ŽÓRSDRĮPA 11:1-4

Codex RegiusCodex TrajectinusCodex WormianusEmended & Modernized
11 : 1-4 VariantsVariants 
Oc sifvna sižan  Ok sķfuna sķšan
sveržz lišhattar geržvsuerz sveršs liš-Hatar geršu
hlifar boršz v ha/ržahliuar; boz; uit borzhlķfar boršs viš herša
haršgleipnis dyn barži;sungleifnir; kynharš- Gleipnis dyn -barša;

All editors agree that this half-stanza makes no sense without emendations. However, the readings of Egilsson, Jónsson, Kock, Faulkes, et al., make no sense to me, so I would suggest:

Ok harš-barša liš-Hatar sķfuna hlķfar geršu sķšan sveršs boršs dyn viš Gleipnis herša, i.e. "a flock of the cliff-foes of the shield of the ever-burning fire [giants] made a din of the sword's board [battle] against the tighteners of Gleipnir [the Ęsir]".

harš-barša liš-Hatar sķfuna hlķfar ] "the flock of cliff-wolves, who are foes of the sun-shield" is, seemingly, an extremely multi-faceted kenning for giants. Sķfuni "the ever-burning fire" is the sun. The sun's hlķf is the shield Svalinn. Hati "hater, foe" is the name of the wolf, who will swallow the moon at the end of days. Thus the wolf-kenning Hati sķfuna hlķfar is practically identical with vargr Frķšar himintörgu (half-stanza 4:1-4). The word barš means "edge, ridge". Haršbarš "hard-ridge" can obviously mean "cliff". Haršbarša Hatar are therefore "cliff-wolves, cliff-foes", i.e. giants. These Hatar are modified with the prefix liš-, the meaning of which is "flock, troop". They are thus a flock of wolves, a troop of giants.

sveršs boršs dyn ] is a kenning for battle, "the noise of the sword's board". Sveršs borš is a kenning for "shield". It may be suspected that the poet also meant to express "the clang of the sword striking a shield".

Gleipnis herša ] Although based on my emendation, Gleipnis heršar "those who tighten Gleipnir" seems to be an apt kenning for the Ęsir. In Gylfaginning 34, we learn of the fetter Gleipnir, with which the Ęsir bound the great Fenris-wolf. The expression should be compared to heršir naušar in half-stanza 8:5-6. The mention of Hati in line 2 seems to support such an interpretation, as he is certainly one of Fenrir's kin (Fenris kindir, Völuspį 40:4, cp. tungls tjśgari ķ trölls hami, 40:7-8).

Obviously, a perfect in-rhyme is missing in line 1. This has prompted at least one commentator to suggest an emendation: sķšuna sķšan, which is both meaningless and unnecessary. Many examples of imperfect in-rhymes in odd lines can be found in dróttkvętt poetry. Eilķfr may be forgiven his poetic license here: SĶ-F and SĶŠ are extremely similar, and might even be regarded as half-rhymes.

As mentioned above, I do not accept the editors' readings. I cannot possibly present them all here, but my basic objection is the interpretation of lišhatar as "help-haters". Taken with sveršs, this is supposed to mean "those who despise the help of the sword", i.e. "those fighting without weapons". This is ridiculous, as far as I can see, and based on Snorri's prose version, which is demonstrably erroneous. We already know that the heroes are carrying spears (skotnašrar, 6:4).

PREVIOUS [10:5-8] TOP [11:1-4] NEXT [11:5-8]