Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 19I/7 — hrísungs ‘of the bastard’

Varð Ǫnundr
Jónakrs bura
harmi heptr
und Himinfjǫllum.
Ok ofvæg
Eistra dolgi
heipt hrísungs
at hendi kom.
Ok sá frǫmuðr
foldar beinum
Hǫgna *reyrs
of horfinn vas.

Ǫnundr varð heptr harmi bura Jónakrs und Himinfjǫllum. Ok ofvæg heipt hrísungs kom at hendi dolgi Eistra. Ok sá frǫmuðr *reyrs Hǫgna vas of horfinn beinum foldar.

Ǫnundr was killed by the pain of the sons of Jónakr [STONES] beneath Himinfjǫll. And the crushing hatred of the bastard [STONES] came upon the enemy of the Estonians [= Ǫnundr]. And that wielder of the reed of Hǫgni <legendary hero> [SWORD > WARRIOR] was surrounded by the bones of the earth [STONES].


[7] hrísungs: ‘hrisings’ J1ˣ


[7] heipt hrísungs ‘the hatred of the bastard [STONES]’: (a) Because it is characteristic of Yt that the same circumstance is represented variously in two or three four-line units within a single stanza (see sts 4, 5, 7, 13, 16, 17), one would expect an expression meaning ‘stone-fall, stones’. This is supported by the adj. ofvæg ‘crushing’ which qualifies heipt hrísungs. The kenning is likely to allude, like the stone-kenning in the first helmingr, to the legend of Hamðir and Sǫrli (see Note to ll. 2-3). The brothers consider Erpr a bastard (cf. Hamð 14/7-8) because he is not a son of their mother. Since their murder of Erpr leads to their failure and stoning, the stones can represent ‘the hatred of the bastard’, the half-brother’s revenge. (b) According to HN (2003, 78), Ǫnundr was killed by his half-brother Siwardus (Sigurðr). Some eds (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yt 1925; ÍF 26) have therefore taken heipt hrísungs as a literal reference to human agency, rather than as a kenning.




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