Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 18. Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, 2. Vellekla, 9 [Vol. 1, 293]

[2, 3] þann hljóm* togins skjóma ‘the din of the drawn sword [BATTLE]’: All mss have hljóms. (a) To avoid an emendation, a few eds (Fms 12; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 108-9; Hkr 1991) conjoin hljóms and lof to mean ‘praise of the sound’ (a praise-poem?). However, no parallel expression is known (Finnur Jónsson 1891a, 161; Finnur Jónsson 1924a, 322), and moreover this creates a difficulty with the remainder of the line, toginn/togins skjóma ‘the drawn sword’. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12), Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 109) and Hkr 1991 read toginn (as in mss , 39, F, J1ˣ, 61), taking toginn skjóma as the object of vinna ‘do’, and retain ms. þat, to produce an intercalary Þat nam at vinna toginn skjóma ‘That affair caused the sword to be drawn’, i.e. ‘That affair could not be brought about without battle’ (LP (1860): toginn; cf. LP: 2. vinna 7). (b) Although an intercalary clause as such is possible, the expression lof hljóms is so unusual that numerous eds including this one have chosen to emend hljóms to hljóm. This joins with togins (as in mss Bb, 325IX 1 a) skjóma to form a battle-kenning corresponding to the common pattern ‘noise of the sword’ (Meissner 186-8), and the kenning serves as the object of nam vinna ‘made’ (lit. ‘began to do’) (Finnur Jónsson 1891a, 161; ÓT 1892, 369; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). (c) Reichardt (1928, 90) suggests a third solution in which he connects the battle-kenning to lof ‘praise’ in order to retain the gen. hljóms: berk lof togins skjóma hljóms fyr hefnd ‘I bear praise for the sound of the drawn sword [BATTLE] for revenge’. This is possible, but as Finnur Jónsson (1934a, 19-20) notes, ‘I praise revenge’ is a more natural expression than ‘I praise the fight for revenge’, especially since the prep. fyr is unusual here.

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