ŽÓRSDRĮPA 10:5-8

Codex RegiusCodex TrajectinusCodex WormianusEmended & Modernized
10 : 5-8 VariantsVariants 
ogndiarfan hlavt arfiogn diarfann ógn djarfan hlaut arfi
eišs[fiaršar hvg] meira;  eišs fjaršar hug meira;
skalfa žors ne žialfa  skalf-a Žórs ne Žjįlfa
žrottar steiN v otta.uit žróttar steinn viš ótta.

Lines 5-6 are extremely problematic. They are almost certainly corrupt, and no certain meaning can be established without drastic emendations. I have chosen, above, to leave them standing as they are found in the manuscripts. Fortunately, lines 7-8 are crystal clear, and the meaning of the half-stanza, without emendations, might be:

Arfi eišs hlaut djarfan hug, meira ógn fjaršar; žróttar steinn Žórs skalf-a viš ótta, ne Žjįlfa, i.e. "Žórr's bravery exceeded the threat of the ocean; his heart did not tremble from fear, and neither did Žjįlfi's".

Such a meaning may even be seen as feasible, but unfortunately the meter makes it hard to accept (although not impossible). Line 6 demands an ašalhending (full in-rhyme), which can hardly be achieved without either emending eišs to eirs, or meira to meiša. The result of either emendation is that the sentence becomes meaningless.

I am unable to suggest a way to make sense of "eišs - meiša", without three emendations, and a dubious tmesis:

ógn -djarfr hlaut-a arfi
eišs fjaršar hug- meiša

reading: hugdjarfr arfi eišs hlaut-a ógn fjaršar meiša, i.e. "the brave son of earth (Žórr) was not threatened by the terror of ships (ocean)". Such an interpretation is admittedly dubious, but so is Finnur Jónsson's version (which has hardly been challenged by later editors):

Ógndjarfan hlaut Atli
eirfjaršan hug meira

reading: Atli hlaut meira ógndjarfan, eirfjaršan hug, literally "Atli (Žórr) gained a more battle-bold, relentless determination = Žórr grew bolder and more relentless when faced with the battle".

Thor is nowhere known as Atli, except in the Nafnažulur, a dubious source indeed. The sacrifice of the in-rhyme djarf- / arf- is a drastic step to take. The adjective eirfjaršr doesn't exist, and even if it did, the meaning "made remote from pity, pitiless, relentless" (see Faulkes) is difficult to accept.

Sveinbjörn Egilsson read:

Eišs firšar hlaut ógndjarfan hug, meira arfi, i.e. "the men of oath (companions) had a battle-bold mind, greater than inheritance (riches)". This is hardly acceptable. The primary objection is the reading of hlaut (singular) as hlutu (plural). The interpretation of meira arfi is almost ludicrous.

So can any conclusions be reached about these two lines? Not really. As far as I am concerned, the unemended version seems to make more sense than the emended ones. But in order to accept this, we would have to admit a flagrant violation of the rules of dróttkvętt, which is unlikely in the case of a poet of Eilķfr's stature. Below, I will treat the various idioms met with above in greater detail, in order to allow the reader to make his own assessments.

arfi eišs ] = arfi jaršar = Thor. Arfi means "heir", i.e. son. Eiš means "narrow peninsula, separating a ness from the mainland", and could possibly be used as a heiti for "earth". Thor was his father's arfi, and therefore he might also be designated as his mother's (cp. jaršar burr, jaršar sonr, grundar sveinn).

hlaut djarfan hug, meira ógn fjaršar ] Literally "received a bold mind, greater than the threat of the fiord", i.e. he was not afraid of the threat of the ocean.

hlaut-a ógn ] "didn't receive the threat" = "was not threatened".

ógn fjaršar meiša ] The threat/terror of ships = the ocean. Meišr fjaršar "fjord-tree" is an acceptable kenning for "ship", cp. sęmeišr "sea-tree". "Terror of the fjord-tree" would be an apt kenning for the (Northern) Ocean. It should be noted that ógn is often used to mean "battle" in skaldic poetry. This would add an additional layer of meaning onto the kenning. In the previous stanzas, we have seen Thor battling the waves, and vice versa.

ógndjarfr, eirfjaršr ] Ógndjarfr is a known adjective. It might, perhaps, be better understood as "threat-bold, bold when faced with a threat", but the other occurrences suggest "battle-bold, bold in battle". As mentioned above, the adjective eirfjaršr occurs nowhere else. It would have to mean "removed from pity (eir), pitiless, relentless". The suffix -fjaršur would need to be a passive participle of an obsolete verb fjarra "remove". There is no hard evidence for the existence of such a verb outside the imagination of Finnur Jónsson.

Lines 7-8:

skalf-a Žórs ne Žjįlfa / žróttar steinn viš ótta ] The meaning is clear: "Thor's valour-stone (heart) did not tremble from fear; neither did Žjįlfi's".

Appendix:

In Chapter 11 of Skįldskaparmįl, Snorri quotes the following half-stanza by Eilķfr (44):

Reišr stóš Rösku bróšir,
vį gagn fašir Magna;
Skelfr-a Žórs ne Žjįlfa
žróttar steinn viš ótta.

It can hardly be doubted that these lines belong to Žórsdrįpa. Lines 3-4 are identical to 10:7-8, apart from the present tense skelfr-a as opposed to the past tense skalf-a. It has been suggested that these two lines may have formed a stef (refrain) in the poem (drįpa).

The rules of alliteration require the archaic forms vreišr and Vrösku. The first two lines mean "Röskva's brother (Žjįlfi) stood angry; Magni's father (Žórr) struck a victorious blow (or: achieved victory)".

It would be futile to guess at the original placement of this "half-stanza". Snorri uses it as a demonstration of the kenning "Magni's father", and as Thor and Žjįlfi (in line 3) conveniently translate the two kennings in lines 1-2, we cannot even be certain that the two quarters belonged together, especially if lines 3-4 were, indeed, a stef. Finnur Jónsson placed these lines at the end of the poem (after stanza 19).

NOTE: Snorri quotes this "half-stanza" without any reference to Žórsdrįpa. This is indeed peculiar, considering the similarity of lines 3-4, and 10:7-8. This fact has, by some scholars, been taken to indicate that Snorri didn't include Žórsdrįpa in the original Skįldskaparmįl, and that he didn't even know the poem, which must then have been added by a later scribe. Such a theory seems to be supported by two other facts. The Codex Uppsaliensis (Uppsalabók), which is generally considered to be the oldest extant manuscript of Snorri's Edda, does not contain Žórsdrįpa. Furthermore, Snorri's prose account of Thor's journey to Geirröšargaršar can hardly be derived from this poem (as we have it), as it contains various unrelated elements, some of which are at odds with the poem's contents (see Analogues).

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