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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Eirm 7I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Eiríksmál 7’ 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. 1011.

Anonymous PoemsEiríksmál
678

‘Hví namt þú hann sigri þá,         es þér þótti hann snjallr vesa?’
‘Því at óvíst es at vita *,         nær ulfr inn hǫsvi
        sœkir á sjǫt goða.’

‘Hví namt þú hann sigri þá, es hann þótti þér vesa snjallr?’ ‘Því at óvíst es at vita *, nær inn hǫsvi ulfr sœkir á sjǫt goða.’

‘Why did you deprive him of victory then, when he seemed to you to be valiant?’ ‘Because it cannot be known for certain when the grey wolf will attack the home of the gods.’

Mss: 761bˣ(106r); FskAˣ(38), 52ˣ(15r), 301ˣ(13r) (Fsk)

Readings: [3] vita *: vita sagði Óðinn all    [4] nær: sér FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ    [5] sœkir á: á all

Editions: Skj AI, 175, Skj BI, 165, Skald I, 89; Fsk 1902-3, 29 (ch. 7), ÍF 29, 79 (ch. 8); Möbius 1860, 232, Gordon 1957, 149, Jón Helgason 1968, 23.

Context: As for st. 1 (Fsk).

Notes: [All]: The stanza comprises a málaháttr couplet and three lines of ljóðaháttr. — [1]: The speaker is presumably Sigmundr, though there is no overt indication of this in the mss. — [3]: Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 7, and similarly Skald and Lindquist 1929, 10) supplies after l. 2, Vas þó verðr gagns frá goðum ‘Yet he was worthy of victory from the gods’ (cf. Eyv Hák 12/3). This is unnecessary, however: see Note to st. 6/3. — [3] því es óvíst at vita * ‘because it cannot be known for certain’: Lit. ‘because it is uncertain to know’. Óðinn is identified as the speaker in the mss, though the identification, being extrametrical, is omitted here. See Introduction to the poem. — [4] nær ‘when’: Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 8-10, followed by Skald, Lindquist 1929, 10 and Jón Helgason 1968) seems to have hit on the same reading as 761bˣ, without having consulted it, on the basis of comparison with Fáfn 24/1 (NK 184) and Hávm 1/5 and 38/5 (NK 16, 23), where the formula óvíst es at vita ‘it cannot be known for certain’ is also to be found, and where it is always followed by an interrog. adv. (nær ‘when’ in Hávm 38/5). — [4] inn hǫsvi ulfr ‘the grey wolf’: Fenrisúlfr, the monstrous wolf Fenrir who will break free at Ragnarǫk (‘the doom of the gods’), swallowing the sun (cf. Vafþr 46, 47) and (if the identification is correct) fighting Óðinn and his son Víðarr (Vsp 53-6; cf. SnE 2005, 49-50). — [5] sœkir á ‘will attack’: The defective sense and alliteration indicate that a word is missing, and the following have been proposed: (a) greypr ‘fierce’ (Holthausen 1896, 88, Fsk 1902-3 and Skj B, reading sér ‘looks’ in the preceding line; also Tveiten 1966, 24); (b) sœkir (Sahlgren 1927-8, I, 10 (though for unpersuasive reasons); Lindquist 1929, 10; Skald); (c) gengr ‘will go’ (CPB I, 261, followed by Jón Helgason 1968). Either of these last two readings is suitable. However the lacuna is to be filled, Óðinn’s meaning is that Ragnarǫk may be at hand at any moment, and Eiríkr’s help will be needed against Fenrisúlfr (cf. previous Note, and Note to st. 1/5 einherjar).

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. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  5. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  6. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  8. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. Möbius, Theodor. 1860. Edda Sæmundar hins fróða. Mit einem Anhang bisher ungedruckter Gedichte. Leipzig: Hinrichs.
  10. Holthausen, Ferdinand. 1896. Altisländisches Lesebuch. Weimar: Emil Felber.
  11. Gordon, E. V. 1957. An Introduction to Old Norse. 2nd edn rev. A. R. Taylor. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  12. Lindquist, Ivar. 1929. Norröna lovkväden från 800 och 900 talen. I: Förslag till restituerad täxt jämte översättning. Lund: Gleerup.
  13. Jón Helgason, ed. 1968. Skjaldevers. 3rd edn. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  14. Sahlgren, Jöran. 1927-8. Eddica et Scaldica. Fornvästnordiska studier I-II. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  15. Tveiten, Hallvard, trans. 1966. Norrøne skaldekvad. Oslo: Saabye.
  16. Internal references
  17. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  18. Not published: do not cite ()
  19. Not published: do not cite ()
  20. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 12’ 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. 186.
  21. Not published: do not cite ()
  22. Not published: do not cite ()
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