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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eil Þdr 19III

Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa 19’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 117.

Eilífr GoðrúnarsonÞórsdrápa
181920

Bifðisk hǫll, þás hǫfði
Heiðreks of kom breiðu
und fletbjarnar fornan
fótlegg Þrasis veggjar.
Ítr gulli laust Ullar
jótrs vegtaugar þrjóti
meina niðr í miðjan
mest bígyrðil nestum.

Hǫll bifðisk, þás of kom breiðu hǫfði {Heiðreks {veggjar Þrasis}} und {fornan fótlegg {fletbjarnar}}. {Ítr gulli Ullar} laust mest {nestum meina} niðr í miðjan bígyrðil {þrjóti {jótrs {vegtaugar}}}.

The hall shook when [he] brought the broad head {of the Heiðrekr <legendary king> {of the wall of Þrasir <dwarf>}} [STONE > GIANT = Geirrøðr] under {the old leg {of the bench-bear}} [HOUSE > PILLAR]. {The glorious stepfather of Ullr <god>} [= Þórr] struck {the provisions of harm} [PIECE OF IRON] with full force down into the middle of the girdle {of the defier {of the molar {of the way of the fishing-line}}} [SEA > STONE > GIANT].

Mss: R(25r), Tˣ(25v-26r), W(53) (SnE); papp10ˣ(44r) (ll. 1-4), 2368ˣ(99), 743ˣ(77v) (ll. 1-4) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] þás (‘þa er’): því ek papp10ˣ    [2] of kom: kom of papp10ˣ    [3] fornan: so all others, fornar R    [4] Þrasis: so all others, ‘þvrnis’ R    [6] jótrs: jótr W, 2368ˣ;    ‑taugar: ‘‑tarigar’ 2368ˣ    [7] meina: nema 2368ˣ    [8] mest: so 2368ˣ, ‘mez’ R, Tˣ, W;    nestum: ‘nezv’ R, W, ‘nezo’ Tˣ, nestu 2368ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 151, Skj BI, 143, Skald I, 78, NN §§2008I, 2253, 2309B, 2409, 2987I, 3396L; SnE 1848-87, I, 302-3, III, 37-8, SnE 1931, 109, SnE 1998, I, 29; LaufE 1979, 280, 357.

Context: See Context to st. 1. Further, the stanza is cited in LaufE (ll. 1-4 in papp10ˣ and 743ˣ, ll. 1-8 in 2368ˣ) as an example for house-kennings which have an animal as base-word.

Notes: [1-4]: The subordinate clause introduced by þás ‘when’ (l. 1) has a suppressed subject in the sg., but the situation implies that this is Þórr (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 398). Kock (NN §2253) avoids this by taking þrasir veggjar ‘the furious one of the wedge [= Þórr]’ as a subject. However, that interpretation forces the emendation of þrasis gen. (so all mss except R) to þrasir nom. and an unattested meaning ‘wedge’ of ON veggr ‘wall’. — [1, 2] of kom breiðu hǫfði ‘[he] placed the broad head’: I.e. he brought it down; for koma with a dat. object, see Fritzner: koma 1. — [2, 4] Heiðreks veggjar Þrasis ‘of the Heiðrekr <legendary king> of the wall of Þrasir <dwarf> [STONE > GIANT]’: This giant-kenning follows the widespread pattern ‘ruler of the mountains’. The base-word is a pers. n., Heiðrekr, from heroic legend (cf. Meissner 258). The kenning ‘wall of Þrasir [STONE]’ is the determinant: because dwarfs live in mountain caves, their walls are made of stone. Þrasir is attested as a dwarf’s name in the þulur (Þul Dverga 4/8). Finnur Jónsson (1900b, 398) assumes that Þrasir is an otherwise unattested name of a giant, and he combines it with hǫll ‘hall’ (l. 1). He adds veggjar to the kenning for ‘pillar’, where it is redundant (see Note to ll. 3-4 below). — [2] Heiðreks ‘of the Heiðrekr <legendary king>’: Heiðrekr, the name of a legendary king, is the base-word of this giant-kenning (Reichardt 1948, 383). Some eds take this cpd as a common noun, heiðrekr ‘king of the high land, of the mountains’, and as a kenning for ‘giant’ (so Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 19; Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 398; LP: heiðrekr; Kiil 1956, 155). — [3-4] und fornan legg fletbjarnar ‘under the old leg of the bench-bear [HOUSE > PILLAR]’: This periphrasis is a nýgerving with the house-kenning ‘bench-bear’ as the determinant. Houses are sometimes referred to in kennings as animals (Meissner 430); in this case the base-word is ‘bear’, cf. fletvargr ‘bench-wolf’ (Anon (FoGT) 4/4). The resulting nýgerving means ‘pillar’, drawing on the analogy between an animal’s foot and the pillar of a house. The attributive adj. forn ‘old’ probably reflects the notion that giants were very old (Schulz 2004, 60-1; see Note to st. 15/7, 8 above); hence their age carried over to the objects associated with them. — [5] ítr gulli Ullar ‘the glorious stepfather of Ullr <god> [= Þórr]’: Ullr was a North Germanic god who is mentioned only sporadically as a skiing and hunting archer (Gylf, SnE 2005, 26). According to Snorri (ibid.), Ullr was Þórr’s step-son, which accords well with the Þórr-kenning mágr Ullar ‘relative of Ullr’ (Þjóð Haustl 15/1, 2; EVald Þórr 3/4). Mágr is a relative by marriage, which indicates that Ullr, who was raised by Þórr, was the son of Þórr’s wife Sif and a different, unknown mythical figure. — [6] þrjóti jótrs vegtaugar ‘of the defier of the molar of the way of the fishing-line [SEA > STONE > GIANT]’: Þrjótr denotes a rebellious or defiant opponent; cf. þrjótr urðar ‘lout of the stones’ (st. 6/7 above). The determinant of the giant-kenning here is also ‘stone’ – the kenning ‘molar of the sea’. Teeth and bones are often used as base-words of stone-kennings determined by words for ‘earth’ or ‘sea’ (Meissner 89-90). ‘Sea’ in this kenning is paraphrased in yet another kenning, ‘way of the fishing-line’. It is necessary to reorder the elements of the stone-kenning jótrs vegtaugar (lit. ‘the molar of the way-fishing-line’) to taugar vegjótrs ‘the molar of the way of the fishing-line’ (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 398; Skj B; LP: vegtaug; Reichardt 1948, 385; as a gen. construction jótr veg(s) taugar in NN §2008). — [7, 8] nestum meina ‘the provisions of harm [PIECE OF IRON]’: In the mss, the stanza ends with (normalised) nestu. Because the previous stanzas consistently described the projectile thrown by Geirrøðr and Þórr through metaphors of eating and drinking (segi ‘shred’ st. 16/6, rauðbiti ‘red bite’ st. 17/2, lyptisylg ‘raised drink’ st. 18/3), it is natural to look for a kenning from the domain of food here as well, and nest n. or nesti n. ‘provisions for a journey’ is an obvious candidate for the base-word in such a kenning. That base-word must be in the dat. case, however, which forces emendation to nestum dat. pl. (adopted in the present edn) or nesti dat. sg. Interpreting nestum as ‘provisions’ combined with the determinant meina ‘of harm’ brings this kenning in line with the kennings used for the iron projectile in the previous stanzas. Previous eds have taken nestu as an oblique case of an otherwise unattested noun *nesta from nist, nisti ‘needle in a brooch, fibula’. This allows them to construe the kenning nestu meina ‘needle of harm’ for a red-hot iron bar that Þórr allegedly hurls at Geirrøðr (so Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 25; Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 398; Reichardt 1948, 385; Kiil 1956, 157; Clunies Ross 1981, 383). However, this interpretation finds no support in the prose narrative of Skm (SnE 1998, I, 25), which only mentions a járnsía ‘iron spark’, and it is also out of keeping with the metaphors in the previous stanzas. — [8] bígyrðil ‘of the girdle’: The second element of this cpd is gyrðill m. ‘girdle, belt’, but the first element is obscure. Some scholars explain the cpd as an old formation with the adv. ‘at’, which is improbable because that adv. belongs to a set of prefixes that were lost in the North Germanic languages during the period of syncope. Although words with this prefix do appear in dictionaries, such compounds are usually late and show influence from German, which is not likely to have obtained in Eilífr’s time. Most likely, bígyrðill goes back to a cpd whose first element we do not recognise.

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. LaufE 1979 = Faulkes, Anthony, ed. 1979. Edda Magnúsar Ólafssonar (Laufás Edda). RSÁM 13. Vol. I of Two Versions of Snorra Edda from the 17th Century. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar, 1977-9.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Clunies Ross, Margaret. 1981. ‘An Interpretation of the Myth of Þórr’s Encounter with Geirrøðr and his Daughters’. In Dronke et al. 1981, 370-91.
  10. 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.
  11. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  12. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  13. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. Schulz, Katja. 2004. Riesen: Von Wissenshütern und Wildnisbewohnern in Edda und Saga. Skandinavistische Arbeiten 20. Heidelberg: Winter.
  15. Finnur Jónsson. 1900b. ‘Þórsdrápa Eilífs Goðrúnarsonar’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1900, 369-410.
  16. Kiil, Vilhelm. 1956. ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson’s Þórsdrápa’. ANF 71, 89-167.
  17. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1948. ‘Die Thórsdrápa des Eilífr Goðrúnarson: Textinterpretation’. PMLA 63, 329-91.
  18. Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 1851. Tvö brot af Haustlaung og Þórsdrápa. Reykjavík: Prentað á kostnað skólasjóðsins.
  19. Internal references
  20. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=112> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  21. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=113> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  22. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Dverga heiti 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. 699.
  23. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Eysteinn Valdason, Poem about Þórr 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 187.
  24. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 15’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 455.
  25. 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.
  26. (forthcoming), ‘ Unattributed, Laufás Edda’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=10928> (accessed 18 September 2021)
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