lundi 17 juillet 2017

Bragi Boddason: Ragnarsdrápa 14-19 [9th century]

Bragi Boddason: Ragnarsdrápa 14-19 [9th century]

Ragnarsdrápa 14 [Sks # 24] [RWTU]

Þat erumk sýnt, at snemma

sonr Aldaföðrs vildi
afls við úri þœfðan
jarðar reist of freista.
It is shown to me [on the shield] that early on the son of Aldaföðr wanted to try his strength against the sea-lashed snake of the earth.
1. snemma "early" - has also been interpreted as "soon, before long" here. This is possible, but difficult within the context. "Early on", "in the early times" would fit better, and refer to a time when Þórr was young. See commentary to Hymiskviða 18 (sveinn).
2. Aldaföðr "father of men" is one of Óðinn's names. Cp. Vafþrúðnismál 4, 53.
4. reistr jarðar "snake of the earth" is Jörmungandr. Cp. seiðr jarðar "fish of the earth" in Eysteinn Valdason 3.
Ragnarsdrápa 15 [Sks # 48] [RWTU]

Hamri fórsk í hœgri

hönd, þás allra landa,
œgir Öflugbarða
endiseiðs of kendi.
Öflugbarði's frightener grasped the hammer with his right hand, when he became aware of the boundary-fish of all lands.
2-4. endiseiðr allra landa "boundary fish of all lands" is Jörmungandr. Cp. umgjörð allra landa "girdle of all lands" (see commentary to Hymiskviða 22).
3. Öflugbarði "strong-beard?" is presumably a giant's name. Þórr is his œgir "frightener".
Ragnarsdrápa 16 [Sks # 42] [RWTU]

Vaðr lá Viðris arfa

vilgi slakr, er rakðisk,
á Eynæfis öndri,
Jörmungandr at sandi.
Viðrir's heir's fishing-line was far from slack on Eynæfir's ski, when Jörmungandr uncoiled on the sea-bed.
1. Viðris arfi "Viðrir's heir" is Þórr. Viðrir is one of Óðinn's names. Frigg is called Viðris kvæn "Viðrir's wife" in Lokasenna 26.
3. Eynæfis öndurr "Eynæfir's ski" is a typical ship-kenning. Eynæfir, a sea-king's name, is found in Nafnaþulur [a 2]. The same kenning is also found in Krákumál 11 (á Eynæfis öndrum).
Ragnarsdrápa 17 [Sks # 51] [RWTU]

Ok borðróins barða

brautar þvengr inn ljóti
á haussprengi Hrungnis
harðgeðr neðan starði.
And from below, the hideous thong of the path of the side-oared ship stared malevolently at Hrungnir's head-splitter.
1-2. braut barða "path of the ship" is an ocean-kenning. It is modified by the adjectice borðróinn, lit. "rowed from the ship's side".
2. þvengr "thong" of the ocean (path of the ship) is, of course, Jörmungandr. Only U has the euphonic þvengr, here, which is preferable to the other manuscripts' hringr "ring".
3. Hrungnis haussprengir "Hrungnir's head-splitter" is Þórr. The mythological reference is quite exact, as we learn from Snorri that "the hammer Mjöllnir hit the middle of Hrungnir's head, and shattered his skull into small fragments ..." [Faulkes, Skáldskaparmál 17]
Ragnarsdrápa 18 [Sks # 153] [RT]

Þás forns Litar flotna

á fangboða öngli
hrøkkviáll of hrokkinn
hekk Völsunga drekku.
When the writhing eel of the Völsung-drink hung coiled on the hook of the wrestling opponent of the mates of ancient Litr.
1. Litr is apparently a giant's name here, although elsewhere it is found as the name of a dwarf (Völuspá 12, Gylfaginning 49). However, there is some evidence that the two "species" may have been thought of as closely related. In Þórsdrápa 15, the giant Geirröðr is called áttruðr Suðra "kinsman of Suðri".
1. flotnar has been translated here, perhaps arbitrarily, as "mates". The original meaning of the word was "sailors, seafarers", and this often shows through in the oldest examples (see Lexicon Poeticum, p. 142). Later, the word simply came to mean "men, heroes".
2. fangboði, literally "one who offers a wrestling match". Þórr's most famous wrestling match occurs in Gylfaginning 46, when he wrestles with the crone Elli ("old age"). In a stanza by Kveldúlfr (Egill's grandfather), old age is referred to by the cleverly formed kenning Þórs fangvina "Þórr's female wrestling partner".
1-2. fangboði flotna forns Litar "the wrestling opponent of the mates of ancient Litr" is a typically turgid kenning for Þórr, who is frequently referred to in similar terms in both Haustlöng and Þórsdrápa.
3. hrokkinn "coiled" - could also mean "wrinkled", as in Ríksþula 8: hrokkit skinn "wrinkled skin".
4. hrøkkviáll drekku Völsunga "writhing eel of the Völsung-drink" is Jörmungandr, or properly, any venomous serpent. The "Völsung-drink" is poison, in reference to the story of Sinfjötli's death (see, for example, Hollander's translation of the Poetic Edda, p. 203).
Ragnarsdrápa 19 [Sks # 366] [RT]

Vildit vröngum ofra

vágs byrsendir œgi,
hinn er mjótygil máva
mœrar skar fyr Þóri.
The breeze-sender, the one who cut Þórr's thin rope of the land of seagulls, did not want the twisted agitator of waves to be lifted.
1-2. vrangr œgir vágs "twisted agitator of the bay (or wave)" is Jörmungandr.
2. byrsendir "breeze-sender" is a unique kenning, and certainly a rather puzzling one for Hymir. It has been explained with reference to Hræsvelgr, father/creator of winds, who is, according to Vafþrúðnismál 37, jötunn í arnar ham "a giant in the guise of an eagle". This may be far-fetched, but strangely enough we find Hymir living at himins enda "at the end of heaven" in Hymiskviða 5, while the eagle-giant Hræsvelgur sitr á himins enda "sits at heaven's end" according to Vafþrúðnismál. Coincidence?
3. mjótygill "thin rope".
4. mærr "flat, marshy land", or Mærr "the Møre-district in Norway". Either way, the "land/district of seagulls" is the ocean.
3-4. mjótygill mærar máva "thin rope of the land of seagulls" is a kenning for the fishing-line.

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