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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þhorn Gldr 1I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Glymdrápa 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. 75.

Þorbjǫrn hornklofiGlymdrápa
12

text and translation

Hilmir réð á heiði
hjaldrskíðs þrimu galdra
óðr við œskimeiða
ey vébrautar heyja,
áðr gnapsólar Gripnis
gnýstœrandi fœri
rausnarsamr til rimmu
ríðviggs lagar skíðum.

Hilmir réð heyja {þrimu {hjaldrskíðs}} á heiði, ey óðr við {œskimeiða {galdra {vébrautar}}}, áðr {rausnarsamr {{{Gripnis ríðviggs} gnapsólar} gný}stœrandi} fœri {skíðum lagar} til rimmu.
 
‘The ruler commanded that the noise of the battle-plank [SWORD > BATTLE] be launched on the heath, ever furious at the wishing trees of the incantations of the standard-road [BATTLEFIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS], before the magnificent increaser of the noise of the jutting sun of the riding horse of Gripnir <sea-king> [(lit. ‘noise-increaser of the jutting sun of the riding horse of Gripnir’) SHIP > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIOR] sailed into battle with the skis of the sea [SHIPS].

notes and context

Hkr describes how Haraldr had a large ship built and manned with his retinue and his berserks. He is reported to have had a large army, and among his followers were many powerful men. Stanzas 1 and 2 are cited without interruption after being introduced as Hornklofi’s report of the battle against the Orkndœlir (people of Orkdalen, a district in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway) at Uppdalsskógr.

[1-4]: This helmingr has been subject to numerous interpretations. All agree on Hilmir réð heyja ... ey óðr við œskimeiða ... ‘The ruler commanded that ... be launched, ever furious at the wishing trees ...’ (or ‘The ruler launched ...’, taking réð in réð heyja as a pleonastic auxiliary). Terms for ‘battle’ are to be expected both as the object of heyja ‘launch’ and as the determinant of œskimeiða ‘wishing trees’, and the interpretations differ over the detail of these. (a) The solution adopted in this edn (as in ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991) is essentially that of Kock (NN §228). He takes þrimu hjaldrseiðs ‘noise of the battle-fish [SWORD > BATTLE]’ as the object of heyja ‘launch’, and the remaining words as a warrior-kenning: œskimeiða galdra vébrautar ‘of the wishing trees of the incantations of the standard-road [BATTLEFIELD > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’. The interpretation given here differs from Kock in choosing the variant hjaldrskíðs ‘of the battle-plank [SWORD]’; see Note to l. 2. (b) Þrimu, translated as ‘battle’, is taken as the object of heyja by Finnur Jónsson (1884, 66-8; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) and Eggert Ó. Brím (ÓT 1892, 345). They then assume that œskimeiða forms a kenning with galdra vébrautar hjaldrseiðs, hence ‘wishing trees of the incantations of the holy (powerful) way (?) of the battle-fish [SWORD > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’ (on the variant hjaldrseiðs see Note to l. 2). The adjectival phrase beginning ey óðr ‘ever furious’ which qualifies hilmir ‘ruler’ is assumed to refer to Haraldr effecting peace. Problems with this interpretation are the use of þrima alone for ‘battle’, of which only one example is known (Arn Þorfdr 8/1II; see Reichardt 1928, 25), and the unclear meaning of vébraut (on which, see Note to l. 4). (c) Fidjestøl (1982, 74-6) combines œskimeiða wishing trees’ with galdra ‘of incantations’ to form a sorcerer-kenning ‘wishing trees of incantations’. He adduces the fact that Haraldr hárfagri took action against sorcerers, as well as against thieves (st. 2). However, Fidjestøl’s interpretation produces an overdetermined battle-kenning as the object of heyja ‘launch’: þrimu vébrautar hjaldrseiðs ‘noise of the holy path of the battle-fish [SWORD > SHIELD > BATTLE]’. Þrimu hjaldrseiðs ‘noise of the battle-fish’ in l. 2 is already a battle-kenning, leaving vébrautar in l. 4 redundant. Moreover, l. 4 is split three ways: ey, vébrautar, heyja. (d) For further, less convincing interpretations see Reichardt (1928, 25-6) and Mohr (1933, 11). — [5-8]: This helmingr has likewise been subject to numerous interpretations. All agree on the sentence structure produced by the base-words of the kennings: áðr rausnarsamr ... gnýstœrandi fœri skíðum ... til rimmu ‘before the magnificent increaser of the noise ... sailed into battle with the skis ...’, but four different ways of associating the numerous genitives with the respective kennings have been considered. (a) The arrangement presented above follows Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV). It involves a minimal emendation of -salar ‘of the hall’ to sólar ‘of the sun’ in l. 5. (b) Very similar is Fidjestøl’s suggestion (1982, 76), which reverses the determinants of the two ship-kennings to produce ríðviggs lagar ‘of the riding horse of the sea’ for the first kenning, and skíðum Gripnis ‘with the skis of Gripnir’ for the second. This edn nonetheless prefers interpretation (a) because one would expect the contiguous gnapsólar (ms. gnapsalar) Gripnis (l. 5) to belong to the same kenning. (c) Kock (NN §229, followed in ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991) seeks to avoid emendation in the first kenning by reading gnýstœrandi gnapsalar Gripnis ‘the increaser of the noise of the jutting hall of Gripnir <sea-king> [SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’. This is convincing in itself, but entails also reading skíðum ríðviggs lagar ‘on the skis of the riding horse of the sea [SHIP]’. This would be a kind of interpreted metaphor, in that the ship-kenning explains the metaphor ‘skis’, but such constructions are unusual in skaldic poetry.

readings

sources

Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, 1. Glymdrápa 1: AI, 22, BI, 20, Skald I, 12-13, NN §§228-9; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 108, IV, 28-9, ÍF 26, 101, Hkr 1991, I, 61-2 (HHárf ch. 9), F 1871, 42.

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