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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 12. Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa, 3 [Vol. 1, 161]

[All]: The interpretation of the helmingr is uncertain because of the difficulty of l. 3 and the variation in the ms. readings. (a) In this edn, frelsi vals ok Vinða is tentatively taken as ‘sanctuaries against slaughter and the Wends’ (see Note to l. 3 below). The phrase could either be in apposition to Selund, characterising Zealand, or the two phrases could refer to different places, so that the helmingr lists three places (so Kock, NN §1930, and cf. Kock 1936, 1-2; Toyne 1948, 69 n.). In ll. 3-4, asyndeton, the omission of a explicit conj. ‘and’, is assumed. This overall solution accounts for the range of readings. Original víð Skáneyjar síðu, with collocation of what appears to be a f. nom. sg. adj. víð with a f. acc. sg. noun síðu, evidently confused the redactors, who attempted to solve the apparent difficulty in two different ways: (1) changing the acc. to nom. (Skáneyjar) síða to achieve case agreement; (2) changing the adj. to a prep. (viðr ‘by’) and retaining the case of the noun (acc. (Skáneyjar) síðu). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. ÍF 26) construes the helmingr differently. He treats Skáneyjarsíðu as a combined object with Selund (linked by ok ‘and’ in l. 3), and interprets Vinða ‘of Wends’ as governing vals ‘choice’, taken in the sense of ‘elite’: thus Selund ok Skáneyjarsíðu, víð frelsi vals Vinða ‘Zealand and the coast of Skåne, widely-spread sanctuaries of the elite of the Wends’. But the placing of ok makes this unlikely and it is hard to see why an elite of Wends would be specified.


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