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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 52. Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr, 4 [Vol. 1, 883]

[5, 8] lét fold fundna þér ‘said that land was found for you’: On the basis of the stanza alone, the reference to ‘land’ being ‘found’ for Kálfr could be taken to mean the grant of an estate in England, but Kálfr’s departure from England, his defence of land in Norway against Óláfr in st. 5/1-2, and the prose context make it clear that the reference is to a promise of rule in Norway. The sense of lét remains elusive. The most obvious interpretation is ‘had (land found for you)’, and this would be compatible with the first helmingr. However, lét could mean ‘said’, and this is assumed here, resulting in a more cynical view of the sincerity of Knútr’s promises (cf. ÍF 27, 335 n. which has kvaðst hafa fundið ‘said he had found’). This accords with the statement about delay in l. 6 (see Note) and is spelt out clearly in the prose sources, e.g. in ÍF 27, 411 where Kálfr is said to regret the trap he had fallen into at Knútr’s urging, since all the promises he had made, including a jarldom and government over all Norway, had been broken.


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