ŽÓRSDRĮPA 15:5-8

Codex RegiusCodex TrajectinusCodex WormianusEmended & Modernized
15 : 5-8 VariantsVariants 
almtogar la/st ęgirøgiralmtavgarįlmtaugar laust ęgir
angr žiofsegv tongvsega, tungosegeangržjóf sega töngu
ošnis afli sošnvm  Óšins afli sošnum,
įt rvšr iginsvšra.igin sudraįtnišrįttrušr, ķ gin, Sušra.

Ever since Finnur Jónsson first emended töngu to tangar, the editors have followed suit. I have not imitated them. The sentence makes perfect sense without the emendation, and the in-rhyme is quite regular - a and ö, as reflexes of the u-umlaut, were considered to be full rhymes. The ošnis of the mss. is an obvious dittographic error, cp sošnum. I read:

ęgir įlmtaugar, įttrušr Sušra, laust töngu sega, sošnum afli, ķ gin angržjóf Óšins, i.e. "the frightener of the elm-cord [warrior], Sušri's kinsman [Geirröšr], with tongs thrust a morsel, cooked in the forge [a glowing piece of iron], at the mouth of Óšinn's grief-thief [Žórr]".

ęgir įlmtaugar, įttrušr Sušra ] is Geirröšr. Įlmtaug "elm-cord" is a poetic name for the bowstring. Bows were commonly made of elm-wood, and įlmr "elm" is a common heiti for bow. Ęgir means "he who terrifies, menaces". He who frightens the bowstring, i.e. makes it tremble as with fear, is an archer, or simply a warrior. Sušri "Southern one" is the name of a dwarf, one of four, who were supposed to support the heavens. He and his brothers are named after the cardinal points of the compass, Noršri, Austri, Vestri. So how can the giant Geirröšr be a kinsman (įttrušr = įttrunnur) of a dwarf?

It has been suggested by more than one scholar (Rydberg may have been the first) that the dwarves should be seen as a sub-class of giants. The two kin have a lot in common, and many giant-names are also dwarf-names. It must be noted that in the oldest sources there is nothing, which suggests that dwarves were originally imagined as the small, stunted, creatures of later folklore. In fact, the role of Sušri and his three brothers rather suggests creatures of gigantic stature. Eilķfr's kenning seems to support such a view. A pun may also be suspected. The words įtt and ętt are interchangable, and can mean either "family, kinship" or "direction, point of the compass". Įttrušr Sušra might thus imply "Sušri's kinsman, the giant of the North".

laust töngu sega, sošnum afli, ķ gin ] The meaning of the verb ljósta is "strike, thrust". It is here generally taken by the editors to mean "throw" (as implied by Snorri's prose version). However, in order to understand the poet's imagery, which will only become apparent in the next half-stanza, we must understand the literal meaning: "the giant thrust, with tongs, a morsel cooked in the forge at Thor's mouth". Segi means "bit, piece, morsel" and here implies a piece of meat, cooked (sošnum) in the forge (afli). Such a morsel is, of course, the red-hot piece of metal, which the giant king threw at Thor. Töngu is an instrumental dative "with the tongs, using the tongs". Ķ gin literally means "into the mouth of". The surface meaning thus seems to be that the giant seized a red-hot piece of metal with his tongs, and attempted to thrust it into Thor's mouth, as if it were a cooked piece of meat. In the next three half-stanzas, this image is developed further.

An emendation of töngu to tangar (see above) doesn't change the meaning much. We would then have segi tangar sošinn afli "the tongs' morsel, cooked in the forge", which amounts to the same thing, but we would then lose töngu, the instrument used by Geirröšr to thrust (throw) the glowing metal into Thor's mouth.

Snorri's version is: žį tók Geirröšr meš töng jįrnsķu glóandi og kastar at Žór, "then Geirrod picked up with tongs a glowing lump of molten iron and threw it at Thor".

angržjóf Óšins ] Angržjófr (here dative of respect) literally means "thief of grief". The thief of Odin's grief is one who takes his grief away, his comforter, helper, i.e. his son, Thor.

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