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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 4I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 4’ 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. 14.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
345

Ok Vísburs
vilja byrði
sævar niðr
svelgja knátti,
þás meinþjóf
markar ǫttu
setrs verjendr
á sinn fǫður.
Ok allvald
í arinkjóli
glóða garmr
glymjandi beit.

Ok {niðr sævar} knátti svelgja {byrði vilja} Vísburs, þás {verjendr setrs} ǫttu {meinþjóf markar} á fǫður sinn. Ok glymjandi garmr glóða beit allvald í {arinkjóli}.

And {the kinsman of the sea} [FIRE] swallowed {the ship of the will} [BREAST] of Vísburr when {the defenders of the seat} [RULERS] incited {the harmful thief of the forest} [FIRE] against their father. And the roaring dog of embers [fire] bit the sovereign within {the hearth-ship} [HOUSE].

Mss: (17v-18r), papp18ˣ(5r), 521ˣ(16), F(3rb), J2ˣ(9r), R685ˣ(11r) (Hkr); 761aˣ(55v-56r)

Readings: [1] Vísburs: ‘viðbvrs’ F    [2] byrði: byrgi J2ˣ, byrgi with byrði as alternative in same line R685ˣ    [3] sævar: so J2ˣ, sjár var Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, sjá far F, sævar with sjár var as alternative in same line R685ˣ    [5] mein‑: men‑ J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [7] setrs: so F, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, setr Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 8, Skj BI, 7, Skald I, 4-5, NN §1010; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 30, IV, 6-7, ÍF 26, 31, Hkr 1991, I, 17 (Yng ch. 14), F 1871, 11; Yng 1912, 21, 58, Yng 2000, 19; Yt 1914, 2, Yt 1925, 198, 219.

Context: Vísburr, son of Vanlandi, leaves his first wife, the daughter of Auði inn auðgi ‘the Wealthy’. When petitioned by their young sons, he refuses to return her mundr ‘bride-price, bridal gift’, which comprises a precious neck-ring and three large estates. The youths curse the neck-ring and later, empowered by magic (seiðr), attack their father and burn him alive in his house.

Notes: [1] Vísburs ‘of Vísburr’: Legendary king of the Yngling dynasty. The name doubtless means ‘the wise son’. — [2] byrði vilja ‘the ship of the will [BREAST]’: This kenning is based on the idea that feelings and will-power reside in the breast, cf. Meissner 134-8. Both the ms. variants, (a) byrði ‘ship’ (Kringla group) and (b) byrgi ‘rampart’ (Jöfraskinna group), allow for satisfactory breast-kennings. (a) Byrði vilja ‘the ship of the will’: Byrði is listed among the ship-heiti (Þul Skipa 9/1III and Note) and in a Norwegian legal text (Fritzner: byrði). It derives from borð ‘planking’ and likely refers to the side of a ship (LP, Fritzner: byrði). Terms for ‘ship’ are attested several times as the base-word of a breast-kenning (Meissner 137). (b) Byrgi vilja ‘rampart of the will’: Also well attested as a base-word in kennings is ON borg ‘fortress’ (Meissner 137), including borg vilja ‘fortress of the will’ (SnSt Ht 51/5III). Byrgi, however, is not synonymous with borg. The word is rare, and it appears from the examples given in Fritzner: byrgi that it might have meant ‘rampart’; it appears in skaldic poetry only here and in Eskál Vell 4/3 byrgi bǫðvar ‘rampart of battle [SHIELD]’. Byrði ‘ship’ is preferred in this edn since it is the reading of the main ms. and since the kenning pattern ‘ship of the will’ is attested as early as the C10th and normally refers to the physical breast, whereas borg ‘fortress’ is not attested in such kennings until the C13th-14th and refers predominantly to the breast in the metaphorical sense of ‘soul’ or ‘inner self’. — [3] niðr sævar ‘the kinsman of the sea [FIRE]’: This kenning deviates from other kenning types that refer to fire as the enemy of what it consumes (cf. Meissner 100-2), e.g. húsþjófr ‘house-thief’ in st. 20/5. Only one parallel is known: Þul Elds 1/3III bróðir Ægis ‘the brother of Ægir <sea-god>’. For the mythical kinship of water and fire see st. 21/7 and Note; Sveinn Norðrdr 2/2III and Note; Krause (1925a, 140; 1930, 17). — [4] knátti svelgja ‘swallowed’: Knátti ‘could’ can be regarded as a pleonastic auxiliary and is therefore not translated. On the metaphor of svelgja ‘swallow(ed)’, see Note to st. 21/4, svalg. — [7] verjendr setrs ‘the defenders of the seat [RULERS]’: Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B, besiddelses krævere ‘those who claim possession’ and Noreen’s in Yt 1925, försvararna av sina rettigheter till tronen ‘those who defend their rights to the throne’, are attempts to accommodate the prose narration of Yng (see Context), in which both sons fight for their mother’s bridal gift. The interpretation of NN §1010 followed here is preferable, however, as it retains the central meanings of verja ‘defend’ and of setrs (gen. sg.) ‘of the seat’. It views the gen. phrase as a ruler-kenning, a variant on the pattern ‘guardian of the land’ (cf. Meissner 353). — [10] arinkjóli ‘the hearth-ship [HOUSE]’: This belongs to a pattern of kenning for ‘house’ with a base-word ‘ship’ determined by some part of a house, cf. nǫkkvi toptar ‘the boat of the building-plot’ (st. 17/14) and brandnór ‘hearth-ship’ (st. 17/10; cf. also Meissner 430). Noreen (1892, 211-12; Yt 1925) instead translated this kenning as skepp med lyfting ‘ship with a raised deck’ i.e. the command bridge of a ship, maintaining that this was no brenna, an act of setting fire to a house so that those inside are burned alive, but a cremation aboard a ship. S. Lindqvist (1921, 149-52) similarly argued for a ritual burning on a house-shaped funeral pyre which had been misrepresented in Yt as a brenna because Þjóðólfr misunderstood the Swedish original. — [11-12] glymjandi garmr glóða ‘the roaring dog of embers [fire]’: This is not a kenning, since the notion described, ‘fire’, is already indicated by the determinant glóða ‘of embers’. Further, if ‘dog’ were the base-word one would expect a determinant denoting something damaged by fire, cf. Note to l. 3 niðr sævar. Therefore garmr glóða should be viewed as a gen.-case metaphor with imagery that involves beit ‘bit’ (l. 12).

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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  12. Yng 2000 = Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar, ed. 2000b. Ynglinga saga etter Kringla (AM 35 fol). Series of Dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo 80. Oslo: Unipub forlag.
  13. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  14. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  15. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  16. Lindqvist, Sune. 1921. ‘Ynglingaättens gravskick’. Fv 16, 83-194.
  17. Noreen, Adolf. 1892. ‘Mytiska beståndsdelar i Ynglingatal’. In Uppsalastudier tillegnade Sophus Bugge på hans 60-åra födelsedag den 5 januari 1893. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 194-225.
  18. Krause, Wolfgang. 1925a. ‘Erklärungen zur ältesten Skaldendichtung’. Nachrichten von der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Phil.-Hist. Kl.1925, 134-40.
  19. Internal references
  20. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  21. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Elds heiti 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. 921.
  22. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Skipa heiti 9’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 874.
  23. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) 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.
  24. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 4’ 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. 287.
  25. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 51’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1160.
  26. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Sveinn, Norðrsetudrápa 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 400.
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