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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ásb Lv 1VIII (OStór 2)

Peter Jorgensen (ed.) 2017, ‘Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar 2 (Ásbjǫrn, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 605.


Two lausavísur are attributed to Ásbjǫrn prúði in OStór, the first in ch. 6, and the second in ch. 7. The first is in an irregular dróttkvætt metre and the second in fornyrðislag.

Sagði mér á seiði,
söng um þat löngum,
at ek á feigum fæti
færik norðr á Mæri.
Vætki vissi völva;
vera mun ek enn með mönnum
glaðr í Gautaveldi;
gramir eigi spá hennar.

Sagði mér á seiði, söng um þat löngum, at ek færik norðr á Mæri á feigum fæti. Völva vissi vætki; ek mun enn vera glaðr með mönnum í Gautaveldi; gramir eigi spá hennar.

She told me through magic rites, sang of it at length, that I would travel north to Møre on feet fated to die. The seeress knew nothing; I will still be glad among men in the realm of the Gautar; may trolls take her prophecy.

Mss: Flat(70rb), 2845(22v), 554h βˣ(62r) (OStór)

Readings: [2] söng: ok söng 2845, söng ek 554h βˣ    [4] færik (‘færig’): færa ek 2845, ‘fære’ 554h βˣ    [5] Vætki: ‘uækki’ 2845, mælti 554h βˣ;    vissi völva: ‘visa vǫlvan’ 554h βˣ    [7] Gautaveldi: Gautlandi 554h βˣ    [8] gramir eigi: grenna ei 554h βˣ;    spá: spár 2845

Editions: Skj AII, 342, Skj BII, 364-5, Skald II, 197, NN §2620; ÓT 1689, 11, Fms 3, 215Flat 1860-8, I, 526, Þorleifur Jónsson 1904, 209-10, Guðni Jónsson 1935, 180 (ch. 6); Guðni Jónsson 1946-9, 11, 457-8 (ch. 6), Faulkes 2011b, 66 (ch. 6) (OStór).

Context: After harrying together for two years, Ormr and Ásbjǫrn spend the winter with Jarl Herrǫðr in Gautland, Southern Sweden. While drinking one day Ásbjǫrn refers to the sibyl’s prophecy with this stanza.

Notes: [1] á seiði ‘through magic rites’: Seiðr was a form of sorcery said to have been employed by women and a few men (as well as the god Óðinn) to bring about some change, usually for the worse, in a human being, or to predict whether the forthcoming season or harvest would be good or bad. Descriptions of the rituals accompanying seiðr indicate that the practitioners usually sat on a platform of some kind, and that chants were sung either by the seeress or her female assistants. The locus classicus in Old Norse literature is Eir ch. 4 (ÍF 4, 206-9). See further Strömbäck (1935) and Meulengracht Sørensen (1983, 19). — [2] söng um þat löngum ‘sang of it at length’: The version of Flat, which is adopted here, is in málaháttr. The lines of this stanza are metrically irregular, though most have six metrical positions. Skj B adopts ok söng from 2845 to give a six-syllable line, but this is unmetrical. As Faulkes (2011b, 93 n.) points out, 5-syllable lines are found elsewhere in the stanzas of OStór, viz. in st. 11/2 and 11/4. Kock (NN §2620) discusses other ways of regularising the line, and in Skald chooses to emend to the metrically acceptable sǫng um þat fyr lǫngu ‘sang of it a long time ago’. — [3] á feigum fæti ‘on feet fated to die’: Lit. ‘on a doomed foot’. — [7] í Gautaveldi ‘in the realm of the Gautar’: Probably here intended to refer to the inhabitants of Gautland, the region of Southern Sweden now encompassing the provinces of Västergötland and Östergötland. — [8] gramir ‘trolls’: Lit. ‘furious, angry ones’, a substantival adj. often used in the pl. to refer to trolls or other fiends.


  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. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 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. 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.
  7. ÍF 4 = Eyrbyggja saga. Ed. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson and Matthías Þórðarson. 1935.
  8. Strömbäck, Dag. 1935. Sejd: Textstudier i nordisk religionshistorie. Nordiska texter och undersökningar 5. Stockholm: Geber. Rpt. 2000, ed. Gertrud Gidlund with introductory remarks by Bo Almqvist. Acta Academiae Regiae Gustavi Adolphi 72. Uppsala: Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur and Gidlunds förlag.
  9. Meulengracht Sørensen, Preben. 1983. The Unmanly Man: Concepts of Sexual Defamation in Early Northern Society. Trans. Joan Turville-Petre. VC 1. [Odense]: Odense University Press.
  10. Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1946-9. Íslendinga sögur. 13 vols. Reykjavík: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan. Rpt. 1953.
  11. Faulkes, Anthony. 2011b. Two Icelandic Stories: Hreiðars þáttr, Orms þáttr. New edition. London: Viking Society. First published [n. d. (1967)].
  12. ÓT 1689 = [Anonymous] 1689. Saga þess haloflega herra Olafs Tryggvasonar, Noregs kongs. Skálholt: Jón Snorrason.
  13. Þorleifur Jónsson. 1904. Fjörutíu Íslendinga-Þættir. Reykjavík: Sigurður Kristjánsson.
  14. Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1935. Íslendinga þættir. Reykjavík: Sigurður Kristjánsson.
  15. Internal references
  16. Not published: do not cite (EirV)
  17. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 602.

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