GotPoetry.com > > Old Norse poetry
GotPoetry.com

Help
Toggle ContentToggle Content .:: Home :: Poems :: Workshop Forums :: Register :: Features ::.
Toggle Content MediaWiki Search
 

Toggle Content Menu

Toggle Content Paid Membership
Buy a paid membership and get more out of GotPoetry!

Advertise on the GotPoetry Advertising Network.

Old Norse poetry

Old Norse poetry

From Poetry Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search
Image:Öl1, karlevi.JPG
The Karlevi Runestone is a skaldic Old Norse poem in dróttkvætt, the "courtly metre", raised in memory of a Viking chieftain.

Old Norse poetry encompasses a range of verse forms written in Old Norse, during the period from the 8th century (see Eggjum stone) to as late as the far end of the 13th century. Most of the Old Norse poetry that survives was preserved in Iceland, but there are also 122 preserved poems in Swedish rune inscriptions, 54 in Norwegian and 12 in Danish[1].

Poetry played an important role in the social and religious world of the Vikings. In Norse mythology, Skáldskaparmál (1) tells the story of how Odin brought the mead of poetry to Asgard, which is an indicator of the significance of poetry within the contemporary Scandinavian culture.

Old Norse poetry is characterised by alliteration, a poetic vocabulary expanded by heiti, and use of kennings. An important source of information about poetic forms in Old Norse is the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson.

Old Norse poetry is conventionally, and somewhat arbitrarily, split into two types; Eddaic poetry (also sometimes known as Eddic poetry) and skaldic poetry. Eddaic poetry includes the poems of the Codex Regius and a few other similar ones. Skaldic poetry is usually defined as everything else not already mentioned.

Contents

Metrical Forms

Old Norse poetry has many metrical forms. They range from the relatively simple fornyrðislag to the deeply complex dróttkvætt, the "courtly metre".

In Eddic poetry, the metric structures are generally simple, and are almost invariably ljóðaháttr or fornyrðislag. Ljóðaháttr, (known also as the "metre of chants"), because of its structure, which comprises broken stanzas, lends itself to dialogue and discourse. Fornyrðislag, "the metre of ancient words", is the more commonly used of the two, and is generally used where the poem is largely narrative. It is composed with four or more syllables per line. Other metrical forms include

  • Málaháttr is similar to fornyrðislag, but with a fixed metrical length of five syllables.
  • Hrynhenda, a variant of dróttkvætt, which uses all the rules of dróttkvætt, with the exception that the line comprises four metrical feet rather than three.
  • Kviðuháttr, another variant of fornyrðislag with alternating lines of 3 and 4 syllables
  • Galdralag, the "magic spell metre", which contains a fourth line which echoes and varies the third line

Eddaic poetry

Main article: Poetic Edda

The Eddaic poems have the following characteristics.

  • The author is always anonymous.
  • The meter is simple, fornyrðislag, málaháttr or ljóðaháttr.
  • The word order is usually relatively straightforward.
  • Kennings are used sparingly and opaque ones are rare.

Skaldic poetry

Main article: Skaldic poetry

The Skaldic poems have the following characteristics.

  • The author is usually known.
  • The meter is ornate, usually dróttkvætt or a variation thereof.
  • The syntax is ornate, with sentences commonly interwoven.
  • Kennings are used frequently.

Skaldic poems

Most of the skaldic poetry we have are poems composed to individual kings by their court poets. They typically have historical content, relating battles and other deeds from the king's carrier.

A few surviving skaldic poems have mythological content.

  • Þórsdrápa - A drápa to the god Thor telling the tale of one of his giant-bashing expeditions.
  • Haustlöng - Relates two tales from the mythology as painted on a shield given to the poet.
  • Ragnarsdrápa - Relates four tales from the mythology as painted on a shield given to the poet.
  • Húsdrápa - Describes mythological scenes as carved on kitchen panels.

To this could be added two poems relating the death of a king and his reception in Valhalla.

See also

References

  • Carmina Scaldica udvalg af norske og islandske skjaldekvad ved Finnur Jónsson, 1929
es:Poesía en nórdico antiguo
Toggle Content Paid Sponsor




GotPoetry - News for poets. Place to write.

GotPoetry is the most popular network of performance poets and poetry readings on the internet today.

Editors: John, Mamta and a cast of tens of others.
Publisher: John Powers

Content © 1998-2008
GotPoetry LLC. All rights reserved

Engine released under GNU GPL, Code Credits, Privacy Policy, Legal Notices

Search:
 
GotPoetry.com Web

Forums Search
Gallery Search
Advanced Search


Link to Full Archives
Link to all News Topics


Link for all submission options for this site.

Subscribe - Use an RSS reader to stay up to date with the latest news and posts from GotPoetry.

GotPoetry News RSS Feed

Subscribe with Yahoo!
Subscribe with Google

Other GotPoetry RSS Syndication -  You can syndicate other parts of our site using the following files:

Yesterday's Top News
Yesterday's Top Poems
Forums
New Photos
Blogs
Downloads
Featured Articles