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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 12. Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa, 1 [Vol. 1, 157]

[1-2]: Interpretations have varied. (a) In this edn, following NN §1928 (cf. ÍF 26; Hkr 1991), bekkjar ‘of the rowing-bench’ is taken with -rauknum ‘draught animals’ to form a ship-kenning; cf. the similar use of þopta ‘rowing-bench’ in HólmgB Lv 9/6V (Korm 44); also Meissner 216. Bekkjar meaning ‘of the stream’ might also yield a ship-kenning, but the parallels involve named rivers (Meissner 214, 217). The element bif- in bifrauknum probably represents bifa ‘quake, tremble’, referring to the shuddering or trembling of a ship at sea. The verb trað ‘trod’ maintains consistency of image with rauknum ‘draught animals’. The cpd blárǫst ‘blue trail’ is treated as a heiti for ‘sea’, similar to a kenning but with an adj. rather than a noun as the first element (cf. CPB II, 30; Meissner 3; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991; cf. also Notes to Eyv Lv 2/4 and Þloft Tøgdr 5/6). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) takes bekkjar as a determinant for blárǫst, thus ‘blue trail of the sea’ or similar, and emends ôrum to ára (gen. pl.) ‘of oars’ to supply a determinant for bifrauknum, but this is unnecessary. (c) Reichardt (1928, 31) and Kock (NN §1928) accept the emendation but assume the opposite pairing of determinants and base-words.


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