Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 9. Poem about Queen Ástríðr, 1 [Vol. 1, 646]

[1-2]: The two branches of the Hkr stemma diverge here. (a) The readings of , 39 and F, hrein and ossu, are chosen here as in other modern eds, both because they are the reading of the main ms., and because it is most natural for the poss. adj. ossu (n. dat. sg.) ‘our’ to agree with the immediately preceding noun lofi ‘praise’, and for hrein ‘bright, pure’ to be n. acc. pl. agreeing with hnossfjǫlð ‘abundance of treasures’. While the simplex fjǫlð ‘abundance, multitude’ is normally f. sg., Finnur Jónsson assumed a unique instance of a n. pl. form in this cpd (LP: fjǫlðhnossfjǫlð), and such a form fits the common pattern of alternation between f. sg. and n. pl. in a collective noun (Beito 1954, 95, 180; Janzén 1965, 359). (b) It appears that the scribes of J2x and E (or of their archetype) made the lines grammatically ‘correct’ with two minor emendations, producing a question, Hveim getum hôla launa hnossfjǫlð ossa lofi? ‘Whom do we splendidly repay for our abundance of treasures with praise?’ This would be answered in the second couplet. However, although Sigvatr occasionally uses rhetorical questions beginning with an interrog. pron. (Sigv Berv 11/1-3II, 13/1-4II, both beginning a stanza, and Sigv ErfÓl 17/3), he is never so unsubtle as to answer them.


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