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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (FoGT) 4III

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 577.

Anonymous LausavísurStanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise
345

Leygs ‘of the flame’

1. leygr (noun m.): flame

kennings

Íugtanni leygs
‘The bear of the flame ’
   = HOUSE

The bear of the flame → HOUSE
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svelgr ‘swallows’

1. svelgja (verb): swallow

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íugtanni ‘The bear’

íugtanni (noun m.): greedy-toothed one

kennings

Íugtanni leygs
‘The bear of the flame ’
   = HOUSE

The bear of the flame → HOUSE

notes

[2] íugtanni ‘the bear’: This cpd noun is a nickname for a bear, and can be used as a substitute for the personal names Bjǫrn or Bjarni. A good example, also in the context of the building of a house, is RKet Lv 1/6IV, where one of the builders of a church commemorated in the stanza is referred to as íugtanni, his name being Bjarni. On the meaning of the cpd, see AEW: íugtanni and Note to Þul Bjarnar l. 11. The identity of the first element is obscure, but the second is cognate with tǫnn ‘tooth’.

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manna ‘of men’

maðr (noun m.): man, person

notes

[2] manna ‘of men’: The scribe of W has written a common mark of abbreviation over the <m>, as well as over the first <n>, suggesting, as Finnur Jónsson (Skj AII, 215 n.) observed, that he first intended to write menn, then corrected to manna without erasing the abbreviation over <m>.

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menn ‘men’

maðr (noun m.): man, person

[3] menn: ‘m[…]nn’ W

notes

[3] menn ‘men’: The <e> is obliterated by a hole; nevertheless, all earlier eds have printed menn with confidence.

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munni ‘the mouth’

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

[3] munni: ‘mvn[…]’ W

notes

[3] munni ‘the mouth’: The last two letters are covered by a large blot, but earlier eds have read munni without apparent difficulty.

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margreftum ‘of the many-raftered’

margreftr (adj./verb p.p.): [many-raftered]

kennings

margreftum fletvargi.
‘of the many-raftered bench-wolf.’
   = HOUSE

the many-raftered bench-wolf. → HOUSE

notes

[4] margreftum fletvargi ‘of the many-raftered bench-wolf [HOUSE]’: A dat. of possession. A playful but conventional kenning for a house. Both words are hap. leg., but fletvargr ‘bench-wolf’ is very similar to Eil Þdr 19/3 fletbjǫrn ‘bench-bear [HOUSE]’. As with íugtanni leygs ‘bear of the fire [HOUSE]’ (ll. 1, 2), this group of house-kennings is constructed with a base-word denoting a large animal, often a wild one (see Meissner 430).

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flet ‘bench’

flet (noun n.): platform, floor < fletvargr (noun m.): [bench-wolf]

kennings

margreftum fletvargi.
‘of the many-raftered bench-wolf.’
   = HOUSE

the many-raftered bench-wolf. → HOUSE

notes

[4] margreftum fletvargi ‘of the many-raftered bench-wolf [HOUSE]’: A dat. of possession. A playful but conventional kenning for a house. Both words are hap. leg., but fletvargr ‘bench-wolf’ is very similar to Eil Þdr 19/3 fletbjǫrn ‘bench-bear [HOUSE]’. As with íugtanni leygs ‘bear of the fire [HOUSE]’ (ll. 1, 2), this group of house-kennings is constructed with a base-word denoting a large animal, often a wild one (see Meissner 430).

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vargi ‘wolf’

vargr (noun m.; °dat. -i; -ar): wolf < fletvargr (noun m.): [bench-wolf]

kennings

margreftum fletvargi.
‘of the many-raftered bench-wolf.’
   = HOUSE

the many-raftered bench-wolf. → HOUSE

notes

[4] margreftum fletvargi ‘of the many-raftered bench-wolf [HOUSE]’: A dat. of possession. A playful but conventional kenning for a house. Both words are hap. leg., but fletvargr ‘bench-wolf’ is very similar to Eil Þdr 19/3 fletbjǫrn ‘bench-bear [HOUSE]’. As with íugtanni leygs ‘bear of the fire [HOUSE]’ (ll. 1, 2), this group of house-kennings is constructed with a base-word denoting a large animal, often a wild one (see Meissner 430).

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The prose text of FoGT introduces this helmingr with the following remark: hennar f(o)stsyster er bethgraphia, er fra husi er sagt ‘her [i.e. topographia’s] foster-sister is bethgraphia, when a house is described’. After the helmingr, the author comments: her talar skalldit af smið hvssíns ‘here the poet speaks of the structure of the house’.

This stanza appears in the Y version of LaufE among kennings for a house (LaufE 1979, 358), and in a similar environment in Resen’s Edda Islandorum (RE 1665(Gg)). The text of the word íugtanni ‘bear’ in l. 2 is correctly spelled in RE 1665, but not in LaufE, where the word is given as ‘jngtanne’. — There are no problems of interpretation concerning the helmingr itself, but the rhetorical figure of bethgraphia is to date unattested in medieval rhetorical handbooks. It is not listed in either of FoGT’s main sources, the Doctrinale of Alexander of Villa Dei or the Graecismus of Évrard of Béthune. The first element of the term bethgraphia derives from Hebrew beth ‘house’.

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