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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumbl Heiðr 15VIII (Heiðr 62)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 62 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 15)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 425.

GestumblindiHeiðreks gátur

Hvat er þat undra,         er ek úti sá
        fyrir Dellings durum?
Lýðum lýsir,         en loga gleypir
        ok keppaz um þat vargar ávalt.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hvat er undra þat, er ek sá úti fyrir durum Dellings? Lýsir lý́ðum, en gleypir loga, ok vargar keppaz ávalt um þat. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.

What is the wonder that I saw outside before Dellingr’s doors? It gives light to men, but swallows flame, and wolves always compete for it. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

Mss: 281ˣ(99v), 597bˣ(50r) (Heiðr)

Readings: [1-3] abbrev. as ‘hvd er þ̿ er’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘hvad er þad er’ 597bˣ    [5] loga: logi 281ˣ, 597bˣ    [7-8] abbrev. as ‘heidr: kr’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘h K:’ 597bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 227-8, Skj BII, 247, Skald II, 128; Heiðr 1873, 246, Heiðr 1924, 68, Heiðr 1960, 81; Edd. Min. 111-12.

Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr replies (Heiðr 1960, 81): þat er sól; hon lýsir lǫnd ǫll ok skínn yfir alla menn, en Skalli ok Hatti heita vargar ... en annarr þeira ferr fyrir, en annarr eptir sólu ‘that is the sun; she illuminates all lands and shines over all men, and the wolves are called Skalli and Hatti ... and one of them goes before, and the other after the sun’. On these wolves see Note to l. 6. — [1-3]: The mss are ambiguous as to whether the opening formula is intended here (their readings could be an abbreviation of these lines, as in the previous stanzas), or whether the riddle is simply intended to read Hvat er þat er lýðum lýsir… ‘What is it that gives light to men…’. Considering the heavy use of abbreviation in these lines elsewhere, and the H redaction’s practice of grouping riddles with a similar beginning together, it is assumed here and by other eds that the formula should be understood. See also Note to Heiðr 58/1-3. — [1]: See Note to Heiðr 55/1. — [5] loga ‘flame’: The emendation was first suggested by Grundtvig (Heiðr 1873, 246 n. 6); however Bugge, who noted this, chose instead to print lönd öll yfir ‘over all lands’ as l. 5 of this stanza, based on the prose. The eds of Edd. Min. were the first to take up Grundtvig’s proposal, and it is also adopted in Heiðr 1960. The paradox is apt and the sense preferable to the emendation of Skj B and Skald, lǫgr ‘sea’. — [6]: This conceit is found in Grí 39 and Gylf, in both of which the wolves are called Skǫll and Hati rather than Skalli and Hatti as in the prose solution here. Gylf explains that the sun travels fast because she is being chased, specifying (SnE 2005, 14): Hann [i.e Skǫll] hræðisk hon ok hann mun taka hana, en sá heitir Hati Hróðvitnisson er fyrir henni hleypr, ok vill hann taka tunglit, ok svá mun verða ‘She is afraid of him and he will catch her, and that one is called Hati Hróðvitnisson who runs before her, and he wishes to catch the moon, and so it will happen’. In Vafþr 47 it is the mythical wolf Fenrir who will swallow the sun at Ragnarǫk.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. 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.
  6. Heiðr 1924 = Jón Helgason, ed. 1924. Heiðreks saga. Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks konungs. SUGNL 48. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  7. Heiðr 1960 = Tolkien, Christopher, ed. and trans. 1960. Saga Heiðreks konungs ins vitra / The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise. Nelson Icelandic Texts. London etc.: Nelson.
  8. Heiðr 1873 = Bugge, Sophus, ed. 1873. Hervarar saga ok Heidreks. Det Norske oldskriftselskabs samlinger 17. Christiania (Oslo): Brøgger.
  9. Internal references
  10. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 58 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 11)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 421.
  11. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 55 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 8)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 417.
  12. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  13. Not published: do not cite ()
  14. Not published: do not cite ()

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