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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]

[4] ǫldrhafs ‘of the ale-sea’: The mss’ aldr and hafs have been subject to various interpretations. The main challenge in ll. 3-4 is aldr (l. 4), found in all mss, which interpreters have construed variously. (a) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) incorporates aldr into the intercalary clause in ll. 1, 2, giving verk hagna vísa aldr ‘deeds will always ornament the prince’. (b) Reichardt (1928, 199) also takes it to be an adv. ‘constantly’, but modifying þýtr ‘booms’. Finnur Jónsson (1934a, 18) rightly objects that this could not apply to the recitation of a poem. (c) Kock (NN §391) emends it to ǫldr ‘ale’ and links it to hafs ‘sea’. Kock first linked the cpd ǫldrhafs to Óðrœrir, but later (NN §2916) to vágr ‘wave’ in l. 1 (see Note to ll. 1-2). This edn follows Kock’s emendation but not his further suggestions. (d) Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 162) considers verk Rǫgnis aldrhafs as a kenning for ‘poetry’, though he provides no exact interpretation of it. It could only mean ‘work of the ale-sea of Óðinn [POEM]’, and as such would not match the structure of this type of kenning, in which ‘mead of poetry’ already stands for ‘poem’.


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