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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 34. Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr, 1 [Vol. 1, 471]

[5-8]: This helmingr has presented problems for earlier eds, and the solution adopted here attempts to make syntactical sense of it while avoiding emendation. (a) In the present version the kenning feitir hrægeitunga ‘fattener of carrion-birds [RAVENS/EAGLES > WARRIOR]’ (l. 6) is construed with hverr ‘every’ (l. 5; see Fritzner: hverr 6) and haulda ‘among freeholders’ (lit. ‘of freeholders’, l. 5) is taken as a gen. attributive to that noun phrase. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B, following Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, II, 221) emends haulda (l. 5) to hildar ‘of battle’, which he construes as the determinant to môr ‘seagull’ (l. 7), hence môr hildar ‘the seagull of battle [RAVEN/EAGLE]’, while sára ‘of wounds’ (l. 7) is taken with sylg (l. 8), hence sylg sára ‘a drink of wounds [BLOOD]’. This has the advantage of accounting for haulda, which is somewhat superfluous in interpretation (a), and for , which is somewhat underspecified if separated from sára. However, as Kock (NN §554) points out, that interpretation involves an emendation that goes against all ms. witnesses and results in a convoluted word order. (c) Kock (NN §554; Skald) emends feitir (m. nom. sg.) ‘fattener’ to feiti (dat. sg), and takes the kenning feiti hrægeitunga ‘fattener of carrion-birds’ as an apposition to Eireki (m. dat. sg.) in l. 8. (d) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson’s version (ÍF 26) is the closest to the present interpretation, but he construes the kenning as an apposition to hverr haulda: hverr haulda, feitir hrægeitunga lit. ‘each of freeholders, fattener of carrion-birds’, glossing this Hver maður, sem barðagamaður var ‘Each man who was a warrior’. But the appositional constructions assumed here and in (c) are awkward. (e) Bjarni Fidjestøl (1982, 194; citing Sveinbjörn Egilsson in Fms 12, 56, Konráð Gíslason 1892, 142 and (erroneously) ÍF 26), entertains the possibility that feitir hrægeitunga could be a form of address. While that might be an option, the only other stanza that addresses Eiríkr directly gives the verb in 2nd pers. pl. (fœrðuð ‘you brought’, st. 5/5).


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