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pg 332LOKASENNA

Frá Ægi ok goðum

Ægir, er ǫðro naf[n]i hét Gymir, hann hafði búit ásom ǫl, þá er hann hafði fengit ketil inn mikla, sem nú er sagt. Til þeirar veizlo kom Óðinn ok Frigg kona hans. Þórr kom eigi, þvíat hann var í austrvegi. Sif var þar, kona Þórs, Bragi ok Iðunn kona hans. Týr var þar, hann var einhendr: Fenrisúlfr sleit hǫnd af hánom þá er hann var bundinn. Þar var Niǫrðr ok kona hans Skaði, Freyr ok Freyia, Víðarr son Óðins. Loki var þar ok þiónustomenn Freys, Byggvir ok Beyla. Mart var þar ása ok álfa. Ægir átti tvá þiónustomenn, Fimafengr ok Elder. Þar var lýsigull haft fyrir eldzliós; siálft barsk þar ǫl; þar var griðastaðr mikill. Menn lofoðo miðk hverso góðir þiónustomenn Ægis vóro. Loki mátti eigi heyra þat, ok drap hann Fimafeng. Þá skóko æsir skiǫldo sína ok œpðo at Loka, ok elto hann braut til skógar, en þeir fóro at drekka.

Loki hvarf aptr ok hitti úti Eldi. Loki kvaddi hann:

Of Ægir and the gods

Ægir, whose other name was Gymir, had prepared ale for the Æsir, as soon as he had received the great cauldron, as has just been told. To that feast pg 333came Óðinn and Frigg his wife. Þórr did not come, because he was in eastern lands. Sif was there, Þórr's wife, Bragi and Iðunn his wife. Týr was there; he had only one hand: the Wolf Fenrir tore his hand off when the bonds were put on him. Niǫrðr was there and his wife Skaði, Freyr and Freyia, Víðarr Óðinn's son. Loki was there and Freyr's servants, Byggvir and Beyla. There was a great company of Æsir and elves. Ægir had two serving-men, Fimafengr and Eldir. Gleaming gold was used there instead of candlelight. The ale served itself there. It was a place of strict sanctuary. People praised the excellence of Ægir's serving-men highly. Loki could not bear to hear that and he killed Fimafengr. Then the Æsir brandished their shields and yelled at Loki and chased him away to the forest, and themselves went to drink.

Loki turned back and met Eldir outside. Loki greeted him:

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 1 Segðu þat, Eldir,

Editor’s Note     svá at þú einugi

     feti gangir framarr,

     hvat hér inni

Editor’s Note     hafa at ǫlmálom

     sigtíva synir?

 

Loki said: Tell me, Turnspit,

before you take,

one footstep further,

what here indoors

do they have as ale-talk,

the sons of the conquering gods?

 

Eldir kvað: 2 Of vápn sín dœma

Editor’s Note     ok um vígrisni sína

     sigtíva synir.

Editor’s Note     Ása ok álfa,

     er hér inni ero,

     mangi er þér í orði vinr.

 

Eldir said: Their weapons they speak of

and their war prowess,

the sons of the conquering gods.

Among the Æsir and elves

who are here indoors

not one is friend to you in his words.

 

Loki kvað: 3 Inn skal ganga

     Ægis hallir í,

     á þat sumbl at siá.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     Oll ok áfo

 

Loki said: One must go in

to Ægir's halls

to behold that banquet.

Bitterness and backbiting

pg 334

       fœri ek ása sonom,

     ok blend ek þeim svá meini miǫð.

  I'll bring to the Æsir's sons

and so mix their mead with mischief.

 

Eldir kvað: 4 Veiztu—ef þú inn gengr

     Ægis hallir í

     á þat sumbl at siá.

     hrópi ok rógi

     ef þú eyss á holl regin,

     á þér muno þau þerra þat.

 

Eldir said: You know—if you enter

Ægir's halls

to behold that banquet—

if with slander and spite

you smear the gracious gods,

they will wipe it away on you.

 

Loki kvað: 5Veiztu þat, Eldir,

     ef vit einir skolom

     sáryrðom sakaz,

     auðigr verða

     mun ek í andsvǫrom—

     ef þú mælir til mart!

     Síðan gekk Loki inn í hǫllina.      En er þeir sá, er fyrir vóro,      hverr inn var kominn, þǫgnoðo      þeir allir.

 

Loki said: You know, Turnspit,

if just the two of us are to

rail at each other with rending words,

I shall prove rich

in my responses—

if you talk too much!

Then Loki went into the hall. But when those who were present saw who had come in, they all fell silent.

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 6 Þyrstr ek kom

     þessar hallar til,

     Loptr, um langan veg,

     áso at biðia

     at mér einn gefi

     mæran drykk miaðar.

 

Loki said: Thirsty I have come

to this very hall,

I, Loptr—a long way—

to ask the Æsir

to offer me one

magnificent drink of mead.

 

Loki kvað: 7 Hví þegið ér svá,

Editor’s Note     þrungin goð,

     at þér mæla né megoð?

     Sessa ok staði

     velið mér sumbli at,

     eða heitið mik heðan!

 

Loki said: Why so tongue-tied,

tight-lipped gods,

that you cannot converse?

Seat and seating

select for me at the banquet,

or order me off from here!

 

Editor’s Note

Bragi kvað: 8 Sessa ok staði

 

Bragi said: Seat and seating

pg 335

       velia þér sumbli at

     æsir aldregi!

     Þvíat æsir vito,

     hveim þeir alda skolo

Critical Apparatus     gambansumbl um geta.

  select for you at the banquet

the Æsir never shall!

For the Æsir are aware

for what persons they ought

to provide that potent feast.

 

Loki kvað: 9 Mantu þat, Óðinn,

     er vit í árdaga

Editor’s Note     blendom blóði saman?

     Ǫlvi bergia

     létztu eigi mundo,

     nema okr væri báðom borit.

 

Loki said: Do you recall, Óðinn,

when we two in the old days

blended our blood together?

Taste ale

you told me you would not,

unless it was brought to us both.

 

Editor’s Note

Óðinn kvað: 10 Rístu þá, Víðarr,

     ok lát úlfs fǫður

     sitia sumbli at,

     síðr oss Loki

Editor’s Note     kveði lastastǫfom

     Ægis hǫllo í.

     Þá stóð Víðarr upp ok skenkti      Loka, en áðr hann drykki,      drank, he kvaddi hann ásona:

 

Óðinn said: Up, then, Víðarr,

and allow the Wolf's father

to sit at the banquet,

lest Loki against us

utter words of opprobrium

inside Ægir's hall.

Then Víðarr stood up and poured ale for Loki, but before he toasted the Æsir:

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 11 Heilir æsir,

     heilar ásynior

     ok ǫll ginnheilog goð!

     —nema sá einn áss,

Editor’s Note     er innar sitr,

     Bragi, bekkiom á.

 

Loki said: Blest be the Æsir,

blest the Ásynior

and all the sacrosanct gods!

—save for that one of the Æsir

who sits further in,

Bragi, on the benches.

 

Bragi kvað: 12 Mar ok mæki

     gef ek þér míns fiár

Editor’s Note     ok bœtir þér svá baugi Bragi,

     síðr þú ásom

     ǫfund um gialdir.

     Gremðu eigi goð at þér!

 

Bragi said: Steed and sword

from my own store I'll give you

—and Bragi will recompense you as

well with a ring—

lest on the Æsir you take

toll for your envy.

Do not anger the gods against you!

pg 336

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 13 Iós ok armbauga

     mundu æ vera

     beggia vanr, Bragi.

     Ása ok álfa,

Critical Apparatus     er hér inni ero,

Editor’s Note     þú ert við víg varastr

     ok skiarrastr við skot!

 

Loki said: Bayard and bracelets—

you will always be

destitute, Bragi, of both!

Of the Æsir and elves

who are here indoors

you are the most wary of war

and shy of shots!

 

Critical Apparatus

Bragi kvað: 14 Veit ek, ef fyr útan værak

     —svá sem fyr innan emk—

     Ægis hǫll um kominn,

     hǫfuð þitt

     bæra ek í hendi mér

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     —lítt er þér þat fyr lygi!

 

Bragi said: I know, were I outside

—as surely as I've entered in

to Ægir's hall—

your head

I would be carrying in my hand

—that's little for you to pay for your lie!

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 15Sniallr ertu í sessi —

     skalatu svá gøra,

     Bragi bekkskrautuðr!

     Vega þú gakk,

     ef þú [v]reiðr sér.

Editor’s Note     Hyggz vætr hvatr fyrir!

 

Loki said: You're courageous on your cushions—

you shan't achieve that,

Bragi Bench-Ornament!

You go and fight

if you feel furious.

A mettlesome man thinks nothing

stands in his way!

 

Iðunn kvað: 16 Bið ek, Bragi,

Editor’s Note     barna sifiar duga

     ok allra óskmaga—

     at þú Loka

     kveðira lastastǫfom

     Ægis hǫllo í.

 

I pray, Bragi, for the bonds of kin to prove strong,

that bind born sons and all adopted—

so that you may not against Loki

utter words of opprobrium

inside Ægir's hall.

 

Critical Apparatus

Loki kvað: 17 Þegi þú, Iðunn,

     þik kveð ek allra kvenna

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Iðunn,

you I attest of all women

pg 337

       vergiarnasta vera,

Editor’s Note     sítztu arma þína

     lagðir ítrþvegna

     um þinn bróðurbana.

  to be most man-eager,

since you put your arms,

illustriously washed,

around your brother's slayer.

 

Iðunn kvað: 18 Loka ek kveðka

     lastastǫfom

     Ægis hǫllo í.

     Braga ek kyrri

     biórreifan,

     vilkat ek at it [v]reiðir vegiz.

 

Iðunn said: Against Loki I shall not utter

words of opprobrium

inside Ægir's hall.

Bragi I'll calm,

beer-gladdened as he is,

I do not wish you two in your fury to

     fight.

 

Gefion kvað: 19 Hví it æsir tveir

     skoloð inni hér

     sáryrðom sakaz?

Editor’s Note     Lopzki þat veit,

Editor’s Note     at hann leikinn er,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     ok hann fiǫrg ǫll fría?

 

Gefion said: Why, you two Æsir,

must you here indoors

rail at each other with rending words?

Of Loptr is it not a characteristic well

     known

that he is whimsical

and all the deities dote on him?

 

Loki kvað: 20 Þegi þú, Gefion,

     þess mun ek nú geta,

     er þik glapði at geði—

     sveinn inn hvíti,

     er þér sigli gaf

     ok þú lagðir lær yfir.

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Gefion,

now I will tell

of the one who seduced your senses—

that blond boy

who gave you a trinket

and you put your thigh over.

 

Critical Apparatus

Óðinn kvað: 21 Œrr ertu, Loki,

     ok ørviti,

     er þú fær þér Gefion at

          gremi,

Editor’s Note     þvíat aldar ørlǫg

     hygg ek at hón ǫll um viti

     iafngǫrla sem ek.

 

Óðinn said: You are lunatic, Loki,

and have lost your wits,

to get Gefion in rage against you,

for all the fate of the world

 

I think she is aware of

as accurately as I.

pg 338

 

Loki kvað: 22 Þegi þú, Óðinn,

     þú kunnir aldregi

     deila víg með verom.

Editor’s Note     Opt þú gaft,

     þeim er þú gefa skyldira

     —enom slævorom!—sigr.

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Óðinn,

you were never able

to share out the slaughters among

     men.

Often you gave

whom you should not have given

—the less valiant!—the victory.

 

Óðinn kvað: 23 Veiztu, ef ek gaf

     þeim er ek gefa né skylda,

     enom slævorom, sigr,

Editor’s Note     átta vetr

     vartu fyr iǫrð neðan

     kýr mólkandi ok kona,

Critical Apparatus     ok hefir þú þar [bǫrn of]

          borit,

     ok hugða ek þat args aðal.

 

Óðinn said: You know, if I gave

whom I should not have given

—the less valiant—the victory,

eight winters

you were under the earth

a milker-of-cows and a matron,

and there you've borne babies—

 

and that I thought an unmanly nature.

 

Critical Apparatus

Loki kvað: 24 En þik síða kóðo

     Sámseyio í,

     ok draptu á vétt sem vǫlor.

     Vitka líki

     fórtu verþióð yfir,

     ok hugða ek þat args aðal.

 

Loki said: But you, they said, did sorcery

on Sámsey

and tapped on a tub-lid like the

     shamanesses.

In wizard's guise

you went over the world of men—

and that I thought an unmanly nature.

 

Editor’s Note

Frigg kvað: 25 Ørlǫgom ykrom

     skylið aldregi

Editor’s Note     segia seggiom frá—

Critical Apparatus     hvat it æsir tveir

     drýgðuð í árdaga—

     firriz æ forn rǫk firar.

 

Frigg said: The fates you two met with

you never must

speak about to men—

what you two Æsir

acted out in the old days—

one should keep always away from

     one's past.

 

Loki kvað: 26 Þegi þú, Frigg,

Editor’s Note     þú ert Fiǫrgyns mær

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Frigg,

you are Fiǫrgynn's daughter

pg 339

       ok hefir æ vergiǫrn verit,

Editor’s Note     er þá Véa ok Vilia

     léztu þér—Viðris kvæn—

     báða í baðm um tekit.

  and have always been eager for men,

for Véi and Vili

you—Viðrir's wife—had

both embraced in your bosom.

 

Frigg kvað: 27 Veiztu, ef ek inni ættak

     Ægis hǫllom í

     Baldri líkan bur,

     út þú né kvæmir

     frá ása sonom,

     ok væri þá at þér [v]reiðom

          vegit!

 

Frigg said: You know, if I'd had indoors

in Ægir's halls

a boy like Baldr,

you would not have got out

from the Æsir's sons—

and there'd have been fighting then

with fury against you!

 

Loki kvað: 28 Enn vill þú, Frigg,

     at ek fleiri telia

     mína meinstafi?

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     Ek því réð,

     er þú ríða sérat

     síðan Baldr at sǫlom.

 

Loki said: Still you intend, Frigg,

I should itemize more

of my malignancies?

I arranged it

that you will never see riding

Baldr again to his halls.

 

Freyia kvað: 29 Œrr ertu, Loki,

     er þú yðra telr

     lióta leiðstafi.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     Ørlǫg Frigg

     hygg ek at ǫll viti,

     þótt hon siálfgi segi.

 

Freyia said: You are lunatic, Loki,

to relate your likes'

hideous hatefulnesses.

Of all fates Frigg has,

I think, full knowledge,

though she herself may keep silent.

 

Loki kvað: 30 Þegi þú, Freyia,

     þik kann ek fullgerva—

     era þér vamma vant.

Editor’s Note     Ása ok álfa,

     er hér inni ero,

     hverr hefir þinn hór verit.

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Freyia,

I'm fully familiar with you—

in you there's no shortage of sins.

Of the Æsir and elves

who are here indoors

each one has been your bed-fellow.

pg 340

 

Freyia kvað: 31 Flá er þér tunga!

Critical Apparatus     Hygg ek at þér fremr my[ni]

     ógott um gala.

     Reiðir ro þér æsir

     ok ásynior—

     hryggr muntu heim fara.

 

Freyia said: Treacherous is your tongue!

I think for you too in time

it will chant mischance!

Enraged are the Æsir

and Asynior against you—

ruing you'll return home.

 

Loki kvað: 32 Þegi þú, Freyia,

     þú ert fordæða

     ok meini blandin miǫk,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     sítztik at brœðr þínom

Critical Apparatus     stóðo blíð regin,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     ok mundir þú þá, Freyia,

          frata!

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Freyia,

you are a baleful witch

and much mixed with evil—

for beside your brother

the blithe powers surprised you

and then, Freyia, you must have

     farted!

 

Niǫrðr kvað: 33 Þat er válítit,

     þótt sér varðer vers fái,

     hós eða hvárs.

     Hitt er undr, er áss ragr

     er hér inn of kominn,

     ok hefir sá bǫrn of borit!

 

Niǫrðr said: There's little harm

though ladies get themselves a man,

a boy on the side, or both.

But this is an outrage, that an

     emasculate god

has got entry here,

and this fellow's borne babies!

 

Loki kvað: 34 Þegi þú, Niǫrðr,

Editor’s Note     þú vart austr heðan

     gils um sendr at goðom.

Editor’s Note     Hymis meyiar

     hǫfðo þik at hlandtrogi

     ok þér í munn migo.

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Niǫrðr,

you were east from here

as a hostage sent to the gods.

Hymir's daughters

had you as a piss-trough

and made water into your mouth.

 

Niǫrðr kvað: 35 Sú eromk líkn:

     er ek vark langt heðan

     gísl um sendr at goðom,

Editor’s Note     þá ek mǫg gat,

 

Niǫrðr said: This is my solace:

when I was far from here

a hostage sent to the gods,

I begot then a son

pg 341

       þann er mangi fiár,

     ok þikkir sá ása iaðarr.

  whom not a soul hates,

and a wall of strength he seems for

     the Æsir.

 

Loki kvað: 36 Hættu nú, Niǫrðr,

     haf þú á hófi þik!

     Munka ek því leyna lengr:

Editor’s Note     við systor þinni

     gaztu slíkan mǫg—

Critical Apparatus     ok era þó [v]óno verr!

 

Loki said: Stop now, Niǫrðr,

keep your proper sense of proportion!

I shall not let this longer be secret:

on your sister

you begot such a son—

and yet that is no worse than

     expected!

 

Editor’s Note

Týr kvað: 37 Freyr er beztr

     allra ballriða

     ása gǫrðom í.

     Mey hann né grœtir

     né mannz kono,

     ok leysir ór hǫptom hvern.

 

Týr said: Freyr is the best

of all brave knights

within the Æsir's walls.

No girl he makes weep

nor any man's wife,

and frees every man from his fetters.

 

Loki kvað: 38 Þegi þú, Týr,

     þú kunnir aldregi

Editor’s Note     bera tilt með tveim.

     Handar ennar hœgri

     mun ek hinnar geta,

     er þér sleit Fenrir frá!

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Týr,

you never had the talent

for settling two factions fairly.

That right hand

I will recall

that Fenrir tore from you!

 

Týr kvað: 39 Handar em ek vanr,

Editor’s Note     en þú Hróðrsvitnis:

     bǫl er beggia þrá.

Editor’s Note     Úlfgi hefir ok vel,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     er í ǫngom skal

Editor’s Note     bíða ragnarøkrs.

 

Tyr said: A hand I am deprived of,

and you of Hróðrsvitnir:

the harm is heartache for both.

And the wolf too is not pleased

when he must wait in tight straits

for the day of the gods to darken.

 

Loki kvað: 40 Þegi þú, Týr,

     þat varð þinni kono,

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Týr,

it turned out for your wife

pg 342

       at hón átti mǫg við mér.

Editor’s Note     Ǫln né penning

     hafðir þú þess aldregi

     vanréttis, vesall!

  that she had a boy by me.

Neither cloth nor coin

did you ever acquire

for that infringement of your rights,

     poor fellow!

 

Freyr kvað: 41 Úlf sé ek liggia

Editor’s Note     árósi fyrir,

     unz riúfaz regin:

     því mundu næst,

     nema þú nú þegir,

Editor’s Note     bundinn, bǫlvasmiðr!

 

Freyr said: The Wolf I see recumbent

at the river mouth,

until the powers are rent:

next to him you shall be tied,

unless you hold your tongue now,

mischief-maker!

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 42 Gulli keypta

     léztu Gymis dóttur

     ok seldir þitt svá sverð

Editor’s Note     —en er Muspellz synir

Editor’s Note     ríða Myrkvið yfir,

     veizta þú þá, vesall, hvé þú

          vegr.

 

Loki said: With gold you had

Gymir's daughter purchased

and surrendered, too, your sword

—but when Muspell's sons

ride across Mirkwood

you won't know then, poor fellow,

     how you'll fight.

 

Byggvir kvað: 43 Veiztu, ef ek øðli ættak

Editor’s Note     sem Ingunar-Freyr,

Editor’s Note     ok svá sæl[l]ikt setr,

Editor’s Note     mergi smæra

Editor’s Note     mølða ek þá meinkráko

     ok lemða alla í liðo.

 

Byggvir said: You know, if I'd had ancestry

like Ingunar-Freyr

and so blest an abode,

finer than marrow

I'd have crushed that malign crow

and belaboured every limb in it!

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 44 Hvat er þat it litla,

Critical Apparatus     er ek lǫggra sék,

     ok snapvíst snapir?

     At eyrom Freys

     mundu æ vera

     ok und kvernom klaka.

 

Loki said: What is that tiny thing

I see tail-bobbing

and skilfully snapping up scraps?

At Freyr's ears

you will always be

and under the corn-mill chattering.

pg 343

 

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus

Byggvir kvað: 45 Byggvir ek heiti,

Editor’s Note     en mik bráðan kveða

     goð ǫll ok gumar.

     Því em ek hér hróðugr,

     at drekka Hroptz megir

     allir ǫl saman.

 

Byggvir said: Barley Boy is my name

and they say I'm a fiery fellow,

all the gods and men.

I'm in high pride here

because Hroptr's sons

are all drinking ale together.

 

Loki kvað: 46 Þegi þú, Byggvir,

     þú kunnir aldregi

Editor’s Note     deila með mǫnnom mat—

Editor’s Note     ok þik í fletz strá

     finna né máttu,

     þá er vágo verar.

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Barley Boy,

you never knew how

to mete out victuals among men—

and in the straw on the floorboards

they never could find you,

when fellows were fighting.

 

Heimdallr kvað: 47 Ǫlr ertu, Loki,

     svá at þú er[t] ørviti—

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     hví né lezkaðu, Loki?

Editor’s Note     Þvíat ofdrykkia

     veldr alda hveim,

     er sína mælgi né manat!

 

Heimdallr said: You're so drunk, Loki,

that you've lost your wits—

why not restrain yourself, Loki?

For overdrinking

dominates every man,

who forgets how garrulous he can be!

 

Loki kvað: 48 Þegi, þú, Heimdallr,

     þér var í árdaga

     it lióta líf um lagit:

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     aurgo baki

     þú munt æ vera

     ok vaka vǫrðr goða.

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Heimdallr,

for you in ancient days

the ugly life was ordained:

with muck on your backside

you'll always be

and keep awake as watch for the gods.

 

Skaði kvað: 49 Létt er þér, Loki

     —munattu lengi svá

     leika lausom hala,

Editor’s Note     þvíat þik á hiǫrvi skolo

     ins hrímkalda magar

     gǫrnom binda goð.

 

Skaði said: Light is your mood, Loki,

—you will not for long

toss so free a tail,

for on a sword

with your frost-cold son's

guts the gods will bind you.

pg 344

 

Loki kvað: 50 Veiztu, ef mik á hiǫrvi skolo

     ens hrímkalda magar

     gǫrnom binda goð,

Editor’s Note     fyrstr ok øfstr

     var ek at fiǫrlagi,

     þars vér á Þiaza þrifom.

 

Loki said: You know, if—on a sword

with my frost-cold son's

guts—the gods will bind me,

the first and the last

was I at the dying,

when we thrust our fingers on Þiazi.

 

Skaði kvað: 51 Veiztu, ef fyrstr ok øfstr

     vartu at fiǫrlagi,

     þá er ér á Þiaza þrifuð,

     frá mínom véom

     ok vǫngom skolo

Editor’s Note     þér æ kǫld ráð koma.

 

Skaði said: You know, if the first and the last

you were at the dying,

when you thrust your fingers on Þiazi,

from my fanes

and fields shall come

cold counsel for you for ever.

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 52 Léttari í málom

     vartu við Laufeyiar son,

     þá er þú létz mér á beð þinn

          boðit

     —getit verðr oss slíks,

     ef vér gǫrva skolom

     telia vǫmmin vár.

Critical Apparatus     Þá gekk [Sif] fram ok byrlaði      Loka í hrímkálki miǫð ok      mælti:

 

Loki said: Lighter in your talk

you were with Laufey's son

when you had me beckoned to your

     bed

—such a matter must be mentioned

     by us

if we are completely

to count our blemishes.

Then Sif came forward and poured for Loki mead in a crystal goblet and said:

 

Editor’s Note

Sif kvað: 53 Heill ver þú nú, Loki,

     ok tak við hrímkálki

     fullom forns miaðar

Editor’s Note     —heldr þú hana eina

     látir með ása sonom

Critical Apparatus     vammalausa vera.

     Hann tók við horni ok drakk af:

 

Sif said: Be welcome now, Loki,

and receive the crystal cup

full of ancient mead

—that you may the sooner admit

this one woman among the Æsir's

     sons

to be without blemish.

He took the horn and drained it:

pg 345

 

Loki kvað: 54 Ein þú værir

     —ef þú svá værir—

     vǫr ok grǫm at veri.

     Einn ek veit,

     svá at ek vita þikkiomk,

Editor’s Note     hór ok af Hlórriða,

     ok var þat sá inn lævísi Loki.

 

Loki said: You'd be the only one

—if indeed you were so—

guarded and grudging towards a man.

One man I know

—and I think I do know—

was whoring—and in Hlórriði's bed—

and that was the calamitous Loki.

 

Beyla kvað: 55 Fiǫll ǫll skiálfa—

     hygg ek á fǫr vera

     heiman Hlórriða

     Hann ræðr ró

     þeim er rœgir hér

     goð ǫll ok guma.

 

Beyla said: All the mountains are quaking—

here's coming, I think,

Hlórriði from home.

He'll impose peace on him,

who pillories here

every god and man.

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 56 Þegi þú, Beyla,

     þú ert Byggvis kvæn

Editor’s Note     ok meini blandin miǫk.

     Ókynian meira

     koma með ása sonom

Editor’s Note     —ǫll ertu, deigia, dritin!

     Þá kom Þórr at ok kvað:

 

Loki said: Hold your tongue, Cow Girl,

you are Barley Boy's wife

and much mixed with harm.

Greater monstrosity

never mingled with the Æsir's sons

—you, dairymaid, are all dung-

     spattered.

Then Þórr strode up and said:

 

Þórr kvað: 57 Þegi þú, rǫg vættr!

     Þér skal minn þrúðhamarr,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus     Miǫllnir, mál fyrnema!

Editor’s Note     Herða klett

     drep ek þér hálsi af,

     ok verðr þá þíno fiǫrvi um

          farit!

 

Þórr said: Hold your tongue, unmanly imp!

From you my mighty hammer,

Miǫllnir, shall take your talk away!

That cliff-face on your shoulders

I shall strike off your neck

and that will be the last of your life!

 

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 58 Iarðar [burr]

     er hér nú inn kominn

 

Loki said: Here's Earth's offspring

made his entrance now

pg 346

Editor’s Note

       —hví þrasir þú svá, Þórr?

     En þá þorir þú ekki,

Editor’s Note     er þú skalt við úlfinn vega,

     ok svelgr hann allan Sigfǫður!

  —why do you threaten so, Þórr?

But then you won't dare to

when you have to duel with the Wolf

and he's swallowing Victory Sire

     whole!

 

Critical Apparatus

Þórr kvað: 59 Þegi þú, rǫg vættr!

     Þér skal minn þrúðhamarr,

     Miǫllnir, mál fyrnema!

Editor’s Note     Upp ek þér verp

Editor’s Note     ok á austrvega—

     síðan þik mangi sér.

 

Þórr said: Hold your tongue, unmanly imp!

From you my mighty hammer,

Miǫllnir, shall take your talk away!

Up I shall fling you

and into the east—

and then not a soul will see you again.

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 60 Austrfǫrum þínom

     skaltu aldregi

     segia seggiom frá,

     sízt í hanska þumlungi

Editor’s Note     hnúkðir þú, einheri,

Critical Apparatus     ok þóttiska þú þá Þórr vera!

 

Loki said: Those eastern travels of yours

you must not ever

tell men the tale of,

because in a glove's thumb

you grovelled, great champion,

and then you did not think you were

     Þórr!

 

Þórr kvað: 61 Þegi þú, rǫg vættr!

     Þér skal minn þrúðhamarr,

Critical Apparatus     Miǫllnir, mál fyrnema!

     Hendi inni hœgri

Editor’s Note     drep ek þik Hrungnis bana,

     svá at þér brotnar beina hvat!

 

Þórr said: Hold your tongue, unmanly imp!

From you my mighty hammer,

Miǫllnir, shall take your talk away!

With my right hand

I'll smite you with Hrungnir's Bane,

so that every bone in you will break!

 

Editor’s Note

Loki kvað: 62 Lifa ætla ek mér

     langan aldr,

     þóttu hœtir hamri mér.

     Skarpar álar

     þóttu þér Skrýmis vera,

     ok máttira þú þá nesti ná,

     ok svaltz þú þá hungri heill!

 

Loki said: For myself, I mean to live

a long life,

even though you harass me with your

     hammer.

Stubborn were the straps

of Skrýmir, it seemed to you,

and you could not then reach your

     rations—

and so in perfect health you were

     dying of hunger!

pg 347

 

Þórr kvað: 63 Þegi þú, rǫg vættr!

     Þér skal minn þrúðhamarr,

     Miǫllnir, mál fyrnema!

     Hrungnis bani

     mun þér í hel koma

Editor’s Note     fyr nágrindr neðan!

 

Þórr said: Hold your tongue, unmanly imp!

From you my mighty hammer,

Miǫllnir, shall take your talk away!

Hrungnir's Bane

will bring you to Hel

down below the corpse pens!

 

Loki kvað: 64 Kvað ek fyr ásom,

     kvað ek fyr ása sonom,

     þaz mik hvatti hugr—

     en fyr þér einom,

Editor’s Note     mun ek út ganga,

      þvíat ek veit at þú vegr.

 

Loki said: YI have uttered before the Æsir,

I have uttered before the Æsir's sons,

what my spirit spurred me to—

but only for you

will I go out,

because I know you kill.

  65 Ǫl gørðir þú, Ægir,

     en þú aldri munt

     síðan sumbl um gøra.

     Eiga þín ǫll,

     er hér inni er,

     leiki yfir logi,

       ok brenni þér á baki!

  You brewed ale, Ægir,

but you will never again

after this furnish a feast.

All your wealth

that's here within—

let flame flicker over it,

let it blaze on your back!

Frá Loka

Critical ApparatusEn eptir þetta falz Loki í Fránangrs forsi í lax líki. Þar tóko æsir hann. Hann var bundinn með þǫrmom sonar [síns] Nara. En Narfi sonr hans varð at vargi. Skaði tók eitrorm ok festi upp yfir annlit Loka; draup þar ór eitr. Sigyn kona Loka sat þar ok helt munnlaug undir eitrit. En er munn-laugin var full, bar hón út eitrit; en meðan draup eitrit á Loka. Þá kiptiz hann svá hart við, at þaðan af skalf iǫrð ǫll; þat ero nú kallaðir landskiá[l]ptar.

Of Loki

After that Loki hid himself in Fránangr's Fall, in the shape of a salmon. The Æsir caught him there. He was tied with the entrails of his own son Nari. But his son Narfi became a wolf. Skaði took a poisonous serpent and pg 348fastened it up above Loki's face, and there the poison dripped out of it. Sigyn, Loki's wife, sat there and held a basin under the poison. But when the basin was full, she carried the poison out, and in the meanwhile the poison dripped on Loki. Then he jerked so violently at it, that all the earth shook because of it. That is now called earthquakes.

 

Lokasenna and Gylfaginning (SnE 27)

To give poetic authority to his assertion of the prophetic gifts of Frigg, Snorri concocts a stanza from three stanzas of Lokasenna:

  • Œrr ertu, Loki,
  • ok ørviti—
  • hví né legskaðu, Loki?
  • Ørlǫg Frigg
  • hygg ek at ǫll viti,
  • þótt hón siálfgi segi.

Ostensibly Óðinn is here castigating Loki: Œrr ertu, Loki, / ok ørviti (Lks 21/1–2, cf. 47/1–2: Œrr ertu, Loki, / svá at þú ert ørviti), and trying to suppress him into silence: hví ne legskaþu, Loki? (Lks 47/3, with a variant probably of Snorri's making, legsk, 'lie down', 'desist'), because Loki in his rudeness and folly is undervaluing the wisdom of Frigg: Ørlǫg Frigg / hygg ek at ǫll viti, / þótt hón siálfgi segi (Lks 29/4–6). Snorri has cleverly chosen lines that avoid reference to the situation of Loki's senna. I would say that the stanza in SnE was 'fabricated' rather than 'muddled' (cf. Gunnell (b), 247).

The only SnE MS. variants of interest for the text of Lokasenna are (a) the addition of after ertu in line 1 (W, U), since this might be relevant to the situation in Lokasenna, but not to the context in SnE, and omitted by Snorri on that account; occurs only twice in the first line of a stanza in the full poem, however (36/1, 53/1); (b) the W reading lezkattu in line 3, as in the full poem. As often, W seems to have access to a better text than other SnE MSS.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
line 1 Ægir: personification of ægir, 'ocean', loosely, as an elemental being, regarded as a giant (cf. Hym 2, etc.); etymologically related to Lat aqua, 'water', OE ēagor, 'sea'; IEW 14; Lks Introd 1.
Editor’s Note
Gymir: an ancient ON equivalent name for Ægir, the giant sea, but of less clear origin: possibly related to gómi, 'gums', and the notion of gaping jaws (AEW s.vv.; note the predatory pleasure implied in Ytal 25: . . . austmarr/jǫfri sœnskum / Gymis ljóð / at gamni kveðr, 'the eastern sea for the Swedish prince chants the Ocean Giant's song for joy' (after the Estonians have killed him); commentary to Vsp 3/7; in Skm 10/7–8 Gymir is a rapacious and fearsome giant.
Editor’s Note
line 2 sem nú er sagt: i.e. in the preceding poem in the MS., Hymiskviða. See Lks Introd 1.
Editor’s Note
line 7 Mart — álfa: the speakers Gefjun and Heimdallr have not been specified.
Editor’s Note
line 8 Fimafengr ok Elder, 'Nimble-provider/server' and 'Cook' (not a prose term; from elda, 'to heat, cook, with fire', eldr).
Editor’s Note
1/5 ǫlmálom: light talk over the ale (which can prove fatally serious, cf. HHv 33/24: 'sǫnn muno verða/ǫlmál, Heðinn, / okkor beggia').
Editor’s Note
2/2 vígrisni: hap. leg.; vígrisinn adj., Guð II 29/3, Gríp 13/8, cannot be more precisely interpreted in the contexts than 'excellent in war', 'fine warrior'. The fem. abstract nouns risna, risni (indeclinable) are terms of high approbation implying 'dignity, magnanimity, generous standards of living', especially in hospitality (gestrisni); in verse mainly used of God and saints (LP). Etymological relationship with OE risne, gerisene (both adj. and noun), 'fitting', 'what is fitting, decorous' (also adv. gerisenlīce, vb. gerisnian) would seem probable; there seems too little evidence to trace to a known stem. Some interpreters would render vígrisni as 'eagerness, zeal, for war', because risna often implies 'keenness', 'assiduity'; I have kept to a less active term, as I do not think the poet implies more than the gods' self-confidence and vanity at this moment (though the thought of the 'last battle' at Ragnarǫk will be in the distance for them, as for the poet).
Editor’s Note
2/4 Ása ok álfa: see commentary to Vsp 49/1–2.
Critical Apparatus
3/4 Oll ok áfo] ioll & áfo R. Before oll the scribe has written hropi, confusing his text with that of the following stanza 4/4. He has then deleted hrop with subscript dots, leaving the reading ioll. A later hand has erased the deleted hrop, but the MS. reading is clear from the ultraviolet photograph. In 4/4 the space in the MS. occupied by hropi is the same as in 3/4 and it is possible that the scribe omitted to delete with a dot the final i (as Stefán Karlsson noted in his most helpful correspondence with me in 1983: 'Það getur því meira en verið að skrifara hafi láðst að setja depil undir i og ioll sé villa fyrir oil'). Stefán has more recently presented a very attractive alternative reading for 3/4, namely í ǫllok áfo. See commentary ad loc.
Editor’s Note
3/4 Oll ok áfo: I have kept this reading (see textual note; also SG) to maintain the parallel with the two nouns in 4/4, because I doubt whether the miswriting in the MS. would have occurred if there had not been a parallel. Oll does not occur elsewhere in ON texts; it occurs a few times in OE: on oll and on edwīt, 'in contempt and scorn' (Napier (a), no. 2000), mid olle, 'with mockery, sarcasm' (Wulfstan (a), 273; Ælfric, Lives of the Saints no. 9, line 72); cf. also MED s.v. ollen vb., 'to scorn, contemn'. Oll could be a colloquial term passing from one language to another without much record. No etymology has so far been determined. We may note that 38/3 til, 'good', is also OE, hap. leg. in ON.
Karlsson (b), 257–66, acutely, but differently, solves MS. 'ioll & afo' as í ǫllok áfo, 'at the ale-ending, when the ale-drinking has come to an end, accusations/disgrace [I'll bring upon the Æsir's sons]'. Stefán gives a valuable analysis of the occurrences of áfa and its various senses in Icelandic tradition. See also commentary to Am 1/1 on ófo.
Editor’s Note
6/1–3 Þyrstr — veg: a parodistic imitation of Óðinn's obsequious entry into Vafþrúðnir's hall (Vafþ 8).
Editor’s Note
7/2 þrungin goð: I picture the gods swelling with rage, but holding back their furious words with lips firmly pressed together, to keep the peace.
Editor’s Note
8/1–8 Bragi is pointedly chosen to refuse Loki a place at the feast, not only as spokesman for the gods, but because, in a famous poem, Hákonarmál, he so warmly welcomes Hákon to drink with the Æsir in amity: Einherja grið / skalt þú allra hafa. / Þigg þú at ǭsum ǫl! 'From all the champions you shall have a pledge of peace—accept from the Æsir their ale!' (stanza 16). In Eiríksmál 4 (the later poem, as von See (b) has clearly shown), Bragi is somewhat tartly reproved by Óðinn for speaking foolishly (Heimsku mæla . . . skalat þú enn horski Bragi, Fagrsk 78); perhaps Bragi's reputation in later tradition has suffered from his ignominious image in Lks. Bragi as the 'best of skalds' (Grím 44) may be among the gods as the chosen apotheosis of a great eulogist—such as Bragi Boddason—and court þulr (as the heathen King Eiríkr of Sweden was chosen to be unus de numero deorum according to Rimbert 62; AR §§ 312, 313, 513).
Editor’s Note
gambansumbl: hap. leg.; see commentary to Skm 32/3. Sumbl may be used of the drink itself as well as of the feast in general (Alv 34, Háv 110, Hál 15), its potency being sacral as well as realistic (cf. Doht).
Critical Apparatus
8/6 sumbl] sumbˊlˋ R
Editor’s Note
9/3 blendom blóði saman: no other source tells us this; it is a clever way of expressing the link between the two gods and the identity of their eccentric behaviour (cf. Óðinn as Bǫlverkr, SnE 84–5, Háv 109). See AR Index s.v. Blutsbrüderschaft.
Editor’s Note
10/1 Víðarr: Óðinn's loathing of Loki, and of his own predicament, at this moment finds expression in his choice of Víðarr to serve Loki with ale. The scene of Víðarr's killing of the wolf (Vsp 52) is here imposed on the scene in Ægir's hall.
Editor’s Note
10/5 lastastǫfom: on the fear of calumny see Lks Introd ii.
Editor’s Note
11/1–2 Heilir — ásynior: an unctuous citation of Sigrdrífa'a devout words (Sigrdr 4/1–2).
Editor’s Note
11/5–6 sitr . . . bekkiom á: perhaps because Bragi has refused him a seat, Loki harps on the theme of Bragi 'seated' (15/1, 3).
Editor’s Note
12/3 baugi could mean 'gift', 'money' in general (see LP s.v. baugr § 1), as well as a more lordly 'ring' (which perhaps accords better with mar ok mæki, 12/1, and armbauga, 13/1).
Editor’s Note
13/1 Iós: for alliteration I have used in the translation the popular ME term for 'horse' (MED s.v. baiard).
Critical Apparatus
13/5 after ero follows ma deleted (cf. 2/5–6).
Editor’s Note
13/6–7 við víg — við skot: as we know so little of Bragi, we can only suppose that Loki implies that as a poet and orator Bragi composes about battles, but never himself enters them (cf. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld's Óláfsdrápa, an erfidrápa for Óláfr Tryggvason, which is a detailed picture of the king's last battle, as participants related it to him, though he himself was far away—ulfa sultar . . . þverri stóðk ferri, 'I was placed far from the hero, diminisher of the wolf's hunger' (stanza 27); similarly Þórmóðr Bersason composed from report—hefk . . . sann spurt; frák—verses on his fosterbrother's fights (Þórgeirsdrápa 7, 13; cf. Fóst 207–10).
Critical Apparatus
14/1 fyr] þyr; perhaps first written þu and partially corrected R
Critical Apparatus
14/6 er] ec R
Editor’s Note
14/6 lítt — lygi: for lítt adjectivally used for lítt (LP s.v. lítt), cf lítt vas þat til þrætu, 'small subject was that for dispute', Fóst 139, vísa 3/7.
Editor’s Note
15/1 sessi: I am assuming that the benches would be festively piled with cushions (as in Njál 290, ch. 116).
Editor’s Note
15/6 Hyggz — fyrir: in this compact remark Loki says in several ways that Bragi is a coward because he thinks of reasons for not acting, rather than acts (e.g. 'no brave man thinks ahead, takes anything into consideration, is cautious'), but the paramount sense must relate to the precise reason that Bragi has given for his inaction, namely, refusal to violate the sanctuary of Ægir's hall. So Loki is saying, 'If you were really valiant, you would not see that as an obstacle': in other words he is warmly encouraging a sacrilege. After all, has he not himself performed such a sacrilege in killing Fimafengr, and survived? For other poetic uses of fyrir with the sense 'as a hindrance to' see LP s.v. fyr, fyrir b § 4.
Editor’s Note
16/2–3 barna sifiar — óskmaga: I am not sure that I have understood the reference here. In the poem both Bragi and Loki are called áss (11/4, 19/1, 33/4). Iðunn cannot therefore be asking Bragi not to start a racist war between sons-of-the-blood and adopted sons by quarrelling with Loki. She is conjuring Bragi by the force of the two ties of kinship—sifiar—that hold the society of Ásgarðr together, its begotten children and its adopted children linked as one family, not to launch into calumnies against Loki. She emphasizes the children, bǫrn, megir, because of the future that is at stake if Ásgarðr is torn with hatred. See the valuable notes of SG and Söderberg (a), 69–70. Iðunn's instinct for peace and the children's future is in keeping with her nature as goddess of renewal and prosperity, yet there is no supporting evidence in ON pre-Christian poetry for the implication in Lks 16/2–3 that the gods had a kinship class of adopted sons called óskmegir, 'beloved sons'. Ósk-Rán in Ragndr 8 describes Hildr as a bloodthirsty 'goddess' who desires (Ośk-) the drying-out of veins. (The reading óskkván in Goþþormr sindri is dismissed in Hkr i. 180–1). In Gylfaginning (SnE 27) it is said that Óðinn's óskasynir are all those who fall in battle, and that in Valhǫll these are called Einherjar. This statement follows immediately after a composite citation from Lks 21, 29, 47 (see the note on Lokasenna and Gylfaginning after the text of the poem); Snorri could well have had Lks 16/3 óskmaga in mind when he turned the Einherjar into óskasynir. By Snorri's day the Christian use of ósk- to denote adopted sons or the beloved sons of God must have been common (see Fritzner s.vv. óskasonr, ósk-barn, -berni, -mær, -mǫgr). Oski is, however, an Óðinn-name listed in Grím 49/8, and we cannot rule out the possibility that it was a heathen tradition of heroes and valkyries, dear to Óski (perhaps indeed giving Óðinn this name), which stimulated Christian practice and later faded from record. See Kuhn (b), 1–4.
Critical Apparatus
17/1 Þegi þú] written here as one word, subsequently in the poem as two R
Editor’s Note
17/4–6 sítztu — bróðurbani: Loki is upbraiding Iðunn for a mythological situation in which she found herself. As goddess of the constantly renewed spring of life (see Haustl 9; commentary to Skm 19–20), Iðunn belongs to the same mythologem as the Vanir. They took as consort their brother or sister. If this marital custom applied to Iðunn, the husband who was killed in the seasonal contest for possession of her would be her brother, and the winner of her, her bróðurbani. Another Gmc goddess with close affinity to the Vanir, the Nerthus described by Tacitus, Germ xl, bathed ritually before she withdrew to her sanctuary. For the same ritual reason Iðunn would be beautifully bathed before embracing her new destined husband; cf the ritual bathing of Inanna (Leick 101):
  • 'My lady bathes (her) pure lap,
  • She bathes for the lap of the king, . . .
  • The pure Inanna washes with soap,
  • She sprinkles cedar oil on the ground . . .'
(for fuller analysis see Dronke (h), 98–101, from which I have briefly quoted here).
The situation Loki castigates here in relation to Iðunn cannot be relevant to Bragi. He has just been mocked for martial cowardice; he cannot now be seen as the May-Queen-winning champion. The poet does not relate him to this mythologem, and we do not need to (even though AR §§ 313, 512 notes possible archaic links between Bragi and the hero- and fertility-cults). Pragmatic interpretation can do no more than say that Iðunn had an amorous dilemma—now best forgotten—before she married Bragi. Their alliance in Lks is likely to be one of dramatic convenience, bringing together actors without traditional partners, but with legends that the poet wished to satirize.
Editor’s Note
19/4 Lopzki þat veit: i.e. gen. of Loptr (Loki) elided with eigi, etc. DH have the neatest interpretation here: 'Deutet das nicht auf Loki?' i.e. 'is it not a sign, known characteristic, of Loki?' (cf. LP s.v. vita § 4 with gen.; Fritzner s.v. vita §§ 4, 5). I have not found parallels for the interrogative word-order of the text—I assume veit þat ekki would be normal—but parallels with enclitic negative might well be rare.
Editor’s Note
19/5 leikinn: adj. 'fond of amusements, jests' (Flat i. 368: Óláfr konungr [Tryggvason] var allra manna glaðastr ok leikinn mjǫk).
Critical Apparatus
19/6 fiǫrg ǫll] fiorgvall; va is presumably a miscopying of av/au (i.e. ǫ) R
Editor’s Note
19/6 hann — fría: in some tales Loki is indeed a trusted and invaluable companion (in Þrym; in Þórr's journey to Útgarða-Loki; in his success in making the irate Skaði laugh; SnE 54, 81). In this stanza there is a hint of a Thersites role for Loki, as professional fool and licensed railer. As Ajax's fool, Thersites 'is a privileged man', but also a 'damnable box of envy' who curses his masters with his last words in the play: 'A burning devil take them!' (Troilus and Cressida ii. iii. 61, v. i. 29, v. ii. 196).
Editor’s Note
fiǫrg: as a heiti for the gods found only here; cf. fiarghús, 'temple', Akv 40/8 and commentary.
Editor’s Note
20/1–8 Gefion, like Iðunn, will have been brought into Loki's senna, because there was a myth about her that could be travestied. Gefjun's myth has, I think, been correctly identified by North (a), 217–24. It is the story of the rescue of Freyja's necklace/girdle/jewel out of Loki's thieving hands by Heimdallr in an oceanic fight in which both contestants take the shape of seals. This is in outline the version in Húsdr and in Snorri's prose report of stanzas he does not cite (SnE 98–100). In Haustl 9 Loki is called 'thief of the girdle of Brísingr's gods'. Snorri lists among Heimdallr's kennings 'seeker of the necklace of Freyja' (mensœkir Freyju), and refers always to her Brísingamen. In Húsdr the contested treasure is called 'gleaming kidney of the sea' (hafnýra fǫgru; see Meaney (a); UD (i), 669–70). Already we have three variants for the contested treasure: (a) the archetypal necklace of the mother goddess (early depicted on Megalithic images; Levy Fig. 67, 68), (b) the girdle, and (c) the kidney-shaped sea-bean, both (b) and (c) talismans of childbirth in ON. We may well expect variants in other aspects of the myth also.
Though in no ON text is the necklace of Freyja expressly said to be a symbol of the glorious fertility that she brings to the earth, the identification of Earth's greenery with Earth's jewellery is made explicitly in a Mesopotamian poem (Leick 18):

The great Earth (Ki) made herself glorious, her body flourished with greenery.

Wide Earth put on silver metal and lapis-lazuli ornaments,

Adorned herself with diorite, calcedony, cornelian and diamonds.

It is not stated in any text that Heimdallr restored the stolen necklace to Freyja. That scene appears only in the story of Gefjun that Loki tells. The 'blond boy'—sveinn inn hvíti—is readily identifiable with Heimdallr hvítastr ása (Þrym 15/2), hvíti áss (SnE 32; cf. Vsp 19/3–4). And the sigli he gave Gefjun is the necklace saved from the sea, and from Loki. The placing of Gefjun in the role of Freyja could relate to an old identity of the two goddesses. Freyja has many names (SnE 38), including Mardǫll, 'Tree of the Sea', and Gefn, 'Giver', a name identical in form with OE geofon, 'ocean'. Gefjun also relates to the stem gef-, 'give'. The sea is a rich giver, and Njǫrðr, its god, is proverbially wealthy. For discussion and documentation see North, (a), 217–24; AR § 555.
Editor’s Note
sveinn inn hvíti: Loki makes his allusion to Heimdallr's 'whiteness' derogatory, 'blond boy' suggesting effeminacy, cowardice (cf. Bjarn 140, vísa 3/1 (b); Víga-Glúm 62, n. 1).
Editor’s Note
sigli: in ON only here and in Sigsk 49 (also of an ornament for a woman), probably a borrowing from OE sigle, which occurs four times in Beowulf (once of the necklace Brōsinga mene) and is usually related to OE sigel, 'sun', the name of the S-rune (cf. also Sigelhearwa, 'sun-blackened one', i.e. Ethiopian, sigeltorht, 'sun-bright'). Sigli/sigle would probably signify a circular ornament, necklace, torque, or brooch (cf. Lat. lunula, 'round, Moon-like ornament', glossed in OHG as sigilla, AEW s.v. sigli 1 ). The circular sigli, representing the Brísinga men, representing the fertile earth, is the equivalent of the earth pulled by plough through the ocean by Gefjun to form Sjælland. Bragi calls that earth djúprǫðull, 'roundel, wheel, sun (rǫðull) of the deep (djúp)' (SnE 8; UD (g), 37; commentary to Skm 4/4). The precious djúprǫðull was also a gift to Gefjun for her sexual favours: at launum skemtunar sinnar.
Editor’s Note
lagðir lær yfir: a coarser variant of 17/4–5: arma þína lagðir (cf. Háv 108/6), designed to shock the hearers into laughter by its unexpected bluntness.
Critical Apparatus
21/1–2 also in SnE 27; see discussion following the text of Lokasenna.
Editor’s Note
21/4–6 Gefjun will have powers of foresight (like Frigg, 29/4–6) because she too inhabits the underwater realm (see commentary to Vsp 20/3). We may note that Ran, wife of Ægir/Gymir, is called Gymis vǫlva, 'Ocean's sibyl', by Hofgarða-Refr, Skjald b i. 296.
Editor’s Note
22/4–6 Most notoriously Óðinn punished the valkyrie Sigrdrífa for killing the warrior to whom he had promised victory; by rights he should no doubt have given the victory to her (Sigrdr prose following stanza 4; cf. Vǫls ch. 21). Óðinn's intervention in Sigmundr's last battle (Vǫls ch. 11) might also come under Loki's criticism. In Eiríksmál 6 Óðinn is asked accusingly why he robbed Eiríkr of victory, though so valiant: the answer is, he will need him at Ragnarǫk (cf. Vsp 50/7). Hákon góði resents the injustice of his death at the moment of victory: 'We deserved better of the gods' (Hákonarmál 12).
Editor’s Note
23/4–8 Óðinn now introduces a variation in riposte and in metre: suppose I did do what you say, look how you have behaved! And he drags up from the past a fantastic sex-change of Loki's in the underworld—presumably among the giants—about which we have no other sources. The poet might be inventing freely here, but certain formal considerations suggest that he could be drawing on older traditions. The eight years of Loki's sojourn below is a traditional period of alienation (cf. Vkv 3) or of sacral interludes (as in the great sacrificial festivals at Uppsala, cf. commentary to Vsp 19/2). In other texts Loki is said to bear offspring: a foal by the giant builder's stallion Svaðilfari (SnE 46–7; Hyndl 41), and, from eating the half-roasted heart of an evil woman, he becomes pregnant with the mother of all witches (Hyndl 41). Should we interpret 23/6, as 'a milch-cow and a woman' or as 'milking cows and a woman'? Is Loki here re-enacting the primordial role of the cow Auðumla, who fed the first giant Ymir (SnE 13), but re-enacting it in the underworld, for some mythological parody? I have for the translation assumed that Óðinn is describing an ordinary woman's life—milking cows and bearing children—but in the underworld (though this may well not be the poet's intention). As a trickster figure Loki can cross all the conventional boundaries of society and sex (see de Vries (b) chs. 10, 12). It is prohibited in the Norwegian laws to say that a man is 'a woman every ninth night', or that he has borne children, been used as a woman, or is a mare, bitch (or any other female animal), or whore (NGL i. 57, 70; SG). Icelandic laws give a man the right to kill any man who calls him effeminate or a passive homosexual (the prohibited terms being ragr/argr, stroðinn, sorðinn; Grágas ii. 392–3; Almqvist (a) i. 62–6).
Editor’s Note
24/1–6 Loki in return derides Óðinn as one of those seiðmenn who dress up as women and congregate to perform seiðr (especially, perhaps, at festival seasons at the homes of rich rulers; cf. Hkr i. 42–3, 138–9). Our knowledge of these seiðmenn is scanty. Tacitus, Germ xliii, records a priest in woman's costume (muliebri ornatu) officiating in a sacred grove among the East Gmc Nahanarvali (cf. AR § 498). We may suppose the seiðmenn's cult to be not unlike that of the 'lower-class, itinerant eunuch priests of Cybele', who wore women's clothes, consorted with male prostitutes, and claimed mystic knowledge (see P. Dronke (i), 9–10, nn. 118–19, on the Greek Iolaus fragment, 2 c. ad, which gives valuable insights into this cult; see Iolaus in Bibliography for editions). On seiðr see commentary to Vsp 22/5. In placing Óðinn as a vǫlva on an island the poet may be imitating HH I 37.
Editor’s Note
Sámseyio í: presumably modern Samsø, north of Fyn, though why this island (famous for the battle in which Angantýr was killed, and where his haunted grave- mound was visited by his daughter; Heiðr ch. 3) should be the place of Óðinn's seiðr, I do not know. A connection with ON sámskr, 'Lappish' (Lappish sabme) would seem more appropriate (on Óðinn's paternity of Sæmingr and his links with the far north, see Davidson 57–62).
Editor’s Note
vétt: probably an older form of vætt neut., '(raised) lid on a coffer' (see Fritzner s.v.). I have followed Strömbäck 22–5, whose evidence that Lappish magicians used tub- or bucket-lids, with a handle, as well as drums, seems excellent. If the vétt was a poorer style of instrument, that would suit Loki's scornful tone well. For etymology see AEW s.v. vætt 2. Vétt may also be identical with vítt (see commentary to Vsp 22/4).
Editor’s Note
Vitka líki: Loki is, no doubt, alluding to Óðinn's journey to the Ruthenians (? in Russia; Saxo iii. iv) to practise seiðr upon the princess Rindr, to beget a son who would avenge Baldr (Kormakr, Sigurðardrápa 3/4: seið Yggr til Rindar; BDr 11; cf. Vsp 32–3). Among the ruses to seduce her, in Saxo, Óðinn disguises himself as a medicine-woman, called Wecha (i.e. ON *Vekka < *Vetka < Vitka, 'sorceress', fem. forms of vitki, 'wizard', not elsewhere recorded in ON). As Strömbäck argues, 26, it is not necessary to emend to vitku in Lks since Óðinn is performing seiðr as a wizard by pretending to be female. When Óðinn sets out in his disguise, Saxo calls him a viator indefessus, seeking the Ruthenian king for the fourth time: this may relate to 24/5: fórtu verþióð yfir.
Critical Apparatus
23/7 bǫrn of borit] so 33/6 R
Critical Apparatus
24/1 síða] síga R
Editor’s Note
25/3 seggiom: the sense must here be 'people (such as ourselves)', cf. Skm 4/2, where Freyr calls Skírnir seggr enn ungi, and not literally '(human) men'.
Critical Apparatus
25/4 tveir] .ii. R
Editor’s Note
26/2 Fiǫrgyns: nothing is told of Frigg's father, though his name is ancient (AR § 514). He may have been the partner of Fjǫrgyn, Þórr's mother (Vsp 53/10), who was Jǫrð, but that would have been in an older pantheon. It is not known as an Óðinn-name.
Editor’s Note
26/4 Véa ok Vilia: I suggest that this is another of Loki's travesties of an archaic religious ritual situation. Frigg has been in bed with her husband, Vili, 'Desire', together with the god Véi, 'Hallowed One', who brings conception (Ríg Introd i. d. Theme II). At the same time, in a distinct context, she remains Viðrir's—Óðinn's—wife.
Critical Apparatus
28/4 réð] ręþ, which could also be interpreted as present tense ræþ R. See commentary.
Editor’s Note
28/4 réð: I think the past tense fits the past act better than ræð, 'I am/shall be responsible for . . .'. There is no other reason here why Baldr should not be present in Ægir's hall than that he is dead. See commentary to 41/6; Ruggerini 60–1.
Critical Apparatus
29/4–6also in SnE 27; see discussion following the text of Lokasenna.
Editor’s Note
29/4–6 See commentary to 21/4–6.
Editor’s Note
30/4–6 Ása — verit: again a travesty of ancient characteristics of a goddess of love and fecundity. Freyja is the blótgyðja of the gods, priestess of sacrifices (Yng ch. 4). As priestess she would have the sacral role of prostitute, just as the 'sacred servants' and 'courtesans' of Aphrodite welcomed the embraces of worshippers (Pindar, Encomia 3, pp. 188–9; Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 33, notes that the sacral fornication at Aphrodite's festivals is paid for by the initiated who 'bring their tribute of a coin to the goddess, as lovers do to a mistress (ἑταίρα‎)'; cf. Post 146: [Clemens] kveðr Freyju portkonu verit hafa; SG); for Babylonian custom, and the coin thrown 'in the name of the goddess' see Herodotus 1. 199). One of Freyja's names is Þrǫng, 'Close Company' (cf. hvíluþrǫng, 'bed-embrace'), and it is presumably her sacral duty to sleep with all the Æsir; certainly Þórr is called langvinr Þrǫngvar, 'long-standing friend, lover, of Þrǫng' (Þórsdr 17), though his wife is Sif. Freyja, who chooses half of the slain with Óðinn (Grím 14), epitomizes the female dísir who seek the death of men to bring them lovers: thus, she embraces the ancestors, álfar, when they die, as Rán, her marine counterpart, catches men in her net (see commentary to Hamð 15/4; UD (h), 103). Like Loki, Gilgamesh turns upon the goddess of fecundity, Ishtar, and reviles her in a catalogue of her sensual myths. She complains to her father: 'Gilgamesh has recounted my stinking deeds, / my stench and my foulness'. She makes no denial (Pritchard 83–4). On harlot goddesses see also Motz (f), 104–8.
Critical Apparatus
31/2 hygg] hvg R(? for hyg); see Lindblad 28–33.
myni] mý R
Critical Apparatus
32/4 sítztik] sitztv R
Editor’s Note
32/4–6 On this scene see UD (h), 101–3 ('The incestuous Vanir').
sítztikstóðo: MS. 'sitztu — siþo'. I adopt the old-established emendations (see Bugge (a) ad loc.), because the meaning requires this. The main vb., whether siðo or stóðo, calls for a pl. subject (regin); the nom. sg. -tu of the MS) (sítztu) cannot therefore be correct. Emendation to -tic would not be paleographically strained. Siðo, 'bewitched', 'practised seiðr upon', is an unlikely action for the gods to take to make Freyja sleep with her brother, as Loki's whole point is to expose her habitual incest. The idiom standa e-n, 'to surprise, ambush someone', is well attested (Gróug 9/2–3, Háv 154/2; SG).
Critical Apparatus
32/5 stóðo] siþo R
Critical Apparatus
32/6 mundir] m̄dir R
Editor’s Note
32/6 frata: hap. leg.; the ablaut variant freta is more common.
Editor’s Note
34/2–3 þú vart — goðom: the exchange of hostages after the Æsir–Vanir war (see commentary to Vsp 21 – 4) is told only in Yng ch. 4. In the telling of this very old myth of the uniting of gods, hostage-exchange after war might be a 'modernization' for a Viking society of an older story of departure and return of a fertility deity (cf. Vafþ 39) as seasons dictate. The Vanir's homeland and Ægir's domain are here located to the west of Útgarðr, where Þórr has his 'eastern travels' (cf. 60).
Editor’s Note
34/4–6 Hymis — migo: Hymir is the giant who lives east of Élivágar—the icy primordial waves—at heaven's end, against whom Þórr contends in fishing and from whom he steals the vast cauldron for brewing the gods' ale (Hym). In other words, an established enemy of the gods. In Þórsdr Þórr must wade through a raging mountain torrent: it proves to be caused by a giant's daughter urinating. Þórr, exerting his greatest might, grows as tall as the sky and surmounts the torrent (in SnE 106 he also throws a large stone—fatally—at the giantess: at ósi skal á stemma, 'one must stem a river at its estuary'). Loki, in his extravaganza, sees the great ocean as Njǫrðr's mouth and all the rivers flowing into it like giant girls—Hymir's daughters—pissing into a urine trough (see UD (h), 103–4). The urine of a household would often be pissed into a communal trough for cleansing and tanning leather; this may be the practical image behind Loki's joke.
Editor’s Note
35/4 þá ek mǫg gat: Freyr and Freyja are a Vanir sister-brother pair. Freyja, in one of her forms, was involved in the Æsir-Vanir war. It would seem awkward if her brother-husband were not born until after their father Njǫrðr came to Ásgarðr (SnE 31). Practical aspects of the 'myths' develop as dramatic circumstances require them, without regard to older tradition. So Njǫrðr and Skaði become the parents of Freyr in Skm (see Skm commentary to prose prologue lines 4–5), though Loki mocks Njǫrðr for begetting him on his own sister (Lks 36).
Editor’s Note
36/4 systor þinni: there is no ON tradition of a sister of Njǫrðr, other than Snorri's remark in Yng ch. 4, that 'when Njǫrðr was with the Vanir, he had his sister as wife, because that was lawful there. Their children were Freyr and Freyja'. Snorri no doubt bases this upon Lks 36.
Critical Apparatus
36/6 era] þera Rdeleted with subscript dot)
Editor’s Note
37/1–6 Freyr is now praised as a chivalrous knight in almost Arthurian terms, bringing comfort to ladies and magnanimously freeing prisoners (cf. Am 97/5–8; Skm Introd 1. b, stanza 7). A remarkable adaptation of Lks 37/4–6 is found in Hálfs Saga ok Hálfsrekka 192, vísa 59 (cf. Skjald a ii. 266, b ii. 288) as an exhortation by Hálfr to his army not to ill-treat women (presumably on their campaigns):
Bad ecki hann j her [Hálfr] bade that in the army
hoptum [read hoptu] græta no woman captive be made to weep,
ne mannz konu nor to a man's wife
meín at uína harm be done;
mey bad hann hueria he bade every maid
mundi kaupa be bought with a bride price
faugru gulli in fair gold
at faudr radi. by her father's decision.
I suggest that the Lks line ok leysir ór hǫptom hvern has indicated a military situation to the poet of the Hálfs Saga stanza, and the neat change of ór hǫptom hvern into hǫptu (so too EddMin) fits the king's words well with the prose vows made in ch. 5 of the saga (178/30): alldri hertoku þeir konur ne baurn.
Editor’s Note
ballriða, 'brave rider', ball- from *balþ- being a Verner's Law variant of bald- (Akv 21/4: baldriða; these are the only occurrences of the term; for etymology see AEW s.v. ballr). The suggestion (Söderberg (a), 81) that there might be in ballriða some verbal play on bal, 'vagina', or bǫllr, 'testicle', might be relevant if Loki were the speaker, but would be dramatically out of place for Týr. For the audience, of course, Týr's unawareness of his own pun could be part of the joke. On Freyr as a lover see Skm Introd 1. That he might be imagined, and perhaps dramatically portrayed, as a very handsome ladies' man, keener on women than on war, is suggested by the nickname his enemies give Sturla Sighvatsson, Dala-Freyr, 'Freyr of the Dales' (i.e. the district of Dalir). On his penitential visit to Rome, 1233, report had it that people wept to see so beautiful a man—svá fríðr maðr—so pitifully castigated (Sturl (a) 1. 364; cf. 326, 327, 353). Perhaps his beauty helped him to win the clever young heiress Solveig, whom his uncle Snorri had hoped to marry (299–300). That reluctance to fight went with the name Dala-Freyr is evident from his enemy's remark, when Sturla refuses to attack: Ok ætla ek, at Dala-Freyr sanni nú nafn sitt ok standi eigi nær, 'I think that Dala-Freyr may now justify his name and keep at a distance' (353).
Editor’s Note
38/3 tilt: hap. leg. OE adj. til, 'good', 'just', 'wholesome' is common (see BT for the range of usage). Bera tilt með would mean 'to bring about a fair, satisfactory situation between' two sides in a dispute. Týr takes his personality from his unquestioning heroism, when he places his hand in the wolf Fenrir's mouth as a pledge of the gods' good faith when they try to bind him for the safety of the world (SnE 32). His deed demonstrates the cost of oath-breaking, and the need, sometimes, to incur that cost. The scanty evidence of Týr links him with covenants and law. He loses his right hand, the hand that pledges faith. The marital embarrassment that Loki (probably) invents for him (40) concerns an illegitimate son and the legal compensation for it (a tale for which there is no other source). The legal element is seen also in the OE Rune Poem 48: Tīw [MS. Tir] . . . healdeð trȳwa wēl / wið æþelingas, 'Tīw keeps faith well with princes'.
Editor’s Note
39/2 Hróðrsvitnis i.e. 'Fame's Wolf', elsewhere in the form Hróðvitnir; vitnir ('one with acute wits, senses') is a heiti for wolf (LP s.v.).
Editor’s Note
39/4 Úlfgi i.e. úlfr elided with eigi (Noreen § 291. 10).
Critical Apparatus
39/5 ǫngom] bondō R does not alliterate; it anticipates 41/6.
Editor’s Note
39/5 ǫngom dat. pl. of ǫngr adj., 'narrow', 'confining' (cf. OE enge, 'narrow'—enge ānpaðas, 'narrow single-tracks'—'oppressive') used substantially in dat. pl. for 'cramping difficulties' (see LP s.v. ǫngr; cf. OE engu fem., 'tight place', Grein s.v.).
Editor’s Note
39/6 ragnarøkrs: the word-play on rǫk and røkr may well have been an early Christian development, as the older philosophical term, rǫk, became less clearly understood (cf. Hyndl 1/5); see LP s.v. røkr. 'Destined end' becomes 'day's end'.
Editor’s Note
40/4 Ǫln né penning: Loki names the smallest quantities, 'ell of cloth' and 'penny coin' (a silver coin weighing less than a gram; SG); penningr is an early West Gmc word, of as yet undetermined origin, perhaps borrowed from OE into ON at quite an early date, since it occurs in Bragi Boddason's Ragndr 12 in a kenning for 'round shield': Svǫlnis salpenningr, 'Óðinn's hall-penny'. Valhǫll was roofed with shields, looking just like pennies.
Editor’s Note
41/2 árósi: the river mouth is in fact the jaws of the wolf, the river being the slaver that flows from his watering mouth, which is held open by a sword to stop him biting. The river is named Ván, 'Expectation', 'Hope' (SnE 37); is the name a reminder that the wolf's hope of freedom is indeed fulfilled (Vsp 43/3–4)?
Editor’s Note
41/6 bundinn: according to Vsp 34, SnE 68–9, Loki is bound after his refusal to weep for Baldr; he admits (28/4) that his ráð determined Baldr's death. Loki ought not, therefore, to be at large now. The poet improvises as he wishes.
Editor’s Note
42/1–3 Gulli — sverð: if it is the legend in Skm that Loki is travestying, his lies are blatant, since Gerðr refused the gold and the sword was a threat, not a gift. The legend that Freyr's sword fell into the hands of the giants could have no place in Skm (see Skm Introd iii; commentary to Vsp 50/3–4).
Editor’s Note
42/4 Muspellz synir: see commentary to Vsp 48/2–3.
Editor’s Note
42/5 Myrkvið: see commentary to Akv 3/4, Vkv 1/2.
Editor’s Note
43/2 Ingunar-Freyr: hap. leg. in ON extant verse, but it is evident from references in the prologue to Óláfs Saga helga 3–4 (the 'Great Saga of St Óláfr', based on Snorri's version) that this form of Freyr's name must also have occurred in both Ytal and Hál, though the verses cited in Hkr do not contain it (DH). Byggvir extols Freyr for noble race (I suggest) because he appears at the head of poetically famous genealogies—those of Haraldr hárfagri and Jarl Hákon, for example.
Ingun-: a derivative of Gmc *Ingw- with nasal suffix as in Germ ii, Ingaevones, i.e. Ingvaeones, and probably OE Ingwina (gen. pl., Beowulf 1044, 1319); cf. AR § 449. DH note that Ingunar- could be a woman's name, so 'Ingun's Freyr', comparing 'Ǫlrún's Egill' (Ǫlrúnar-Egill; Vkv Introd iv. a). Might this relate to an archaic brother-sister pair, *Ingwi and *Ingun? Byggvir would then be innocently confirming the incest of the Vanir pair (32, 36) by citing this old title instead of using the doublet Yngvi-Freyr (Hál 13; Hkr i. 24–5). Snorri appears to have been concerned by the form Ingunar-, since he offers a doublet Ynguni for Yngvi (Hkr i. 34), not found elsewhere. If Ingunar- is not fem. the form is difficult to explain (see AEW s.v. Ingunarfreyr for further reference).
Editor’s Note
43/3 sællikt setr: i.e. Álfheimr (Grím 5), realm of the immortal dead (Vkv Introd ii. c).
Editor’s Note
43/4 mergi smæra: the image behind Byggvir's words—of the limbs of a body being ground to pulp, bone into marrow—reflects the archaic myth of the inauguration of the corn-mill by sacrifice (see commentary to 45/1).
Editor’s Note
43/5 mølða: hap. leg. from *mølva, a variant of mylja, 'to pound, smash, break into pieces' (see Feist s.v. ga-malwjan).
Editor’s Note
meinkráko: i.e. prophesying harm for Freyr.
Editor’s Note
44 The stanza is a riddle, difficult to translate until one knows the answer. What creature is being described? It is small, has a wagging tail, is sly in snapping up morsels of food, is continually 'at the ears' of Freyr (i.e. as his informer or confidant, eyrarúni?), and (while pecking up grains beside the corn-mill?) will keep up a chirruping gossip. I think it is a bird because I associate the vocabulary with birds: the wagtail, the eagle that snapir (Háv 62), the vb. klaka which is used primarily of bird-talk (cf. Ríg 35: Klǫk nam fugla) and secondarily of gossip. Óðinn has two ravens that inform him (Grím 20; SnE 42–3). Birds cleverly peck grains from the ears of corn. In Gautreks Saga 10 a sparrow is the corn-plunderer. So too in Hkr i. 35–6 (Yng ch. 18), and here the story throws light on Lks 44: Dagr, king of Denmark, understood birds' voices. He had a sparrow that flew into many lands and told him much news. Once the sparrow flew into a peasant's cornfield and fed there. The peasant threw a stone at the bird and killed it. Dagr sacrificed a boar to obtain news of the bird, and led an army to avenge it. As he was returning home after the slaughter, a labourer ran out of a wood and flung a pitchfork at the army: it struck Dagr and he was killed. A stanza here cited from Ytal records this legend succinctly. Details indicate that Dagr is a Freyr-figure: his name 'Day', his boar-sacrifice, his death by a two-pronged implement, reminiscent of horns and tusks (cf. AR § 464; I thank Alan Davey for the references to the corn-eating sparrows). The assiduity of a sparrow fits Byggvir well; I suggest that Loki (and the poet) have chosen the sparrow's image because the bird was already familiar in fables of the fertility god.
Editor’s Note
lǫggra: hap. leg. in ON, but in Danish logre, loggre, 'to wag the tail', 'to fawn, be flattering, sycophantic', is well recorded. An eagerly pecking bird seems to be bowing continually.
Editor’s Note
snapir: only here and Háv 62 (of an eagle hungrily scanning the sea for fish, opening and shutting its beak).
Editor’s Note
at eyrom Freys: what news would Freyr want? Perhaps of the progress of his corn—which a sparrow might test for him—or of his brewing, which his Barley Boy butler would know. Óðinn's ravens were no doubt principally war-reporters.
Critical Apparatus
44/2 ek] ek þatR influenced by er þat in previous line
Critical Apparatus
45/1 Byggvir] Beygvir R. See textual note to prologue line 7.
Editor’s Note
45/1 Byggvir: from bygg, 'barley' (cf. OE Bēow in the Anglo-Saxon genealogies). In Lks he appears as a popular servant-figure, drawing his character from generations of corn- and brewing-games and ceremonies. He appears, however, to have had once a more serious cult significance, as a divine figure, ground up like corn in the mill to provide the livelihood of his people (see the most detailed recent analysis of the sources by Tolley (c); on 74 note the reference to a 10 c. pagan feast preserved in a Muslim land, at which 'The women weep for [Tammūz] because his master slew him by grinding his bones under a millstone and winnowing them in the wind'. It is notable that Tammūz is ground up under the millstone by his master. Byggvir too has a master; the mythologem may always have had this folk-tale element.
Editor’s Note
45/2 bráðan: Byggvir appears to regard bráðan as a compliment, but it brings with it implications of the rashness, impatience, and violence of drunkenness.
Editor’s Note
46/3 deila — mat: I know of no specific happening to which this might refer and take the reference to be to the maladroitness in general of a drunken Fimafengr.
Editor’s Note
46/4–6 ok þik — verar: here Byggvir is seen as the personification of all the ale spilt into the straw covering of the hall floor when men quarrel and fight at feasts. Such loss of ale is noted with particular vividness in Ragndr 4/5–6 ('the well of the ale-cups blended with blood'; cf. Hamð 23/2). The disappearance of the ale under the straw then becomes an image of Byggvir's cowardly self-concealment when fighting starts (see McKinnell (a), 250).
Critical Apparatus
47/3 hví — Loki] also in SnE 27; see discussion following the text of Lokasenna.
Editor’s Note
47/3 lezkaðu: i.e. letr (letja, 'to hinder') + sk (reflexive, with assimilation lezk) + a (negative) + ðu.
Editor’s Note
47/4 ofdrykkia: I do not know why the proverbial disapproval of drunkenness should be attributed to Heimdallr (cf. Háv 11). Could it be because he has the well of mead at his foot, and—heiðvanr (Vsp 27/3)—uses it with discretion morgin hverian (Vsp 28/12)?
Critical Apparatus
48/4 aurgo] LOKASENNArgo R; see commentary.
Editor’s Note
48/4 aurgo baki: a derisory reference to the aurogr fors of Vsp 27 (see Vsp Introd ii ad loc.) from the well at the tree's foot, which laves the tree (i.e. Heimdallr). See UD (h), 104–6; (i), 666–9 for further discussion and references. The MS. spelling 'LOKASENNArgo' could also be interpreted as ǫrgo, 'cowardly', 'effeminate' (from argr), implying homosexual habits (cf. the níð in Bjarn 154–5), but this would only be useful as a pun on aurgo/ǫrgo (for which the vowel sounds might be too distinct).
Editor’s Note
49/4–6 þvíat — goð: in SnE 69 Loki is bound on three sharp-edged stones with his son's intestines, which turn into iron. In the H variant of Vsp 34/5–8 Váli binds Loki with hard chains of guts.
Editor’s Note
ins hrímkalda magar: 'frost-cold' implies 'of (frost-)giant race'. As Loki begot Hel, the wolf, and the world serpent upon a giantess (SnE 34), tradition has assumed other offspring of his had similar origins.
Editor’s Note
50/4–6 The giant Þjazi (father of Skaði) abducted Iðunn, who was rescued by Loki flying off with her, disguised as a falcon with her as a nut in his claws. Þjazi pursues, as an eagle. The Æsir stack kindling within their walls and, after Loki has alighted, they set fire to the kindling so that the pursuing eagle's feathers are burned and the Æsir get their hands on Þjazi—as Loki says—and kill him (SnE 80).
Editor’s Note
51/6 kǫld ráð: see commentary to Vkv 31/6. Skaði's coldness to Loki reflects also the coldness of her supernatural character: she is the skiing goddess, ǫndurdís, the winter huntress (AR § 561).
Editor’s Note
52/1–6 There is no tradition elsewhere of Skaði inviting Loki to her bed, but he performs a strange sexual charade for her (to make her laugh again, after her father's death, as she has requested; SnE 81). He ties a cord to a she-goat's beard and the other end of the cord to his own testicles: both pull hard to get away, now one giving way, now the other, shrieking loud. Then Loki made himself fall on Skaði's lap, and she laughed, and agreed to a pact of peace with the gods. I know of no parallel for Loki's jest, but the ancient tradition that laughter-rousing obscenity can dispell the grief of mourning for the dead is seen also in the legend of Demeter, grieving for Persephone, who is only brought to laughter by the obscene erotic dance of an old woman (AR §§ 209, 502; Clunies Ross).
Editor’s Note
Laufeyiar son, 'Leaf-island's son' (also in Þrym 18, 20). Laufey was also called Nál, 'Pine needle' (SnE 34). She would be a fitting mother for Lóðurr, if he were a god of vegetation (see commentary to Vsp 18/7).
Editor’s Note
getit verðr oss slíks . . .: Loki adopts a prim self-righteous tone, caricaturing the notion of moral account-books.
Critical Apparatus
In the prose before stanza 53 Sif has been omitted. The scribe has noticed this and put omission marks after gecc. He probably added the name in the margin, but it has been cut away.
Editor’s Note
53/1–3 Heill — miaðar: a deliberate borrowing from Skm 37.
Editor’s Note
53/4 hana: for the self-deprecating use of the third person by a goddess speaking of herself, cf. Hyndl 4/1–2.
Critical Apparatus
53/6 -lausa] lLOKASENNAR
Editor’s Note
54/6 hór ok af Hlórriða: lit. '[being] an adulterer, and to Hlórriði's detriment', af having the sense 'taking from' (so DH; rather than LP 'because of'). In Hárb 48 Óðinn tells Þórr that Sif á hó heima, 'has a lover at home', to make him go home more quickly. The poet of Lks may have borrowed the motif deliberately to herald Þórr's thunderous return. (Hór, acc. , would seem to be a colloquial variant of hórr; see Fritzner s.vv.). See also commentary to Vsp 44/6.
Editor’s Note
Hlórriða: an old name for Þórr (cf Vell 15); the sense of the first element, Hlór-, is undetermined as yet.
Editor’s Note
56/1 Beyla: a nickname probably derived from baula, 'cow' rare in ON (cf. ModIcel baula, 'to low'; in Bisk i. 593 kýr . . . drepnar, 'slaughtered cows', are equated with baulu-föll, 'cow carcasses'. Dumézil (d), 98–105, argues for Beyla as a diminutive of bíu, 'bee', representing mead, beside Byggvir's beer. In this case we should read Býla, taking ey as an erroneous spelling for y, as in 'beygvir' (see the textual note to Lks prologue line 7).
Editor’s Note
56/3–4 meini blandin . . . ókynian: is Beyla so violently insulted not only because she is dirty (dritin), but because she makes her dairy-products dirty? (Compare the early English drinking song, 'Bryng vs in no butter, for therin are many herys . . .', in Greene 255. Butter churns have been excavated that still contain the long red hairs of the English dairymaids.)
Editor’s Note
ókynian is a strong word: would she be dressed up in horns?
Editor’s Note
56/6 deigia: originally, no doubt, 'kneader of dough', but developing more general significances (cf. OE hlǣfdige, 'lady'); here used of a maidservant on a farm occupied with pasturing and milking the cows (M. Olsen 36; Ruggerini commentary ad loc.). Dumézil (d), 103, notes that the descriptive name 'One who kneads' fits well the bee who kneads wax for the hive.
Editor’s Note
dritin: cf. the English milkmaids 'court-patched with cow-droppings' as they milk their cows in the meadows (Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles ch. 25). Dumézil (d), 103–4, notes ancient interpretations of the pollen on a worker bee's body as 'dirt'.
Critical Apparatus
57/3 fyrnema] fyr- R could also be read fyrir-, see JH textual note ad loc. The shorter form seems more appropriate to the heavy Lokasenna line (cf. Skm 34/5, 6 where fyrir- seems preferable rhythmically).
Editor’s Note
57/3 Miǫllnir: of uncertain etymology (? 'lightning', cf. Rusian molnija, or 'pulverizer', cf. mala, 'to grind', mølva, 'to crush'; AEW s.v.). See E. O. G. Turville-Petre 81–5 for a fine account.
Editor’s Note
57/4 Herða klett: klettr, 'cliff', 'crag', 'rock-face', that juts up from the herðar, 'shoulders' (see Meissner (b), 127 (§ 45 b)).
Editor’s Note
58/1–2 Loki ostentatiously tells the audience—aside—that 'this is Þórr'.
Editor’s Note
Iarðar burr: so Þrym 1/7; cf. Vsp 53/10.
Editor’s Note
58/3 þrasir: the vb. occurs only here (cf. derivatives Lífþrasir, Vafþ 45; ǫrþrasir, 'urgent desirer', used of a giant, Þórsdr 17); related to drasill, 'fierce-snorting horse', see commentary to Vsp 19/2; cf. ModIcel þrasa, 'to quarrel, wrangle'.
Editor’s Note
58/5 þú skalt við úlfinn vega: we can imagine a scenario in which Óðinn is dead—gulped down by the wolf—and Þórr is turning to engage the wolf, when Víðarr strides down upon the scene and pierces the wolf himself. The serpent then arrives, engaging Þórr's attention. But this cannot be the scenario originally of Vsp, where úlf in 53/4 must be an error for orm (see Vsp Introd iii. c. Problems I (ii), III (i) (c). It can only be, therefore, a scenario dreamed up by the poet of Lks (or his source), conceivably suggested by ignorant oral versions that had úlf and not orm in the scene of Þórr's last fight. So outrageous are the travesties in the senna- tradition that an accusation that Þórr trembled to face the wolf might be regarded as normal.
Critical Apparatus
59/1 Þegi — fyrnema] abbreviated Þegi þ. r. v. þ: R
Editor’s Note
59/4 verp: Þórr was a practised hurler: of his hammer (SnE 103), of red-hot iron (SnE 107), of a giant's eyes into heaven (Hárb 19).
Editor’s Note
59/5 á austrvega: i.e. into the realm of the giants.
Editor’s Note
60/1–3 Austrfǫrum þínom: Þórr's mention of 'eastern paths' leads Loki to Þórr's eastern humiliations, when he thought a giant's glove was a hall (60/4–5) and could not untie the giant's knots on his food-bag (62/4–7). These are incidents we know from Gylfaginning (SnE 50–1).
Editor’s Note
skaltu — frá: Loki in mock awe repeats Frigg's anxious phrases (25/2–3).
Editor’s Note
60/5 hnúkðir, 'sat crouching'; only here in ON, but in ModIcel not uncommon (see Blöndal s.vv. hnúka fem., 'a crooked, crumpled figure'; hnúka vb., 'to sit in a bent position'; hnokkinn, 'bent'; AEW s.v. hnúka).
Editor’s Note
einheri: the einherjar are Óðinn's warrior champions who live with him in Valhǫll, duelling every day, feasting in friendship (Vafþ 41, Grím 18, 23; SnE 42–4). Loki mocks Þórr as one of this picked band, huddled in a ludicrous hiding-place. Nowhere else is the sg. of einherjar used. M. Olsen, 40–3, suggests that einheri could be meant also as a pun on -heri, 'hare': to have the heart of a hare—hera hjarta—is to be a coward (Fritzner s.v. heri). The image of a frightened lone hare would fit well with hnúkðir.
Critical Apparatus
60/6 þóttiska] þotis | ca, ca erased by a later hand R
Critical Apparatus
61/3–3 Þegi — fyrnema] abbreviated îegi þ. r. v: R
Editor’s Note
61/5 Hrungnis bana: Þórr reminds Loki of his triumphant duel with the giant Hrungnir, when the great hammer splinters the giant's whetstone in mid-air and then the giant's skull (Haustl 18; SnE 102–5).
Editor’s Note
62/1–6 Prancing with the pertness of a schoolboy under the great hammer, Loki defies it to kill him and continues to harp on Þórr's discomfiture at the hands of the giant Skrýmir. 'You may be able to smash a giant's skull, but you cannot undo his knots!'
Editor’s Note
skarpar, 'hard to get the better of' (Fritzner s.v. skarpr § 6).
Editor’s Note
svaltz: on the 2nd person sg. pret. ending see Noreen § 543. 2b.
Editor’s Note
63/6 fyr nágrindr neðan: cf. Skm 35/3.
Editor’s Note
64/6 ek veit at þú vegr: I suggest that this is a reference to Þórr's killing of the giant builder (Vsp 26/1–2) despite the oaths sworn by the gods. Loki has Óðinn's safe-conduct—lát úlfs fǫður / sitia sumbli at (10)—but what is it worth when Þórr is þrunginn móði? (see UD (c), 85–6).
Editor’s Note
Prose This epilogue seems to be a severely abbreviated version of SnE 69–70. There is no reference to the place where Loki was bound, so the discrepancy between the threatened hiǫrvi of Lks 49 and the eggsteinar of SnE is not noticed. Happily, Snorri's invention of Vali Lokason (see Vsp Introd iii. c. Problem III (iii) (a)) is not adopted. The writer is too cryptic when he does not explain the connection between Nari's entrails and Narfi's change into a wolf. The epilogue is nevertheless valuable to readers of the Codex, in that it explains allusions in the poem to Loki's fate.
On the discrepancy between the pursuit and binding of Loki after Baldr's death and after his cursing of the gods see commentary to 41/6; Söderberg (c), 83–94.
Critical Apparatus
Lokasenna is preserved only in R. In the MS. the title appears before stanza 1.
Prose line 7 Byggvir] beygvir; so also 45/1; by gvir preceding 43/1 (MS. p. 31 line 32) and 46/1; bygvis 56/2. In the MS. ey is not a variant for y elsewhere. Beyla has perhaps influenced this spelling.
Indication of speakers: as in Skírnismál, some speakers are signalled in the preceding prose: Loki (stanzas 1, 11, 54), Sif (53), Þórr (57). Byggvir (stanza 43) is signalled as speaker (Bygvir without following q.) within the stanza sequence itself. Otherwise the speakers are noted in the outer margins. Six initials, four of which are followed by q., survive for stanzas 2 – 8 (e. l.q. e.q l.q. l.q. bra). Twelve traces of q (with or without dot) survive for stanzas 12 – 20, 22 – 24. Forstanza 21 a sign .þ. (with a curl over the upper stroke of þ) is written in the margin (aligned vertically with the traces of q); presumably, from the context, signifying oþin ('men hvorledes tegnet kan få denne betydning, ser vi oss ikke i stand til at forklare', FJ Facs 127, line 20). Twelve initials (with or without dot) survive for stanzas 32 – 42, 44 (l n l n. l. t. l. t. l. fre l. l.). In the printed text the speakers are stated without palaeographic notation. For further discussion of the indication of speakers in the Eddic poems, see Gunnell (b),206–12.
The use of capitals: in the prose prologue, capitals mark the beginnings of sentences as printed here (except that Þar line 8, and Þá line 10 do not have capitals); in addition, the following have capitals: Bragi (line 4), Freyr (line 6), Víðarr (line 6), siálft (line 8). The following have marginal capitals: ok (in ok þiónustomenn line 6), Ægir (line 7), Loki (line 10). In the prose epilogue, initial capitals correspond to the beginnings of sentences as printed here, except that Þar (line 1) does not have a capital, and en (en meðan, line 5) does; the epilogue opens with a marginal capital. The beginnings of sentences, as printed here, in the prose passages interspersed in the poem, are marked in the MS. with capitals; Þá (before 53) has a marginal capital. In the poem, marginal capitals are used to introduce stanzas 11, 15, 29, 36, 43, 44, 50, 51, 57, 63, 65; other stanzas begin with the usual initial capital.
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