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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Ragn) 3VIII (Ragn 33)

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 33 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Ragnars saga loðbrókar 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 689.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Ragnars saga loðbrókar
234

Þegi þú, heimdregi heitinn!
Hvat er þik, vesallátan?
Hefir þú aldrigi unnit,
þess er ek mega þrotna.
Feittira sverð- né sólar
sækitík at -leiki;
gafta þú hafnar hesti
— hvat rækir þik? — drykkju.

Þegi þú, heimdregi heitinn! Hvat er þik, vesallátan? Þú hefir aldrigi unnit, þess er ek mega þrotna. Feittira né {sækitík sólar} at {sverðleiki}; þú gafta drykkju {hesti hafnar}; hvat rækir þik?

Be silent, you, [rightly] called a stay-at-home! What concern is it of yours, shabby wretch? You have never achieved anything in which I may lag behind. You did not fatten {the chasing-bitch of the sun} [WOLF] in {sword-play} [BATTLE]; you did not give a drink {to the horse of the harbour} [SHIP]; what do you care?

Mss: 1824b(76r) (Ragn)

Readings: [2] vesallátan: ‘vęsęlatan’ 1824b    [5] Feittira: ‘feittada’ 1824b;    sólar: solla 1824b

Editions: Skj AII, 240, Skj BII, 259, Skald II, 135, NN §1465, FF §59; FSN 1, 296 (Ragn ch. 20), Ragn 1891, 221-2 (ch. 20), Ragn 1906-8, 172, 217-18 (ch. 19), Ragn 1944, 126-7 (ch. 21), FSGJ 1, 282 (Ragn ch. 19), Ragn 1985, 150-1 (ch. 19), Ragn 2003, 65-6 (ch. 19), CPB II, 352.

Context: In this stanza, the second of the two arrivals replies to the first.

Notes: [2] hvat er þik ‘what concern is it of yours’: Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 217) compares Gríp 28/1 (NK 168): ‘Hvat er mic at því …’ ‘What is it to me …’, referring here to Lund (1862, 62), who gives this example along with others with the aim of showing that the use of the acc. in cases such as this reflects an early stage in the history of Old Norse at which the distinction in personal pronouns between the acc. (of the patient) and the dat. (of the recipient) had not yet developed (cf. Faarlund 2004, 165). — [2] vesallátan ‘shabby wretch’: Lit. ‘shabby(-looking)’, m. acc. sg. agreeing with þik ‘you’. — [3-4]: Some eds (Ragn 1906-8, 217; Finnur Jónsson (Skj B); Kock (Skald); Eskeland (Ragn 1944); Guðni Jónsson (FSGJ) and Ebel (Ragn 2003) omit þess, n. gen. sg. of ‘that’ in l. 4, probably for metrical reasons and possibly because examples of vinna ‘achieve, bring about’, as a transitive verb with a direct object in the gen. are hard to find. As to the gen. form þess in l. 4, it is likely that the verb vinna, occurring here in the supine (unnit) in l. 3, is here being used in the intransitive sense of ‘act, function’, and that þess er has here the meaning of ‘in such a way that’ (see LP: 3). Alternatively, it is possible that we have here in truncated form an instance of the verb being used, also intransitively, in the phrase at vinna til e-s, ‘attain to sth.’, with the prep. til ‘to’ omitted. Neither alternative need discourage the use in translation of a verb used transitively meaning ‘accomplish’ or ‘achieve’, however. — [5] feittira ‘you did not fatten’: The ms. has ‘feittada’, which Olsen and some later eds have emended to a supposed 2nd pers. sg. pret. form feitaðir ‘you fattened’, belonging to the first class weak conjugation. But feita ‘fatten’ is a weak verb of the third conjugation (ANG §§515-17), whose 2nd pers. sg. pret. is feittir. Here, however, the overall syntax of ll. 5-8 suggests that a negated verb is required, and this is provided by the ms. form ending in the negative particle -a, with the proclitic negating the wolf-kenning sækitík sólar ‘the chasing-bitch of the sun’ in ll. 1-2 in a double negative construction; for similar constructions, cf. Þhorn Gldr 9/1-2I and Eil Þdr 11/7III and Note there, also Kuhn (1936a, 431).  Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends ms. ‘feittada’ to fæddir ‘you fed’, 2nd pers. sg. pret. of fæða ‘feed’. Kock (Skald) emends to fættuða, 2nd pers. pl. pret. of fæta ‘have to do with’, with the negative particle -a suffixed. — [5, 6] sækitík sólar ‘the chasing-bitch of the sun [WOLF]’: The ms. gives the second element of this kenning as ‘solla’, which Olsen (Ragn 1906-8, 217-18) suggested might be the gen. pl. of sollr m. ‘swill, dog food’, though this seems inappropriate in context. He also proposed the more plausible emendation of ‘solla’ to sólar ‘of the sun’, with the whole phrase understood as a wolf-kenning, alluding to the wolf Skǫll referred to as following the sun in Grí 39/1-3 (cf. SnE 2005, 14, 60-1). This interpretation has been followed here. — [5, 6] at sverðleiki ‘in sword-play [BATTLE]’: Understood as an example of tmesis. Most other eds emend sverð to sverðs ‘of the sword’. — [7-8] þú gafta hesti hafnar drykkju ‘you did not give a drink to the horse of the harbour [SHIP]’: Previous eds, with the exception of Rafn (FSN), CPB and Örnólfur Thorsson, emend hafnar in l. 7 to hálu, gen. sg. of hála f. ‘troll woman, giantess’, thus producing the kenning ‘horse of the troll woman [WOLF]’ and the meaning ‘you did not give the wolf a drink (of blood)’, i.e. you did not kill enemies in battle. This would certainly parallel the wolf-kenning in the preceding two lines, but the emendation is unnecessary. There is no problem with the meaning of the ship-kenning hestr hafnar ‘the horse of the harbour’ and while the meaning of the expression ‘to give the ship a drink’ is at first sight obscure, it is possible to understand it metaphorically. In the context of the speaker’s allegations about his rival’s lack of experience in warfare and naval matters, its likely sense is ‘you did not take the ship out to sea’, playing on the image of ‘watering’ the animate base-word hestr ‘horse’. This interpretation is confirmed by the opening lines of the following stanza (see Note to Ragn 34/1).

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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  8. 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.
  9. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  10. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  11. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1936a. ‘Die Negation des Verbs im Altnordischen’. BGDSL 60, 431-44. Rpt. in Kuhn (1899) 1969-78, I, 124-34.
  12. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  13. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. FF = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1922. Fornjermansk forskning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 18:1. Lund: Gleerup.
  15. Ragn 1906-8 = Olsen 1906-8, 111-222.
  16. Ragn 1944 = Eskeland, Severin, ed. and trans. 1944. Soga om Ragnar Lodbrok med Kråka-kvædet. Norrøne bokverk 16. 2nd ed. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget. [1st ed. 1914].
  17. Faarlund, Jan Terje. 2004. The Syntax of Old Norse: With a Survey of the Inflectional Morphology and a Complete Bibliography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  18. Lund, Georg Frederik Vilhelm. 1862. Oldnordisk ordföjningslære. Nordiske oldskrifter 29-31. Copenhagen: L. N. Kalcker for Det Nordiske Literatursamfund.
  19. Ragn 1985 = Örnólfur Thorsson 1985, 101-53.
  20. Ragn 1891 = 2nd edn (pp. 175-224) of Ragn as ed. in Valdimar Ásmundarson 1885-9, I.
  21. Ragn 2003 = Ebel, Uwe, ed. 2003. Ragnars saga loðbrókar. Texte des skandinavischen Mittelalters 4. Vol. II of Ebel 1997-2003.
  22. Internal references
  23. 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Ragnars saga loðbrókar’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 616. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=81> (accessed 21 September 2021)
  24. Not published: do not cite ()
  25. Not published: do not cite ()
  26. Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 99.
  27. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Glymdrápa 9’ 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. 90.
  28. Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 34 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Ragnars saga loðbrókar 4)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 690.
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