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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Lausavísur (Anon)

I. 5. Lausavísur from Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta (ÓT) - 3

not in Skj

2.2: Lausavísur from Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta — Anon (ÓT)I

Kate Heslop and Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Lausavísur from Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1082.

 1   2   3 

SkP info: I, 1082

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Anon (ÓT) 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1082.

This stanza (Anon (ÓT) 1) credits the pagan gods with causing damage to Stefnir Þorgilsson’s ship, and it is preserved within narratives of the Christian missionary activity in Iceland in the late tenth century in ÓT (main ms. 61, Bb, 325IX 1 bˣ, 62, Flat) and Kristni saga (Kristni, ms. Hb). The section is headed (normalised) Þáttr Stefnis Þorgilssonar in Flat (1860-8, I, 285).

Nú hefr stafnval Stefnis
— straumr ferr of hol knerri —
felliveðr af fjalli
fjallrœnt brotit allan.
Heldr kveðk víst, at valdi
— vesa munu bǫnd í landi —
— geisar ô með ísi —
ásríki gný slíkum.

Nú hefr fjallrœnt felliveðr brotit {allan stafnval} Stefnis; straumr ferr af fjalli of hol knerri. Kveðk heldr víst, at ásríki valdi slíkum gný; bǫnd munu vesa í landi; ô geisar með ísi.

Now destructive weather from the mountain has smashed {the whole stem-steed} [SHIP] of Stefnir; the torrent flows from the mountain over the hull of the vessel. I declare it rather certainly that divine power may cause such tumult; the gods must be in the land; the river is gushing with ice.

Mss: 61(32rb), Bb(45rb), 325IX 1 bˣ(3rb-va), 62(15rb), Flat(38ra) (ÓT); Hb(15r) (Kristni)

Readings: [1] ‑val: valinn 61, Bb, 325IX 1 bˣ, 62, Flat, vali Hb    [3] felli‑: fellr Bb, 325IX 1 bˣ, 62    [5] kveðk víst (‘kveð ek vist’): kveð víst Bb, getu vér Hb    [6] vesa: ‘va(mv)’(?) 62, vindr Flat;    munu: so Bb, 325IX 1 bˣ, Hb, munu or mun 61, með 62, sleit Flat;    bǫnd: band 325IX 1 bˣ, Flat;    í landi: á landi Flat, í lǫndum Hb    [7] ísi: ‘ęsi’ Bb    [8] ásríki: áss ríkr 62, allríkr Flat;    gný: ‘freyrr’ Flat

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [X], I. B. 8. Om Stefnirs skib: AI, 179, BI, 169, Skald I, 91; Fms 1, 286, Fms 12, 48, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 311 (ch. 143), ÍF 15, II, 106-7, Flat 1868, I, 287; Biskupa sögur 1858-78, I, 10, Hb 1892-6, I, 131-2, Kristni 1905, 17-18, ÍF 15, II, 16 (ch. 6).

Context: Stefnir Þorgilsson, getting nowhere with his Christian preaching in his native Iceland, turns to attacking pagan temples and icons. A force of pagans, including his relatives, force him to Kjalarnes (Kristni) or simply prosecute him (ÓT). His ship is in the Gufá estuary and is washed out to sea by storms. Feeling (according to ÓT) that this shows the fury of the gods, the pagans recite a stanza about this. After the citation it is remarked that the ship came ashore with little damage. 

Notes: [1]: A regular number of syllables in the line can be obtained in various ways. (a) In the Text above, hefr is not elided, and stafnvalinn in the mss is normalised to -val, on the assumption that the suffixed ‑inn, which would be extraordinary in the late C10th, is scribal. (b) Elision of nú hefr to núfr would be possible, but the loss of a syllable would have to be compensated either by assuming -inn to be original, or by emending to val stafna ‘steed of stems [SHIP]’ as in Skj B and Skald. — [1] stafnval ‘stem-steed [SHIP]’: Valr, meaning ‘falcon’, became a horse-name and hence a heiti for ‘horse’, suitable for inclusion in ship-kennings such as the present one (see LP: 2. valr). — [1] Stefnis ‘of Stefnir’: See Biography of Stefnir Þorgilsson (Stefnir) and his Lv 1-2. — [2] hol ‘the hull’: Hol n. is a ‘hollow, concavity’, here the hull, the hollow body of the ship. According to LP: hol, this is the only instance of the word in poetry.  — [3] af fjalli ‘from the mountain’: This could alternatively be taken with the intercalary clause (so, e.g., Skj B). — [5] heldr ‘rather’: This adv. seems to qualify the statement, and especially víst ‘certain’ in the ÓT reading. It may be intensive, though heldr more usually dilutes meaning. Another view would be that it has a strongly adversative sense ‘instead’, introducing divine power in the second helmingr as an alternative explanation that overrides the purely natural one in the first (so Nj 1875-8, II, 198, followed by Kahle in Kristni 1905). However, the intercalation of a reference to natural forces in l. 7 is against this view. — [6] bǫnd ... í landi ‘the gods ... in the land’: On bǫnd as gods of the land, see Marold (1992, 705-7).

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