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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Sól 40VII

Carolyne Larrington and Peter Robinson (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð 40’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 323.

Anonymous PoemsSólarljóð
394041

Sól ek sá        setta dreyrstöfum;
        mjök var ek þá ór heimi hallr;
máttug hon leiz        á marga vegu
        frá því, sem fyrri var.

Ek sá sól, setta dreyrstöfum; ek var þá mjök hallr ór heimi; hon leiz máttug á marga vegu frá því, sem var fyrri.

I saw the sun, set with bloody staves; I was then forcefully tilting out of this world; it appeared mighty in many ways compared with how it was before.

Mss: 166bˣ(47r), papp15ˣ(4v), 738ˣ(81v), 214ˣ(150v), 1441ˣ(584), 10575ˣ(6r), 2797ˣ(234)

Readings: [4] hon: om. papp15ˣ;    leiz (‘lietst’): so 1441ˣ, 2797ˣ, ‘liest’ 166bˣ, leysti papp15ˣ, 738ˣ, ‘lei[...]’ 214ˣ    [5] á: om. papp15ˣ, 738ˣ, 10575ˣ;    marga: margan 10575ˣ;    vegu: om. papp15ˣ, 738ˣ, 10575ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 634, Skj BI, 642, Skald I, 312; Bugge 1867, 363, Falk 1914, 19, Björn M. Ólsen 1915, 14, Fidjestøl 1979, 65, Njörður Njarðvík 1991, 70-1, Njörður Njarðvík 1993, 46, 118.

Notes: [2] dreyrstöfum ‘with bloody staves’: For Falk (1914a, 23) these are bloody tokens of the end of the world; for Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 42) they are the red rays of the setting sun, while Paasche (1948, 181) interprets them as the bloody wounds of Christ. Skj B and LP: dreyrstafir suggest the translation ‘bloody runes’ and this may have been the poet’s intended meaning, as later (70/6) he uses the word skript ‘writing’ to refer to angels reading written texts from holy books, presumably in the roman alphabet, while the cpd feiknstafir ‘terrible staves’ (60/6), similar to dreyrstafir, applies to inscriptions on ‘heathen stars’ which appear over the heads of sinners. — [4-6]: There are three possible readings of these ll., depending on which of three verbs (leiz, lézk, leysti) is chosen in l. 4. These are: a) máttug hon leiz á marga vegu frá því sem var fyrri ‘mighty it [the sun] appeared in many ways compared with how it was before’; b) máttug hon lézk á marga vegu vegu frá því sem var fyrri ‘mighty it called itself in many ways compared with how it was before’; c) máttug leysti margan / marga frá því sem var fyrri ‘the mighty one released many a person (or ‘many men’) from that which was before’. Although reading b) is found in 166bˣ, in the unnormalised form ‘liest’, this is its only occurrence, and the sun does not speak elsewhere in the sól ek sá-sts. The preferred reading a) appears in 1441ˣ and 2797ˣ, and a number of other mss. Reading c) requires the sun to be personified (which it is not in other sól ek sá-sts), meaning ‘[she] released many a man (or ‘many men’)’, presumably from earthly life. This creates metrical problems: l. 5 then lacks a second lift. The sentiment is comparable with Hsv 80.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Fidjestøl, Bjarne, ed. 1979a. Sólarljóð: Tydning og Tolkningsgrunnlag. Nordisk Instituts skrifteserie 4. Bergen, Oslo and Tromsø: Universitetsforlaget.
  6. Björn Magnússon Ólsen, ed. 1915a. Sólarljóð: gefin út með skíringum og athugasemdum. Safn til sögu Íslands og íslenzkra bókmenta 5.1. Reykjavík: Prentsmiðja Gutenberg.
  7. Bugge, Sophus, ed. 1867. Norrœn fornkvæði. Islandsk samling af folkelige oldtidsdigte om nordens guder og heroer. Almindelig kaldet Sæmundar Edda hins frøda. Christiania (Oslo): Malling. Rpt. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget 1965.
  8. Falk, Hjalmar, ed. 1914a. Sólarljóð. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter II. Hist.-filos. kl. 7. 2 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  9. Njörður P. Njarðvik, ed. 1991. Sólarljóð. Útgáfa og umfjöllun. Íslensk Rit 10. Reykjavík: Bókmenntafræðistofnun Háskóla Íslands og Menningarsjóður.
  10. Njörður P. Njarðvik. 1993. Solsången. Akademisk avhandling för filosofiedoktorsexamen i nordiska språk. Göteborgs universitet: Institutionen för svensk språket.
  11. Paasche, Fredrik. 1948. Hedenskap og kristendom: Studier i norrøn middelalder. Oslo: Aschehoug.
  12. Internal references
  13. Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Hugsvinnsmál 80’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 408-9.
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