Update to “late additions to the runes”

I stumbled across a page from AM 738 4to with an expanded Norwegian Rune Poem with verses for additions to the standard sixteen “base” runes. I had some trouble translating it, but I’ve posted a normalized version of the text and my tentative attempt at a translation on the “late additions to the runes” page. For convenience, I’ll reproduce the part I just added after the break.

The manuscript AM 738 4to (dated on handrit.is to 1680) contains a copy of the Norwegian rune poem with twenty-four verses, including ones for stungnir rúnir and other additions to the original sixteen runes. I had some difficulty figuring out what it means (and even some trouble just reading it), but I’ll post a very tentative translation here along with the Icelandic, which I’ve normalized to the best of my ability.

Here is an image of the manuscript page with the rune symbols courtesy of the Skáldic Poetry Project: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/skaldic/db.php?id=16615&if=default&table=images&val=&view=

(D) Stunginn Tyr særður ásinn djarfi
sá var í víga starfi
Stunginn Týr the bold injured ás
he was in the business of battle
(E) Stunginn ís stendur reyndur
stuldur oft er leyndur
Stunginn ís (‘ice’) stands tested
theft is often secret
(G) Stunginn kaun stofnar mæði
stór sár trú ég blæði
[Stungið] kaun (‘wound’) causes exhaustion
I believe big wounds bleed
(P) Plástur mýkur mein sára
mörg er komin til ára
Plástur (‘bandage’) softens the pain of wounds
many are come to age
(C? Z?) Knésól kallar reina
kemur í stríði skeina
Knésól (‘knee-sun’) calls a horse
comes in battle to harm/scratch
(Æ) Æfingur öllum grómur
æpir barn kvelur dómur
Æfingur (‘practicer’?!) grime to all
judgment afflicts a screaming child (?!)
(Ö) Tvíörvaður bogi úr stóðu ylgjar hvopti
örvar tvær á lopti
Tvíörvaður bogi (‘two-arrowed bow’)
out stood wolf’s cheek
two arrows in the air
(X?) Elli hvíld erfiði og elli
ei vill vera á felli
Elli hvíld (‘old age rest’) labor and old age
never wants to be on a mountain

Stunginn kaun is a grammatical error – kaun is a neuter word so it actually should be stungið kaun. The author might not have been applying “stunginn” like an adjective and just thought “say stunginn before everything.”

Knésól is often a c rune although there is often some ambiguity as to how to actually use ⟨c⟩ since Icelandic doesn’t have any alternation between /k/ and /s/ like (medieval) Latin and modern English. Graphically, it resembles s-z, originally an s rune, but later came to be used mostly for ⟨z⟩ as opposed to s s. I believe the name comes from the shape of the rune – kné means ‘knee,’ and the shape is bent like a knee (sort of), so it might be called that no matter what its Latin equivalent.

I would expect that æfingur would be æsingur (see: the rest of this page on the æ rune) and it could be a scribal error. In some old orthography, /s/ is written ⟨ſ⟩ (a “tall s”). Here it’s written with an insular ⟨ꝼ⟩ so it’s clearly an /f/ but maybe it comes from a mistake when copying.

I assume that tvíörvaður bogi is an ö rune, which is usually called ör (‘arrow’) but the actual rune shape is totally different from the normal ö.

I expect that elli hvíld is an x rune, since there often is one and it’s one of the few that’s left. It could also be c or z, depending on what knésól is. It’s possible that the scribe didn’t know.


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