Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stamhendr (Updated 5/17/2011)

[Another older posting originally on Academia.edu]

This is Stamhendr - a form of drottkvaett using a repeating syllable rhyme (stammering rhyme) in the odd numbered lines.  The stammering syllables are in the fourth and fifth positions.  You Can Here the Poem: A Murder here

vaktaði teig teig-ýrk
tyrrin inn myrðir
drykkja af ýr ýring
yrmlingr djupa hyrna.
bregða inn-kvel- kveljar
kveða víð vönd sveinn-plóg;
drykkju at ragn-steyp steypa
steina bloði dauð-drukk

watching drink deep the fieldworker
peevish the murderer;
drank from drizzle mead
the little snake deep horn
drew the torment killer
greets with wand boy of the plough
drunkard in rain pouring fell down
stained-bloody dead-drunk

Prose translation:

The peevish murderer watched the field-worker take a long drink from his wine bag,  In the drizzling rain, the little worm drank deep from the mead-horn.  The killer drew his torment-wand <SWORD> and greeted the plough-boy. Bewildered, the drunkard fell dead-drunk blood-stained in the pouring rain.


Concerning stamhendr, Snorri says: “Here in the first and third lines one syllable is repeated and this forms the rhyme, and thus we call this stamhent (stammer-rhymed) because the rhyme produced is like stutterting and the rhymes are positioned in the line like ridhendur (rocking rhymes). (Edda Faulkes 193-194).  An example from the Hattatal:

Vol. 3. Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal, 45 — SnSt Ht 45III

Lætr undin brot brotna
bragningr fyr sér hringa,
sá tekr fyr men menja
mætt orð of sik fættir;
armr kná við blik blikna
brimlands viðum randa,
þars hǫnd, at lið liðnar,
lýslóðar berr glóðir.

lets bestow broken piece be broken
hero before himself rings
he receives before necklace necklaces
meet/proper words because himself ?
arm does with gleam gleaming
surfland tree of shields
where hand, in/at  army armed
fish bed bare embers

The chieftain makes twisted ring fragments fragment before him <DISTRIBUTES GOLD>.  Because of the necklace this necklace diminisher receives fitting renown about himself.  The shield-tree’s limb does gleam with the gleam of the surf-land <GOLD> where the hand wears fish-bed-embers <GOLD> with which the arm is armed.
[This is part of a series (like a sampler that embroiderers do) I'm working on to give examples of the various types of dróttkvætt that Snorri lists in the Hattatal.  As always, comments are appreciated!]

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