Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Hókr Eirfl 5I/7 — Sifjar ‘of Sif’

Hykkat vægð at vígi,
— vann drótt jǫfur sóttan;
fjǫrð komsk jarl at jǫrðu —
ógnharðan sik spǫrðu,
þás fjarðmývils fœrðuð,
folkharðr, á trǫð Barða
— lítt vas Sifjar Sóti
svangr — við Orm inn langa.

Hykkat vægð at vígi, ógnharðan spǫrðu sik — drótt vann jǫfur sóttan; fjǫrð komsk jarl at jǫrðu — þás, folkharðr, fœrðuð Barða á trǫð fjarðmývils við Orm inn langa; Sóti Sifjar vas lítt svangr.

I do not believe there was mercy during the onslaught [or that] the battle-hard one [Eiríkr] spared himself — the retinue attacked the prince; last year, the jarl obtained the land — when, war-hard one, you brought Barði (‘Prow’) onto the path of the fjord-lump [SKERRY > SEA] against Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’); the Sóti <horse> of Sif <goddess> [WOLF] was hardly hungry.


[7] Sifjar: sævar 310, 61, Bb, Flat, ‘sæfar’ 54


[7] Sóti Sifjar ‘the Sóti <horse> of Sif <goddess> [WOLF]’: Sóti is the name of a horse (see Anon Þorgþ I 1/6III and Note there), and, since it is evidently the base-word of a kenning for ‘wolf’ here we should expect the determinant to be the name of, or a heiti for, a ‘troll-woman’ or ‘giantess’ (Meissner 124-5). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) accordingly adds the determinant fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [ROCK]’ (l. 5) and construes Sóti Sifjar fjarðmývils ‘the Sóti of the Sif of the fjord-lump [ROCK > GIANTESS > WOLF]’. While that interpretation yields a perfectly acceptable wolf-kenning, it results in an unprecedented tripartite Type C-line (l. 5) and leaves trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6) without a determinant. Kock (NN §558) adopts the variant sævar ‘of the sea’ (so 310, 61, Bb, Flat; 54 has ‘sæfar’) as a determinant in a ship-kenning. He translates Sóti sævar vas lítt svangr as mager var ej havets häst ‘the horse of the sea was not lean’ without further comment. It is not clear how a ship can be ‘not lean’ (or ‘not hungry’), and both FskAˣ and Holm18 have Sifjar, which must be regarded as the lectio difficilior. Not much is known about the goddess Sif, wife of Þórr (see ARG II, 124; Note to Þul Kvenna II 1/4III), but it is doubtful whether she was of giant lineage. According to Snorri (Gylf, SnE 2005, 5), Þórr met Sif in the northern hemisphere, and he adds that Engi kann at segja ætt Sifjar ‘Nobody knows the lineage of Sif’. Hence it could be that Halldórr nodded here or, alternatively, that he had other and different information about Sif (cf. his nickname ókristni ‘Un-Christian’).




Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Word in text

This view shows information about an instance of a word in a text.