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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞHjalt Lv 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorvaldr Hjaltason, Lausavísur 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. 271.

Þorvaldr HjaltasonLausavísur
12

Fari* ‘let’

fara (verb; ferr, fór, fóru, farinn): go, travel

[1] Fari*: farit Flat

notes

[1] fari* ‘let ... go’: This emendation from ms. ‘farit’ follows Kock in Skald and NN §§1853G, 2009 (and fari is suggested as an option in Skj B). The ms. reading could alternatively stand as normalised farið, imp. ‘go’, which would assume that the wolves are being addressed directly. However, an apostrophe to wolves would be unusual in itself, and would not sit well with what seems to be an apostrophe to a warrior in the same helmingr (see Note to vǫrðr l. 3).

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til ‘to’

til (prep.): to

notes

[1] til Fýrisvallar ‘to Fýrisvǫllr’: The stanza has the sg. form of the p. n., while the prose (Flat 1860-8, II, 72) has acc. pl. ‑uollu (normalised ‑vǫllu, nom. pl. ‑vellir), and the pl. form Fýrisvellir is more usual in reference to the battle. The site is assumed to have been south of modern Uppsala. On the battle, see further Anon (Styrb) 1-3 and Introduction.

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Fýris ‘Fýris’

fýri (noun n.): fir-tree < Fýrisvǫllr (noun m.)

notes

[1] til Fýrisvallar ‘to Fýrisvǫllr’: The stanza has the sg. form of the p. n., while the prose (Flat 1860-8, II, 72) has acc. pl. ‑uollu (normalised ‑vǫllu, nom. pl. ‑vellir), and the pl. form Fýrisvellir is more usual in reference to the battle. The site is assumed to have been south of modern Uppsala. On the battle, see further Anon (Styrb) 1-3 and Introduction.

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vallar ‘vǫllr’

vǫllr (noun m.; °vallar, dat. velli; vellir acc. vǫllu/velli): plain, field < Fýrisvǫllr (noun m.)

notes

[1] til Fýrisvallar ‘to Fýrisvǫllr’: The stanza has the sg. form of the p. n., while the prose (Flat 1860-8, II, 72) has acc. pl. ‑uollu (normalised ‑vǫllu, nom. pl. ‑vellir), and the pl. form Fýrisvellir is more usual in reference to the battle. The site is assumed to have been south of modern Uppsala. On the battle, see further Anon (Styrb) 1-3 and Introduction.

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folka ‘of battles’

folk (noun n.): people

kennings

Vǫrðr tungls folka,
‘Guardian of the sun of battles, ’
   = WARRIOR

the sun of battles, → SWORD
Guardian of the SWORD → WARRIOR
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folka ‘of battles’

folk (noun n.): people

kennings

Vǫrðr tungls folka,
‘Guardian of the sun of battles, ’
   = WARRIOR

the sun of battles, → SWORD
Guardian of the SWORD → WARRIOR
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tungls ‘of the sun’

tungl (noun n.; °-s; -): heavenly body

kennings

Vǫrðr tungls folka,
‘Guardian of the sun of battles, ’
   = WARRIOR

the sun of battles, → SWORD
Guardian of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[2] tungls ‘of the sun’: ‘Of the moon’ is also possible. Tungl n. refers to heavenly bodies, whether sun, moon or stars, and terms for both ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ occur in shield-kennings (Meissner 168).

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tungls ‘of the sun’

tungl (noun n.; °-s; -): heavenly body

kennings

Vǫrðr tungls folka,
‘Guardian of the sun of battles, ’
   = WARRIOR

the sun of battles, → SWORD
Guardian of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[2] tungls ‘of the sun’: ‘Of the moon’ is also possible. Tungl n. refers to heavenly bodies, whether sun, moon or stars, and terms for both ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ occur in shield-kennings (Meissner 168).

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hungrar ‘hungry’

hungra (verb): be hungry

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vǫrðr ‘Guardian’

vǫrðr (noun m.; °varðar, dat. verði/vǫrð; verðir, acc. vǫrðu): guardian, defender

[3] vǫrðr: verðr Flat

kennings

Vǫrðr tungls folka,
‘Guardian of the sun of battles, ’
   = WARRIOR

the sun of battles, → SWORD
Guardian of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[3] vǫrðr ‘guardian’: Ms. ‘verdr’ (normalised verðr) could be verbal ‘becomes’ or adjectival ‘worthy’, but neither would fit the syntax, and the minimal emendation to vǫrðr has been made by most eds, as here. This forms the base-word of a warrior-kenning functioning as an apostophe.

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virkis ‘of the stronghold’

virki (noun n.; °-s; -): stronghold

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garði ‘the enclosure’

garðr (noun m.): enclosure, yard

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kveld ‘of the evening’

kveld (noun n.; °-s): evening < kveldriða (noun f.): [evening-rider]

kennings

hesta kveldriðu,
‘of the horses of the evening-rider ’
   = WOLVES

the evening-rider → TROLL-WOMAN
the horses of the TROLL-WOMAN → WOLVES
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kveld ‘of the evening’

kveld (noun n.; °-s): evening < kveldriða (noun f.): [evening-rider]

kennings

hesta kveldriðu,
‘of the horses of the evening-rider ’
   = WOLVES

the evening-rider → TROLL-WOMAN
the horses of the TROLL-WOMAN → WOLVES
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riðu ‘rider’

1. riða (noun f.; °-u; -ur): [rider] < kveldriða (noun f.): [evening-rider]

kennings

hesta kveldriðu,
‘of the horses of the evening-rider ’
   = WOLVES

the evening-rider → TROLL-WOMAN
the horses of the TROLL-WOMAN → WOLVES
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riðu ‘rider’

1. riða (noun f.; °-u; -ur): [rider] < kveldriða (noun f.): [evening-rider]

kennings

hesta kveldriðu,
‘of the horses of the evening-rider ’
   = WOLVES

the evening-rider → TROLL-WOMAN
the horses of the TROLL-WOMAN → WOLVES
Close

hesta ‘of the horses’

hestr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): horse, stallion

kennings

hesta kveldriðu,
‘of the horses of the evening-rider ’
   = WOLVES

the evening-rider → TROLL-WOMAN
the horses of the TROLL-WOMAN → WOLVES
Close

Þar ‘There’

þar (adv.): there

notes

[5] þar ‘there’: Kock (NN §2009A) mentions the possibility of a reference to action around the Danevirke (Jutland) but this is implausible and involves reading þar as meaning ‘here’.

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hregg ‘of the storm’

hregg (noun n.): storm < hreggdraugr (noun m.)hregg (noun n.): storm < hreggdǫgg (noun f.)

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS

notes

[5] hreggdrauga ‘the logs of the storm’: (a) The solution adopted here (that of Skj B) involves two emendations, but a postulated original drauga could have been corrupted to dǫggvar under the influence of hǫggvit, and a postulated skíðs corrupted to skins ‘shining’ under the (semantic) influence of sól ‘sun’; and the other options are not unproblematic. Emended drauga forms the base of a warrior-kenning, as commonly, though the meaning of draugr has been disputed. It is either a log, tree-stump (so Orms Eddu-Brot, in SnE 1848-87, II, 497; LP: 2. draugr) or else a supernatural being, a revenant of a very palpable kind (so Meissner 264-5, following Neckel; LP: 1. draugr). ‘Log’ is preferred here, since it fits well with hǫggvit ‘cut down’ (l. 5); the verb hǫggva is also used of felling timber. (b) Ms. hreggdǫggvar ‘storm-dews’ could be retained (as by Kock in Skald and NN §3102), yielding a clause in which Eiríkr has cut down blood (hreggdǫggvar sólar skins elfar ‘the dew of the storm (lit. storm-dew) of the sun of the gleam of the river [GOLD > SHIELD > BATTLE > BLOOD]’. But the idea of blood being ‘cut down’ or ‘hewn’ (hǫggvit) is unconvincing, as is Kock’s ‘sun of gold’ (jyllene solen) for ‘shield’.

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hregg ‘of the storm’

hregg (noun n.): storm < hreggdraugr (noun m.)hregg (noun n.): storm < hreggdǫgg (noun f.)

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS

notes

[5] hreggdrauga ‘the logs of the storm’: (a) The solution adopted here (that of Skj B) involves two emendations, but a postulated original drauga could have been corrupted to dǫggvar under the influence of hǫggvit, and a postulated skíðs corrupted to skins ‘shining’ under the (semantic) influence of sól ‘sun’; and the other options are not unproblematic. Emended drauga forms the base of a warrior-kenning, as commonly, though the meaning of draugr has been disputed. It is either a log, tree-stump (so Orms Eddu-Brot, in SnE 1848-87, II, 497; LP: 2. draugr) or else a supernatural being, a revenant of a very palpable kind (so Meissner 264-5, following Neckel; LP: 1. draugr). ‘Log’ is preferred here, since it fits well with hǫggvit ‘cut down’ (l. 5); the verb hǫggva is also used of felling timber. (b) Ms. hreggdǫggvar ‘storm-dews’ could be retained (as by Kock in Skald and NN §3102), yielding a clause in which Eiríkr has cut down blood (hreggdǫggvar sólar skins elfar ‘the dew of the storm (lit. storm-dew) of the sun of the gleam of the river [GOLD > SHIELD > BATTLE > BLOOD]’. But the idea of blood being ‘cut down’ or ‘hewn’ (hǫggvit) is unconvincing, as is Kock’s ‘sun of gold’ (jyllene solen) for ‘shield’.

Close

drauga ‘the logs’

1. draugr (noun m.; °; -ar): tree < hreggdraugr (noun m.)

[5] ‑drauga: dǫggvar Flat

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS

notes

[5] hreggdrauga ‘the logs of the storm’: (a) The solution adopted here (that of Skj B) involves two emendations, but a postulated original drauga could have been corrupted to dǫggvar under the influence of hǫggvit, and a postulated skíðs corrupted to skins ‘shining’ under the (semantic) influence of sól ‘sun’; and the other options are not unproblematic. Emended drauga forms the base of a warrior-kenning, as commonly, though the meaning of draugr has been disputed. It is either a log, tree-stump (so Orms Eddu-Brot, in SnE 1848-87, II, 497; LP: 2. draugr) or else a supernatural being, a revenant of a very palpable kind (so Meissner 264-5, following Neckel; LP: 1. draugr). ‘Log’ is preferred here, since it fits well with hǫggvit ‘cut down’ (l. 5); the verb hǫggva is also used of felling timber. (b) Ms. hreggdǫggvar ‘storm-dews’ could be retained (as by Kock in Skald and NN §3102), yielding a clause in which Eiríkr has cut down blood (hreggdǫggvar sólar skins elfar ‘the dew of the storm (lit. storm-dew) of the sun of the gleam of the river [GOLD > SHIELD > BATTLE > BLOOD]’. But the idea of blood being ‘cut down’ or ‘hewn’ (hǫggvit) is unconvincing, as is Kock’s ‘sun of gold’ (jyllene solen) for ‘shield’.

Close

hóll* ‘without’

hól (noun n.; °-s): praise, boasting < hóllauss (adj.)

[6] hóll*aust: ‘holla aust’ Flat

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aust ‘exaggeration’

lauss (adj.; °compar. lausari): loose, free, without < hóllauss (adj.)

[6] hóll*aust: ‘holla aust’ Flat

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þat ‘that’

þat (conj.): that

notes

[5] þar ‘there’: Kock (NN §2009A) mentions the possibility of a reference to action around the Danevirke (Jutland) but this is implausible and involves reading þar as meaning ‘here’.

Close

sólar ‘of the sun’

sól (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir): sun

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

sólar ‘of the sun’

sól (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir): sun

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

sólar ‘of the sun’

sól (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir): sun

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

elfar ‘of the river’

elfr (noun f.): river

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

elfar ‘of the river’

elfr (noun f.): river

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

elfar ‘of the river’

elfr (noun f.): river

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

elfar ‘of the river’

elfr (noun f.): river

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

skíðs ‘of the ski’

skíð (noun n.; °; -): ski

[7] skíðs: skins Flat

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

skíðs ‘of the ski’

skíð (noun n.; °; -): ski

[7] skíðs: skins Flat

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

skíðs ‘of the ski’

skíð (noun n.; °; -): ski

[7] skíðs: skins Flat

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

skíðs ‘of the ski’

skíð (noun n.; °; -): ski

[7] skíðs: skins Flat

kennings

elfar skíðs sólar hreggdrauga
‘storm-logs of the sun of the ski of the river’
   = WARRIORS

the ski of the river → SHIP
the sun of the SHIP → SHIELD
the storm of the SHIELD → BATTLE
the logs of the BATTLE → WARRIORS
Close

Eirekr ‘Eiríkr’

Eiríkr (noun m.): Eiríkr

notes

[8] Eirekr ‘Eiríkr’: Swedish king: see Introduction.

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dyn ‘the tumult’

dynr (noun m.; °dat. -; -ir): din

kennings

dyn geira;
‘the tumult of spears; ’
   = BATTLE

the tumult of spears; → BATTLE
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geira ‘of spears’

geirr (noun m.): spear

kennings

dyn geira;
‘the tumult of spears; ’
   = BATTLE

the tumult of spears; → BATTLE
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

After the battle of Fýrisvellir and the retreat of his coerced ally Haraldr Gormsson to Denmark, Styrbjǫrn Óláfsson is slain, and his army defeated, in renewed fighting against his uncle King Eiríkr. Afterwards, in Uppsala, Eiríkr promises a reward to anyone who composes about this, and so Þorvaldr Hjaltason orti vísur þessar ‘composed these verses’ (Flat).

The general sense of the stanza is clear but it cannot be interpreted as it stands, and some emendation is reasonable given that the only ms. witness is Flat, whose skaldic texts are often flawed.

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