Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 36. Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson, Lausavísur, 6 [Vol. 1, 524]

[All]: The attribution of the stanza in ÓH is tentative: Sva segia menn at hann orti þa visv þesa ‘people say that he then composed this stanza’ (variant visor þessar ‘these stanzas’), and the mutual relationship of Lv 6-7 is problematic. Nine C-class ÓH mss have both lausavísur at this point, while the mss of Hkr, ÓHLeg and Fsk, along with five other ÓH mss, have Lv 7 only, suggesting that the first has lesser authority. Contamination between the two stanzas has clearly occurred, with some exchanging of variants from one stanza to the other (thus halr/hauldr, Lv 6/1, 7/1 and possibly Gunnar/geira, Lv 6/3, 7/3). Finnur Jónsson concluded that the first stanza was a mere variant upon the second and edits accordingly in Skj, printing a single stanza with textual variants in Skj A and a main text immediately followed by an alternative text of ll. 5-8 in Skj B. Nevertheless, the two stanzas are sufficiently distinct and the first stanza is sufficiently well attested that they are edited separately here, following Fidjestøl (1982, 67-70), but with the stanzas in the order found in the mss. The fact that the two stanzas take opposed attitudes to Erlingr (as pointed out by Fidjestøl 1982, 68) suggests that they represent closely linked components in a debate or riposte format (on this format, see Grove 2008, 124-5). That there was widespread and vehement debate about issues of honour attaching to both Erlingr’s and Óláfr’s conduct during these events is attested from a variety of sources including Sigv Erlfl and Sigv Erl, which exhibit clear verbal parallels to the present stanzas (Fidjestøl 1982, 69; see also Jesch 2001a, 263-5). But the indifferent transmission of the stanzas in the C class of ÓH mss has no doubt effaced many of the fine details of the original stanza-pair.

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