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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (SnE) 11III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Snorra Edda 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. 522.

Anonymous LausavísurStanzas from Snorra Edda
101112

This anonymous couplet (Anon (SnE) 11) in runhent metre is transmitted in mss R (main ms.), , U, A, B and C of Skm (SnE). Finnur Jónsson (Skj) assigns it to the tenth century, but that dating is doubtful (see Note to l. 2 below).

Hreggskornis vilk handa
háleitan mjǫð vanda.

Vilk vanda háleitan mjǫð … handa … hreggskornis.

I wish carefully to prepare the sublime mead … for … of storm-cleaver <eagle>.

Mss: R(38r), Tˣ(39v), U(40v), A(14r), B(6v), C(7r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Hreggskornis: hreggskornum C    [2] mjǫð: mjǫk U, C;    vanda: so all others, vandla R

Editions: Skj AI, 184, Skj BI, 173, Skald I, 92, NN §844E; SnE 1848-87, I, 492-3, II, 354, 457, 544, 598, III, 101, SnE 1931, 173, SnE 1998, I, 92.

Context: The couplet is cited in Skm to illustrate that hreggskornir (lit. ‘storm-cleaver’) is a heiti for ‘eagle’ .

Notes: [All]: The couplet is too fragmentary to allow for a meaningful reconstruction. It clearly refers to the composition of poetry and could have been part of a stanza introducing a longer poem. Kock (NN §844E) argues that the two lines form a syntactic and semantic unit, which he construes as follows: Vilk vanda háleitan mjǫð handa hreggskornis ‘I wish carefully to prepare the sublime mead of the eagle’s hands [POETRY]’. According to him, handa hreggskornis ‘the eagle’s hands’ are the eagle’s claws, and the kenning ‘mead of the eagle’s hands’ refers to the myth which describes how Óðinn, in the shape of an eagle, brought the mead of poetry back to the gods (see Skm, SnE 1998, I, 3-5). That interpretation is not convincing, because Óðinn did not carry the mead back in his ‘claws’; rather, he drank it from the three vats Óðrerir, Boðn and Són and transported it internally, as it were (SnE 1998, I, 4): Í inum fyrsta drykk drakk hann al<t> ór Óðreri, en í ǫðrum ór Boðn, í ínu<m> þriðja ór Són, ok hafði hann þá allan mjǫðinn. Þá brásk hann í arnarham ok flaug sem ákafast ‘With the first sip he drank everything in Óðrerir, and with the second [everything] in Boðn and with the third [everything] in Són, and then he had all the mead. Then he changed himself into the shape of an eagle and flew as hard as he could’. — [1] hreggskornis ‘of storm-cleaver <eagle>’: Given as a heiti for ‘eagle’ in Skm and Þul Ara l. 4 (see Note there and Meissner 123). In the present context it must be part of a kenning whose now-lost base-word was possibly governed by the prep. handa ‘for’ (see the next Note). — [1] handa ‘for’: Gen. pl. of hǫnd ‘hand’. Taken here (with Skj B and SnE 1998) as the prep. (til) handa ‘for’, most likely followed by a phrase denoting the recipient of the poem. — [2] háleitan ‘sublime’: This adj. belongs to the ecclesiastical sphere (= Lat. excelsus ‘high, lofty, elevated; cf. Fritzner: háleitr), which makes Finnur Jónsson’s dating of the couplet (C10th) tenuous. For háleitr, see ESk Geisl 13/8VII, Anon Líkn 36/4VII, Anon Lil 5/5VII, 26/2VII, 86/2VII and Anon Mey 20/2VII.

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. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  9. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. Internal references
  11. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  12. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  13. George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 36’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 270-1.
  14. Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 20’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 904.
  15. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from Snorra Edda 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. 522.
  16. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 13’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 18.
  17. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 567.
  18. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Ara heiti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 949.
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