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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Lv 3I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 788.

Óttarr svartiLausavísur
23

Ótt Lv 3 is preserved in ÓHLeg (DG8, used as main ms. here), where it is attributed to Óttarr, and in the excerpts (articuli) from Styrmir Kárason’s Lífssaga of S. Óláfr appended to ÓH (Flat, with parallel texts in Tóm, 73aˣ, 71ˣ and 76aˣ, the last three representing a lost part of Bæb, Bæjarbók á Rauðasandi), where it is attributed to Sigvatr Þórðarson and follows his Lv 19. The stanza is somewhat likelier to be the work of Óttarr than of Sigvatr: ÓHLeg is older than Styrmir’s work, and in it the stanza is found in a rambling chapter with poetry by various skalds, where it follows Ólhelg Lv 3. Styrmir might have altered the ascription in order to lend more narrative unity to his saga, while there is no obvious reason why the author of ÓHLeg would have altered it. Similarities in the preceding prose show that the different ascriptions in ÓHLeg and ÓH are not just oral variants.

Heðan sék reyk, þanns rjúka
rǫnn of fiskimǫnnum
— stór eru skalds of skærur
skellibrǫgð — ór helli.
Nú frýrat mér nýrar
nenningar dag þenna;
hlíti ek fyr hvítan
hornstraums dǫgurð Naumu.

Heðan ór helli sék reyk, þanns rǫnn rjúka of fiskimǫnnum; stór eru skellibrǫgð skalds of skærur. Nú frýrat mér nýrar nenningar þenna dag; ek hlíti {Naumu {hornstraums}} fyr hvítan dǫgurð.

From here out of the cave I see smoke, which mansions waft over fishermen; great are the roaring tricks of the poet in the dawn light. Now no-one will be jibing me into a new achievement today; I am content {with a Nauma <giantess> {of the horn-stream}} [ALE > WOMAN] instead of a white breakfast.

Mss: DG8(91v) (ÓHLeg); Flat(187ra), Tóm(122v), 73aˣ(127r), 71ˣ(105v), 76aˣ(135r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] þanns (‘þann ær’): þann Flat, er Tóm    [2] rǫnn of: ‘rannum’ DG8, rǫnn af Flat, 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ, hrǫnn yfir Tóm    [3] skalds: ‘skíalldr’ Tóm;    of (‘um’): om. 73aˣ;    skærur: skorar Tóm    [4] ór: í Tóm    [5] frýrat mér: ‘fryrrar mer’ 73aˣ, 71ˣ;    nýrar: so 73aˣ, 71ˣ, nýjar DG8, ‘nyrrar’ Flat, 76aˣ, ‘(ti)yrar’(?) Tóm    [6] nenningar: so Flat, 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ, menningar DG8, nýjungar Tóm    [7] ek: so all others, ek þér DG8    [8] horn‑: harm‑ Tóm;    ‑straums: ‑straum 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ;    Naumu: so 73aˣ, 71ˣ, Nauma DG8, 76aˣ, nômu Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 269, Skj BI, 249, Skald I, 128ÓHLeg 1922, 57-8, ÓHLeg 1982, 136-7; Fms 5, 177, Fms 12, 109-10, Flat 1860-8, III, 241, ÓH 1941, II, 687, 700, 701.

Context: According to ÓHLeg, one day Óttarr told King Óláfr helgi Haraldsson about a small farmer named Karli whom he had stayed with in Iceland. Óttarr said that he took Karli’s wife and went into a cave and sat there and delivered this vísa as he looked over the farm. The same story is told of Sigvatr Þórðarson in the extracts from Styrmir in the ÓH mss. There the prose adds that Karli thought Sigvatr lazy, and Bæjarbók (73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76ˣ) adds further that the wife was young and attractive, and that they ‘played’ (liekum ockr) in the cave. In all texts, the king smiles and responds with Ólhelg Lv 3.

Notes: [2] rǫnn ‘mansions’: A rann was a large house. The intent is apparently ironic in reference to fishermen’s cottages. — [2] of ‘over’: This is not the reading of any ms., but the confluence of af and -um (see the variants) suggests an original um/of. Jón Skaptason (1983, 194) takes of to mean ‘from around’. — [3] of skærur ‘in the dawn light’: Jón Skaptason (loc. cit.) construes this with rjúka ‘waft, emit’ (l. 1). — [4] skellibrǫgð ‘the roaring tricks’: Or ‘noisy achievements’. The reference is to clever deeds (trickery need not be implied), which may be either the seduction of the wife or the stanza itself, or both. LP: skellibrǫgð tentatively suggests that loud laughter is meant, on the basis of comparison to ModIcel. skellihlátur ‘roar of laughter’. — [7, 8] hvítan dǫgurð ‘a white breakfast’: Milk products eaten at breakfast. The poet means he is such an early-rising hard labourer that he forgoes the morning meal. — [8] Naumu ‘with a Nauma <giantess>’: Nauma features quite frequently in woman-kennings, providing the base-word in the same way that names of goddesses and valkyries frequently do (LP: 1. nauma; Meissner 407), and hence may have been regarded as a goddess name, as seemingly in Þjóð Yt 22/5-6, though no such deity is mentioned in SnE or elsewhere. In the present instance, however, Nauma may be thought of as a giantess, since the stanza is set in a cave, and in the kenning salr Naumu ‘hall of Nauma [CAVE]’ in Grett Lv 28/6V (Gr 60) Nauma seems to be a giantess, denizen of rocks and caves. The two possibilities could perhaps be reconciled by adopting Brøgger’s suggestion (1924-6, 26) that Nauma was a minor deity whose domain is the abodes of the dead – grave-mounds and cairns.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. 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.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  8. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  9. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.
  10. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  11. Internal references
  12. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  13. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr / Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)’ 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. clxxiii.
  14. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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. clxxvi-clxxix.
  15. Judith Jesch 2017, ‘(Biography of) Sigvatr Þórðarson’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 347.
  16. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 520.
  17. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 788.
  18. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 22’ 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. 48.
  19. Not published: do not cite (Grett Lv 28V (Gr 60))
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