Some remarks about the Vǫluspá

In my previous post I made a casual mention of Tolkien. Those of us familiar with Anglo-Saxon get a slight kick out of watching The Two Towers—when Bernard Hill and Ian McKellen do the funeral scene (the long cut, not the theatrical release), we can make sense of the dialogue without looking at the subtitles. “Wæs þu Þeodred hæl” etc.

Here then, for those unfamiliar with Icelandic but know the Hobbit well, are stanzas 10 to 13 of the Vǫluspá. The text I reproduce here is from my copy of Neckel’s 1936 Heidelberg edition of the Codex Regius MS. There are better editions but I like this one. That said, I have put in brackets some modern spellings where they might alter meanings but for our purpose here it doesn’t really matter.

10. Þar var Mótsognir    mætstr um orðinn
dverga allra,     en Durinn annarr;
þeir manlíkon [mannlíkun]    mǫrg um gørbo [gerðu]
dvergar ór iǫrðo [í jörðu],    sem Durinn sagði.

11. Nýi ok Niði,     Norðri ok Suðri,
Austri ok Vestri,    Alþiófr, Dvalinn,
Bifurr, Bǫfurr,    Bǫmburr, Nóri
Ánn ok Ánarr,    Ái [Óinn], Miǫðvitnir.

12. Veigr [Veggr] ok Gandálfr,    Vindálfr, Þorinn [Þráinn],
Þekkr [Þrár] ok  Þorinn [Þráinn],    Þror [Þekkr], Litr ok Vitr,
Nár [Nýr] ok Nýráðr —    nú hefi ek dverga
— Reginn ok Ráðsviðr —    rétt um talða.

13. Fíli, Kíli,    Fundinn, Náli,
Hepti, Víli,    Hanarr, Svíurr,
Frár, Hornbori,    Frægr ok Lóni,
Aurvangr, Iari,    Eikinskjaldi.

Doesn’t matter if you don’t understand it. It’s a list of names—of dwarves specifically (“dverga”). See anything familiar?

Durinn

Dvalinn (Dwalin)

Bifurr, Bǫfurr, Bǫmburr, (Bombur is the fat one)

Nóri, Óinn (in new editions)

Gandálfr (Aha! means, in my view “elf with staff of Power” from gandr (-s, -ar), m. magic staff; renna göndum, to ride a witch-ride.—this is from Zoega’s dictionary; but I have also seen “grey-elf” (Grándálfr) in some editions—maybe a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the editors.)

Þorinn (pronounced Thorin)

Þráinn (Thrain)

Fíli, Kíli,

Fundinn, (father of Balin, as I recall, the Lord of Moria)

and finally,

Eikinskjaldi. Oakenshield.

 

There you go.

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