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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Þulur, 56. Hugar heiti ok hjarta, 1 [Vol. 3, 964]

[2, 3] sefi; sjafni ‘mind; love’: These words are listed among the hugar heiti in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 108): Hugr heitir sefi ok *sjafni ‘Thought is called mind (sefi) and love (sjafni)’. Whereas sefi m. is attested in poetry (LP: 1. sefi), sjafni m. does not occur elsewhere in Old Norse poetry, but it is used in the rímur (Finnur Jónsson 1926-8: sjafni). Sjafni (< *sefnan) and sefi could be etymologically related (so ÍO: sjafni). According to Hesselman (1912, 58), sjafni may be a neologism from Sjǫfn f., the name of a goddess (see Þul Ásynja 2/2 and Note there). The proximity of sefi and sjafni is corroborated by the fact that, as Beck (1988a, 138) states, sefi ‘alternates with hugr in contexts that reflect upon the experience of love and the pain of love’.


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