ÞÓRSDRÁPA 12:1-4

Codex RegiusCodex TrajectinusCodex WormianusEmended & Modernized
12 : 1-4 VariantsVariants 
Dreif með drottar kneyfi  Dreif, með dróttar kneyfi,
dolg sviþioðar kolgu  dólg-Svíþjóðar kólgu
sotti ferþ aflottaá flotta sótti ferð á flótta
fles dt ivo nesia;i uedrott; iuáflesdrótt, í nesja;

Although the meaning is basically clear, there are various possibilities, especially in the allocation of the genitives. The editors wildly disagree. I have chosen, in line 4, to adopt the reading from T, and read thus:

Flesdrótt kólgu dólg-Svíþjóðar sótti ferð á flótta, dreif í vé [nesja dróttar] með kneyfi nesja dróttar, i.e. "the skerry-nation of the cold wave of the foe-Sweden [giants] fled, and hurried into their sanctuary, accompanied by the crusher of the ness-people [Þórr]".

The imagery supports my former suggestion that the warriors have crossed the ocean, and stepped onto the shore of Giantland, where a tribe of beach-giants live in a cave. Cp. hylriðar, hrjóðendr fjöru þjóðar, and skyld-Breta skytju in half-stanza 11:5-8.

Flesdrótt kólgu dólg-Svíþjóðar ] literally "the skerry-nation of the cold wave of the Sweden of hostility". Fles means "a low skerry, just off the shore". Kólga means "wave", and can also mean "cold". The enemy-Sweden is, of course, the land of giants Jötunheimr, found north of the Arctic Ocean. Its cold wave is the ocean itself, which beats upon the flesjar, the skerries of the sea-shore. The drótt of this place is the tribe of Geirröðr, who attacked the divine warriors in the last half-stanza. The poet has painted a complex picture, using a minimum amount of words.

sótti ferð á flótta ] literally "sought a journey in flight". This is simply a poetic circumlocution for flýði "fled".

dreif í vé (nesja dróttar) ] "hurried into their sanctuary". The verb drífa "drive", used intransitively, means "move quickly, hurry". Nesja dróttar is a part of the Thor-kenning kneyfir nesja dróttar (see below), but here it may serve double duty: vé nesja dróttar "sanctuary of the ness-nation", i.e. the cave (home) of the beach-giants.

með kneyfi nesja dróttar ] "with the crusher of the ness-nation", i.e. Thor. Finnur Jónsson chose to emend með to fyr "before". This is hardly necessary. Admittedly, the usage of með "with, along with" is slightly puzzling here, but conforms to what we already know of the poet's oblique expressions. "The giants fled into their cave, WITH Thor", may be taken to mean "the giants fled into their cave, accompanied by (or followed by) Thor". The giant-kenning nesja drótt offers support for my suggestion that Geirröðr's tribe are "beach-giants". Nes means "ness, promontory, headland" and is strictly a sea-side term.

PREVIOUS [11:5-8] TOP [12:1-4] NEXT [12:5-8]