The Poetic Edda: A Study Guide
 The Speech of the Masked One
Codex Regius
MS No. 2365 4to  [R]
Arnamagnæan Codex
AM 748 I 4to [A]
1954 Guðni Jónsson
Normalized Text:

Síþ ok víþ
sökin ok eiken
svavl ok gvnnþró
fiorm ok fimbvlþvl
rín ok rennandi,
gipvl ok gavpvl
gavmvl ok geirvi/mvl
þær hverfa um hodd goða,
Þyn ok vin
þavll ok havll
graþ ok Gunnþorin.

 Síð ok víð
sækin ok ækin,
svöl ok gvnnþro
fiorm ok fimbvlþvl
rín ok ren/nndi,
gipvl ok gopvl,
gömvl ok gæirvimvl,
þær hverfa um hoddgoða,
Þyn ok vin,
Þöll ok höll,
gráð ok gvnnþorin

27. Síð ok Víð,
Sækin ok Eikin,
Svöl ok Gunnþró,
Fjörm ok Fimbulþul,
Rín ok Rennandi,
Gipul ok Göpul,
Gömul ok Geirvimul,
þær hverfa um hodd goða,
Þyn ok Vín,
Þöll ok Höll,
Gráð ok Gunnþorin.  

English Translations
1797 Amos Simon Cottle
in Icelandic Poetry
The Song of Grimnir
1851 C.P. in
The Yale Magazine, Vol. 16
The Song of Grimner

XXVII. Sider, Vider, Fimbulthuler,
Sækiner, and Geirumuler, ---
These thro' lands immortal, flow,
And plenty on the Gods bestow.
[SIDER, &c. Names of celestial rivers. There are fifteen beside these, but they are not enumerated in the translation, on account of their harsh and unusual sounds. For the curious therefore, they are put in the notes; viz: Eikin, Suöl, Gimnthro, Fiorm, Rin, Rennandi, Gipul, Gaupul, Gaumul, Din, Vin, Davll, Havll, Grap, Gunndorin.]  

All rivers—Sith and Vith, Saekin and Eikin,
And other ten which roll through Asgard's plains
Their sparkling waves, and circle round the homes
Of joyful Aser ; Vina, and Vegeuinn,

1866 Benjamin Thorpe
in Edda Sæmundar Hinns Frôða

The Lay of Grimnir
1883 Gudbrand Vigfusson
in Corpus Poeticum Boreale

The Sayings of the Hooded One

27. Sid and Vid,
Soekin and Eikin,
Svöl and Gunntro,
Fiörm and Fimbulthul,
Rin and Rennandi,
Gipul and Göpul,
Gömul and Geirvimul:
they round the gods’ dwellings wind.
Thyn and Vin,
Thöll and Höll,
Grad and Gunnthorin.

       2. Rivers

        Síð ok Víð, Sekin ok Ækin,
        Svavl ok Gunnþro, Fiorm ok Fumbul-þul
        Rín ok Rennandi, …..
        Gipul ok Gavpul, Gavmul ok Geirvimul,
                   Þær hverfa um hodd goða.
        Þyn ok Vin, Þavll ok Havll,
                   Grað ok Gunnþorin.

1908 Olive Bray
in Edda Saemundar
The Sayings of Grimnir
1923 Henry Bellows
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnismol: The Ballad of Grimnir

27, 28. — Interpolations B, Mh, S, J. The names contained in these strophes do not all bear interpretation and seem to belong to existing, not mythical, rivers, some of which were to be found in Britain.

27. Sith and Vith, | Sækin and Ækin,
Svol and Fimbulthul, | Gunnthro, and Fjorm,
Rin and Rinnandi,
Gipul and Gopul, | Gomul and Geirvimul,
That flow through the fields of the gods;
Thyn and Vin, | Thol and Hol,
Groth and Gunnthorin.
1962 Lee M. Hollander
in The Poetic Edda
The Lay of Grimnir
1967 W. H. Auden & P. B. Taylor
in The Elder Edda
The Lay of Grimnir

The following catalog of rivers is plainly interpolated. Their names refer, some to swiftness, others to coldness and depth. For Leiptr, see "Helgakviða Hundingsbana" II, St. 30.
27. Síth and Víth, Sœkin and Eikin,
Svol and Gunnthró, Fjorm and Fimbulthul,
Rín and Rinnandi,
Gipul and Gopul, Gomul and Geirvimul,
they flow by the garth of the gods;
Thyn and Vin, Tholl and Holl,
Gráth and Gunnthorin.

27. Sid and Vid, Sökin and Eikin,
Svöl, Fimbulthul, Fjorm and Gunnthro,
Rinn and Rennandi,
Gipul and Gopul,
Gomul and Geirvimul,
Encircle the hall of the High Ones,
With Thyn and Vin,
Tholl and Holl,
Grad and Gunnthorin.

1996 Carolyne Larrington
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnir’s Sayings
2001 Eysteinn Björnsson
of Jörmungrund

27. Sid and Vid,
Sekin and Eikin,
Svol and Gunnthro,
Fiorm and Fimbulthul,
Rin and Rennandi,
Gipul and Gopul,
Gomul and Geirvimul,
they flow round the realm of the gods,
Thyn and Vin, Tholl and Holl,
Grad and Gunnthorin.

Sid and Vid,
Sækin and Eikin,
Svol and Gunnthro,
Fiorm and Fimbulthul,
Rin and Rennandi,
Gipul and Gopul,
Gomul and Geirvimul,
they flow round the gods' hoard,
Thyn and Vin,
Tholl, and Holl,
Grad and Gunnthorin.

2011 Ursula Dronke
in The Poetic Edda, Vol. III 
“The Lay of Grimnir”
2011 Andy Orchard
The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore
'The Lay of Grimnir"

27. Sluggish and Wide
Aggressive and Raging,
Shivery and War Keen,
Make Haste and Mighty Babbler,
Rhine and Running,
Gabbler and Gaper,
Old Dame and Dagger Swarming
-they course round the coffers of
the gods-
Resounding and Wine,
Fir Tree and Gallant Warrior.

27. ‘Wide and Broad, Hard and Harsh,
Cool and Conflict-keen,
Rage and Mighty-sage,
Rhine and Running,
Groaning and Gaping,
Spent and Spear-tumbling,
they flow round the gods’ hoard,
Roar and Dwindle, Swell and Slip,
Greed and Battle-bold.


1923 Henry Bellows in his The Poetic Edda as “Grimnismol: The Ballad of Grimnir”:

27. The entire passage from stanza 27 through stanza 35 is confused. The whole thing may well be an interpolation. Bugge calls stanzas 27-30 an interpolation, and editors who have accepted the passage as a whole have rejected various lines. The spelling of the names of the rivers varies greatly in the manuscripts and editions. It is needless here to point out the many attempted emendations of this list. For a passage presenting similar problems, cf. Voluspo, 10-16. Snorri virtually quotes stanzas 27-29 in his prose, though not consecutively. The name Rín, in line 3, is identical with that for the River Rhine which appears frequently in the hero poems, but the similarity is doubtless purely accidental.

Hodd goða:
The Hoard of the Gods
Before moving on to a discussion of the river-names in this and the following verse, I would like to focus on the phrase þær hverfa um hodd goða in line 8.

The primary meaning of the word hodd is ‘hoard’ or ‘treasure.’ The Cleasby/Vigfusson Dictionary defines it this way:
HODD, n. pl., -- the m. pl. hoddar, which occurs twice in verses of the 13th century (Sturl.), is a false and late form; [Ulf. huzd = GREEK; A. S. hord; Engl. hoard; O. H. G. hort] :-
"1. a hoard, treasure, only in poetry; hodd blóðrekin ['blood-stained treasure'], Helgakviða Hundingsbana I. 9; hodd Hniflunga ['Niflings' Hoard'], German Niebelungen hort, Atlakviða 26; etc.

 2. poët. phrases, as hoddum haettr, hodda (gen.) brjótr, njótr, stökkvir, stríðir, þverrir, the breaker ... of gold, a princely man: as also poët. compounds, hodd-brjótr, -beiðandi, -finnandi, -geymir, -glötuðr, -lestir, -lógandi, -mildingr, -sendir, -skati, -spennir, -stiklandi, -stríðandi, -sveigir, -sviptir, -veitir, -vönuðr, all epithets of a lordly, princely man: so of women, hodd-gefn, -grund; the nouns, hodd-mildr, -örr, = liberal; hodd-dofi, a, m. stinginess; and the mythical personal names Hodd-mímir, Vafþrúðnismál 45; Hodd-dropnir, 'gold-dripping,' Sigrdrifumál 13.
Thus, the phrase þær hverfa um hodd goða can only mean  ‘They flow around the hoard of the gods”, yet we see that a majority of the English translators render this as the land or home of the gods.
Land of the gods:
1797 Amos Simon Cottle: "These thro' lands immortal, flow"
1923 Henry Bellows: "That flow through the fields of the gods"
1996 Carolyne Larrington: "they flow round the realm of the gods"
Home of the gods:
1851 C.P. in Yale Magazine: "and circle round the homes of joyful Aser"
1866 Benjamin Thorpe: "they round the gods’ dwellings wind."
1962 Lee M. Hollander: "they flow by the garth of the gods;"
1967 W. H. Auden & P. B Taylor: "Encircle the hall of the High Ones"
Only two of the translators, interpret this phrase literally:
2001 Eysteinn Björnsson: "they flow round the gods' hoard"
2011 Andy Orchard: "they flow round the gods’ hoard"
And a third seems to have the right idea, even if it is more of a poetic rendering:
2011 Ursula Dronke: "they course round the coffers of the gods"
This may seem surprising, since the word hodd is almost transparent in its meaning as hoard. Yet, oddly, even the Cleasy/Vigfusson dictionary provides a secondary definition of the word, attested only in Grímnismál 27! Here, and only here, hodd is said to mean:
"2. a holy place, temple, sanctuary, where the holy things are hoarded; of this sense, which occurs in Heliand (Schmeller), the Grímnismál 27 is the single instance left on record, see Bugge's note to l.c. in his Edda, p. 81."
Why should the word hodd, which means hoard in every other context have a special meaning in this single verse? The answer lies in Snorri Sturluson's apparent interpretation of this verse in Gylfaginning 39. There, Snorri paraphrases Grímnismál 27 in prose, saying:

"Síð, Víð, Sækin, Ekin, Svöl, Gunnþró, Fjörm, Fimbulþul, Gípul, Göpul, Gömul, Geirvimul. Þessar falla um ása byggðir."
“Sid, Vid, Sekinm Ekin, Svol, Gunnthro, Fiorm, Fimbulthul, Gipul, Gopul, Gomul, Giervimul: these flow through where the Æsir live,” (Anthony Faulkes translation).
From the duplicate names and order of the rivers, it is clear that Grímnismál 27 is Snorri’s source of this information, and equally clear that he interprets the phrase “þær hverfa um hodd goða” as “these flow through where the Æsir live”.
Both the Cleasby-Vigfusson Icelandic-English Dictionary and Sveinbjörn Egilsson's Lexicon Poeticum incorporate Snorri’s paraphrase into their definitions of the word hodd, giving it a special meaning only applicable to Grímnismál 27. There and only there, Egilsson says that the word hodd probably means ‘residence, homeland’” (antaga at betyde ‘bolig, hjemland’). Cleasby-Vigfusson adds “of this sense, which occurs in Heliand (Schmeller), the Grímnismál 27 is the single instance left on record.” Cleasby/Vigfusson take their cue from Sophus Bugge, who uses the same example in his critical edition of the Eddic poems (Norroen Fornkvædi, p. 81) remarking "i Heliand bruges hord saaledes om Templets Allerhelligste (169, 4, Schmell.)"

So, clearly this special definition is yet another scholarly attempt to reconcile Snorri’s interpretation of an Eddic poetic passage with other known usages. Regardless of the obvious conflict, Snorri's translation is taken as accurate above the actual meaning of the word in every other Icelandic context!

A supposedly similar usage in the Heliand, a Saxon source, is offered to support this assumption. But does it really support it? Let's see:

In the Heliand, the Old Saxon word horð, corresponding to the Old Icelandic hodd, is not in fact used of the city of Jerusalem as Cleasby/Vigfusson (via Schmeller) indicate, but merely used of the holiest of holies in the Jerusalem temple. In part, Heliand, Fitt 67, says:
5666 an themo uuîhe innan | uuundron gistriunid
5667 hêl hangoda | -- ni muostun heliðo barn,
5668 thia liudi scauuon, | huat under themo lacane uuas
5669 hêlages behangan: | thuo mohtun an that horð sehan
“The colorful curtain so wonderfully woven, which for many a day had been hanging whole inside the shrine, was torn in two down the middle— people could then see the treasure hoard.”
G. Ronald Murphy explains that “the veil of the temple concealed the holy of the holies, the room which once contained the ark of the covenant. The Heliand interprets this concealed sacred possession of the Jewish people as a hidden Germanic treasure in the tradition of the last scenes of Beowulf, and the treasure of the Nibelungs hidden in the Rhine.”
So hodd/hord in the sense of a city or sanctuary does not actually occur in the Heiliand as Cleasby/Vigfusson state. Thus it is unlikely that the expression "hodd goða" means "the place where the Aesir live" as Snorri indicates. In the Heiliand, the word horð  indicates only the most precious things which are concealed within a well protected sacred place, not the city as a whole.  Thus, in Grímnismál 27, the word hodd, which is the Norse equivalent of the Saxon  horð, must mean something held sacred or valuable by the gods themselves. What could this be? What would the gods consider "treasure"? Perhaps examining other Eddic uses of the word hodd may provide a clue.

Váfþruðnismál 45 informs us that two human beings are preserved in a grove. They are Lif and Lifthrasir, kept safe in Hodd-mimis holt, “Hoard-Mimir’s grove” in order to repopulate the world after Ragnarök.  Mimir is their keeper. The prefix hodd-  means “hoard” or “treasure” and Mimir is well-known as a collector of treasures. In Völuspá 27 and 28, Mimir is said to keep both “Val-father’s pledge” and “Heimdall’s hljóð" (lit. 'hearing', i.e. one of his ears according to Sigurd Nordal)” hidden beneath Yggdrasil. In the German heroic cycle of poems “Mimi der alte” is associated with treasure-making dwarves, and  in the 3rd Book of Saxo’s Danish History, the hero Hotherus travels to the underworld to obtain a sword and wealth-producing arm-ring from the “satyr” Mimmingus. Of Hodd-Mimir, Váfþrudnismál says: 

44. hvat lifir manna,  
þá er inn mæra líðr 
fimbulvetr með firom?  

44. …What men remain alive,
 when it moves among mankind,
 the infamous Fimbul-winter?

45. Líf ok Lifþrasir,
 en þau leynaz muno
 í holti Hoddmímis;
 þau sér at mat hafa;
 þaðan af aldir alaz.

45. Lif and Lifthrasir
 lie hidden
 in the grove of Hoard-Mimir;
 the morning dews
 they shall have as meat,
 from them generations will spring.

 The expression hoddmimis holt, is commonly interpreted to mean the World-Tree, based on a similar expression in Fjölsvinnsmál 20, which calls Yggdrassil, Mimameiðr, "Mimir's Tree." Mimir is well-known to own a well that feeds Yggdrasil. since he lives beneath it, the Tree can be called his.  Metaphorically speaking, Lif and Lifthrasir, are precious treasures, gathered together and hidden underground like a seed which lies dormant through the winter waiting for spring. When the great fimbul-winter has passed, Lif and Lifthriasir will emerge from their hiding place and become the parents of a new race of men, without the need for a second act of creation. This metaphor is not unique in Germanic poetry. The Anglo-Saxon poem Exodus  (l. 368) speaks of the contents of Noah’s ark in a similar fashion:

Niwe flodas         Noe oferlað,
þrymfæst þeoden,         mid his þrim sunum,
þone deopestan         drencefloda
þara ðe gewurde         on woruldrice.
Hæfde him on hreðre         halige treowa;
forþon he gelædde         ofer lagustreamas
maðm horda mæst,         mine gefræge.
On feorhgebeorh         foldan hæfde
eallum eorðcynne         ece lafe,
frumcneow gehwæs,         fæder and moder
tuddorteondra,         geteled rime
mismicelra         þonne men cunnon,
snottor sæleoda.         Eac þon sæda gehwilc
on bearm scipes         beornas feredon,
þara þe under         heofonum
hæleð bryttigað.

Inexperienced, Noah sailed over the floods,
glory-solid leader, with his three sons,
that deepest drowning-flood
of any that happened in the world-kingdom.   
 He held in heart the holy troth;
Therefore he led over the ocean-streams
the greatest treasure-hoard, as I’ve learned:
into that life-refuge he had the last remnant
of all the earth-kin of the world,
a new generation's origin, father and mother
of womb-gathered offspring, a carefully reckoned number
of the many species that men knew about,
the wise sea-farer.
Also, every one of those seeds in the bosom of the ship the men carried,   
Those that under heaven men make use of.

 The Anglo-Saxon poetic version of Exodus 12:29-15:27 is found in The Junius Manuscript, one of the four manuscripts containing most of what remains of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Critics find it to be one of the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon epic poems, comparable to Beowulf in its artistry and narrative strength.  Anglo-Saxon renderings of biblical stories tend to recast them in terms of Germanic culture. Exodus is no exception. In Anglo-Saxon imagery, meter, and wording it retells the tales of the Israelites, reshaping the biblical story into the image of the Anglo-Saxon comitatic tribal values. The wording reflects Germanic culture, particularly the legal aspects of Anglo-Saxon life. Here as in Vafþrúðnismál 45, the parents of a new world are referred to as treasure-hoard. The human beings Lif and Lifthrasir reside in 'Hoard'-Mimir’s grove, until the flames of Ragnarök have subsided and a new world has risen from the sea.

The Head of Mimir
by Miguel Regodon

So if this interpretation is correct, it would seem that Mimir, the treasure-keeper of the gods, collects a hoard of wealth dear to them. Included among these are Lif and Lifthrasir, who are to emerge from his sacred grove beneath the Tree after the flames of Ragnarök have burnt out, just as the precious living ‘hoard’ of Noah emerges from the Ark in Hebrew scripture, to repopulate a new world. In Germanic mythology, when a new earth emerges from the sea, a new act of creation is not necessary. According to Eddic passages, Lif and Lifthrasir, as well as Baldr and Höðr who previously resided in Hel, are found on the new world, as are the golden game-pieces which the gods played with in the golden age. There we find the god Hoenir, who was once given to the Vanir as a hostage along with Mimir.  So too, an eagle hunts for fish in the falls, and fields sprout grain without being sown.  These precious treasures of the old world have been kept hidden in the underworld below Yggdrasil, to enrich the new world. That the risen world is the former Hel is made clear in that the dragon Niddhögg who once gnawed on the roots of Yggdrasill is also found there (see the end of Völuspá for details).
Thus the expression hodd goða "hoard of the gods" appears to be a reference to the biological treasures hidden in Hoddmimis holt, Hoard-Mimir's grove, beneath the central root of Yggdrasill.  The meaning "realm of the gods" is based solely on Gylfaginning 38's paraphrase of the verse. So when Grímnismál 27 says that these rivers “wind around the hoard of the gods” (þær hverfa um hodd goða), it does not mean the celestial home of the gods in Asgard, quite the opposite. In all probability, it refers to subterreanean rivers surrounding a well-concealed hoard.  Rivers winding round it may act as a kind of moat, keeping unwanted visitors away. Forbidding rivers are a well-known feature of the underworld.

  A River Runs Through It

In some editions this verse is broken into verses 27 & 28, lines 1-3. If these are broken into separate verses, they appear as:
27. Síð ok Víð,
Sækin ok Eikin,
Svöl ok Gunnþró,
Fjörm ok Fimbulþul,
Rín ok Rennandi,
Gipul ok Göpul,
Gömul ok Geirvimul,
þær hverfa um hodd goða,
28. Þyn ok Vín,
Þöll ok Höll,
Gráð ok Gunnþorin.
Vína heitir ein,
önnur Vegsvinn,
þriðja Þjóðnuma, ...
This order is reflected in the translations below. 

An excerpt from Christopher Hale, “The River Names in Grimnismal 27-29”,  in
Edda: A Collection of Essays, 1988: 
“It is a well-known fact that Grímnismál as it has been preserved in its present form is defective. Occasionally a line seems to be missing and scattered throughout are interpolations, many of which do not fit into the ljóðaháttr metre of the main part of the poem. One of the longest of the probable interpolations is stanzas 27-29, which contains a list of river names. This is, in fact, the only section of the poem which contains a list of any place names. In this paper I should like to examine these lines, offer interpretations of the name contained in them and give parallels, where possible, to them in the Scandinavian area. Based on the results found here, I should like to offer some suggestions as to the possible origin of these lines and a relationship between them to later forms of the verse.
…Of the total of forty-three river names (árheiti) mentioned in the mythological poems of the Poetic Edda, thirty-six of them occur in GRM 27-29 alone. In addition, thirty-one of these are mentioned in Gylfaginning and thirty-one also in the nafnaþular in Skaldskaparmal in Snorra Edda. Besides this, a few are noted in other medieval sources.
Four other rivers occur in GRM besides those in stanzas 27-29. Þund is noted in stanza 21 as being difficult to cross, and Kormt and Ormt and Kerlauger in stanza 30 are rivers which Thor must cross each day on his way to the place of judgment by the ash Yggdrasil. It is possible that stanzas 27-29 were interpolated to enlarge the word vötn (water) in stanza 26, or that if stanza 30 is original, the names in it could also have called them forth.
The names in this list have so far been only spottily researched in scholarly writing. While no work has appeared before that treats all of them in any depth, a number of editions of both the Poetic and Snorra Edda, as well as several etymological dictionaries, make a greater or lesser attempt to explain some of them. Furthermore, from time to time, several have been dealt with in articles which have appeared in various journals and collections. Magnus Olsen, for example, has discussed a few in Edda- og skaldekvad, VII, and others have been referred to by different scholars in articles in such journals as Namn och Bygd, Maal og Minne and Arkiv for nordisk filologi in conjunction with treatments of Scandinavian place names. In this connection, mention should be made of place-name studies such as Oluf Rygh's Norske Elvenavne (NE) and Norske Gaardnavne (NG), Per Hovda's Norske elve namn and Elof Hellquist's Studier ofver de svenska sjonamnen which frequently offer parallels to their subject matter in the Eddic material. Also, attempts have been made to identify these rivers with actual ones in the North European area."

The references for the Poetic Edda and Snorra Edda (SnE) are to Finnur Jónsson's editions, De gamle Eddadigte, and Edda Snorra Sturlusonar.

SnE I refers to Gylfaginning, and SnE II to Skáldskaparmál.

The river names are grouped according to the passages in which they are found in Grm, and in each group additional information regarding the rivers they refer to is indicated; as well, mention is made of other medieval sources outside the Poetic Edda where these names are found. The manuscripts have been consulted either in the original or in photographic reproduction, and the forms of the river names in them are given and discussed, where relevant, under the heading of each name. The manuscripts and the abbreviations used for them in the text are:

(1) Codex Regius of the Elder Edda, Gks 2365 4to, ca. 1270 (R).
(2) AM 748 I 4to, early 1300s (A).
(3) Codex Uppsaliensis, Uppsala DO 11 4to, early 1300s (U).
(4) Codex Regius of the Younger Edda, AM 2367 4to, ca. 1325 (r).
(5) Reykjabok, AM 468 4to, 1300-1350 (Rb).
(6) Codex Wormianus, AM 242 fol., mid-1300s (W).
(7) AM 757 4to, ca. 1400 (B).
(8) AM 748 II 4to, ca. 1400 (C).
(9) Codex Trajectinus, Utrecht nr. 1374, ca. 1600 but copied from a late 13th century ms. (T).
Grímnismál 27

Síð ok Víð,
Sækin ok Eikin,
Svöl ok Gunnþró,
Fjörm ok Fimbulþul,
Rín ok Rennandi,
Gipul ok Göpul,
Gömul ok Geirvimul,
þær hverfa um hodd goða,

All the rivers listed in Grm 27, except for Rín and Rennandi, flow from the well Hvergelmir in the middle of Niflheimr through the districts of the Æsir, according to SnE I 25, where they are listed in the same order as in Grm 27.
Svöl, Gunnþro, Fjorm and Fimbulpul are mentioned in that order also in SnE I 4. (Gylf. 39) Furthermore, all but Gipul and Göpul are found in the nafnaþulur in Skáldskaparmál but in a different order from that in Grm 27, and mixed in with other river names.

Síð: Grm 27: Síþ R; Sið A.
SnE I 25: Sið U; r; W; Sid T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): sið A; r; sid B; C; sid T.
See the following name.

Víð: Grm 27: víþ R; við A.
SnE I 4: við-U: vie r; Vid W; uid T.
SnE I 25: við U; r; við W; vid T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): við A; r; vid B; víd C; uid T.

It is difficult to determine from the manuscript forms alone whether the vowels here are originally long or short, as the acute accent over Síð and Víð in R may denote stress instead of length, and the accents over the forms in B and C are undoubtedly graphic, as these manuscripts belong to a relatively late period. At any rate, it appears that these two names have in-rhyme, and that, accordingly, the vowels in both should have the same quantity. If the vowel in the first name is short, there is no reasonable interpretation likely for it. Regarding the second name, a short vowel in it could connect it to Old Norse (ON) víð f. 'withy,' 'wand,' but this is also unlikely. I feel, therefore, it is probable that the vowels in both are long and that Síð and Víð are nominalizations of the feminine singular forms of the ON adjectives síðr 'long, hanging' and víðr 'wide' respectively.
There appears to be a number of parallels to Síð. Svante Strandberg interprets the Swedish name Sibro as containing the adjective sid 'low-lying, marshy' and related to the ON adjective síðr, and Gosta Franzen says that Sidus is probably formed from a river name *Sidha with a similar derivations. A related word seems to be found in the English river name Sid which, "runs in a narrow valley with very steep sides and high ridges on both sides," in the Swedish lake name Sidlangen (Hellquist, pp. 525-26), and possibly also in the Norwegian farm name Sævik (NG, XV, p. 326). The Eddic name may have a similar meaning.
Regarding Víð there are parallels in several Norwegian river names such as Via, a brook in Hjelmeland, Rogaland which spreads out over its banks after a heavy rain (Norsk stadnamnarkiv, or NSA), as well as Barvio (Hovda, 1966, p. 23). The Swedish lake name Vidöstern (Hellquist, pp. 705-06) and the Norwegian Vidflaa could also be mentioned. Via and Vibækken, which Rygh derives from ON vidja f. 'withy,' (NE, p. 296), may also contain the ON adjective víðr. Semantically identical to the Eddic name is the Norwegian river name Breia from the ON adjective breiðr 'broad, wide' (NE, p. 22).

Sœkin: Grm 27: sökin R; sækin A.
SnE I 25: Sækin U; Sekin r; sekin W; Sekin T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): sækin A; sekin r; seek/in C; sekin T.

All the manuscripts are later than the merger of ON (œ) and (æ.) The name is probably the feminine singular of a nominalization of an adjectival derivation with the suffix Germanic *-ina of the ON verb sœkja 'to seek, proceed.' 11 Sœkin would thus mean something like 'the forward-rushing one' (Gering, p. 198). One may compare this to etymologically similar Norwegian river names such as Sokna, derived from an ON sókn, and the semantically similar ones formed from *fausa, ganga and skrið- (NE, pp.
238-39, 47, 64, 227). See also Fjörm below.

Eikin (Ekin): Grm 27: eiken R; ækin A.
Sn/25: ækin U; ekinn r; ekin W; T.
SnE II 89 (479-84); ekin A; ekin r; eikín C; ekin T.
In the oldest manuscript (R) the name is written with a diphthong, and if this diphthong is original, Eikin is probably a nominalization of the feminine singular of the ON adjective eikinn 'savage' (Gering, p. 198), formed in a way similar to that of Sœkin. In Nordfjord, Norway, there is a river called Eikjola, the first element of which Per Hovda (1966, p. 34) relates to Norwegian dialect eikja 'to quarrel, dispute,' a derivative of ON eikinn, and this would support the above interpretation of the Eddic name. Another possibility is that it is connected to the ON noun eik f. 'oak' which seems to occur, as well as other appellatives for trees, in several river names. However, all the other manuscript forms, except for C, have no diphthong. If Ekin is then to be the original form, it is probably a nominalization of the feminine singular of the past participle of the ON verb aka 'to move, drive.' If this is indeed the case, there are a number of parallels in Nordic river names: for example, *Aka (NE, p. 3) and Akurda (Hovda, 1966, p. 17) in Norway and Agebæk in Denmark.

Svöl: Grm 27: svavl R; svöl A.
SnE I 4: kvol (!) U; Svavl r; Svol W; Suol T.
SnE 125: Svoll U; Svavl R; svöl W; Suaul T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): svöl A; -svol r; suól B; suaul C; suól T.
Probably this is a nominalization of the feminine singular of the ON adjective svalr 'cool.' A root related to this adjective seems to be found in a number of Norwegian place names, possibly formed from a river name * Svala (NE, pp. 254-55), as well as the lake name Suluvatnet (Indrebø, 1924, pp. 193-94). Another parallel is probably the Swedish Svalen (Hellquist, p. 590). Semantically similar are names such as Kaldbækken (NE, p 124). Cleasby and Vigfusson (p. 780) identify Svö1 as the Swale River in England, but this is unlikely.
Gunnþro: Grm 27: gvnnþró R; gvnnþro A.
SnE 14: gvndro U; gvnnþra r; Gvnsþra W; gunþra T.
SnE I 25: gvndr0 U; Gvnnþro r; gvnnþro W; gunnþro T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): gvnnþró A; gvnnþro r; gunn ... B; gunnþor C; gunnþro T.
The first element appears to be the stem form of ON gunnr f. (with non-radical -r) 'war, battle (poet.).' A number of scholars (e.g. Jónsson, 1900, p. 222, and Gering, 1927, p. 198) seem to have considered the final element as a feminine derivation of ON þrá n. 'obstinacy, defiance, (<þró), and this interpretation would explain the manuscript forms written both -þra and -þro. Another possibility would be to connect it to ON þrá f. 'yearning, longing.' However, it might also be ON þró f. 'trough' and refer to the course of the river, the few manuscript spellings with -þra then being due to scribal confusion with one of the first two words. Per Hovda has mentioned to me the Norwegian river Trona in Strand, Ryfylke, which flows for a few kilometers through a narrow passage, and this name is possibly etymologically parallel to the final element of the mythological one. Cf. also Trovatn and Trodalen, formed from a river name *þró (NE, p. 275). With the first element being the stem form of ON gunnr f., I suggest Gunnþró could mean something like 'the one which travels swiftly or wildly in its course.' Cf.
Fjörm below.

Fjörm: Grm 27: fiorm R; fiörn A.
SnE I 4: fiorni U; form r; fiorm W; form T.
SnE I 25: fiorm U; r; W; T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): fiörm A; fiörm r; fiórm B; form C; fiorn T.

Oluf Rygh connects the root fjarm- in names such as Fjermedal and Fjermestad with an ON river name * Fjörm, genetive Fjarmar, and relates it to the Norwegian dialect verb fjarma 'to travel quickly, rashly off,' mentioned by Ross. Per Hovda also notes that Fjermeros in Vest Agder, Norway, comes from a similar name. Magnus Olsen says that Fjörm is formally identical to Anglo Sexotv feorm f. 'feeding, provisions,' but that both this word and the Norwegian dialect fjarma are etymologically unclear. Semantically the meaning 'the rushing one' for Fjörm fits in well with other names in the group such as Sœkin (see above) and Rennandi (see below).

Fimbulþul: Grm 27: fimbvlþvl R; -fimbvlþvl A.
SnE I 4: firnbvlþvl U; funbvl. þvl r: firnbul/þul W; funbul þul T.
SnE I 25: fimbvlþvl U; fimbvlþvl r; fimbul. bul W; fimbul T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): fimbvlþvl A; fimþvl þyl r; fimbulþul B;
fimbul þul C; fimbul þul T.
The first element, ON fimbul, appears only in compounds in poetry with the meaning 'mighty, great." Both Jóhannesson (p. 428) and de Vries (p. 626) mention the possibility that the final element -þul is related to Anglo Saxon (AS) gedyll 'breeze.' Hjalmar Falk notes the similarity of the Eddic river name to the Oðinsheiti Fimbulþulr 'the great skald' and suggests that the former was called forth by the latter, but with a slight change in the meaning of the final element. This he relates to ON þylja 'to mumble.' Fimbulþul could thus mean 'the one which makes a great rushing sound.' Semantically similar Norwegian river names are Humla (NE, p. 110) and Kumra (Hovda, 1966, p. 67).
Grm 27: rín R; A.
SnE I 89 (479-84): rin A; rin r; rin B; C; rin T.
Rín is the ON form of the river Rhine which is frequently mentioned in other ON sources as well as in a number of the heroic Eddic poems (e.g., Brot af Sigurðarkviða, Sigurðarkviða hin skamma and Atlakviða), Probably here also the same river is referred to.
Rennand: Grm 27: rennandi R;-ren/nndi A.
SnE 1/89 (479-84): rænnandi A; rennandi r; ... de B; rennandi C;
renanndi T.
This is a nominalization of the present participle (cf. Mígandi and Hyggjandey) of ON renna 'to run, flow.' Cf. the river names in Norway formed from the verb renna and the noun laup (NE, pp. 190, 140). Magnus Olsen (1964, p. 15) interprets Rennandi as perhaps 'the one which is always free of ice.' Cf. also varma in Norwegian river names (NE pp. 291-92).
Gipul: Grm 27: gipvl R; A.
SnE / 25: gipvl U; r; W; gipul T.

Gipul is probably a feminine nominalization of a derivation in *-ula of a root *gip-. Cf. ON geipa 'to talk, talk nonsense,' Norwegian dialect gip 'mouth,' gipa 'to cause to yawn,' from an Indo-European *ghei : *ghi.21 From the same root probably comes the Norwegian river name Gipa (NE, pp. 72, 319), and the first element in the Norwegian lake name Gipetjerni is from the river Gipa (Indrebø, 1924, pp. 70-71). Semantically parallel is Gjeispa (NE, p. 69). See also Göpul below.
Göpul: Grm 27: gavpvl R; -gopvl A.
SnE I 25: giofvl U; gavpvl r; gopvl W; gaupul T.

These are formed in a way similar to that of the previous name from a root *gap- (ON gap n. 'opening,' gapa 'to yawn'). Etymologically parallel is probably the name of the group of Norwegian seters known collectively as Goppollen. O. Rygh (NG, IV, 1, p. 156) derives this name from Norwegian gople f. 'giant bellflower' (Campanula latifolia). However, according to Per Hovda, just west of this area a river flows through a narrow ravine, and this river quite likely once bore the same name as the seters. Gering and Sijmons (p. 198) say that Gipul and Gopul possibly refer to rivers with shores that fall off sharply. They also note that as gapa occurs in the meaning 'to scream,' Gopul may also be interpreted as 'the roaring one.'
Gömul: Grm 27: gavmvl R; gömvl A.
SnE I 25: gomol U; gavmvl r; gomvl W; gaumol T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): gomvl A; gomvl r; gomul B; gaurnul C;
gó-/ mul T.
The name is most likely a nominalization of the feminine singular of the ON adjective gamall 'old.' Gering and Sijmons (p. 198) say that it might signify an old river bed in contrast to a newly formed one and compare it to the German Alter Rhein. Cf. Gamlelva and similar names several places in Norway (NSA). There is also a possibility that Gömul might be related to ON gemlingr m. 'one-year-old sheep' and refer to a flooding river which swells up once a year.
Geirvimul: Grm 27: geirvi/mvl R; gæirvimvl A.
SnE I 25: geirvmvl U; geirvimvl r; geirrvmvl W; geir-/vimul T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): gæirvimvl A; geirvimvl r; geir (vímul) B;
geíruímul C; geiruimol T.

The first element is the stem form of ON geirr m. 'spear.' Regarding the final element, both Magnus Olsen and Ingeborg Hoff have discussed the district called Vimar or Vimir which they connect to the mythological river name. According to Olsen, the root in both these names is Vim- which he compares to Old High German uuimi, corresponding to the Latin scatebra (i.e. fluviorum) and vomens (i.e. ebulliens), as well as Icelandic vim, vím n. 'giddiness, a swimming in the head, wavering' and Norwegian dialect vima 'tumble, go as if confused.' Semantically, he feels the Eddic name is closest to vomens. Hoff derives these names from a root *uei 'turn around' and sees them as referring to the 'turning motion the eddies in the current make.' Geirvimul would thus mean something like 'the river which swarms with spears.' Martin Larsen mentions that the concept of rivers filled with pointed weapons has been common among the Nordic people and refers to "Haddingssagnet" in Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum. (Book 1)


Grímnismál 28/ 1-3

Þyn ok Vín,
Þöll ok Höll,
Gráð ok Gunnþorin.

Vín flows from Hvergelmir according to SnE I 4, as do all the rest, listed in the same order as above (except that Vína, Vegsvinn and Þjóðnuma are mentioned later than the previous six) according to SnE I 25. Furthermore, all but Gráð and Gunnþorin are found in the nafnaþulur (Vína twice) but in a different order from that in Grm 28 and mixed in with other river names.
Þýn (Þyn): Grm 28: þyn R; þyn A.
SnE I, 25: þyn r; W; T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): þ yn A; þyn r; ... ýn B; þyn C; T.
The name appears in a spurious verse in Njáls saga (chapter 45) in a kenning for gold-þýnjar logs (written þyníar logs in Rb). Þýn seems to be eliminated from the version of SnE I 25 in U and the word fyri substituted for it after nefndar.
Most scholars interpret it as 'the raging, thundering, roaring one' and compare it to AS þunian and the god's name 'Thórr' (þórr). According to Jóhannesson (p. 872), who agrees with this theory, the name is derived from the Indo-European (IE) roots *sten-, *ten- 'to thunder, rage, roar.' If this is correct, the vowel in þyn would be short. Þyn also occurs in the nafnaþulur in SnE as a heiti for a coat of mail. In Norway, however, there are several river names such as Tya which appear to go back to an ON *þý with a long vowel (NE, p. 280). Sophus Bugge (NE, p. 339) interprets these names semantically as 'the ones which swell or have swollen up; the big ones' and relates them to Indic táviti 'have power,' tuvi- 'mighty' and Greek Taús 'big.' Cf. the Norwegian rivers Gro and Reisa (NE, pp. 79, 189). If Þýn has a long vowel, then I feel that it may be a derivation in -n of the above-mentioned root. Cleasby and Vigfusson (p. 780) have identified the Eddic name with the English river Tyne, while Ekwall (p. 426) says the latter is Celtic in origin.

Vín (Vin): Grm 28: vin R; A.
SnE I 25: vin- U; vin r; vin W; vin T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): vin A; r; vin B; C; uin T.

A number of scholars have identified it with the Russian river Dvina (see Vína below). This theory presupposes a long vowel. If Vín indeed has a long vowel, it could be connected to the IE root *-uei 'wither, dry (up)' (see Jóhannesen, p. 111), and related to those names which refer to rivers which dry up during the summer. Cf., for example, Torke (NE, p. 273). If the vowel is short, then the name could be connected to ON vin f. 'meadow' or vinr m. 'friend,' but this seems to me less likely.

Þöll: Grm 28: þavll R; Þöll A.
SnE I 25: -þoll U; þoll r; þöll W; þoll T.
SnE II 89 (479-84): Þöll A; þavll r; þaull C; T.

The name is formally identical to ON þöll f. 'young fir tree.' Cf. Tollaaen and Tolga (NE, pp. 272, 337). Gering and Sijmons (p. 198), on the other hand, interpret it as 'the swollen one' (cf., Þýn, [þyn] above), probably relating it to the IE root * tal- 'grow, flourish,' from which also the appellative ON poll seems to be derived (cf., Jóhannesen, p. 426). Jan de Vries (p. 631), while noting Gering's and Sijmons' theory, mentions also the possibility, according to Holthausen that the name is connected to AS gedyllan 'to quiet.' Cf. the Norwegian rivers Logn and Stilla (NE, p. 147, and Hovda, 1966, p. 107). Cleasby and Vigfusson (p. 780) have identified it as the Scottish river Thuil.
Höll: Grm 28: havll R; höll A.
SnE I 25: holl U; boll (!) r; holl W; T.
SnE II 89 (479-84); höll A; -höll r; -hóll B; haull- C; hóll T.
Höll is probably a nominalization of the feminine singular of the ON adjective hallr 'sloping.' O. Rygh mentions the farm name Hallen, derived from ON hallr, as possibly being named after the brook which flows by this place (NE, p. 90 and NO, XIV, p. 360). Cf. also Haldalen (NO, V, p. 157). Hellquist (pp. 212-14) lists several lake names in Sweden which may contain a root related to the same word. Semantically similar names of rivers are Bretta and Leina (NE, pp. 23, 141).
Gráð: Grm 28: graþ R; gráð A.
SnE I 25: grað U; r; W; grad T.
Quite possibly the name is a feminine derivation of ON gráðr m. 'hunger, greed.' Cf. Sylgr below. Another possibility is that it is related to ON gráði m. 'breeze curling the waves,' Modern Icelandic gráð f. Finnur Jónsson connects the name Gráðvik in Iceland to the latter word in the meaning 'bay where there is always a superficial (shallow) movement of the waves.'

Gunnþorin: Grm 28: gvnnþorin R; -gvnnþorin A.
SnE I 25: gvnþro U; gvnnþrainn r; gvnnþorin W; gunnþo- /rm T.
The final element is probably a feminine nominalization of a derivative in *-ina of the verb ON þora 'to dare' (cf., Mod. Ice. þorinn 'daring, bold' and Sœkin above), possibly here with a meaning such as 'to force through (i.e. in one's course).' The first element is likely the stem form of ON gunnr f. (with non-radical -r) 'war, battle (poet.),' and this has led some scholars to interpret the name as 'the one which is eager for or desirous of battle' (e.g., Gering, p. 198). Others have identified it with Gunnþro (e.g., Jónsson, 1900, p. 222). However, it seems to me more likely that Gunnþorin means something like 'the one which forces itself mightily along its course.' Cf. Gunnþro as well as the semantically similar Fjörm and Rennandi above.