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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 1. Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, 1. Ynglingatal, 9 [Vol. 1, 22]

[10, 11-12] temja svalan hest vers Signýjar ‘tame the cool horse of the lover of Signý [= Hagbarðr > GALLOWS]’: The image is comparable to the widespread expression ‘ride the gallows’; cf. st. 12/5-6 and, with similar use of the verb temja ‘tame’, Eyv Hál 4/1-4; cf. also OE þæt his byre rīde giong on galgan ‘that his son should ride, young, on the gallows’ (Beowulf ll. 2445-6, Beowulf 2008, 84), and Early ModGer. ir müst den galgen raiten ‘you must ride the gallows’ (Keller 1853, 428; cf. also Amira 1922, 100). The determinant of the kenning, vers Signýjar ‘the lover of Signý’, is based on the Danish legend of Hagbarðr, who was hanged by his lover’s father. The story is known from Saxo Grammaticus (Saxo 2005, I, 7, 7, 1-17, pp. 464-77) and forms the basis for several skaldic kennings (Meissner 435).


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