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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Gyð 3VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Gyðingsvísur 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 519-20.

Anonymous PoemsGyðingsvísur
234

Hvarf er þeim, er þurfa,
þingnárungum, váru,
branda rjóðr í bráðar
brynflagð*a nauðsynjar.
Fekk strandloga stökkvir
stígverjanda hverjum
fráns af fjárhlut sínum
fullar hendr, meðan endiz.

{Rjóðr branda} er hvarf {þeim {{brynflagð*a} þing}nárungum}, er váru þurfa, í bráðar nauðsynjar. {Stökkvir {strandloga}} fekk {hverjum {fráns stíg}verjanda} hendr fullar af fjárhlut sínum, meðan endiz.

{The reddener of swords} [WARRIOR] is a support {for those beings {of the assembly {of the trolls of the mailcoat}}} [(lit. ‘assembly-beings of the mailcoat-trolls’) AXES > BATTLE > WARRIORS] who were poor, in cases of sudden need. {The flinger {of shore-flame}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] gave {every defender {of the path of the snake}} [(lit. ‘snake’s path-defender’) GOLD > MAN] hands full of his wealth, while it lasted.

Mss: B(14v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] þurfa: ‘þu[...]’ B, ‘þur[...]’ 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, BFJ    [4] brynflagð*a: ‘[...](ni)agdra’(?) B, ‘[...]ynlagdra’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘(br)yn(la)gdra’ BRydberg, ‘[...]týn[...]agdna’ BFJ    [5] strandloga: so 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, ‘str[...]loga’ B, ‘stra[...]loga’ BFJ    [7] fráns: ‘fr[...]ns’ B, fróns 399a‑bˣ, fráns BRydberg, BFJ;    fjárhlut: so 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, ‘fia[...]ut’ B, ‘fiar[...]lut’ BFJ    [8] hendr: so 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, BFJ, ‘h[...]dr’ B

Editions: Skj AII, 539, Skj BII, 598, Skald II, 331; Rydberg 1907, 41-2, 59, Attwood 1996a, 346.

Notes: [1-4]: In l. 1 the second word is difficult to read in B, but Finnur Jónsson’s ‘er’ (Skj A) is almost certainly right; he noted there that 399a-bˣ’s suggested firi must be incorrect, and similarly Rydberg’s vid. Attwood 1996a, 116 has til. Rydberg (1907, 59) reads the word as við and takes hvarf to be 3rd pers. sg. pret. of hverfa ‘to turn’. He arranges rjóðr branda hvarf við þeim þingnárum brynflagðra í bráðar nauðsynjar ‘the reddener of swords turned to the assembly-beings of mailcoat-trolls in cases of sudden need’. Although this interpretation is grammatically possible, it is rather unlikely in context. Assuming the rjóðr branda of l. 3 to be identified with sá er kunni veita fírum unnleyg* in 2/1-2 and with the person whose generosity is eulogised in 3/5-8 and st. 4, it is difficult to understand why he should approach other men for financial help in 3/1-4. This edn follows Skj B in taking hvarf as the nom. sg. of n. hvarf ‘shelter, refuge, support, help’ (cf. Fritzner: hvarf 2), which fits rather better with the second helmingr and with the situation of other people’s dependency on the rich man established in st. 2 and confirmed in st. 4. There appear to be two possible interpretations of the remaining phrase er váru þurfa (ll. 1-2). This edn follows Finnur Jónsson in taking váru as 3rd pers. pl. pret. of vera ‘to be’, construed with brynflagða þingnárungar (see Note below). Þurfa (l. 1) is taken to be the corresponding form of the adj. þurfi meaning ‘needy’. This interpretation is corroborated by a parallel use of the adj. in the ONorw. Bjarkö-ret: Fylkisprestr eðr annarr í stað hans skal heima vera ok gera mönnum reiðu ef þurfa eru ‘The district priest or another in his stead must remain at home and provide assistance for people if they are needy’ (NGL I, 315; CVC; Fritzner: þurfi.). — [1] þurfa ‘poor, needy’: B is badly worn. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (note to 444ˣ transcript) suggested reconstruction to þurfa, which has been adopted by all subsequent eds. — [2] þingnárungum (dat. pl.) ‘assembly-beings [WARRIORS]’: The significance of the second element in this cpd is not clear. Nárungar is usually, as here, a bound morpheme occurring as part of a straightforward man-heiti (such as beitnrungar ‘ship-beings’ in Ník Kristdr 1/2III) or as the base-word of man-kennings (like élnrungar hlífar gims ‘storm-beings of the shelter of the gem’ in Anon (Stu) 21/6-7IV). The free-standing form occurs only in a variant reading in Skm in W, which reads kallaðir erv menn niorðungar ędr narvngar ‘men are called njorðungar or nárungar’ (SnE 1848-87, II, 497; Finnur Jónsson 1924a, 105; LP: nrungar). The suffix –ungar usually indicates descent from some mythical or heroic being, as, e.g., with the Skjǫldungar or the Vǫlsungar. SnE provides two possibilities for the progenitor of the Nárungar. The first of these is Loki’s son Narfi, whom Gylf twice refers to as ‘Nari’ (SnE 1982, 27, 49). The prose continuation of Lokasenna suggests that Nari and Narfi were distinct characters: Nari is said to have been killed and his entrails used as fetters for Loki, while his brother Narfi is turned into a wolf. Snorri’s account of the binding of Loki (SnE 1982, 49/7-9) attempts to resolve this by conflating Nari and Narfi and introducing a second son, Váli. The other possible candidate is Nár, included in a list of dwarf-names in Gylf (SnE 1982, 16). Neither of these derivations is entirely persuasive. — [3] rjóðr branda ‘reddener of swords’: The identical man-kenning occurs in Ótt Hfl 17/2I. — [4] brynflagð*a ‘of the mailcoat-trolls’: B is very badly worn, and none of the previous transcribers were able to read the word in full. Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s reconstruction to brynflagðra, made in a note to the 444ˣ transcript, cannot be correct on grammatical grounds. The second <r> must be removed to give the gen. pl. of the n. noun flagð ‘troll woman, female monster’. Axes were traditionally referred to in skaldic verse using base-words for troll women.

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. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. 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.
  5. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  8. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  9. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. 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.
  11. NGL = Keyser, R. et al., eds. 1846-95. Norges gamle love indtil 1387. 5 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Gröndahl.
  12. SnE 1982 = Snorri Sturluson. 1982. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1988. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  13. Finnur Jónsson. 1924a. ‘Skjaldekvadenes forståelse’. ANF 40, 320-31.
  14. Internal references
  15. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  16. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  17. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  18. Not published: do not cite (Anon (Stu) 21IV)
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Níkulás Bergsson, Kristsdrápa 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. 299.
  20. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 17’ 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. 762.
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