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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 1. Víkingarvísur, 6 [Vol. 1, 541]

[8] Súðvirki ‘Southwark’: The bridgehead on the south bank of the Thames. The form of the name is uncertain. A long vowel is indicated by the rhyme on búð-. ON suðr ‘south’ normally has a short vowel, while OE sūð, with the same meaning, had a long vowel. Townend proposes either that ‘Sigvatr is prepared to alter the expected form of a place-name for a purely metrical reason’ (1998, 74) or that ‘the English first element appears to have been reproduced rather than the Norse cognate substituted’ (1998, 97). As Townend notes, most of the mss also lack the expected -r, except for the Fsk group, which have reinterpreted the name correctly but at the expense of the rhyme. A further possibility is that Sigvatr may have misinterpreted the first element as equivalent to ON súð ‘planking’ and the p. n. therefore as meaning something like ‘wooden, planked fortification’ (Jesch 2001a, 73). Finally, it is possible that the rhyme is inexact in terms of vowel length, as, e.g., in Sigv Austv 18/6 jafnvíst : Lista, also involving a p. n.


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