Skírnismál

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Skírnismál (Sayings of Skírnir) is one of the poems of the Poetic Edda. It is preserved in the 13th century manuscripts Codex Regius and AM 748 I 4to but may have been originally composed in heathen times. Many scholars believe that the poem was acted out, perhaps in a sort of hiéros gamos.

Contents

Synopsis

The prose prologue to the poem says that the god Freyr, the son of Njörðr, sits in Odin's throne, Hliðskjálf and looked over all the worlds. On looking to Jötunheimr, the land of the giants, Freyr sees a beautiful girl and is immediately seized by love. Fearing that the object of his heart's desire is unattainable, gloom settles upon him.

The poem itself starts with the wife of Njörðr, bidding Skírnir to ask of Freyr why he is so sad. Skírnir, fearing his master's wrath, nevertheless does as he is bidden. Freyr's response is sullen, yet he pours his heart out. Skírnir agrees to undertake a journey to woo Gerðr, and Freyr furnishes him with his magical steed and sword.

Skírnir duly fetches up in Jötunheimr, at the hall of the giant Gymir. Gerðr, the daughter of Gymir bids him enter the hall; without further ado, Skírnir tries to woo Gerðr on Freyr's behalf, offering first gifts then threats. Eventually, Gerðr succumbs. Skírnir reports to Freyr, who asks him:

Skírnir replies:

Freyr responds:

Later, Skírnir speaks to Gerd:

Sources and external links

Translations

Editions

Scholarship

  • Skírnismál as Ritual Drama Article by Rick McGregor
  • The Elder Edda and Ancient Scandinavian Drama Book by Bertha S. Phillpotts
  • [1] Heinz Klingenberg, "För Skírnis: Brautwerbungsfahrt eines Werbungshelfers," Alvíssmál 6 (1996): 21–62 (see English summary, pp. 59–62).
  • [2] Anatoly Liberman, Review of Klaus von See et al., "Skírnismál": Modell eines Edda-Kommentars, Alvíssmál 6 (1996): 114–18.
  • [3] Anne Heinrichs, "Der liebeskranke Freyr, euhemeristisch entmythisiert," Alvíssmál 7 (1997): 3–36 (see English summary, p. 36).

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