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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Gautr) 1VIII (Gautr 8)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 8 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísa from Gautreks saga 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 252.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísa from Gautreks saga1

Ráð þykki mér         Refnefs vera
nökkru verri,         en Neri kendi.
Varpat sínu         á sæ féi
Gautrekr, er gaf         gullhring Refi.

Ráð Refnefs þykki mér vera nökkru verri, en Neri kendi. Gautrekr varpat féi sínu á sæ, er gaf gullhring Refi.

Refnefr’s advice seems to me somewhat worse than [what] Neri gave. Gautrekr did not cast his wealth into the sea when he gave Refr a gold ring.

Mss: 152(201rb), 590b-cˣ(9v), 164hˣ(2v), 194cˣ(5r) (Gautr)

Readings: [1] Ráð: brögðótt ráð 152;    þykki: þótti 164hˣ, 194cˣ    [2] Refnefs: Refnis 164hˣ, ‘Refsnefs’ 194cˣ    [3] nökkru verri: nökkvi verri 590b‑cˣ, heldr ólík þeim 164hˣ, þeim ólík 194cˣ    [4] en: né 590b‑cˣ, er 164hˣ, 194cˣ;    Neri kendi: so 194cˣ, ‘merkinnde’ 152, ‘merkendi’ 590b‑cˣ, mér kendi 164hˣ    [5] Varpat sínu: so 590b‑cˣ, upp á sínu 152, verpi hann sínu 164hˣ, varp ei sinn 194cˣ    [6] á féi: so 590b‑cˣ, ‘sęfe’ 152, á sæ út fé 164hˣ, úr sjó fekk 194cˣ    [7] Gautrekr: Gautrekr konungs 590b‑cˣ, Gullbaug 164hˣ, 194cˣ    [8] gullhring: Gautrekr kongur 164hˣ, Gautrek 194cˣ;    Refi: Ref 164hˣ, Refr 194cˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 323-4, Skj BII, 343, Skald II, 185; FSN 3, 49, Gautr 1900, 45, 67, FSGJ 4, 46; Edd. Min. 96.

Context: On Neri’s advice Refr visits a certain King Óláfr with some expensive gifts including a golden helmet and a byrnie. The king is with his fleet out at sea. His evil counsellor, named Refnefr ‘Fox-nose’, advises him against accepting the presents and makes off with them himself, diving down to the bottom of the sea, where Refr pursues him and recovers the byrnie, but not the helmet, surfacing in a state of exhaustion. The prose text then states þá var þetta kveðit ‘then this was spoken’, but does not name the speaker. Edd. Min. attributes the stanza to Refr himself.

Notes: [All]: The narrative underlying Gautr 8 is probably alluded to in RvHbreiðm Hl 53-4III, which mentions a generous sea-king named Óláfr flinging a golden helmet into the sea. The association with Gautrekr is confirmed by the following two sts of Hl, which are about Gautrekr; see RvHbreiðm Hl 54III, Note to ll. 1-4. — [All]: The stanza is in fornyrðislag metre, and there are many variant readings, some of which suggest scribal confusion, e.g. as with the name Neri in l. 4. — [1] ráð ‘advice’: Ms. 152 adds the adj. brögðótt ‘cunning’ before ráð, and this has been adopted by Skj B and Skald, but the adj. is extrametrical, and has been omitted by other eds (Gautr 1900, Edd. Min. and FSGJ). — [3] nökkru ‘somewhat’: Ms. 590b-cˣ’s nökkvi is also an acceptable reading; cf. ANG §475.3 Anm. 1. — [5-8]: These lines hark back to an earlier episode in Gjafa-Refr’s career, when Neri advises Refr to visit King Gautrekr, who has been in the habit of sitting on his dead wife’s burial mound and flying his hawk from it. Normally, as the days wore on, the king ran out of objects to throw at the bird to bring it back, and at this point Refr, positioned behind Gautrekr, slipped a whetstone into the king’s hand, which he successfully threw at the bird. Gautrekr did not bother to look to see who gave him the whetstone, instead slipping a gold ring into Refr’s hand.

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. FSN = Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1829-30. Fornaldar sögur nordrlanda. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  7. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  8. Gautr 1900 = Ranisch, Wilhelm, ed. 1900. Die Gautrekssaga in zwei Fassungen. Palaestra 11. Berlin: Mayer & Müller.
  9. Internal references
  10. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1001.
  11. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 53’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1060.
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 54’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1061.
  13. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 8 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísa from Gautreks saga 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 252.
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