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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eil Þdr 5III/1 — gangs ‘to walking’

Ok gangs vanir gingu
gunnvargs himintǫrgu
fríðrar vers; til fljóða
frumseyris kom dreyra,
þás bǫlkveitir brjóta
bragðmildr Loka vildi
bræði vændr á brúði
bág Sefgrímnis mága.

Ok vanir gangs gingu vers gunnvargs fríðrar himintǫrgu; kom til dreyra frumseyris fljóða, þás bragðmildr, bræði vændr bǫlkveitir Loka vildi brjóta bág á brúði mága Sefgrímnis.

And the ones accustomed to walking went to the sea of the battle-wolf of the splendid sky-shield [SUN > = Fenrir > MOUNTAINS]; [he] came to the blood of the foremost harasser of women [GIANT > RIVER], when the action-liberal, rage-familiar misfortune-destroyer of Loki [= Þórr] wanted to open hostilities on the bride of the in-laws of Sefgrímnir <giant> [GIANTS > GIANTESS].


[1] gangs: so , W, gagns R


[1] vanir gangs ‘the ones accustomed to walking’: Þórr is a god who is frequently represented as walking, in particular when he is on his way through the land of the giants. In Hym 7, as well as in the myth of his journey to Útgarðaloki (Gylf, SnE 2005, 37), he leaves his goats behind and travels on foot to the giant’s home. A similar interpretation was considered by Kock (NN §§446, 2902E) and Reichardt (1948, 344, 346), who assume a cpd gangsvanir, which they translate as ‘accustomed to walking’, which could be a variant of gangtamr ‘ready to walk’ (describing horses in the Poetic Edda in Ghv 2/11 and Hamð 3/7). However, as Kiil (1956, 104) points out, there is no cpd with a gen. first element preceding ‑vanr that means ‘accustomed to’ anything. On that account this edn treats gangs vanir as two separate words. Furthermore, the words are written as distinct from one another in mss and W. Here, gangr is translated as ‘walking’, whereas Kiil (1956, 104-5) assumed that it had the otherwise unattested meaning ‘way, trail’. Earlier unconvincing interpretations are Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s (1851, 7), who uses the variant ‑gagns from R and combines it with gunn- to form the cpd gunngagn ‘battle-victory’ with an awkward tmesis, and Finnur Jónsson’s interpretation (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 379; Skj B), who takes gangs as a giant’s name and combines it with dreyra ‘blood’ (l. 4) to form a kenning for ‘river’; ‑vanir is then combined with gunn- (l. 2) in the cpd gunnvanir ‘battle-accustomed’, which results in a tripartite l. 1.



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