(EDITED TO STORYFORM)
1. Loki, the father of the Midgard Serpent, urged Thor, the destined destroyer of the godlike giants who that dwelled above the shear-cliff faces, to leave home. Loki (also called Lopt) was a mighty liar and declared that green paths led towards Geirröðr's mountainous abode.
2. The brave Thor did not need to be asked very much to make this journey by Loki, the one known to fly about like a vulture. They were eager to oppress descendants of giant kin. When Thor, the tamer of midgard-serpent the white-sea's girdle; mightier than those in giant dwellings, again set forth from Odin’s home to the giant kin of Yimir'.
3. Thjalfi commander of the battle was quick to join Thor, the swift mover of armies, on his expedition, but Loki the perjurious burden of the arms of the hapt of sorcery was not. I recite these words like the poetry of Odin's lips. Thor the giantess-maiden betrayer of the mountain folk, stretched out the soles of his feet onto the moor's of the ocean.
4. These battle-wariors walked, until Thor, the destroyer of the wolf-maiden enemies of the sun, reached the ocean, formed from the blood of the giant Yimir. When Thor, the agile, quick-tempered, averter of Loki's mischief, wished to oppose the bride of the wolf-kin giantess.
5. Thor, the rock of the sea and honour-decreaser of giantesses, crossed on foot the icy, swollen streams, which tumble around the earth. Thor, the furious scatterer of the villain standing astride the rocks, made fast progress over the broad wading-place of the ocean, where mighty streams were icy-cold.
6. The warriors pushed their serpent-like spears into the ocean to fight against the oceans current. The slippery, bonny [pebbles] did not sleep and the clanging iron spears trembled against the stones, while the mountainous cascade of water gushed forth, beating with an ice-storm, then Fenja like an anvil-like rock.
7. Thor resisted, letting the mightily-swollen waves fall over him. Thalfi knew no better course of action and held the girdle of Thor. Thor, the diminisher of giantess' children, threatened that his might would grow unto the roof of heaven, unless the ocean-blood of the sea would diminish.
8. The glorious, battle-wise warriors, oath-sworn sailors of heavens dwelling, waded hard, while the icy-cold [ocean] cut into them like swords. The ocean wave like a freezing snow-dune, blown by a tempest, rushed forcefully at Thor, the bringer of distress for the mountain ridge dwelling giants.
9. until Thjalfi, accompanying Thor, the friend of men, flew into the air of his own accord onto to grab the sheild-strap of Thor, the sky-lord - that was a great feat of strength! The waves, widows of the giants of mischief , caused a violent stream, cold as steel spears. Thor, the feller of Grid carried Thjalfi the warrior across the turbulent ocean waves.
10. The aggressive hearts of these men, who firmly oppose disgrace, did not miss a beat at the surge of the ocean current. Thor, the brave son of the isthmus?? was not threatened by the terror of the ocean like it terrorises ships. Thor's valorous heart did not tremble from fear, and neither did Thjalfi's.
11. A flock of [giants], kin of the wolf-foes who chase the sun, loudly clashed swords on the shields of these Aesir-kin who were they knew were responsible for the chaining of Fenrir with the rope Gleipnir. Before Thor and Thjalfi, the crossers of the deep and destroyers of this sea-shore nation of giants, were able to conduct the battle against the inhabitants of cave of Geirrod.
12. The giants, a skerry-nation of the cold waves, fled and hurried into their refuge, accompanied Thor, the crusher of these beach-kin. The giants, Danes of the skerry and the outlying sanctuary, admitted defeat when Thor and Thjalfi, the bow-warrior kinsmen, stood resolutely.
13. When the warriors, endowed with minds of valour, entered the giant-cave, there was a great din among these welsh-enemies, the giants of the circular walled cave. Thor, the peace-reluctant slayer of these mountain-dwellers who dwell in this welsh-province and in this cliff-cave, were put in a trap and on the dire, grim chair of the giantess'.
14. Thor's was forced head-first against the rafters of the cave, but the giantesses were crushed against the rocks of the cave floors. Thor, the rider of the thunder-storm chariot, broke the backbones of both of these giantess cave-maidens.
15. Thor, earth's son, taught them an uncommon lesson, but the [giants] of the stony-mountains did not cease their merry ale-feast. Geirrod, frightener of warriors, and giant kinsman of Sudri with tongs thrust an iron-morsel, cooked in the forge at the mouth of Thor, Odin's helper.
53. Thor, the oppressor of the troll womens giant-kin, opened wide his hands at the heavy, red hot iron that flew from the tongs' of the giant,
16. and thus Thor, the swift hastener of battle and old friend of Throng, caught the molten lump in the air with his hands; the hissing cinder took flight from his the furious palms of Geirrod the ardent lover of Hrimnir's maiden, and it went straight towards Thor, who strongly misses his daughter Thrud.
17. The wall of the cave shook; the giant-king Geirrod's broad head was brought underneath the pillar of the cave wall. Thor, the splendid step-father of Ull, thrust the harmful bolt of iron with great force down through the middle of the evil giants girdle, like one might cast the tooth of a fishing-line!
18. Thor, the furious one, slaughtered the giant descendants of Glaum with his bloody hammer. Thor, slayer of the frequent visitors of the halls of giant-maidens, was victorious. Thjalfi's lack of help did not hamper Thor; indeed Thor was the bow-warrior god and also the chariot rider who always inflicted grief upon giant kin.
19. Thor, the worshipped Hel-striker, along with Thjalfi the Elf, slew the giants who hide from the glare of both good and elven-light - Thor, with the his hammer ‘easy-crusher’. This province of Norway's enemies the mountain-cave giants were unable to harm the slayers of the men of giant-land.
ÞÓRSDRÁPA - THE COMMENTRY VERSION
Eilífr Goðrúnarson (ca. 1000)
The Þórsdrápa is one of the most intricate of all skaldic lays, and it will be long before agreement is reached on details of its interpretation. The poet begins by describing how Thór's faithless friend, Loki, had urged the, thunder-god to visit the house of the giant Geirrod telling him that green paths lay all the way. Thór set off for the giant world, evidently accompanied by the runner, Thjalfi. The journey was beset with danger. A raging torrent had to be crossed; it was not a natural torrent, but one swollen with the urine or menstrual blood of giantesses. The waters reached to Thór's shoulders (str. 8), and Thjalfi would have succumbed, had he not clung to his master's belt or shield-strap (str. 9). The god and his companions were driven by the stream, perhaps to a rowan-tree, which saved them. After they arrived at the house of the giant, some slightly obscure incidents followed. Thór, it seems, broke the backs of the giants two daughters, and the Geirrod hurled a pole of red-hot iron at the god's mouth (str. 15). When Thór caught the glowing iron in mid-air, the giant took refuge behind a pillar, but Thór crashed his hammer upon him (str. 19). Meanwhile, Thjalfi helped his master, and fell upon the giant, evidently in the form of a falcon (strs. 19, 20).
Concerning this lay, Snorri adds an introduction, explaining how it was that Loki undertook to get Thór into the house of the giant. This introduction is humorous in tone, and we may suspect that it was devised by mythologists of the twelfth century to answer the question left obscure in older sources, namely, why Thór had been persuaded to undertake the perilous journey.
According to Snorri, who, we assume must have read Þórsdrápa, Thór set off without his belt of strength and without his hammer. This seems to contradict Þórsdrápa (str. 19) where, according to the most natural interpretation, the god was equipped with Mjolnir, the symbol of his power.
Another difference between Snorri's story and that of the Þórsdrápa is that Snorri makes Loki the companion of Thór, and says nothing of Thjalfi. On his way to the house of the giant, Thór came to a giantess, Gríð, one of Óðin's mistresses the mother of Víðar. She warned Thór of the giant's unfathomable cunning, and lent him a girdle of strength, a pair of iron gloves and a staff. The god reached a torrent, and pressed upstream, while the river was made to swell up to his shoulders by one of the daughters of Geirrod, who was straddling it. Thór hurled a rock at the giantess and struggled to shore grasping a rowan tree for support and it afterwards it became a proverb: 'the rowan is the salvation of Thór'.
When Thór and his companion came to the house of the giant, they were conducted to a goat shed. The god sat on a chair, and it began to rise to the rafters; he struck the rafters with the stick lent him by Gríð and the chair sank rapidly. Beneath it were the two daughters of Geirrod, whose backs were broken.
After this, the giant summoned Thór to his hall to join him in [sports?]. The giant seized some glowing iron and hurled it at Thór with his tongs, but the god caught it in his iron gloves. The giant took refuge behind a pillar, but Thór threw the glowing iron through the pillar, the giant, the wall of the house, and out into the earth.
Of this account Saxo also briefly comments. He tells how Geirrod was now an old giant whose body had been pierced with red-hot irons. With him lived three diseased women (his daughters) with broken backbones. Saxo then points out that it was Thór who, provoked by the giants' insolence, had driven red-hot irons through the vitals of Geirrod (Geruthus), and the backs of his women had been smashed by thunderbolts.
1. The father of the sea-thread [Loki] set about urging the feller(a) of the life-net of the gods of the flight-ledges(b) [Thor] to leave home(c). Lopt was a mighty liar. The deceitful mind-tester of the war-thunder's Gaut [Loki] declared that green paths led towards Geirröðr's wall-horse [house].
(a) The word feller here refers to one who knocks down or topples another and not in respect to a male human.
(b) The term flight-ledges perhaps may be better expressed as shear-cliff as the context, to me, forces this meaning.
(c) notice that it doen't say Loki went, only that Loki convinced Thor to go.
Interpretation: The father of the Midgard Serpent, Loki, urged Thor (the destined destroyer of the godlike giants who that dwelled above the shear-cliff faces) to leave home. Loki [Lopt] was a mighty liar and declared that green paths led towards Geirröðr's mountanous abode.
2. The mind-tough Thor did not need to be asked often by the vulture-path(a) [Loki] to make the journey. They were eager to oppress Thorn's(b) descendants [giants], when the tamer of Gandvik's(c) girdle [Thor], mightier than the Scots of Idi's dwelling [giants], again set forth from Thridi's(d) [Odin's] towards Ymsi's kindred [giants].
(a) Lopt means literally 'sky-traveller' so vulture-path in this context means Loki; Loki was famous for flying about in the form of an bird.
(b) Thorn probably means giants.
(c) Gjarð-venjuður is not well understood. The norse venjuður probably means "tamer" and Gjarð may refer to Gjörð "girdle". If the word Gand "magic" is involved (as in gand-alf or magic-elf) it may refer to a magical belt. However, if we modify the text to the kenning to Gand-víkur gjörð we get "magic-bays-girdle" this could be kenning for ocean-girdle. The oceans girdle is obviously the midgard serpent. The closest alternative is to replace this text with megingjarðir refering to thors magical belt, but it seem to have little to do with the original word.
(d) Thridi means "third" a by name of Odins found in Gylfaginning.Ymsi is a variant of Ymir
Interpretation: The brave Thor did not need to be asked very much to make this journey by Loki; Loki was known to fly about like a vulture. They were eager to oppress descendants of giant kin. When Thor, the tamer of the white-sea's girdle, the midgard-serpent; mightier than [those in giant] dwellings, again set forth from Odins home to [the giant] Yimir's kin.
3. Rögnir(a) of the battle [Thjalfi] was quicker to join the swift mover of armies [Thor] on the expedition than the perjurious burden of the arms of the hapt of sorcery [Loki]. I recite Grimnir's lip-streams(b). The maiden-betrayer of the halls of the shrill-crier(c) [Thor] stretched the palms of his soles onto Endil's moor(d) [ocean].
(a) Rögnir possibly refers to means ruler.
(b) Grimnir's lip-streams. Grimnir means poetry and is a by name for Odin.
(c) shrill-crier is kenning for eagle. The halls of the eagles are the mountains.
(d) Endil's moor. Endil's name occurs in various ocean-related kennings, ie. "Endil's horse" (ship), "Endil's earth" (ocean).
Interpretation: Commander of the battle [Thjalfi] was quicker to join [Thor] the swift mover of armies on his expedition than the perjurious burden of the arms of the hapt of sorcery [Loki]. I recite these words like the poetry of Odin's lips. [Thor] the giantess-maiden-betrayer of the mountains, stretched out the soles of his feet onto the moor's of the [ocean].
4. The battle-Vanir [warriors](a) walked, until the prime diminisher of the maidens of the enemy of the Frid(b) of heaven-shield(c) [Thor] reached Gang's blood(d) [ocean], when the agile, quick-tempered averter of Loki's mischief [Thor] wished to oppose the bride of the sedge-buck's(e) kinsmen [giantess].
(a) Vanir=gods. Battle gods is kenning for warriors.
(b) Frid. Fríður himintörgu, the beautiful goddess of Svalinn (the sun-shield) is Sól, the sun-goddess. Her enemy is the wolf, which according to the mythology constantly chases her across the heavens, and finally devours her during Ragnarök. The fljóð "maidens" of the wolf are giantesses (compare Völuspa 40).
(c) kenning for the sun, a round shield in the heavens.
(d) Gangur "slower". Gang is accociated with death, Loki's evil kin Hella had a manservant called Gang-lati and her maidservant called Gang-löt. This is also the giant brother of Thjazi. The sea came from the giant Yimir's blood so giant is a good translation.
(e) Sefgrímnir seems to mean "sedge-buck", and is almost certainly a kenning for "wolf". Kiil suggests that this may be the result of a folk-etymology of Fenrisúlfur, *fen-hrís-úlfur, i.e. "the wolf of the fen-shrub". The wolf's kinsmen (mágar) are, of course, giants.
Interpretation: The battle-wariors walked, until [Thor] the main destroyer of the maiden enemies of the sun, reached the [ocean] that was formed from the blood of the giant Yimir. When [Thor] the agile, quick-tempered averter of Loki's mischief, wished to oppose the bride of the wolf-kin giantess.
5. The honour-decreaser of the Nanna(a) of the pommel(b) of the sea(c) [Thor] crossed on foot the icy, swollen streams, which tumble around the lynx's ocean(b) [earth]. The furious scatterer of the scree-villain [Thor] made fast progress over the broad way of the stick-path(e) [ocean], where mighty streams spewed poison.
(b) "pommel of the waves" is a kenning for "stone, rock".
(c) ver gaupu seems only to mean "sea-lynx" perhaps sea-cat? The sea could be called "the earth of fish", and similarly the earth could be called "the sea of any land-animal"
(d) "he who puts the scree-villain to flight". Scree is a slippery rocky area. The villain here must mean the giantess.
(e) stikleið "stick-path" is kenning for "waiding-place". The word stik (n. pl.) is a term for wooden poles or posts, driven into the ground, in order to show the way. This was commonly done in order to show a traveller the best way to cross a difficult river. The stik would also allow him to rest on his arduous journey across the river.
(f) Eitr (venom) is sometimes used to mean "deadly cold"; thus, here we have an extremely good example of the poet's art: the icy Arctic Ocean.
Interpretation: [Thor] the rock of the sea and honour-decreaser of giantesses, crossed on foot the icy, swollen streams, which tumble around the earth. [Thor] the furious scatterer of the villain standing astride the rocks, made fast progress over the broad wading-place of the ocean, where mighty streams were icy-cold.
6. They pushed shooting-serpents(a) [spears] into the net-forest [ocean] against the loud-sounding wind of the (net-)forest(b) [ocean-current]. The slippery, round bones(c) [pebbles] did not sleep. The banging files(d) [spears] jangled against the pebbles, while the mountains' falling-roar rushed(e), beaten by an ice-storm, along Fedja's anvil.
(a) obiously a kenning for "spear".
(b) Net foerrest or "land of the fish-trap". A fish trap is a fishing net, so the land where the fishing net is used is the sea. The wind of the sea (fish-net-land) is the current.
(c) In kennings, stones could be called "bones of the earth", i.e. völur markar. Yimir's bones are said to make the mountains and the rocks and pebbles from his teeth and jaws (Grimnismal 40).
(d) Literally "clanging file", i.e. "clanging iron" = spear.
(e) Literally "falling-noise of the mountains", i.e. a waterfall, cascade.
(f) The "anvil of Feðja" is usually interpreted as "stone, rock". Fedja is a giantess. An alternative is that Fedja is the rivers name in this case "the river carried rocks in its flood". It may also refer to the ocean mill referred to in the Gróttasöngur driven by giantess' one of which is know as Fenja.
Interpretation: They pushed their serpent-like spears into the ocean to fight against the oceans current. The slippery, bonny [pebbles] did not sleep. The clanging iron
[spears] trembled against the stones, while the mountainous cascade of water gushed forth, beaten by an ice-storm, the anvil-like rock of the giantess Fenja.
7. The promoter of the whetstone-land(a) [warrior] let the mightily-swollen ones [waves] fall over him. The man, who benefited from the girdle of might(b) [Thalfi], knew no better course of action. The diminisher of Morn's children(c) [Thor] threatened that his power would grow unto the hall's roof(d) [heaven], unless the gushing-blood of Þorn's(e) neck [ocean] would diminish.
(a) herðir hall-lands. herðir literally means: "he who hardens, increases, promotes, impels"; and hall-land means "stone-land". stone" here means a whetstone, and that its "land", i.e. that on which the whetstone travels, is a sword (or any weapon with an edge or a point). The sword-promoter, i.e. the war-leader, is Thor.
(b) Obviously Thalfi benefited. In str 9, it seems that Thjálfi hung on to Thor's shield-strap, and this may, indeed, be the meaning of njarðgjörð here.
(c) Morn means "giantess". Mörn may also originally have been a name of Skaði, the daughter of Thjazi.
(d) salþaks. Literally: "the roof of the earth", i.e. heaven. The earth could be called salur "hall", cp. Völuspá 4:6 á salar steina.
(e) Þorn (Thorn) is the giant Ymir. Cp. Þorns niðjum (see str. 2).
Interpretation: The warrior resisted, letting the mightily-swollen waves fall over him. [Thalfi] knew no better course of action and held the girdle of [Thor]. [Thor] the diminisher of giantess' children, threatened that his might would grow unto the roof of [heaven], unless the gushing-blood of the [ocean] would diminish.
8. The glorious, battle-wise warriors, oath-sworn vikings(a) of Gaut's dwelling(b), waded hard, while the sword-fen(c) [ocean] flowed. The wave of the earth's snow-dune(d) [ocean], blown by the tempest, rushed forcefully at the the increaser of the distress of the room-dwellers of the land of the ridge(e) [Thor],
(b) Gauta seturs. Literally "gods seats" ie. Asgard.
(c) sverð-fen. Literally. "sword-river. May be a referance to the stabbing icy-cold of the river.
(d) usually taken to mean "mountain-river", refers to a freezing cold mountianous wave or "dune".
(e) He who inflicts distress upon the dwellers in the "ridges" or "mountain lands" ie. giants. Thor fills this description.
Interpretation: The glorious, battle-wise warriors, oath-sworn vikings(a) of heavens dwelling(b), waded hard, while the icy-cold [ocean] cut into them. The ocean wave like a freezing snow-dune, blown by a tempest, rushed forcefully at [Thor] who was the the bringer of distress for the mountaing ridge dwelling giants.
9. until Thjalfi, accompanying the friend of men [Thor], flew into the air of his own accord onto the sky-lord's(a) shield-strap - that was great feat of strength! The widows of the Mimir of mischief(b) [waves] caused a violent stream, strident with steel(c). Grid's feller(d) [Thor] carried the battle-tree(e) [Thjalfi] across the bumpy land of the porpoise(f) [ocean].
(a) Himinsjóli "lord of heaven" is obviously Thor, the god of thunder and lightning.
(b) Hrekk-mímis ekkjur. Literally: "mischeif-mimir women". Mimir seems to refer to a giant so could read: "mischefious giant women". It is likely, though, that these widow giants refer to the waves of the sea who were the giant children of Ægir.
(c) again sword or "spear-cutting" cold.
(d) steypir Gríðar. Literally: "the feller of Gríðar". Must refer to Thor. Perhaps mythic kernel existed in which Thor slayed Gríðr. Gríðr was also the mother of Odin's son, Víðarr. There may be a connection here.
(e) "battle-tree", kenning for "warrior".
(f) porpoise ie. sea-mamal or kind of whale. Hence, the bumpy land of the sea-whale. This is the ocean; the bumps could refer to the waves.
Interpretation: until Thjalfi, accompanying [Thor] the friend of men, flew into the air of his own accord onto [Thor] the sky-lord's shield-strap - that was great feat of strength! The widows of the giant of mischief [the waves?] caused a violent stream, cold as steel spears. [Thor] Grid's feller carried [Thjalfi] the warrior across the tutbulent waves of the [ocean].
10. The deep-acorns of hostility(a) [hearts] of the men, who firmly oppose disgrace, did not miss a beat at the surge of the current of Glammi's haunt(b) [ocean]. The brave son of the isthmus(c) [Thor] was not threatened by the [ocean] terror fiord-trees [ocean]. Thor's valour-stone [heart] did not tremble from fear, and neither did Thjalfi's.
(a) common kenning for "hearts".
(b) Glammi is the name of a "sea-king", and his stöð is the ocean. Hence, the current of the sea.
(d) The threat/terror of ships = the ocean. Meiðr fjarðar "fjord-tree" is an acceptable kenning for "ship", cp. sæmeiðr "sea-tree". "Terror of the fjord-tree" would be an apt kenning for the (Northern) Ocean.
Interpretation: The aggresive hearts of these men, who firmly oppose disgrace, did not miss a beat at the surge of the current of the [ocean]. [Thor] The brave son of the isthmus?? was not threatened by the terror of the [ocean] like it terrorizes ships. Thor's valourous [heart] did not tremble from fear, and neither did Thjalfi's.
11. A flock of the cliff-foes of the shield of the ever-burning fire(a) [giants] made a din of the sword's board(b) [battle] against the tighteners of Gleipnir(c) [the Aesir], before the crossers of the deep, the destroyers of the nation of the sea-shore(d) [Thor & Thjalfi], were able to conduct the bowl-play of the hair-parting of Hedinn(e) [battle] against the kin-Briton(f) of the cave [Geirrod].
(a) cliff-foes or wolf-foes. Sheild of the sky is the sun also called an ever-burning fire. The wolf-foe chases the sun (see str. 4 note b). This may be a kenning for giants.
(b) "sword's board", Sverðs borð is a kenning for "shield".
(c) "tighteners of Gleipnir". Gleipner was tightened by the Aesir (gods) to chain Fenrir on the isle of Lygnvi.
(d) "nation of the sea shaw" ie. the nation of giants they found on the shore. Perhaps giants were associated with the underworld beach known as Nástrandir "Dead Man's Shore".
(e) Heðinn is the name of a famous legendary king, whose wife's name was Hildur ("battle"). The couple's names are frequent in war-kennings, hers as a heiti for "battle". The terms "bowl-play" and hair-parting probably refer to the helmets of warriors.
(f) inhabitants of the cave??
Interpretation: A flock of [giants], kin of the wolf-foes who chase the sun, loudly clashed swords on the sheilds of the Aesir who were responsible for the chaining of Fenrir with the rope Gleipnir. Before [Thor & Thjalfi] the crossers of the deep and destroyers of this sea-shore nation [of giants] were able to conduct the [battle] against the inhabitants of cave of [Geirrod].
12. The skerry-nation of the cold wave of the foe-Sweden(a) [giants] fled, and hurried into their sanctuary, accompanied by the crusher of the ness-people(b) [Thor]. The Danes of the flood-rib of the outlying sanctuary(c) [giants] admitted defeat, when the kinsmen of Jolnir's fire-shaker(d) [warriors] stood resolutely.
(a) The enemy-Sweden is, of course, the land of giants Jötunheimr
(b) Nes means "ness, promontory, headland" and is strictly a sea-side term.
(c) The "rib of the high tide" is likely a term for the skerry (cp. fles in the former half-stanza). Útvé "outlying sanctuary (home)" is a term for the distant land of the giants, beyond the Northern Ocean (cp. Útgarða-Loki). The imagery is definitely that of a distant sea-shore, and should be compared with similar imagery in 12:1-4.
(d) Funi Jólnis "Odin's flame" is a kenning for "sword"; the term ættir "kinsmen" of the warrior are simply "warriors".
Interpretation: The [giants] a skerry-nation of the cold waves fled, and hurried into their sanctuary, accompanied [Thor] the crusher of the beach-people [Thor]. The [giants] Danes of the skerry and the outlying sanctuary admitted defeat, when the [warrior] kinsmen stood resolutely.
13. When the warriors, endowed with minds of valour, entered the thorn-house(a) [cave], there was a great din among the Cymry(b) of the cave of the circular wall [giants]. The peace-reluctant slayer of the reindeer(c) of the Lister(d) of the peak(e) [Thor] was put in a fix(f) there, on the dire, grim hat of the giantess(g) [chair].
(a) Thorn (Þorn) is equivalent to þurs "giant" (see str. 7)
(c) The hreinar "reindeer" of the mountain are giants, or more properly "wolves", i.e. wolf-giants (cp. harðbarða lið-Hatar in half-stanza 11:1-4).
(d) Listi is a district is southern Norway.
(e) Gnípa means "mountain-peak", and thus Listi gnípu is "district of the peak", i.e. mountain.
(f) Fix, here refers to predicament or difficult situation and not the sense of repairing.
(g) This strange expression can only refer to the chair, which Thor was made to sit in, according to Snorri's account. Geirröðr's daughters were lurking beneath the chair, and as soon as Thor took a seat, they lifted the chair in an attempt to crush him against the ceiling of the cave.
Interpretation: When the warriors, endowed with minds of valour, entered the giant-cave, there was a great din among the welsh-enemies the giaints of the circular walled cave. [Thor] the peace-reluctant slayer of these mountain-dwellers, who dwell in the welsh-province in this cliff-cave, was put in a trap here, on the dire, grim chair of the giantess'.
14. They forced the high heaven of the flame of the brow-moon(a) [Thor's head] against the rafters of the (rock-)hall [cave], and were crushed against the rocks of the plain (of the rock-hall)(b) [floor]. The hull-controller of the hovering chariot(c) of the thunder-storm [Thor] broke the ancient keel of the laughter-ship [backbone] of both cave-maidens [giantesses].
(a) Thor's head. Brátungl "eyebrow-moon" is a kenning for "eye". The logi "flame" of the eye is the "flash, gleam of the eye". The himinn "sky" of the "brow-moon's flame" is the head, or perhaps, more properly, the top of the head, i.e. the skull. It is possible that here the "flame of the eye" has a special reference to Thor's red eyes, cp. Þrymskviða 27:5:8
(b) völlr (hall)salar = plain of the (stone)hall = (cave)floor
(c) the rider of the storm chariot ie. Thor.
(d) kjöl hlátr-elliða ] Elliði is the name of a ship. Hlátr-elliði "laughter-ship" is a kenning for breast. Kjölr "keel" of the breast is a kenning for backbone.
Interpretation: They forced Thor's head against the rafters of the cave, but were crushed against the rocks of the cave floors. [Thor] the rider of the thunder-storm charoit, broke the backbones of both [giantess'] cave-maidens.
15. Earth's son [Thor] taught an unusual lesson [or: seldom spoke], but the men of the lair of the land of the earth-apple(a) [giants] did not cease their ale-feast. The frightener of the elm-cord(b) [warrior], Sudri's kinsman(c) [giant: Geirrod], with tongs thrust a morsel, cooked in the forge [a glowing piece of iron], at the mouth of Odin's grief-thief(d) [Thor].
(a) Jarðepli "earth-apple" is a stone. mærr means "flat, marshy land". The stone-land is a kenning for mountain. The leg, i.e. lair, of the mountain is the cave, and the men of the cave are the giants.
(b) Litterally: "the frightener of the warrior". Álmtaug "elm-cord" is a poetic name for the bowstring. Bows were commonly made of elm-wood, and álmr "elm" is a common heiti for bow.
(c) Suðri "Southern one" is the name of a dwarf, one of four, who were supposed to support the heavens. The role of Suðri and his three brothers suggests these creatures were of gigantic stature and so could be called kindred of giants..
(d) The thief of Odin's grief is one who takes his grief away, his comforter, helper, i.e. his son, Thor.
Interpretetion: [Thor] earth's son taught them a uncommon, but the [giants] of the stony-mountains did not cease their ale-feast. The [giant] frightener of warriors, and kinsman of Sudri's [ie. Geirrod], with tongs thrust a morsel, cooked in the forge [a glowing piece of iron], at the mouth of [Thor] Odin's helper.
53(a). The oppressor of the kinfolk of evening-running women(b) [Thor] opend wide the mouth of his arm [hand] at the heavy, red morsel of the tongs' seaweed(c) [the glowing piece of iron],
(a) This half-stanza is found in Chapter 11 of Skáldskaparmál (verse #53), and attributed to Eilífr. It can hardly be doubted that it belongs here. It is magnificently resounding, with the in-rhymes carried over two lines (þröng-þung-þang-tang, runn-kvinn-kunn-munn), and extremely rich in N-sounds.
(b) kveldriða "evening-rider", i.e. troll-wife, witch, and the similar myrkriða "darkness-rider". These unpleasant ladies were seen as riding on wolves after dark.
(c) The molten iron is pictured as red seaweed dangling from the tongs.
Interpretation: [Thor] the oppressor of the troll womens giant-kin, opend wide his hands at the heavy, red hot morsel [that flew] from the tongs' (the glowing piece of iron),
16. and thus the swift hastener of battle(a), [Thor] Þrong's old friend, greedily drank the raised drink of the molten lump in the air with the swift mouths of his hands [caught it in his grasp], when the hissing cinder took flight from the hostile breast of the grip [palm] of the ardent lover of Hrimnir's maiden(c) [giant] towards the one who strongly misses Thrud(d) [Thor].
(a) Thor, this kenning is similar to sviptir sagna "swift mover of armies" (3:1-4).
(b) The commentators seem to agree that Þröng is a name for Freyja, but even if this is true, is there any hard evidence that Thor was "Freyja's friend"?
(c) Hrímnir is a giant, his maiden (drós) a giantess. The lover of the giantess is, again, a giant, here Geirröðr.
(d) Thrud (Þrúðr) is Thor's daughter. This kenning is usually taken to refer to a lost myth, in which Thor's daughter was abducted by the giant Hrungnir (cp. the kenning Þrúðar þjófr for Hrungnir). Such an interpretation seems dubious. Thor might simply long for, or miss, his daughter, like any parent on a long journey away from his children.
Interpretation: and thus [Thor] the swift hastener of battle and old friend of Throng, caught the molten lump in the air with his hands; the hissing cinder took flight from his the furious palm of [Geirrod] the ardent lover of Hrimnir's maiden, [and went] towards [Thor] who strongly misses hid daughter Thrud.
17. The hall of Þrasir(a) [cave] shook, when Heidrek's(b) [Geirrod's] broad head was brought underneath the ancient leg of the wall of the floor-bear(c) [pillar]. The splendid step-father of Ull [Thor] struck the harmful brooch [the iron-bolt] with great force down through the middle of the girdle of the villain of the tooth of the way of the fishing-line [giant].
(b) Heiðrekr "heath-king", must be read as generic giant-names, here referring to Geirröðr.
(c) kenning for "pillar". As we have already seen, this dwelling is a cave, the walls of which are of stone. The "leg" of the cave's rocky walls can only be seen as a stone pillar, perhaps a supportive one, which keeps the roof of the cave from collapsing.
Interpretation: The wall of the cave shook, when the giant-king [Geirrod's] broad head was brought underneath the pillar of the cave wall. [Thor] the splendid step-father of Ull, thrust the harmful bolt of iron with great force down through the middle of the evil giants girdle, like he might cast the tooth of a fishing-line!
18. The furious one [Thor] slaughtered the descendants of Glaum(a) [giants] with his bloody hammer(b). The slayer of the frequent visitor of the hall of the stone-goddess [Thor] was victorious. Lack of (Thjalfi's) support did not hamper the pole of the bow(c) [warrior], god of the chariot(d) [Thor], who inflicted grief upon the giant's bench-mates(e) [giants].
(a) Glaumr must be taken to be a giant's name, "noisy one". Such giant-names are common.
(b) the sudden appearance of Thor's hammer has puzzled most interpreters, as Snorri's prose states that Thor left his hammer behind.
(c) The "pole of the bow" is simply a kenning for "archer", thus "warrior". Cp. álmtaugar ægir in 15:5, where Geirröðr is also called "archer (warrior)", with a parallel kenning, "Suðri's kinsman", which pinpoints the type of warrior, i.e. giant. In the current example, Thor is also "archer (warrior)", with a parellel kenning "god of the chariot" (see below).
(d) Thor is famous for riding a chariot pulled by two goats.
(e) those who sit with giants ie. other giant kin.
Interpretetion: [Thor] The furious one, slaughtered the giant descendants of Glaum, with his bloody hammer. [Thor] slayer of the frequent visitors of the halls of giant-maidens, was victorious. [Thjalfi's] Lack of help did not hamper [Thor] for he became the bow-warrior god and the chariot rider [Thor]; he inflicted grief upon giant kin.
19. [Thor] the worshipped Hel-striker, with the Elf(a) [Thjalfi], slew the wood-calves of the subterranean refuge from Elf-World's gleam(b) [giants] with the easy-crusher [Mjolnir]. The Rogalanders of the Lister(c) of the falcon-lair [giants] were unable to harm the firmly supportive shortener of the lifespan of the men of the rock-king [Thjalfi].
(a) the elf is, of course, Þjálfi, Thor's reliable companion, who has accompanied him on the quest. Rydberg suggested that Þjálfi was a stepson of Egill (Örvandill), and if this is correct, he may properly be termed an Elf. It is obvious from Völundarkviða that Egill was an Elf.
(b) The giants hide in darkness away from the Elven land of light.
(c) The Rygir were inhabitants of Rogaland, a district in Norway. Listi, as we have seen earlier (str. 13), was a Norwegian district. "The men of the district of the falcon-lair (cliff)" are mountain-dwellers, i.e. giants.
Interpretation: [Thor] the worshipped Hel-striker, with [Thjalfi], the Elf, slew the giants, who hide from the glare of good and light. Yes, [Thor] with the his hammer easy-crusher. This province of Norway's enemies the montain-cave giants were unable to harm the slayers of the men of giantland.