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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 10I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 10’ 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. 823.

Þormóðr KolbrúnarskáldLausavísur
91011

Loftungu gaft lengi
látr, þats Fáfnir átti;
þú lézt mér, inn mæri,
merkr fránǫluns vánir.
Verðr emk, varga myrðir
víðlendr, frá þér (síðan
eða heldr of sæ sjaldan)
slíks réttar (skalk vætta).

Lengi gaft Loftungu látr, þats Fáfnir átti; þú, inn mæri, lézt mér vánir {merkr {fránǫluns}}. Emk verðr slíks réttar frá þér, {víðlendr myrðir varga}, eða heldr skalk sjaldan síðan vætta of sæ.

For long you gave Loftunga (‘Praise-tongue’) the lair that Fáfnir owned [gold]; you, famous one, have granted me hopes {of the forest {of the flashing fish}} [SERPENT > GOLD]. I am worthy of the same due from you, {broad-landed destroyer of outlaws} [RULER = Knútr], or instead I shall seldom afterwards hope [to come] over the sea.

Mss: NRA52(2r) (ÓHÆ); DG8(90r) (ÓHLeg); Flat(105ra) (Flat); Tóm(141r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] gaft (‘gaftu’): ‘gafu’ Tóm    [2] Fáfnir: ‘faðneri’ DG8;    átti: ‘atv’ Tóm    [3] mæri: so all others, ‘[…]æri’ NRA52    [4] ‑ǫluns: Jǫkuls Tóm    [5] myrðir: so DG8, Flat, ‘mvrþir’ NRA52, myndir Tóm    [6] síðan: so all others, ‘[…]an’ NRA52    [7] eða: enn Tóm;    sæ (‘sió’): sjá Flat, sik Tóm    [8] skalk (‘scal ek’): skal Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 284, Skj BI, 262, Skald I, 135, NN §710; ÓHÆ 1893, 4; ÓHLeg 1849, 44, 109, ÓHLeg 1922, 54, ÓHLeg 1982, 126-7; Flat 1860-8, II, 201, Fbr 1925-7, 224, ÓH 1941, II, 801, 804, ÍF 6, 283, ÍS III, 2277 (Þorm); Gaertner 1907, 310, 328-9, Finnur Jónsson 1932-3, 63-4.

Context: In all texts, at their parting in Denmark, Þormóðr reminds King Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) of the gifts due him in reward for his service to the king. The prose context in NRA52 is defective but appears to be the same.

Notes: [All]: For the sequel, see Lv 11 and Context, and for similar complaints, see Sigv Vestv 5 and its Context and ESk Lv 7II and its Introduction. — [1] Loftungu ‘Loftunga (“Praise-tongue”)’: The skald Þórarinn loftunga (Þloft): see his Biography and work in this volume. Professional rivalry surfaces again in Lv 20b.  — [2] látr, þats Fáfnir átti ‘the lair that Fáfnir owned [gold]’: The rel. clause functions like the determinant in a kenning, and the expression is semantically comparable to gold-kennings such as látr sváfnis ‘serpent’s lair’ (Grett Lv 31/7V (Gr 63)). The reference is to the dragon Fáfnir in the legend of Sigurðr, with resonances of broader superstitions about gold-hoards guarded by dragons; for Fáfnir see Þorf Lv 1 and Note to [All] ad loc. — [3] inn mæri ‘famous one’: Finnur Jónsson in Skj B takes the ‘enn’ of most of the mss not as the def. art. inn but as the adv. enn ‘still, further’. He emends mæri to mœrar ‘of land’ and analyses this as part of the gold-kenning, which is necessary in his construal since he removes merkr ‘of the forest’ from the kenning: see next Note. However, the emendation is unnecessary, it yields a metrically doubtful line, and as Kock (NN §710A) points out, Þormóðr never uses a form of þú without an appositive vocative phrase.  — [4] merkr ‘of the forest’: This is tantamount to ‘of the land’, forming a stereotypical gold-kenning (see Notes to l. 2 and l. 4 fránǫluns). Finnur Jónsson (LP: 2. mǫrk) analyses merkr as gen. sg. of mǫrk ‘unit of weight’ (so also Finnur Jónsson 1932-3, pointing out that the following prose remarks that the king had promised the skald a ‘mark’ of gold), though in LP: fránǫlunn he takes merkr f. as slange ‘snake, serpent’, and warns that the gen. sg. of mǫrk ‘forest’ appears always to be markar rather than merkr. The latter is not the general view, however (see NN §710B, with references). — [4] fránǫluns ‘of the flashing fish [SERPENT]’: Ǫlunn does not occur in prose, and its meaning is uncertain, but its occurrence as a fish-heiti in Þul Fiska 1/7III and in certain types of kenning point to a fish; some sources take it as mackerel (see LP: ǫlunn). Fránǫlunn is not a standard kenning for ‘serpent’, since the first element is adjectival and decorative, whereas one would expect a nominal determinant referring to land, hence ‘fish of the land’. It is as though merkr ‘of the forest/land’ is needed both for this function (to make a fish into a serpent) and to provide the base-word for the gold-kenning, though such a dual role is exceptional. Kock (Skald; NN §710C) would emend to frón- ‘land’, despite the disruption to the hending. — [6] síðan ‘afterwards’: For other examples of clausal elements preceding the conj. (here eðr ‘or’) that introduces the clause in Þormóðr’s poetry, see Lv 6/5V, Þorgdr 1/6V (Fbr 2), 12/3V (Fbr 15) and 14/6V (Fbr 17). Prior eds have generally construed this word with emk verðr ‘I am worthy’ and assumed the sense ‘hereafter’. — [7, 8] eða heldr skalk sjaldan ... vætta of sæ ‘or instead I shall seldom ... hope [to come] over the sea’: (a) The sense may be ‘I shall not return’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; Finnur Jónsson 1932-3), followed by Skald, interprets the final intercalary as a question, ‘Or shall I never expect anything on the sea?’. (c) Gaertner (1907, 329), with different apportionment of the intercalary and main clauses, and emending síðan to síðarr ‘later’, also perceives a question, ‘or shall I expect my due from you later?’. (d) Another possibility is ‘or else I shall rather seldom hope for [anything here] across the sea’, i.e. ‘I shall give up hope of generosity from you’. (e) Björn K. Þórólfsson (ÍF 6, and similarly ÍS) takes the intercalary clause to mean ‘or I shall instead put to sea and hope for nothing’. The saga writer probably understood the meaning to be something like the last mentioned or the one offered here, since this would explain why he has Þormóðr deliver the poem shortly before his departure. — [8] vætta ‘hope’: Or ‘expect’ or ‘be expected’. Skj B reads vétta on the ground that æ is not known to rhyme with é before the end of the Middle Ages (Finnur Jónsson 1932-3). Yet the correct explanation is most likely that the root vowels of the two forms were shortened before the following geminate consonant, and when [æ:] and [e:] were shortened, they both produced [e] (ANG §127.6 and Anm. 2). Long vowels were later reintroduced analogically.

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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  9. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. ÍF 6 = Vestfirðinga sǫgur. Ed. Björn K. Þórólfsson and Guðni Jónsson. 1943.
  11. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  12. Gaertner, K. H. 1907. ‘Zur Fóstbrœðra saga. I. Teil: Die vísur’. BGDSL 32, 299-446.
  13. Fbr 1925-7 = Björn K. Þórólfsson, ed. 1925-7. Fóstbrœðra saga. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  14. Finnur Jónsson. 1932-3. ‘Þórmóðr Kolbrúnarskald’. APS 7, 31-82.
  15. ÓHÆ 1893 = Storm, Gustav, ed. 1893. Otte brudstykker af den ældste saga om Olav den Hellige. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfonds skrifter 25. Christiana (Oslo): Grøndahl.
  16. ÓHLeg 1849 = Keyser, R. and C. R. Unger. eds. 1849. Olafs saga hins helga: En kort saga om kong Olaf den Hellige fra anden halvdeel af det tolfte aarhundrede. Efter et gammelt pergaments-haandskrift i Universitets-bibliotheket i Upsala. Christiania (Oslo): Feilberg & Landmark.
  17. ÍS = Bragi Halldórsson et al., eds. 1987. Íslendinga sögur og þættir. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Svart á hvítu.
  18. Internal references
  19. Not published: do not cite (ÞormI)
  20. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Biography of) Þórarinn loftunga’ 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. 848.
  21. Not published: do not cite (RunVI)
  22. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Fiska 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. 852.
  23. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Lausavísur 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. 169.
  24. Not published: do not cite (Grett Lv 31V (Gr 63))
  25. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Vestrfararvísur 5’ 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. 622.
  26. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorfinnr munnr, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 845.
  27. Not published: do not cite (Þorm Þorgdr 1V (Fbr 2))
  28. Not published: do not cite (Þorm Þorgdr 12V (Fbr 15))
  29. Not published: do not cite (Þorm Þorgdr 14V (Fbr 17))
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