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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mhkv 8III

Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1222.

Anonymous PoemsMálsháttakvæði
789

þóttusk ‘determined’

2. þykkja (verb): seem, think

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þeir ‘They’

hann (pron.; °gen. hans, dat. honum; f. hon, gen. hennar, acc. hana): he, she, it, they, them...

notes

[1] þeir ‘they’: This apparently refers to the fearless heroes of the preceding stanza.

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Brandingi ‘Brandingi’

Brandingi (noun m.): Brandingi

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[2] Brandingi: Giant-name (Þul Jǫtna I 6/2); otherwise unknown.

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svaf ‘slept’

sofa (verb): sleep

notes

[2] svaf … í hel ‘slept to death’: The sense is that he slept until he died, he died from sleeping too much. Í hel ‘to death’ is used here in the meaning ModDan. ihjæl, ModNorw. ihjel (cf. Skj B Brandinge sov sig endelig ihjæl lit. ‘Brandingi finally slept himself to death’).

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loks ‘at last’

loks (adv.): finally

notes

[2] svaf … í hel ‘slept to death’: The sense is that he slept until he died, he died from sleeping too much. Í hel ‘to death’ is used here in the meaning ModDan. ihjæl, ModNorw. ihjel (cf. Skj B Brandinge sov sig endelig ihjæl lit. ‘Brandingi finally slept himself to death’).

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í ‘to’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[2] svaf … í hel ‘slept to death’: The sense is that he slept until he died, he died from sleeping too much. Í hel ‘to death’ is used here in the meaning ModDan. ihjæl, ModNorw. ihjel (cf. Skj B Brandinge sov sig endelig ihjæl lit. ‘Brandingi finally slept himself to death’).

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hel ‘death’

1. hel (noun f.; °-jar, dat. -ju): death, Hel, hell

notes

[2] svaf … í hel ‘slept to death’: The sense is that he slept until he died, he died from sleeping too much. Í hel ‘to death’ is used here in the meaning ModDan. ihjæl, ModNorw. ihjel (cf. Skj B Brandinge sov sig endelig ihjæl lit. ‘Brandingi finally slept himself to death’).

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Mardallar ‘of Mardǫll’

Mardǫll (noun f.): Mardǫll

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opt ‘often’

opt (adv.): often

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Ásmundr ‘Ásmundr’

ásmundr (noun m.; °; -ar): Ásmundr

notes

[5] Ásmundr: A sea-king sometimes known as Gnóðar-Ásmundr, after his ship Gnóð; hero of the popular Egils saga einhenda ok Ásmundar berserkjabana (FSN III, 365-407). See also Anon GnóðÁsm, Þul Sækonunga 4/7 and Note to Þul Skipa 3/1.

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tamði ‘accustomed’

temja (verb): tame

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gulli ‘in gold’

gull (noun n.): gold

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Þjazi ‘Þjazi’

Þjazi (noun m.): Þjazi

notes

[6] Þjazi: Giant who, with his brothers, divided their father Ǫlvaldi’s gold by taking mouthfuls in turn (SnE 1998, I, 3); hence the gold-kenning ‘giant’s speech’, alluded to in this line. Cf. þingskil Þjaza ‘Þjazi’s <giant’s> assembly declarations [GOLD]’ (Anon Bjark 6/3). See Meissner 227. This gold-kenning was current in C12th Orkney: glórǫdd Gauta hellis ‘the gleaming-voice of the Gautar of the cave’ (Rv Lv 7/4-5II); kveðja þursa ‘the greeting of giants’ (RvHbreiðm Hl 71/6).

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sjálfr ‘himself’

sjalfr (adj.): self

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Niðjungr ‘Niðjungr’

niðjungr (noun m.): descendant

notes

[7] Niðjungr: Lit. ‘kinsman, male descendant’. Unidentified figure; the noun designates one of Jarl’s sons in 41/3 (see Kommentar III, 640-2).

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skóf ‘scraped’

skafa (verb): plane, smoothe

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[7] skóf ‘scraped’: This is 3rd pers. sg. pret. of the verb skafa ‘shave, scrape’ (see st. 26/5) used figuratively (‘take, strip, steal’). See OED: shave for such slang meanings from at least the C14th on. The taking of a horn from a mound recalls the removal of a hart’s horn from a burial mound in Anon Sól 78/4-6VII. Amory (1985, 24 n. 42 and 1990a, 262 n. 43) argues that in Mhkv horn refers to the ‘corner’ of the mound. The story alluded to, like the name, remains obscure.

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hølzti ‘exceedingly’

hølzti (adv.): [exceedingly]

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

[3]: This line, like l. 6 below, alludes to a well-known kenning. Mardallar (nom. Mardǫll < marr-þǫll ‘sea-fir-tree’; see Þul Ásynja 3/6) is a name for Freyja; her grátr ‘weeping’ is ‘gold’: see Gylf (SnE 2005, 29) and Skm (SnE 1998, I, 43-4), which cites five examples of this kenning-type, mostly from ESk Øxfl. Cf. SnSt Ht 42/6-8 fagrregn hvarma Mardallar ‘the fair rain of the eyelids [TEARS] of Mardǫll <= Freyja> [GOLD]’. Freyja’s tears glitter in Mhkv because they are gold; grátr Mardallar [GOLD], a kenning elsewhere, is used descriptively in this stanza. The kenning type has limited distribution outside Skm (see Guðrún Nordal 2001, 330; Meissner 227). See also Anon Bjark 5/6.

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