all’, rather than as an intensifying adv. ‘very’ (cf. Fritzner: vilgi). This then gives the opposite sense ‘the guardian of the lands of Hálfdan was not far away’, that is, the deity was present in the sanctuary and saw to it that Friðþjófr was punished for breaking the tabu on conducting male-female relations in Baldrshagi. The problem with this interpretation is that the periphrasis ‘the guardian of the lands of Hálfdan’ (whichever Norwegian ruler this is meant to be) must be a ruler-kenning and is rather unlikely to be a kenning for the god Baldr, though in a late text this cannot be completely ruled out.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 7. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Friðþjófssaga ens frækna I 12: AII, 272, BII, 294, Skald II, 155; Falk 1890, 75, Frið 1893, 15, 45-6, Frið 1901, 23-4, Frið 1914, 14.


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