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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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StarkSt Vík 33VIII (Gautr 41)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 41 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 33)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 286.

Starkaðr gamli StórvirkssonVíkarsbálkr
3233

Hlæja rekkar,         er mik sjá,
ljótan skolt,         langa trjónu,
hangar tjálgur,         hár úlfgrátt,
hrjúfan háls,         húð jótraða.

Rekkar, er sjá mik, hlæja ljótan skolt, langa trjónu, hangar tjálgur, úlfgrátt hár, hrjúfan háls, jótraða húð.

Men who see me laugh at [my] ugly snout, long muzzle, dangling branches, wolf-grey hair, scabby neck, scarred skin.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(6v) (Gautr)

Readings: [5] hangar: haugar 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 328, Skj BII, 348, Skald II, 188, NN §§2613, 3363; FSN 3, 37, Gautr 1900, 33, FSGJ 4, 34; Edd. Min. 43.

Context: As for Gautr 39.

Notes: [All]: This is the final stanza of Vík, according to 590b-cˣ, and it is in a mixture of fornyrðislag and kviðuháttr; ll. 1 and 5 are fornyrðislag, ll. 2 and 6 are hypometrical, while ll. 3 and 7 are kviðuháttr. Shortly after its citation the prose text in all mss of the longer Gautr brings the story of Starkaðr to a rather abrupt end, with a few summary remarks about his later career as a viking, in which he was always victorious. As a concluding stanza to Starkaðr’s life-history, Vík 33 is rather unconvincing; it is a list of Starkaðr’s repulsive physical traits, which one might expect to lead on to further stanzas describing his various adventures, but they do not, leaving one to speculate that there may have been more stanzas not used in the prose saga. — [All]: The list of Starkaðr’s physical traits is strongly suggestive of the animal as much as the human. Skoltr (the younger form of skolptr) ‘snout’ (l. 3) and trjóna ‘muzzle’ (l. 4) suggest the long face of an animal, like a bear or a wolf; skoltr is used in two places in Old Norse poetry to refer to figure-heads on ships, possibly dragon heads (cf. HSt Rst 14/5I and Valg Har 10/5II). The adj. úlfgrár ‘wolf-grey’ (l. 6) contributes to this picture, not only by indicating Starkaðr’s age, but also by drawing a comparison with a wolf, an animal frequently symbolic of both physical aggression and the position of social outcast in Old Norse and other Germanic literature (cf. Hildr Lv 1I and Jacoby 1974). The same adj. is used by Egill Skallagrímsson in Arbj 7/5V (Eg 103) of his own grey head. Both Egill and Starkaðr are figures of great physical strength but also have supernatural connections; the animal qualities ascribed to them may be a way of symbolising the mixture of these two sources of their power (cf. Clunies Ross 2015, 83-4).  — [1-2]: These two lines show metrical and alliterative irregularities. Both Gautr 1900 and Edd. Min. replace rekkar ‘men’ in l. 1 with menn ‘men’ to regularise both metre and alliteration, while Skj B addresses the metrical irregularity of l. 2 by indicating that words must be missing between mik ‘me’ and sjá ‘see’. Skald, on the other hand, keeps rekkar in l. 1 and replaces mik ‘me’ in l. 2 with raum, from raumr ‘large, ugly person, giant’ (NN §2613). — [5] hangar tjálgur ‘dangling branches’: On the likely implications of the word tjálgur ‘branches’, see Vík 5/2 (Gautr 13) and Note. The proposed adj. hangar ‘dangling’ (from *hangr ‘hanging down’, not otherwise attested) is an emendation of the ms.’s haugar ‘mounds’ which does not make sense in context. It was first proposed in FSN and has been adopted by all subsequent eds. — [8] jótraða húð ‘scarred skin’: Starkaðr mentions his scars of battle elsewhere in Vík 15/9-10 (Gautr 23).

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. FSN = Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1829-30. Fornaldar sögur nordrlanda. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  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. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  7. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  8. Jacoby, Michael. 1974. Wargus, vargr ‘Verbrecher’ ‘Wolf’: Eine sprach- und rechtsgeschichtliche Untersuchung. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis: Studia Germanistica Upsaliensia 12. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell.
  9. Gautr 1900 = Ranisch, Wilhelm, ed. 1900. Die Gautrekssaga in zwei Fassungen. Palaestra 11. Berlin: Mayer & Müller.
  10. Clunies Ross, Margaret. 2015. ‘Self-description in Egil’s Poetry’. In de Looze et al. 2015, 75-91.
  11. Internal references
  12. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Gautreks saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 241.
  13. Not published: do not cite (EgillV)
  14. Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hildr Hrólfsdóttir nefju, Lausavísa’ 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. 139.
  15. Not published: do not cite (Egill Arkv 7V (Eg 103))
  16. Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 14’ 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. 912.
  17. Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Hildr Hrólfsdóttir nefju, Lausavísa 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. 139.
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 308-9.
  20. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 13 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 5)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 259.
  21. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 23 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 15)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 269.
  22. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 39 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 31)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 283.
  23. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 41 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 33)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 286.
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