Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorm Lv 20I l. 8

liggjum — we shall lie

lemma:

liggja (verb): lie

readings:

notes:

[8] eða liggjum hér ‘or we shall lie here’: I.e. ‘lie dead’. (a) This edn, like most others, assumes that the alternative is vér komumk braut ‘we shall come away’ in l. 5, with þat víksk eigi ‘that will not fail’ an intercalary clause, an arrangement that is encouraged by the Context provided in Fbr (see above). The helmingr thus states ‘we shall either live or die’: not a very acute observation, in Finnur Jónsson’s view (1932-3), yet a plausible variant on the theme of ‘victory or death’, in which the þótt-clause may imply that if the skald’s side get away alive it will not be before they have slain some of the enemy. (b) Under the other main arrangement, the alternative to eða hér liggjum is þat víksk eigi. The point is then that either they will show their mettle on the battlefield by feeding the ravens on their enemies’ corpses or they will die trying. The alternative to dying is thus not simply living, but acting boldly (and, as a result, living).

kennings:

grammar:

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