Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 18. Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, 2. Vellekla, 3 [Vol. 1, 285]

[1-2]: The lines are difficult and the solution proposed here (and explained at (c) below) tentative. (a) Finnur Jónsson (1891a, 155; Skj B; Finnur Jónsson 1924a, 325-7; 1934a, 18) reads vágr Rǫgnis eisar fyr mér; verk hagna vísa aldr ‘the wave of Rǫgnir [POEM] crashes before me; the deeds are advantageous for the leader for all time’. This has drawn two justified objections, however: it splits the prepositional phrase fyr vísa ‘before the ruler’, and it includes ms. aldr (l. 4) in the intercalary clause, making it extremely fragmented (Reichardt 1928, 199; NN §391). (b) Kock’s interpretation (NN §391), vágr eisar fyr vísa; verk Rǫgnis mér hagna ‘the wave breaks upon the leader; I succeed at Óðinn’s works [POETRY]’, assumes simpler word order, but requires the determinant of the first poem-kenning (with base-word vágr ‘wave’) to be supplied from the context (see Reichardt 1928, 199-200). It also assumes that verk Rǫgnis ‘Óðinn’s deeds’ is a poetry-kenning, although verk would not be paralleled as a base-word in such a kenning (see Meissner 429). Kock later (NN §2916) took ǫldrhafs ‘of the ale-sea’ (l. 4, emended from aldr-) as the determinant of vágr, followed by Ohlmarks (1958, 363) and Frank (1981, 162). However, ‘wave of the ale-sea’ cannot be a kenning for ‘poem’, cf. Faulkes, SnE 1998, I, 162. (c) The simpler interpretation of the first two lines given here matches that of Reichardt (1928, 199; also Davidson 1983, 238, 241). It has the disadvantage that in l. 2 verk hagna mér ‘works are successful for me’ (i. e. I succeed in making my poem), a typical phrase for a parenthesis, is interrupted, producing a tripartite line. However, this seems marginally less problematic than the incomplete kenning assumed by Kock, especially given the careful and elaborate kenning structure of sts 1-3.

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