Snorri Sturluson's Poetic Edda

Genealogy Index | Orme in Icelandic Sagas

Snorri Sturluson's Edda is a useful analysis of the allegorical nature of Old Norse poetry. Unfortunately the poetry was passed on in the oral tradition and most of it was never written down, so it has been lost. The short extracts in Snorri's Edda are the only surviving records of Orm Steinthorsson's and Orm Barreyiarskald's poetry. Snorri died in 1241 so these Ormes are probably from the 12th century or earlier.

Orm Steinthorsson

"... As Orm Steinthorsson said:
Let the beer-plank's body and mine to one room be brought when dead; let men receive Dvalin's drink."
(A beer-plank is a woman, Dvalin's drink is the mead of poetry).

"... Orm Steinthorsson said this:
No need for men to nurse fear about my poetry. In Vidur's booty I use no spite. We know how to order praise works."
(Vidur is Odin, Odin's booty is poetry).

"... Orm Steinthorsson said this:
I shall devise joy for the blind man this Vindsval's son."
(Vindsval's son is winter).

"Fiord-bone was put into exceedingly pure clothes. Spear-Freyr threw new tailoring over mead-Hrist."
(Fiord-bone = precious stone, Spear-Freyr = warrior, mead-Hrist=woman).

"For I have fixed the likeness of the birch in the hand's hollow, clanging fire in the Billing's son's drink that I am performing."
(For I have fixed the likeness of the birch in the hand's hollow = I have made the palms of my hands rough from work. clanging-fire = gold, Billing's son = dwarf, Billing's son's drink = poem.

"... as Orm said:
The spirited Thrud who keeps the mash-tub cultivates every good quality, and the comber-flame Lofn, firm in friendship, rejects vice."
(Mash-tub = woman, comber-flame = gold).

Orm Barreyiarskald

Orm Barreyiarskald is Orm the Barra Poet (Barra is an island in the Shetlands, off the coast of Scotland).

"However mighty, goddess of Draupnirs band, I learn the lord is, he rules his realm. The ruler of the constellations path will welcome me."
goddess of Draupnirs band = lady, the contellations path = the heavens
so this probably means: However mighty, my lady, I learn the lord is, he rules only his own realm. The ruler of the heavens will welcome me.

"Out on the sand-bank of good vessels Ymir's blood roars."
Ymir's blood = the sea

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