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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 54. Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja, 9 [Vol. 1, 906]

[8] hann vas ríkstr konungmanna ‘he was the mightiest of royal men’: The line is identical to Anon Óldr 11/6, and is among echoes of Steinn ÓldrII in Rst; see Note to st. 12 [All] below. The stef ‘refrain’ of Rst begins in this stanza and is completed in the next two (sts 10/8, 11/8); the pattern is then repeated four times in sts 12-23. (a) The complete refrain in this edn reads: Hann vas ríkstr konungmanna | Óláfr und veg sólar | hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu, i.e. Hann, Óláfr, vas ríkstr konungmanna und veg sólar, hollr ok fremstr at ǫllu ‘He, Óláfr, was the mightiest of royal men under the path of the sun [SKY], faithful and foremost in all things’. (b) The interpretation favoured in Skj B and Skald, based on the ÓT version, is: Hann vas / Hanns ríkstr konungmanna | Óláfr und veg- sólar | hǫll ok ‑fremstr at ǫllu ‘He, Óláfr, was/is the mightiest and foremost in honour of royal men in all things under the hall of the sun [SKY]’. This solution is primarily based on the reading hǫll ‘hall’, which is preferable to hollr ‘faithful’ insofar as it forms an exact aðalhending with ǫll-. However, this argument is not strong in Rst, where the rhyme is somewhat irregular (see Introduction), while the postulated vegfremstr ‘foremost in honour’ involves an unusual tmesis across stanzas, and the prep. und ‘under’ is syntactically detached from veg, the noun that follows it (cf. Kuhn 1983, 120-2 on proclitic prepositions). (c) Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12, 54) avoids these problems by taking vegsólar as a cpd equivalent to vegligrar sólar ‘of the magnificent sun’.


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