Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Sól 39VII/4 — heljar ‘of Hell’

Sól ek sá        sanna dagstjörnu
        drjúpa dynheimum í;
en heljar grind        heyrða ek annan veg
        þjóta þungliga.

Ek sá sól, sanna dagstjörnu, drjúpa í dynheimum; en annan veg heyrða ek grind heljar þjóta þungliga.

I saw the sun, the true day-star, bow down in the noisy world; and in the other direction I heard the gate of Hell roaring weightily.


[4] heljar grind: so 10575ˣ, 2797ˣ, helgrind 166bˣ, heljar grund papp15ˣ


[4] heljar grind ‘gate of Hell’: Two late mss, 10575ˣ and 2797ˣ, have this reading, which produces a metrically regular fornyrðislag l., whereas the cpd helgrind, the reading of 166bˣ, 738ˣ, and a significant number of other mss gives a kviðuháttr l. Papp15ˣ reads heljar grund ‘the abyss of Hell’, as do 13 other mss; this is also metrically acceptable, and roaring might be more likely from an abyss than a gate. However the gates of death (portae mortis) are referred to in Job XXXVIII.17, Psalm IX.15 and the gates of Hell (portae inferi) in Matt. XVI.18. The image is also present in a pagan context, cf. nágrindr ‘corpse-gate’ Skí 35/3, Lok 63/6 and helgrindr ‘Hell-gate’ SnE 1982, 9, 47.



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