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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Haustl 13III

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 13’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 451.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniHaustlǫng
121314

Hófu skjótt, en skófu,
skǫpt, ginnregin, brinna
en sunr biðils sviðnar
— sveipr varð í fǫr — Greipar.
Þats of fátt á fjalla
Finns iljabrú minni.
Baugs þák bifum fáða
bifkleif at Þórleifi.

Skǫpt hófu skjótt brinna, en ginnregin skófu, en {sunr {biðils Greipar}} sviðnar; sveipr varð í fǫr. Þats of fátt á {minni iljabrú {Finns fjalla}}. Þák {bifkleif baugs}, fáða bifum, at Þórleifi.

Shafts quickly began to burn, which the mighty powers had shaved, and {the son {of the wooer of Greip <giantess>}} [GIANT > = Þjazi] is scorched; there was a swerve in his course. That’s depicted on {my footsole-bridge {of the Finnr <Saami> of the mountains}} [GIANT = Hrungnir > SHIELD]. I received {the quivering cliff of the shield-boss} [SHIELD], decorated with moving stories, from Þorleifr.

Mss: R(25v), Tˣ(26v) (SnE)

Readings: [2] ginn‑: so Tˣ, ‘gin‑’ R    [3] sunr: son R, Tˣ;    biðils: so Tˣ, ‘biþiss’ R;    sviðnar: so Tˣ, om. R    [5] fátt: so Tˣ, fat R    [7] þák: om. R, þá er Tˣ;    bifum: so Tˣ, ‘bi[…]om’ R    [8] bifkleif: so Tˣ, ‘[…]cleifi’ R

Editions: Skj AI, 18, Skj BI, 17, Skald I, 11, NN §§225, 1811; SnE 1848-87, I, 314-15, III, 47, SnE 1931, 113, SnE 1998, I, 33.

Context: As for st. 1.

Notes: [All]: The last two lines of this stanza in R are now very faint. Evidently earlier eds (e.g. Finnur Jónsson in Skj A) were able to read more of the text than is now legible. However, the same two lines, which form the drápa’s stef or refrain, are legible on fol. 24r of R, as ll. 7-8 of st. 20, though there are some differences there from what is legible of the text here. This is the last stanza of Haustl to treat the myth of Þjazi’s abduction of Iðunn. The narrative is concluded in the first helmingr, which alludes to the gods’ killing of Þjazi. As the giant, in eagle form, pursued Loki in the form of a falcon, still holding Iðunn in his claws, transformed to a nut, the gods set fire to a pile of wood-shavings, placed just inside the wall of Ásgarðr. Loki let himself drop down low over the wall, and the eagle followed suit but overshot the mark and fell into the fire, scorching his wings. The gods then set upon Þjazi and killed him (SnE 1998, I, 2). — [1] en ‘which’: Here a rel. particle, cf. ANG §473 and anm. 1, Fritzner: en, conj. 6c. — [1-2] skǫpt hófu skjótt brinna, en ginnregin skófu ‘shafts quickly began to burn, which the mighty powers had shaved’: This seems the most likely interpretation of these lines, in accordance with Skm (SnE 1998, I, 2): Þá gengu þeir út undir Ásgarð ok báru þannig byrðar af lokarspánum ‘Then they [the gods] went out below Ásgarðr and carried there loads of wood-shavings’. Kock (Skald and NN §1811) emends skjótt ‘quickly’ (l. 1) to skǫf ‘shavings’ and en (l. 1) to enn and construes skǫf hófu brinnaenn ginnregin skófu skǫpt ‘shavings began to burn – in addition the mighty powers had shaved the shafts’. He had previously (NN §225) proposed that skǫpt ‘shafts’ be taken as the subject of hófu brinna and the object of en ginnregin skófu.  — [3] sunr ‘the son’: The archaic form sunr (rather than sonr) is secured by internal rhyme in st. 14/6 and has been adopted here. — [4] sveipr varð í fǫr ‘there was a swerve in his course’: An ironic understatement: Þjazi plummeted downwards as his wings caught fire and his course was altered irrevocably. Sveipr signals a sudden change of movement, an abrupt halt (cf. LP: sveipr 1). Þjóðólfr refrains from describing or even alluding to the gods’ killing of Þjazi, though his audience would have known what happened to the giant. — [4] Greipar ‘of Greip <giantess>’: Name of a giantess, one of the two daughters of the giant Geirrøðr in the myth of how Þórr travels to the latter’s abode, as told in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 24-5) and Eil Þdr, though she is not named in the drápa. The name does not appear in the þulur, but see Hyndl 37/2, where Greip is named as one of Heimdallr’s nine mothers. As a common noun, greip means ‘grip, grasp’, the space between the thumb and the fingers. — [5-8]: This helmingr indicates that the first section of the drápa is ending; the poet refers in two elaborate kennings to the shield he has received from his patron, Þorleifr (cf. st. 1/4), and indicates that the decorated shield is alive with images of narratives (see Note to ll. 7-8 below), two of which he is recounting. Cf. Bragi Rdr sts 7 and 12. — [5-6] á minni iljabrú Finns fjalla ‘on my footsole-bridge of the Finnr <Saami> of the mountains [GIANT = Hrungnir > SHIELD]’: A tvíkent kenning for a shield, which depends on the audience’s knowledge of the myth of Þórr’s single combat with the giant Hrungnir, narrated in sts 14-20 of Haustl. According to Skm (SnE 1998, I, 21; cf. st. 17), it was Þórr’s companion Þjálfi who persuaded Hrungnir to stand on his stone shield, because, he claimed, Þórr was going to attack the giant from underground. For this reason, a shield can be referred to in a kenning as the bridge of this giant’s footsoles; cf. LP: Hrungnir, Bragi Rdr 1/3, 4 and Note. It is possible that Þjóðólfr deliberately introduced this kenning here to foreshadow the subject of the second section of Haustl, which recounts exactly this myth. — [7] bifum ‘with moving stories’: This noun has suspended resolution on the fully stressed lift in metrical position 3, which is highly unusual in dróttkvætt and may indicate a very early date of composition. Such suspended resolutions do occur in poetry composed in kviðuháttr metre (also in Þjóð YtI) but not in dróttkvætt. — [7-8] bifkleif baugs, fáða bifum ‘the quivering cliff of the shield-boss [SHIELD], decorated with moving stories’: There is no doubt that bifkleif baugs ‘the quivering cliff of the shield-boss’ is a shield-kenning (cf. the similarly formed base-word raddkleif ‘voice-cliff’ or naddkleif ‘spear-point-cliff’ of st. 1/4), but the connotation of bifkleif is unclear, and it seems that its first element bif- is picked up and varied in the qualifying phrase bifum fáða (l. 7). The base form of a noun bif- is uncertain (cf. LP: bif; AEW: bifa 1), as is its meaning (Marold 1983, 168 provides a useful summary of previous eds’ suggestions). The word combination with fáða ‘decorated, painted’ suggests that bifum is likely to refer to some aspect of the decoration of the shield Þjóðólfr has received from Þorleifr. The verb bifa, always used in m. v. bifask, with the meaning ‘shake, tremble’, provides our best clue to the meaning of bif, both as a simplex and an element in the cpd bifkleif. Bif- seems likely to denote movement, like shaking or quivering; when applied to a shield decorated with images, it may perhaps indicate that they are so vivid that they seem to move or that they are so affecting, because of their mythic narrative power, that they make their audience tremble with awe. ModIcel. bifur (as in hafa illan bifur á e-m ‘distrust sby, spy on sby’) suggests a similar semantic field, as Holtsmark (1949, 40) pointed out. She also noted that the word bifa occurs in a list of alternative names for speech (mál) in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 109) and might therefore mean something like ‘moving, affecting narrative’. If so, Þjóðólfr’s statement that his shield was bifum fáða may be similar to Bragi’s claim in Rdr 7/4 and 12/4 that he received a shield and fjǫl sagna ‘a multitude of stories’ from his patron Ragnarr.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. 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. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  7. 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.
  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. 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.
  10. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  11. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. Marold, Edith. 1983. Kenningkunst: Ein Beitrag zu einer Poetik der Skaldendichtung. Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker, new ser. 80. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  13. Holtsmark, Anne. 1949. ‘Myten om Idun og Tjatse i Tjodolvs Haustlǫng’. ANF 64, 1-73.
  14. Internal references
  15. (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)
  16. Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Ragnarsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 27. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1130> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  17. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 68. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1170> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  18. Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 431. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1438> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  19. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘ Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1440> (accessed 18 September 2021)
  20. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Ragnarsdrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 28.
  21. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Ragnarsdrápa 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 38.
  22. Not published: do not cite ()
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