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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Einarr Skúlason (biog. vol. 2), Geisli, 48 [Vol. 7, 46-7]

[1-4]: There is a considerable disparity between Flat’s and Bb’s texts of the first helmingr, but Bb’s must be preferred as Flat’s ll. 3-4 are ungrammatical as they stand and the sword-kenning possible in these ll. is unsatisfactory. One would have to read styrks steindrar mundriða borgar Regins váða ‘(the man missed) the strong sword hilt of the fortress of Reginn’s peril [SWORD > SHIELD > SWORD]’, with Bb’s steindrar for Flat’s steindra (gen. pl.), understanding mundriði (lit. ‘that which causes the hand to move quickly’) as a metonym for a sword. Borgar Regins váða would provide both a sword- and a shield-kenning. According to the Vǫlsung legends, the dwarf Reginn made his foster son Sigurðr a powerful sword named Gramr, with which Sigurðr killed the dragon Fáfnir and later Reginn himself. ‘Reginn’s peril’ would thus be a kenning for sword; its fortress is the shield. The mundriði of the shield is in turn another sword-kenning. But this is not very plausible, and Bb’s reading of ll. 3-4 is better on several counts, even though galla (l. 4; nom. galli), which normally means ‘defect, fault’ has to be taken in the more abstract sense of ‘destruction’.


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