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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Hallgrímr, Fragment, 1 [Vol. 3, 226]

[1] snýr ‘snows’: It is assumed here that this is the 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of *snjóa, which is attested only in this form and in the p. p. snivinn: see SnSt Ht 62/1 and the discussion there. See also Eyv Lv 12/1, 4I snýr á Svǫlnis vôru … at miðju sumri ‘it is snowing on the spouse of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)] … in the middle of the summer’. The alternative is to identify snýr as the 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of snúa ‘turn’ (which governs the dat., the case of sveita ‘blood’), which may be used impersonally (hence ‘is turned’), though there do not appear to be any attested examples of the impersonal use of snúa with á ‘on’. In either event, the sense of ll. 1-2 appears to be that blood is piled upon blood, meaning that there is great slaughter. Jón Helgason (1966a, 180) very tentatively suggests that sókndreyra may be a corruption of Sóknreyra: Sókn was the former name of an island in Norway (see Heggstad et al. 2008: sókn 8), and ‘the fastener (reyri) of Sókn’ would then be a kenning for ‘sea’ (with *reyrir extrapolated from the weak verb reyra ‘wind around’). The meaning of ll. 1-2 would be that blood fell upon the sea.


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