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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumbl Heiðr 21VIII (Heiðr 68)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 68 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 21)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 433.

GestumblindiHeiðreks gátur
202122

Hverjar eru þær snótir,         er ganga syrgjandi
        at forvitni föður?
Hadda bleika         hafa þær inar hvítföldnu,
        ok eigut þær varðir vera.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hverjar eru þær snótir, er ganga syrgjandi at forvitni föður? Þær hafa bleika hadda, inar hvítföldnu, ok þær varðir eigut vera. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.

Who are those ladies, who go sorrowing, to the curiosity of their father? They have pale hair, the white-hooded ones, and those women do not have husbands. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

Mss: 2845(72r) (ll. 1-6), 281ˣ(100r), 597bˣ(50v), R715ˣ(27r-v) (Heiðr)

Readings: [1] snótir: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, meyjar 2845, snótir corrected from ‘sueitir’ in the hand of JR R715ˣ    [2] syrgjandi: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, R715ˣ, margar saman 2845    [3] forvitni: ‘f’ 281ˣ, 597bˣ, ‘foru’ R715ˣ;    föður: ‘f’ 281ˣ, 597bˣ, R715ˣ    [4] bleika: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, ‘bleka’ 2845, hafa R715ˣ    [5] hafa: hvar 281ˣ, hverjar 597bˣ, ‘þær Blecka’ R715ˣ;    þær: ok R715ˣ;    inar: eru R715ˣ;    hvítföldnu: so 281ˣ, 597bˣ, ‘huitfꜹlldodo’ 2845, hvítfaldnar R715ˣ    [6] ok: om. R715ˣ;    eigut: eigu 2845, eiga 281ˣ, 597bˣ, eigur R715ˣ;    þær: þær þar 2845, í 281ˣ, 597bˣ, ‘þier’ R715ˣ;    varðir: vindi 281ˣ, 597bˣ;    vera: at vaka 281ˣ, vera at corrected from vaxera at in the margin in another hand 597bˣ    [7-8] abbrev. as ‘heid: k·’ 281ˣ, abbrev. as ‘h: k:’ corrected from ‘h:’ in the margin in another hand 597bˣ, abbrev. as ‘H: h: at gatu’ R715ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 225, Skj BII, 244, Skald II, 126, NN §115; FSN 1, 478, Heiðr 1873, 251, 340, Heiðr 1924, 72, 75, 132, FSGJ 2, 46, Heiðr 1960, 40; Edd. Min. 114.

Notes: [All]: Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 40): Þat eru bylgjur, er svá heita ‘Those are the billows, that are so called’. The H redaction has the variant (Heiðr 1924, 72): þat eru bylgjur, er heita Ægis meyjar ‘Those are the billows, which are called Ægir’s girls’. This is the first of four riddles with the solution ‘waves’, which draw upon the mythological tradition that the waves can be personified as supernatural women, the nine daughters of the sea-being Ægir (cf. the common noun ægir ‘ocean’) and his wife Rán. The wave-maidens are named in Skm as Himinglæva ‘heaven-bright one’, Dúfa ‘dip’, Blóðughadda ‘bloody-haired one’, Hefring ‘lifting one’, Uðr ‘wave’, Hrǫnn ‘wave’, Bylgja ‘billow’, Bára ‘bore, tidal wave’, Kólga ‘cold one’ (SnE 1998, I, 36); later in Skm Snorri lists the names again, but Bára is replaced by Drǫfn ‘turbid one’ (SnE 1998, I, 95). Cf. Þul Sjóvar 4III and Note [All], from which the translations here are taken; see also Þul Waves 1III. This tradition is reflected in both skaldic and eddic poetry; see e.g. Snæbj Lv 1III, ESk Frag 17III, SnSt Ht 22III, HHund I 28-9. The wave-maidens (like their mother, Rán) are always portrayed as hostile figures. — [1-2]: In 2845 the opening lines of this riddle and the following one (Gestumbl Heiðr 22/1-2 (Heiðr 69)) are reversed. This is followed, presumably on the grounds that 2845 is the main ms., by most eds, including Skj B, Skald, FSGJ and Edd. Min. However, all the other mss are in agreement on the arrangement followed here. — [3]: A difficult phrase, of which the implications are unclear. It also appears as l. 3 of the following two riddles. The preposition at seems to mean that the father’s forvitni has somehow motivated the wave-maidens’ actions in ll. 1-2. If forvitni is understood in its usual sense of ‘curiosity’, and if Ægir is the faðir ‘father’ in question, a desire to know more about the world may be implied; the Ægir portrayed in the frame story of Skm is certainly curious about the Æsir and their deeds. Alternatively, Finnur Jónsson (LP) suggested that here forvitni may mean begœrlidhed, ønske ‘covetousness, desire’, and Clunies Ross (1994b, 175) thinks it probable that the sea was seen by early Scandinavian societies as ‘an entity where male and female principles met and mingled’, suggesting that ‘as both waves and ocean are formed from the same substance, it might be expected that the male-female relationship would have been thought of as incestuous’. On the formula as a potential reflex of traditions about valkyries or other supernatural women, see Burrows (2013). — [4] bleika hadda ‘pale hair’: Lit. ‘pale heads of hair’. Cf. Heiðr 64/2, where the adj. bleikhaddaðar ‘pale-haired’ is used of female swans. — [5-6]: The quality of being white-hooded describes both waves and young, marriageable women or brides. The juxtaposition of the latter image with l. 6 creates a riddling paradox. Part of the prose solution in the U redaction reads (Heiðr 1924, 132-3): þær fylgia iafnann farmonnum og eru verlausar ‘they always follow seafarers and are without husbands’, suggesting a now-lost variant l. 5. See further Burrows (2013, 202-4). — [5]: The same half-line is found in Heiðr 71/5, also a wave-riddle. These are the only two recorded instances of the adj. hvítfaldinn ‘white-hooded’. On the significance of the faldr as a feminine garment see Perkins (1986-9b). — [6]: The same line is found Gestumbl Heiðr 18/7 (Heiðr 65), applied to wild angelica. The emendation is based on the reading there, and is also made by all other eds. The H redaction places this line as l. 6 of the following riddle (see Note), but the other mss agree on the present arrangement. In its place here, the H-redaction mss have l. 6 of Gestumbl Heiðr 23 (Heiðr 70), also a wave-riddle; this is a weaker combination in terms of sense.

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. 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. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  9. 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.
  10. Heiðr 1924 = Jón Helgason, ed. 1924. Heiðreks saga. Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks konungs. SUGNL 48. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  11. Heiðr 1960 = Tolkien, Christopher, ed. and trans. 1960. Saga Heiðreks konungs ins vitra / The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise. Nelson Icelandic Texts. London etc.: Nelson.
  12. Clunies Ross, Margaret. 1994b. Prolonged Echoes: Old Norse Myths in Medieval Northern Society. Volume 1: The Myths. VC 7. [Odense]: Odense University Press.
  13. Burrows, Hannah. 2013. ‘Enigma Variations: Hervarar saga’s Wave-Riddles and Supernatural Women in Old Norse Poetic Tradition’. JEGP 112, 194-216.
  14. Heiðr 1873 = Bugge, Sophus, ed. 1873. Hervarar saga ok Heidreks. Det Norske oldskriftselskabs samlinger 17. Christiania (Oslo): Brøgger.
  15. Perkins, Richard. 1986-9b. ‘Þrymskviða, Stanza 20, and a Passage from Víglundar saga’. SBVS 22, 279-84.
  16. Internal references
  17. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 65 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 18)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 429.
  18. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 69 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 22)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 435.
  19. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 70 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 23)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 436.
  20. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 71 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 24)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 437.
  21. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 64 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 17)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 428.
  22. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=112> (accessed 22 September 2021)
  23. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sjóvar heiti 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 836.
  24. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 17’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 167.
  25. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Heiti for waves’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 996. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=2988> (accessed 22 September 2021)
  26. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 22’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1128.
  27. Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Snæbjǫrn, Lausavísur 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. 377.
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