RSDRPA 14:5-8

Codex RegiusCodex TrajectinusCodex WormianusEmended & Modernized
14 : 5-8 VariantsVariants 
hvf stiori bra/t hvorvhofstiorihofstiorihfstjri braut hvru
hreGs vafreya tveGiavareuda hreggs vfreiar tveggja
hlatr ellia hellis  hltr-ellia hellis
hornfornan kiol sporna.sprundihvndfornan, sprundihundfornan kjl sprundi.

This half-stanza is unusually lucid. There is hardly any room for doubt:

hfstjri hreggs vfreiar braut hundfornan kjl hltr-ellia hvru tveggja sprundi hellis, i.e. "the hull-controller of the hovering chariot of the thunder-storm [rr] broke the ancient keel of the laughter-ship [backbone] of both cave-maidens [giantesses]".

hfstjri hreggs vfreiar ] is Thor. Hfr is a poetic term for the hull of a ship. The stjri "steerer, controller" of a hull is, of course, the captain of a ship (skipstjri - pars pro toto). Hregg is a generic term for stormy weather (usually accompanied by rain, sleet, or snow). A thunderstorm is implied. Vfrei means "hovering chariot", i.e. a chariot, which can fly through the air. "The captain of the hovering chariot of the thunderstorm" is obviously Thor.

kjl hltr-ellia ] Ellii is the name of a ship. Hltr-ellii "laughter-ship" is a kenning for breast. Kjlr "keel" of the breast is a kenning for backbone.

sprundi hellis ] The maiden of the cave is, of course, a giantess.

Eilfr's imagery is extremely consistent here, and shows his artistry at its best. In the former half-stanza, Thor's head was referred to as "the sky of the brow-moon". Here we have a vivid image of Thor's chariot as a ship sailing through the heavenly ocean, i.e. the sky. Finally, continuing the ship-imagery, the backbone is compared to the keel of a ship. The term "ship of laughs" as a kenning for the giantess' breast is surely ironic. Having your backbone (keel) broken is no cause for laughter. It is Thor, who has the last laugh here. [A triple kenning-pun may also be suspected here. In the commentary to the former half-stanza, I suggested that the only attested meaning of the word fylving is "nut", and that the stones which have fallen from the walls of the mountain-cave are similar to the nuts which have fallen from the tree. In the stanza from Gsla saga, fylving, similarly, is a tear, which falls from the eye. Brtungl "brow-moon" is a an eye in the "high sky" of Thor's head. I'm not suggesting that Thor shed any tears, but the rain falling from the sky during a thunderstorm could obviously be described as the sky's tears, cp. the rain-kenning skja grtur "weeping of the clouds".]

PREVIOUS [14:1-4] TOP [14:5-8] NEXT [15:1-4]