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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 11. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga, 13 [Vol. 1, 679]

[1, 4] geirhvassar sjónir ‘the spear-sharp eyes’: The majority reading geirs, lit. ‘of the spear’, is problematic, being not essential to the sense or syntax of the stanza. (a) The 321ˣ reading geir is adopted here, and the assumption made that it (or possibly geirs) is the first element of a cpd adj. geir(s)hvass ‘spear-sharp’, with tmesis. The cpd is thus parallel with ormfrôn ‘snake-bright’ in l. 8, also describing Óláfr’s eyes; cf. also compounds such as egghvass ‘blade-sharp’, eitrhvass ‘poison-sharp’. (b) The majority form geirs could be taken, as in ÍF 27, as a descriptive gen. (cf. NS §127, though the examples do not extend to the use of gen. as a compressed simile as would be assumed here). (c) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B), followed by Kock (Skald), emends gunn- ‘battle’ (l. 2) to gný- ‘tumult’ to produce gnýreifum geirs ‘glad in the tumult of the spear [BATTLE]’.


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