Skáldskaparmál

11. Kennings for Thor

What figures should be employed to periphrase the name of Thor? Thus: one should call him Son of Odin and of Jörd, Father of Magni and Módi and Thrúdr, Husband of Sif, Stepfather of Ullr, Wielder and Possessor of Mjöllnir and of the Girdle of Strength, and of Bilskirnir; Defender of Ásgard and of Midgard, Adversary and Slaver of Giants and Troll-Women, Smiter of Hrungnir, of Geirrödr and of Thrívaldi, Master of Thjálfi and Röskva, Foe of the Midgard Serpent. Foster-father of Vingnir and Hlóra. So sang Bragi the Skald:

The line of Odin's Offspring
Lay not slack on the gunwale,
When the huge ocean-serpent
Uncoiled on the sea's bottom.

Thus sang Ölvir Cut-Nose-and-Crop-Ears:

The encírcler of all regions
And Jörd's Son sought each other.

Thus sang Eilífr:

Wroth stood Röskva's Brother,
And Magni's Sire wrought bravely:
With terror Thor's staunch heart-stone
Trembled not, nor Thjálfi's.

And thus sang Eysteinn Valdason:

With glowing eyes Thrúdr's Father
Glared at the sea-road's circler,
Ere the fishes' watery dwelling
Flowed in, the boat confounding.

Eysteinn sang further:

Swiftly Sif's Husband bouned him
To haste forth with the Giants
For his hardy fishing:
Well sing we Hrímnir's horn-stream.

Again he sang:

The earth-fish tugged so fiercely
That Ullr's Kinsman's clenched fists
Were pulled out past the gunwale;
The broad planks rent asunder.

Thus sang Bragi:

The strong fiend's Terrifier
In his right hand swung his hammer,
When he saw the loathly sea-fish
That all the lands confineth.

Thus sang Gamli:

While the Lord of high Bilskirnir,
Whose heart no falsehood fashioned,
Swiftly strove to shatter
The sea-fish with his hammer.

Thus sang Thorbjörn Lady’s-Skald:

Bravely Thor fought for Ásgard 
And the followers of Odin.

Thus sang Bragi:

And the vast misshapen circler
Of the ship's sea-path, fierce-minded,
Stared from below in anger
At the Skull-Splitter of Hrungnir.

Again sang Bragi:

Well hast Thou, Hewer-in-Sunder
Of the nine heads of Thrívaldi,
Kept thy goats1 . . . .

Thus sang Eilífr:

The Merciless Destroyer
Of the people of the Giants
Grasped with ready fore-arms
At the heavy red-hot iron.

Thus sang Úlfr Uggason:

Faintly the stout-framed thickling
A fearful peril called it,
At the great draught wondrous heavy
Drawn up by the Lord of he-goats.

Thus Úlfr sang further:

The very mighty Slayer
Of the Mountain-Man brought crashing
His fist on Hymir's temple:
That was a hurt full deadly.

Yet again sang Úlfr:

Vimur's ford's Wide-Grappler
'Gainst the waves smote featly
The glittering Serpent's head off.
With old tales the hall was gleaming.
Here he is called Giant of Vimur's Ford. 
There is a river called Vimur, 
which Thor waded when he journeyed 
to the garth of Geirrödr.

Thus sang Vetrlidi the skald:

Thou didst break the leg of Leikn,
Didst cause to stoop Starkadr,
Didst bruise Thrívaldi,
Didst stand on lifeless Gjálp.

Thus sang Thorbjörn Lady’s-Skald:

Thou didst smite the head of Keila,
Smash Kjallandi altogether,
Ere thou slewest Lútr and Leidi,
Didst spill the blood of Búseyra;

Didst hold back Hengjankjapta,
Hyrrokkin died before;
Yet sooner in like fashion
Svívör from life was taken.

12. Kennings for Baldr

How should one periphrase Baldr? By calling him Son of Odin and Frigg, Husband of Nanna, Father of Forseti, Possessor of Hringhorni and Draupnir, Adversary of Hödr, Companion of Hel, God of Tears. Úlfr Uggason, following the story of Baldr, has composed a long passage in the Húsdrápa; and examples are recorded earlier to the effect that Baldr is so termed.


13. Kennings for Njörðr

How should one periphrase Njördr? By calling him God of the Vanir, or Kinsman of the Vanir, or Wane, Father of Freyr and Freyja, God of Wealth-Bestowal.

So says Thórdr Sjáreksson:

Gudrun's self by ill
Her sons did kill;
The wise God-bride
At the Wane's side

Grieved; men tell
Odin tamed steeds well;
'T was not the saying
Hamdir spared sword-playing.

Here it is recorded that Skadi departed from Njördr, as has already been written.


14. Kennings for Freyr

How should one periphrase Freyr? Thus: by calling him Son of Njördr, Brother of Freyja, and also God of Vanir, and Kinsman of the Vanir, and Wane, and God of the Fertile Season, and God of Wealth-Gifts.

Thus sang Egill Skallagrímsson:

For that Grjótbjörn
In goods and gear
Freyr and Njördr
Have fairly blessed.

Freyr is called Adversary of Beli, even as Eyvindr Spoiler of Skalds sang:

When the Earl's foe
Wished to inhabit
The outer bounds
Of Beli's hater.

He is the possessor of Skídbladnir and of that boar which is called Gold-Bristle, even as it is told here:

Ívaldi's offspring
In ancient days
Went to shape Skídbladnir,
Foremost of ships,
Fairly for Freyr,
Choicely for Njördr's child.

Thus speaks Úlfr Uggason:

The battle-bold Freyr rideth
First on the golden-bristled
Barrow-boar to the bale-fire
Of Baldr, and leads the people.

The boar is also called Fearful-Tusk.


15. Kennings for Heimdallr

How should one periphrase Heimdallr? By calling him Son of Nine Mothers, or Watchman of the Gods, as already has been written; or White God, Foe of Loki, Seeker of Freyja’s Necklace. A sword is called Heimdallr’s Head: for it is said that he was pierced by a man’s head. The tale thereof is told in Heimdalar-galdr; and ever since a head is called Heimdallr’s Measure; a sword is called Man’s Measure. Heimdallr is the Possessor of Gulltoppr; he is also Frequenter of Vágasker and Singasteinn, where he contended with Loki for the Necklace Brísinga-men, he is also called Vindlér. Úlfr Uggason composed a long passage in the Húsdrápa on that legend, and there it is written that they were in the form of seals. Heimdallr also is son of Odin.


16. Kennings for Týr

How should one periphrase Týr? By calling him the One-handed God, and Fosterer of the Wolf, God of Battles, Son of Odin.


17. Kennings for Bragi

How should one periphrase Bragi? By calling him Husband of Idunn, First Maker of Poetry, and the Long-bearded God (after his name, a man who has a great beard is called Beard-Bragi) and Son of Odin.


18. Kennings for Víðarr

How should one periphrase Vídarr? He maybe called the Silent God, Possessor of the Iron Shoe, Foe and Slayer of Fenris-Wolf, Avenger of the Gods, Divine Dweller in the Homesteads of the Fathers, Son of Odin, and Brother of the Æsir.


19. Kennings for Váli

How should Váli be periphrased? Thus: by calling him Son of Odin and Rindr, Stepson of Frigg, Brother of the Æsir, Baldr’s Avenger, Foe and Slayer of Hödr, Dweller in the Homesteads of the Fathers.


20. Kennings for Höðr

How should one periphrase Hödr? Thus: by calling him the Blind God, Baldr’s Slayer, Thrower of the Mistletoe, Son of Odin, Companion of Hel, Foe of Váli.


1. The remainder of this stanza cannot be made out.

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